City Journal Winter 2016

Current Issue:

Winter 2016
Table of Contents
Tablet Editions
Click to visit City Journal California

Readers’ Comments

Theodore Dalrymple
An Orgy of Self-Congratulation « Back to Story

View Comments (33)

Add New Comment:

To send your message, please enter the words you see in the distorted image below, in order and separated by a space, and click "Submit." If you cannot read the words below, please click here to receive a new challenge.

Comments will appear online. Please do not submit comments containing advertising or obscene language. Comments containing certain content, such as URLs, may not appear online until they have been reviewed by a moderator.

Showing 33 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
What is it like to teach black students?


This reminds of Anthony Daniels/ Theodore Dalrymple's writing especially Life at the Bottom.

Dr Philip M Peverley September 09, 2012 at 4:48 PM
Ah come on Ted. The closing ceremony was a celebration of British popular music, which is (with a nod to out American cousins) the best in the world. No other country can claim this, and few would dispute it, even if you don't appreciate the genre.

If you don't like rock music it doesn't make it invalid. I was brought up with it and for me, the LP is the dominant art form in my life. I love LP records. Others like paintings or plays or concertos. More, in purely numerical terms, love records.

For me it was totally appropriate that we finished with The Who (although possibly The Stones would have been marginally better).
Bartholomew Broadbent August 22, 2012 at 9:06 PM
Why are people like Mr. Wimpydripple so sour? I loved the closing ceremonies and, like Royal Weddings and Queen's Jubilees, Britain does do it right. Theodore Wimpydribble should be criticizing the U.S. MSNBC coverage of the games on TV. It only showed American participants. It was a shame, an utter disgrace.
Theo, why do you own a television (I assume you do since you watched the Olympics)? I haven't had a TV (excuse me, telly) in 15 years and in that time have avoided much angst at the vulgarity of the culture. I protect myself from the trash around me.

Now as to your indifference to sports: I hope you mean spectator sports. Participant sports are essential to health, especially in middle age. I took up lap swimming for heart health a year ago, after 30 years of never going near water. I can't recommend swimming laps highly enough. It increases your stamina, you walk with a spring in your step, and as a doctor, you know it is very good for your heart. It also reduces cholesterol.

So I hope you take up an exercise program of your choice, non-impact, and work up slowly to gain stamina. I changed my life when I became a swimmer. Spectator sports exercise only the athletes; participant sports are the key to good health, taken of course in moderation.
I usually like Dalrymple's articles, but this is a little much. Cheer up, Teddy! The games were good fun, and were a great advertisement for Britain. Not everything calls for examination with a critical prism.
Richard Clark - And for the obligatory anti-America remark! Thanks Richard from the back of the very dark and stinking pub somewhere in the Midlands.
Are you familiar with the concept of the nodding dog?
I agree with TD but have to admit that the comments are as entertaining as the column was informative. How dare Dalrymple criticize our mountain of wasteful schlock!
Generally I am sympathetic to Mr Dalrymple's views, but he is so wide of the mark with this article. The Olympics were a celebration of excellence, and the British people embraced the games wholeheartedly. Sure, the closing ceremony was one of the weaker features of the event but I wonder what he say of the Superbowl entertainment?

If Mr Dalrymple was tired of these London Olympics, he really is tired of life.
Richard Clark would have be wiser to note that the writer was British before he tried to attribute (purported) American flaws to him.
I get the impression that the younger element are getting around to comment,fair enough, it`s them and their children who will be paying for it all
I'm surprised to find ungrammatical gibberish and meliorist whining among the comments here. Maybe City Journal should restrict the comments section to subscribers. . .
Miserable old git
The Good Doctor seems out of sorts.

Maybe he should section himself.
I missed the Olympics entirely. Didn't watch the opening ceremonies, didn't watch the closing ceremonies, missed everything in between. You know, if you put your mind to it, you can ignore anything, and if you ignore it long enough, it will go away all by itself.
jealousy is a terrible thing in a grown man, get a life, Paul , London
maybe Theo should get down to the gym - they say exercise makes you happier :-)

The Olympix was fun, but largely in the sense that Britain 'won' more medals than anyone expected (though most are in the sitting down events of horses, cycling, rowing). After the sheer banality of the opening ceremony featuring a promo for the NHS (without any mention of lack of beds, MSRA infections and the vast bureaucracy involved) and the fact that London was militarised to make sure it the sponsorship packages would not be threatened, it had to end shoddily.

A cheap, mimed pop and fireworks closing party was the swiftest way to get rid of it. The bill will linger for years of course, as they do, and last long after the medal achievements have been forgotten.

As someone said, the state pays for the training, etc, but the athletes get to keep the rewards.

But I think London gets to keep the athletes who absconded after the events. After all, with a no-questions-asked benefits handout system with guaranteed free housing, better than going home to Africa, hey?
Always funny seeing someone take careful aim and shoot himself in the foot.
I feel for the athletes but the Games are so politicalized and commercialized that any sense of sport is all but lost. Plus all I could see in some of the contests - beach volley ball, badminton, water polo et als was humor - why not pitching pennies, johnny on a pony or ringalevio? And why bother with basketball - give the USA a special platinum medal and let everyone else fight it out for the gold.

All that being said, the Games are what they are - to be ignored, endured, or entertained, whatever.

Congratulations, Doctor. A superb summary of the fruits of this disgusting fraud. The most telling piece of news was buried in a piece by Matthew Engels in the "Financial Times". The British Treasury estimates of the true costs of the 2012 Olympics are apparently going to be buried for years - because all 3 major parties were complicit in the deceit. It is a silent admission that the true cost is way north of the £10 billion usually quoted; more likely £30 billion plus.
Hear, Hear!!
I agree...I started to watch the closing ceremonies and thought it was so bad, so tacky that I sut it off. Has to be one of the worst ever. It.simply did not reflect them class and greatness of great Britain on any level.

They could have just used the zillions of lights and have been done with it. An amazing waste of money at a time when the can least afford it.
In my youth I loved the Olympic Games, and would have gone to great lengths to watch the athletics especially. I still remember the heroes of the 1960s: Herb Elliott, Peter Snell, Michel Jazy, Kip Keino, Bob Hayes, Bob Beamon, Ron Clarke, David Hemery...

What has changed? First, sport has become professional. It was unfair that amateurs could be given no prize at all, no matter how small. But we have gone to the opposite extreme, and anyone who wins an Olympic medal is fairly sure of becoming a millionaire. Also, in the 1950s and 1960s we used to criticize and mock the Communist nations for making athletes full-time employees of the State. Vladimir Kuts beat Gordon Pirie (most of the time), but Pirie was an amateur and Kuts a professional. I heard several people closely connected with "Team GB" boasting about how competitors are now outnumbered by doctors, scientists, coaches, and all manner of "support staff". Apparently the many medals won were a pure function of the heavy government "investment" - in other words, medals are now seen as some sort of national asset worth paying large sums of money for.

As for the opening and closing ceremonies, it is true that they were designed to appeal to the "broad masses", and thus to a certain extent were bound to feature popular (as opposed to high) culture. Nevertheless, I was struck not only by the poor taste and mediocre quality of the music, but even more by its age - and that of many of the performers. The golden age of rock and roll was in the 1960s, and today we seem to be left clutching and treasuring the burnt-out stick long after the firework has burnt out.
At least the summer Olympics have the advantage of being less silly than the winter Olympics, which are mostly about creative ways to fall down. I would still like to read the good Dr.'s opinion on particular events, such as "womens" gymnastics: performed by children whose careers are over by the time they actually become, you know, women. And as long as beer is not on the list of banned substances, I cling to the hope that nine-ball may be entered in a future Summer Olympics: a creative combination of javelin and shot-put, it begs to be included as a track-and-field event.
We endured it for the duration in the vague hope it would improve. Its a very sad reflection in what is deemed to be culture in Britain today.
I put on some Haydn piano music next morning and our 2yr old grandaughter stopped and listened carefully and when finished, asked "Who made that music". Haydn I replied. For sometime after, she walked around saying to herself, "Haydn made that music". Surely there is hope we thought.
Tom & Anne Kember
I couldn't agree with him more. I went to Canada during the games to escape the ridiculous hype surrounding the games, which, at this time of recession, we could not afford.
He mentioned the aging George Michael but not the even more aging
Paul McCartney, I cringed and felt embarrassed about his performance in the opening ceremony; unfortunately Paul would probably not understand why. This was capped with the ridiculous buffoon of a London Mayor who had to get in on the act.
and American's love trashing anyone enjoying them selves, the culture of mean is becoming the bottom line of America.
Dear Dr,

I agree with you and I am surprised by the negative comments, here at CJ. How strong the propaganda and the brainwashing are !
You are far too critical, Mr Dalrymple. I watched both the opening and closing ceremonies and some of the games.

The Olympics are a carnival for the youth who competed and the hoi polloi of Great Britain. The closing ceremony was designed as a crowd pleaser and I think it achieved that. It also gave the athletes a chance to run around and meet each other and I think they enjoyed that.
An orgy of self-loathing misanthropy.
Were Dr. Dalrymple to have been present for a week's worth of gladiatorial battles and animal slaughters at the height of Imperial Rome, he might have written the same sort of critical complaint, and also left out the feats of the contestants and bravery of the beasts. Not having seen, after 11 pm more than one or two events, out here in Los Angeles, I missed most of what Dr. D. detests, but feel for the youth and beauty that strove to excel in extraordinary ways after years of terrifically hard work. The rest is hoi polloi mad exuberance and commercial venality.
J the K
Dalyrymple should get on anti-depressants. Why does City Journal hire such a horribly chronically depressed misanthrope? All too predictable from him.