Bollocks to vulgarity

Dalrymple seeks to identify the unique characteristcs of modern vulgarity, and explain its ubiquity, in this month’s New Criterion:


It is not so much an unselfconscious absence of refinement, as it is the positive abhorrence of refinement, as if there were not room enough in the world for both vulgarity and refinement and they were locked in a struggle to the death: One must triumph, and since vulgarity is of the people, its victory is deserved.

[snip]

It is an unfortunate effect of mankind’s propensity to make logical mistakes… that much of it supposes that if the truth shocks, then the shocking must be the truth. Before long, the vulgar become the bearers of truth, while the refined become the bearers of falsehood.

It is hardly surprising, then, that there should be a lot of vulgarity about: for who is not on the side of truth against falsehood? And every decent man these days feels the necessity to show not only his truthfulness, but also his solidarity with the poor and downtrodden (in whom the truth inheres) by expressing himself crudely and using bad language.

It’s your lucky day. The essay appears to be available free of charge on the New Criterion website. By the way, for only $48, you can get a one-year print and online subscription, which includes enough Anthony Daniels / Theodore Dalrymple essays to fill several (very good) books.

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