New forum for discussion of Dalrymple and related issues

Our reader and friend Gavin has created a forum for discussing Dalrymple’s writing and the issues he raises. We look forward to interacting with you over there. Visit the site, register and join the fun. There are already several interesting topics under discussion, such as “What is ‘high culture’?”

15 thoughts on “New forum for discussion of Dalrymple and related issues

  1. Gavin

    Thanks Clinton.

    And needless to say, folks, keep visiting Skeptical Doctor. This is the hub where you can find all the background info on Dalrymple, and frankly it’s my main source for knowing about new Dalrymple articles.

  2. Jaxon

    I’ve been reading the forum – Nick’s ‘Dating Nowadays’
    To quote Jane Austen:

    “We must not expect a lively young man to be always so guarded and circumspect. It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. Women fancy admiration means more than it does.”

    “And men take care that they should.”

    I’ll get back to that. Like everything that I’ve read on the forum so far this is very interesting. I made a comment some time back, on this weblog, it was a variation on Groucho Marx’s comment, something like “I’m not interested in girls that would want me”. I notice Gavin made a similar reference suggesting that it’s indicative of men who treat women with indifference and that some women are perversely attracted to that.
    Well Gavin may not have had my comment in mind, whatever the case, I will say that I didn’t mean it like that, I was being partly humorous (yeah, just hilarious), frankly I’m a bit of a loser when it comes to romance. But I do have female… acquaintances, even friends who seem to like me, very much even.
    Admittedly I shocked one of them with my anti feminist views recently, she studied theology at Oxbridge… so she’s not stupid but does seem to have some stupid feminist notions, I’m yet to see how that pans out but I’m far from concerned. She pretty much gives as good as she gets and considering how strongly I feel about the issue, how much personal unhappiness I ascribe to feminism, I think I’ve been very civil… and good natured and that’s pretty much how I’ve always been.

    But alas blah blah blah blah blah… no wonder I’m rubbish with women right? I chuckle as I write that, I’ve largely got over the pain though it took the best part of twenty years. The thing is, yes, I daresay I can rant… it’s because I’m like Isaac Newton, with the difference that I’m rubbish at maths… and perhaps a few other minor things like lacking genius etc
    I’ve largely opted for the lonely life and inevitably frustrations still get pent up, if I have a lot to say it’s largely because most people have by and large neglected to say them, it’s all on my shoulders… I’m the giant in this village.

    Actually I have many subdued periods when I don’t have so much to say. Fancy that, I’m in a computer room and someone interrupted me to say hello and ask if I’ve been away as they haven’t seen me for a while and “good to see you” etc, how nice… obviously not too put off by our occasional discussions and no, not a desperate neurotic thirty-something woman reconsidering her options.

    To Quote forum:

    “Rather, they require that they meet acquaintances with referal to a sort of internal script. If a ‘conversation’ goes off-script at all they are totally shocked and, furthermore, they are angered at the other participant for not obeying the strict social rules which bind us.”

    This stupid noob-child is so indoctrinated, so utterly a part of her society that she forgets what conversation is. She neglects to realise the abundance of conversational points you are providing.”

    One occasion where I didn’t get a chance to go on and on was at work, there was a new employee, a young woman (early twenties, a girl really). She was filling in for the umpteenth woman (yes I exaggerate) to take maternity leave (her second, but hey that’s cool, I’m no hard corporate type… humanity has to reproduce itself after all).

    Anyway this girl, I could almost immediately tell. Jane Austen used the word ‘affected’, and it’s so very appropriate and true. She was not a natural beauty but did a reasonable job cosmetically, not over the top but obviously very self conscious of her look. Travel was obviously very important to her, the trendy ‘gap year’ type of thing, and I utterly despise it (okay, that’s also a bit of an exaggeration… maybe). Digression, have you ever tried to book a flight at STA travel?

    What you get are these young eternal-gap-year-bohemian-surfer-Glastonbury-dope smoker types… not all of them, my experience of STA is quite limited actually, but more than enough; I suppose I was a bit like that once but only a bit, I really don’t think I had the attitude I was too inadequate and wracked with religious turmoil… relatively speaking I’ve travelled very little.

    “And men take care that they should.”

    And I knew from very early in life that a man’s most important role is to take care that they should not.

    The ‘conversation’ had barely started when the subject of travel came up… I knew the script (and actually I had recently been to Turkey and Greece and I have significant knowledge of ancient Greece). That might have impressed her, but sincerely it didn’t really come to mind, the reason being that I travel so seldom that bizarrely for me travel is not so different to, say, reading Thucydides; and travel is frankly often a lot more tedious, I’d far prefer to discuss Pericles, Anaxagoras, Phidias, Aeschylus (I had to check the spelling, doah!) Alcibiades etc, than having actually been to Delphi.

    Anyway, my saying that I don’t really travel and barely hinting at my feelings about travel was all it took… she lost interest (“He’s obviously not trying to impress me, who does he think he is” is probably something like what was going through her mind, but feel free to disagree) she wasn’t rude as such but I got the message immediately and attempted no more conversation; that wasn’t enough for her and a subtle agenda of contempt ensued.

    I grew up in a culture where that attitude is rather too common and they, the nation, has a tyranny of mediocrity as a result. Had there been a few other woman that she could have turned against me it would have been deeply unpleasant. Mercifully the culture I now inhabit is a great improvement on that which I grew up in and her poison didn’t take root. Anyway, she’s gone and I was civil toward her throughout and I’ve just put off doing more important things, what a loser.

  3. Jaxon

    I don’t know if my writing about forum comments will be tolerated here; more probably just ignored. I don’t mind so much either way. If I write up a comment that I intend on posting but decide not to (yes that does actually happen) that is not an entirely wasted process. However, if I do post it I invariably mull over what people might make of it, how it may be scrutinised… I like to think this is more good than bad.
    Someone said of language:
    “I think language does change, but nothing should be supported that renders it less precise.”

    There has also been mention of Shakespeare and how his rather, I’d say, perhaps wrongly, often cavalier approach was justified because… Well, because he was The Bard. The consequences of getting it wrong were very serious, he had tread rather carefully… The risks he took, however he couched his language or employed metaphor and indirection were surely breathtaking. I believe he had at least one fairly close relation hung drawn and quartered for unfavourable allegiances.
    Also, if I understand correctly, at grammar school he was immersed in rhetoric and dialectic and was consequently no stranger to aporia; there are no simple resolutions to human dilemmas.

    Moreover, he was greatly influenced by Ovid (who evoked a cosmos of Heraclitean flux) and Montaigne, and as TD himself mentions when discussing King Lear, Edmund reflecting on his status as ‘bastard’ –
    “Wherefore should I
    Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
    The curiosity of nations to deprive me…”

    Surely there’s a substantial dose of Montaigne informing that sentiment.

    I’m not aware of any examples of prose by Shakespeare (what I consider to be prose at least) I wouldn’t be surprised if he was virtually incapable of it, much less capable than, say, Bacon or perhaps Ben Johnson, anyway.

    Precision and concision. Great! Everything I write needs more of that, but these are qualities not necessarily without there pitfalls.

  4. Jaxon

    Or perhaps actually he makes a dubious distinction between public and private more than he conflates it. More importantly they should have pursued more rigourously his notion that it’s a “fallacious argument to say that the law is for freedom”

  5. Jaxon

    Just been reading on the forum about Received Pronunciation, Hmmm, I do wonder. Although her manner isn’t attractive to me and I’d by no means call her stunning I’d hazard a guess she doesn’t have much difficulty in attracting men and that’s on account, mainly, of the lottery of genetics, inheritance, and of course the self perpetuating confidence that arises from that. I’m pretty sure she’s quite happy to indulge that unfair advantage in a way that is inappropriate and in yer face, like her video is in yer face.

    But anyway that’s just my usual tedious gripe.
    Probably of more interest here, should anyone see this, are the responses to an article by Roger Scruton

    At least one response, the commenter was basically deriding him as a fake and felt the need to point out that he was born in Luton (I don’t know if he was) but the implication of this is doubly bad as far as I can make out because the commenter was doubtless intending to conjure an image of Luton as it is now which I assume for most people is an example of what happens when people fail to maintain certain standards let alone aspire to the very admirable standards of Scruton.

    I recommend this

    1. Jaxon

      Well having made a claim about Scruton’s standards this
      rather less than favourable review by D. MacCulloch may be of interest.
      Here I quote from an Amazon review.

      “Scruton clearly loves the church, but only to the extent that it aligns with his conservative principles – as a place of consolation and comfort that has grown out of the nation’s culture and language. Where an understanding of the church goes beyond this, into articulating missions either for born-again evangelicalism, or for equality, rights and social justice, Scruton sees only the potential for damage to the ancient national culture he loves”

      Yeah, I can see where this person is coming from and I suppose this is really why I tend to admire Scruton.

  6. Jaxon

    I’ve just been reading a comment on the forum about why the person commenting has been avoiding online arguments.

    Hmmm.. I think there’s a lot intelligent, very thought provoking discussions taking place. Maybe you guys (good folk) ought to consider devoting some time to designing a, wait for it… A Reality TV program, series… thingy.

    Here’s an example that comes to mind, though I dare say there are better examples. I know Monty Don is not is to everyone’s taste. I happen to be interested in gardening and traditional crafts. I saw most of his series called Mastercrafts. Stone masonry and blacksmithing were the episodes I was most interested in. I wasn’t expecting too much of weaving but was pleasantly surprised.

    I also liked how people were taken out of their urban milieu to try something different in the country.
    But alas that need not really be of much concern here I suppose. Just that I think it would be interesting to see left liberals patiently confronted with the implications of their world views.

  7. Jaxon

    You’d probably need to get some celeb’s like Russell Brand and Kate Moss. Mind you Brand is rather incorrigible, maybe more trouble than it’s worth.


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