Decline & Fall in a Welsh Town

In his September essay for The New Criterion, Theodore Dalrymple (writing under his real name, Anthony Daniels) recounts his recent trip to Aberystwyth, a seaside resort town and the home of the National Library of Wales. Despite the noticeable degradation, the good doctor ends up managing to find some hope for optimism among a few of the town dwellers.

As for the non-student population, its most notable, or noticeable, characteristic is self-abuse. Tattoos and facial ironmongery are much in evidence, as is obesity; and down the promenade waddle slatternly mothers pushing their infants in wheeled contrivances, the insemination of the mothers having been so miraculous, given their size, that it makes the Virgin Birth seem mundane by comparison. Everyone, even the elderly, dresses as if he has risen late on a Sunday morning after a hard night and early hours in the bar, and put on the first crumpled clothes that came to hand and required no effort to don. Self-esteem has completely obliterated self-respect as a desideratum.

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