Emotional correctness

Dalrymple discusses the causes and effects of the public displays of sentimentality which have become fashionable in the UK.
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Emotional correctness

Postby Elliott » 10 Jul 2012, 01:26

The legendarily dour and monosyllabic tennis player Andy Murray cried when he lost the Wimbledon final. As Brendan O'Neill writes, we are now expected to (or, apparently, instinctively do) admire Murray for baring his emotions in public.

I think this is an example of what TD was writing about in Spoilt Rotten: a love of sentimentality, even when it distorts a person, reducing them to their capacity for sentimental behaviour. As O'Neill says, would it not be better to admire a man who had doggedly pursued excellence, for that, instead of for his weeping when he failed in his endeavour?

I wonder what it says about Britain that we rush to "relate" to someone's pain and misery. Is it cultural Americanisation? Or are we trying to demonstrate that we're not the stiff upper-lipped Etonites of the past but a hip, touchy-feely Euro amalgam of German romance, Italian passion, and French misery? Anything but British, it would seem.
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Re: Emotional correctness

Postby Mike » 10 Jul 2012, 04:18

Spot on, that piece (Brendan O'Neill seems to have produced a number of good articles recently). The modern sympathy for emotional incontinence is becoming quite nauseating. Recently here in Australia, during the ongoing parliamentary stalemate over the asylum seeker issue, certain representatives from just about every side of politics have attempted to show their "concern" by blubbering in parliament. To call it undignified would be an understatement, and thankfully most of the media are now treating it with the ridicule it deserves.
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Re: Emotional correctness

Postby Gavin » 10 Jul 2012, 09:25

Yes, this is a great example of exactly what TD was addressing in "Spoilt Rotten" (with its totally irrelevant cover). "Emotional incontinence". I am not a fan of Andy Murray, the dour Scot, but if he had lost with some dignity and composure that would, I think, have been more admirable.
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Re: Emotional correctness

Postby Andreas » 08 Feb 2013, 20:23

The Guardian today has this feature,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/fe ... her-legacy

a contribution to the cult of Sylvia Plath as a would-be martyr or saint. It naturally made me think of Dalrymple's criticism of Plath's cult of victimhood in Spoilt Rotten.

I feel no desire to read Plath's works now, but just from reading the personal statements in this article it seems that the line between literature and neurosis has been erased.
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Re: Emotional correctness

Postby Yessica » 24 Jan 2015, 16:59

I have read "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath.

As far as I know she was encouraged by her psychologist to write and I really hoped it helped her... but I don't think I enjoyd reading this book.
It just a bunch of analogies, seeming to lead nowhere and there seems to be no real story. I don't understand why this is supposed to be a classic.
After a while of reading it I felt like a "Peeping Tom" who reads things that are not supposed for her to read.

Her work has been compared with that of Sallinger and to be very honest: I did not like "The catcher in the Rye". It's supposed to be about the teenage years and I read it as a teenager and could not relate at all.

However that's just me.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to say that a depressive person should not write. I like the works of C.S. Lewis a lot and as far as I know he was depressed too. All I wanted to say is that I did not like this particular book.
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Re: Emotional correctness

Postby Yessica » 24 Jan 2015, 17:02

Winston Churchill was depressed by the way and a great politician but it wasn't the depression that made him great.
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