Category Archives: brothels

Brooklyn Mephisto

Dalrymple notes that Jeffrey Epstein’s taste for orgies was

only partially sexual in origin. A man in his situation could have paid for any amount of sex, of any kind, in private. What he really enjoyed was corrupting others—and not just others, but prominent and powerful others. He enjoyed playing Mephistopheles, apart from any sexual gratification he may have had on the way.

Dalrymple explains that Epstein

was born into a modest family and pursued no glorious academic career. He was of high intelligence and very ambitious. One might have thought that his achievement of riches (by whatever means accumulated) would have assuaged feelings of inferiority that he felt vis-à-vis those who had succeeded via family connection or the conventional academic route. But great success from humble beginnings does not always, or perhaps even generally, extinguish the flames of resentment, but rather fans them.

It is a relief and joy

to prove that the great ones whose ranks the parvenu has joined are no better than he, that underneath their polished exterior and their inherited or academic distinction is still a person of crude and basic appetites. To implicate them in his depravity gives him a certain power over them: the power of equal standing. Never again will they be able to consider themselves his superior. His apparent generosity towards them is the establishment of the relationship of a blackmailer to his victim.

Dalrymple argues that Epstein’s wish to bring people down to his level, the better to have some hold over them and feel at least their equal, was

an extreme manifestation of a commonplace egalitarian impulse to bring everyone down to one’s own level, if not lower. The pleasure we take in a debunking biography, irrespective of the greatness of the subject’s achievements, is a relatively harmless satisfaction of this impulse, though debunking can become an addiction to the point that we cease to admire any achievement. There is much greater pleasure in pulling people down than in raising them up, besides being something much easier to do. This is why egalitarians hate the privileged much more than they love the unprivileged.

That Epstein seemed to have been able with such ease to befriend and probably corrupt so many of an élite

will have the effect of casting further suspicion on the very notion of an élite. But ye have the élite always with you. There is an élite among anti-élitists.

The condition of England: a hybrid of Augean stable and brothel

Dalrymple writes that the way in which Oxford has prostituted itself to Gulf Arabs is emblematic of the condition of the university’s country as a whole

Visit to a Bangkok massage parlour

Like trout in a tankIt was, writes Dalrymple,

a narrow, barely lit room with a one-way window through which we could see but not be seen. Behind the window was an amphitheatre, on which sat a hundred naked Thai girls, waiting to be picked by customers like trout in a tank. Businessmen — Germans mostly — in expensive suits lingered over their choice, leaning on a railing close to the window.

As though it were the reading room of a club‘Jeeze, look at that one,’ exclaimed my companion, sweating profusely in spite of the icy air-conditioning. ‘She’s nice.’ He put his elbows into my ribs. ‘Don’t you agree?’ It was difficult to know about whom he was talking. ‘The one with the big tits!’ He pointed frantically.

The businessmen looked at him angrily, as though this were the reading room of a club.


On the Dalrymple bookshelf

Bernard de Mandeville's 1724 work advocated state-regulated bordellos.

Bernard de Mandeville’s 1724 work advocated state-regulated bordellos

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‘The greatest Evil that attends this Vice is the Propagation of the French-Pox


A visit to the home of a Russian oligarch

The place struck Dalrymple as

a hybrid of luxurious modernist brothel and up-to-date operating theatre.