Category Archives: crudity

Trump, his fans and his foes on the couch

A psychiatrist writes

It is a discomfiting thought, notes Dalrymple, that

the very qualities that make Donald Trump so repellent a man even for many of those who voted for him should be the very qualities that others of his voters liked and admired. They liked him for his

  • crudity
  • vulgarity
  • boastfulness
  • insensitivity
  • shamelessness
  • ignorance

The still small voice within the orthodox

Yet, says the psychiatrist-essayist,

the vehemence directed against Mr Trump is, like his exaggerated self-regard, reaction formation. Except that in this case it is against an awareness that, in rejecting past orthodoxies, he is not only right but appeals to the still small voice within the orthodox themselves — the voice that tells them they were deluding themselves all along, or saying things that they knew not to be true but said nevertheless to establish their reputation as good, caring, generous-minded, liberal people.

The frenzy of their hatred for Mr Trump is

an inverted sign of their secret illicit agreement with him, which they repress by means of their continual insults.

The language of stevedores

Insults these days, writes Dalrymple,

tend to be crude and vulgar. Ours is not an age of subtlety, however technically sophisticated it may be. We prefer the elephantine to the feline.

When Donald Trump

reputedly called certain countries by an epithet that I shall not repeat, he was only employing the type of language that, to my regret, is now in very common use even among intellectuals.

Dalrymple says that

we seem either to go in for the false delicacy of political correctness, speaking as if some words were as injurious law-hammers brought down on the skull, or employ the language of stevedores or of building workers.

The brutish Donald Trump

It is, writes Dalrymple,

true that Haiti is in many respects a terrible place, which is why so many people want to leave it. Yet it pained me to hear of it spoken of in such terms, because there is so much more to it than the vulgar epithet suggests. The history of Haiti is a moving one, the people valiant and their culture of enormous interest. I have been only twice, but it exerts a hold on the imagination that can never be released. The tragedy and glory of the country are mixed, and symbolise the tragedy and glory of human life.

If Dalrymple were a Haitian who had fled Haiti in search of a better and much easier life, he

should nevertheless not have been pleased to hear it spoken of in this dismissive way, indeed I would have been hurt by it. I do not presume to know how familiar Mr Trump is with Haitian history, culture, and so forth, although I have my suspicions; and of course he has principally to consider the interests of the United States and Americans, not those of Haiti and Haitians. But what he said was not witty or wise, it was hurtful and insulting. I cannot see the giving of offence by the mere employment of crude and vulgar language as anything but a vice, and it is difficult to say whether it is worse if the person employing it knows or does not know what he is doing. If he knows, he cannot care; and if he does not know, he is a something of a brute.

The English: ugliest people in the world

Something that strikes Dalrymple every time he returns from France, where he lives much of the time, to the country of his birth is

the extreme vulgarity of the English by comparison with the French.

It is as if the English had

adopted vulgarity as a totalitarian ideology, a communism of culture rather than of the economy.

The vulgarity is

insolent, militant and triumphant. It will brook no competition and tolerate no dissent. It exercises a subliminal terror to discourage any protest. It is the ruling characteristic of England, of the prosperous as of the poor.

At the airport,

you can always tell a flight bound for England by the number of grossly fat and hideously apparelled passengers waiting to board. No man can be blamed for being ill-favoured by nature; but every man can be blamed for making the worst of himself, as the English do as a matter of principle.

Britishers are

the ugliest people in the world — but this has nothing to do with biology. Their facial expressions, their gait, their speech, their laughter, their gestures are crude. The mothers of no other nation known to me address their children in tones so lacking in tenderness and so expressive of shrewish irritability and exasperation, with voices shrill, penetrating and impossible to ignore (except, of course, for their children, who will very soon sound like them).

Britishers’ abysmal cultural and educational level

Dalrymple points in a speech (from 6:11) to Great Britain’s

obviously low general level of education, which you can see just by walking in the street.

It is very glaring from the moment he arrives in England (he lives much of the time in France). There is

a determined, ideological quality to the evident low cultural and educational level.

One finds in Britain

  • deliberate crudity, vulgarity and stupidity
  • lack of refinement of any kind
  • inability or unwillingness to learn even so simple a matter as how to address strangers with reasonable civility (all the more devastating in an economy that is highly dependent on the provision of services)

For this reason, Dalrymple explains, England will, whatever its level of unemployment,

continue to have to import labour if it wants to have simple services that work with tolerable efficiency. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you go to a large hotel with only a British staff. It’s amusing in a way.

England will continue to have to import labour if it wants to have simple services that work with tolerable efficiency

 

The populist appeal to envy, spite, and resentment

Dalrymple reports that

Mr McDonnell, deputy leader of the Labour party, which for the time being is in opposition, recently objected to the presence of hereditary peers in the upper house, using the crude and vulgar language typical of populist politicians anxious to demonstrate their identity with the people or the masses.

It is strange, Dalrymple adds,

how rarely Leftists who are in favour of confiscatory economic policies are condemned as populist.

Postcards from Costa Mesa

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-15-11Political correctness

Olga Pérez Stable Cox is professor of human sexuality at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa. She recently delivered herself of the view, in the course of a lecture at the college, that the election of Donald Trump, whom she described as a ‘white supremacist’, was ‘an act of terrorism’. Moreover, she said, ‘we have been assaulted’.

Ms Cox should not have spoken in this way, Dalrymple contends.

As a characterisation of events in America it is so inaccurate or imprecise, at the same time so feeble and inflammatory, that it bespeaks either an inability to control herself or a lack of intellect (or both), neither of them admirable qualities in a university lecturer.

The lecture theatre, he says, is no place for teachers to express their raw political opinions to young people who are dependent upon them for good marks.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-12-26A North Korea of the soul

On the other hand, says Dalrymple,

the student who recorded and spread her comments widely was also acting in a destructive fashion, perhaps without fully realising it. If everything we say or do can be recorded and published without our consent, we shall soon be living in a North Korea of the soul. No conversation will be truly private, no group of people will be trusted not to contain its digital Judas. The only safety will be in silence.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-09-56How to parry

The proper response to political correctness, Dalrymple argues,

is not unbridled insult, or vituperation that is supposedly equal and opposite to whatever it is that political correctness asserts. It is resort, incessant if necessary, to reason, which may employ irony and mockery but not crudity.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-36-23 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-37-33 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-38-02screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-09-42 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-08-41 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-08-17 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-07-47 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-07-11 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-56 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-39 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-17 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-00 screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-04-49

Hopeless, stagnant Britain

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-23-14-04On the train to the airport in England, and at the airport itself, Dalrymple sees a population that strikes him as

more militantly ugly and unintelligent than any other known to me, one that consumes without discrimination and enjoys without taste.

With regard to ugliness, he writes,

it added to whatever ugliness nature had bestowed upon it by refusing to wear any clothes that might lend it any dignity, choosing apparel that accentuated its natural unattractiveness. Grossly fat slobs insisted on wearing figure-hugging T-shirts that did not quite meet the tops of the shorts that exposed their fat white tattooed calves, exposing their repellent midriffs to the appalled gaze of the minimally sensitive.

Of the women, he says,

it would be kinder not to speak; suffice it to say that they made the men look like Beau Nash or Beau Brummel.

The taste of the British in everything from food to music and clothes

is base, vulgar, stupid, and crude.

Dalrymple notes that it is not that they know no better—innocent vulgarity can be amusing and even refreshing—but that

they know better and reject and hate it.

They refuse to aspire to what is better,

and try to intimidate others into abandoning it, with some success.

The productivity of such a nation, Dalrymple points out,

is unlikely to rise very fast or far. It will be lucky if in the modern world, with so much competition, it achieves stagnation.

The crude and corrupt British state broadcaster

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 17.15.49For the right to receive television broadcasts in their homes, British households must pay a poll tax equivalent to about $210, which subsidises the British Broadcasting Corporation. 

This broadcasting system, writes Dalrymple, exemplifies two of the guiding principles of contemporary British public life:

  • the active promotion of adolescent vulgarity and sniggering crudity
  • the shameless looting of the public purse

Needless to say, the BBC

is losing viewers and listeners all the time; a growing proportion of the population never tunes in to any of its programmes.

The BBC certainly cannot claim any longer

that it produces, as it once did, the kind of intelligent programmes that commercial broadcasters shun.

Dalrymple points to vast payments made to the BBC’s fifth-rate ‘comedians’. These payments, he notes,

represent a gift from state functionaries (who themselves have also looted the public purse unmercifully)

on condition that the ‘comedians’

keep contributing to the ideologically-driven vulgarisation of the culture.

There has been a return, says Dalrymple,

to the 18th-century days of state patronage, with this difference: that the men who exercised it back then were men of taste and discrimination. They knew a Dr Johnson when they saw one.

The secret of the British economic problem

English cuisine

Emetic: English cuisine

A service economy without the service

The British no longer have the faintest idea how to prepare or serve food, either in establishments they are pleased to call restaurants or in their own homes. According to W. Somerset Maugham, the only solution when in England is to eat breakfast three times a day. But the English can no longer manage with minimal competence even to prepare a halfway-decent breakfast.

British eating houses, bar-grills, cafés and other places where dining (of a kind) goes on, from the humblest truck-stop to the most exalted, starred restaurant, are easily the worst in Europe. It is better, for example, to go to bed hungry than to risk an evening meal at, say, an English public house.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 09.59.02

Suburban Tudor

The Moon Under Water it isn’t

Dalrymple is reminded of this when, hungry one evening and with no other dining establishment in the vicinity, he enters a pub (which, like many from the 1920s and 1930s, is built rather pleasingly in the suburban Tudor style), and is greeted by

the flashing lights of fruit machines

and

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.45.20numerous large flat screens disposed in such a way that it was impossible to escape them. It was as if one had a duty to watch.

Drivelscreens

At least, he says, they

were all showing the same thing — a football match, football being a 24-hour activity.

Dalrymple dare not complain. British popular culture is

crude, unpleasant and inescapable; if you criticise it, you are taken for an enemy of the people.

The Codfather. Bon appétit!

The Codfather. Bon appétit!

The smell in the pub

was of stale beer and even staler fat in which standard British prolefood had been fried.

He peruses

the grubby menu, a triumph of quantity over quality. The fish dish was called The Codfather, size trumping taste. Everything came with chips, of the frozen variety.

Soupe à l'oignon

Soupe à l’oignon à l’anglaise

The table is

sticky and long unwiped.

Dalrymple orders soup. It is

packet soup which had not been properly dissolved, so that it had little balls in it that if bitten exploded into a kind of salty dust.

He orders steak, and asks for it to be rare. When it comes, it

would have been regarded as incinerated in any other country.

Fried mushrooms: at least their own weight in fat

Fried mushrooms: at least their own weight in fat

The fried mushrooms

contained at least their own weight in fat of some type.

The next morning

I woke with a strange and unpleasant taste in my mouth.

The meal

The flashing lights of fruit machines

The flashing lights of fruit machines

wasn’t even cheap.

This is the vital point. British food is not just atrocious — it is execrable value.

During the meal,

the man who had taken my order came over to my table.

Everything all right?‘ he asked.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 11.02.01‘Yes, very good,’ I replied.

Dalrymple concludes:

The slovenliness, the bad quality, my pusillanimity: voilà the secret of the British economic problem.