Are newspapers only fit to wrap your fish and chips in?

At the Salisbury Review, Dalrymple wonders about the future of newspapers:

The other day, being still in France, I bought the two principal French daily newspapers, Le Figaro and Le Monde, whose total circulation between then in France is less than 600,000. Le Figaro’s headline was Economic policy: Holland wants to change nothing. Le Monde’s headline was a quotation from Mr Hollande himself: We must go quicker and further.

Which newspaper, do you suppose, was more sympathetic to M. Hollande? Reading a newspaper nowadays is increasingly like attending a church in which the doctrine is read out to the faithful.

Indulging in Destruction

Dalrymple looks at an under-reported aspect of the race-based unrest in Ferguson, Missouri: rioting is fun…

My observation of rioters, admittedly from a distance and refracted through cameras, is that they enjoy rioting. Pride is not the only thing that goeth before destruction; human nature does too. I certainly know myself the pleasures of destruction, and knew them as a child: still when I dispose of my bottles in the bottle bank I am disappointed if a few of them do not break with a gratifying tinkle. When I am in a temper (which is not often these days), I know the momentary relief and pleasure that a broken window would bring me. But I have a duty not to relieve myself in this way; everyone does.

When the destructive urge is allied to a sense of purpose and righteousness, it is at its most dangerous, for then one denies that one is deriving pleasure from one’s actions—one is only doing what is right.

Should Everyone Consume Less Sodium?

Two recent studies abstracted in the New England Journal of Medicine attempt to determine whether “a reduction in the sodium intake of entire populations would be a worthwhile public health measure”. After studying over 100,000 people in each of the two studies, the authors’ conclusion, as summarized by Dalrymple, will probably not surprise you:

In fact, the editorial did not advocate a reduction in the world intake of salt… The conclusion is that more research is necessary (it always is).


Out of Step With the World

Who was this Robin Williams exactly? Don’t ask Dalrymple, who admits he had never heard of the comedic actor. If that means he’s out of step, well, that’s just fine with him.

If it were not for the fact that the world is endlessly and inexhaustibly interesting, I think I would retire to an institution such as that built in Switzerland for the electrosensitive. How many things there are to avoid in the modern world!

Dalrymple at Taki’s Magazine

A fond farewell to a writer of wit and intellectual integrity

Dalrymple mourns the recent passing of Simon Leys aka Pierre Ryckmans:

I admired Simon Leys more than any other contemporary writer. He was, in fact, my hero, in so far as I have ever had one… From the very first page — no, from the very first sentence — of all his books and essays it is obvious that Simon Leys always knew what he was talking about…

It was George Orwell’s aim to turn political writing into an art, and in this art Leys was undoubtedly supreme.


Was Kafka troubled by his prostate?

The convenience made possible by the internet, or the privacy of staying offline? This seems to be an increasingly pressing question for a large percentage of us. Dalrymple reads his emails and online ads and considers the tradeoffs at the Salisbury Review:

These e-mails are obviously targeted: I doubt that many 20 year-old receive offers of cheap funeral insurance, for example. Computers everywhere know that I am about to receive my old age pension and will quite possibly need urological treatment before burial. Where did they get this information from? From other computers, of course, not doubt some of them governmental. It is all technically admirable but somewhat disturbing.

A Fail-Safe Investment

Writing at Taki’s Magazine, Dalrymple outlines his funeral wishes and in the process makes a few statements that I can assure you are mistaken:

My problem with my own funeral is not how to pay for it: I will leave enough for even quite a grand affair, should anyone wish it. My problem, rather, is this: that if I were to die after my wife there would be no one to arrange it, and quite possibly no one to attend it either. Relatives are the great mainstays of funerals, and I have none within reasonable distance of wherever I am likely to die. As to my friends, they are scattered and lead busy lives; they probably won’t hear of my death for days or weeks after the date of my funeral, if any, has passed. This doesn’t worry me much: I don’t regard a large attendance at a funeral as young people regard large numbers of friends on Facebook, as the sign of a successful life.

We are awfully slow keeping up with Dalrymple on this blog, but I can assure you that if we are still running it when he dies, our readers at least will not have to wait long to hear the tragic news, nor would they allow him to go without a dignified and proper burial. But why worry about an event so far in the future? We likely have thousands more pieces to post before then.