by Theodore Dalrymple (May 2013)
When, many years ago, I started regularly to review books for profit and pleasure (my profit and pleasure, that is), I thought it would be fun to write destructive reviews of bad books. I was beguiled into this idea by having read Macaulay’s eviscerating essay-review, which I found delightful, of a three-volume biography of Lord Burleigh:
Compared with the labour of reading through these volumes, all other labour, the labour of thieves on the treadmill, of children in factories, of negroes in sugar plantations, is an agreeable recreation. There was, it is said, a criminal in Italy, who was suffered to make his choice between Guicciardini and the galleys. He chose the history. But the war of Pisa was too much for him. He changed his mind, and went to the oar. more>>>
There is a paradox about this book, which I thought Theodore would have noticed - we only know all these dreadful things said about James Lasdun because he informed us of them, himself. He chose to publish a book with all these allegations against him, included in it in the form of her emails. He also publishes his student's paranoid fantasy that he was stealing her writings and planning to use her for his own invetions, and to write a book based on her ... She must be crazy to imagine such a thing ...
'The author and I'
And who are you exactly?
Architecture is a red herring in this article. Dalrymple is arguing out of pure self interest: the underlying message is that op-ed writers such as himself should never be held accountable for what they write and, if anyone attempts to hold them accountable, it is tantamount to 'persecution'.
The author and I it seems, are both appalled at the utter lack of any sense of the aesthetic in what passes for architecture among so many of our moderns. The souless quality of our modern cities reflect this, and like him, cannot help but resent those responsible for it.
The faceless, anonymous social media world allows outrages that could not even be imagined 30 years ago. Strip away an individuals accountabiltiy for what he or she says, and what emerges is nothing short of the end of civility in our public discourse.
Persecuted? Gotta love delusions of victimhood.
g murphy donovan
As Pogo would have said; "I have seen the enemy and he is us." Alas, we must join (a kind of ironic mandate) all those 'social' networks only to discover how uncivil they can be. The wretched hide behind screen names and fire for effect. Targets are naively florescent, illuminated by ego. The real casualty is heart and candor - rhetorical courage undone by fear. The internet might have more to do with intimidation than education - more autocratic than democratic. Huxley and Orwell were onto something. The future may not be fun.
I don't know that architect, but "He was enamoured of concrete as a material" is a bad sign.
Although somebody a few years back invented translucent concrete -- concrete that allows, well, light to penetrate. I think it has glass fibers imbedded in it, or something. Now THAT might be an interesting material to have in your home.
'Be this all as it may, I still find James Lasdun’s filial piety (an ancient but now uncommon virtue) exemplary, and wish only that I could feel and express it myself. ALAS, I CANNOT.'
How horribly melodramatic.
Grow up, Dr. Dalrymple.