Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Popular Culture, or the runs?

...another excerpt from Dalrymple's Our Culture, What's Left of It from an essay he wrote about the funeral of Princess Diana:

That her tastes were, despite her privileged upbringing, utterly banal and plebeian appeared very clearly at the funeral, where Elton John sang his bathetic dirge immediately after the prime minister read St. Paul's magnificent words in Corinthians It was highly appropriate (and symbolic) that this lugubrious booby, with his implanted wig, should sing a recycled version of a song intially dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Monroe--a celebrity who at least had had to make her own way in the world, and who also made a few films worthy of commemoration. "Goodbye, England's rose," he intoned in a mid-Atlantic accent that spoke volumes for the loss of Britain's cultural confidence, "from a country lost without your soul."

You can say that again. In the orgy of sentimentality into which much of the country sank after Diana's death, and which reminds me of the hot bath into which I gratefully sink after a hard day at the hospital, one thing has become evident: that the British, under the infuence of the media of mass communication, which demand that everyone wear his emotion or pseudo-emotion on his sleeve, have lost their only admirable qualities--stoicism, self-deprecation, and a sense of irony--and have gained only those worthy of contempt. They have exchanged depth for shallowness, and have thought they got the better of the bargain. They are like people who imagine that the answer to constipation is diarrhea.

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