Drool, Britannia

I saw a little of the Olympic opening ceremony last night; it was playing on the television at a local eatery where our small nuclear family, soon to be riven to opposite hemispheres of the globe, had gathered for a bite.

It was, from what I could see, a dismayingly shallow and garish entertainment. Apparently the only things worth noticing about Britain nowadays are its shoddy socialized health system, its fondness for pop music, and its fashionably (and forcibly) randomized demography, which has so atomized this once-coherent population that it is now apparently the law of the land that no two people of the same human subgroup may appear on stage at the same time.

One thing that is dying fast in our civilization is a proper appreciation of the importance of major public ceremonies. Britain used to understand this very well indeed, back when it ruled the world; its ostentatious rituals took place at the gravitational center of the culture, pulling all its parts toward the core. But how can this possibly work now that Britain has traded away its culture for a shapeless, acentric multiculture, and extinguished its haecceity as a nation, as the homeland of a common people with a shared way of life?

No, that’s all over and done with. In 2012 Britain is nothing but a place. With its youth long past and all vigor dissipated, the mighty nation of Churchill and Shakespeare, of Dickens and Drake and Newton and Nelson, now frisks and capers in the costume of the day, hoping for a few shillings from the crowd.


  1. Alex says

    I didn’t watch the Olympic opening ceremony on TV – suspecting that ‘Danny’ Boyle would produce a ridiculous parade of agitprop grievances and an embarrassment of fake British ‘triumphs’. According to what I’ve read in the papers and the pictures I’ve seen, the show exceeded my expectations in terms of its utter crassness and absurdity. Even the Queen of England got into the act by allowing herself to be impersonated by a stuntman who parachuted into the stadium.

    This self-deluding mishmash – inflicted on an international audience – was beyond satire, and should be mocked into oblivion.

    Posted July 29, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Doing my best…

    Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  3. Now just a thin line between shite and shiite.

    Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink
  4. I disagree, you will not be surprised to read.

    Ignoring the two world wars, they being considered somewhat infra dig by the ‘peace ‘n’ love’ commissars of the Olympic movement, the past 200 years of Britain’s history are dominated by the industrial revolution in the 19th c. and the social(ist) counter-revolution in the 20th c. You may not like one or even both of these events but they are the over-riding facts of British history and it was right of Boyle to illustrate them.

    What you missed apparently, and I will avoid the usual line that Americans think irony is made in a foundry, was the subversive humour. This was supposed to be an entertainment not a university lecture and the gag featuring James Bond and Her Maj was both witty and excellent. Even better was the poke at the whole Olympic nonsense with Mr. Bean blatently cheating in the Chariots of Fire pastiche.

    Perhaps you ‘glums’ prefer the Chinese approach of massed, ant-like humans marching this way and that under orders from some Dear Leader type!

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 3:03 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Well, David, I don’t doubt that there were some bright spots in there somewhere, and I’m sure that, as a theatrical sort, you found things to appreciate, on a professional level, about the production by the talented Mr. Boyle. (And as I say, I saw only bits and pieces of while sitting in a local bistro.)

    But: Mr. Bean throwing snotty rags into a grand piano for laughs? The world peering up the Queen’s petticoats as she parachutes into the stadium? Passing over two World Wars as if they never happened?

    My parents grew up in Britain, and I understand irony well enough, I think. But where’s the dignity? Surely there is some middle ground, somewhere between ant-like Chinese drones marching in lockstep and England’s sugared-up slapstick pop-culture multiculti spectacle, that would have been more appropriate to a (formerly) great civilization greeting the world in its ancient capital.

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  6. Well I confess to having missed much of the pop stuff (happily) because ‘SoD’ (Son of Duff) came on the ‘phone sounding like you and your commenters! Also, but more deliberately, I missed the ‘parade of nations’ because by the time Azerbaijan came through the thought of waiting for Zambia had me reaching for a needle to stick in my eyes!

    More seriously, I think you are mistaken by assuming this Olympic nonsense whould be treated with anything other than ridicule and a fusilade of rotten veg. The whole thing was hopelessly corrupted decades ago and now, quite apart from ludicrous non-sports like synchronised diving (!!!!), most of the other so-called contests are merely a question of whether their drug-addicts are faster than ours.

    You may, just, discern a hint of bitterness in my tone. This is because I do remember the Olympios of the ’50s which, apart from the East European troglodytes, were clean and a delight to watch.

    Incidently, you mention the very sparse reference to WWI and WWII but that, I suspect, was to avoid old disputes and still raw wounds, an effort at courtesy, I suppose.

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Well, plenty of bitterness to go around, I’m afraid — indeed you may, as a man of singular discernment, have noticed a whiff of same in my own remarks!

    I completely agree with you about what has become of the Olympics (I don’t remember the Games of the 50’s, but I certainly do remember them from the early 60’s on.) But that was exactly my point: what the hell has happened to us?

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  8. Ah, I think that sort of profound question calls for the wisdom of The Big Henry!

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  9. “[W]hat the hell has happened to us?”

    Maybe the lack of dignity and seriousness is a consequence of Christianity’s decline. A Christian worldview provided Westerners with a moral universe in which life taught lessons about beliefs and behavior, and there were consequences, an awaiting judgment.

    I’m not advocating anything in this comment, but merely observing that absent the moral universe provided by Christianity, perhaps the best that most Westerners can imagine is to have as much fun as possible in this life since that’s all there is.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  10. Tricky one, Jeffery, if I may use the familiar. I’m not sure that the promise of heaven to come was enough to keep the plebs in line, or the toffs, come to that. More a case of a set of rules, as you suggest, but sternly enforced right now, here on earth!

    Also, with no offence to your faith, the notion of a *moral* universe is one I find hard to accept. Gloucester’s bitter words in ‘Lear’ sum it up:

    “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, They kill us for their sport.”

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    I think you’re quite right, Jeffery. Christianity was the tent-pole that held up Western civilization, and now that it’s gone the whole thing is falling down. (And I say that as an atheist.)

    England now is like an abandoned stately home, with some attractive furniture left behind for the squatters to admire — until winter comes and they need the firewood.

    David, I must point out that Gloucester speaks of “gods”, not God. An effort at courtesy, perhaps.

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  12. David, not so much the promise of heaven as the certainty of judgment, and that constituted the moral universe because, as you note, this world seems capricious here below, but the foundation for the tentpole that Malcolm mentions was faith, not empirical evidence, and as faith is largely gone in Europe, so is the tentpole, the tent, and the moral panorama on its ceiling above that hid the amoral sky now seen so clearly.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  13. “Ah, I think that sort of profound question calls for the wisdom of The Big Henry!”

    On the off chance that I am not responding to sarcasm (one can’t always tell in a group that includes a Cyclops), I will wade in and share some wisdom, acquired from seven decades-worth in the school of hard knocks, beginning with my birth when my Jewish parents were in hiding in Nazi-occupied Poland.

    Having survived the Holocaust and having had the very great good-fortune to emigrate to America (from the American Occupation Zone in West Germany) in 1949, I can confidently say that America was once a paradise in the eyes of this (at that time) seven-year-old boy. And that, despite the widespread fear of polio every summer, prior to the miracle Saint Jonas Salk (do Jews have Saints?).

    According to my personal reckoning, it all started to deteriorate when the losers of the 1960s ushered in the Age of Aquarius, albeit without benefit of bathing. Their “I don’t give a shit about anything” philosophy (pardon the expression) sowed the seeds of the complete and utter inversion of ethical and moral standards in our society today.

    Some of those hippies have managed to scam their way into the top echelons of our state and federal governments, and they have infected everything they touch with their degeneracy and no-accountability. And to add insult to injury, these mostly Leftist degenerates have managed to convince the ignorant masses to join the party from hell.

    Posted July 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
  14. TBH, thanks for posting that.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink
  15. Working my way back up the thread, let me assure TBH that no sarcasm was intended, only encouragement. Your description fits the facts, I think, but what other result was likely once ‘the mystery’ had gone from life? Today we all know too damn much – or think we do – and the mystery has vanished. It’s a bit like finding out how a conjurer does his trick, once you know, it’s all over for the magis and the priests.

    And Malcolm, you risk sounding like every disappointed old man there ever was – and you’re younger than me! What we have left in our nearly empty old stately home *indicates* a very fine old civilisation – but was it? Was life *really* that much better in Tudor times, or in Renaissance Italy, or Reformation Germany? Nah, I bet it was full of old men moaning about how much better it was in medieval times! (And crafty old Bill made sure his deeply irreligious play was set in pre-Christian times with talk only of “gods” not ‘God’ because he knew he risked having his head chopped off if he made his message more contemporary. So much for the big tent – the big slaughter-house more like!)

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 2:44 am | Permalink
  16. jack says


    I saw the ceremony and wasn’t too impressed with it either to be frank. I’m English and a republican and so I didn’t find the Queen’s presence amusing at all. The strain of monarchist humour deriving from the sheer shock that the Queen should actually do ordinary things is way beyond my intellect. I don’t laugh at people slipping on banana skins either.

    I must take exception to your comment about the make up of the participants. London is, according to census data, 20-30% non-white. That the opening ceremony, consisting of local volunteers, should include a lot of non-whites follows naturally from demography. To think it should only have consisted of whites demonstrates an ignorance of London demographics (in which case ignorance of foreigners is forgiven, but lack of silence isn’t), or yet another tired demonstration of lamentable anglo-american conservative political correctness (in which case, yawnnnnn).

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 4:21 am | Permalink
  17. Malcolm says

    Jack, I am in fact well aware of the enormous change in London’s demographics in recent decades. (My father grew up in London, and was six or seven years old before he saw his first black man, a sight that startled the hell out of him.)

    Of course, this demographic revolution, which happened all over Britain, was never requested by the locals, who appear not to have been consulted. (As I argued in the comment thread beginning here, forcible imposition of rapid demographic change on an indigenous population is generally a bad idea, at least as far as the happiness of said indigenes is concerned.)

    My point was not that there were non-whites in the show, but rather that the P.C. propaganda machine felt the need to represent every couple, every family, every social situation, as comprising a “correctly” balanced cross-section of racial and ethnic types.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  18. Malcolm says

    David, I do understand how difficult it is to maintain a sense of the sacred once you’ve glimpsed the machinery. I was raised by two scientists, one of whom was a minister’s daughter, and they used to joke that they had had me baptized and kept my younger brother as a control. And I fully agree that in purely material terms — and in other ways besides — life is unquestionably better now than in the high flowering of Christian civilization in Europe and Britain.

    But that shared sense of the sacred was a powerful source of social unity, an impetus for extraordinary efforts and achievements in painting, sculpture, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy, and was a bulwark against the hedonistic nihilism that has led to the shocking coarsening of culture in our time. In losing its faith Western civilization also seems to have lost its belief that anything transcends this brief mortal existence, and so the the newly secularized indigenous populations of Europe and Britain now have too few children to sustain their numbers, and are dwindling out of existence.

    So: a better world now for the secular people of the West? Perhaps, in the brief window of time remaining before their extinction. European civilization labored mightily to build up rather a large balance in the bank; it will now enjoy a relatively brief retirement, amongst its nice furniture and pretty pictures, before the inevitable.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink
  19. jack says

    What mode – or type of mode – or model of consent do you propose ? We have a model of consent in the UK, the same as in the US. It’s called the constitution. Immigration is a policy that the executive exercises subject to the usual, established modes of consent – namely, the ballot box for the appointment of the executive. Or do you think that for this particular policy set, there should be a specifically different form of policy formulation? Interactive TV choices ? Questionnaires ? A series of referendums on what questions ?

    When you have decided, you can test your proposals on the North American Indian population, which was decimated by european immigration (without consent). Then you can remove all politically collect references of white men and women from trendy right wing US culture, in favour of the traditional and established population.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink
  20. Malcolm says

    Well, if people had known more clearly at the time just what their executives intended and why, the groundswell of resentment now evident in England and all over Europe might have come a little sooner, and before so much irreversible change had occurred.

    Referendums for immigration policy? That sounds reasonable enough: after all, what question is more aptly put to the people than the question of what shall constitute the people? Given what appears to have gone on behind closed doors, making immigration-policy decisions as open to public review as possible would have prevented a great deal of strife, I think. Do you believe that most ordinary British (Danish, Swedish, French, etc.) people are happier now as a result of the enormous demographic upheavals that have taken place in their homelands?

    Yes, the American Indian population was conquered and displaced.(The American Indians present in the US at the time of European colonization themselves displaced other, earlier groups, and fought their own wars of conquest, as humans have always done.) Your point is that this racial guilt invalidates the “right” of the subsequent population to have any say about immigration policy? That they should in turn stand aside, cheering, as they themselves are displaced, at the whim of their ruling elites?

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  21. jack says

    What groundswell of resentment ? Do you live here, or 3,000 miles away ? How would you know ? You spend too much time reading trendy PC right-wing websites where people who never interact with blacks, asians or chinese complain about how somehow this lack of interaction is an intrusion upon them. Maybe they should interact more. Or get a life, and worry about something important.

    London (and the UK in general) may have many faults, but racial tension isn’t one of them, at least since the 80s.

    What would the referendum add that an election wouldn’t ? Why is immigration more important than our membership of, say NATO, that was never subject to a referendum? Or the recent Anglo-Amercian extradition treaty, which was a disgrace ? Why is immigration so important ? Why haven’t there been huge demonstrations reflecting this ‘groundswell of resentment’ ?

    “Yes, the American Indian population was conquered and displaced. Your point is that this invalidates the “right” of the subsequent population to have any say about immigration policy?”

    Yes – if the point being made is not symmetrical. If you can say that the European Colonization of North America and the subsequent decimation of the local population was fundamentally wrong – then, when you have done all you can to correct that wrong, you can make comments about immigration policy in foreign countries, 3,000 miles away where you don’t live, and be taken seriously.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink
  22. Malcolm says

    If you can say that the European Colonization of North America and the subsequent decimation of the local population was fundamentally wrong, then, when you have done all you can to correct that wrong, you can make comments about immigration policy in foreign countries, 3,000 miles away where you don’t live, and be taken seriously.

    In other words, if I can say that the ebb and flow of human empires that has characterized all of history is “fundamentally wrong”, that the colonization of North America by England was “fundamentally wrong”, and that therefore I should wish the United States had never come into existence, etc…

    Sorry, but I’m not inclined to say any of those things. And as for taking me “seriously”: by all means don’t, if you like. We have lots of Brits over here commenting on US society, and they are “taken seriously” by those Americans who agree with them, and resented by those who don’t, as you seem to resent what I’m saying here.

    What groundswell of resentment?

    If you are actually saying this with a straight face — if you are denying that there is a rising tide of dismay among the common people of England and Europe over the extraordinarily rapid demographic change that has come to their homelands in recent decades, and that this sentiment is reflected in the increasing success, both in Britain and on the Continent, of political parties advocating revision of immigration policies (parties I’m sure you would characterize as “right-wing-extremist” groups on the “wrong side of history”, if you were to acknowledge that they even exist) — and if you likewise can say with a straight face that there has been no racial tension in the UK since the 1980’s — then I fear we aren’t likely to have enough points of basic agreement to carry on a fruitful discussion.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  23. JK says

    Can’t carry much water on this thread intellectually so don’t bother with my dropping in however briefly.

    “We have lots of Brits over here commenting on US society, and they are “taken seriously” by those Americans who agree with them, and resented by those who don’t, as you seem to resent what I’m saying here.”

    John Derbyshire.

    I will say all who’ve commented on this thread so encapsulate what I think will soon be the final semester course in Western Civ that I felt prodded into giving my teachers the deserved apples.

    Thanks especially TBH.*

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink
  24. Ditto, JH.

    Thanks for the assurance, DD.

    I am not one of those who romanticizes “the good old days”. With all the medical and technological advances in my own lifetime (so far), I believe that, on balance, my current retirement is the best part of my life.

    I completely agree with Malcolm’s view that our Western civilization “will now enjoy a relatively brief retirement, amongst its nice furniture and pretty pictures, before the inevitable.” Brief though it may be, it will likely be long enough for me personally. But I grieve for my sons and especially for my granddaughters. They will not, sad to say, enjoy their golden years as I have.

    Unlike Obama, I freely give him all the credit he deserves for having done that.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  25. Malcolm says

    Yes, JK: John Derbyshire, a voluble immigration restrictionist, is no doubt a good example of one of those “trendy PC right-wing” types “who never interact with blacks, asians or chinese”.

    Oh wait, he’s married to a Chinese woman. Dang it!

    (As for me, after decades spent making R&B and jazz records in the New York music community, and 36 years of immersion in southern Chinese martial arts, I can say I’ve actually “interacted” with some of those ethnic groups myself, and had a splendid time doing so. None of any of that negates the reality, however, of the stressful effect of rapid demographic change on social cohesion and civic harmony.)

    Here’s Derb on the alleged moral bankruptcy of all those immigration-restriction “extremists” who are starting to make their voices heard above the multi-culti din.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  26. “Thanks especially TBH.*”

    Ditto, JK.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
  27. JK says

    You’ll need drop me a link in the mail Malcolm. Can’t log-in in my current sit but it’ll be there waiting. Things’re poppin’ an it might take abit longer than originally thought. Back to my first stop before home. Looking at pictures. None pretty.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  28. JK,

    Are you some kind of secret agent?

    Just wink twice if you are. I certainly wouldn’t want to compromise your identity and/or your affiliation.

    Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
  29. Alex says

    I don’t read this blog assiduously but I check in here often enough to confirm the veracity of Malcolm Pollack’s opinion (however he came by it), that mass immigration into Britain, which has been condoned by the patricians, is widely resented among the plebs. The fact that he lives in America is immaterial to how well-informed he might be on this subject.

    No political party in the UK – as far as I’m aware – has ever asked for a mandate on the basis of a manifesto that included a commitment to increase the number of aliens settling in these islands. When the Labour Party was in power (under Tony Blair), the government encouraged immigration by stealth in order to expand its ‘client base’.

    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink
  30. Malcolm says

    Thank you, Alex.

    Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  31. Jack obviously fails to understand the word ‘resentment’. He assumes, with the blithe ignorance of the Left, that unless there are mass demonstrations there is no popular feeling. He forgets that most demos are peopled by students and/or trade unionists for whom time is of no importance. The rest of us have jobs to do, earnings to be made, lives to be led, and our feelings about this or that political or social problem are confined to the dinner party table, the pub or whatever social organisation we might belong to. Also, the vast majority of the British people are law-abiding and view demos and demonstrators of any sort as exceedingly doubtful activities best avoided in that they are always worse than whatever situation about which they are complaining.

    As far as my personal, and therefore limited, knowledge is concerned I would say that there is a far-reaching and fairly deep resentment against mass immigration. There always was and there always will be. I am old enough to remember troubles in Wales in the early ’50s amongst the mining areas when there was an influx of Italian workers eager to go down the pits.

    The fact is that, mumbling and grumbling as we always do, the Brits have put up with the disruption of mass immigration because, by and large, it has coincided with a rise of living standards. That could easily change and then you might see a different picture! As always and everywhere, immigrants bring considerable benefits to a nation that treats them right – they work hard and they usually bring a strong family culture with them. That the social conditions in contemporary Britain actually subvert the work and family ethic is our fault not theirs!

    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink
  32. JK says

    Just a semi-conscious observer TBH, not so relevant anymore other than past regional experiences. Certainly no Double Aught Seven (keeping to topic) – the “poppin'” is kinda preparing a new generation to take over the flight-deck of a reconstituted service. If you look to Waka’s sidebar you might find me stegging “Across The Universe.”

    97% or so gratis unfortunately. Figure I’m fending off Alzheimer’s.

    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  33. Dom says

    Well, I see JK is drunk again.

    I have to say DD made a great point. Several, in fact. The point is not immigration. It is immigration now that the PC left has taken over most of the culture and a lot of the laws.

    Posted August 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink
  34. Malcolm says

    Well, yes and no. Certainly having the “PC left” take over everything is disastrous, no matter how you slice it. But having them take over immigration was arguably the worst disaster of all.

    As we discussed in this long thread, the stressful effect of immigration depends on at least two factors: the rate at which it happens, and the degree of dissimilarity between the immigrants and the host. It is one thing for a Western nation like the UK to absorb small numbers of Canadians; it is quite another for it to absorb millions of Africans and South Asian Muslims. The “tipping point” at which the social stress and strain of mass immigration outweighs any benefits is reached far sooner in the latter scenario, and in this case it has become clear that the ruling patricians deliberately intended to impose disruptive, transformative levels of non-Western immigration with the explicit aim of irreversibly destroying Britain’s traditional culture.

    There’s a pretty serious point there, I think.

    Posted August 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink
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