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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spoily Rotten, 15 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality (Hardcover)
This book is Dalrymple's criticism of the effects of overt public displays of emotion.It shows how sentimentality has become a substitute for thinking & also coercive which has a damaging impact on society. How you feel about an issue being more important that being erudite about it. While Dalrymple does not expect us to behave as stoics, he notes how public sentimentality can become coercive i.e Princess Diana's death and how this coercion can result in threats of violence if people do not conform. He notes how fortitude, once regarded as a virtue now is a sign of callousness. Dalrymple goes through different events in the book e.g Madeline McCann disapearance & disects the media & the publics reaction to these events. Dalrymple regards a lot of these displays of emotion as more for the selfish benefit of the person who displays them - being emotional showing that you are a caring/ sharing person. He believes that sentimentality is the midwife to violence. Lack of control over our emotions can be used as an excuse for violence. This book is well worth a read & causes you to be skeptical if you are not already of sentimentality in public.Its also a decent price for a good book
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Nov 2010 11:40:56 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Nov 2010 13:11:35 GMT
Theodore Dalrymple is big in Holland. Now what does that tell us? That we Brits are in serious decline and that the Dutch psyche, powered by psychedelic mushrooms, can easily slip into reveries of heightened sharpness when in the presence of a true intellectual like Dr Dalrymple. This heightened sharpness the average Hollander carries within their clever heads, has the power to dissolve the prickly magical spells cast by Simon Cowell's flabby breasts, and his army of angry mannequins, who are forever trying to convert us all into dribbling morons.

Hollanders, you know, are not so stuck in politically correct toilet blockage as we worried puppies appear to be, that they cannot appreciate a brilliant wit. We Brits have gone the other way; we have blown intelligence right out of our waters; to the detriment of our brains. Our frontal lobes, which engage in critical thinking are diminished as we relax and unwind in front of the X Factor or the National Lottery. How long are these flabby troths of culture to insult our patience? How long! Hoi polloi feed and indeed worship at the foot of the machine, which is a flabby troth for the people to digest and excrete. Being in awe of the flabby troths of culture is a mild form of hypnosis you see, as we are overly engrossed and focussed on the bright lights and so filter out the dark messages thrown at our ears from the intelligence quarter. These dark messages are the antidote to the flabby sleep of reason. But only educators such as Theodore Dalrymple practice the dark arts of truth writing. Thus we find it harder and harder to engage with the truths that we hear because we are seduced by the mystique and charisma that Simon Cowell and Wayne Rooney. Sadly, this is analogous to handing over our brains executive function to another person, or handing over our car keys to a stranger.

Theodore Dalrymple is not like this and so he is ignored in Great Britain. He is very brilliant you know, but sophistry doesn't come into it and it's to our collective shame that we ignore this man. The BBC won't touch him with a long stick and so we are indeed driven mad before we are destroyed.

Dr Dalrymple peddles watertight logical arguments that torpedo the politically correct fluff peddled in the Guardian; he's that smart. Well, smart in the fact that he is not blinded by the prevailing orthodoxy of the day. Dalrymple does not mince his words, nor does he play around with politically correct wishful thinking; oh know; but only the menacing truth. Dalrymple is unrelenting in his picture of our disturbing world and we are made dizzy by his menacing world view. This menacing world view would be fine coming from a gutter snipe from the tabloid corner but it isn't. I say menacing, because it is indeed menacing to be reminded of our state of civilisation. It is time to lift our collective heads above the sanctioned flabby play-pen of self gratification. So with a caustic wit and fierce eye for good sense, coupled with very funny insights into the menace of the masses; this towering Cassandra of a writer is great fun to digest; indeed he is a Dickens for our hard times.

It's only stupid people who will complain that the good doctor is somehow `racist' or `elitist' or some other meaningless mantra! It's also saddening that some reviewers have accused Dalrymple of working himself into a weird corner and if he wasn't such a great writer he would be bracketed in the hysterics corner.

Surely Theodore Dalrymple has been driven mad by the British Underclass, we hear them cry? Or he is bitter and out of touch and so holds a fuzzy perspective? It was the philosopher Wittgenstein after all who said that the world of the sad man is different from the world of the happy man. However, this psychobabble opened the gates to cultural relativism and he haven't been the same since. (I doubt Wittgenstein had this in mind, but look at the entire New Age `you make your own reality' industry!)

Alfred North Whitehead once said that no matter how we approach a subject, there are always "stubborn facts'. No matter how post modern we try to be, there is no escaping stubborn facts. So the guilt ridden Eurocrat, the destruction of the British education system and other terribles all happened before Dalrymple put finger to pen. Semi-literate mothers who worship Simon Cowell (check), a growing underclass that wasn't there before (check), football worship (check), ferocious hoodies (ok this bits for his Daily Mail fans), portly proles (check), and an entire host of benefiterati; these facts are all griss for the Dalrymple mill.

Dr Dalrymple is a pessimist then; so what of his pessimism. The time to tell all is now! After all, the better the insight, the truer (pessimistic) it must be! Isnt it obvious that optimism is to fantasy what pessimism is to realism?

Just check out Theodore's biography. The man worked the merry courts of bedlam for 20 years and harassed the cinder block pavilions of council estate England before he emigrating. As a doctor he tried to get sense out of stinking addicts, the wife beaters who were a bit dim, with smashed teeth and sexy tattoos, and babies who hadn't a clue. No wonder he moved to Holland!
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