Rod Liddle

We’re all sulky toddlers now – even when launching space probes

To judge from X Factor and recent Twitter storms, the nation’s mental age is four, and dropping

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

I wonder how long it will be before we actually crawl back into the womb? The average mental age of our population stands at about four. A decade or so back it was surely higher — maybe six or seven, I would guess. But we have regressed with great rapidity, as if we were characters in a Philip K. Dick short story, hurtling backwards towards zero. One day soon we will have a national nappy shortage.

My wife made me watch part of a programme called The X Factor last Sunday. She said she wanted to watch this egregious shit because she was ‘tired’ and ‘there’s nothing else on’. I’m 90 per cent certain there was football on some channel somewhere, but I didn’t press the point. Anyway, the bit I saw was a ‘sing-off’ between two morons who were both incapable of singing and possessed of not even the remotest vestiges of talent. After they’d screeched their way through a couple of vacuous ballads they stood on stage hugging one another, like frightened toddlers at a pre-school nativity play. The audience — presumably adults, nominally at least — shrieked and howled like young children used to do in the Crackerjack audience. The hysteria was so overwhelming I wondered for a moment if they were all mentally ill. I assume they are the sort of people who go to places like Disneyland — without the kids. Adults are the big market for theme parks these days, not children.

XX_FACTOR_02
The X Factor judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl, Mel B and Louis Walsh Photo: ITV

You might be saying to yourself — sure, the untermensch have the minds of three-year-olds. They have never been noted for their maturity, or their love of highbrow culture. That’s why they’re untermensch rather than ubermensch. But, oh, the disease is spreading — moving upwards into the sorts of places which used to be the preserve of real adults. Take the exciting news about the European Space Agency’s Philae probe landing on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko — an achievement, to be sure. Something went wrong after touchdown and we were told that Philae consequently ‘tweeted’ the following: ‘I’m feeling a bit tired, did you get all my data? I might take a nap…’. I think if you were a pre-school teacher trying to explain what had happened to a class of not terribly bright three-year-olds, you could just about get away with that sort of anthropomorphism. But for the rest of us?


And then there was the shirt. The bad shirt. One of the leading scientists behind the mission, a heavily tattooed chap called Dr Matthew Taylor — who holds a PhD from Imperial College — was spotted wearing a colourful bowling shirt festooned with the images of scantily clad women. At this point the Twittersphere went berserk with fury — how dare he! Sexist pig! An insult to all women engaged in science and also to all women who are not engaged in science but undoubtedly would be if it weren’t for sexism like that. And also all other women every-where; spindle-thin Ethiopian women with high cheekbones and buckets of laundry on their heads, copiously swaddled Inuit fisher-women redolent of whale blubber, female Finnish social workers, female Romanian sex workers. All women, all terribly transgressed by that shirt. Which was also an insult to progressive men, of course, like myself. ‘Reprimand and apology in order!’ tweeted some pompous halfwit called Matthew Smith. Reading this irrelevant balls, it was impossible to escape the classic image of the toddler tantrum — such as the one exhibited by my daughter when she was two and a half, writhing on the floor of a Konditorei in Austria screaming: ‘I WANT NICE CAKE!’

And of course Dr Taylor was hauled to the front of the class and made to apologise. And what else did he do, as he grovelled? He cried. He broke down in tears, the poor sap. And so at a time when we should have been celebrating the most adult and complex and serious and magnificent of human achievements, we were presented instead with a cornucopia of modern infantilism: the tweet, the anthropomorphism, the tattoos, the silly shirt, the liberal-left tantrums, the emotional incontinence. And of all of these the tattoos are the most — what’s the modern word — iconic, the most obviously and conspicuously infantile. ‘I wan’ nice picture on my skin NOW daddy!’

Riding in a minicab the other evening I heard a 15-minute discussion between several adults on the radio about a fictitious penguin, and how utterly lovely he was, how incredibly moving. The debate related to a Christmas television advert for the John Lewis department store, a short film which concerned a small boy and a stuffed penguin. At least three of the people taking part in this sickly eulogising confessed to having cried when they saw it. Yes, they cried at an advert. What would they not cry at, then? If you can be moved to tears by shallow, twee, confected pap like that?

The first world war, I suppose. That would probably leave them dry-eyed. Another big business — Sainsbury’s — has decided that the first world war is a suitable subject for its Christmas advert, the thing which will convince people to buy Sainsbury’s brussels sprouts, Sainsbury’s brandy butter, Sainsbury’s self-basting turkey crown and Sainsbury’s deep-frozen breaded prawn canapés with Thai dipping sauce. The film in question focuses on the famous Christmas Day armistice in which British and German soldiers climbed out of their trenches and sang carols and played football. Hell, you know the story. All the soldiers in the film were healthy, unmaimed, incredibly good-looking, very clean. It is a view of the first world war — ‘evil thing war, and all the people who fight in wars are the same underneath and really love everyone’ — that you might present to a stupid three-year-old. I was tempted to turn up to my local Sainsbury’s and spray the aisles with mud, bayonet a few checkout babes and gas the shoppers with Yperite. But I suppose that would be an infantile response.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • gerontius

    Never watched X thingy, but you must be exaggerating.
    Don’t watch TV at all come to think of it – can’t remember where I put it for one thing. Hide the TV from the wife – ok there will be tantrums for a few days, but she’ll get over it.
    Genuinely mystified by twitter. I just cannot see the mechanism by which the thoughts of Stephen Fry might somehow impinge upon my world. Maybe they are stuffed into brown envelopes and popped through the letterbox for innocent little relatives to find.

  • Tilly

    As someone who’s not academic but writes books for children I
    find tv just rots the brain, its lazy, boring and unoriginal.

    X factor, heard of it.Rather ‘American’ uncouth, loud, talentless.
    People who think fame will make them happy and bring them
    wealth.

    Twittersphere and blogophere are not much better.Full of
    many childless people or very young, who tell excruciatingly embarrassing and personal things about themselves and rattle
    on .Americans are worse, I suppose it gives
    some meaning to their life.

  • Tilly

    Yes were all toddlers now, in fact we are ‘Little Britain’ in fact
    this ancient land that discovered and educated most of the world
    behaves like the cowboy and Indian land we civilized, with the
    help from the nappy wearing left.
    And Tony Blair who didn’t like our English ways or our Queen whose worth every penny. He also nurtured a cry baby, lazy
    and feminist society. My final words for today are England is
    the Enlightenment.

    PS never mind Sainsburys and Christmas, they sell hot cross buns
    all year and will have Easter Eggs by January.I must fly there’s no
    rest for the wicked.

    • Alexsandr

      what do you get when you put an easter rabbit in the oven.

      hot cross bunny

  • AJH1968

    I think I would rather be rogered by a bull elephant than have to watch x factor. We seem to be breeding a generation of children that thinks it is more important to look like a stripper and sing like Beyonce than it is to read and write music. As for those self-aggrandizing numty’s like Mr Cowell and company; nauseating! Brilliant article Rod, pity you do not like Opera.

    • James R

      ‘ rogered by a bull elephant ‘
      Presumably you’ll need to be ‘in must’. African or Indian ? Whichever,I wish you well.Keep us posted..for research purposes,obviously.

      • AJH1968

        I think African, definately, not a camp Indian specimen but a real brute with three foot tusks and not even an ounce of spittle to soften the outrage (I am employing hyperbole; no offers or lewd suggestions please).

        • Richard Baranov

          Thank you, a very amusing post 🙂

          • AJH1968

            My pleasure Sir.

    • Tilly

      Might I point out that African elephants are much larger then Indian elephants
      and more aggressive, size and type matters you know.
      Opera? for the elderly, but at least there are words ( mind you all foreign) Classical music doesn’t even have that– maybe I’ll improve with age, or maybe not.

      • grammarschoolman

        I’ve been going to opera since I was 14 (more than 30 years), while also listening to and performing n the many works by ‘classical’ composers that have texts. If you want to show off your knowledge of zoology, it’s best not to also parade your ignorance of everything else.

        • Tilly

          Oh what a boring toad, each to their own, I am
          only young, not ignorant, as I’m quite wealthy
          thanks to my writing and I am rather young.

          Note to mouthy woman from Florida.dress up as Anna and
          you might have better luck. And leave Catherine
          alone (Tom’s thread). All is fair in love and war,
          and leaving scent the patches of others.

          • Guest

            .

      • AJH1968

        Give Puccini a try, impossible not to like or indeed love.

        • Tilly

          Thank you for the polite reply especially when I
          was a little rude about oldies, just don’t get Opera. Are they shown in the dark because people are asleep.But I’ll try this Puccini, if
          he or she is so enchanting.

          • AJH1968

            Trust me Tilly it is not easy to be fond of Opera, people assume that I must be Gay, I am not, neither am I old. My Girlfriend is in her thirties and despises Opera, so I am in a rather difficult position (I still adore her though).

          • Adam Carter

            Opera?
            Contrived plots, extravagant costumes, one or possibly two good tunes in each one.
            Mostly sung in foreign, but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear the words anyway.
            A dreadful art form, down there with rap.

          • gerontius

            You might find some operas that are easier to get into: Dvorak’s Rusalka, Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and Tales of Hoffman.
            Or the pastiche, Enchanted Island sown together by Jeremy Sams:
            http://www.metopera.org/metopera/news/enchanted-island-music.aspx

            I watch mostly at the cinema: I’m poor and fortunately not proud (and you get subtitles.) One day you might find yourself as haunted as i am by the confrontation between Wotan and Fricka in the second act of Valkyrie – its grown up stuff.

            I agree that rap is cr*p

          • frank marker

            I remember Michael Portillo did a rather good programme about Wagner’s Ring.

          • Chris Morriss

            I get put off by the singing voice. I’m sure opera singers start off with very good singing voices, but then get them changed until they are a parody of how they started. Layers of vocal mannerisms and rococo decoration don’t make a good singer.

            Don’t get me started on (c)rap music either…

          • Damaris Tighe

            It’s good that you can be in a relationship with someone with different tastes from you. Shows you can tolerate someone who isn’t a carbon copy of yourself (a narcissistic fallacy of our age).

          • Tilly

            ‘ I still adore her thought’ and she must adore you too, how charming are you. I live in a busy and noisy tourist area and write for a living. People say why don’t I play music to hide the noise. Maybe I should, but at least the season is over now.
            I will try out what you suggest, you never know I might like it.

          • gerontius

            It didn’t actually occur to me that people would assume I was gay.

          • GeeBee36_6

            Try Wagner. Tristan und Isolde has the power to transform people’s lives, but sad to say few are prepared to make the investment in altering our perceptions and expectations that opera demands. We prefer to rattle along through life being told what we like by those chirpy chappies on the radio (pop, pop and yet more pop), and all too readily fall into the orthodoxy that people who like opera are, well, different.

            Read this article (yes, I know it’s the Guardian – a newspaper I detest just as much as you do). The writer, clearly loved opera while in his teens. Note the language he uses to descrtbe ‘Tristan’.

            http://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/dec/20/tristan-und-isolde-wagner-love

            Powerful stuff – be prepared!

          • AJH1968

            I have Tristan and Isolde in my car, I love it, but I fear the cd might be wearing out.

          • GeeBee36_6

            mine did exactly that yesterday! I drive from home in Norfolk to London once a week and listen to an entire opera on the way there and back. Yesterday, the ‘Liebestod’ started just as I neared home. Great timing, but to my dismay I found the track was unplayable. It’s what prompted me to reply to Tilly last night. I had to find it on Youtube with the same recording (Karl Bohm conducting Birgit Nilsson as Isolde) but found Knappertsbusch conducting her instead. Sublime.

        • Chris Morriss

          Puccini? Ah… a small Italian mushroom!

      • lobotomisedjournalist

        Trust me, being rogered by either would make you screw your eyes up, either way – and as for ever sitting down again …

    • gerontius

      If Rod had seen Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth he would definitely like Opera. Definitely.
      Trust me on that Rod.

      • AJH1968

        How about Kiri Te Kanawa’s puccini, sublime!

        • gerontius

          I was appealing, in the first instance, to er…. Rod’s animal instincts.

          • justejudexultionis

            Are you always in a dream?

          • Guest

            As he says I hope your in a dream, old friend
            for then you can dance the Viennese Waltz with me untouched by reality. Hope you haven’t forgotten
            me or stopped trusting me, even though I’m not
            here anymore.I just popped in to see Roddle and
            saw you name and had to hug you.
            PS you’ll always be the best of chaps and this
            post to you was just a fleeting second in time
            and needs no response. Have a happy life,
            Elgars little composition, bye Xx.

          • Guest

            PS I forgot, the next time you speak to lovely Fenton give her a hug from me. Say its from the one who calls her, the Monet of the blogosphere, she’ll who its from. God bless .

        • Tilly

          Excuse me, I don’t think it was her acting. Not
          all are as sophisticated as you.Some grubbyold men
          get their rocks off by watching young women
          on stage. Another reason I don’t like it.

          • AJH1968

            Kiri Te Kanawa is seventy this year I do believe.

          • Tilly

            I was speaking of Anna Netrebko. I just googled
            her as Macbeth.Young with fine nearly exposed
            bosoms. The wrinkly neanderthal wouldn’t have
            been refined enough to notice anything else.

          • UKSteve

            I think you’re thinking of Spearmint Rhino!

            So don’t go! 🙂

    • davidofkent

      I think the point that Rod Liddle was making was that it is now the so-called adults who shriek and scream when they watch X Factor and cry like babies over advertisements showing cute penguins. What their children will turn out like is anybody’s guess. I doubt that I shall be around to find out, I hope.

      • GraveDave

        Nearly all the people I know can guess who is going to win X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, or I’m a Celebrity… than who the next historical paedophile is going to be. Mind you it seems the police and government and newspapers aren’t much better at the celebrity paedophile game.

      • Dr. Heath

        It’s all about the context. No one has to blub over the cute penguin ad [unless you’re being filmed for a reality television show, of course, like Googlebox]. And watching most of the other ads is like wading through ordure, something not even the most flint-hearted of us would say about the child with the toy penguin. Especially as many ads are in fact merely promos for The X-Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity Exhibitionist.

    • The Master

      An interesting fantasy. I am sure London Zoo would rightly have some concerns over animal welfare.

      • AJH1968

        What if I offered to buy him a drink afterwards? Single malt perhaps, 21 year old? (Glenlivet or Glendronach). I on the other hand would settle for a morphine and soda,

        • Damaris Tighe

          Morphine & soda before or after?

          • AJH1968

            Before and after, and perhaps before one of Cameron’s nothing to do speeches.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Eloquently put! Especially your first sentence which gave me a big laugh & made my day! [I’d like to use it but may backfire …;)]

      • AJH1968

        I wanted to use the alternative B……. by a bull elephant, but thought the alliteration would be to much, and could possibly backfire. I am glad that you enjoyed it though.

        • Damaris Tighe

          For some reason ‘rogered’ always makes me heave with laughter. You chose the right word.

    • Cymrugel

      To be fair, back in the 70s and before there were tatty talent shows as well.
      There are good modern musicians today – CeLO Green and Jessie J for starters.

      It was interesting listening to a lot of pop on the car radio with my son and then Jessie J came on. She was playing the same basic style but there was no comparison. She was a good singer backed by quality musicians. The others were boosting with lots of electronics and enhancing feeble singing voices and covering up poor playing.

      People forget that only the good bits from the past survive in popular cultured – Sinatra, Elvis etc.,. Most of the rest were crap and are now forgotten.

      • Damaris Tighe

        I don’t know. There were some magic one hit wonders: Something in the Air by Thunderclap Newman, Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harem.

        • frank marker

          Also Scott Walker could knock em dead with a good song.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Of the Walker Bros?

          • frank marker

            Indeed. His rather more leftfield solo work was pretty darned good too. Montague Terrace in Blue is a gem.
            .

        • Cymrugel

          Fair enough, But they came up the hard way didn’t they; not appearing on Stars in Their Eyes or Opportunity Knocks.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Yup, I think so.

          • Shella Staten Morris

            I Never believed i was ever going to be HIV Negative again,Dr Molemen
            has given me reasons to be happy, i was HIV positive for 2years and all
            the means i tried for treatment was not helpful to me, but when i came
            on the Internet i saw great testimony about Dr on how he was able to
            cure someone from HIV, this person said great things about this man, and
            advice we contact him for any Disease problem that Dr Molemen can be of
            help, well i decided to give him a try, he requested for my information
            which i sent to him, and he told me he was going to prepare for me a
            healing portion, which he wanted me to take for days, and after which i
            should go back to the hospital for check up, well after taking all the
            treatment sent to me by Dr Molemen, i went back to the Hospital for
            check up, and now i have been confirmed HIV Negative, friends you can
            reach Dr Molemen on any treatment for any Disease he is the one only i
            can show you all up to, reach him on
            (drmolemenspiritualtemple@gmail.com) or call him on +2347036013351,
            Facebook page on (https://www.facebook.com/Dr.Mo… Website at (http://drmolemenspiritualtempl…), God Bless you for your Good Work Sire! .,.//

          • Neil Saunders

            Fascinating! Do tell us more, please!

          • Shella Staten Morris

            Well is something i can not even tell about, cos it all worked just like magic to me.

          • Neil Saunders

            I think you might be targeting the wrong readership, Sheila. As far as I know, HIV has not yet reached epidemic proportions among Spectator readers (possibly, I’ll admit, because many of them, on reading your posts, have forthwith submitted themselves – as you recommend – to the expert ministrations of Dr Molemen).

    • justejudexultionis

      What about getting rogered by a bull elephant *while* watching X Factor?

    • Cornelius Bonkers

      Why “a pity”? Rod obviously doesn’t think so!

  • John Lea

    lol!

  • mandelson

    Rod – a national treasure.

    • frank marker

      Not sure he would want to be termed in that manner.

      • justejudexultionis

        ‘National treasure’ = vacuous dinner party bore.

        • jjjj

          Indeed, like the ghastly Stephen Fry. Has he left Twitter? No he’s back, whoops…he’s left again. No, false alarm etc. etc.

    • John Steadman

      Given the present state of the nation and the 4 year-olds who inhabit it, I should think that Rod is rather the opposite of a national treasure. But that little reservation aside, I take your point.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    The hounding of Dr Taylor may have owed more to enjoyment of witch-hunting than to infantilism. With tweeting, a new weapon has been put in the hands of those relish seeing their victims being humiliated.

    Of course, it is disgraceful that the man blubbed. It is obvious that he is not a UKIP supporter.

    • Guest

  • Samson

    Twitter might not be the best gauge of the nation’s mental age, or anything at all. And the yelping X Factor goons are no worse than the oafs who think the national anthem is Ingalund Ingalund Ingalund, fackin Ingalund Ingalund Ingaluuuuund! At least they confine their idiocy to a TV studio, unlike the futborl fans who need to be herded through train stations like cattle.

    • gerontius

      So you’re not a West Ham fan then?

    • Neil Saunders

      In England, what the Americans call a “caboose” we call a brake-wagon; what the Americans call a “grade crossing” we call a level crossing; what the Americans call a “switch tower” we call a signal box; and, finally, what the Americans call a “train station” we call a railway station.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    There was a time when scientists were made of sterner stuff. Here is Patrick Moore on the reason for the decline of the BBC.

    “The trouble is that the BBC now is run by women and it shows: soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays. You wouldn’t have had that in the golden days.”

  • gerronwithit

    And then there was twerking!

    • William_Brown

      Which is held up by many of the Guardianista’s as empowering to females.

      • jjjj

        Like a butterfly tattoo on the bum ‘cos it’s a sign of my individuality innit!’

    • Patricia

      “And then there was twerking!”

      Oh, how my hand itches for pellet gun …..

  • mandelson

    We now live in a version of North Korea with mass hysteria over shallow and worthless entertainment allied with Eastern Block style denunciations of enemies of the people who cause ‘offense’ via the instrument of the mob, Twitter. This is then followed by the inevitable ‘mea culpa’ and blubbing but even that may not be enough to satisfy the ‘offended’. Compared to previous generations the contemporary girlyfication of the white British male is a shocking evolution and bodes ill.

    • Whatever

      Bore off.

    • justejudexultionis

      Don’t worry, our millions of hairdressers and media studies graduates will easily fend off the Russian, Chinese and Islamic hordes…

      • frank marker

        Some of our frontline hipsters of the Shoreditch First Regiment of Foot could jolly well ‘outbeard’ them, I bet.

  • Robertus Maximus

    Perhaps the absence of hardship and self-discipline when growing-up has produced these anaemic, bland, clone-like, infantile creatures which pass for mature male humans. I did wonder whether a secret additive had been introduced to our water supply because, no matter how far and wide you search, you see no one resembling (to take films as an example) Jack Hawkins, Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness, Harry Andrews, Richard Burton (the list is endless). Whereas instead we now have the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freman and David Tennant, half of whom look as though they should still be in short trousers. I clearly recall the wonderful faces one would see in the street, each one unique, with character etched on their faces. It has to be oestrogen in the tap water which has caused this mutation.

    • Patricia

      ” …you see no one resembling (to take films as an example) Jack Hawkins, Laurence Olivier, Alec Guinness, Harry Andrews, Richard Burton (the list is endless). I clearly recall the wonderful faces one would see in the street, each one unique, with character etched on their faces, and a maturity to match. Nowadays, when you see a father wheeling his child in a buggy, it’s difficult to decide which one is the adult.”

      Agreed. I feel so nostalgic for those times when adult men exuded strength and dependability; we still have our military and ex-military though, the last bastion of male maturity.

      • Tilly

        And maybe women can be feminine and not lumberjack leftie harpies
        who belittle men and complain when their too masculine and then complain when they turn into the opposite. I am speaking of the wretched Harriet Hateman type.

      • Robertus Maximus

        Whenever I watched old films, especially British ones, the enjoyment is marred by a feeling almost of bereavement – both for the actors, and for Britain as it used to be.

        • Patricia

          Yes, bereavement is the right word – we have certainly thrown the baby out with the bath water somewhere along the way.

    • mandelson

      You are right, entertainment industry has pushed a more soft and androgynous male today. All part of the relentless feminising of UK society and the stomping down on essentially masculine traits. In this vein could anyone be seriously considered a leader of his party and country who is as wimpish as Miliband?

      • Robertus Maximus

        Compare Miliband to Harold Macmillan and Clement Attlee, for instance, who had served in the Great War. Those people had a right to be at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, and not the present bunch of schoolboys who believe our country is theirs to sell down the river, and treat our troops as though they were no more than toy soldiers,

        • mandelson

          Yes unlike our vainglorious Blair and Cameron – lightweights who cloak themselves in foreign adventures for ‘War Cred’ politicians had seen the reality of war. Regarding labour compare Dennis Healey to the current crop of milksops.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Your examples are interesting. David Tennant played Dr Who. The very first Dr Who was William Hartnel, grey haired & around 60 in appearance. Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest Sherlock Holmes & looks considerably younger than his predecessors. It’s strange that as the population ages, the media’s & the arts’ tolerance of older role models declines. They clearly think that a young audience can’t bear the sight of a central character over 35-ish.

      • Robertus Maximus

        As regards Sherlock Holmes, when I watched Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as a boy, it seemed entirely natural to have actors of their ages playing the roles. I do not recall any “ageism” at that time (the late 1950s and into the 1960s). I think it is the younger generation’s loss as their world lacks greater depth and variety, and leads to a lessening of understanding and compassion for older people who can teach them so much about life, as was the way throughout the ages – until now.

    • Richard Baranov

      There is something in the water, Robert, oestrogen, supposedly from the pill. Male fish take on feminine traits as a result. I doubt very much that it does us any good.

      • Robertus Maximus

        I’ve already ordered myself a bra in preparation for its inevitable effects.

        • Alexsandr

          if you get boobs its probably cos you are overweight!

  • edithgrove

    On the other hand there was the response last night of the Moral Maze to the Sainsbury’s advert, including one panelist late of this parish. Advertising is disgusting and immoral we heard, even though Radio 4 advertised Moral Maze a dozen times before it aired and the usual pompous moral chairman is absent due to a stint on ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’. I haven’t seen Sainsbury’s advert but if I have to choose, I’ll go with Sainsburys. Better a warm cozy feeling than rasping bbc-ites (not you Rod).

  • Teacher

    I am a member of a book group consisting of superbly educated and highly intelligent women whose professions span medicine, law and accountancy. Some are directors and some lead famous name charities. I, in contrast, am a humble English teacher. I am shocked to the core by their adherence to low culture: junk T.V., musicals, trashy novels, lowest common denominator prinrted media and Disneyland travel. They are all leftist in an unthinking way and I have not heard an original thought or idea from any of them in a decade. I think they are incapable of independent thought which is unsurprising given that, despite the level and expense of their education, they are singularly uninformed about anything. Our book group choices have been declining in quality for years though we have the odd ‘classic pick’ for show. Once a member insisted we ‘read’ a comic book novella, a notable low point. I cannot understand it. Where are all the well read, charismatic, witty, clever, well informed adults who abounded in the middle classes as I was growing up? As an aspirational working class girl who made strenuous efforts to reach a level where intelligence and information was a given in one’s peers I feeled robbed. Was it all for a chat about ‘The X Factor’ after all?

    • beenzrgud

      I’ve noticed exactly the same thing. It’s amazing how many so called educated people have absolutely no opinion on anything. It can get annoying too that anyone who does have an opinion usually gets a condescending response from the very same nonentities.

      • jjjj

        It’s because of the fear of being considered un-PC.

      • Chris Morriss

        If you are knowledgeable, you should be able to present an opinion on quite a number of things. It is likely you will have to add a number of caveats about it, but an opinion is a perfectly normal thing. How is it that expressing any view on anything at all has become so abhorrent? (Apart from “s’awright innit”).

        • beenzrgud

          I think for a lot of people it is easier and safer for them simply to sneer instead of offering an opinion. They effectively “fit in” by not saying anything. It is aggression to hide cowardice in my opinion.

    • Tilly

      Our culture has changed, a lot of this has to do with the
      brainwashing and intellectual death the left have ingrained
      within society. But all this inane trash is also due to the
      Americanisation of this country and indeed the west.
      Fake, meaningless and so utterly empty of individualism.

      • Teacher

        I quite agree. But with the reservation that it is American popular culture which is doing the damage here. I think there is a strain of elitist education in the oldest American universities that puts our institutions to shame. Some Americans are now better read and more ‘European’ than we are. But I agree wholeheartedly about the left. It maintains a close minded ideological stance which stifles enquiry and debate and cannot tolerate independence of mind.

        • jjjj

          The West and East Coasts of the US with their erudition put our so-called ‘Metropolitan Elite’ to shame. That doesn’t stop the loathing and contempt so many have for Americans.

  • MikeF

    I wonder if any of the people protesting about the shirt also objected to the description of the lander as a ‘probe’ – I mean that is a dreadfully neo-phallic piece of terminology isn’t it.

  • In2minds

    “rogered by a bull elephant” – Is this an idea you got from TV?

  • Des Demona

    I blame feminism. A guy can’t get a sh8g nowadays without coming across as half gay and shouting sexism every 5 minutes.

    • FrankS2

      So that’s where I’ve been going wrong.

  • you_kid

    We you_kids represent that mental age … and are frequently underestimated.
    That is a winning formula.

    • FrankS2

      So that’s where I’ve been going wrong.

  • Bumble Bee

    watching the X factor does not mean you’re an idiot

    appeasing child rapists, hate preachers, aiding financially those who want us dead, and giving our country away: THAT’S what makes us idiots!

  • The_greyhound

    Everything is an insult to wimmin. Most of all the fact that they were made women.

    Someone should be made to apologise for that too.

  • tomgreaves

    By God it’s a relief to read some decent journalism. I really appreciated that someone else shares my sense that the emotional age of the culture is about four. And those banal TV shows are, undoubtably, designed to regress the couch potatoes into merging with the fluids in which they sit watching the garbage they stare at all day and night. All round excellent read.

  • lobotomisedjournalist

    Way to go, Rod!

    The infantalising of our society is remorseless. It’s so bad I just refuse to watch TV – it makes me want to puke. Our politically-correct, nursery media luvvies all need bayoneting.

  • Picquet

    So who watches television any more? Like the Noddy books (minus the golliwogs, of course) it’s just a bad habit to be grown out of. Buy a good book, or read a good magazine on-line.

    • jjjj

      David Attenborough, Watchdog, the occasional film.

      • Picquet

        Yes, alright, Attenborough, Watchdog, the odd film, but apart from that, what has it ever given us?

        • Alexsandr

          watchdog? the shreiking anne robinson and the fawning sneering presenters. no ta.

  • frank marker

    Aren’t this new breed called Kidults? Years ago if a man went through a mid life crisis he grew a pony-tail and bought a Harley. Nowadays it’s a hat with animal ears and propelling yourself along on
    one of those ridiculous and irritating tiny scooters. It would be better to do the honourable thing with a bottle of whiskey and a loaded revolver.

    • Damaris Tighe

      No, it’s wearing a chicken suit & pouring a bucket of water over yourself.

      • frank marker

        If there were Goths around now (I mean the real germanic tribal ones, not those anaemic bods dressed in black) they would have run through us just as they did with the debauched Roman Empire.

        • Damaris Tighe

          Maybe there are some but they’re not called Goths …

          • frank marker

            Yes I get your drift.

          • AJH1968

            Have you ever read Gore Vidals Julian, I know he (Gore Vidal) always seemed to have an agenda but I did enjoy the book and the prose.

          • Damaris Tighe

            No I didn’t. What’s it about?

          • AJH1968

            The demise of the Roman empire (he borrows shamelessly from Gibbon) but I still enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Creation by the same author.

    • Catherine Waterman

      Frank, I can’t stop laughing. I’ve just read your comment out loud to my husband who also appreciates your humour! BANG

      • frank marker

        Thanks Catherine.

    • jjjj

      Ha ha!

    • Chris Morriss

      I’m not sure that a ‘man’ going through his mid-life crisis would have bought a Harley. Surely a MAN would have bought a big BMW boxer?

      • frank marker

        Ah.

      • gelert

        20 years ago they were doing it with Harley’s in the US.

  • Damaris Tighe

    The scientist with the naughty shirt: here was a man who’d just participated in the most extraordinary scientific event of the year (of the decade?) & what did these idiots notice? His flipping shirt .. & they destroyed his triumph because of it. That man has more intelligence in his little finger than his detractors have in their whole bodies, yet in today’s warped world they have the power to humble him & reduce him to tears.

  • BigCheddar

    Interesting, funny and, sadly, to the point

  • Samson

    I finally saw the Sainsbury’s advert, and what a sad sight it is. I’m not sure Sainsbury’s are entirely to blame, though. The first world war has a lot of cultural traction, especially with the centenary and all, and anything that carries even one tenth the good feeling of handsome soldiers doing their duty, will eventually be, or most likely already has been (I seem to remember a bouncing bomb advert for something, glue or beer maybe, a long, long way back) conscripted by the advertising industry. If it sells then the market isn’t going to decide against it, regardless of how insensitive or offensive it is. Joy is something BMW make, sex is something in a Lynx can, family life comes out of a Bisto packet and good looking troops with hearts bursting full of human compassion are able to persevere because we buy our booze from a supermarket with an orange logo. Nothing means anything.

  • Rhys

    Rod Liddle’s on form here and scores several goals – though one or two are mere tap ins.

  • Mike Barnes

    The bloke was just wearing a shirt. A shirt designed by a female friend and given him to as a present. I don’t know about you but I know nothing about clothes so if somebody buys me something I wear it. It makes them feel good and it saves me from having to go shopping.

    If anything surely the FEMALE designer needs to apologise for it. The creation came from her depraved, sexist, filthy mind!

    Anyway I lost a lot of respect for him when he completely caved in to a minority of shrieking harpies.

    There was no danger of him losing his job or reputation. Just tell the permanently outraged to back off and get a life. This toxic brand of feminism will only die when people start calling it out.

    You can’t flipping back down and cry about it. It just encourages them.

    • Simon Fay

      “You can’t flipping back down and cry about it. It just encourages them.”

      Yep. Sympathy gone when a big feller like that, his team’s labours and remarkable achievement still glowing, reacts thus. Confronted with such inane sanctimony even a soft bastard like me would go apeshit and stick the nut on whoever tried to reproach me over something so bollockish.

    • James Justice

      Yes, but the shirt is childish as well as the reaction to the wearing of the shirt.

      • Alexsandr

        its just a shirt.

  • 1DrFortuneMBezzla7

    How come nobody does any biblical based Xmas adverts?

    What about one featuring the Three Kings, trying to agree on their presents for the bay Jesus? Maybe Selfridges would want that one to publicise their Xmas list service

    What about when King Herod had the first born of every child killed? Surely that would be a real tear jerker. (Of course, the carnage would all turn out to to be a dream and the first born would be seen, in the next scene, enjoying an upgrade broadband service, courtesy of BT, which would allow him to keep in touch with his family

    Right, I’m not doing any more ad concepts in case someone steals them

  • sfin

    At last!

    An article that explains why people continue to vote for the Labour party, despite them having a 100% record of trashing the economy.

    They are morons!

    • Neil Saunders

      Why does any sane person vote for any of the mainstream parties?

  • Roy

    Read Diana West’s The Death of the Grown-up.

  • GhostofJimMorrison

    It’s all part of what Theodore Dalrymple calls the ‘Toxic Cult of Sentimentality’. A great book. Read it and weep…like they do on the X-Factor.

    • frank marker

      Post Princess Diana: It was all downhill from there onwards. Try to check out Christopher Hitchens calling out a bore in Hyde Park for remonstrating with him during a documentary he was making about the boo- hoo squad and Diana’s death.

  • jjjj

    Rod, another brilliant article but this one is one of your best. Utterly coherent and completely saying what so many of us think. This one and Julie Burchill’s article today, the Speccie at its best. The only blot is Taki…

    • Statman

      Pathetic sycophant; but I have to say the article was good.as for Taki he’s one of the best commentators in the Speccie and certainly the bravest.

      • gelert

        Old “take-a-lot-of-coke-up-the-nose” is one of the meanest and most spiteful commentators. Usually relying on the fact that you can’t libel the dead.

        • Statman

          Actually your wrong. Most of the people Taki criticises are very much alive ;gross nouveau riche and well known and powerful media and business figures and politicians. He also tackles subjects journalists frightened of possible career damage are too chicken to touch.

          • gelert

            I’m sure Taki will award you the OBN.
            Shame you don’t have his facility for spelling and punctuation.

          • Porzellan

            Heh. You don’t have to be nouveau riche to be gross. As he demonstrates.

  • Richard

    Long ago, I went to live in America. I couldn’t bear the sentimentality and infantilism I found there, and left, returning to my native Southern Africa. A few years ago I returned to Britain. What I found was virtually the same as the USA of 25 years ago. The behaviour and mentality have converged. The UK has deteriorated terribly, the level of intellectual discourse and culture a shadow of what they once were. It is quite shocking to behold.

    • gelert

      Exactly and it’s coupled with Americanised spelling and frequent use of American accents in adverts.

      • Porzellan

        He doesn’t deserve America, by the sound of it.

        • Neil Saunders

          Who does?

          • Porzellan

            I do!

          • Neil Saunders

            Good point.

  • Mc

    Can’t quite make out if that is Simon Cowell or a silicone / wax reproduction on the left of the picture. Not sure it would make a difference to the “quality” of X Factor if Cowell was an inanimate object.

  • Cincinnatus

    To judge from X Factor and recent Twitter storms, the nation’s mental age is four, and dropping

    And the emotional age is about thirteen.

  • Fenman

    I am surprised you allowed yr wife to bully you into watching such crap, presumably you were tired and emotional at the time. By the way surely that is what you observing, adults with an emotional age of 4. I am sure most of them have a higher mental age and probably have degrees in such subjects as social studies or media studies.

    • gelert

      Surely you know it’s meeja ?

    • Porzellan

      If they were tired and emotional, why didn’t they just go to bed?

  • Terry Field

    IQ has dropped 10 points in a century.

    Going down.

    Hey hey, were the monkeys
    People say we monkey around

    Strange body hair seems to be groweing on my neighbour’s faces.
    odd.

    • Porzellan

      At least they can spell.

  • Terry Field

    Tory MP pedophile child murderers protected by Labour and Tory home secretaries, D notices issued; D-notices then destroyed, massive police, Labour, social services corrupt behaviour allowing gigantic Islamic child rape-fests in MANY british cities – yet to be made overt – NOBODY gives a damn; nothing is really done, the country has no moral compass. It is a ces-pit.

  • Dr. Heath

    Failure to Blub. It’s serious. Imagine a celebrity whose ancestors’ lives are being dredged up for an episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ discovering that a great-great-grandparent was transported to Australia or forced while still a six-year-old to work as a chimney sweep. Just imagine that celebrity NOT doing the decent thing and quietly welling up with tears for the cameras. It could be a career-ending move.

    In the Age of Me, blubbing and numerous other manifestations of emotional incontinence are mandatory. Failure to Blub is only for the bravest of non-conformists. Like not going to church was one hundred and fifty years ago.

    • Porzellan

      But that’s where you’ve got it wrong. At times I shed tears quite easily, and it’s mostly cause I’m thinking of me. What now?

      • Dr. Heath

        I don’t quite get what you’re saying. If thinking about you makes you cry, that means you’re an admirable specimen of the best that The Age of Me has to offer. Some self-congratulation is surely deserved, don’t you think? Go ahead. You know you deserve it.

        I liked your reply. I hope I haven’t misconstrued it.

  • John Smith

    Apparently they use a violent convicted criminal as a judge, as well. .
    No, not Ched Evans

    • gelert

      Ee ! You mean wor Cheryl ?

  • jjjj

    Another event that proves Rod’s point: Last night on Strictly Come Dancing, the emoting and standing ovation for Claudia W because her daughter was injured in a Halloween incident. I probably sound heartless but there is something deeply disturbing about all this. First it was for a Princess, now it’s for a TV presenter. People are living their lives vicariously and always have. But it’s worse than ever. What about all the parents whose children are wounded or dead, do THEY get a standing ovation when they come back to work?

    • gelert

      When reporting a death, you can be sure the police and reporters will say that the victim unfortunately/sadly died /passed away etc.

  • David davis

    I decided that the Sainsbury’s Ad was rather good, having watched it about three or four times to check. It was very brave, and most people alive today won’t have been told about the rather early disillusionment among all the belligerents’ soldiers at what their governments were compelling them to do.

    I’d buy stuff from a grocer that made ads like that.

  • CharleyFarleyFive

    You grumpy old sod. I completely agree with every word.

  • Michael Gardner

    I can’t wait till Tesco respond with an ad based on Afghanistan or Iraq, a traumatised squaddie slotting an Islamist whackjob just as he detonates his suicide vest, followed by a fade to black and screaming.

  • Alan Dray

    Ruined your own point by implying football may have been a better option. If there is one advertisement for mental ages of 4 (I would contend a lot less) it is the ubiquitous presence of wendyball

  • English Aborigine

    Let it all flow Rod

    There will be more, ad finitum

  • Shella Staten Morris

    I Never believed i was ever going to be HIV Negative again,Dr Molemen
    has given me reasons to be happy, i was HIV positive for 2years and all
    the means i tried for treatment was not helpful to me, but when i came
    on the Internet i saw great testimony about Dr on how he was able to
    cure someone from HIV, this person said great things about this man, and
    advice we contact him for any Disease problem that Dr Molemen can be of
    help, well i decided to give him a try, he requested for my information
    which i sent to him, and he told me he was going to prepare for me a
    healing portion, which he wanted me to take for days, and after which i
    should go back to the hospital for check up, well after taking all the
    treatment sent to me by Dr Molemen, i went back to the Hospital for
    check up, and now i have been confirmed HIV Negative, friends you can
    reach Dr Molemen on any treatment for any Disease he is the one only i
    can show you all up to, reach him on
    (drmolemenspiritualtemple@gmail.com) or call him on +2347036013351,
    Facebook page on (https://www.facebook.com/Dr.Mo… Website at (http://drmolemenspiritualtempl…), God Bless you for your Good Work Sire! ………….

    • Neil Saunders

      We share your joy, and cordially invite you to go and fuck yourself.

  • The infantalisation of the population is a problem I’ve seen coming for a few years now. People have just forgotten how to behave like adults. I think if you were to pinpoint where it all went wrong, you’d have to start with the silly outpouring of grief over Princess Diana’s death. I always thought a more appropriate song than Candle in the Wind would have been “Oh what a circus” from Evita.

  • Neil Gardner

    To the long list of people who have sadly succumbed to the lure of infantilism, we may add journalists and political commentators who pepper their writing with colourful expletives.

  • Sean Lamb

    Having just perused some of the photos of the comet in Science I have swung round to the opinion that perhaps the shirt was the most interesting aspect of the project after all.
    Although learning that comets have scree slopes rather similar to those formed under gravity is interesting. Presumably the result of background radiation from the Big Bang interacting with solar corona flares causing a quantum disturbance at the level of the 10-fold vibrational strings creating pico-pseudo gravitational fields.along the dorsal plane of the comet’s orbit

    Oh and the fat lady going into paroxysms was cool as well

Close