Uncouth chic

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 13.53.48Professional soccer players, Dalrymple points out, are drawn

from the class adjacent to the underclass, into which downward slippage is all too easy.

But in the past,

those who managed to escape their lowly origins usually aspired to be taken for bona fide members of the middle classes by conforming their conduct to middle-class standards.

No longer. Newfound wealth imposes no obligation to change one’s ways. Violent and despicable public conduct results

neither in legal sanction, social ostracism, nor even strong disapproval.

In England,

the direction of cultural aspiration has reversed: it is the middle classes that aspire to be taken for their social inferiors, an aspiration that (in their opinion) necessitates misconduct.

Young middle-class women proudly sport tattoos, for example,

as badges of antinomian defiance, of intellectual independence, and of identification with the supposedly downtrodden—if not of the entire world, then at least of our inner cities.

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glamorises the underclass way of life and its attitude towards the world. A new style has been invented.

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