Please Feel My Pain

In the New English Review Dalrymple cites Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and television talk shows, criticizing the culture of sentimentality and emotionalism, in which the professed strength of one’s convictions is sufficient proof of sincerity and good will:

The cultural development in question is the systematic over-estimation of the importance not so much of emotion, as of the expression of emotion – one’s own emotion, that is. The manner with which something is said has come to be more important than what is said. Saying nothing, but with sufficient emotional vehemence or appearance of sincerity, has become the mark of the serious man. Our politicians are, in effect, psychobabblers because we are psychobabblers; not the medium, but the emotion, is the message.

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