November 12, 2010

Prescience

One thing worth noting about Anthony Burgess's 1962 book A Clockwork Orange is how prescient it was about a future England of high crime, home invasions and, especially, about how the Government's response would be technocratic. When New Labour came into office 35 years later, it pursued a largely sci-fi approach to fighting crime, putting up millions of surveillance cameras. If the Ludovico Technique actually worked, I suspect Blair would have used it.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

As regards surveillance cameras--they are reasonably suspected to be pervasive on our campus, but are not overt. The aim seems to be to "capture" evidence and gain trophy convictions--not primarly to inhibit and prevent illegal conduct in public places. I am told that such cameras are overt and conspicuous in London and other major UK cities Why the difference?

Anonymous said...

Theodore Dalrymple wrote an interesting article in City Journal on the same subject a few years back.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_1_oh_to_be.html

Dennis Dale said...

They'll eventually use something like the Ludovico Technique as a a cure for racism, with collateral damage similar to that done to Beethoven in the book.
Come to think of it, that image of Alex with his lids held open, pleading with them to at least spare his beloved Ludwig Van and being told by the bloodless doctor that it was all for his own good is an apt image of the current "conversation" regarding race.

William B Swift said...

Bruce Schneier has been a long time and frequent critic of surveillance cameras, his most recent post is Crowdsourcing Surveillance. There has been little or no evidence that they help either as a deterrent or in solving crimes.

Laban said...

Thirty years ago I read Anthony Burgess’ novel The Wanting Seed, about an overpopulated globe where homosexuality was privileged in an attempt to reduce the birthrate. Governments only fell into two categories, Pelagian and Augustinian, and swung between the two forms.

Augustinian governments believe in Original Sin, that man is naturally given to vices which need to be checked. Tend to be hierarchical and militaristic.

Pelagian governments believe in Man’s perfectibility and innate goodness. As this fails to produce the perfect society, so do initially liberal Pelagians tend to turn towards coercion, more laws and greater police powers. Reminded me of the UK Labour administration of 1997-2010.

"Pelagius is fond of police,
Augustine loves an army"

dfadfadfasdf said...

But where ACO is dead wrong is the lack of PC and black cultural influence. The world of ACO is socialistic but it is also ultra-libertine. As long as one doesn't get caught for violent crime, one can say and do anything. Not UK of today where one is dragged before courts for saying negative things about certain groups like homos or Muslims.
Children of Men, though suckass, is closer to where West is headed.
(And maybe Hill's The Warriors).

But I suppose ACO got something right. The less we rely on old sense of right & wrong, family values, individual responsiblity, and social honor, we're gonna have to rely more on technology to control behavior.
We can't control kids by old morality and values, so they gotta be watched at all times--though with camera cell phones, it's like everyone is watched and watching. We are all big brothers now.
But it's not really Orwellian either since the modern west is a consumer-democracy where people are supposed to be free. So, even as technology controls public space, it cannot control private space(unless kids put private stuff on youtube--Gosh, who needs intrusive big brother when so many people are willing to reveal all--even nudity and sex habits--on the internet?). Also, the liberal-leftist ideology prevalent in culture romanticizes violence as legitimate expression, and sometimes it's hard to distinguish crime from social rebellion: French riots, the recent 'protests' at Tory headquarters. So, the police have more machines to watch what's happening but their hands are also more tied behind their backs. They are allowed to see more crime but not allowed to arrest more criminals.

There is PC to replace old morality, and PC has its list of virtues--tolerance, diversity, etc, etc. But, while it is effective in shaming and curbing far right violence, it has no effect on violence by punks, Muslims, blacks, leftists, etc. If anything, PC often serves to apologize for or justify the violence among the poor(economoically 'oppressed), non-whites(racially 'oppressed'), and the left(fighting for 'social justice'). Given that so much violence in UK comes from the working/shirking/jerking classes, blacks, Muslims, and leftists, PC is useless in curtailing most of the violence and crime. If anything, it tells law-abiding people to tolerate and love than judge non-white and leftist thugs wreaking havoc all over the place.

Also, the pop culture that promotes and celebrates the worst kind of violence and lunacy are stuff like Punk and Rap, but many leftist intellectuals and officials(and even good number of conservatives in power today)grew up to punk and mythologize it. And few people criticize rap lest it be 'racist'. Indeed, we have more Europeans dumping on evil patriarchal classical music(The Pianist by Michael Haneke)than on rap music, though the ending scene of SUMMER HOURS(by Assayas)is ambiguously ironic.
The recent Swedish interracist music video tells us something about how vulgarized and Americanized even the elites have become.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

My favorite example of artistic prognostication is Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, with its near-future Los Angeles full of Han Chinese doing genetic engineering in street stalls. How quaint.

Come to think of it, Burgess's Alex living at home with a mom and a dad is pretty quaint too.

Fred said...

You poor, tortured soul, Dennis.

Whiskey said...

The problem with most dystopian fiction is that it over-estimates the power of the elites in the West. Which even now is receding before our eyes. We have essentially one giant Prohibition on "racism" crime-think (that human beings exhibit racially based and distinct behavior, with some less and more desirable, some of that associated with White upperclass btw not that desirable, i.e. extinction levels of fertility).

Yet the flouting of the conventional mores is about as strong as that of Prohibition. You can have all the technology you want, but a system that does not have wide support needs a widely brutal police force. Which in turn needs to be paid very, very well (or they turn on their masters and install their own as in Rome).

Elites in the West have neither the money for a brutal police state nor widespread support of the people. Indeed beyond failing (and visibly so) media and polite society, the elites have nothing.

Dystopia proceeds from a general collapse, as the system that gives "more" (consumption, wealth, technology) fails to produce the next generation of technological improvements or rewards for same.

Burgess, Orwell, Huxley, even the Prisoner on TV extrapolated the West turning into variations of Stalinism. Instead we have Yugoslavia after Tito. An example of over-estimating the recent changes instead of the distant ones (Charles Martel and Alaric has probably more relevance than Stalin to today).

not a hacker said...

Thanks for that Dalrymple link. Have I missed it, or has the insanity of the presumptive moral authority of youth gone undiscussed at Isteve?

Jack Ketch said...

A Clockwork Orange is a good novel, but it doesn't predict the breakdown of family life. Alex lives with his mother and father. Today he would live with his mother only.

A disproportionate amount of extreme youth violence in Britain, in particular gang rapes like those depicted in A Clockwork Orange, as well as shootings is the work of black Caribbean teenagers and young men.

This is widely understood and acknowledged in the media, although the causes cited are always proximate ones, such as the common absence of fathers from the home, lack of suitable role models and so forth.

Reference is rarely made to the continuity of such behaviour with that of the violent 'rude boy' youth gangs in Jamaica in the 1950s and 60s.

Harry Baldwin said...

The really anachronistic element of "A Clockwork Orange" is that it's all white. Burgess utterly failed to anticipate the multi-racial aspect of dystopian Britain.

Here it is on display at the Notting Hill Carnival.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO46cLABl1c&feature=player_embedded#

Polymath said...

That Dalrymple article is marvelous. Another prophetic writer was Orwell, but not in the way most people think. What was exceptionally insightful about 1984, otherwise an inferior book, was the recognition of a totalitarian strand in the English national character, which has manifested itself in the enormous and feebly resisted encroachments on traditional freedoms there in the last 6 decades, and which was prophetic about England specifically (but not, to anything remotely approaching the same degree, about America).

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is true,but I read that a town near Liverpool called Brikenhead has as much violent crime as all of England did in 1960. I don't know the demographics of Birkenhead.

Thripshaw said...

Burgess also wrote a dystopian novel called "1985" where England was overrun with 3rd world immigrants, a la Enoch Powell's prediction, which all iSteve readers know has come true.
Burgess is probably my favorite writer, but Steve comes in as a strong second!
Have you experimented with fiction, Steve? You're an ideas man like Burgess who might have some success if you gave it a shot.

Anonymous said...

The Dalrymple piece is interesting, but the problem he describes (or that Kubrick describes) is not a problem of a new generation but rather of sociopathy and sociopaths, who constitute a certain small percentage of every generation.

If you read through the blog SocioPathWorld, written for and by self-confessed sociopaths, you will see the only thing they really fear is prison. Law enforcement would seem to be the answer therefore, and if take cameras then I am for them.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sailer, it seems that you like The Simpsons (at least the older episode.) I wonder if you can help settle a fierce debate among Simpsons fans--the question is this: when did The Simpsons 'jump the shark?'

I contend that it was after Season 8, that is the Golden-Age of The Simpsons was seasons 01 to 08, and maybe including the very FIRST episode of Season 09.

AGreed? ?? ?

Mike said...

And indeed, we see the results of New Labour's technocratic approach to high crime, which have not been promising. Britain, of course, used to have a highly successful technique for dealing with crime, regrettably abandoned in the present decadent age. We might call it the Pierrepoint technique, after one of its most proficient practitioners.

Tom Regan said...

As others have mentioned, not sure Steve had read the Dalrymple piece, but its among one of his many, many fine pieces on the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the bien pensant left.
Recommend his books and f/book feed to anyone

Anonymous said...

Of course the two million non-Whites Blair let into the country also played a huge role in causing the high crime rates and social breakdown too.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the crime rates and social problems in England MAY BE, the ONE THING that could very easily have been down to minimize it was to have kept the country as ethnically and racially homegeneous as possible. Homegrown English crime is one thing and an unavoidable thing, but IMPORTED Jamaican, Somali, Pakistani, etc, crime was totally preventable. But they didn't listen to Powell.

jqhart said...

Violence among young people is far more common and harder-edged in multi-ethnic America than in most of Britain. A school in the Fresno, California, area, where conflicts between (mestizo) Hispanics and Whites are common, including gangs of White kids forming in response to gangs of Hispanic kids, has banned American flags displayed on clothes, bags, and the like. Apparently the White kids have been pissing off the Hispanic kids by plastering American flag patches and decals on their hats, bags, etc. as a symbol of their being White. So to try to combat the gang conflicts school officials banned these displays. This isn't the first time this has happened, it also happened in the San Jose area last year and that's just the instances I've happened to hear in the media.

This kind of story utterly shocks the neocon-brainwashed conservatives, who wonder why the Flag is not being equally respected by Whites and Hispanics as a racially and ethnically universal symbol.

Recall certain facts that neocons would prefer we forget:

* The U.S. Flag was invented by a White, Betsy Ross
* All the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, which the Flag symbolizes, were White
* Early laws restricted immigration to Whites, because the Founders thought of America as a White Republic.
* Texas and American Whites fought long wars with Mexico, making the U.S. Flag inalterably a symbol of the "Anglos" (non-Hispanic Whites).

Therefore, it's perfectly natural that both White and Hispanic children who have learned a bit of history, and see it mirrored in the conflict at their own school, treat the Flag as a White symbol rather than as a racially or ethnically universal symbol. There's no point in getting involved with an extended argument with neocons over this issue. Just socialize some already anti-immigration but otherwise still-brainwashed Whites and recite the fact that American Flags have been banned at several California schools, then relate it back to the facts about the U.S. founding and by the natural parallel children (as well as non-brainwashed adults, but there's no need initially to talk about neocon brainwashing, that's a later revelation) draw between the Mexican wars and their own racial gang conflicts.

Another interesting thing the Flag bans suggest to me is that slowly but surely, California is seceding from the U.S. It would be helpful to our cause to hurry this process along -- not by increasing immigration to California of course, but by observing and amplifying these instances of emergent nationalism and communicating them to the neocon-brainwashed Heartland which is usually quite oblivious to these issues. Also, Whites need to be educated that sending their children to Hispanic-heavy schools is a recipe for child abuse: bullying, gang violence, rapes, and much more. To the extent they can get away with it, White children and Hispanic children, much like White prisoners and prisoners of other races, naturally form segregated gangs and wage war against each other.

Anonymous said...

The UK will be the first major country to fall into post-Western depravity.

Anon.

adsfasdfasdf said...

"Burgess also wrote a dystopian novel called "1985" where England was overrun with 3rd world immigrants, a la Enoch Powell's prediction, which all iSteve readers know has come true.
Burgess is probably my favorite writer, but Steve comes in as a strong second!
Have you experimented with fiction, Steve? You're an ideas man like Burgess who might have some success if you gave it a shot."

I have a theory that Mike Judge is really Steve in diguise.

adfasfasf said...

ACO gives us a world where western culture has been debased, bastardized, and commercialized, but it is still western culture.
The reality today is the West is becoming third-worldized and Afro-ized. Even a electronic dance version of Beethoven's 9th is passe.

asdfadsfads said...

OT.

Never read Heinlein but this looks like an interesting read:

http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Heinlein-Dialogue-1907-1948-Learning/dp/0765319608

---------------

Typically liberal pc book review(of German Genius).

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/books/review/Ladd-t.html

"Later, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud sought meaning in a world in flux, while lesser lights concocted their racial theories out of a fatal mixture of biology and philology."

Yeah, except Marxism gave the world a strain of communism that killed maybe 50-70 million in the 20th century.


"Watson’s chapters on the anguish of postwar German intellectuals remind us that he is a world away from the ­mystical nonsense of his countryman Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Nonetheless, his attempt to exalt a national character suggests that he is offering something not altogether different for our chastened time."

It's wonderful to speak of Jewish genius, black soul, and Mexican virtues, but how dare Watson speak of German genius? Is he like a subconscious Nazi or something?

Btw, speaking of 'nonsense', this is NY Times that thinks Gladwell is a genius.

Anonymous said...

The UK Tories are a good model for what the Republicans need to do in the U.S. - cut immigration and spending substantially. If only we had our own David Cameron......

The UK had pretty decent immigration laws until Labor opened the floodgates back in 1997.

CJ said...

Have you noticed how remarkably often government-installed security cameras don't work? How often security cameras in public institutions somehow fail to get a usable picture of a crime suspect? Noticed how this contrasts with cameras at banks, Seven-Elevens, et cetera? As Second City Cop puts it, the purpose of cameras isn't to fight crime -- it's to look like you're fighting crime while putting money into the pockets of connected suppliers and contractors who then kick it back to politicians. This is something that authors like Burgess and Orwell (both of whom I respect greatly) don't seem to have gotten.

BTW, are readers aware that (the book) A Clockwork Orange had different endings in the British and American editions? The movie is based on the American edition, which lacks a final chapter found in the British edition where Alex resolves to leave crime and try to redeem himself.

CJ said...

Sorry, I meant to include in that last comment a YouTube link to Anthony Burgess interviewed (about his D.H. Lawrence biography) by David Frum's mother Barbara. A special for iSteve literature fans.

Simon in London said...

jqart:
"Violence among young people is far more common and harder-edged in multi-ethnic America than in most of Britain."

It would be more accurate to say that racial animosity is far more common and harder edged in the USA than in most of Britain. The US is a much more heavily racialised society. The cultural Marxist Left and the Islamists work to whip up racial hatred among blacks and Muslims, and have had some success, but it's still very different here from the US. British schools tend to have good race relations/low racial awareness among most groups, except when the cultural Marxist "anti racist" indoctrination program creates awareness and hostility. I recall a head teacher saying "The children used to play together so well, but after the anti-racism lecture they split into separate groups and don't play together any more".

Of course high crime groups are still dangerous; the Somalis are insanely dangerous. I have an Irish woman neighbour who was home-invaded by Somalis who put her in hospital, smashed her dog's face, and stole her puppy. Not long after I met her sitting outside a cafe with a Somali woman who could have been the mother of her attackers!

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants a snapshot of what an utterly horrific place inner-city London is, you could do no worse than perusing back issues of the bi-weekly local London paper 'The South London Press'.

Nothing but Dickensian stomach churning horror and despair - with that certain 'multiracial' Blairite bullshit flavor.
Anyhow check out the 'Dano Sonnex, Nigel Farmer murder of the French Students Bonomo and Ferez in New Cross, London' in 2008.
The depths of depravity.In this case the drug addled murderes were 2nd generation Irish (shades of old Boston), and not the usual blamehounds,Jamaican blacks.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Large parts of inner city London are a shithoe for the same reason that LA is a shithole.
Basically, inner London is a high unmployment, low wage, low skilled, low paid slum with ultra expensive accomodation, living cheek by jowl with the super rich (gated communities haven't really taken off in London).
Back in the 60s there were plenty of jobs to go around in London and this kept things sweet, but since then successive governments have destroyed most working class employment by outsourcing it to the third world, and what's more have indulged in 'open borders' immigration (although they never, ever come claen and admit to it)importing as many immigrants as possible (usually dodgy types from the Carribean, Pakistan, Somalia, north africa , Kurds, Turks, Nigerians, Roma ettc etc), to drive wages down as much as possible as part of their 'free markets Friedmanite ideology'.
Ironically it was Tony Blair's Labour Party (supposedly a hardline socialist movement whose only cause was to fight for the British working class, hence the name 'Labour') who indulged in this policy with the greatest igor.

May God damn Tony Blair.

Jack Ketch said...

"If anyone wants a snapshot of what an utterly horrific place inner-city London is, you could do no worse than perusing back issues of the bi-weekly local London paper 'The South London Press'."

I read the South London Press every Friday and live in its distribution area. Neither are quite as bad as you're making out.

Some parts are bad, some parts are very pleasant. Most are somewhere in between.

Anonymous said...

Steve, another window into the depravity of modern Britain is the 'popular BBC soap-opera' EastEnders.
Now, some might think it ridiculous to blame the sins of a generation on to a soap-opera, but thhose people have probably never seen an episode of EastEnders.
To put it bluntly EastEnders is utter, utter Shit with a captial 'S'.It has no reddeming features at all.It's badly written, badly acted with horrible unsympathetic characters and is deliberately designed to appeal to the lowest possible demographic - written by chavs for chavs.Needless to say it's the most popular show on British TV.Chavs, particularly chavettes consciously model themselves on EastEnders cahracters and developed the 'EastEnders screaming fit' into a fine art.

Of course the BBC alwats loves to pompously pat itself on the back and intone "We're simply the best broadcaster in the world, old boy, we've got that effortless public school and foreign office superiority, foreigners try to imitate us, but never succeed, natual superiority is the name of the game, old boy, you know just like those wonderful chaps at 'The Economist' magazine.
Perhaps this was true in the 196os and 70s when I was a boy growing up watching the then excellent BBC TV output, which was variety at its finest.In those days the BBC was run by stolid, educated middle class, middle aged men with bald heads and glasses who commissioned great programmes.
Today it's run by a lot of silly women and 'metrosexuals' - and EastEnders is shown prime time 4 nights a week and repeated - in toto - every Sunday afternoon.
Watch it and weep.

PA said...

has the insanity of the presumptive moral authority of youth gone undiscussed

A huge thing in 1980s popular entertainment was the ubiquity of children denouncing their parents.

Many music videos started off with the punkish kid storming out the parents' door, presumably for good. (Pat Benetar, several 'hair band' videos)

Teenage comedies often had a character who made a speech that denounced his father. The villain dad was either a low-end racist (Porky's, Lucas) or a right wing politician of some sort (a common theme in spring break sex comedies).

The teen runaways and molester dads were a constant hysteria buzz.

That seems entirely gone now, thankfully.

Anonymous said...

Steve, if you ever go to England you will see that virtually every man of a certain age has a shaved, bald head.This trend is only about 20 yeras old, but very, very persistant and ingrained, and will probably never go away.
- Why so?, I hear you ask.
Well, simply because the two main 'hardman'characters of Eastenders distinguished themselves with bald heads, the reat of middle aged male Britain apparently followed.
Fact.

Anonymous said...

The Simpsons started to suck in 1999.

Dan in DC

Dennis Dale said...

You poor, tortured soul, Dennis.

You have no idea (a statement I imagine to be true in general).

jody said...

i also noticed that many british men deliberately shave their heads clean. why? strange trend.

Anonymous said...

I was in London earlier in the year on business and while walking through Soho with my coworkers we were challenged to a fight by four drunken chavs. A simple "We're Americans, you're gonna need a lot more guys than that" and some aggressive body language were enough to back them down and have them play it all off of a joke. And we were four soft Hollywood executives. So color me unimpressed with the quality of contemporary British hooliganism.

Anonymous said...

Sometime around 2000, the then BBC director general Greg Dyke termed the then BBC employees "hideously white." By "white", I'm sure he meant all sorts of things, in addition to color. If anyone is in the mood to point fingers, may I suggest starting with him.

Fellow Traveler in Berkeley said...

OT, from today's SF Chronicle, "Latino Kids Now Majority in State's Public Schools":

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/13/MNIG1GBD0C.DTL&tsp=1

My favorite quotes:

"That influence will only grow as Latino parents - now in the majority - realize many of the schools their children attend are underfunded, said Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at UC Berkeley."

"If the majority of the population is becoming bilingual," he said, referring to the growing Latino population learning English, "why shouldn't the white minority also become bilingual?"

Simon in London said...

"Steve, if you ever go to England you will see that virtually every man of a certain age has a shaved, bald head.This trend is only about 20 yeras old, but very, very persistant and ingrained, and will probably never go away.
- Why so?, I hear you ask.
Well, simply because the two main 'hardman'characters of Eastenders distinguished themselves with bald heads, the reat of middle aged male Britain apparently followed.
Fact."

I've never watched Eastenders, but even I have gone for the shaven-headed look, and certainly my working class friends in Ulster tend to be shaven-headed or very short haired. I don't think Eastenders started this trend. It is a way to look a bit tougher, as you say, which is useful in deterring attack on the street - you don't need to be the 'ardest looking guy on the street, you just need to not lool like the weakest target on the street.

These days though I tend to go for a more 1940s style short back & sides but longer on top, for me and my 3 year old son. It would be nice if I didn't have to worry about whether my child looked tough enough to deter bullying, but that's life here.

B Lode said...

The villain dad was either a low-end racist (Porky's, Lucas) or a right wing politician of some sort (a common theme in spring break sex comedies). - PA

Like John G. Schmitz?

Anonymous said...

"The U.K. will be the first major country to fall into post-western depravity". Anon,

Quite true and it fits too. The U.K. was the very first western country to allow third world, non-White immigration, so it is naturally that much further down the road to oblivion.

Kylie said...

"Britain, of course, used to have a highly successful technique for dealing with crime, regrettably abandoned in the present decadent age. We might call it the Pierrepoint technique, after one of its most proficient practitioners."

And the identity of some of its adherents would no doubt surprise the clueless left.

From another article by Theodore Dalrymple:
'Ang 'em.

Anonymous said...

"Augustinian governments believe in Original Sin, that man is naturally given to vices which need to be checked. Tend to be hierarchical and militaristic."

No better way to check the Original Sin of the individual than by a collective group of sinners called government.

hbdchick said...

the daley administration has followed suit, too, huh?

Anonymous said...

Re: Simpsons

I'm with Dan in DC. I really enjoy Season 1. The art is more raw and edgy, and Homer hadn't yet become a caricature of himself.

Brutus

Anonymous said...

Polymath wrote: "What was exceptionally insightful about 1984, otherwise an inferior book, was the recognition of a totalitarian strand in the English national character, which has manifested itself in the enormous and feebly resisted encroachments on traditional freedoms there in the last 6 decades, and which was prophetic about England specifically (but not, to anything remotely approaching the same degree, about America)."

I find this reassuring because one of my fears is that Britain now is the U.S. 20 years from now. If there really is a basic difference between Brits and Americans -- a "totalitarian strand" in one but not the other -- I would feel a lot less gloomy about a future of Victory Gin in this country.

- JP98

asdfasdfsaf said...

"Back in the 60s there were plenty of jobs to go around in London and this kept things sweet, but since then successive governments have destroyed most working class employment by outsourcing it to the third world"

Not so simple. Unions got too powerful, crazy, greedy, corrupt, and irrational. It was impossible to do business. In fact, India, which followed the British socialist model until the 1990s, also sucked economically, even being eclipsed by S. Korea(!!)by the late 80s.

travis said...

"Pelagius is fond of police,
Augustine loves an army"

Then there's Calvinism, which loves both with equal relish.

"But when it becomes monolithic and a genuine state religion, as in Saudi Arabia, then it's rather repulsive. It's very much like Calvinism in Geneva, very similar." -- Anthony Burgess, Conversations with Anthony Burgess.

elvisd said...

Anarcho-tyranny.

K(yle) said...

Shaved heads are very popular among balding middle-aged men in America as well. I doubt that it was EastEnders that started the trend here or there.

Very short hair on young men has been 'in' since 99 or so as well.

Shaved heads among black men have been popular since at least the late-80s.

All in all, it's not a bad deal since I haven't seen a toupe since the 90s and rarely see combovers any more. The 'baseball cap as toupe' fashion has also drastically declined.

I believe it is a general trend towards more 'casual' while not being hobo-chic. Shaved heads and very short hair are both conducive to falling out of bed in the morning, tossing on the ole T-shirt and jeans and walking out the front door. I typically see balding men that don't keep their scalps fastidiously clean shaven, but sport ample stubble in the spots they still grow hair. That certainly supports my 'casual' theory.

Burke101 said...

Burgess also wrote a dystopian novel called "1985" where England was overrun with 3rd world immigrants, a la Enoch Powell's prediction, which all iSteve readers know has come true.

1985 is a very good read. It also includes some essays on the media and other things. A point that Burgess makes is that television's impact is to make people passive, regardless of the content being broadcast. In the old days, he notes, people would sit around the fire and tell stories and thus interact with each other. And you could even see better pictures in the fire!

Anonymous said...

By a strange coincidence the Ludovico technique or something very much like it was also a central plot element in The Ipcress File written the same year by Len Deighton.

The danger of being captured and having your mind "changed" through compulsion no longer seems to resonate with authors or film producers.

A decade later in comparable paranoid political thrillers like Three Days of the Condor the only worry was a gunshot.

In the fifties movies like Invaders from Mars and Invasion of the Body Snatchers we saw aliens take over our minds but in the eighties they only wanted your body - (e.g. Alien or Aliens) for direct consumption or as an egg brood host.

This must mean something, but I'm not quite sure what.

beowulf said...

OT but interesting. :o)

"PricewaterhouseCoopers...has launched an investigation after male staff at one of its branches in Ireland were found circulating emails where they rated the attractiveness of their female colleagues."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8124973/PricewaterhouseCoopers-staff-rate-female-colleagues-in-viral-email.html

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

The Simpsons fell into the shark tank with the "MyPods and Broomsticks" episode. The juxtaposition of the Mumbai attacks and the PC sermonizing was unreal.

Lugash wishes there was a Soviet Union to defect back into.

I am Lugash.

Wandrin said...

London isn't like US cities where the ghetto areas are in solid blocs. In London the rougher and more upscale areas are intermingled like a patchwork quilt. The worst patches are as bad as the US but only a few streets away it isn't so bad. However like everywhere else it gets worse every year.

The head shaving was originally copying black males - a side-effect of things being more jumbled up.

The transmission of black values was also made easier because of this. Although with MTV physical proximity doesn't matter much any more.


"The UK Tories are a good model for what the Republicans need to do in the U.S. - cut immigration and spending substantially. If only we had our own David Cameron"

Cameron is a liberal-neocon-globalist. The talk about immigration before the election was all talk.


"The UK had pretty decent immigration laws until Labor opened the floodgates back in 1997."

As with the US the big change was deliberately encouraging illegal immigration through the simple process of not deporting people and giving them welfare.


"was the recognition of a totalitarian strand in the English national character"

A strand which somehow managed to completely hide itself for 1000 years before suddenly springing into action 60 years after scores of thousands of marxists slithered into the country to escape the Nazis and began their long march through the institutions.

Polichinello said...

Short hair cuts:

Yeah, it's about the convenience for me. I started balding in my 20s, and when I was single that was very aggravating. It was pretty hard to resist the urge to put on the ball cap when I went out for the night.

Once I hit 30 or so, I cared less, and when I got married, it ceased to mean anything. But keeping up with a circular fringe is pretty silly when you can just set the beard trimmer on 1 every few weeks and go on with your life. Nothing, and I mean nothing, looks worse than a bald dude who lets his hair grow long, unless he completes the effect by putting it into a ponytail. GAY.

I don't do the full shave because the itching and stubble are aggravating. Also, if you're not in full bouncer, bulging and buff mode, you come off looking like Duvall and Pleasance in THX 1138. Or even Brando from Apocalypse Now. Yeesh.

Is the buzz trim lazy? Yeah, it is. After going without the top for over decade, I think I've earned the right to be lazy with my haircare.

David said...

>Once I hit 30 or so, I cared less, and when I got married, it ceased to mean anything.<

You said it, friend.

asdfasdfasf said...

OT.

The French film TELL NO ONE is something special. Kinda like a cross between The Fugitive and Chabrol films. Stylistically somewhat messy but suits the topsy turvy subject. Adapation of American novel into French setting. Interesting from many angles.

Gc said...

Relating to haircuts. It`s truly a shame that ordinary men don`t wear oldschool hats anymore. I have always wanted to wear a hat. Ideally that would be inexpensive add to what I wear, which would ideally make up for example an old jacket (jackets are expensive).

ben tillman said...

Not so simple. Unions got too powerful, crazy, greedy, corrupt, and irrational. It was impossible to do business.

How convenient! The incitement of class conflict by the usual suspects provides a pretext, convincing in your view, for race replacement.

Tell me what happened to Robert Owen's vision of communism.

ERM said...

"was the recognition of a totalitarian strand in the English national character"

A strand which somehow managed to completely hide itself for 1000 years before suddenly springing into action 60 years after scores of thousands of marxists slithered into the country to escape the Nazis and began their long march through the institutions.


Oh, rot. Cromwell anybody? The Star Chamber?

Anonymous said...

Talking about "there's nothing worse than a bald guy letting his ahir grow long", there used to be a very popular British comedian back in the '70s by the name of Max Wall whose spiel mainly consisted of his ridiculous 'bald long doughnut' hairstyle combined with a silly walk.

Anonymous said...

In the good old days, the dear old BBC used to produce good light enetertainment interspersed with good intelligent documenataries and cutting edge modern drama (the excellent 'Play for Today' strand.
They also used to make excellent childrens' program.
Growing up in the 70s when the BBC was run by respectable, stolid middle class types, I grw watching such shows as Blue Peter, Ask the family, Top of the Form, Why don't you?, etc and in the evenings I well remember being entertained by such great luminaries as Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies, Bruce Forsyth, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Dave Allen etc.
That's the trouble with today's BBC - too much EastEnders and not enough Les Dawson.

Anonymous said...

Of course, George Orwell was a BBC man through and through, and his 'Ministry of Truth' is merely the BBC described by another name.
Orwell was prescient in explaining what the BBC is all about, and it's unfortunate role in shaping peoples' minds, especially as it has now degenerated into the pillar and upholder of chavdom with EastEnders.
On the back of the old Penguin paperbacks there used to be a great and iconic photo-portrait of George Orwell.Very characterful it showed Orwell, long-headed and earnest with a 1930s 'short, back and sides' haircut, before a huge old-fashioned BBC 'meat-safe' microphone.

jody said...

nah guys, i'm talking about british men with a full head of hair and they deliberately clean shave it. i've seen this dozens of times in the last 10 years. i'm definitely not talking about men going bald and deciding to get rid of the rest.

it probably has to be a proliferation of skinhead culture in the UK. not that all the guys shaving their heads are skinheads, just that clean shaving your head is some kind of mainstream, accepted hair style now in the UK.

adsfasdfasdf said...

99 Novels by Burgess is an indispensable personal guide to English language novels from 1939 to 1984.

Some choice comments by Burgess.

On After Many a Summer by Huxley:

"It is Huxleyean in the sense that it is a novel with a brain, and if it nags at human stupidity when it should be getting on with the story--, well, we accept the didacticism as an outflowing of the author's concern with the state of the modern world."

(Huxley must have been his favorite author since three Huxley novels are included.)

On Naked and the Dead by Mailer:

"This is an astonishingly mature book for a twenty-five year old novelist. It remains Mailer's best, and certainly the best war novel to emerge from the United States."

On 1984:

"This is one of the few dystopian or cactopian visions which have changed our habits of thought. It is possible to say that the ghastly future Orwell foretold has not come about simply because he foretold it."

On A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight:

"In general, the sequence has failed to engage the critical and public attention it merits. This has something to do, undoubtedly, with William's political stance, as expressed through his hero Philip Maddison."

On Goldfinger:

"Guardians of the good name of the novel may be shocked at this inclusion. But Fleming raised the standard of the popular story of espionage through good writing--a heightened journalistic style--and the creation of a government agent--James Bond, 007--who is sufficiently complicated to compel our interest over a whole series of adventures."

On Island by Huxley:

"For forty yrs his readers forgave Huxley for turning the novel-form into an intellectual hybrid--the teaching more and more overlaid the proper art of the story-teller. Having lost him, we now find nothing to forgive. No novels more stimulating, exciting or genuinely enlightening came out of the post-Wellsian time. Huxley more than anyone helped to equip the contemporary novel with a brain."

On Giles Goat Boy by Barth:

"This has to be read as an example of the kind of novel that American professors are capable of producing, seeing the campus as the world and, being free of the marketplace which oppresses non-university novelists, cherishing the paid leisure which can produce really long books on the old pattern of Fielding and Dickens."

On Portnoy's Complaint:

"Whether Portnoy, or Roth, is being fair to Jewish mothers has been a matter of debate. Kingsley Amis said there would be fewer Jewish mothers if there were fewer Alex Portnoys... Since Auschwitx it has been forbidden to present the Jews as people subject to the faults of rest of humanity. Roth has the courage to wish to show things as he has experienced them, but the exaggerations of Portnoy's Complaint have a shrillness which could be considered unwholesome if the book were not so funny. It is very funny."

Wandrin said...

"Oh, rot. Cromwell anybody? The Star Chamber?"

A particular political leader in the midst of a civil war is serious evidence of a national trait that explains the destruction of civil liberties?

If there was an inherent trait why were there so many civil liberties to destroy in the first place?

England has gone from one of the free-est places in the world to one of the least free since WWII. I'd look for the explanation in something that happened around the time of WWII e.g scores of thousands of totalitarian marxist refugees arriving in Britain and starting their long march through the institutions - exactly the same as the US except without the partial protection of the US constitution acting as a brake.

Speaking of which also worth noting how the US constitution which sprang from the same root is so lacking in this supposedly inherent totalitarian streak.

Anonymous said...

Why are we talking about shaven heads? Evidence of incipient violence within British society? Not convinced.

I think it's time we took out Occam's razor. Close-cropped styles are a half-decent solution to baldness.

I'm losing hair on top and at my next visit to the hairdresser I'm going for much shorter hair. This is because I've seen other balding men with short hair and have compared them to balding men with short hair and think the shorter style looks less worse.

Because Britain is densely populated country this solution spreads quickly.

Escapist said...

The comment about the socialist system leading to Britain's economic demise is correct. 90%+ taxes and red tape/bureaucracy became the rule starting in the post-WW2 era, and while Britain coasted on former glories for a while, eventually their mistakes caught up with them.

Mass immigration of socialist-leaning populations is connected to this as well: they ensure a voting pool which will support such policies, and thus are on the same side as native beneficiaries of redistribution.

alonzo portfolio said...

Somebody above mentioned the film, "Three Days of the Condor." Is anyone with me in wondering how Faye Dunaway ever became anyone's idea of a sex symbol? I just could never see her.

Dennis Dale said...

In high school my hairline was voted most likely to recede.

(lifted from the old Bob Newhart Show)

David Davenport said...

In the fifties movies like Invaders from Mars and Invasion of the Body Snatchers we saw aliens take over our minds but in the eighties they only wanted your body - (e.g. Alien or Aliens) for direct consumption or as an egg brood host.

This must mean something, but I'm not quite sure what.


"Brainwash" dates back to the Korean War of 1959-53, during which some American prisoners of the Commies signed statments and made radio broadcast expressing sympathy with the Reds. Later, when released some of the prisoners said that the Chinese had "brainwashed" their minds.

This was a new phenomenon for US armed forces. Very, very few WWII prisoners of war flipped into being Japanese or Nazi "fellow travellers." Maybe one Nazi turncoat and zero soldiers who became Japanese sympathizers.

Subsequently, some Hollywood Comminusts and other Americans were either accused of being brainwashed or used brainwashing as an excuse for havingt been a member of the Communist Party USA. I can't think of any names just now, but there were some.

1950's sci-fi movies in which space alines took over earthlings' minds grew out of this.

Then there also the early 1960'd movie "The Manchurian Candidate."

At some this point, there's probably an iSteve reader about to say, "Oh, all that was of McCarthyite hysteria. My reply is, evidence that has come to light since th3e fall of the USSR reveals that old Sen. Joe was not as wrong as bien pensants then or now think he was.

brainwash

Wikipedia has an article on:
Brainwashing

Contents [hide]
1 English
1.1 Etymology
1.2 Pronunciation
1.3 Noun
1.3.1 Translations
1.4 Verb
1.4.1 Translations
[edit]English

[edit]Etymology
A calque of the Chinese 洗脑 (Pinyin: xǐ năo), literally "to wash the brain". Usage via U.S. military during Korean War.
[edit]Pronunciation
enPR: brān'wŏsh, IPA: /ˈbreɪnwɒʃ/, SAMPA: /"breInwQS/
[edit]Noun
brainwash (uncountable)
An effect upon one's memory, belief, or ideas.
[edit]Translations

...

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/brainwash
[show ▼]effect upon one's memory, belief or ideas

asdfasdfadfs said...

"England has gone from one of the free-est places in the world to one of the least free since WWII."

When would you say it was the freest?
I was listening to Christopher Frayling's audio commentary for Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and Duck You Sucker, and what struck me was how censorious Britain was with movies even until the early 70s. Entire scenes were cut out and Fistful was even rated X.

Wandrin said...

"When would you say it was the freest?"

I'm talking political freedoms which, with various bumps along the way, (very) slowly increased from the Norman conquest in 1066 all the way to the cultural marxist conquest that started to show above the surface in the 60s and became fully dominant around 1990. So i suppose the peak would be the inter-war period.

Social freedom has always fluctuated between slackness and religious revival back to slackness back to the next religious revival etc.

dsfasdfasdf said...

"When would you say it was the freest?"

"I'm talking political freedoms which, with various bumps along the way, (very) slowly increased from the Norman conquest in 1066 all the way to the cultural marxist conquest that started to show above the surface in the 60s and became fully dominant around 1990. So i suppose the peak would be the inter-war period."

I think the British were always big on FORM, political and social. This FORM used to be based on shared manners, taboos, and habits, but once they melted away with rise of populist democratization, punk attitude, and Americanization, they were replaced by PC. Maybe the first major glimpse of this change was the train scene in Hard Day's Night where Lennon mocks a old British gentleman who served in the war.

Notice that Monty Python jokes have little relevance today--though they're very funny. Python's running joke was pulling the rug out of the uptight, proper, stiff upper lip Briton. Such hardly exist anymore. Since people have turned into slobs and aren't restrained by shared manners and habits, there has been a politarianism to replace the puritarianism.

sdfasdfasdfasdf said...

"Social freedom has always fluctuated between slackness and religious revival back to slackness back to the next religious revival etc."

Social freedom and political freedom are not always separate. For example, Bill of Rights protect freedom of speech--it is enforced politically--but they guarantee social, cultural,and religious freedoms.
If social speech and expression are suppressed, it is also a form of political repression since there is a political aspect to art, social criticism, religious expression, etc.

I was told in highschool that there are no guarantees of freedom of speech in British law. Rather, British 'rights' are more based on tradition and practice than on letter of laws.

Jack Ketch said...

Escapist wrote: "The comment about the socialist system leading to Britain's economic demise is correct. 90%+ taxes and red tape/bureaucracy became the rule starting in the post-WW2 era, and while Britain coasted on former glories for a while, eventually their mistakes caught up with them."

High tax rates didn't help, but the ones you cite were only in existence between 1974 and 1979. The top rate of income tax has been 40% since 1988.

The causes for Britain's relative economic and, in particular, industrial decline are rooted in the class system and extend back at least into the 1930s.

Claverhouse said...

Wandrin said:


In London the rougher and more upscale areas are intermingled like a patchwork quilt. The worst patches are as bad as the US but only a few streets away it isn't so bad. However like everywhere else it gets worse every year.


You should have seen it in the '80s. The 1880s, I mean...


***

Anyway, the English --- like the French and most races --- have always had periods of repression, and non-free thought. The difference is in the technological advance at the disposal of the regime: it was more difficult to force conformity when it took a week on horseback to send news. Freedom generally means freedom for the upper classes under any regime, whilst the workers are expected to carry on working and keep quiet.

The Tudors had a semi-totalitarian set-up; but the Star Chamber was actually a pretty good method of enforcing justice on the powerful; whereas Oliver C was just a miserable little piece of treacherous crap.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know if this is true,but I read that a town near Liverpool called Brikenhead has as much violent crime as all of England did in 1960. I don't know the demographics of Birkenhead."

Very white and it's not dangerous at all compared to the rough parts of Liverpool. In comparison to the other big metropoles(?) like Greater London and Manchester, the Liverpool criminals are very white, less white than the population, but whiter than you'd expect.

I should like to point out that I find that hard to believe, firstly because it sounds ridiculous and secondly because Birkenhed isa pretty small town. It's on on the other bank of the river Mersey (from Liverpool) in the borough of 'Wirral'. Wirral has the lowest crime of the six police 'areas' that Merseyside Police are responsible for. MerPol look after the City of Liverpool, which is two police areas, and the boroughs of Bootle, Sefton, Southport, and Wirral. Birkenhead is the highest crime part of the Wirral, but it's hardly murder mile territory. Just a busy town centre with some scummy locals.