What Every English Person Needs To Know

In his 1988 book “Cultural Literacy, What Every American Needs To Know” E.D. Hirsch Jr. wrote that: “To be truly literate citizens must be able to grasp the meaning of any piece of writing addressed to the general reader.” He went on to say that all citizens should be able to read: “Newspapers of substance.” To Hirsch this didn’t just mean that they could read the words, it meant that they must also understand the significance of what is being said, he called this understanding: ‘cultural literacy’. At the back of the book he wrote an extensive list that he believed represented what an American should know. The list includes: Woody Allen, Fred Astaire, Chuck Berry, Brer Rabbit, Catch 22, ‘Come live with me and be my love’, Iago, In Situ, Washington Irving, Carl Jung, Prostate Gland, Leon Trotsky, Uranus, V-J Day, Yellow Peril, and Emile Zola.

For a bit of fun I thought I would make a similar list based on a ‘Newspaper of Substance’, today’s issue of the Times, and make a ‘culturally significant’ list that might form the basis of a curriculum based on the idea of ‘What Every English Person Needs To Know’:

Gaza

Kidnapped

Nato

Cameron

Putin

Border watchdog

Tank Regiment

Tattoo

Social Climbing

Dame Helen Mirren

Teasmaid

Cheryl Cole

Poison

Older Women Make Better Mothers

Pensioner

Islam

Dr Rowan Williams

Koran

Sex Grooming

Sexual Abuse

Independent School

George V

British Airways

Drink Driving

ISIS

Honda Accord

Skills Gap

Volatile GCSE Results

Ofqual

Simon Cowell

Anxiety

Drug Use

Sexuality

Alcohol

Hastings

Danny Alexander

Kirstie Allsop

Lucy Powell

Lib Dem

Coalition

Think Tank

Gordon Brown

David Cameron

Ed Miliband

David Miliband

Labour

Manchester

Throwback to the 1950s

It’s a Long Way to Tipperary

Rapist

Blacklisted

Explicitly Sexual Poses

Touched Her Intimately

Bale Out

Cambridge

Cattle Farmer

Croatia

BMW

Barking

Albania

Germany

Teenagers

Comprehensive School

Volleyball

Football

Drug Overdose

Birmingham

Party Drug PMA

Paramedic

Class A Amphetamine

Maisonette

Comedy

Labradoodle

William Shakespeare

Tom Stoppard

Tunic

Sherlock

Covent Garden

Ecstasy

Dealer

Hearing

Half a Gram

Three Heart Attacks

Unconscious

Crown Prosecution Service

Metropolitan Police/The Met

Jean Charles de Menezes

Public Enquiry

Murder

Health and Safety

Camp Bestival

Acrobat

Eight Round Burst

RNLI

Grade ll Listed

George Osbourne

Eastbourne

Open For Business

Pier

The Dorchester

Minimum Spend

The Langham

The Ritz

Prince Harry

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Moss

Rihanna

Naomi Campbell

Bowel Cancer

Curry

Small Nuclear Receptor

Protein

Obesity

Obstetrics

Gynaecology

Reproductive Sciences

Blogger

Nigella

Mice

Rolf Harris

Circuit Judge

Acid

Bullying

Intimidating

Christian Funeral

Tumour

Sensory Neurons

Southwark Crown Court

Penthouse Flat

Sierra Leone

Ebola

Commonwealth Games

Olympics

Scotland Yard

Virus

Resuscitate

Inquest

Athlete

Table Tennis

On The Run

West Africa

Paul Smith

Chanel

PJs

Elasticated Waists

Autumn

Tour de France

Hobbit

Liberal

Majority

Intervention

Liberal Democratic Values

Libya

Tripoli

Embassy

Ambassador

French Diplomats

Ted Hughes

Sylvia Plath

Gaddafi

Tunisia

Italians

Militias

US

Commons

United Nations

Up The Ante

Daily Mail

The Observer

Hansard

Civil Order

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Failed Pariah State

Foreign Secretary

Overseas Bases

Nicolas Sarkozy

Arab Spring

Mr Obama

Vacillator

Snooker

Old Vic

Rupert Murdoch

Tony Blair

Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth

Toasted Teacakes

Reverence

Terrace

Global Banking System

Casual Racism

Nigel Farage

Aristophanes

Three Sisters

Ionesco’s The Chairs

Box Room

Sheffield

Mother Courage and Her Children

Arthur Miller

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Clones

Send in the Clowns

Chicago

Shanghai

Canary Wharf

Lapland

Plover

Philharmonic

Council

Hamlet

Prostitute

Istanbul

Symphony

Orchestra

Aural

Uniformity

Homogenised

YouTube

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring

Manila

Moscow

Disco-Dance

Proms

National Park

Vandalism

Silence is Golden

Carruthers

Great War

Wart

Ramblers

Banksy

Ed Balls

Usain Bolt

Orlando Bloom

LGA

Black Cab

Boris Johnson

Tax Avoidance

Ceasefire

Death Toll

Boutique Hotel

Tea Party

Greenpeace

Cocaine

Anti-Gay

al-Quaeda

Divorce

Tamzin Outhwaite

Quickies

Porn

Ubiquitous

Penetrative Sex

Arousal

Masturbation

Sexual Repertoire

Orgasm

Curvaceousness

Anchovies

Marinade

Burrata

Succulents

Aeonium

Bionics

Dame Edna

iPhone

App

Balkans

Panama Canal

Mayan Ruins

Verona

Juliet

Nook and Cranny

Game of Thrones

Ely

Phuket

Butlins

Kandyan Dancing

Taiwan

WHO

North Korea

Portly Despot

Disneyland

Berlusconi

Underage Sex

Bandits

Austerity

Nobel Prize

Catalan

Fido

William Hill

Sir Francis Drake

Van Gaal

Anfield

Financial Fair Play

QPR

Try

Ecclestone

Piccadilly Circus

Woking

Thirsk

Trent Bridge

BA

BT

Fed

Turbulence

BSkyB

I’m a Celebrity

RBS

Inflation

CEBR

Bank of England Base Rate

Britishness

Blenheim Palace

Wall Street

Google

Smartphone

Autonomous Cars

Chips

VIP Lifestyle

Stocks

Property Investment

Scammed

Strong Pale Ale

Five Star Lifestyle

Capital Gains

Solid Performers

Cotton Chinos

Moleskins

Panama Style Hat

Low Pressure

Light Southerly

Obituary

Subjunctive

Hypothetical

Churchill

Biggles

Dog Collars

Richard lll

National Lobster Hatchery

The Duke of York

Fritz Lang

And this is only the beginning….

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “What Every English Person Needs To Know

  1. James from Durham

    Some of the juxtapositions are revealing, provocative even….

    Now I must find out what Kandyan dancing is…….

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s