Flattery of degraded popular taste

Why, asks Dalrymple, should

a newspaper directed at the [apparently] most highly educated portion of a large population devote so much space to the posthumous adulation of [a second-rate, repellently self-aggrandising] pop singer, and treat his activity with such breathlessly awed veneration? Was it sincere? Was it insincere? Is it worse if it was sincere than if it was insincere?

He suspects that

in the extravagance of the coverage there is an element of flattery of the popular taste, that is to say a willing and dishonest suspension of judgment. You can criticise authorities all you like, but when it comes to criticising masses of ordinary people—there the critical faculty must halt.

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