Britishers are vulgar to the depths of their being

Clearly, writes Dalrymple,

vulgarity has its place. No one would want to live in a society composed entirely of well-brought-up young ladies.

But

vulgarity is interesting and amusing only in contradistinction to something else. Bawdiness is, or should be, parasitic on refinement, sometimes as a satire on, or corrective to, over-refinement.

Nor is it always and everywhere appropriate.

Even Mistress Quickly reveals herself to be a woman of fine feeling and humanity when she describes the death of Falstaff.

When, as in Britain today,

vulgarity achieves cultural hegemony, when it is praised, flattered and deferred to, then people will be vulgar to the depths of their being.

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