Category Archives: victimhood

W.E. Henley’s toxic stoicism

W.E. Henley: emotional constipation

Dalrymple draws attention to the distressing mental disorder exhibited in ‘Invictus’ (1875):

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

He notes that the deranged ‘fortitude’ and emotional repression that the poem betrays are deeply problematic, being

part of what is known, including by the American Psychological Association, as toxic masculinity.

‘Fortitude’ is treason to the self

Dalrymple says that

if only Henley had been true to himself, he wouldn’t have bothered with all that captain-of-my-soul stuff.

Instead he would have gone into

  • counselling
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • psychotherapy

Courses of treatment of this kind, which might usefully have been accompanied by colectomy, frontal leucotomy, Metrazol-induced convulsion therapy, laxative therapy, and insulin coma therapy (Insulinschockbehandlung),

would really have sorted him out and rid him of the poisonous notion that misfortune was something to be overcome by making the best of things.

Dalrymple points out that in advertising his neurosis by producing verse of such hysterical irrationality, Henley

set a very bad example, for not everyone can overcome misfortune as did he. By becoming famous, by achieving a great deal despite pain and illness all his life, he inhibited myriad others from admitting their vulnerability and victimhood, thereby reinforcing toxic masculinity.

Rather,

it was Henley’s duty to have been angry and resentful at his fate, thereby giving work to psychologists and psychotherapists. If everyone went round being the captain of his soul, what would there be for psychologists to do? They would need counselling about their loss of income.

Henley lived in Woking in the latter part of his life, though he also maintained a flat in this Battersea block

St John the Baptist Churchyard, Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire

Radical anti-racism

It represents an employment opportunity, writes Dalrymple,

for bureaucrats of limited ability.

It has also persuaded many young men of Jamaican descent that

when someone asks them at three in the morning to turn their music down, or upbraids them in any other way or circumstances, he is motivated by racism. This is convenient for the young men, who are enabled to behave badly while convinced of their moral superiority based on permanent, insuperable and existential victimhood; it is also convenient for the anti-racist bureaucracy, who assure themselves of ‘work’, that is to say a salary.

But Dalrymple points out that the Jamaicans

are not a race, and their conduct is in marked contrast (at least in my experience) with that of West Africans — and even West Indians who come from other islands.

Racism today, he notes,

is of the subtle kind that requires a specialist armed with an anti-racist Malleus Maleficarum to detect.

The Guardian’s four-legs-good, two-legs-bad worldview

The newspaper’s deafening silence on South Africa

Dalrymple writes that when the South African parliament passed a motion, by 241 votes to 83, to change the nation’s constitution to allow white-owned land to be expropriated without compensation, the Guardian

was coy about reporting it. Even now, it has not mentioned the measure on its website, except indirectly.

Dalrymple asks:

Why the silence on this important development? Perhaps because it is an embarrassment to the paper’s view of the world. How is one to report the near-genocidal and famine-promoting wishes of people whose rôle in life for so many years has been that of victims of injustice?

How Mobutu bared his teeth against the rotten imperialists

Prophet of ‘national authenticity’

One man who was keenly aware of the political advantages to be derived from assumption of victimhood was Mobutu Sese Seko, Dalrymple reminds us. In order, Dalrymple explains,

to overcome the effects of a colonial past, and in the name of authenticity, Mobutu decreed that all Zaïrian citizens abandon their European names — to which they had been accustomed since birth — and take on African ones. Likewise, no one was henceforth to wear a collar and tie; instead Mobutu had designed a national costume, which he imposed. In this way, he made himself all-important.

However,

when he had a toothache, he commandeered a jet aëroplane of the national airline and flew to Paris for dental treatment.

Leading by example: Mobutu models his abacost (‘à bas le costume’) menswear designs

Jet aircraft of the type commandeered by Mobutu for visits to the dentist

A peculiar kind of feminist populism

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-22-20-12You will not, writes Dalrymple,

be treated too severely if you kill your violent husband, even if you have made no other efforts to avoid his violence. If you put up with it for long enough, in fact, you can kill him.

Women,

apparently weak and feeble creatures, can’t be held to the same level of legal obligation as men. They are by nature victims and nothing but victims, indeed not fully responsible human beings.

Prove you’re a man: burst into tears

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 07.07.28Be a victim, be vulnerable

That, writes Dalrymple, is

the mission statement of many people in the West these days. Fortitude is treason to the self, that most delicate of creatures.

Victims are the heroes of the politically correct

Today and as a teenager: Rachel Dolezal, who is of German, Czech and Swedish ancestry, is president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She  has been portraying herself as African American for a decade. Dalrymple writes: 'Victims are the heroes of the politically correct; their victimhood confers unique moral authority upon them ex officio. And since many would like to be a unique moral authority, it follows that they would like to be a victim. The fact soon follows the wish, at least in their own estimation.'

Today and as a teenager: Rachel Dolezal, who is of German, Czech and Swedish ancestry, is president of the Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. A single mother who identifies herself as bisexual, and represents herself as the victim both of child abuse (she was, she claims, chastised with a ‘baboon whip’) and date-rape (she declined to sue the alleged perpetrator because, she said, of his great wealth), this energetic progressive has been portraying herself as African American for nearly a decade. Dalrymple writes: ‘Victims are the heroes of the politically correct; their victimhood confers unique moral authority upon them ex officio. And since many would like to be a unique moral authority, it follows that they would like to be a victim. The fact soon follows the wish, at least in their own estimation.’

The Western longing for victimhood (reader discretion advised)

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 23.24.25TRIGGER WARNING: the material that follows may cause upset or distress

Content alert: this doctor-writer’s observations about the human condition are known to cause trauma in the weak-minded

Supplementary trigger warning: the term trigger warning may itself be triggering to some victims

Dalrymple writes that

what is most interesting from the cultural point of view about the preposterous nonsense of trigger warnings for Victorian books is the obvious thirst or desire for victimisation that they express.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 23.27.41Victims

are the heroes of the politically correct; their victimhood confers unique moral authority upon them ex officio. And since many would like to be a unique moral authority, it follows that they would like to be a victim. The fact soon follows the wish, at least in their own estimation; and this, of course, provides much work and justifies much power for the self-proclaimed protectors of victims.

University teachers become

the curators of figurines of the finest porcelain, which only they are allowed to touch.