This is largely triggered by a pub conversation with my old friend and quaffing partner Eoghan Barry. Basically – English people generally hate Morris dancing. Yet there is a general wuv for the folk culture of other countries, especially ones that can be thought of as “backward” or pre-modern. Why is the Other’s folk culture lauded while England’s own is hated? I contend that this is to do with imperialist and racist mindsets that assert a dualistic relationship between a modern and technological Us and a primitive and unmediated Them. They have folk culture, we have shiny futurism. We love their natural sense of rhythm and primitive culture, but we revel in our modernity and technological advancement as signifiers of our superiority.
In professing to like Morris dancing, we people of the Other are putting the English in their pre-modern place.