Thursday, July 28, 2005

SIGNS OF A DEEPER ILLNESS. I'd heard about Theodore Dalrymple, and imagined that he was all about how there's too much spittin' and swearin' and friggin' and frugin' these days. Well, I underestimated him. To hear Dalrymple tell it, the problem with kids these days, and adults these days, is not Desperate Housewives or Britney Spears... it's Henrik Ibsen!

Yes, A Doll's House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabbler -- they were not just plays, but propaganda vehicles meant to convince people to "express their true nature unmediated by the distortions of society" -- leading to the 20th Century, with its spittin' and swearin' and friggin' and frugin' and Holocausts. Here is a prime example of Dalrymple's analytic method, in which he reacts to Parson Manders' willful ignorance in Ghosts:
Coming from a character whom Ibsen scorns as ridiculous and bigoted, these words, which contain an obvious truth, are meant to be rejected out of hand. In Ibsen’s philosophy, everyone -- at least Nature’s aristocrats, for in fact Ibsen was no egalitarian or democrat -- must examine every question for himself and arrive at his own answer: for example, whether the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is historically true -- or at least historically true for him.
This is wrong in so many ways -- is Dalrymple aware that Jefferson, surely a democrat, believed in a natural aristocracy? -- but that citation of the infamously anti-Semitic Protocols is in whole 'nother league of intellectual thuggery, attempting to daub Ibsen with the scent of Auschwitz, toward the end of...

... of what? I think our dear, daffy Kulturkampf is entering a new phase. It is not just low-riding jeans or foul-mouthed MCs that our would-be Truth Ministers would abolish -- they want the decks cleared good and proper, and that means uprooting everything, root and branch, that ever led to any insolence or insubordination whatsoever. Doesn't matter how splendid the artistic achievement -- if it ever made a prole who got within sniffing distance of it rise up on his hind legs and question his lot, then it obviously enabled the death camps*.

For bonus enjoyment visit Roger L. Simon's approving thread, particularly this guy, who starts here --
Prostitution used to be the poor man's outlet for relationship/sexual discontent. For an hour or two you can have the "perfect" woman.

In our enlightened times prostitution is discouraged.

So now instead of the evils of prostitution we get the evils of broken marraige.

Care to tell me which course of action is better?
-- and just gets further and further out.

(* -- pre-emptive demurrer: I do not mean by this that prole-stiffening potential is the hallmark of art; art may cause all kinds of effects -- side-effects, they might be -- besides the sublimnity which makes it self-identifying to the open-eyed.)

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