I know some are irritated by what they perceive as Dalrymple’s constant complaints about modern life, but as this piece in Taki’s Magazine demonstrates, they sure can be fun. Here he adopts the format of the late Charlie Hebdo writer Stephane Charbonnier in his recently-published A Little Treatise of Intolerance:
Then there are those people who walk about with headphones—great big ones in the case of hip-hoppers, small and more discreet ones in the case of people with an IQ of over 100. They are in their own little world, impervious to all that goes on around them. They are hermits, but without spirituality. Moreover, in trains and elsewhere you hear the irritating tish-ter-tish that emanates from their supposedly private little world…
When deafness comes they will claim public assistance to obtain the best possible hearing aids and other forms of subvention. It will be made illegal to discriminate against the self-inflictedly deaf, and children’s books will have to include deaf characters to prevent hearing-ism. I think you will agree with me: those who walk around with earphones should be locked in a room in which Schoenberg is relayed at maximum volume without pause for 10 years.
Then there are the automated telephone messages, telling you that your call is very important to us, followed by a decision tree that makes the average oak look like a telegraph pole, then ghastly music interspersed with lying, prerecorded apologies for the delay in getting through to one of “us.” When finally one does get through, as often as not, it is to the wrong department, so that the whole process has to start again while the call is redirected. One expresses one’s irritation and then feels bad, because the person to whom one has expressed it is not the person responsible, and is only a poorly-paid and no doubt bored cipher of his or her employer. One vows never to lose one’s temper again with such unfortunates, and keeps the vow until the next time.