Category Archives: soccer

Uncouth chic

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 13.53.48Professional soccer players, Dalrymple points out, are drawn

from the class adjacent to the underclass, into which downward slippage is all too easy.

But in the past,

those who managed to escape their lowly origins usually aspired to be taken for bona fide members of the middle classes by conforming their conduct to middle-class standards.

No longer. Newfound wealth imposes no obligation to change one’s ways. Violent and despicable public conduct results

neither in legal sanction, social ostracism, nor even strong disapproval.

In England,

the direction of cultural aspiration has reversed: it is the middle classes that aspire to be taken for their social inferiors, an aspiration that (in their opinion) necessitates misconduct.

Young middle-class women proudly sport tattoos, for example,

as badges of antinomian defiance, of intellectual independence, and of identification with the supposedly downtrodden—if not of the entire world, then at least of our inner cities.

Advertising

glamorises the underclass way of life and its attitude towards the world. A new style has been invented.

The collectivist rot in Britain

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 07.54.19An infantilised people

Its sense of irony, writes Dalrymple, once protected the British population

from infatuation with utopian dreams and unrealistic expectations.

But the English are sadly changed.

A sense of irony is the first victim of utopian dreams. The British tolerance of eccentricity has also evaporated; uniformity is what they want now, and are prepared informally to impose. They tolerate no deviation in taste or appearance from themselves.

The pressure to conform

to the canons of (lack of) popular taste has never been stronger. Those without interest in soccer hardly dare mention it in public. A dispiriting uniformity of character, deeply shallow, has settled over a land once richer in eccentrics than any other. No more Edward Lears for us: we prefer notoriety to oddity now.

The English are no longer sturdily independent as individuals, either. They now

feel no shame or even unease at accepting government handouts. (40% of them receive such handouts.)

Many Britons

see no difference between work and parasitism.

They are left with

very little of importance to decide for themselves, even in their private spheres.

The State

  • educates them (at least nominally)
  • provides for them in old age
  • frees them of the need to save money (doing so is in many cases made uneconomic)
  • treats them when they are ill
  • houses them if they cannot afford housing

Their choices

concern only sex and shopping.

No wonder, says Dalrymple, that the British

have changed in character, their sturdy independence replaced with passivity, querulousness, or even, at the lower reaches of society, a sullen resentment that not enough has been or is being done for them. For those at the bottom, such money as they receive is pocket money, reserved for the satisfaction of whims. They are infantilised. If they behave irresponsibly it is because both the rewards for behaving responsibly and the penalties for behaving irresponsibly have vanished.

Such people

come to live in a limbo in which there is nothing much to hope or strive for and nothing much to fear or lose. Private property and consumerism coexist with collectivism, and freedom for many people means little more than choice among goods. The free market, as Hayek did not foresee, has flourished alongside collectivism.

The secret of the British economic problem

English cuisine

Emetic: English cuisine

A service economy without the service

The British no longer have the faintest idea how to prepare or serve food, either in establishments they are pleased to call restaurants or in their own homes. According to W. Somerset Maugham, the only solution when in England is to eat breakfast three times a day. But the English can no longer manage with minimal competence even to prepare a halfway-decent breakfast.

British eating houses, bar-grills, cafés and other places where dining (of a kind) goes on, from the humblest truck-stop to the most exalted, starred restaurant, are easily the worst in Europe. It is better, for example, to go to bed hungry than to risk an evening meal at, say, an English public house.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 09.59.02

Suburban Tudor

The Moon Under Water it isn’t

Dalrymple is reminded of this when, hungry one evening and with no other dining establishment in the vicinity, he enters a pub (which, like many from the 1920s and 1930s, is built rather pleasingly in the suburban Tudor style), and is greeted by

the flashing lights of fruit machines

and

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.45.20numerous large flat screens disposed in such a way that it was impossible to escape them. It was as if one had a duty to watch.

Drivelscreens

At least, he says, they

were all showing the same thing — a football match, football being a 24-hour activity.

Dalrymple dare not complain. British popular culture is

crude, unpleasant and inescapable; if you criticise it, you are taken for an enemy of the people.

The Codfather. Bon appétit!

The Codfather. Bon appétit!

The smell in the pub

was of stale beer and even staler fat in which standard British prolefood had been fried.

He peruses

the grubby menu, a triumph of quantity over quality. The fish dish was called The Codfather, size trumping taste. Everything came with chips, of the frozen variety.

Soupe à l'oignon

Soupe à l’oignon à l’anglaise

The table is

sticky and long unwiped.

Dalrymple orders soup. It is

packet soup which had not been properly dissolved, so that it had little balls in it that if bitten exploded into a kind of salty dust.

He orders steak, and asks for it to be rare. When it comes, it

would have been regarded as incinerated in any other country.

Fried mushrooms: at least their own weight in fat

Fried mushrooms: at least their own weight in fat

The fried mushrooms

contained at least their own weight in fat of some type.

The next morning

I woke with a strange and unpleasant taste in my mouth.

The meal

The flashing lights of fruit machines

The flashing lights of fruit machines

wasn’t even cheap.

This is the vital point. British food is not just atrocious — it is execrable value.

During the meal,

the man who had taken my order came over to my table.

Everything all right?‘ he asked.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 11.02.01‘Yes, very good,’ I replied.

Dalrymple concludes:

The slovenliness, the bad quality, my pusillanimity: voilà the secret of the British economic problem.

The grossly overpaid tattooed thugs who play for England

Losers — and fuckin' proud of it!

Idle, gutless losers — and fuckin’ proud of it!

They have demonstrated themselves to be duds — utter flops. Despite their riches, their phalanxes of media supporters and their cretinous ‘fans’ (who accorded them a standing ovation after the side’s worst ever World Cup performance), they simply aren’t any good at all, says Dalrymple,

at what they do, which is hardly surprising in view of contemporary British culture.

The pretence of being interested in association football

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 00.22.28An appeal to (a purely symbolic) egalitarianism

Can it really be true, asks Dalrymple,

that all our politicians, chiefs executive, intellectuals, scientists, artists, journalists, are enthusiasts of this sport?

He believes the claimed interest in association football

is an implicit appeal to a purely symbolic egalitarianism. Look, says the interviewee, I may earn as much in a week as others in a lifetime, I may sit at the top of the tree or a whole forest of trees, I may own houses all over the place, I may move only in the most exalted circles, but really I am just the same as you: I too love, think about, dream of Juventus, or Real Madrid, or Manchester United.

Compulsory interest in football, says Dalrymple,

is like equality under the law, but without the philosophical meaning of the latter. It could only exist in an age of anxiety, justified or not, about economic inequality. Interest in football is to the modern chief executive what dressing up as a shepherdess was to Marie Antoinette.

Dalrymple Public and Reserve Gardens Regulations

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 22.28.04

The Dalrympian Eden

The following are strictly prohibited in the gardens:

  • chewing-gum
  • canned drinks
  • jeans
  • basketball
  • skateboards
  • baseball caps*
  • tattoos
  • piercings
  • pasteurised cheese
  • coffee in plastic containers
  • the wearing of suits without ties
  • televisual apparatus, however portable or compact
  • mobile-telephonic apparatus, or any kind of associated prosthesis
  • littering
  • burqa (except for young Englishwomen on Friday and Saturday nights; they will not be admitted to the gardens unless clad in one — the garment has certain advantages)
  • celebrity magazines
  • audible use of the word chair for chairman
  • conversations about association football
  • headphones (the tish-ter-tish that emanates from the user’s supposedly private little world is highly irritating)
  • conversations about the Olympic Games
  • ‘rock’ or other forms of popular so-called music, also the nodding of heads in time to the ‘music’ in the manner of the fatuous nodding dogs in the back windows of cars
  • eating, especially the consumption of ‘fast food’

Thank you for your co-operation.

* Baseball caps, Dalrymple points out, ‘have the effect of making the intelligent look average and the average moronic. Can anyone look intelligent or dignified in a baseball cap?’ They are ‘inelegant at best and hideous at worst’. People wear them in restaurants, ‘which is uncouth and crass, and is a habit that I would like to see suppressed with the full vigour of the law.’

Friends of the People: the British elite’s nauseating pretence of being interested in soccer

Dalrymple finds it sinister, this absurd and even intimidating emphasis placed on association football by politicians, chiefs executive of commercial concerns, and academics.

They all claim to ‘have’ a team. By this means they hope to prove that they are not an Enemy of the People, that they are true sons of the soil. Who do they think they’re fooling?

Silly asses of association football

Dalrymple admits that he is

a fearful snob. I feel nothing but contempt for people for whom sport is important. When bread is assured, circuses fill men’s minds. I detest the excessive importance attached to football by hundreds of millions of my fellow beings. Try as I might to expunge the thought from my mind that this enthusiasm is a manifestation of human stupidity, I cannot.