What’s Wrong with Twinkling Buttocks?

I am a free speech absolutist. If any argument, however equivocal, could be made in favour of censorship, this would be it. (BTW, Lawrence is a downright bad writer. Dr. D is right about that. They made me read Sons and Lovers twice. Good lord what crap. It’s always so gratifying when someone hates the same writer as you do.)

I read all of Dalrymple’s articles from City Journal back in the day. I highly recommend you all take a holiday from your “life” and do the same.

In no country has the process of vulgarization gone further than in Britain: in this, at least, we lead the world. A nation famed not so long ago for the restraint of its manners is now notorious for the coarseness of its appetites and its unbridled and antisocial attempts to satisfy them.

  • Maybe the twinkling is risque?

  • Martin B

    I’ve got no use for DH Lawrence, either, but I don’t agree that the obscenity trial in 1960 was the crack that broke the dam. All it accomplished was giving good publicity to bad writing.

    And “A nation famed not so long ago for the restraint of its manners is now notorious for the coarseness of its appetites and its unbridled and antisocial attempts to satisfy them. The mass drunkenness seen on weekends in the center of every British town and city, rendering them unendurable to even minimally civilized people…” made me think of Gin Lane, engraved by Hogarth in 1751:

  • Barrington Minge

    I had to study Sons and Lovers for school “A” level English – snoring, boring. Have not read another word of Lawrence since (I’m now 68ish).
    Why is it that some writer grab you and some don’t?

    • Justin St.Denis

      Lawrence bored the piss outta me, too.

    • canminuteman

      I am reading Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities”. I have it on my phone and read it during down time at work. I am reading it because I consider myself an educated man and as such I should be familiar with someone who is considered one of the greats of English literature.

      What a chore it has been to wade through his absolutely horrible prose! I am half way through and the story is going nowhere, His sentence structure is awful. He writes sentences that go on for half a page and say nothing. I have no idea why he is considered great.

      I have been trying to educate myself more through literature over the past few years. I have developed a real love for Ernest Hemingway, Emile Zola, Somerset Maugham, Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell, Thomas Hardy, but I will never pick up another Dickens book.

      I am glad that Lawrence is not getting the SDA stamp of approval because I was tempted to give him a try.

      • Justin St.Denis

        We were forced to read it ALOUD by a 9th grade English teacher who was a second-language English speaker and very clueless teacher. Do you know how painful that was? Can you even imagine it? I never went near Dickens again. I was into Mikhail Bulgakov by then, anyway……..

      • Dickens is a mixed bag, I agree. Orwell liked him, for what that’s worth.

        • canminuteman

          If you like Orwell, go beyond 1984 and Animal Farm. The Clergyman’s Daughter, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Burmese Days, Homage to Catalonia, Coming up for Air, Down and out in London and Paris, and the Road to Wigan Pier, are all great books. I also have a couple of volumes of his collected essays and newspaper columns.

  • xavier

    Martin B
    You beat me about the same thought as Hobart. Wasn’t he engraving that drunkenness just before Methodist took off

    Anyways everyone forgets that the English underclass has always had a streak of great coarseness just have to read between the lines in a lot of Dicken’s novels to notice it. Let’s not forget the sailors they were a really rough bunch

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  • BradThomas

    I know I’m not personally the brightest light on the porch, as the saying goes, but is it just me, or is Dalrymple generally a difficult read? (I nearly always have to look up a couple of words …!)

    But more seriously, I’m of two minds about his argument for restrictions on artistic license. We have not, seemingly, entered into any “golden” age of literature (or art, or music …) despite the supposed more or less complete artistic freedom that has existed in our societies for decades. (Indeed, to me personally it sometimes appears that we are in more of a leaden – or whatever is the antithesis of gold – age in this regard.) Still, but still … censorship? I’m not sure of his argument for the benefits of restricting expression, however crude, in literature. Why is this necessary? Because some art is harmful or degrading to society? But who decides what is harmful or degraded? And how does one measure a society’s social (and artistic) health anyway? By the percentage of alcoholics, perhaps? The percentage of unemployed? Of suicides?

    I’m deliberately playing the devil’s advocate here, to a certain extent. Being of course, a nut-job conservative, I tend very much to agree with the sentiments that Dalrymple expresses. (A former French Canadian girlfriend assured me that I – like all “the English” – was a prude, so there you have it.) To a large extent, and especially in the area of sexuality, we are as we act (to modify slightly an old saying). And if we humans choose to act like rutting animals … well. (But the devil again chimes in with, “if a society wishes to immerse itself in delicious filth and frivolity, shouldn’t it be permitted to do so?” To which one might respond, “Yes, but this might not be the wisest course of action, though permissible, and we must in this case also be free NOT to do so.”)

    Anyway, apologies if my wordy little diatribe is rather incoherent: I am, as mentioned, somewhat ambivalent toward the issues of censorship of art, and of efforts to determine and shape societal social standards. But overall, I do agree with Dalrymple that we as a society have descended to a darker and less civilized place, and that crude, literal depictions of sexuality (pornography, 50 shades of grey) are actually harmful to human interaction, and tend to move us backward toward our apish roots. We may be just animals in the final analysis, but why not try to be more than that? As Robert Browning wrote, “Ah, but a man’s reach should succeed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”

    • Justin St.Denis

      Thanks. That was very thought-provoking.

  • disqusW6sf

    I know I read Lady Chatterly’s Lover but I don’t remember it.