Category Archives: malignity

Dear little chap

Finding himself in Madrid, Dalrymple ambles into the Prado, which is for him the most beautiful of the great art galleries. He comes across a painting by Bronzino, and observes that the productions of this portraitist of the Florentine élite are marked by

clear-sighted ruthlessness. They are slightly chilling.

Don Garzia de’ Medici, son of Cosimo I de’ Medici, is represented as holding in his right hand an orange flower, symbol of innocence. But no one would take him for an innocent.

Quite the contrary, one would take him for an incipient psychopath, the kind of person who later in his career would gladly have had those around him poisoned in order to secure his power, he being only the third son of his father. The infant, chubby from rich food, is dressed in a red silk tunic laced liberally with gold, of an adult style different only in size from an adult’s, and stares out defiantly, unblinkingly and already with no illusions about the world, upon the onlooker. His expression is nasty; it is that of an infant both petulant and calculating.

The picture

lacks tenderness of any kind. It is a portrait of a young Machiavellian who expects as his due, but also has to scheme, to get his way.

Dalrymple has seen many children aged three with the malign and calculating expression of Don Garzia de’ Medici.

I worked for years in a prison and used to see the prisoners’ infants coming to visit their father in the company of their mothers, and I saw on their faces the already-hardened look of Don Garzia. I have little doubt that a psychopathic environment brings forth psychopaths.

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Egotistical malignity of British youth

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 23.34.31Returning from a holiday in Spain, Dalrymple writes:

I saw more litter in a hundred yards on my return to Britain than I had seen in a thousand miles in Spain.

Britain, Dalrymple points out, is

the dirty man of Europe.

Spanish youth, he says,

while disagreeably noisy, certainly does not behave with the hideous, determined vulgarity of British youth. It does not eat in the street, is not menacing in appearance, nor does it display the egotistical malignity of its British counterpart, which turns almost any social interaction into a potentially violent confrontation.

Mother and malignant child

In 1865, writes Dalrymple, 'the asylum notes show Richard Dadd to have been painting almost every day. His thoughts were mad, but he continued to work until he became too weak physically to go on. His output was considerable, of high quality and deeply disturbing. A mother and child, painted in 1860, were clearly modelled on the religious motif, but the mother holds the child without tenderness, and the child, still a baby, stares straight ahead with an appraising look of concentrated malignity. On a ledge in the background sits a blackish bird with ruffled feathers that appears to be a vulture'.

In 1865, writes Dalrymple, ‘the asylum notes show Richard Dadd to have been painting almost every day. His thoughts were mad, but he continued to work until he became too weak physically to go on. His output was considerable, of high quality and deeply disturbing. A mother and child, painted in 1860, were clearly modelled on the religious motif, but the mother holds the child without tenderness, and the child, still a baby, stares straight ahead with an appraising look of concentrated malignity. On a ledge in the background sits a blackish bird with ruffled feathers that appears to be a vulture’.

The curse of welfarism

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Young British mothers

Dalrymple writes that there is in the West, and especially in Britain,

a rising tide of neglect, cruelty, Sadism, and joyous malignity.

Where does the evil come from? Dalrymple points out that

a necessary, though not sufficient, condition is the welfare state, which makes it possible, and sometimes advantageous, to behave like this.

Fatherhood

Young British fathers

The State

is the parent of last resort—or of first resort. The State gives assistance to the mother of any child, once it has come into being. In matters of public housing, it is advantageous for a mother to put herself at a disadvantage, to be a single mother, without support from the fathers of the children and dependent on the State for income. She is then a priority; she won’t pay local taxes, rent, or utility bills.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 10.39.30As for the men, the State

absolves them of all responsibility for their children. The State is father to the child. The biological father is free to use whatever income he has as pocket money, for entertainment and little treats. He is reduced to the status of a child, though a spoilt child with the physical capabilities of a man: petulant, demanding, querulous, self-centred, and violent. The violence escalates and becomes a habit. A spoilt brat becomes an evil tyrant.

Women in the last stages of emaciation

Concentrated malignity

Concentrated malignity

When anorexics disport themselves in inelegant tatters

The garments exhibited at fashion shows, Dalrymple writes, are

not only impractical (splendour, after all, is often impractical) but hideous. They seem little more than rags sewn together almost at random; I have never seen anyone in anything that resembled them off the catwalk. Surely no one, even in a world in which people are prepared to fall for almost anything, actually buys these clothes.

Festivals of ugly, unsaleable, expensive rubbish

The models

Hatred of the world

Hatred of the world

seem to do everything to imply that the wearing of these clothes is a sure route to misery. They look as if they have been kept in an underground cave and deprived of food by some kind of sadistic sex criminal. Their facial expressions, as a consequence, are those of concentrated malignity or hatred of the world, as if there were no pleasure or joy to be found in it. Anorexia is the highest state to which man or woman can aspire.

Perhaps, Dalrymple hazards,

the ugliness of apparel, deportment and facial expression that the industry promotes is a sign of how far our obsession with ‘justice’ has reached. If not everyone in the world can afford elegance or live in conditions that conduce to ease and happiness, no one should. Until the world be made whole, no one shall smile and no one shall be finely dressed.

He adds:

Not, of course, that this attitude goes as far as the incomes of fashion designers.