Category Archives: coarseness

Coarseness and vulgarity of thought and of language

‘It sets upon a pedestal promiscuous and adulterous intercourse’: Mervyn Griffith-Jones

Dalrymple writes that in R v Penguin Books Ltd, the prosecutor, Mervyn Griffith-Jones,

seemed not to have noticed that society had changed since his upper-class youth.

Griffith-Jones

opened the case with such pomposity that he became a figure of fun ever afterwards,

and is remembered only for what he said in his opening remarks to the jury:

It does tend…to induce lustful thoughts. It sets upon a pedestal promiscuous and adulterous intercourse. It commends…sensuality almost as a virtue. It encourages…coarseness and vulgarity of thought and of language…It must tend to deprave…One of the ways in which you can test this book, and test it from the most liberal outlook, is to ask yourselves the question, when you have read it through, would you approve of your young sons, young daughters—because girls can read as well as boys—reading this book? Is it a book you would have lying around in your own house? Is it a book you would even wish your wife and servants to read?

The court erupted in laughter, Dalrymple reminds us, and

later, after the not guilty verdict, in a debate in the House of Lords on an unsuccessful motion to strengthen the law of obscenity, one of the noble Lords was reported to have replied to the question of whether he would mind if his daughter read Lady Chatterley’s Lover that he wouldn’t mind in the least, but he would mind very much if his gamekeeper read it.

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Trump’s coarseness and vulgarity

Dalrymple is no admirer of Trump. Far from it. The taste of this casino magnate, he writes, is that of your average oil sheikh: lots of money but no style. Dalrymple differs with some of his US friends on this, arguing that Trump’s vulgarity and coarseness really do matter.

Ik ben geen bewonderaar van Donald Trump: ik kan me er niet toe brengen een bewonderaar te zijn van een casinobouwer wiens persoonlijke smaak doet denken aan dat van de gemiddelde oliesjeik. Veel geld, weinig stijl. Anders dan sommigen van mijn Amerikaanse vrienden die voor hem hebben gestemd, denk ik dat zijn grofheid en vulgariteit er wél toe doen. Ik denk ook dat het waarschijnlijk is dat het nettoresultaat van zijn politieke carrière de grip van politieke correctheid zal versterken op de harten en geesten van de jongeren. Laat dat nu net de groep zijn op wie die grip nu al meer dan sterk genoeg is.

Too far gone for Salvarsan

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 22.48.55Dalrymple notes that Llewelyn Powys

detested the Kenyan colonists, whom he saw as greedy philistine brutes.

In one of the stories in Ebony and Ivory (1923),

a farm labourer is so badly treated by his employer, but has so little chance of escape, that he decides not to kill himself but simply to lie down and die – and he does, his corpse being burned as ‘Rubbish’, the title of the story.

In another story,

a young man just out to the colony starts out better and more refined than the other colonists but is gradually coarsened by them. He takes a local girl as a lover but contracts syphilis from her, so virulent that the doctor tells him that even Salvarsan cannot help him. He takes a pistol and shoots himself in the head.

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The impact of swearing is inversely proportional to the frequency of its use

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The coarsest people in Europe — and fuckin’ proud of it!

A swear word used too often, writes Dalrymple,

comes to mean no more than ‘er’ or ‘um’.

If you walk down any crowded shopping street in England,

you will not go more than a few yards without hearing a part of speech of a well-known verb, many times.

The words

do not express a specific meaning; at most, they are used for emphasis. They are meant to convey that the speaker is militantly vulgar and is not going to be deflected from his vulgarity by anyone.

The words

are not used involuntarily, as a tic is involuntary.

When Dalrymple’s patients ask him why he wants them to give up swearing while speaking to him, he hands them the prescription and says:

Take one of these fuckers every four fucking hours until your fucking headache’s gone and if they don’t fucking work, come straight the fuck back.

The more the English swear,

the smaller their verbal repertoire.

And the English

are known throughout Europe as the continent’s coarsest people.

Imbecile militants of libertinism

Havelock Ellis

Havelock Ellis

Dalrymple writes that the shallow, twisted and dishonest sexual revolutionists’ ideas

about the relations between men and women—entailing ever greater sexual liberty, ever less mastery of the appetite—were so absurd and utopian that it is hard to understand how anyone could have taken them seriously. But mere absurdity has never prevented the triumph of bad ideas.

Their sensibilities

have permeated our society. The Dionysian has triumphed over the Apollonian. No grace, no reticence, no measure, no dignity, no secrecy, no depth, no limitation of desire is accepted.

There is, writes Dalrymple,

denial that sexual relations are a proper subject of moral reflection or that they need to be governed by moral restrictions. The result is soaring divorce rates and mass illegitimacy.

He points to the profound

change in moral sensibility, in the direction of a thorough coarsening of feeling, thought, and behaviour.

A short inscription

'In my copy,' writes Dalrymple, 'is a short inscription. It is in the cultivated hand that one very rarely sees nowadays: a comparison of inscriptions shows how coarse handwriting has become in the last half-century or so. My guess is that the inscription was written by a young woman, no more than thirty years old when she wrote it. Her words were few and to me of a great poignancy: To my beloved husband, Christmas 1945.

‘In my copy,’ writes Dalrymple, ‘is a short inscription. It is in the cultivated hand that one very rarely sees nowadays: a comparison of inscriptions shows how coarse handwriting has become in the last half-century or so. My guess is that the inscription was written by a young woman, no more than thirty years old when she wrote it. Her words were few and to me of a great poignancy: To my beloved husband, Christmas 1945.’

(2008)

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.

The character of British sordor

Dalrymple writes:

A crude culture makes a coarse people, and private refinement cannot long survive public excess.

In no country

has vulgarisation gone further than in Britain. A nation famed not so long ago for the restraint of its manners is now notorious for the coarseness of its appetites and its unbridled and antisocial attempts to satisfy them.

The mass drunkenness

goes hand in hand with the crude, violent and shallow relations between the sexes.

Britain’s mass bastardy

is not a sign of an increase in the authenticity of our human relations but a natural consequence of the unbridled hedonism that leads to chaos and misery. Take restraint away, and violent discord follows.

This is not nostalgie de la boue;

this is total immersion in the boue itself, the boue in which they live and breath and take their cultural being, the boue from which it is highly unlikely that they will now ever crawl.