Over at The Critic, the skeptical doctor admonishes the absurd academic who recently wrote a book attempting to philosophically justify the disturbing rise of tattooing in the Western world.
The author goes some way to recognition of the essential contradiction of the modern vogue for tattoos. On the one hand tattoos still retain some association with the rebellious, the marginal and the antinomian; on the other, they have become so commonplace that they can no longer be considered unconventional, but another manifestation of herd-like behaviour.
Over at City Journal, our dubious doctor calls out the standard left-liberal hypocrisy when it comes to complaining about the perceived rise in anti-Jewish sentiment among those on the political right, while conveniently neglecting to mention the growth of Islamism among Muslims in Europe.
The omission, symptomatic of ideological blindness or a misplaced delicacy, is even more remarkable because Birnbaum’s son, Jean, a journalist for Le Monde, has published eloquent books on the refusal of the French Left to recognize the religious element in Islamist terrorism, notably A Religious Silence: The Left in the Face of Jihadism and The Religion of the Weak: What Jihadism Says about Us.
In this week’s Takimag column, Theodore Dalrymple admonishes Norman Mailer’s self-promoting tendencies as a precursor to our own self-aggrandizing era.
It was all rather disgusting, but it worked like a charm: He immediately had offers of jobs aplenty, though of course his real worth as a doctor remained precisely the same. Reticence, which is to me a far more attractive quality than boastfulness, will get you nowhere, and nothing must be left to speak for itself. You must blow your own trumpet, if possible louder than anyone else’s.
Over at The Epoch Times, our reasonable doctor stands up for order and the rule of law in the face of more BLM acts of vandalism and destruction—this time in Bristol, England.
The verdict in a court of law had undermined or was in complete contradiction to the concept of the rule of law or even of the need for law at all. If citizens could carry out acts of revenge with impunity in the name of justice, what need would there be for such cumbersome procedures as trials?
In his weekly Takimag column, the skeptical doctor assails the idiotically green ideologues in western European countries, beginning with the German government’s absurd decision to close down all nuclear power plants in the country.
There are those who see behind the closure a sinister Russian plot, Mrs. Merkel—they say—having long been a Russian agent (she grew up in the German Democratic Republic, was a prominent member of the communist youth movement, and learned fluent Russian). The less power Germany generates for itself, the more dependent it becomes on Russia. But this hypothesis is redundant: All that was required for such a decision to have been made was a homegrown militantly self-righteous movement of spoiled brats who have never known hardship, irrespective of the recent history of their country.
In his second January New English Review essay, our nostalgic doctor thinks back to his visit to Romania toward the end of the vicious, communist regime of Comrade Ceausescu in 1989.
There is still some discussion as to whether his overthrow was a revolution or a coup d’état. Actually, the two theories are not completely incompatible: even if the outbreak of protest in Romania was planned by prominent members of the regime at a time when communism was crumbling elsewhere, hoping thereby to preserve the regime’s fundamental nature and thus the privileges of its nomenklatura, the coup, if that is what it is, ushered in changes that proved revolutionary in effect and scope.
Dr. Dalrymple starts off the new year with two essays in New English Review, with the first one concerning two of his more memorable hospital visits, famous novels set in hospitals, and hospital poetry.
In my day, patients routinely stayed ten days or two weeks after such an operation; they resumed life gingerly, as if their operative wound were always in danger of coming apart, and generally felt pretty gruesome for quite a time afterwards.
Nowadays, by contrast, a stay of two days in hospital is exceptional, and patients are ushered out of the hospital doors as soon as they will not die if sent home.
Last week’s Takimag column has our aging doctor recount for us what a literal pain it can be getting old. Our best wishes go out to Theodore Dalrymple for 2022 and beyond.
Until recently, I thought myself all but immune from the travails of age; like death itself, I believed that aging applied to others, not to myself, and was almost a sign or consequence of personal defect. But now the prospect of a severely limited life is very real to me: I have taken what the French call un coup de vieux, a blow of old age, such as I have sometimes noticed, with disapproval amounting almost to a moral judgment, in others.
In his last Epoch Times column of 2021, our favorite doctor mocks the current leftist, racialist demagogue pretending to run America’s third largest city, as she pointlessly expounds on a wholly fabricated holiday—which owes many of its bogus principles to Joseph Nyerere, the communist who ran Tanzania into the ground.
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Lightfoot’s use of Kwanzaa and its supposed seven principles deriving from African culture is purely demagogic, a tool of political entrepreneurism and rent-seeking—a tool that she’s using while ignoring problems such as the drive-by shootings that are her responsibility to solve.
The good doctor returns to First Things with an essay on the demise of Dr. Didier Raoult, the (in)famous French microbiologist who falsely claimed hydroxychloroquine as a valid treatment for Covid-19.
A man who, whatever his faults, had deserved well of his fellow creatures, who contributed more than most to the reduction of the concrete suffering of mankind, will now be remembered not for the good he did nor for the enlightenment he brought, but for a kind of charlatanry, without his ever truly having been a charlatan. He is a man destroyed by the dialectical relationship of ego to mankind’s willingness to invest gurus with all but supernatural powers.