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Look at Me: Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain Hardcover – 7 May 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Social Affairs Unit (7 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904863310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904863311
  • Package Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,894,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


It is perfectly natural and healthy for an individual to want to be appreciated by family, friends, community or peers. This desire can spur us on to personal achievement. It acts as the glue that binds society together. But the need to be special is altogether different. In this book, Peter Whittle highlights the demoralisation and division that come with the modern need to claim uniqueness, regardless of talent or deed. By shouting the loudest, by being the most visible, or simply by thumping people the hardest, the attention seekers destroy the privacy of others and contribute to the fragmentation of public life. Meanwhile real achievement and genuine talent are devalued. With no genuine claim to uniqueness, some wannabes simply emote. They self dramatise. They show off. They demand our attention. Others glorify themselves by rejecting other people around them.Paradoxically, despite all the talk in the media of 'community', there has been a repudiation of our collective identity - whether expressed in nationhood, neighbourliness or even personal roots. Such concepts are seen by the single, soaring self as constricting and confining.

And in the breakdown of civic behaviour, in the growth of self-centred, often yobbish posturing, 'respect' has come to acquire an altogether new, rather sinister meaning. In "Look at Me", Peter Whittle explores Britain's runaway obsession with the need to be extraordinary, special or visible. He looks at the many ways in which this obsession manifests itself, across different age groups and economic classes. He goes on to consider how we have come to be in this situation. And finally, he looks at what the future holds.

About the Author

Peter Whittle is founder and director of the New Culture Forum. A journalist and broadcaster, he writes regularly for the Sunday Times, for which he is also a film and theatre critic. He has also contributed to The Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Spectator. He is a columnist for the new Standpoint magazine. Peter is a panellist on BBC 2's Newsnight Review, and has been a guest on Radio 4's Moral Maze and Front Row programmes. He appears frequently on Sky News, is a critic for Radio 2's Weekender arts programme, and was the host of the Culture Clash programme on 18 Doughty Street. He has also directed and produced numerous factual programmes for the major TV channels in the UK, as well as for the Fox and USA networks in Los Angeles, where he lived for five years. Subjects have ranged from Elizabeth I to the Hollywood paparazzi. Peter lives in London, and is currently working on a second book.

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26 May 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
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19 September 2013
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22 September 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
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Most helpful customer reviews on 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews
3.0 out of 5 starsPredictable polemic, but well worth saying
26 November 2008 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
5 people found this helpful.

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