Category Archives: torture

Citius, Altius, Fortius, Hermaphroditus

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 22.51.33Dalrymple reminds us that in the 1960s,

medical cytologists were called in to determine the sex of female athletes suspected of being men. The careers of the Press sisters of the Soviet Union, so successful at the Rome Olympics, came to a mysterious end when such tests became routine.

He also points out that doctors

acted as advisers to the sporting authorities in the communist countries when they were determined that their young female gymnasts should dominate the sport. The activities of those doctors were ethically little better than medical participation in torture.

Dalrymple’s own objection, however, to these deformities is different:

that to devote one’s life to, say, throwing a javelin a fraction of an inch further than anyone else has ever thrown it is a deformation of the soul.

The time of optimism

The optimists

The optimists

Dalrymple comes across a reference in the Guardian to Maoist groups in the West during the late 1960s, a time when, the newspaper says approvingly, many young people

threw themselves wholeheartedly into the leftwing politics of optimism.

This was, Dalrymple points out,

during that great time of optimism for the Chinese people that lasted several years,

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.40.43namely the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, in the course of which, Dalrymple points out,

unknown numbers of people were killed, but certainly hundreds of thousands at the least.

During the time of optimism many millions of people in China, Dalrymple reminds us, were

  • persecuted
  • publicly humiliated
  • tortured
  • Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.34.11hounded from their jobs
  • separated from their spouses
  • exiled
  • subjected to forced labour.

All this occurred

to the cheering sound of smashed cultural artifacts, demolished monuments,

and the

hosannas

of large sections of the Western Left.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.33.37

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.34.50Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.41.07 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.41.45 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.37.05 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.37.33 Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 08.35.48

One of New York’s premier diving spots

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 20.08.29

The diving boards

The new Whitney Museum, writes Dalrymple, is the

perfect place from which to commit suicide, with what look like large diving boards emerging from the top of the building, leading straight to the ground far below. Looking up at them, one can almost hear in one’s mind’s ear the terrible sound of the bodies as they land on the ground below.

There are also, he notes,

The industrial chimneys

The industrial chimneys

some — for now — silvery industrial chimneys, leading presumably from the incinerators so necessary for the disposal of rubbishy art.

He points out that the structure (cost: $422m) illustrates on the one hand the egotism and cack-handedness of the architect Renzo Piano and his kind, and on the other the

complete loss of judgment and taste

The façade, as charming as it is elegant

The torture chambers

of modern patrons.

The façade, which is practically without windows,

looks as if it could be the central torture chambers of the secret police, from which one half expects the screams of the tortured to emerge. Certainly, it is a façade for those with something to hide: perhaps appropriately so, given the state of so much modern art.

HQ of the secret police

Headquarters of the secret police

A monument to the vanity and aesthetic incompetence of celebrity architects

If the building were not

a tragic lost opportunity (how often do architects have the chance to build an art gallery at such cost?), it would be comic. It is as if struck already by an earthquake and in a half-collapsed state. It is a tribute to the imagination of the architect that something so expensive should be made to look so cheap.

A building that would truly have gladdened their hearts

New York at last has a building that would truly have gladdened their hearts

 

Important information for torturers

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 13.17.38Dalrymple writes that experiments reported in the New England Journal of Medicine

offer the hope, perhaps illusory, that brain imaging techniques might one day distinguish between real and severe pain on the one hand from exaggerated or false pain on the other.