Sunday 17 September 2023

The decline of the West - I could give this title to half my posts


A German intellectual told Douglas Murray that "the German people were anti-Semitic and prejudiced and deserved to be replaced."

A young Romanian woman friend, who went to Yale on a scholarship, told me that "I hope that in my lifetime the majority of the Italian population will be African, as a punishment for colonialism". (Italy had five African colonies and held the oldest one, Eritrea, for only 65 years. I know from going to Ethiopia that most good things there are thanks to the 5 years of Italian occupation.)


  1. The Wall Street Journal ran a long-form story yesterday headlined, “Hypersonic Missiles Are Game-Changers, and America Doesn’t Have Them.” The sub-headline glumly explained, “The U.S. military is pouring resources into the superfast weapons but has struggled to develop them. China and Russia are far ahead.”

    China’s and Russia’s hypersonic missiles can attack enemies with extreme speed, up to five times the speed of sound, and can travel around the world in an hour. They make most air defenses obsolete. They can carry conventional explosives or nuclear warheads. Both China and Russia have them ready to use. But the U.S. doesn’t.

    The article reported that the U.S. has been working on hypersonic planes and weapons for 60 years, spending billions of dollars across dozens of programs. All the programs failed or were canceled.

    Obviously, the Pentagon is racing to catch up, throwing money around faster than Hunter Biden at a Ukrainian strip club. If that’s possible.

  2. “You’re nobody until somebody hates you”
    Tom Wolfe

  3. That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.

    ERICH FROMM, The Sane Society

  4. There’s no reason to think Trump’s genius for politics is paired with a similar gift for governance. In fact, it’s clear he lacks that.

  5. Three hours after landing at Heathrow, I was in Chaplins, just off Dover’s Market Square, fifteen yards from a historic sign proclaiming “Here while searching for his Aunt Betsy Trotwood, David Copperfield rested on the doorstep and ate the loaf he had just bought.” I was not eating a loaf, but instead a bland English breakfast, served to me by a kind Czech woman, cooked by a very gruff Romanian man, and surrounded by broken Brits.

    There was the hunchbacked man with a pork dinner, the mother in a motorized wheelchair, accompanied by her grown son, with shriveled limbs eating toffee pudding, and the obese man stuffed into a far too small day glow soccer kit, working on a nut roast and strawberry shake combo.

    Outside in Market Square, just under the historical plaque, the only thing going on was addicts playing out their personal dramas as if everyone else cared. Which I actually did when it came to the showdown between team “Jon’s a lying cunt” and team “Wendy’s a fucking a fat whore.” I started on team “Wendy’s a” but quickly pivoted to team “Jon’s a lying cunt” when Jon insisted he hadn’t punched the guy we all just saw him punch.

    I had planned on staying in Dover for two nights, but by the time the police came to take lying Jon away it was clear I’d been fooled by decades of tourist board propaganda. Dover wasn’t a romantic town with dramatic scenery, but a shit-hole with dramatic scenery. Newark, New Jersey with white cliffs and a castle. A scrappy poverty-riddled port town struggling to live up to its historical hype. A place that, if we celebrated these things, the local tourist bureau would laud for its logistical chops. An essential node in modern life, where motorways intersect next to a huge port, allowing us to have the stuff we have.

    I was willing to cut Dover a break, forget about it, go to sleep and get up early, to start my 150 mile walk west to Portsmouth until I met Sandra. Or as she wrote in my phone, Sandra Puta. Which, since I’ve spent time in Brazil and the Bronx, knew what was already pretty clear — she was for sale, or rent at least.

    Sandra had come into the Wetherspoons twenty minutes earlier and methodically worked her way through the tables of men, none of whom wanted the problems she was selling. It was a buyer’s market anyway, since there were plenty of younger, hotter, blonder, women nearby, so comfortable in what they did, they’d come in with their newborns, and also their mothers to act as impromptu baby sitters should their work require it. Three generations at one table.

    Sandra’s failures brought her to my corner table, where she won me over with her persistence, intelligence, humor, and openness.

    Chris Arnade

    1. Paul, I don't give a flying fuck on wiki articles or the photojournalists opinions. Nobody should.
      Chris Arnade is a good photographer, a great writer and a wonderful human being.

    2. Toma I have never known you angry before or to swear. I only skimmed the Wikipedia article and posted it to interest you and other readers - he sounds interesting.

    3. Sorry. I was working on a second bottle of an overpriced, sour Pinot Grigio, cussing and cursing, when I stumbled over your post. Damn Lidl.

    4. One bottle of an overpriced sour Pinot Grigio may be a misfortune - to order a second looks like carelessness.

    5. ' to order a second'

      I got two at the grocery store: buying wine, as you very well know, is a risky business but Pinot Grigio delle Venezie used to be a sure bet.