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Posted December 15, 2003
Unintentionally humorous drivel
This is a painfully self-righteous and badly written read. Dalrymple comes across as a typical stiff and pretentious Englishman who confuses modernity with vulgarity. I picture him standing on his door step shaking his fist after a retreating motorcycle shouting 'Kids these days!!' and wondering aloud why the poor don't just go to their Caribbean summer homes when they're feeling down. In his effort to prove that all English negativity, including ethnic stereotypes and bad architecture, are the fault of bad attitude, he reminds me of just another Aspen-style guru in Connover's 'White Out'. The book could have been called: 'I Did My Best and for What: a guilty upper classman's disassociation of guilt.' He is able to successfully argue a few old tried and true clichés,(kids don't think school is hip, people who are bored drink more at clubs and act funny), but overall he falls into the problem of 'F'ed Companies' in that he ends up simply listing observations instead of delving into the academic task of analysis. He is overcome by the rose tinted spectacles of false nostalgia for an imagined time when the church forced everyone to act respectably, public housing and assistance were available only to suitably clean and grateful 2-parent families, and beautiful women only said 'yes' out of the purest, emotionally mature, virginal love. The book is more the author's ego trip for his martyrdom (Look at me, I condescended to study the savages in their own habitat!) than anything resembling an accurate treaties, and is often rather humorous as such.
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