In another new piece in the Spectator, Dalrymple decries English vulgarity in speech, dress and manners, which he calls “the ruling characteristic” of the country.
It is as if the English had adopted vulgarity as a totalitarian ideology, a communism of culture rather than of the economy. This vulgarity is insolent, militant and triumphant, will brook no competition and tolerate no dissent. It exercises a kind of subliminal terror to discourage any protest.
We Americans are certainly not perfect in this respect. Our attire seems to get more casual by the day, with sweatsuits and pajamas becoming common on airplanes, and our pop culture descends steadily toward the gutter. But I don’t think the vulgarity here has reached the militant level.
Hat tip to Michael P. and Christine C.
Schadenfreude (unjustified in this case)
Once again Dalrymple is absolutely right. The percentage of British people with crude and vulgar tattoos and piercings is now quite astonishing. Even many middle-class young people have them.
I live near the second largest city in England, Birmingham, (where Dalrymple was a prison doctor for many years). Whenever I visit the city, I would like to wear smart clothes but I always decide against it. The reason is that I don’t want to risk being sneered or shouted at by members of the underclass for attempting to appear “above them”. It’s such an unpleasant experience that I’d rather avoid it.
Americans should be extremely relieved that things haven’t reached this state in the US – so far, at least.
How utterly ridiculous. I live in one of the poorest cities in Britain and have never in my life been sneered at for dressing well. Buses are full of smartly dressed older people who I’ve never once seen abused by the scruffier, younger generation.
So what exactly is shouted at you when you walk around Birmingham in a suit or smart jacket? You’re not talking about wearing a bowler hat and walking like John Cleese are you?
I think that vulgarity is embraced principally to deride the sense human dignity. There is something at the core of the meaning “disgraceful” which represents this rotten prejudice.
To be fair, Birmingham is a city like no other.
BION I’m impersesd! Cool post!