As a visitor, one of the noticeable things about Britain is its approach to explanatory signage. In America you can expect a a terse announcement of the rule and perhaps any relevant sub-rule; if any elaboration is deemed necessary, you might see a statement of the punishment you can expect if they catch you being disobedient. In Britain, by contrast, this is the equivalent of “NO PARKING”:
Now that you mention it...what do you mean by "unclear"?
What struck me at first were the efforts to reason with the future reader, rather than simply offering the argument on the basis of authority. On the city buses, for example, a placard warns riders not to disturb the driver “without good reason.” Tough but fair. Here’s another:
OK, I see your point.
At some points, however, I got the impression that the collective, faceless British authority takes a rather low view of the public’s judgment.
And in some cases the signs are frankly passive-aggressive:
“I’m sorry you took offense at my comments about your new boyfriend. It's just that he really does look like a jacket potato, and I always say what I believe, even if it’s not popular.”
On balance, though, we can appreciate how they clearly want to communicate, even if it comes across a little supercilious or pedantic. It's an intention that should temper our impressions of their occasional excesses.

09/30/2011 00:15

Well, at least you didn't say "acts like a jacket potato." My girlfriend gets that one a lot.


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply.