Category Archives: class

Those classless societies, Australia and the USA

Dalrymple is taken to lunch in a grand club by some very rich men. They give him

the benefit of their opinion on Britain’s rigid class system. They appear not to notice that they are being served by a flurry of obsequious men, whose grovelling is certainly the equal of any that I have seen anywhere.

Since Dalrymple’s hosts are

intelligent and cultivated, I conclude that they must feel uneasy about the notion of class, perhaps even guilty at being themselves so obviously members of an upper class, and quite a rarefied one.

The embarrassment of Dalrymple’s interlocutors stems, he explains, from

a common confusion between a class society and a closed one. They are not the same thing. A classless society would be the most closed of all, because in it there could be no social mobility, upward or downward. Everyone would stay where he was because there would be nowhere else to go.

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Most ideological of all fields

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 18.07.50Pleasure is to be derived, Dalrymple writes, from

reading ingenious commentary that serves no useful purpose. In its uselessness is its joy; for in an ideological age, the exercise of intelligence to no purpose comes as a relief.

Alas, he says, literary criticism,

certainly in its academic form, is now the most ideological of all fields. Most criticism seems to be seen through the lens of class, race or sex: one would hardly be surprised to read a Marxist, racial or feminist critique (dreadful word!) of Daisy Ashford’s The Young Visiters.

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The eternally hypocritical English bourgeoisie

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 18.15.18The British lower classes are deeply unpleasing, having been thoroughly corrupted by welfarism. But the classes of Briton that excite the most disgust are the upper middle, to which Britain’s current, lamentable prime minister belongs.

It is not just the world-class snobbery and hypocrisy of the British upper-middle classes that repel. (The snobbery and hypocrisy persist, or are even heightened, despite the nation’s third-rate, piffling status. As snobs and hypocrites, Britons punch above their weight.)

Middle-class Britons are greatly more vulgar — and sillier — than before. They are the silly-billy bourgeoisie, and the idea of duty, responsibility, probity or self-restraint is alien to them, especially if they work in that abyss of imaginary money, the City of London. Dalrymple has, for example, often drawn attention to the grotesque, insensible vulgarity of one of their favourite magazines, the How To Spend It supplement of the Financial Times newspaper. They are, writes Dalrymple,

the underclass, but with more money.

The British middle classes are ‘not a pretty sight or a grateful sound’, for they

lack refinement in their tastes, except in matters of expensive technological appurtenances…Their manners, down to their gestures and very facial expressions, are crude, coarse and brutish.