We’re British. In every single conflict that comes to the attention of the modern man we know precisely whom to root for. We really do like an underdog, the scrappier fighter who clearly wants it so much more but against whom the odds are most certainly stacked. Of course, it wasn’t always this way and continues to be so when it comes to fights in which we’re actual participants. In those cases we’d never dream of getting our hands dirty if the numbers weren’t at least three to one in our favour.
Nevertheless, when viewing situations from an outside capacity, we like to back the one that others might have written off as a loser. It’s the basis for most of our literature. Do you really think people would have been so keen to cheer Frodo on if he’d been an athletic immortal elf or a thickly armoured giant? Precisely. It’s that eager pluckiness against the machinations of fate that makes them such sympathetic heroes.
However, there is naturally a reason why they make for such compelling stories. In reality, David would have been easily swatted by Goliath in spite of his uncanny marksmanship with a sling. Not trying to depress you or anything, just clinging to realism as if it might somehow propel me safely through the rest of this increasingly bleak year (globally I mean. I have a house now, I’m doing fine).
You might be scratching your heads as this point. In what way do I hope to present myself as any variety of underdog, let alone a dear one? Why should any onlooker wish to take up my cause and wish me remotely well? I’m a white middle class Brit from a relatively affluent family, I’ve hardly had all that much strife to struggle through as of yet in my life. Well, I’m socially awkward, that’s got to be worth something. And I’m fighting valiantly onwards with a head full of cold, as long as I’m spelling things remotely accurately, I’m going to count it as a win.
Song choices courtesy of: Murray Gold, Joyce Grenfell and Spoon