Category Archives: media

What is it, this ‘coronavirus’ they keep talking about?

Le coronavirus c’est quoi?

So asked a young Frenchman, who has lived for the past three years in Australia, during a chat on the phone with Dalrymple’s wife in March. There was, writes Dalrymple,

a delightful freshness to the question. Talk about the lucky country, I thought to myself: or talk about a lucky young man, not to have heard of coronavirus.

O lucky man!

It had, he says,

a heroic quality — or indicated a sure sense of navigation through the world without taking any notice of the dispiriting flux of news and daily events. You need finely-tuned antennæ to be able to avoid the temporary obsessions of the news media, so ubiquitous are they, and an ability to slide away mentally.

Ce pays chanceux

Uriah Heep meets Ayn Rand

The triumph of self-esteem over self-respect

Dalrymple writes that one of the worst and most unpleasant of human qualities is self-esteem.

He comes across, in a British newspaper (legacy-media journalism in the West has suffered a precipitous decline in quality in the last three decades), some unctuous drivel about ‘kindfulness‘. He likens such bunk to an overdose of the disgusting sweetened drink known as cherry cola. It nauseates him with its invitation to preen and to tell oneself that one is, despite everything, a good person.

Dead-tree legacy media

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 10.40.17

The Paris newspaper Libération: aimed at ageing bourgeois bohemians of left-wing persuasion, many of them with ponytails

Dalrymple knows no young person who reads a newspaper. And those few newspapers which survive, thanks to (rapidly dwindling) sales to older readers,

more and more resemble magazines.

He notes that with modern technology, newspapers

can hardly any longer be the first to break news.

As their circulations slump and journalists are sacked in large numbers, newspapers

cannot do much investigative journalism, either.

All that is left to newspapers, Dalrymple points out, is

  • gossip about celebrities
  • explanations of the obvious
  • speculation about the future based on what has happened in the recent past
  • drivel about sport
  • articles catering to modern man’s fathomless narcissism

ทรงพระเจริญยิ่งยืนนาน

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 03.38.54In the course of a discussion of the increasingly unimaginative, sometimes corrupt and often repellent nature of modern media in general, and of an especially mean-minded and callous report in a French newspaper in particular, Dalrymple states:

Surely a man who has undergone so much pain…who is frail mentally and physically…and at an advanced age…but nevertheless tries to carry out his duty is…worthy of compassion and respect, all the more so as no one denies the services he has rendered his country.

Dalrymple is referring to Juan Carlos I, but he could just as easily be talking about Bhumibol Adulyadej.