In Taki’s Magazine Dalrymple comments on Meryl Streep’s recent imposition of her political opinions on the rest of us. He mentions his irritation at the attention given to actors’ opinions and the adolescent nature of President-elect Trump’s reply, and then points out a superior source of commentary: taxi drivers…
I was once in Singapore trying to catch a taxi. You cannot just hail a taxi on the street in Singapore, you have to go to a taxi stand. This I did, but still no taxi would stop for me. The taxis swept past me as if I did not exist. Then someone came and hailed a taxi about two feet to my right. A taxi stopped immediately and took him. Was this some kind of discrimination, in the politically correct sense of the word? No: When I stood two feet to the right of where I had been standing, a taxi stopped for me immediately.
I told the driver of my experience and he, Chinese without a great deal of English, replied, “Singapore velly, velly law.”
Have you read anything in the Financial Times, or any other serious newspaper, that so succinctly and accurately sums up a country or society?
Take another example, more recent. I was in an English university town where I took a taxi from the station to the university. We fell to talking, the driver and I, and to keep our conversation going I asked him whether the students were nice.
“No,” he said, “they’re evil bastards.”
This judgment was so spontaneous, so deeply felt, and so obviously the fruit of what sociologists call lived experience, that it could only have been true.