Trendsetting nation19 May 2020
The rivalry of both nations had dominated past centuries and had induced several wars. It also occupied the discourse of escortism from its inception onward. In times of war, France regularly became a hotbed of vice and debauche to the Englishman, while peace enabled cultural transfer in both directions.
Obviously, there is more at stake than just escortism. Vindex’s discourse is strongly patriotic. England is positioned as the sovereign and trendsetting nation, the Parisians are merely the followers of English fashion, in which the dandies excel most.
This point of view de-humanizes the escort and turns him into an object which utterly contradicts the discourse of escortism as revolt against the common. With regard to the escort craze that had taken London until 1819 and captured all social classes, I would class this objectification and banalisation as a strategy to weaken the allegedly corrupting influence of escortism on the British youth. John Griscom’s remarks on the English escort, for example, follow this discourse.