Category Archives: adolescents

A state of petrified adolescence

Dalrymple writes that Anthony Burgess, in his 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange, showed that he foresaw

the importance that the youth culture would attach to sexual precocity and a kind of disabused knowingness.

In a rape scene, Alex

meets two 10-year-old girls who, like him, are skipping school, in a record shop, where they are listening to pop music with suggestive titles such as Night after Day after Night.

Their education that afternoon

consists of repeated rape by an already experienced 15-year-old.

Anthony Burgess

Dalrymple notes that it would not have surprised Burgess

that magazines for 10- or 11-year-old girls are now full of advice about how to make themselves sexually attractive, that girls of six or seven are dressed by their single mothers in costumes redolent of prostitution, or that there has been a compression of generations, so that friendships are possible between 14- and 26-year-olds.

The precocity necessary to avoid humiliation by peers

prevents young people from maturing further and leaves them in a state of petrified adolescence. Persuaded that they already know all that is necessary, they are disabused about everything, for fear of appearing naïve. With no deeper interests, they are prey to gusts of hysterical and childish enthusiasm; only increasingly extreme sensation can arouse them from their mental torpor.

Hence

the epidemic of self-destructiveness that has followed in the wake of the youth culture.

God of the utopian adolescents

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-17-25-17Herbert Marcuse, Dalrymple explains,

popularised the notion of ‘repressive tolerance‘, according to which the freedom to express any opinion without fear of retribution resulted in, or served, repression: it duped people into supposing that they were free. They could say anything they liked, but they lived in a society in which they decided nothing for themselves and in which they were straitjacketed by laws, conventions, moral codes, all to the material benefit of a small élite (Marcuse was some kind of Marxist).

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-17-31-41This notion,

which was expressed in the dullest of prose, was appealing to utopian adolescents who

  1. wanted to deny that they were the most fortunate generation that had ever lived
  2. dreamed of a life completely without restraints on their pleasure

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-17-32-01screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-17-33-26

Trash-turned-terrorist

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-09-52-10Fethi Benslama practises, Dalrymple explains,

in one of the areas of Paris most notorious for raising Muslim terrorists, and offers various explanatory factors that operate on the would-be bomber or jihadist, particularly those brought up in the West.

For Benslama,

adolescence (and young adulthood) is not so much the age of idealism as of narcissism, self-importance and grandiosity.

Benslama writes:

To the young who lack self-esteem, who have the feeling of worthlessness, of ‘being a piece of rubbish’, as one of them put it to me, [jihadism] gives not only the recognition of having suffered a prejudice, but of being an elect of God, unbeknown to himself and others. To comply with this destiny, he must inspire respect and fear, become a missionary for the cause, a hero before whom the gates of glory are opened. He can make his own justice, he is authorised to be above the law in the name of God’s superior law. The ‘piece of rubbish’ becomes formidable. He must make himself fearsome and feared in his own family. A father said to me, ‘My son has become my father, he lays down the Islamic moral law for me.’

Bob Dylan’s drivel

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-23-42-55Dalrymple notes that the nasal whine of Bob Dylan, the popular singer, is

the sound of spoilt middle-class-adolescent self-pity.

His supposed poetry is

not merely bad, but authentically awful.

The lines he excretes are

sub–Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Enduring some of Bob Dylan’s atrocious doggerel, Dalrymple is reminded of what Dr Johnson said when asked whether he thought that many men could have written the poems of Ossian. ‘Yes, sir,’ he said, ‘many men, many women, and many children.

Perhaps next year, says Dalrymple,

the Nobel prize in literature could be awarded to Hallmark Cards.

To think in such a cock-eyed way takes years of training

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Ignorance of the learned

It is the mark of an adolescent, writes Dalrymple,

to think that if you regard life as sacred, particularly but not exclusively human life, then you are morally prohibited from picking and eating a cabbage. Indeed, it requires many years of education. A similar number of years as it took Satoshi Uematsu to come to the conclusion that the residents of the home whom he killed were better off dead from everyone’s point of view, and that it was incumbent upon him, on society’s behalf, to kill them. He was 26—about the time a student of philosophy might expect to receive, or to achieve, his doctorate.

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Satoshi Uematsu

The Tsukui Lily Garden facility for the handicapped

The Tsukui Lily Garden facility for the handicapped

Simon Critchley

Simon Critchley

The dictatorship of libertinism

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 17.34.55The life’s work of Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, who has died aged 70, was, writes Dalrymple,

a phænomenon of sociological and social-psychological significance, at least in the Western world.

Lemmy was to the end a rebellious adolescent, emerging as

a senile rebel who could never bear to leave his adolescence behind, proud of his degeneracy unto death. In this, he was an authentic representative of modern psychological development: a short period of precocity followed by a long one of arrested development.

Lemmy is quoted as saying:

I founded the filthiest rock group in the world.

There is in these words, says Dalrymple,

an undoubted tone of self-congratulation. He had done something not just filthy, but superlatively filthy, and therefore, according to his own inverted scale of values, outstandingly meritorious.

Lemmy once said:

If one day we come to live near you, that will be the end of your lawn.

In other words,

ugliness will be my beauty, and furthermore I will impose it on you.

Interviewed once in a place where smoking was prohibited, Lemmy is quoted as saying:

I’ll need another reason not to smoke than that it’s forbidden.

Thus

he was the sole authority as to when, where, and whether to smoke. Others counted for nothing.

When, writes Dalrymple,

one acts a part for long enough, it ceases to be a mere act and one becomes what one pretends to be. The result of careers such as Mr Kilmister’s is to encourage a culture or subculture, almost unique in my experience, lacking all beauty, value, virtue, charm, or refinement. Its apotheosis would be the dictatorship of libertinism in which personal whim would play the part of the supposed word of God.