David Thompson
Subscribe
Blog powered by Typepad

« Friday Ephemera | Main | Elsewhere (139) »

October 13, 2014

Comments

Anna

Someone should tell Latoya Peterson there's a difference between "marginalised" and screwed-up extremist.

Lancastrian Oik

The "screaming".

Latoya, via Donna, is spot on about that.

David

Someone should tell Latoya Peterson there’s a difference between “marginalised” and screwed-up extremist.

Well, I suppose you have to wonder if an equivalent non-leftist figure – someone whose politics were, say, classically liberal, libertarian or conservative – would have received similar indulgence, so blatantly and often, from the BBC and Channel 4, and if they would have risen quite so quickly, if at all, to media prominence.

For instance, the Today programme, one of the BBC’s flagship institutions, gave Laurie half an hour of airtime to read at length from her own blog and make endless pronouncements, essentially unchallenged, in a broadcast pitched as a “fresh, provocative and fiery debate.” Quite how one can have a debate with no contrary point of view remains a mystery. (Naturally, the Guardian described this uncontested airing of far-left boilerplate and random, disjointed sentences as “the best argument for the licence fee yet put forward.”)

And while the Beeb often promotes leftist bloggers on its broadcasts and websites – Ms Penny, Bidisha, Sunny Hundal – I don’t recall similar career-boosting favours being extended to, say, Tim Worstall, Chris Snowdon or the bods at Samizdata.

Henry

feminist scholar Donna Haraway defined cyborg writing as “the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.”

I love the reverent, faux-academic-posturing way she notes that "feminist scholar Donna Haraway [said this, that or the other]"

"Feminist scholar" forsooth! She really sounds as though she knows all about...er.. what? What does she know about? Surely not some silly, made-up subject name like the "History of Consciousness". Haha. Umm..

It's a common enough construction. Feminists speak admiringly of each others' "compelling, insightful and superbly written in-depth analysis" (surely an oxymoron), or "brilliant deconstruction" of whatever.

Of course, there's no actual analysis anywhere, just a heck of a lot of journalism, online and in print, from members of a clique praising pretend-academics (and each other) in very pompous language. It's what Orwell called giving "an appearance of solidity to pure wind" in my favourite quote of his

Lancastrian Oik

The feminist scholar Donna Haraway defined cyborg writing as “the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.”

Trans: "Hey! The kids are using the internet!".

You also have to ask yourself whether Ms. Haraway has quite grasped the concept of the cyborg, or just used the word because it sounds, well, a bit William Gibson-ish. Neither can Latoya be much of a journalist if she thinks for a moment that Penny's media profile is consonant with being a 'cyborg writer'.

And what is 'original innocence', and why was it hitherto capable of bestowing the power of survival? (I keep imagining one of those big enclosed circular liferaft things, full of earnest feminists "Nah- air/sea rescue helicopters are for the patriarchy. Let's hold hands and sing, sisters"). Original innocence= fundamental naivety? No. I think she means 'fundamental niceness', the hallmark of all progressives.

Jonathan

Nor is it, she informs us, “a cheery instruction manual for how to negotiate modern patriarchy” or another book that insists “all women’s politics be reduced to the purely personal.”
She then witters on about herself vs Evil Patriarchy for 267 pages. You couldn't make it up.

Watcher In The Dark

"on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.”"

WTF does this mean in real words?

Greg Allan

"Ms Penny as a “cyborg” writer"

"Borg" seems more apt.

R. Sherman

By all means take a moment to realign your mind with the notion of Ms Penny as a “cyborg” writer . . .

Paging John Conner statim!

Ten
By all means take a moment to realign your mind with the notion of Ms Penny as a “cyborg” writer and in some way marginalised – “marked as other” – and struggling against the pressures of not being heard. Except of course when she’s on TV, or Five Live, or Radio 4, or when airing her various and bewildering concerns in the pages of the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Independent.

Penny is the Steve Coogan of her movement, such as it is. I expect she'll produce and star in her own Tristan Shandyesque feature soon, where viewers will ponder her unique self-referentialism through overlapping story lines, blurred realities and contrasting period ironies, subtle classist self-loathing, and miniature uteri.

On the other hand it'd be entertaining to a broader audience if she'd work in her equivalent of a yellow Mach 1 with which to dash home every night to a fat white man who runs a paintball booth at the mall and loves her caricature unconditionally.

Ten
miniature uteri.

Correcting myself, through miniaturized oversized uteri. Technique counts when dispensing original thought of this magnitude.

Ten

“If our life lacks a constant magic it is because we choose to observe our acts and lose ourselves in consideration of their imagined form and meaning, instead of being impelled by their force.”

― Antonin Artaud

Henry

"on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.”"

WTF does this mean in real words?

Yes, one is moved to do a little "deconstruction" of one's own. It's not hugely clear, is it, whether the 'Cyborg writers' (whatever that means) been marked as 'other' (whatever that means) or they're going to mark the world as other. I think it's the former. Whatever it means.

Anyway it's clumsy language, and purposely devoid of meaning, supposedly in a 'definition' from someone we are being told we should respect for their intellectual authority.

Bit of a giggle, really :)

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Am I a bad person for stopping at the word "neoliberal"? It's a word increasingly devoid of meaning, being used the way "fascist" used to be as a generic way of signallying disapproval for something and that there is now no need to enage that thing any further. Just calling it "neoliberal" is proof enough of its evil.

Tim Newman

or the bods at Samizdata

Perry de Havilland went on with George Monbiot years back. Our George wanted every aspect of life subject to a democratic vote, whereas Perry simply said he didn't care two hoots what Monbiot or anyone else thought of his activities, provided they were not affecting anyone else he should be free to do it. I don't think he was invited back.

AB

Speaking of people being marginalised by the establishment:

This is Britain on crutches. This is tracksuit-and-trainers Britain, tattoo-parlour Britain, all-our-yesterdays Britain. So of course UKIP will do well in the by-election.

My aim, though, is not to deny UKIP its likelihood of victory. They make a good fit for Clacton. Somebody has to represent the static caravans and holiday villages, and the people and places that for no fault of their own are not getting where a 21sth century Britain needs to be going.

Just as a thought experiment I'd like you to imagine a newspaper columnist of whatever political hue writing with similar sneering condescension about, say, homosexual men in Brighton, or the West Indian community in South London, or the Pakistani diaspora in the towns of Northern England.

You probably can't because no columnist would dare to do so. Not only would they not dare to do so but they would not wish to do so. It would strike them as tasteless, vindictive, arrogant, ill-mannered, bigoted and offensively unpleasant.

They wouldn't do it because they would realise - long before they pressed their fingers to the keyboard - that were such a noisome rant ever to appear in print it would make them look quite horrendously awful. It would make them look - going with Matthew Parris's caricature, for a moment, with which by the way I disagree - like the kind of people who live in Clacton.

Banksy, artist-in-residence of the elite

If there’s anything about the Clacton debacle that should get your back up, it’s the bizarre assertion that Banksy is somehow too-hot-to-handle – an artist probing societal iniquities and rattling received wisdom. This is patently ridiculous. His peacenik, anti-consumerist statements don’t challenge elite prejudices – they cater to them. His famed ‘Tesco Generation’ mural, which appeared in north London in 2008, depicts children – a stand-in for us, the little people – slavishly saluting a hoisted Tesco carrier bag. His motifs of rats, monkeys and rag-clothed children paint a picture of humanity as grubby, helpless and – in the case of the Clacton pigeons – prejudiced.
Bart

“the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.”

Anyone else notice that the sentences produced by pretend intellectuals trying to sound clever and important are uncannily similar to the random jibberish people blurt out in their sleep?

Kevin B
... I don’t recall similar career-boosting favours being extended to, say, Tim Worstall, Chris Snowdon or the bods at Samizdata.

You won't have long to wait though David. Just a generation or two till the libertarians complete the long march through the institutions.

Or possibly sooner if a complete economic collapse takes place. Or maybe we get a huge space station to ourselves, or even a new planet.

David

Banksy, artist-in-residence of the elite.

I still like this this appraisal of Banksy (and by extension, many of his admirers). It seems to capture the essence of the thing.

Lancastrian Oik

More Banksy appraisal here

ac1

Definitely improved the work of the trust-fund graffiti man.

John D

The Banksy website also showed pictures of the wall before and after the artwork appeared and claimed the image is "Part Of The Folkestone Triennial. Kind Of". The triennial is a two-month long showcase of art in the seaside town, which has attracted artists including Yoko Ono, widow of the late Beatle John Lennon.

We should be hunting them for sport.

David

We should be hunting them for sport.

I did once suggest that our artistic subsidy-seekers should be set loose on foot across the moors of Derbyshire, pursued by taxpayers armed with quad bikes, blowpipes and curare-tipped darts. The entire Arts Council bureaucracy would be running, obviously, along with those responsible for their more insulting offerings. The real ‘two-fingers-to-you’ stuff. I mean, who here wouldn’t want to watch David Batchelor running for his life, after “creating” a skip that cost the taxpayer £95,000? Oh, and the Guardian’s Jonathan Jones would also be panting breathlessly, covered in mud and sheep crap, after defending said skip as “a very elegant work of art… redemptive, joyous, liberating.”

Minnow

I love this bit from the Dalrymple pet about Banksy:

"The vulgar language in which Banksy expresses himself, which is probably not native to his original social stratum"

He is suggesting that Banksy comes from a privileged background and, therefore, can't have grown up using rude words. If he really believes that the privileged are too refined to use dockside language, I can only imagine, to my great surprise, that Dalrymple ahas never actually met any posh people. This is a surprise because I always thought he must be posh himself so keen is he on protecting their interests, but it would explain a lot.

TDK

Minnow

I would suggest that the social stratum to which Dalrymple refers is that of the middle classes, and it is certainly true that a couple of generations ago mothers would discourage swearing. Have you ever heard of a Mary Whitehouse for instance? Or a Bill Grundy?

Tim Newman

He is suggesting that Banksy comes from a privileged background and, therefore, can't have grown up using rude words.

There is a difference between obscenity and profanity. Well-raised people understand this.

Michael McCallion

It's just the sisterhood. Entry is easily provided for the members and some of the metro-sexuals with external genitalia. The latest example is Madame Secretary, although i am not sure if this just part of the Hillary Campaign, and something called Four Women and a Man. I am not into bashing-a-trois so have not watched this one.

David

Given his chosen medium and general blathering, it seems to me that Banksy is stuck at the stage of development in which rebellion is defined by doing whatever would embarrass or aggravate your parents, and people like your parents. Say, by violating bourgeois proprieties and vandalising someone else’s property. Which is to say, he’s not so much radical as vain and adolescent.

See also: Laurie Penny.

Joan

See also: Laurie Penny.

Penny Dreadful in a nutshell. ;-)

David

Penny Dreadful in a nutshell.

It does, I think, capture something about her personality, something quite important.

Theophrastus

"The social laboratory of the self is open for business and nothing’s going to shut it down."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/12/a-donkey-jacket-and-sideburns-revolution-is-no-longer-possible-but-the-spirit-lives-on

Paul Mason is clearly a demented 'liberationist' and is economics editor of Channel 4 News. As such, he's more dangerous than the ghastly Laurie, and only slightly less risible.

David: "I don’t recall similar career-boosting favours being extended to, say, Tim Worstall, Chris Snowdon or the bods at Samizdata." To be fair, Tim increasingly gets a decent share, but not as much as he deserves relative to leftist bloggers. Tim appeared in a debate on Radio 4's 'Women Sour' revently, and he got a good hearing. He gets mentions in 'The Times' and has the occasional column there. So, not disagreeing with you, just redressing the balalnce slightly.

Hal

Am I a bad person for stopping at the word "neoliberal"?

Nah. I got as far as . . . of the New York Times. to find the assurance of lowest middle, undeclass posturing.

One of the issue that I keep noting with the Google newsfeeds is the inability to filter out by source, on the occasional times I've tried to see if things can be improved. If---when would be too convenient, yes---such a rather useful capacity was set up, one could set the filters to eliminate the lowest middle class right wing liberal posturing from Fox, et al, and eliminate the mirroring lowest middle class left wing liberal posturing from the Colonial Chronicle and The New Yorker, and then just get the conservative news from between those liberal extremes . . . .

proper gander

"I love this bit from the Dalrymple pet about Banksy:"

No, Minnow. You are not being honest. You don't love it all. You sneer about it, but like all your kind you cloak your words in hypocrisy and deception.

As for Banksy's output itself, may I say that his work would be quickly and ruthlessly banned in the world that the Minnows yearn for.

mojo

And so a useful tool is groomed. Meh.

Darleen

Oh fun, I just found another English artist of some note engaging in oikophobia

David

I just found another English artist of some note engaging in oikophobia.

Darleen, we were discussing the New Statesman issue from which that’s taken over here.

Darleen

Thank you, David. I was so startled when I stumbled across the New Republic thing I entirely missed it had been previously published.

Nikw211

Having only really become aware of Miss Penny in the last couple of years, I inevitably missed out on her earlier attempts at journalism.

For anyone like me who missed this previously, as I did, or for anyone feeling nostalgic for the guilty pleasure that comes with being confronted by brazen dishonesty, the 2009 article I came across today contains some incredibly telling gems:

    I wanted to rebel [by joining a burlesque troupe] just as importantly, I wanted attention, any sort of attention, to fill the emptiness I felt inside.

Much like the reasons behind her endless Twittering, Blogging and writing, then?

    I prefer real power, power that involves my brain, that doesn't rely on tawdry male attention, and that will stay with me throughout my life.

Well, it's refreshingly honest from someone who otherwise seems to be fairly casual and relaxed in her encounters with fact.

Those lines are cherry-picked of course, but if anything they are even more startling when read in context.

Also, she was admittedly only 22 or 23 when she wrote that – but then again, just how good a defence is that?

And more importantly, what is the sell-by date on such an excuse?

Just how long will she be able to get away with committing the kind of errors that are brought quite vividly to life in the addendum at the end of the article, which reads:

    This article was amended on 8 July 2009. Changes were made to the second paragraph to make clear that the author was not persuaded by the managers of a local burlesque troupe to get into stripping, but did so voluntarily. The Burlesque troupe, with which the author performed, created a new format for the show after the Edinburgh 2005 run, not before, as the article originally suggested. The sentence beginning "Peeling off my fluffy underwear…" was moved from the end of the relevant paragraph to the beginning to correct this impression." The words "after I left" were added before "as my troupe became more successful" to make clear that Laurie Penny did not perform in the new show.

(The link is here BTW.)

David

In other Laurie Penny news, there’s this scandalous revelation.

Yes, Laurie is bravely, nay, heroically, ‘coming out’ to her peers and readers. Again. Just like she did the time before, and the time before that. You have to wonder exactly how many times a person can come out to the same peers and followers, first as “polyamorous,” then as “genderqueer,” then again as “pansexual.” Maybe if she didn’t keep outing herself as something or other every few months, apparently depending on which word is in fashion, people might not realise just how fascinating and complicated she is.

Darleen

You have to wonder exactly how many times a person can come out to the same peers and followers...

As many times it elicits applause, breathless commendations of "how brave!" she is, and of course, increased revenue.

Nikw211

… people might not realise just how fascinating and complicated she is

Ha ha ha ha ha ; - D

Jonathan

..first as “polyamorous,” then as “genderqueer,” then again as “pansexual.”

I've got another one: 'Attention Whore'.

Hal

I've got another one: 'Attention Whore'.

I believe that one had already long been established . . .

JL

If Laurie really described herself as "polyamorous" then she was talking deep BS. Polyamorous pertains to someone living in multiple loving/sexual relationships simultaneously. It's an "extreme-sport" version of relationship.

David

the guilty pleasure that comes with being confronted by brazen dishonesty,

It is, I think, interesting that someone can be anointed a “leader in journalism” by a prestigious academic institution while having no detectable interest in factual accuracy or establishing whether a premise is credible or not. And while showing no appetite whatsoever for the basics of the subjects on which she opinionates, leading to – for instance – a belief that high wages are easy to pay because it doesn’t matter whether your business is competitive.

And that’s pretty much the signature of Laurie’s “journalism.” She asserts some wild and sweeping claim, typically in the most operatic language, then piles more begged questions on top of it, and more on top of those, until there’s a teetering stack of unargued assertions, which the reader is expected to accept - and accept passionately - despite a lack of evidence, or journalistic probity, or basic logic. At risk of sounding stuffy and terribly old-hat, there’s an abandonment of standards.

Nikw211

It is, I think, interesting that someone can be anointed a “leader in journalism” by a prestigious academic institution while having no detectable interest in factual accuracy or establishing whether a premise is credible or not.

She claims she wants to see a Revolution in gender relations and believes that such a thing cannot happen until there has already been a Revolution in social, class and economic relations first. And so this is the end that justifies the means of telling half-truths, untruths, slanders and total fabrications.

So in that article about Burlesque, she evidently stretched her objectivity truth to the limits, apparently having claimed in the first version of the article that the managers of the troupe had "persuaded" her to "to get into stripping".

Such a detail would clearly have given at least some anecdotal credence to her claims that we live in a society dominated by a Patriarchal and misogynist regime lead by Neoliberal rape apologists.

It would have done, that is, had it been true. Only it wasn't.

As we can see from the sub-editor's later correction, Miss Penny "was not persuaded … to get into stripping, but did so voluntarily."

No journalist is perfect and under time pressure, mistakes will always creep in at some point. But if she cannot even get straight details of her own very recent past, preferring to twist them in such a way that it suits her own political agenda, then how can anyone trust her reports on things she is only indirectly connected to?

I find it truly ironic that the real victim of such dishonesty is any chance for the advancement of her own agenda … at least to anyone not already a confirmed devotee of the mythical Revolution.

And in that, she seems to bear a striking similarity to those activists who in the absence of any real experiences of sexual or racial harassment resort to fabricating them according to some misguided notion of the greater good; that is, in order to 'expose' the 'horrors' of daily life that have to be endured by members of LGBT, PoC, RadFem etc. communities on campus.

Well, at least until they themselves are exposed by the subsequent investigation and end up getting charged with wasting police time.

David

Nik,

But if she cannot even get straight details of her own very recent past, preferring to twist them in such a way that it suits her own political agenda, then how can anyone trust her reports on things she is only indirectly connected to?

As noted recently, Laurie has said, many times, that she “[holds] no truck with the notion of ‘objective’ reporting.” And her solution to the fact that reporters and editors often have angles and biases is to indulge in question-begging, distortion and outright fabrication, presented as if true, presumably to correct the public’s false consciousness.

splotchy

Laurie Penny's MO is quite simple; it is to make everything she writes about, every issue, about HER.

Hence the selectiveness, the breathy outrage, the exclusion of reason and evidence, all topped off with a huge sickly dollop of victimhood.

Oh, and frequent declarations of mental frailty. Not because this has relevence to her writing. Nope, it means that if you dare to hold a different opinion to her, or indeed make any criticism, you are a bad, bullying aggressor of the afflicted, a misogynist to boot, and personally responsible for her delicate emotional health.

Dan

@Minnow
>>>>>>I love this bit from the Dalrymple pet about Banksy:
"The vulgar language in which Banksy expresses himself, which is probably not native to his original social stratum"
>>>>>>He is suggesting that Banksy comes from a privileged background and, therefore, can't have grown up using rude words. If he really believes that the privileged are too refined to use dockside language, I can only imagine, to my great surprise, that Dalrymple ahas never actually met any posh people. This is a surprise because I always thought he must be posh himself so keen is he on protecting their interests, but it would explain a lot.<<<<<<

I'm not sure what a 'Dalrymple pet' is, but, leaving that to one side, he is making the not very complex point that middle class people do not generally scrawl swear words on walls, or canvases, as 'art'; it's just not how they were brought up. Further, those who do do so in order to ape the behaviour of moronic elements of the British working class, for reasons probably only amenable to discernment by a psychologist (or even a psychiatrist). This is not the same thing as saying 'posh people' don't swear. Perhaps you should read it again?

Is Dalrymple himself 'posh'? Hmmm. It's a highly juvenile term - as one might expect of you - but to humour you, probably not really. He is the son of a Russian Jewish father who came here penniless and made some money in business, and a German Jewish mother who escaped the Holocaust. He speaks correctly because he thinks it lazy not to.

One thing that is certain, and clear to anyone who actually reads him rather than imagines his writing, is that he does not seek to 'protect the interests' of the 'posh'. Most of his work is aimed at protecting the poor, especially women, from the depredations of criminal scum - criminal scum whom leftists such as you have cut free in the last thirty or forty years.

Gregoryno6

When that sentence opened with 'The feminist scholar' I knew I'd have a headache before I reached its end.
Cyborg writing? Steve Austin with a Paper Mate, scribbling at several hundred paragraphs per second. Not that rubbish up there.

Chris N

I choose to mark the tools of the other as my own, thus reifying their otherness within my Self as victim. Look upon my works and despair, Patriarch.

Behold the Global Victim; a large, disembodied head floating above you. I am benevolent. We are Benevolent.

***Where, I ask you, is my column in the Guardian?

This is my cry against the Capitalist characters €\}¥~^^_• ! I find here on my Oppressive mobile device. I am disrupting global trade and complacent bourgeois self-satisfaction.

Minnow

"I'm not sure what a 'Dalrymple pet' is, but, leaving that to one side, he is making the not very complex point that middle class people do not generally scrawl swear words on walls, or canvases, as 'art'"

No, that wasn't his point, or it wasn't the point he expressed, at least. After all, hardly anyone makes art of any kind, but it is much more likely to be a middle class person who does so than a working class person, so it wouldn't make any sense. His point - the one he wrote down at any rate - was that people from 'higher' social strata don't swear. Which is an odd thing to think. It makes me think he has never met anyone from those social groups.

Minnow

"As for Banksy's output itself, may I say that his work would be quickly and ruthlessly banned in the world that the Minnows yearn for."

It is already banned. Although not very ruthlessly, it's true.

Minnow

"I would suggest that the social stratum to which Dalrymple refers is that of the middle classes, and it is certainly true that a couple of generations ago mothers would discourage swearing. "

Mothers of all social strata discourage swearing (the homes of working men and women are not as frightful as you seem to imagine), but middle class people really do swear and a lot. I assure you. I think Dalrymple must have been brought up in a seminary. Mind you, I once spent an evening with a trio of drunk Irish priests and their language was an education, I can tell you.

Tom Foster

Mothers of all social strata discourage swearing…

I'm sure they do. But I'd guess that discouragement is more widespread in middle class households. I have no statistics to prove it, though, so feel free to disagree.

…middle class people really do swear and a lot. I assure you.

Thanks for the assurance. I'm sure many do, but on the whole the ones of my acquaintance don't. Again, though, just my own experience, so feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

I think Dalrymple must have been brought up in a seminary.

I don't know where he was brought up, but he certainly seems to have plenty of experience of what one might call the lower classes. There's some interesting stuff here, if you want to know more about what he thinks.

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/10/life-at-the-top-the-worldview-that-makes-the-elites-theodore-dalrymple

(I assume the humourless 'well-known left-liberal journalist on Britain’s most important newspaper of that persuasion' he refers to is Polly Toynbee.)

Minnow

"I'm sure they do. But I'd guess that discouragement is more widespread in middle class households. I have no statistics to prove it, though, so feel free to disagree."

My experience is the opposite, much more prudishness in working class homes. But, again, not scientific.

"I don't know where he was brought up, but he certainly seems to have plenty of experience of what one might call the lower classes. "

He has a lot of experience of people in who are in jail. I don't think they represent any class.

Tom Foster

He has a lot of experience of people in who are in jail. I don't think they represent any class.

I think he knows full well the class of the majority of people he used to treat as a prison doctor. He also, in the piece I linked to, refers to working 'in a general hospital in a slum', so I'd imagine he knows the class of people he treated there, too.

Minnow

"I think he knows full well the class of the majority of people he used to treat as a prison doctor. "

I suppose it might depend on what you mean by 'class'. It is true that the jails are mostly filled with very poor men. But they don't represent the working class.

Tom Foster

But they don't represent the working class.

I don't think anyone said they did. We were talking about 'higher' (and presumably therefore also 'lower') social strata. The point is that the people he met in the hospital and prison are not, by and large, the middle class.

Minnow

"The point is that the people he met in the hospital and prison are not, by and large, the middle class."

No, you have to go to more comfortable jails to meet the middle class criminals. It's all about opportunity.

Tom Foster

No, you have to go to more comfortable jails to meet the middle class criminals. It's all about opportunity.

Now I realise you're trying to be all clever and witty here, but I'm confused.

So, 'people in jail don't represent any class', but 'jails' are 'mostly filled with very poor men' while 'more comfortable jails' have the 'middle class criminals'?

And in any case, we were talking specifically about Dalrymple's experience, weren't we?

David

On the broader subject of graffiti, this may be of interest.

Minnow

'So, 'people in jail don't represent any class', but 'jails' are 'mostly filled with very poor men' while 'more comfortable jails' have the 'middle class criminals'?'

I am glad to help, but I don't really see your confusion. Like I said, it may have something to do with what you mean by 'class', but I am sure you don't disagree that the jails are mostly filled with men and that they are mostly very poor. And, yes, middle class prisoners will mostly be found in the more comfortable jails on the rare occasions they get sent to jail at all. Hope that helps.

David

Also this, where there’s some fun in the comments.

Tom Foster

Hope that helps.

I'm afraid it doesn't, really.

And, yes, middle class prisoners will mostly be found in the more comfortable jails…

But according to you, people in jail 'don't represent any class'. Are you now saying that the people in 'more comfortable' jails do, in fact 'represent' the middle class? If so, presumably you think that people in the less 'comfortable' jails 'represent' a different class?

In which case, why are you choosing to argue with my statement, 'he certainly seems to have plenty of experience of what one might call the lower classes' by saying, 'He has a lot of experience of people in who are in jail. I don't think they represent any class.'

Like I said, it may have something to do with what you mean by 'class', but I am sure you don't disagree that the jails are mostly filled with men and that they are mostly very poor.

Well, we began this by talking about 'lower' and 'middle' classes. What would you like to call those 'mostly poor' men who 'mostly' fill the jails?

Minnow

"But according to you, people in jail 'don't represent any class'. Are you now saying that the people in 'more comfortable' jails do, in fact 'represent' the middle class?

No, that would be silly. I don't think the middle class is 'represented' by inmates of jails. What would that even mean?

"Well, we began this by talking about 'lower' and 'middle' classes. What would you like to call those 'mostly poor' men who 'mostly' fill the jails?"

I don't really know what to make of 'lower' class but it might be because you have an idiosyncratic way of using 'class'. I think 'poor men' is a good enough description of the people who mostly populate our many jails. Of course a very large proportion of of them will be black men.

Tom Foster

I don't think the middle class is 'represented' by inmates of jails. What would that even mean?

Indeed. But as you're the one that started talking about where to find 'middle class' prisoners, I thought you could tell me.

I don't really know what to make of 'lower' class…

Well, it's usually found in conjunction with the terms 'middle class' (see your own comments above) and 'upper class' as a sort-of convenient shorthand for someone's social status. It has a lot to do with money, but also things like attitudes and culture. Does that help?

…but it might be because you have an idiosyncratic way of using 'class'.

It might, I suppose, but what precisely have I said that makes you think that?

I think 'poor men' is a good enough description of the people who mostly populate our many jails.

In which case, why did you start on all this stuff about middle class prisoners and 'comfortable' jails?

Of course a very large proportion of of them will be black men.

That may well be. And? Is there something you want to get off your chest?

Minnow

"Well, it's usually found in conjunction with the terms 'middle class'"

No, it isn't, not in the way that term is usually used by economists, marketeers and sociologists. We might talk about 'working class' but the old stuff about 'lower' orders is pretty much reserved for golf club bars and table talk on Downtown Abbey.

"It might, I suppose, but what precisely have I said that makes you think that?"

Well, you don't seem to be using it in the way it is usually used.

"In which case, why did you start on all this stuff about middle class prisoners and 'comfortable' jails?"

I didn't, I just made a passing comment in reply. I had no idea that the fact that middle class prisoners tend to be found in the more comfortable jails was so controversial.

"That may well be. And? Is there something you want to get off your chest?"

Why would you think so? I tend just to say what I want to say.

Tom Foster

No, it isn't…

Yes it is. Lower, middle and upper. They go together pretty well, as far as I can see. And I didn't think anyone would spend so long wondering what they could possibly mean and running off to the dictionary in confusion – especially as you're obviously happy to use the term 'middle'.

…not in the way that term is usually used by economists, marketeers and sociologists.

Ah – it seems I was wrong to use those terms in a Joe Public, plebeian sort of way. Sorry. I didn't realise we were being so strict in our use of pretty everyday words.

Well, you don't seem to be using it in the way it is usually used.

You mean by economists, marketeers and sociologists? I don't actually know any of those, so on the contrary, I think I was using it in exactly the way it is 'usually' used in casual conversation. Which this is, isn't it?

I had no idea that the fact that middle class prisoners tend to be found in the more comfortable jails was so controversial.

Are you using 'middle' in the economic, marketing or sociological senses there? I'd just like to be clear I understand what you mean by 'middle' as the word 'lower' is obviously something we're having trouble with.

And I never said your statement was controversial. I was just trying to find out why you started going on about it and what relevance it had to the discussion about the kinds of people Dalrymple tended to come across in his hospital and jail.

Why would you think so?

Because you decided to mention it?

I tend just to say what I want to say.

Clearly – but do you like to say what you want to say even when it isn't in any way relevant? Why would you do that? My two-year-old tended to just say what he wanted to say whenever he wanted to say it. I made allowances for him when he did. Would you like the same sort of consideration?

David

No, it isn’t…

Yes it is.

I fear we’re on the verge of an Ethel Merman number.

Hal

. . . Mind you, I once spent an evening with a trio of drunk Irish priests and their language was an education, I can tell you.

A nun goes into the liquor store. The guy behind the counter says "Hello Sister! What can I do for you today?"

She says "Oh Mr. O'Brian, I need a fifth of whiskey!"

"Oh, Sister! I'm afraid if I give whiskey to a nun my soul will be condemned to hell for ALL ETERNITY!"

She says "Don't you go worryin' y'self Mr. O'Brian. This whisky is for Mother Superior's constipation."

He whispers "OH! For Mother Superior's constipation! Here's a bottle of me best Irish whisky, and put your purse away, its on the house!"

"Oh thank you Mr. O'Brian. God bless ya!"

Later on, Mr. O'Brian is walking to his car and he sees the nun passed out drunk in the gutter!

"Oh, Sister!!! You lied to me! Now I find ya' drunk and I'm surely goin' t'hell! You said that this whisky if fer Mother Superior's Constipation!"

She looks up and drawls "Don't ya' be worryin' y'self, Mr. O'Brian. I was tellin' the truth, 'cause when Mother Superior sees me like this, is she gonna Just SHIT!"

The comments to this entry are closed.

For Amazon US use this link .

Your filthy consumerism supports this blog.

Blogroll