Category Archives: emotional incontinence

The age of emotional incontinence

Lear on the couch

Was the king demented? asks Dalrymple.

If so, was the dementia of the Alzheimer’s, Lewy body, or multi-infarct type? (His variable mental states suggests the second or third.) Or was he depressed, perhaps as the result of an unresolved grief reaction to the death of his wife, mother of his three daughters? This doesn’t seem likely, since he hardly mentions her, perhaps because she died so long before the action of the play starts. Brief psychotic episode, perhaps? Manic depressive psychosis (rapid cycling type)? Or even personality disorder?

They who emote the most are believed to feel the most

For Dalrymple’s money, the critical point is made by the Duke of Kent:

Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound
Reverb no hollowness.

If, says Dalrymple,

Lear had realised this, then none of the tragedy and suffering would have ensued. And here the play speaks to our age: for we live in an age of emotional incontinence, when they who emote the most are believed to feel the most.

Lear and Cordelia, Ford Madox Brown, 1849-54, Tate

Fashionable psychological kitsch

Harry: unnecessary and tasteless confessions

The psychobabbling British prince, writes Dalrymple, ought to be

firmly reprehended for his emotional incontinence and exhibitionism.

All kinds of

princely personages—footballers, rock stars, actors, actresses, and the like—display their inner turmoil. They parade it as beggars in some countries display their amputated stumps. Perhaps this is to head off the envy that otherwise might attach to them. See, they seem to be saying, ‘We too suffer, despite our wealth, privilege, and fairy-tale lives, which you falsely imagine to be enviable and without blemish.’

Sufferers and victims are turned into

heroes merely on account of their suffering or victimisation, so that those celebrities who confess to misery, drug addiction, alcoholism, etc., are even more to be adulated than they already were.

A patient of Dalrymple’s

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 23.48.53

From fresco cycle, Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua. Giotto, c. 1305

She was, writes Dalrymple,

a working-class woman of dignified mien. Her brother died in a submarine sunk during the war, and her sister-in-law was killed in an air raid, leaving her the task of bringing up their orphaned child. Her husband had died comparatively young, and her first son had died of a heart attack at 42. (‘He had just finished a game of football, doctor, and was in the changing rooms. He fell on the floor, and his mates thought he had slipped, and they told him to stop messing about. He just looked up at them—smiled—and he was gone.’)

The bitterest blow

was the death of another son, killed in an accident in which a truck, carelessly driven, crushed his car. He was 50. She brought me his photo, her hand trembling slightly as she gave it to me. He was a businessman who had devoted his spare time to raising money for the Children’s Hospital. ‘It doesn’t seem right, somehow,’ she said, ‘that he should have gone before me.’ Did she still cry? ‘Yes, doctor, but only when I’m on my own. It’s not right, is it, to let anyone see you. After all, life has to go on.’

Could anyone, says Dalrymple,

have doubted either the depth of her feeling or of her character? Could any decent person fail to have been moved by the self-mastery she had achieved, the foundation of her strength?

Yet such fortitude

is the virtue that the acolytes of the hug-and-confess culture wish to extirpate from the British national character as obsolete, in favour of a banal, self-pitying, witless, and shallow emotional incontinence.

The real meaning of the European Project

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 22.58.13The vote of the British people to leave the European Union has been characterised by some of the losers, such as the BBC or

the left-liberal mouthpiece of the pensée unique, the Guardian,

as

nothing but an eructation of primitive prejudice.

Dalrymple reports that a survey has found that nearly half of young people who voted to remain either wept, or felt close to weeping, afterwards. This survey suggests either their depth of feeling or, more likely, says Dalrymple, their

emotional incontinence.

Many young people selectively interviewed by the media said that they felt that their future had been stolen from them by those who voted for Brexit. Dalrymple comments:

The fact that the youth unemployment rate in Belgium and France is 25%, in Portugal 30%, in Italy 39%, in Spain 45% and in Greece 49% did not seem to worry them. They were not of the youth-unemployment class.

The correlation between relatively low levels of education and a vote to leave was remarked upon. Dalrymple points out that

  • educated people initiated and carried out the Terror in the French Revolution
  • the Russian Revolution, and the joy that it brought to the Russian people, was the dénouement of decades of propaganda and agitation by the educated élite
  • there was no shortage of educated people in the Nazi leadership
  • the leaders of the Khmers rouges were relatively highly educated (in France, as it happens)
  • the founder of Sendero Luminoso was a professor of philosophy who wrote his doctoral thesis on Kant

The campaign to leave the EU may have appealed

to xenophobes. But it is an elementary error of logic to argue that if xenophobes voted for leaving, then those who voted for leaving were xenophobes. The fact that so many supporters of Britain remaining made this error suggests that education and the ability to think are not identical.

The implied corollary

was that there was nothing to choose between continued support for, and submission to, a corrupt and self-serving political élite on the one hand, and beating up foreigners on the street on the other.

You may wonder what the need for such a union is at all,

other than as a free trade area, which it was when it was mendaciously sold to the British electorate as being in 1975.

Well, it is this, says Dalrymple:

The abuse and the complicity, the secretive rule by decree by career politico-bureaucrats without any real oversight, is not the consequence of the so-called European Project, it is the European Project.

Dalrymple on…

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 18.02.43♦ his reportage
I was just describing what I saw. I probably made it less terrible. I saw almost straight away that raw want was not the explanation.

♦ moral relativism
It has disastrous effects on those worst off, those least able to withstand the practical results of moral anarchy.

♦ loss of self-control
It leaves people trapped in cheerless self-pitying hedonism and the brutality of the dependency culture.

♦ the British
Now they are all the Lumpenproletariat.

♦ middle-class emulation of the barbarian
When you imitate something, the role becomes the reality.

♦ Jimmy Savile
The start of an evangelical vulgarisation that has proved unstoppable.

♦ English downward cultural aspiration
Among the causes:
Loss of confidence of the middle class (which is quite easy to enter, unlike France which is far more snobbish).
⇒ Loss of British power and influence in the world. It’s catastrophic when that happens.
In France, politicians pretend to be more cultured than they are; in Britain it’s the opposite.

♦ exports of UK vulgarity
Why anyone finds British culture attractive I can’t imagine.

♦ British urban residents
Barbarians camped out in the ruins of an older, superior civilisation they don’t understand.

♦ litter
You don’t have to wait 3,000 years for litter to become archæology before it tells you something. You can track diet, habits, attitudes, how people see the world. It’s a complete loss of interest in the public space.

♦ his character
People have great difficulty marking themselves out as individuals. I didn’t, but I’m odd. From an early age I was contrary. Not in any aggressive or egotistical way. But I was always quite happy that I knew best. It’s not true, of course, but I never let it destroy the illusion.

♦ the worst fate
To be an intelligent and sensitive person born into the British underclass. The social pressure on you to fail is enormous. I remember a girl who wanted to study French but ‘they said I was stupid because I was clever’. Can you imagine growing up in that environment?

♦ British education
A modern miracle. People come out of school knowing less than when they went in.

♦ England’s cultural level
Extremely low, at least on a mass scale. The British are so degraded culturally they can’t even answer the telephone properly.

♦ Britain’s ‘service economy without the service’
The English can’t tell the difference between service and servitude, which is a terrible thing in a service economy.

♦ emotional constipation
The British used to be known for it. Now it’s emotional incontinence.

♦ why he became a psychiatrist
The gossip.

♦ disappointment
The permanent condition of mankind. Life would be intolerable without it. We would all be so smug.

♦ tolerance
A society that tolerates everything is rather bad. Shouting, screaming, intimidation. We are prepared to tolerate public vomiting, but if you use the term ‘actress’, you are a sexist. A very well-educated lady told me public vomiting is all right: ‘They can clear it up.’ This is how the élite thinks. They are so anxious not to seem narrow-minded or bigoted, or of being ‘judgmental’.

The English were constipated: now they’re incontinent

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 21.17.05Dalrymple explains that his account of Britain as a declining, broken society is

ironic in the sense that I don’t think there was a golden age in which society was whole.

But

we have to look at the problems we have. Every age looks at the problems it has, and what I’ve found in England is a refusal to face the problems: they’re just too uncomfortable.

Dalrymple says it is, to a degree, a

puzzle

as to why Britain has become more degraded than all other comparable countries. But he points to

a gestalt switch: what was regarded as good is regarded as bad, and vice-versa. Emotional constipation, once a characteristic of the British, has become emotional incontinence. People regard it as a good thing to express themselves, irrespective of whether they’ve anything to express.

For reasons of hormonal disaffection, young people are disposed to throw themselves into ideological causes. They are susceptible to ideological rot, as they are to criminality,

which is a young man’s game.

With regard to English anti-social life, Dalrymple says:

If you go to entertainment areas, there is always an element of threat in Britain.

He recounts an experience he had in Manchester, where he was staying at an hotel.

There was laughing and screaming outside at 1.30 in the morning. When I went out the next morning, I found that someone had been nearly murdered — he was in hospital, in a coma. You can’t tell the difference in England between people enjoying themselves and someone being murdered.

Potty-training in reverse

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 07.40.22The emotional incontinence of the British

Dalrymple notes in the English

  • lack of dignity
  • absence of self-respect
  • shamelessness of public conduct
  • militant slovenliness

Almost the entire population of Britain

looks as though it has let itself go: and considers itself right to have done so.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 07.46.46The change has been wrought

by a gestalt switch in attitude to the public expression of emotion. Where once emotional restraint and self-control were admired, now it is emotional incontinence that the British aim for. It is as if they had undergone potty-training in reverse.

The English have been persuaded that emotions

are like pus in an abscess. If they are not released — by screaming and shouting, hugging and crying, wailing and raging, and the more publicly the better — they will turn inwards and cause emotional septicæmia. The person who controls himself is not only a figure of fun, but a traitor to his own best interests.

It is no surprise, then, that the British are

despised around the world.