July 07, 2023
Source: Bigstock Driving through what my sister-in-law calls la France morte— the France that is dead– my better half and I were struck by the peculiar gloom of a lot of the small country towns that would once have actually supplied services for the farmers of the surrounding farming locations. Now the towns’ principal financial activity appears to be the collection of pensions and the arrangement of the really couple of services that those who drew such pensions needed or might afford.
The death of the towns was brought about by the replacement of small farms by agribusiness, which I suppose must be more effective in one sense or besides small farms, but which has actually nevertheless coincided with the change of France from a net food exporter to a net food importer, a minimum of if an article in Le Figaro is to be thought.
Stopping overnight in among these small dead towns, we discovered to our annoyance that the only inn was owned and run by English individuals, and that the garden exterior was full of English brought in to live in the location by the cheapness of the residential or commercial property. The only Frenchman amongst them was an extreme alcoholic with an earring, the outward indication of his nonconformity, his desire to drink in public surpassing the drawback of having to do it amongst the English.
“It utilized to be said that the English took their enjoyments unfortunately, and now, alas, they take then loudly, which is much worse.”
What an unattractive individuals the English have become, how absolutely charmless! They are not necessarily bad people in themselves as individuals, but their modern culture has actually turned them into the least attractive people worldwide, at least of those understood to me.
The ladies are worse than the guys. They can be found in two standard shapes: thin from smoking a lot of cigarettes, or fat from taking in excessive alcohol and fried food. The fat ones defy the common prejudice in favor of slimness by exposing big locations of their chubby flesh to public view. Much of it is tattooed, in an attempt to show self-reliance of mind.
The males, of course, are rarely more dignified. When they have actually reached the age of 55, they impersonate if they were professional athletes aged about 20. They emphasize their ugliness by every possible gadget. One wonders what they see when they search in the mirror, that showing surface that constantly lies.
They are at their worst when they are enjoying themselves, or at least attempting to enjoy themselves. It utilized to be said that the English took their satisfaction regretfully, now, alas, they take them loudly, which is much even worse. It is as if the more noise they make, the more they are able to encourage themselves that they are enjoying. There is desperation in all this, I believe. The terrible sound of the English enjoying themselves is nearly similar to that of them having a violent conflict. Indeed, once in a hotel in Manchester I woke at 2 in the early morning to hear what I believed was a basic English intoxicated rabble enjoying itself, only to discover in the morning that in truth it was murdering somebody. Naturally, murder and satisfaction are not totally incompatible or directly opposite for such a rabble.
When the females laugh, they release a really loud sound, or sound, that is half cackle, half scream. It penetrates like a laser and can not be overlooked. However there is something desperate about it likewise, as if it is emitted in order to encourage others and themselves that they have a funny bone which the world is an excellent joke whose punchline they have comprehended. Quiet satisfaction for them is, by meaning, not enjoyment. Not “I believe for that reason I am,” however “I make a noise therefore I am,” is their philosophical starting point.
The worst of it is that the vulgarity of the English is not totally spontaneous, but a matter of pride and ideology. They are happy to be vulgar since they think it politically virtuous to be so. They are not simply doing not have in improvement, however they have actually pertained to dislike and abhor improvement as politically suspect in itself.
They have actually been instilled from an early age with the following pseudo-syllogism:
The masses are good. The masses are repulsive. By being repulsive, a person expresses his solidarity with the masses, replica being the highest type of flattery and recognition. Solidarity with the masses is democratic and therefore ethical and virtuous. The more repulsive a person is, the more virtuous.
The assertions and properties of this pseudo-syllogism are all debatable, though it is certainly real that the more they are accepted, the truer they will become. Definitely, extreme indecency has become a primary function of English life.
The use of demotic language, no matter how inexpressive, is now also taken as an indication of liberation from the terrible constraints of gentility. The more demotic one’s language, for that reason, the more liberated one is.
Another strain in the ideological indecency of the English is that of multiculturalism. If all cultures are equivalent, and if you must accept without demur the culture of others, it follows that others must accept your culture without demur. The difference in between habits and culture is slight: If enough individuals habitually swear, scream, and drink to excess, then swearing, shouting, and drinking to excess become a culture, and no one has a right to criticize it because there is no Archimedean moral point from which to do so.
Therefore, it is not necessary to think of how other people in another country view your behavior when you are there: They have an inalienable task to accept how you act, provided that how you behave belongs (or the whole) of your culture. To put it simply, multiculturalism is a justification for radical egotism. You can yell and scream in public if it remains in your culture to do so.
It was apparent, as I watched and listened to the English in this dead town in France, that the question of how they may appear to others did not cross their minds for an immediate, and even a portion of an immediate. Such individuals have self-esteem however no dignity. They have social rights however no social responsibilities. They often stand on their self-respect however have no self-respect to base on. They have all the appeal of hyenas.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Ramses: A Narrative, published by New English Evaluation.