Our scholarly doctor reviews a new book by a disgruntled liberal literature professor who has recently left Yale University and academia.
Because his life has been so wrapped up with the university and then writing for the intelligentsia as a freelance, I think he underestimates the problems of political correctness (or Wokeness) in institutions other than those of higher education. If anything, the problems are now worse, and even more sinister, in primary and secondary than in tertiary education: give me a child until he is seven, etc.
In his weekly Takimag column, our quiet doctor expresses his longing for a more muted world in which he can read a book in peace in a café or be heard by the person he is dining with at a restaurant without having to yell.
The English have always taken their pleasures sadly, but now they take them first noisily, then antisocially, then forgetfully. Several times I have heard young people claim to have had a wonderful time the night before, the evidence for which is that they can remember nothing whatever of it. On this view of things, death is the final, eternal nightclub.
In the November issue of New Criterion, Theodore Dalrymple reviews A.N. Wilson’s autobiography, which ultimately does not deliver on providing the reader with a better understanding of this prolific writer’s character.
Wilson is a skilled writer and a learned man drawn by nature to arcana; he has many gifts, and yet one feels that something is missing. If I am not mistaken, he feels this himself.
In the City Journal, our humorous doctor writes about this week’s output of his favorite political cartoonist, Matt Pritchett of The Telegraph.
I am reminded of what Horace Walpole said: “The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” And to those who think and feel, it is a tragicomedy.
In this week’s Takimag, our well-traveled doctor has the (dis)pleasure of experiencing modern British customer service, this time on a British Airways flight back to London.
The cabin crew of the aircraft that brought me back to London was no doubt well-intentioned, and they were not actively rude, but they were singularly lacking in grace or charm; and in that respect, they were truly representative of the population from which they were drawn.
Over at The Epoch Times, the good doctor opines on the ridiculous reaction of certain ethnic minorities of the Labour Party to the new British Prime Minister, who is the son of Punjabi immigrants from East Africa.
The envy of wealth is thought by those who express it to be noble, as if to hate the rich were to love the poor: But envy and hatred are much stronger and more durable emotions than love, particularly in political matters. Hatred of the rich is perfectly compatible with contempt for the poor.
The skeptical doctor warns us about the potential consequences of the Liz Truss debacle in his City Journal column.
The incapacity and lack of courage of the political class, no matter how lengthily or expensively educated, is a clue to the despair that many people now feel in Britain. Its incompetence and lack of probity, its absence of the most elementary understanding, compares unfavorably with the practical intelligence of the local plumber, carpenter, or electrician.
A wonderfully meandering and thoughtful Dalrymple piece is now available over at Quadrant.
Kent’s warning is particularly apposite today, because we live increasingly in a world in which words and words alone are the measure of all things, especially vice and virtue. A good person is one who espouses the right opinions, and an even better one is someone who trumpets them. The converse is also true, that a bad person is one who does not have the right opinions, and an even worse one is someone who trumpets the wrong opinions.
Over at Law & Liberty, our freedom-loving doctor reacts vehemently against the removal of the excellent publication The European Conservative from the catalogue of Britain’s largest distributor of magazines after two homosexuals complained of having had their feelings hurt by a cartoon. Sound familiar?
Citizens of free countries have not only a right to be outraged, but a duty to keep their outrage within bounds. There are certain newspapers which outrage me every time I read them, for example, but it never occurs to me that I should lobby for their suppression. The problem is that where opinion is the whole of virtue, public expression of outrage is a sign of exceptional virtue—as well as being the principal joy of fanatics.
Over at The Epoch Times, our favorite doctor excoriates two indoctrinated green radicals for staging an obnoxiously self-indulgent scene in the National Gallery in London. Poor Vincent Van Gogh…
Youth suffers from both fevered over-imagination and a complete absence of imagination. This is the natural consequence of a lack of experience of life, in which limited experience is taken as the total of all possible human experience. Youth accepts uncritically its own wildest projections and doesn’t know the limitations of its own knowledge. It believes itself endowed with moral purity and allows for no ambiguity, let alone tragic choice.