David Thompson
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August 30, 2010

Comments

Mr Eugenides

Oh, thank you for that Decca Aitkenhead piece. It's so far beyond parody that words fail me...

David

Yes, you almost have to admire the effort Ms Aitkenhead puts in, the sheer rhetorical contortion. She spies some unattended blame and quickly slides her rear over it, (on our behalf, of course). As if it were an egg.

Anna

"...pretending that one's good fortune is one's natural right, and by boasting that one has "worked hard" for it (well done, for turning up to banker school, or to that internship your uncle wangled)"

I guess I don't deserve to run my own (small) business then. I should be feeling guilty because all that studying and hard work I did and all that doing without was just luck and nepotism. Jesus, what a prick.

David

“I guess I don’t deserve to run my own (small) business then.”

Ah, but not everyone has the drive, ability and wherewithal to do what you’ve done. Therefore your achievements are invalid. Suspect at best. And besides, you sound like one of those horrible “Tories.” Which means you’re evil and openly laugh at suffering.

Patrick Brown

When far-right hate groups pick on groups of people and insist they are responsible for the problems of the world, we can easily recognise it for the spite it is. But identity-politics lefties are an exact mirror image - they pick on the same groups of people, and insist they can't be held responsible for anything at all.

You have the ones like Theo, who believes that he, or rather the groups he belongs to, are responsible for the problems of the world. I feel sorry for them, because that internalisation of blame can't be good for the mental health long term. But there are also those id-politics lefties who believe they are not part of the responsible groups - people like Bidisha, who, despite having all the advantages of a privileged background, absolves herself of membership of the oppressor class by her ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation, and is able to self-righteously externalise blame in much the same way that the far-right haters do. The Guardian's comment pages are full of such people, and they scare me far more than poor harmless Theo.

Mr Eugenides

Very true, Patrick, and very apposite comment.

mlrosty

"It is a fact that our affluent lifestyles are endangering the planet, to some maddeningly unknown degree."

Another classic.

David

What’s interesting to me is the familiar Guardian fusion of egalitarian sentiment and instinctive condescension.

Hobson doesn’t seem to grasp that some of us, perhaps most of us, aren’t in fact “impelled by a vile peer-pressure” to “worship” James Bond and robotically emulate his sexual adventures. Like many of his colleagues, Hobson seems to imagine that people who don’t write for the Guardian have no minds of their own and are mere flotsam on a sea of social pressure. See also Laurie Penny, who thinks women – “ordinary” women - are somehow being oppressed by adverts for breakfast cereal. Or Bidisha, who insists that people with views other than her own are “complacent” and “have no politics.” What with them being such simple creatures.

Anna

"And besides, you sound like one of those horrible "Tories.""

So *that's* why I can't see my reflection in the mirror. ;)

Lovernios

“cars, holidays, electronic equipment and multiple items of clothing.”

If we are only allowed one item of clothing, do we at least get to choose? I mean I might be tempted to select a nice thong, although those New England winters might have an impact on my decision making. OK, I'll just take what my betters supply. I hope I look good in a hair shirt.

Slartibartfast

some of us, perhaps most of us, aren’t in fact “impelled by a vile peer-pressure” to “worship” James Bond and robotically emulate his sexual adventures

You're just in denial, David.

SG

"To "suffer" from liberal guilt means... that you fail to be completely fatly smugly relaxed about this problematic world we inhabit. Is that really so shameful and wet, so laughably mentally effeminate?"

Says the smug, laughable and mentally effeminate hack.

Spiny Norman

I'll take smug little oikophobe* Theo Hobson seriously when he abandons his worldly possessions and whips himself bloody in front of the Grauniad's offices.

Or is it just actual workaday people who must suffer for his phony political "atonement"?

*: http://tinyurl.com/2c2rfyr

Rafi

"There is no excuse for failing to feel liberal guilt about race and class."

No excuse?

So I should feel guilty for not feeling guilty about stuff I shouldn't feel guilty about?

David

Rafi,

“So I should feel guilty for not feeling guilty about stuff I shouldn’t feel guilty about?”

And then you’ll be a hero, just like Theo.


Slartibartfast,

“You’re just in denial, David.”

If so, I doubt it’s the women. It must be the cars.

dicentra

OIKOPHOBIA!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704147804575455523068802824.html

Not exactly the same phenomenon, but very much related.

And a nice-sounding word to boot.

dicentra

Ohhhh, Spiny beat me to the OIK. Serves me right for not reading the whole thread first. I blame my whiteness for leading me astray.

Also, they utterly fail to distinguish between "guilt" and "remorse." Guilt is what's got these self-serving effetes wrapped around the axles: it tells you what a horrible person you are, and there's really nothing you can do to stop being horrible.

Remorse is when your conscience nags you about a particular thing you've done wrong, and when you've owned up to it and set things right the best you can, your conscience shuts up.

Guilt, on the other hand, is forever, especially for those who find that it "covereth a multitude of sins."

Other people's sins, of course. You and your allegedly clean conscience are all the more guilty.

wyatt mathers

I'm sure this person is justifiably proud of writing for the Guardian - it's a prestigious newspaper in some circles. I wonder how she would react if she were sacked for a move toward more "equitable" staffing; perhaps a person of colour who has been repressed and silenced. I suspect there would be a profound limit to her guilt when it actually impacts her life and career.

TDK

Tim Worstall read the same article

http://timworstall.com/2010/08/30/proof-that-i-suffer-from-liberal-guilt/

"If, for example, “global injustice” is taken to mean that we’re rich and they’re poor (a not uncommon version of that perceived problem) then indeed I worry about it and I’ve even reached the same conclusion as most of the economists on the planet. Property rights, globalisation, freeish markets, try not to let the idiots take over the government, that sort of thing.

About the only thing that stops me being recognsied as a liberal by other sufferers from “liberal” guilt is that having actually looked at the causes of those problems I do worry about I seem to have very different ideas about how to solve those problems."

dicentra

And then there's this:

http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_american-liberalism.html

'American liberalism has remarkably come to resemble nineteenth-century British Tory Radicalism, an aristocratic sensibility that combined strong support for centralized monarchical power with a paternalistic concern for the poor. Its enemies were the middle classes and the aesthetic ugliness it associated with an industrial economy powered by bourgeois energies. For instance, John Ruskin, a leading nineteenth-century Tory Radical and a proponent of handicrafts, declaimed against "ilth," a negative version of wealth produced by manufacturing.

'Like the Tory Radicals, today’s liberal gentry see the untamed middle classes as the true enemy. "Environmentalism offered the extraordinary opportunity to combine the qualities of virtue and selfishness,” wrote William Tucker in a groundbreaking 1977 Harper's article on the opposition to construction of the Storm King power plant along New York’s Hudson River. Tucker described the extraordinary sight of a fleet of yachts—including one piloted by the old Stalinist singer Pete Seeger—sailing up and down the Hudson in protest. What Tucker tellingly described as the environmentalists’ "aristocratic" vision called for a stratified, terraced society in which the knowing ones would order society for the rest of us. Touring American campuses in the mid-1970s, Norman Macrae of The Economist was shocked "to hear so many supposedly left-wing young Americans who still thought they were expressing an entirely new and progressive philosophy as they mouthed the same prejudices as Trollope’s 19th century Tory squires: attacking any further expansion of industry and commerce as impossibly vulgar, because ecologically unfair to their pheasants and wild ducks."'

Plus ça change...

David

TDK,

As a commenter over at Tim’s notes, this kind of pretentious guilt is an important class signifier. Again, what it says, in effect, is: “I am better than you because I pretend to feel worse.”

Anna

Wyatt,

"I suspect there would be a profound limit to her guilt when it actually impacts her life and career."

Theo is a he. Just about.

Spiny Norman

di,

"You and your allegedly clean conscience are all the more guilty."
___________

Do you get the feeling it's a power trip for the effete Left, being able to lord over the proles who can never fully atone for the sins of their ancestors?

ojo

"There is no excuse for failing to feel liberal guilt about race and class."

Wow. Funny how these guilty 'liberals' are never very liberal.

David

“Funny how these guilty ‘liberals’ are never very liberal.”

It’s just another dishonesty. George Monbiot, for instance, isn’t “liberal” in any meaningful sense of the word. He’s a leftist, as is Hobson. What they suffer from - and wish others to suffer from - is leftist guilt. Or leftist pseudo-guilt. Monbiot claims that for 300 years “we” have been “pillaging the labour, wealth and resources of other countries,” have “outsourced unrest” and have been “plundering the globe.” So all trade is reduced to predation, the West is uniquely evil, no other empires ever existed, and “our” guilt is genealogical. The sin just won’t wash off. We must therefore stick pins into our eyes until the end of time.

Monbiot described his hair shirt routine as “a campaign not for abundance but for austerity… a campaign not for more freedom but for less… a campaign not just against other people, but against ourselves.” And what’s remarkable is how commonplace this line in hyperbole is. Yes, Monbiot sounds unhinged with his blather about “the blackened waste of consumer frenzy” and air travel being akin to child molestation. But many of his Guardian colleagues make very similar noises. The anhedonic hypocrite Oliver James springs to mind, or Madeleine Bunting, who frets about “hyper-frantic consumerism” and “our preoccupation with things; our ever more desperate dependence on stimulants from alcohol to porn.” Or Anna Coote, who wants to save us from our possessions because she knows best.

As Dicentra noted, these are the new puritans. It’s an aristocracy of sorrow.

Mike James

I can't improve on any of the above comments. I would simply state that most men have the point driven home that we're not James Effin' Bond, and are able to relax and enjoy the films.

sackcloth and ashes

'Well done, for turning up to banker school, or to that internship your uncle wangled'

Well, in the case of Isabella Mackie, it wasn't her uncle who fixed a job at 'The Guardian', but her dad (Alan Rusbridger - who I'm sure is worth every penny of his £520,000 a year salary).

'some of us, perhaps most of us, aren’t in fact “impelled by a vile peer-pressure” to “worship” James Bond and robotically emulate his sexual adventures'

I'll remember that the next time I shoot a SMERSH operative, or get involved in a honey-trap with a Russian girl who can kill men with a pelvic crush.

sackcloth and ashes

'Monbiot sounds unhinged with his blather about “the blackened waste of consumer frenzy” and air travel being akin to child molestation'.

Particularly because - due to his frequent transatlantic junkets - he can be compared (by his own terms) to Marc Dutroux.

Anna

sackcloth,

"Well, in the case of Isabella Mackie, it wasn't her uncle who fixed a job at 'The Guardian', but her dad (Alan Rusbridger - who I'm sure is worth every penny of his £520,000 a year salary)."

Ha. Brilliant. And she's a real piece of work.

anon

"To 'suffer' from liberal guilt means that you are troubled by the stubborn persistence of our class system, though you personally have done fine by it."

My dad couldn't get me a job at The Guardian I work in a shop. I bet I make less than Theo Hobson and Isabella Mackie. Do I still have to feel guilty?

Mr Grumpy

Can this be the same Theo Hobson who until recently had a blog hosted by those Tory bigots at the Spectator?

CIngram

I've heard the word 'oikophobia' a couple of times in the last day or so. A useful idea, but, unlike spiny and dicentra, I don't like the word itself. I'm proposing 'chthonophobia' instead. A completely pointless endeavour, I realize, but if I ever see it used, anywhere, by anyone other than me, I might have it engraved on my tombstone.

As to the substance of the post, you know how sacristans and assistant churchwardens are usually chosen from among the crippled, intellectually short-changed or otherwise unemployable? I suspect the Guardian comment section performs a similar service for left-wing public schoolboys (and girls).

CIngram

I shall now write out 100 times 'Google is your friend'. If I'd remembered that before commenting I would have discovered that 'chthonophobia' is already taken, using 'chthonos' in its basic, earthy meaning, rather than the wider meaning of homeland which I intended. Ah, well.

Steve

"The fact is that James Bond’s sexual career does real harm to the male psyche"

Is this a well known fact, or just an idea among the upper twits? Most people who have seen Bond movies tended to see Bond as a glamourous but unreal figure who couldn't keep a good woman. Every time he got one, he lost her. There were much better 'spies' who lived real lives if you cared for all that. On the other hand people watching Bond might have thought themselves attractive to women, and that can't be right, can it? You know, bonking and stuff. After shave. Good clothes. Terrible.

You could equally say the male psyche has been damaged by Little Lord Fauntleroy or The Hulk or... er, Che Guevara or Mao. Indeed any fictitious or pumped-up propaganda figures who murdered and lied.

But we couldn't say that, could we?

sackcloth and ashes

'Most people who have seen Bond movies tended to see Bond as a glamourous but unreal figure who couldn't keep a good woman. Every time he got one, he lost her'.

The most recent Bond film features a platonic relationship between 007 and the female lead. The one before that shows him having his heart broken firstly by the fact that the woman he loves had been coerced into being a double agent, and secondly when she commits suicide.

I can also count the following films ('You Only Live Twice', 'OHMSS', 'Moonraker', 'For Your Eyes Only', 'Octopussy', 'The Living Daylights', 'License to Kill', 'Goldeneye', 'Tomorrow Never Dies', 'The World Is Not Enough' and 'Die Another Day') as ones where the Bond Girls are as tough, proactive and as resourceful as Bond is, and aren't just there for 007 to shag.

David

“...or get involved in a honey-trap with a Russian girl who can kill men with a pelvic crush.”

Oh, yes. Xenia Onatopp, as played by the mighty Famke Janssen. The Guild of Evil™ will have to recruit her.

Uncle Deetou

Priceless, absolutely bloody priceless.

Chris S.

My favorite thing about Bond haters is that if Bond was portayed as female they'd be apoplectic with praise. All the typical Bond violence, style, and sexual swagger would be 'empowering'.

sackcloth and ashes

'Oh, yes. Xenia Onatopp, as played by the mighty Famke Janssen'.

Absolutely fantastic, IMHO. Although I'd like her to be cast in a future film as a lead.

Incidentally, I am only aware of two female actors who got to feature in two separate films as different characters. Can anyone guess who they were?

'My favorite thing about Bond haters is that if Bond was portayed as female they'd be apoplectic with praise. All the typical Bond violence, style, and sexual swagger would be 'empowering''.

I'm not sure of that. After all, the Guardianistas didn't exactly fall in love with Modesty Blaise (who was admittedly quite chaste) or 'La Femme Nikita'.

And on that subject, I read this novel. It absolutely rocks, and it's crying out to be filmed:

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/mark-burnell/rhythm-section.htm

David

It’s quite revealing to note the bits of pop culture that uptight Guardianistas react against most emphatically. Top Gear, for instance, crops up in the paper every few weeks, often as a pretext for a columnist to display his or her pompous disapproval, and thereby their credentials. The “diversity” hustler Linda Bellos didn’t even bother with the most basic research before denouncing its political incorrectness. This from a lesbian separatist who abandoned her own children:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/10/dont-bother-me-with-details-.html

Likewise, George Monbiot was comically disapproving, all tutting and twitching, and comparing it with the Black & White Minstrel Show:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/11/misery-and-joy.html

And likewise Theo Hobson. He isn’t saying that Bond films are bad *cinematically* (which many of them are – think of the Roger Moore era); he’s saying they’re bad *for* us. That “we” are being corrupted because “our” thoughts and desires haven’t been corrected yet.

What none of these commentators seem to grasp is that Top Gear is in part popular precisely because it mocks pretentious fatalism and po-faced urges to control - urges that Monbiot, Hobson and Bellos - and much of their readership - now represent. And a huge part of Bond’s appeal, as a character and a franchise, is precisely the rejection of many PC assumptions and their petty, emasculating tenor.

Yackums

I always thought it was the *right* who were supposedly the sexual puritans. Who knew?

sackcloth and ashes

'He isn’t saying that Bond films are bad *cinematically* (which many of them are – think of the Roger Moore era); he’s saying they’re bad *for* us'.

Agreed, and the thing is I'd rather sit through a screening of 'A View to A Kill' than spend 5 seconds in that twat Hobson's company.

Steve

"the woman he loves had been coerced into being a double agent, and secondly when she commits suicide."

Like I said, Bond lost them. But let's not argue over JB when there's the right (and a lot of normal people) to slander and the slimes to promote. The key thing is the male psyche which apparently is so fragile, except where the despicable Che turns up in his foppish cap and shaggy-but-manly beard.

A student of mine said Che was his hero and I pointed out theman's track record. I do hope the student in question reviewed the details and thought a little more about what is worthy of hero-worship and what isn't.

sackcloth and ashes

'A student of mine said Che was his hero and I pointed out theman's track record. I do hope the student in question reviewed the details and thought a little more about what is worthy of hero-worship and what isn't'.

Follow-ups include Che-the-racist-bastard, and Che-the-utterly-incompetent-guerrilla-leader (Congo 1965 and Bolivia 1967).

Jason Bontrager

'I seriously believe that Bond is a big factor in the sexual malfunction of our times; the difficulty we have finding life-long partners, and the normalisation of pornography.'

So James Bond is responsible for the normalization of Liberal sexual mores? And now Liberals are calling this a *bad* thing? What next? Support for monogamy and efforts to discourage divorce? It's madness!!!

WTP

Let's face it, you don't really "need" entertainment. Given the amount of carbon expelled to make these trivialities and then the related distribution there of, the movement of all those people to movie theaters, or barring that, the energy consumed by the millions of TVs/etc., all for something so unproductive, it's quite silly really.

All of these Guardian-ish ideas tie together in Gaia. We can't just go on living as if Gaia does not exist. We can't go on just praising Her on weekends in the country then wave at Her and say "See you next week!". No way! When we start to realize that Gaia is with us and in us, we can but only do all things to Her glory! Ask yourself, where does James Bond fit in all this? He doesn't! See the logic?

Now that's the kind of lifestyle the Guardian would approve.

Mr Eugenides

Sackcloth, even though it's now a couple of days old, I feel impelled to answer your challenge: Maud Adams (Man with the Golden Gun, Octopussy), and one of the girls in the gypsy fight scene, I think - though I've no idea of her name or who she played in her subsequent appearance.

Right, back to bed.

sackcloth and ashes

'Sackcloth, even though it's now a couple of days old, I feel impelled to answer your challenge: Maud Adams (Man with the Golden Gun, Octopussy), and one of the girls in the gypsy fight scene, I think - though I've no idea of her name or who she played in her subsequent appearance'.

Maud Adams - yes. And well done with Martine Beswick (Zora in 'From Russia with Love', Paula Caplan in 'Thunderball') - you have trumped me Mr E, because I wasn't aware she'd been in two and wasn't thinking of her. I had Tsai Chin (Girl in Hong Kong in 'You Only Live Twice', poker player with Le Chiffre in 'Casino Royale' in mind).

Oh, and another fun fact. The landlady in 'Kung Fu Hustle' (Yuen Qiu) was one of the schoolgirl martial artists in 'The Man With the Golden Gun'.

I must get out more ...

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