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New Dalrymple book: Embargo and Other Stories

Theodore Dalrymple has just written a new book of short stories, and it is now available on Amazon. Embargo and Other Stories is Dalrymple’s third collection of short stories, following The Proper Procedure and Grief. The stories in Embargo are based on Dalrymple’s real world travels to the remote corners of the world and illuminate the eternal human condition across the extremes of experience.

While newer readers might marvel at the writer’s vivid imagination, his longtime readers will recognize some of these travels from books like Coups and Cocaine and Fool or Physician, and it’s fascinating to see Dalrymple rework his travel experiences into fictional stories. Few writers have such sources of inspiration.

Dalrymple graciously dedicated the book to the memory of my brother, Clint Conatser, who created this website with me in 2008.

Readers can expect no shortage of future Dalrymple material, as he has several other books in progress.

Hard Head, Soft Heart

On a walk through Paris this week, the good doctor comes upon yet another absurd leftist slogan about equality on a wall, which leads to this week’s Takimag column.

Moreover, it is perfectly obvious that justice and equality of outcome of material conditions are completely incompatible. If of two men of very similar backgrounds one works very hard and the other is a complete idler, it would be unjust if they were rewarded with the same standard of living—an equality brought about by transferring the fruits of the labor of the first of the two men to the second.

The Prophetic Pessimism of Michel Houellebecq

The writing and worldview of the famous French writer Michel Houellebecq is the topic of Theodore Dalrymple’s latest essay in Quadrant.

Houellebecq is a chronicler of the exacerbated individualism (without individuality) that technocratic materialism results in when untempered by belief in the transcendent. But one of the reasons that he is able to chronicle it so well, so incomparably better than anyone else known to me, is that he partakes of it himself. His mode of dress—carefully chosen to look grubby, despite what by now must be great wealth—is in itself a message of exacerbated individualism: “I am not going to make an effort to make myself look agreeable just for you.”

Of Monuments and Greatness

The statue of Léopold Ollier in Les Vans, the small French town nearest to our skeptical doctor’s chateau, is the subject of this week’s Law & Liberty essay.

But as I have said, he is probably on his plinth safe because, Les Vans being a small, obscure and remote town, has not the weight of self-righteous semi-educated young people in it to form a fascistic mob to pull down, even to deface, so solid a monument to human greatness.

The Anthropology of the British Litterbug

This essay on trash dumping in Britain is one of those Dalrymple pieces that I missed from last year. I invite our readers to peruse the other nine articles at Standpoint from the good doctor that may have been overlooked these past few years.

Britain is the litter bin of Europe: there is nowhere else like it, at least among countries with which we might like to compare ourselves. The best that can be said of Britain’s litterers is that they are very thorough: they litter not just the cities and towns, but seek out even the most remote beauty-spots, where seemingly there is no traffic, and leave their traces there.

Bees With Degrees

Summer has arrived and so have the bees in the good doctor’s garden in France.

We have a huge fund of very angry people buzzing about in mobs looking for somewhere on which their anger can settle. It seems an epoch ago that it landed on #MeToo and turned all men into Harvey Weinstein. Then, under the direction of little Greta, who somehow managed to combine an autistic manner with hysteria, opposing tendencies reconciled no doubt by the ineffable self-pity of the privileged, global warming provided a temporary resting place. However, with the killing of George Floyd, climate change seems as passé as Mussolini’s spats.

Earlier Thoughts

For the July edition of New English Review, Theodore Dalrymple begins his essay with some clever and mature quotes from a young Alexander Pope before moving on to covering the dark and disturbing Romanian thinker, E.M. Cioran.

There are few of us, I should imagine, who would care very much to have their thoughts at the age of twenty about life, literature and the world, exposed to public view and widely disseminated. Our thoughts at that age, though no doubt essential to our personal development, were hardly worth having, or at least not worth communicating to others. In short, our thoughts were callow, shallow, hackneyed and unoriginal in the extreme, often uttered with that youthful combination of arrogant certainty and underlying insecurity which manifests itself as a kind of inflamed prickliness whenever challenged.

An Orgy of Self-Righteous Sentimentality

Our skeptical doctor skillfully tears apart yet another pathetic, politically correct essay from the standard liberal on the latest black criminal turned martyr over at Law & Liberty.

As an aside, the photograph at the top of the article is worth studying for the absurd signs carried by the apparently suburban, predominantly white, middle-class, American marchers. The two nominated for first and second prize for the most ludicrous are: “All lives won’t matter until black lives matter” (held high by a lady in the foreground next to probably her poor, indoctrinated daughter) and “Satanists against white supremacy” (in the hands of a younger woman clad in—what else?—all black toward the rear on the right side of the photograph). It is to our great relief that masks were worn by all these brave freedom fighters, although social distancing rules will need to more diligently enforced.

1968 Again

In his weekly Takimag column, the good doctor reflects on the farcical nonsense seen these days in street “protests” in the West and how these manifestations of manufactured, self-righteous indignation parallel those of the spoiled, self-absorbed French faux-revolutionaries of 1968. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Online Banking’s ‘Great Service’

Theodore Dalrymple experiences the joys of online banking in his The Critic column.

Because of some new banking regulations, I discovered that it was more difficult for me to gain access to my own accounts via an online accounting system. Suffice it to say that it is an iron law of the universe that new regulations always make things more complex, never less, just as all attempts to reduce bureaucracy increase it.

The Choleric Outbreak

Theodore Dalrymple returns in the June edition of New Criterion with a classic essay covering too many interesting subjects to list here.

No one will have failed to notice the rapidity with which the morally unthinkable these days becomes the acceptable and then, very soon afterwards, the unassailable. Once the formerly unthinkable becomes the unassailable, outrage is expressed by the guardians of the orthodoxy when the unassailable is in fact assailed by people who are deemed not merely mistaken in their views, but wicked or evil.