The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

St George killed the dragon

St Andrew may have been crucified on an X shaped cross, thereby giving the Scottish Flag its shape.

But St George killed the dragon!

St Patrick may have banished snakes from Ireland.

But St George killed the dragon!

St David of Wales may have been the only one in the UK to actually be born in the country he was Patron Saint of.

But St George killed the dragon!




Shakespeare was born on St George’s Day. And so was my grandmother.

Shakespeare died on St George’s Day. And so did William Wordsworth.




OK, the Patron Saint of England wasn’t born in the UK; there are no such things as dragons; and the basis of his story pre-dates Christianity.

But never mind. We should always believe what we’re told by our church leaders, politicians and teachers, shouldn’t we. And we should always be proud of the piece of rock we were born on, and make sure we let everyone else know we're better than them because of it.

Unquestioning patriotism! Don't you just love it?

St George killed the dragon!
St George killed the dragon!
St George killed the dragon!
St George killed the dragon!
St George killed the dragon!
St George killed the dragon!
St George killed the dragon!


debra said...

Shhhhhh! Don't tell the emperor that he is wearing no clothes.

Kim Ayres said...

The emperor's safe - if anyone says anything they'll be locked up and silenced under anti-terrorism laws...

PI said...

Yay for Engerland!
Say it out loud! Stand and be proud!
Who was it again who killed that doggone dragon?

karatemom said...

I was just thinking of your point as I know you have mentioned this in other ways before. About how silly it seems that we care so much about which area of this globe we were born in and how many proclaim such devotion to it etc.

I am just now wondering that it's can't just be about the land it may come out as oh I am canadian or I am american but I believe that is just the "slang" of it so to speak.

I believe, we as humans feel a deep need to be close to our family, those we love, those that love us, those that are alive and those that are passed on.

So like for me, I feel a sence of belonging where I live because of the history of my ancestors here not so much that it IS canada itself.

As well, I am equally interested in Scotland now, not because it's scotland, but because my father was born there and his ancestors my family lived there. I want to feel a connection to it.

Speaking of which..If my young son makes it to the world's again this year...the competition will be in Dublin Ireland, and my hubby is contemplating a visit to Scotland if possible while there.

Kate said...

Unquestioning patriotism - that's why I wanted to use NMA's 'My Country'! Shame it wasn't on there, and a shame it's not more popular.

I can see Karatemom's point; it is natural to feel a connection with the people you come from. It's like an extended form of the bond you feel for your relatives. It's very different to believing your country is, by default, better than any other. And here we do have a lot to be proud of - a great tradition of science, art and literature; parliamentary democracy; the union movements - all good things.

Eryl Shields said...

I had to go back to Kent last week to bury my mother's ashes. I hadn't been for over a year and haven't lived there for well over half my life but it did feel strangely of home. I'd hate to live there: too many people and most of them are unbearably discourteous, but I do miss it in a kind of primeval way. I wouldn't kill a mythical creature for it though.

mapstew said...

Home is Home. I don't think it matters where it actually is, we will still feel for the place. I moved to the other side of town more than 20 years ago and still call the other place home.

Fat Lazy Guy said...

St. George killed the dragon sounds like a really good euphemism for... well, something :D

It's funny, I've been trying to think where patriotism comes from, like from our evolutionary ancestors. I was thinking it might come from a sense of territory, and a need to mark/protect it.

But I also think it comes from the same place as mating rituals and the biological need to help your DNA survive. I mean, the things people say about their country when they boast, isn't it exactly what animals are trying to say when they perform for their potential mates? "I'm bigger, stronger, smarter than you."

Conan Drumm said...

Georgie porgie puddin' an' pie killed the dragons and made 'em cry.

St. Patrick was Welsh, kidnapped by Irish slavers, got away and then came back with Christianity in 432AD. And we celebrate that?

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - I hope you were patriotically wearing your St George's Cross underwear all day yesterday

KarateMom - I know, we all want to have a sense of belonging. But I can easily have more in common with bloggers on the other side of the world, than my next door neighbours, which makes patriotism an odd thing

Kate - it's probably easier to feel it if you've been raised in one area and know most of the people around you. But if you've moved around a lot, it's much harder to see what the fuss is about.

Eryl - mythical creatures are somthing of an endangered species. Sorry to hear about your mother.

Mapstew - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for taking the time to comment. I've recently been on a wee trip with my son, visiting the places in Wales and Devon where most of my childhood memories are based. But without doubt, home is where I am now, in SW Scotland.

FLG - there's a basic survival tactic by being in groups. And we can make the group stronger by creating a sense of "us" in the group and "them" outwith the group. This is the root of clan, tribal, football, religious and national loyalties. It is also the root of conflict and war.

Conan - absolutely - and you get to celebrate with people all over the world wearing green hats, ginger wigs & beards and drinking lots of guiness!

PI said...

Not quite but my friend Margaret had the flag in her garden.

Eryl Shields said...

She actually died three years ago, not at all unexpectedly, but thank you. She could well have been the last of the mythical creatures, thinking about it now.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Right about now... carloads of angry Scots are heading south on the 74 looking for you.

Charlie said...

1. The U.S. of A. does not have a patron saint, except on March 17th when every drunken idiot thinks he's Irish.

2. We did have dragons in the 1950s and 60s, and every one of them was a teacher. I believe, however, that they are now extinct.

3. I thought all of "you people" knew that America is the biggest and best country in the world—apparently you didn't believe W.

4. Home is where Martha is.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - :)

Eryl - parents as mythical creatures? There's got to be a poem in that!

Jimmy - you mean there are Scots who suffer from unquestioning patriotism too? Surely not...

Charlie - I thought all those televangelists were vying to become the patron saints of the US

Charlie said...

You're right, Kim. St. Marvin O. Bagman, of Marvin's Hour of Power, and canonized by two Brits, Gaiman & Pratchett.

Anonymous said...

A classic case of kill or be killed.

Mary Witzl said...

When you drive from the Greek side of Cyprus to the Turkish side, there's a big banner that says: HOW HAPPY I AM TO BE A TURK. I keep wanting to fiddle with it, replace either the last letter or the first two... And I used to feel just the same about those 'America, love it or leave it!' bumper stickers.

Kim Ayres said...

Anon - or put in a zoo or wildlife park...

Mary - I think the more we travel, and the more people and cultures we experience, the more idiotic unquestioning patriotism seems

Ché said...

I'd cut and paste the "it's sh*te being Scottish" speech from Trainspotting, but what's the point, we've all heard it before.

Ironically, that wee speech makes me proud to be Scots.

Kim Ayres said...

Ché - strange how it's much more acceptable to be proud if we feel like the underdog. Although we still run the risk of inverse snobbery.

starrlife said...

Is that a pub song?

Kim Ayres said...

No, I just made it up in the spirit of people who like to wave the flag and think they are superior to everyone else

Carole said...

I love the USA. I have a flag and like to fly it. I don't feel superior to anyone else and don't know why it is wrong to like the country I was born in. You need to point me to your other posts so that I can read them and perhaps learn why I am wrong.

Kim Ayres said...

Hi Carole - I don't think it's necessarily wrong to love the country you we born in. I think if there are parts of your heritage and culture you are proud of, then there's nothing wrong with that.

Where the problem can lie is unquestioned patriotism can lead so easily to a "them and us" divide. Americans who think the rest of the world wants to be like them; British who know that Jesus was English (he was only Jewish on his mother's side, after all); French who know without doubt they are better than everyone else.

Arrogance, superiority, narrow-mindedness and a rejection of other outlooks, cultures and ideas as inferior - these are the things I despise.

And too easily, too often, these traits are encouraged by our "leaders" to take us into war, or turn a blind eye to human rights abuses.

Of course not all Americans, English, French, or any other nation think this way - to say otherwise is to fall into the same sweeping generalisations trap.

But there are elements in all races, religions and nations who believe, and foster, these ideas. And too often they use ideas of patriotism.

And England, and Englishness is as guilty of this as anyone. There are strong elements in English society that like to chant their perceived superiority over everyone else.

And it is this that I mock - those who would walk the streets chanting, "Ing-er-lern-da!"

Carole said...

I have a particular fondness for Montana, I think because I was born there. Would never want to move back, but I love that state more than the others. I think John feels the same way about Iowa. But we have traveled a bunch in most of the states except for Alaska and Hawaii. And we find so much we like about "them" all. It might be my lack of traveling overseas where I feel such a fondness for the US. Or maybe it is that the more we know something, the more we love it.

I do despise the attitude of how much better "we" are than "other" people and how "we" seem to feel that if another country isn't like "us" they are stupid, but I keep telling myself that is a small minority. I could be wrong.

Kim Ayres said...

That attitude is all over the world in one guise or another. But generally the more we travel, and the more we meet people with different ideas, backgrounds, cultures and experiences, the more we realise there is no "them and us"

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