Category Archives: privilege

What lies behind Grant’s adoption of gutter language?

Dalrymple explains that Hugh Grant (left) was the star of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and once had some kind of trouble with the police

A tweet by the actor and thinker Hugh Grant, addressing the British prime minister, reads:

You will not fuck with my children’s future. You will not destroy the freedoms my grandfather fought two world wars to defend. Fuck off you over-promoted rubber bath toy. Britain is revolted by you and you [sic] little gang of masturbatory prefects.

Dalrymple comments:

No doubt the space allowed by Twitter does not encourage profound or logical reflection (though in the Analects, Confucius manages concision and compression somewhat better than Mr Grant). What is important in the above mental eructation is not its thought, or even feeling, but its mode of expression.

Grant’s dull and tedious adoption of the language of the gutter is

much more significant in the long term than Brexit or the actions of the prime minister. It points to the cultural degeneration of a nation that, insofar as it has an ideology at all, has made vulgarity posing as egalitarianism its ideology.

Grant’s greatest rôle: defender of freedom and democracy

Grant, says Dalrymple,

if I have understood correctly — though I am open to correction — has made something of his character as an upper-middle-class Englishman. But he is at one with the British cultural élite in vulgarity of expression.

We may be sure that,

irrespective of what the prime minister does, Mr Grant will be able to arrange for a bright future, at least in the material sense. We may be sure that, if any government were to threaten that assured material future by genuinely and inescapably egalitarian economic measures, his howls of indignation would be a good deal more sincere than in the tweet above.

Dalrymple notes that vulgarity as an ideology

is a substitute for economic egalitarianism, in which neither I nor the ideological vulgarians such as Mr Grant believe, and which both of us fear. Mr Grant, however, thinks that he can deflect some of the envy no doubt directed at him if he can show by his employment of vulgar language that he is really in the same boat as the most subterranean members of the underclass. He is asserting some kind of equality with them by his use of debased and inexpressive language.

The tendency to act down,

which occurs in spheres other than language, does not derive from any guilt about social or economic inequality, which, on the contrary, it is designed to preserve and maintain. It is rather a camouflage or smokescreen for privilege, whether that privilege be earned or not. But though it is playacting — indeed, defender of freedom and democracy may be Mr Grant’s greatest rôle — it is not without real cultural effect, an effect that is baleful if you do not approve of the coarsening that it brings with it.

Moreover,

lack of verbal restraint is not liberation, it is impoverishment of thought.

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.

United in decadence

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 07.43.52France and Britain are

very similar in their inability to tackle the problems that confront them. Both countries are sleepwalking to insignificance and international oblivion.

The French

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 08.11.53cannot tackle the rigidity of their labour market, that makes the creation of new jobs or new enterprises so difficult, because no politician has the guts to do it. Everyone in France is ready to struggle, even violently, for the preservation of his own little privileges and protections (while pretending to do so for the good of humanity – the French are just as hypocritical as the British). France’s social model produces fonctionnaires like the savannah produces termites, and allows certain categories of workers to retire on a very high percentage of their salary almost as soon as they have begun to work.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 08.16.42The British

cannot tackle their abysmally low educational and cultural standards, which are obvious even on landing at a British airport, because no politician has the guts to do it — politicians prefer the tried and trusted policy of après moi, le déluge. Successive British governments have comprehensively destroyed the British educational system: a high percentage of British children leave school less literate than Tanzanian peasants [and this is reflected in low productivity and generalised gormlessness].

La belle France, left, and England, dear England

La belle France, left, and England, dear England

The white intellectual middle class

Islington (left) and Hampstead

Islington (left) and Hampstead

They seem to want to abolish the country they inherited. But do they really? asks Dalrymple.

Of course they want, he writes,

to appear more liberal than thou, in the way that Islamists want to appear more Islamic than thou.

But

I am not sure that, in their hearts, they really want the changes they push with such assiduity.

Rather,

it is that they live in so solidly privileged a world, so removed from the world of the changes they have promoted, that they cannot really envisage any real change in their own conditions of life.

Captain Underpants fires a broadside at the privileged

An unfrocked priest at home

Narcissus of the Rhonnda: an unfrocked ex-priest

Chris Bryant, a former priest and member of the British parliament, was educated expensively at Cheltenham College and at Mansfield College, Oxford.

He came to public prominence after he posted on a homosexual dating website a photograph of himself wearing only his underpants. This candour won him much respect (he described it with pride as ‘a charming scar’), and since then his rise has been rapid. He was recently rewarded by being appointed Labour shadow minister for the arts.

‘Chris’ Bryant. ‘Labour shadow minister for the arts.’ Note, writes Dalrymple,

the democratic diminutive and the Orwellian-sounding post that he occupies.

Dalrymple reports that the pious Bryant

laments that ‘the arts are too dominated by people from a privileged background‘ — like himself, Chris Bryant MP, in fact.