How did you hear of Dalrymple?

One of the greatest writers living today

Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Connor » 30 Aug 2012, 06:43

Somehow – and I don't quite remember how – I stumbled upon Theodore Dalrymple's cache of articles on the New Statesman website about a year and a half ago. The titles and accompanying blurbs were enough to pique my interest. There was one article in particular, however, that caught my attention: “No One Tips Their Cap Anymore.”

Originally, I was just expecting this article to be a sort of contrarian, sarcastic joke. After all, who would actually bother to complain about “bad manners” in our era? Weren't there more important things - more “serious issues” to discuss?

Yet the article was written in earnest – and it shed light on things I'd never thought of before. Dalrymple documented the crass, inconsiderate behavior of the people surrounding him in modern life, and then contrasted it with the mannerliness of generations past. This simple observation planted quite a seed in my mind.

From this brief essay – which is by no means one of Dalrymple's most famous or important essays – I slowly went on to develop a whole new perspective on society. I have since went on to read all the articles available on the Skeptical Doctor website, and have purchased most of his essay collections that are available in book form.

This past year and a half has been quite a strange journey – and now it's led me here...
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Gavin » 30 Aug 2012, 07:55

I'm glad it has. Welcome to the forum (also, welcome Ellen). It sounds like you are quite well acquainted with Dalrymple's writing now. Are you not exposed to the kind of behaviour which Dalrymple describes in your own daily life? A look at most threads will show you that I am!
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Connor » 30 Aug 2012, 17:46

Are you not exposed to the kind of behaviour which Dalrymple describes in your own daily life? A look at most threads will show you that I am!


Oh yes, I certainly am.

I'm sorry if my last post made it sound like I disagreed with Dalrymple's observations about society - quite the opposite!

His essays have helped me realize that we would do well to focus more on improving and maintaining the "little things" in public life (manners, aesthetics, decorum, reticence, common decency, etc). These things are far more likely to improve society - however slowly and slightly - than any Grand Schemes that radical intellectuals could ever devise.

It just took a writer of his caliber to bring me to that realization.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Gavin » 30 Aug 2012, 18:54

Understood. I have just noticed that you are in New York. Perhaps things are not yet as bad over there as they are in the UK. It is, itself, evidence of how right he is about the decline, I think, that so few English seem to have even heard of Dalrymple, let alone be members of this forum, yet he principally describes England. I think even most educated people tend to prefer tabloid style delivery and are unable to properly comprehend and appreciate his more learned and circumspect prose, if they are even interested in these topics at all.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Robert » 21 Nov 2012, 12:19

I'm a solicitor and I used to work in London where one of the highlights of my reading fare was the Spectator and the Dalrymple column. His descriptions of his work as a prison doctor chilled, fascinated, appalled and, yes, also weirdly delighted me. His mordant and brilliant wit barely conceals one of the most searching and penetrating intelligences at work amongst us in these bizarre and troubled times. I was delighted to meet him a while ago at a literary festival and I purchased his excellent new book 'the pleasure of thinking.'
The Liberals and Left have a great problem with T.D. - they simply cannot muster anyone of sufficient intellectual firepower to even get anywhere near him.Its a great delight to see him despatch the enemies of our culture, language and civilization - of our society - with a deft combination of shell fire and rapier.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Elliott » 23 Nov 2012, 19:49

Welcome to the forum, Robert.

As a solicitor, I imagine you have a lot of interesting observations and stories of British society. I hope you feel free to share these on the forum, insofar as you are legally able. Please do not hesitate - I think many of us would love to hear about what goes on in Britain's court rooms.

What you say about the Left's nakedness to someone with Dalrymple's intellect is absolutely true. I think this is the reason he is so rarely invited onto programmes by the BBC, or indeed ITV or Channel 4. (I have never once seen him on British television.) The only BBC appearance that I know of, in fact, is this one on The Moral Maze, in which he destroys the arguments of three leftists intent on "showing him up". It's a pleasure to listen to!

But surely the best would have been his encounter with Polly Toynbee in Lewes earlier this year. Unfortunately I couldn't attend, and there is apparently no recording of the event. I would love to have heard him in action against her, surely the worst, smuggest and most hypocritical of champagne Socialists.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Robert » 24 Nov 2012, 22:14

Hello Elliott.

Recently a high court judge wanted to hire the conference room in the Law Society (the body for solicitors) to gather support against the redefinition of marriage. The Law Society refused saying this was against "their" diversity policy i.e to support same gender marriage. This despite the fact that they refuse to ask the grunts who pay their salaries whether they could/should promote such a momentous change. No,it's more important to grandstand one's marxist credentials in public, that is, that traditional marriage is patriarchal, we know its the way that fathers abuse their daughters, oppress their wives,indulge in gender slavery, from which we need liberation by allowing new structures for men and women, well, we don't even need to call it that because what was a man can now become a woman and vice versa just like in Sweden where there are no mothers or fathers just persons.

Nevertheless this psychotic narrative I feel would surely not have have got as far as it has in our public life without Anthony Charles Lynton Blair. Under Blair public organizations in this country had a policy of what I can only describe as working towards the Fuhrer. That is Blair didn't need to sanction anything or put anything in writing, it was enough for the heads of the police force, the armed services, the civil service, the education service, to know what would please Tony and what the overall configuration of the New Labour Britain was that he wanted. That of course is why he is idolized by the political class because he was a world changer, a war starter, an agenda changer and there is nothing a powerful politician likes more than radical ideological change - for others that is, not themselves. And with extensive patronage at his disposal he is assured of a docile clientage. Blair politicized everything in this country and we will never be the same again.

As you say, its difficult to get hold of a transcript of the T.D. debate with Toynbee. Yes a champagne socialist, like Ken Follett, Geoffrey Robinson and all the others.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Grant » 01 Apr 2013, 09:53

I came across Dalrymple this afternoon while listening to a radio program called "Counterpoint" on Radio National (Australia). This government-funded network usually has a left-wing bias but this program is a small concession to the right and hosted by Amanda Vanstone, an ex right-wing senator whose common sense I admire. I've spent the rest of the day discovering more about the good doctor and can appreciate why this site has been established. The obvious question is; why hasn't his work been more widely circulated?
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Caleb » 02 Apr 2013, 00:15

Welcome. There are two other Australian members of this site (Mike and me).

Dalrymple hasn't been more widely circulated, in my opinion, because he doesn't fit the zeitgeist. Most people in Australia have slightly socialistic sympathies, even if they claim otherwise. Even on the right, unfortunately, the writers are often blowhards and reactionaries writing in dumbed down publications such as the Herald Sun (in Melbourne) or its affiliates. The Australian is meant to be more high brow, but what's its readership? Right wing talk radio is generally populated by people like Neil Mitchell or Alan Jones (I may be a bit behind the times as I haven't lived in Australia for some years) who make me want to crawl up the walls. Those guys are caricatures of themselves. Put simply, there's little place in the media for anyone (on the right) who is intelligent, well-informed and calm.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Grant » 04 Apr 2013, 07:12

Caleb, I must admit I have flirted with the left but age and experience have made it clear spoon-feeding people gives them nothing but an understanding of the shape of the spoon (with apologies to the author who originally said this). Life is a tough business sometimes and winners and losers are a natural consequence. I look forward to more robust intellectual jousting.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Gavin » 04 Apr 2013, 13:28

Grant wrote:I look forward to more robust intellectual jousting.


With the Left, hopefully ;) But therein lies another issue. I actually don't like the process of argument very much, but I like getting to the truth if we man manage it together.
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Martin » 16 Jul 2013, 13:31

I first heard of Dalrymple from the writer & broadcaster on BBC Radio 4, Lynne Truss. He was mentioned in her book about the unpleasantness of modern life 'Talk to the Hand'. In her book she quotes from Dalrymple's book 'Life at the Bottom'. I thought that her quotes from it were so interesting & to the point that I bought myself a copy. I found that I could agree with a lot of what Dalrymple said. I have since read two of his other books, 'Spoiled Rotten!' & 'The New Vichy Syndrome'. He has a refreshing no nonsense approach to the problems of modern living which cuts through the dishonesty of the current zeitgeist to try to penetrate to what is really happening.
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It was through the Daily Telegraph

Postby Vincent » 29 Nov 2013, 20:08

It must have been some years ago ...
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Gavin » 29 Nov 2013, 21:53

Welcome!
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Re: How did you hear of Dalrymple?

Postby Jack » 01 Dec 2015, 09:05

Hello all,

Not sure if I should be posting to a thread that is now two years silent, but the subject question is irresistible. I first came across a Dalrymple article in The Australian (I live in Australia). It was at a time when I was falling out with my former left-wing comrades (a long and arduous chore, now completed) - and writers like Dalrymple made it impossible to halt that process. I'm a fairly chaotic and patchy reader and so for many years I would bump into a Dalrymple essay here, an interview there -- always enjoyed him immensely, but no more than all the other fine non-left commentators in harness (Mark Steyn, Roger Scruton, Brendan O'Neill, etc.). But gradually, more and more, Dalrymple's become my go-to guy. Something about his writing is bottomless - you can't quite read enough essays (and they are his sweetest work) to reach a point of having "done" Dalrymple. I already feel I'm overdue to re-read works like Life at the Bottom.

I just today finished reading Litter, and I've been pestering everyone around me with the question: Have you been to England lately? Is it true the place is covered in litter? The only person who had been to England within the last ten years was a Greek chap who said, "Nah, you should see Greece - they chuck their old mattresses in the street!"

So, in this Brit-tending forum, can I ask: is it? I mean, as an Aussie, I enjoy having a superior cricket team, but somehow it depresses me to think the Old Country isn't even keeping up the most basic of appearances. (One of the many things that drove my former friends to distraction was my affection for my country's British roots. I can never understand how anyone could have a problem with belonging to a tradition that has Shakespeare in its centre! -- another fine quality of Dalrymple's: he quotes the Bard beautifully.) There's no real litter problem here, but we certainly have our fair share of Western Decline Disease.
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