Category Archives: puritanism (censorious)

Grim smug Leftist performing animal

Self-righteous guru: hell is being preached at eternally by this humourless puritan

Greta Thunberg, writes Dalrymple,

is to self-righteousness and self-satisfaction what Mozart was to music — a prodigy.

But unlike Mozart,

she is an unattractive child, the grimness of her humourless puritanism being inscribed on her face. She has added a vision of hell: being preached at by her for eternity.

Thunberg’s

awfulness (of which she is unaware) is not really her fault. Her transformation into a celebrity is the work of adults.

The exaggerated respect with which her pronouncements have been received

will be a matter of wonder to future generations. She has addressed not only crowds but parliaments, where she has been accorded a mixed status:

  • guru because she has uttered the tenets of a powerful doxa that so many thirst to believe
  • performing animal because she is so young to perform so unexpectedly well

Thunberg’s humourlessness

is a great asset in the modern world, for when earnestness is mistaken for seriousness and gaiety for frivolity, a sense of humour is not only unlikely to flourish, it is likely to be reprehended. Literal-mindedness has become so general a psychological phenomenon that jokes, most of which are directed against someone, are sure to be taken in their most literal meaning.

Humour has become dangerous. But Thunberg is safe; Dalrymple notes that

the very idea of a joke seems alien to her. I suspect that she is one of those persons who is puzzled when people laugh.

The Petronian-Calvinists

Grande has traded in public as a person of the easiest virtue, whether or not she is so in reality (if celebrities such as she have a reality)

Swing of the pendulum between lascivious licentiousness and vengeful censorious puritanism

The actress and chanteuse Ariana Grande, writes Dalrymple,

is not exactly the soul of discretion when it comes to public sexual display, but rather has made a career (and a fortune) from lascivious vulgarity in word and gesture.

Dalrymple is no expert on the career of this Grande,

and indeed had never heard of her before the bomb went off in the Manchester arena during her performance there (‘concert’ seems too refined a word for her activities) and killed 22 people, including children.

When he looked Grande up on the internet he saw at once that her act

was not one that was suitable for children as young as eight years old to witness, and that there must be something very wrong with a culture in which parents thought that it was. I could not say this at the time, because of the horror of the attack, from whose evil I did not in the least want to detract. I did not want to give the impression that the parents were in any way responsible.

Fumbling cleric: Charles H. Ellis III, former Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and pastor of the Greater Grace Temple, Detroit, gets better acquainted with the actress-singer Ariana Grande

Yet

actively to connive in filling eight-year-old children’s minds with such vulgar rubbish is a dereliction of parental duty. It is scarcely a wonder that so many British girls appear by the age of 12 to look as if their ambition in life is to be a street prostitute.

The affair of Grande and the bishop

None of this

would or does justify any assault, physical or sexual, upon Grande. It is no defence against a charge of such assault that she has traded in public as a person of the easiest virtue, whether or not she is so in reality (if celebrities such as she have a reality). She is entitled to the same protections as everyone else.

Dalrymple asks us to consider the matter of prudence.

No one has the right to break into someone else’s house and steal his belongings. But many burglaries are opportunistic; a person being inclined to steal notices that a door or window is open, and takes the opportunity, without having set out to burgle. I have a perfect right to leave my door and windows open, but surely no one would deny that I had been imprudent in doing so.

The Grande-and-the-bishop affair

exposes (as the actress said to the bishop) a curious and very unattractive aspect of our modern culture: its pendulum swing between lascivious licentiousness and vengeful censorious puritanism.

Grande has made a career — and a fortune — from lascivious vulgarity in word and gesture

We take eight-year-old children to see Grande on the one hand,

and are appalled at the faintest whiff of pædophilia on the other.

We sexualise female children as early as possible,

and recoil with horror like Victorians (or rather, like the Victorians as we imagine them to have been) when someone calls a female on the stage an actress rather than an actor.

We really are, says Dalrymple,

very peculiar, a mixture of Petronius’s Rome and Calvin’s Geneva.

No doubt

the dissolution of the distinction between the public and the private sphere has played its part in this unpleasant evolution.

Dalrymple longs for a world

in which it is still possible to be a secret and private hypocrite, so much more interesting than all this vulgar openness.