Tag Archives: Stiff Upper Lip

You are not your body

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” Confucius

Recent blog posts have looked at the British stiff upper lip in response to the excellent recent BBC 2 series on the subject by Ian Hislop.  Forthcoming blog posts will continue on a similar theme looking at some amazing people from different corners of the world who demonstrate that coping with adversity doesn’t necessarily require just a stiff upper lip, but can also require resilience and “bouncebackability”. Resilience is a crucial factor in our own happiness experiment.  It would be unrealistic to expect to go through life without having to cope with adverse events or experiences.  Why do some people seem able to survive traumatic events and even experience post traumatic growth whilst others flounder and become completely overwhelmed by their circumstances?   It is often assumed that resilience is a character… Read the rest...

The stiff upper lip (Part 3): Keep calm and carry on


“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same…”

by Rudyard Kipling

This week the final episode of Ian Hislop’s excellent Stiff Upper Lip series aired on BBC2.  The third episode looks at the history of the stiff upper lip since the First World War and looks at whether this is a national characteristic which is still prevalent in present day Britain.  Ian Hislop argues that the British became increasingly self-aware of their national stereotypes in the 1930s and some even began gently to poke fun at this increasingly anachronistic character trait.  He visits the British Cartoon Archive in Canterbury to look at a series of cartoons entitled “The British Character” which ran for several years in ‘Punch’ magazine. Graham Laidler a 25 year old cartoonist,… Read the rest...

The Stiff Upper Lip (Part 2) – Ian Hislop investigates the heyday of British sang froid


“It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul”

W.E. Henley


This week BBC2 aired Ian Hislop’s second episode in his series about the famous British Stiff Upper Lip -  in which he argues that we have the Victorians to thank for making the stiff upper lip a genuinely national characteristic. The unwavering fortitude of the British in the face of adversity and hardship, commonly known as a stiff upper lip is still firmly in place, without any assistance from botox injections, according to Ian Hislop.  He looks at how suffering in silence was considered the ideal norm and gives us some examples of unusual national heroes of the times like Captain Matthew Webb, the first person to swim the Channel.

Captain Matthew Webb


A recent survey by YouGov suggests that the stiff upper lip is softening but is still stiffer than … Read the rest...

The British Stiff Upper Lip (Part 1) – a good or bad characteristic?

I watched Ian Hislop’s new programme about the famous British Stiff Upper Lip last night and found it very interesting and surprisingly enjoyable.   It will be interesting to see how this review of the nation’s emotions continues next week but the first instalment was very insightful.  This interesting review in today’s Guardian will give you a great insight, so you can decide for yourself whether you want to catch up with the BBC2 programme here.

Ian Hislop’s Stiff Upper Lip – An Emotional History of Britain

From bawdy Boswell to Princess Diana, Hislop gets in touch with our emotions

 of The Guardian, writes on 

Ian Hislop's Stiff Upper Lip - An Emotional History of Britain
Ferreting around … Ian Hislop’s Stiff Upper lip was complex and lovely.

Ian Hislop is out and about in London talking to people, normal people, about emotional matters. He’s not a natural with the public, I’d say – it’s as if he knows he can’t

Read the rest...