I have a long fascination with cultural identities, among them the essence of Englishness and the peculiarities of New Englanders (e.g., this from Donald Junkins), so I was delighted to find this quotation in a Language Log posting on Word rage outside the Anglosphere? (emphasis added):
The English aren’t people who strive for greatness, they’re driven to it by a flaming irritation. It was anger that built the Industrial Age, which forged expeditions of discovery. It was the need for self-control that found an outlet in cataloguing, litigating and ordering the natural world. It was the blind fury with imprecise and stubborn inanimate objects that created generations of engineers and inventors. The anger at sin and unfairness that forged their particular earth-bound, pedantic spirituality and their puce-faced, finger-jabbing, spittle-flecked politics. …
Anger has driven the English to achievement and greatness in a bewildering pantheon of disciplines. At the core of that anger is the knowledge that they could go absolutely berserk with an axe if they didn’t bind themselves with all sorts of restraints, of manners, embarrassment and awkwardness and garden sheds.
(AA Gill, in The Times, 30 Oct 2005)