The skeptical doctor reviews a new book on the end of Iran’s Pahlavi dynasty over at Law & Liberty.
He thought that he had both the right and the duty, genuinely for the sake of his country, to rule rather than reign, but while he had the ideas of an autocrat, he also had those of an ordinary decent person who baulked at the shedding of much blood, the only way, in the end, that he could have preserved his throne (and possibly not even then).
The pertinent title of this week’s Theodore Dalrymple Takimag column says it all.
However, something very strange has happened to many of the lizards on my terrace in France: They have turned black, which a high proportion of them now are. At first I thought I must be imagining it, but further observation established the point quite clearly.
In the March edition of New English Review, the good doctor remembers childhood trips to the zoo, his fascination with millipedes, a friendly cricket match in London at the Oval, and The Spectator columnist Jeffrey Bernard. Memories…
Of the patrons, the most deplorable or notorious was a man called Jeffrey Bernard, who actually umpired the cricket match, at least for a time. He could be relied upon to be neutral because he wrote for the Spectator but drank (and how!) at the Coach and Horses. Indeed, his drinking, and the problems it occasioned, was the subject of his weekly column called Low Life which sometimes failed to appear, it absence that week being explained to disappointed readers by the lapidary statement that ‘Jeffrey Bernard is unwell.’
Our favorite doctor finds yet another example of trendy, nonsensical leftist, politically-correct ideology creeping into (formerly) highly-regarded medical journals over at The Epoch Times.
The very absurdity of the expression “people who are pregnant” is an advantage from the point of view of those who would like to impose a totalitarian regime on the rest of us (forgetting, as they do that totalitarian regimes quickly devour their young). If we are forced in one way or another to use absurd locutions, we forgo our probity, despise ourselves, and then lose all will to resist.
In last week’s Takimag column, Dr. Dalrymple comes across a pathetically farcical article in an English university student magazine about the benefits of crying in public. As if Western culture was not already trending toward the laughably weak, feeble, self-absorbed, overly feminized, and excessively emotional.
A population that hesitates not to cry in public is likely to be also a population of many frauds, of many actors and actresses, and of many liars. More dangerously, it will be a population without the capacity for real self-examination; many will no longer be able to distinguish between minor inconvenience and real tragedy, between slight loss and real grief, not only in others but in themselves. It will be a society in which tears will be not only an argument, but a conclusive one; and the more tears the more conclusive.
The dubious doctor covers another preposterous story from Britain involving the arrest of a man by the police for simply having posted a disrespectful and crude tweet.
But increasingly a tyranny of self-proclaimed virtue seems to be the aim of university-trained intellectuals who, in the name of their own beneficence, seek to silence those whose opinions they find objectionable. It is the very class that one might have supposed had most to fear from censorship, both legal and extra-legal, that most strongly advocates it.
Over at The Epoch Times, our skeptical doctor runs into a delusional bolshevik academic and ponders whether such an unhinged ideologue should be corrupting the youth.
The professor was an intelligent man, and probably cultivated too. How was it possible, in the Year of Our Lord 2021, for such a person still to believe that, until the advent of Stalin, the Russian revolution was a good thing, to be emulated or repeated elsewhere?
The good doctor is enjoying fine health and taking advantage of more free time to work his way through his massive library during the lockdown as we learn in his weekly Takimag column.
I have been fortunate (so far) during the pandemic. Not only have I not caught the disease, but I have an isolated house and a large number of unread books that I have accumulated over the years to keep me occupied. I never buy a book without intending to read it, but, like the person whose eyes are bigger than his stomach, I buy books much faster than I can read them. They pile up.
Theodore Dalrymple remarks on the fawning and ludicrous coverage of the fifth anniversary of the death of David Bowie by the farcical, liberal British media.
Once I wrote an article for a French cultural review in which I said that a rock concert appeared to me like a fascist rally of libertinism. The conformism with overtones of revolution, or at least of overturning established norms of behavior, seemed to me rather similar.
The February edition of New Criterion showcases our favorite doctor’s review of a new book on the invention of the alphabetical order.
The way in which we classify the things, people, and events in the world is very important, but there is no way that is correct for all purposes. One of my projects in retirement is to classify and catalogue my books, some thirty thousand of them, in time for my relict to sell them to a bookseller at a knock-down price merely to disembarrass herself and the house of them. How do I classify them? Alphabetical order plays a part, but only a part. Nobody else looking at the books would understand the way they are arranged. My classification, an autobiography of sorts, is unique and dies with me.