The Sketch Pad Near the Deathbed

A portrait of a dying woman at a recent National Gallery exhibition had this effect on Dalrymple:

This persuaded me that the one thing we refuse to do in these supposedly multicultural times is to try to see the world, including ourselves, through the eyes of others, either in time or in space. Might it not be that those others would consider our own determination to push aside or avoid personal confrontation with death—which is, after all, still the inevitable dénouement of human life, technical progress notwithstanding—morbid and neurotic? Is our avoidance of all contact with death (except on video games) not a pretense that we shall live forever, that death is an aberration that we shall not fall into thanks to our healthy diet, our full health insurance, and our thirty minutes’ exercise a day, and that, while some people no doubt continue to die, it is really by their own fault or at their own insistence?

Read the whole thing.

8 thoughts on “The Sketch Pad Near the Deathbed

    1. Darian

      What exactly is so objectionable about that article? Is it wrong to point out that the Gypsies are a parasitical and criminally-inclined culture?

      Reply
      1. Rachel

        I agree with Sophie.
        Putting aside the antisemitism, the writer isn’t just saying that gypsys should stop doing certain bad things or have a high crime rate. He is being very vicious. He crosses the line. That article is full of venom.
        I’ve seen many articles like that in Taki’s mag.
        My opinion of TD has gone down since he started writing for Taki’s mag. Does he really need the money that much?

        Reply
        1. Darian

          The article is, like everything Jim Goad has written, bluntly and vulgarly stated for the purposes of shock value; yet, I cannot see anything written there that isn’t more or less accurate. The comparison to Jews is reasonable enough, as both are (or, in the case of Jews, were) nomadic, stateless, groups of Asiatic origin, who are simultaneously a part of Europe and yet are alien to it. Of course, temperamentally Gypsies have far more in common with urban black American culture than they do Ashkenazim culture, so I can see why you might see it as insulting to be compared to Gypsies, but the parallels cannot be ignored.

          Does every article about a minority group need to be detached and effete? Perhaps a little belligerence is both warranted and healthy, and perhaps if people started showing a little more venom towards the Gypsies they may actually curtail their criminality.

          I don’t care much for Taki himself (who comes across as a wealthy lowlife) nor do I care much for Jim Goad’s writing style, but Taki’s magazine publishes many good articles untainted by the ubiquitous stench of political correctness, which is more than one can say for a rag like National Review, which stomps and purges anyone who steps too far outside the Overton window.

          Reply
          1. Rachel

            It’s true I was offended by the comparison of Jews to Gypsies. The superficial similarities that you describe are there. Except you wrote those similarities in a polite way and with the acknowledgement of gigantic differences…not like that writer did.

            “Does every article about a minority group need to be detached and effete? Perhaps a little belligerence is both warranted and healthy, and perhaps if people started showing a little more venom towards the Gypsies they may actually curtail their criminality.”
            You are right. But that article cast gypsies as dirty evil parasites and nothing else. I would have liked a more in depth look at why the indiginous gypsies in Britain assimilated while those in Eastern Europe didn’t. Did child marriage and literacy in gypsies improve during Communist rule, and if it did, why did that happen?
            Are there differences in gypsey crime rates between different countries?
            Instead it was a vile shallow racist article telling us how he thinks they are horribly disgusting. I say this even while I disagree with open borders and detest child marriage.

            “….Taki’s magazine publishes many good articles untainted by the ubiquitous stench of political correctness,”
            True. That is what bothers me about the magazine. You have the odd good article and writer like John Derbyshire mixed in with some vile racist articles like this example. I still think it is bad that TD writes there.

  1. TMay

    Since I can’t comment on the whole article because Disqus got my passwords mixed up and never recognizes me, I’ll comment here on the whole article.

    Someone once got very upset in front of me telling me that Gandhi had refused penicillin for his wife of 75 years in 1944 who was dying of pneumonia and who died. The speaker thought less of Gandhi for that. I was non-judgmental. Reading your article I now see that perhaps Gandhi had a different view of death. I am not however pushing this as the solution for all, and certainly hope that Obama’s water carriers don’t start pushing it down our throats as a way to save money.

    I also don’t identify with people who find it easy to kill healthy animals.

    There is one thing I know i disagree with Gandhi and that was his idea that the Jews should have used non-violent resistance to the Nazis during WW II and before. Gandhi is not the first great person whose theory showed its vulnerability IMHO in the face of the Nazis. IMHO, Carl Jung’s theory also showed its vulnerability in the face of the Nazis. Jung thought that if one would recognize the Nazis as Shadow and embrace them, then their negative power would dissipate. I don’t agree with Jung.

    However Viktor Frankl’s theory Man’s Search for Meaning did go through the furnace of Nazism and survived. it is also very easy to read and understand and it is short.

    Reply
  2. Darian

    “You are right. But that article cast gypsies as dirty evil parasites and nothing else.”

    True. Most all races, ethnic groups, and cultures have their virtues and vices, none are wholly bad nor wholly good. That being said, the point that he was making in the article is that if there is one group on this planet that is close to wholly bad as a culture can be (from an outsider’s perspective) it is the Gypsies. I’m trying to fairly examine Gypsy culture, but ultimately I cannot appreciate its virtues anymore than I can appreciate the virtues of urban black American culture (which aren’t so different), I suppose both may appeal to some people, but personally both Gypsy and urban black values and aesthetics repulse me. As I alluded to earlier, you can’t exactly expect nuance or subtlety from Jim Goad, he’s no Theodore Dalrymple.

    “That is what bothers me about the magazine. You have the odd good article and writer like John Derbyshire mixed in with some vile racist articles like this example.”

    I going to assume you’re mostly referring to anti-semitism. Well, I think it is simply an unavoidable and unfortunate part of most sites outside the mainstream conservative/libertarian sphere. Though I find it manifests itself more as resentment and distrust than genocidal hatred. An example of what I’m talking about would go like this: “why can the Jews have an exclusionary ethno-state but stop white Europeans from having their own”, which overstates the power and influence of liberal Jews, but certainly isn’t an invalid criticism of liberal Jews’ attitudes towards white gentiles.

    Regardless of any implicit or explicit anti-semitism, I still prefer sites such as Taki’s mag, Altright, and Vdare over National Review or The Telegraph. Mainstream conservative sites and publications have become so beholden to political correctness and silly liberal taboo that they can’t address issues of civilizational importance from a true right-wing perspective. When National Review fired John Derbyshire they showed they care more about liberal opinions and taboos than they do conservatism. The Overton window shifts ever more slightly to the left each passing year and all those to the right trip over themselves to stay within its confines.

    Reply
  3. Rachel

    Thanks for writing.
    You are right about John Derbyshire, freedom of speech, the overton window. I fully understand needing to read something different to the mainstream and being prepared to put up with antisemitism in order to have some freedom to read the whole spectrum of viewpoints.

    Just to be picky, and this is the bit that gets me about Taki’s mag; Not all Jews are liberal. Outside of the USA , I don’t think that most Jews are liberal.
    British Jews, for example, generally seem to vote for the same parties in the same percentages as the rest of the country, according to past surveys and statistics.
    I don’t think Israelis would vote the same way American Jews did in the last US election.

    You can call me oversensitive, but I think Taki’s mag goes too far with comparing gypsies to the “contents of a janitor’s bucket” and being rather negative about Jews in lots of articles. Perhaps Theodore Dalrymple is less sensitive than me.
    I still think it’s awful that he writes for there, but we all have our own opinions.
    I can understand people reading it for the reasons you said.

    Reply

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