Category Archives: Chinese people

The inherent condescension of special funding of black actors

Give me the money!

Institutionalised racial discrimination

Hardly anyone, writes Dalrymple, questions the propriety of allocating funds on the basis of race. He notes that

visitors to the National Theatre or the Royal Shakespeare Company would be surprised to hear that black actors are underrepresented in the theatre, for in those companies’ productions, at least, they seem to be grossly overrepresented, presumably as a result of deliberate policy.

No one notices, either,

the inherent condescension of special funding of black actors and artists in other fields. There are no special funds, for example, for the Chinese, who are presumed able to look after themselves.

Grisly heartlessness of Eric Hobsbawm

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Companion of Honour

In his videolettera to Antonio Gramsci, Eric Hobsbawm CH says in part:

Anche se sei morto da più di settant’anni, sei vivo per tutti coloro che vogliono un mondo dove i poveri hanno la possibilità di diventare dei veri esseri umani.

Dalrymple comments:

These words to me are chilling, all the more so when you realise that they were uttered by a man who, towards the end of his very long life, said that if the deaths of the 20m people who died in the Soviet Union (it was probably many more) had brought about true socialism, then they would have been worth it.

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Please address all videoletters to A. Gramsci, c/o The Protestant Cemetery, Rome

Dalrymple has spent much of his life

among the poor or relatively poor. I can honestly say that it never occurred to me for a single moment that any one of them was not a true human being. Indeed, if they were not true human beings, their poverty would be nothing to worry about. I neither romanticised them as the fount of all goodness and wisdom nor saw them as mere objects.

Hobsbawm’s remark,

supposedly so generous but in fact utterly heartless, was of a piece with Mao’s chilling remark about the Chinese people being a blank sheet of paper on which the most beautiful characters (ideographs) could be written. For people like Mao and Hobsbawm, it is for other people not to be truly human, never themselves.

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A colourful character

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Why Shakespeare should not be taught in schools

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 19.08.33There are, Dalrymple discovers,

no Chinese characters in Shakespeare,

despite the Chinese representing a fifth of the global population. Moreover, fewer than 16 per cent of Shakespeare’s characters are women — a fact drawn to Dalrymple’s attention via electronic message by Oxford University Press. Dalrymple is shocked, and believes

it is time to impose quotas on the sex of characters. Until Shakespeare is rewritten to include more women, his plays should not be taught in schools, banned from them in fact.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 19.13.22If, he points out,

you measured the proportion of lines spoken by women in Shakespeare, the situation would be worse.

While, Dalrymple says,

the impact factor of certain female Shakespearean characters, such as Gertrude and Ophelia, Juliet, Desdemona, Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, etc., is considerable, it is numbers that count.