High life

The battle for decency has been lost

It is impossible today to imagine a time when swearing was a no-no

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

18 October 2014

9:00 AM

An intelligent letter from a reader, Stanislas Yassukovich CBE, warms my heart. It’s nice to know there are others as appalled as I am by today’s so-called elite’s ghastly manners. Good manners, a rarity these days, are not a superficial activity. They serve a moral purpose, that of an inner unselfishness, a readiness to put others first. They are the opposite of brute force, concealing man’s natural belligerence. After the Titanic went down, it was revealed that first-class passengers had died in disproportionate numbers because they had queued in an orderly manner for a lifeboat. Forget the movie, that was Hollywood bullshit; Astor and Guggenheim, the two richest on board, chose not even to try to save themselves.

And speaking of Hollywood, where bad manners got their start, selfishly hostile behaviour among stars is as common as name-dropping, and diva-like attitudes have filtered down to their personal assistants, publicists, managers, trainers, stylists and nutritionists, not to mention their bodyguards. I once asked Martin Scorsese why he included so much swearing in his films, and cinéma vérité was his answer. In his movie GoodFellas, the F-word was used 212 times, whereas in the 1971 film Dirty Harry, despite the violence, it was used only once.

What I don’t understand (actually, I do) is why producers and directors and of course writers choose a constant diet of filth in their shows, and when I say filth I mean the most puerile and degrading kind. Well, I’ll tell you: lack of talent. The F-word, used with lots of blood and explosions, covers up their inability to tell a clean story without the audience falling asleep or falling over themselves running for the exits. Most great books contained no filth — the writers left that to the imagination of the reader. Needless to say, by now the battle for decency has been lost, what with the epidemic of vile, coarse texting in the schools where our future captains of industry and government are being ‘educated’. No society has been corroded as ours has, and don’t believe those Roman orgies ever took place (if they did they were behind Roman walls among patricians).


Patricians, of course, are no longer what they used to be. Here’s my correspondent writing: ‘It is not only striking that new money now rejects the taste and lifestyle of old money; manners and general behaviour are also unrecognisable. Both parents and children converse in strident tones and at a volume level suitable for a disco.’ Yes, new money no longer apes old money and its manners, and this makes for a zoo-like atmosphere. When I was very young, swearing was a real no-no. At boarding school and university, a gentleman never but never used profanity, something that is almost impossible to imagine nowadays.

Back then more than half of the American population was white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, Wasp, and in my fraternity at university every single one was Wasp except for the poor little Greek boy. It was the time of Wasp ascendancy, both in Washington and New York. America’s role models were Wasp, Hollywood made films about rich, good Wasps, and the group supplied the role model followed by other Americans, whether Wasp or non-Wasp, who were on their way up. Somewhere along the line the Wasp ascendancy ended and its role models vanished. I cannot put my finger on why the Wasps lost power, but they sure did, and are now looked upon as exotic creatures whose dress is as archaic as their manners.

I was recently looking at a school yearbook of 59 years ago, and most if not all the names were straight out of F. Scott Fitzgerald: Tom Trowbridge, Gerald Foulke, Bucky Weaver, Billy Cook, Carleton Roll, Temple Brown, Sam Van Allen, I could go on. Today’s yearbooks are very different. Wasps were instantly recognisable by their dress, their mid-Atlantic accents, called Park Avenue lockjaw by some, and by their smell, Bay Rum. The last was to be found in all country club locker rooms such as the Bath & Tennis in Palm Beach or the Westchester Country Club. Wasps owned family houses they had inherited, and the more ramshackle the house, the older the family. There were no McMansions, as these new monstrosities are called, although Newport families did go a bit overboard with their ‘cottages’.

Wasps paid their taxes and served in the armed forces and avoided publicity, and the world thought of America as a kind of Norman Rockwell country, which alas it wasn’t. Still, it was a paradise compared with other places, and people from other places kept coming and coming and coming. In 1965 Ted Kennedy pushed a law through Congress that made it harder for white Europeans and enabled people from Africa and the Caribbean. Well, one can see and hear the results all over Manhattan. Race is all politically correct pundits talk about, and although more than 70 per cent of black Americans are born outside marriage, the old days are the bad old days and people like me who yearn for them are racists and secret Ku Klux Klanners.

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  • Des Demona

    Ah yes, the good old days when there was nary a darkie to be seen in the year books and country clubs. And now 70% of their pickininnies are born out of wedlock!
    There’s a difference between nostalgia and being a racist cnut.

    • Wusker

      What’s that to do with the price of fish??

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Doctorate dissertation, University of Johannesburg circa 1980s.
      “White men descended from Gods while Blacks swung down from the trees.”
      Those were the days.
      Jack the Japan Alps Brit

    • vieuxceps2

      “pickininnies”? Didn’t Enoch Powell get eviscerated by the anti-whites for using that term? (Mind you, he did know how to spell it).How come it’s ok to use it to lambast a poor Greek? Aren’t you being “racist” a wll as offensive and sexist, you naviga you?

  • jjjj

    Wot, Taki, no slurs against the Je…Zionists?

    • Malus Pudor

      Disappoints you…. does it ?

      • jjjj

        Stalking me?

  • A well-written article. Enjoyed reading it.

  • Taki forgot to mention that most Greeks call each other malaka, masturbator!

    Basil Venitis, venitis@gmail.com, http://venitism.blogspot.com

    • edithgrove

      hence ‘malarky’, I suppose. Well, perhaps.

      • Your government is
        your #1 enemy. Brutal police and
        kangaroo courts are tools to enslave you to your government. But badges
        and benches do not grant extra rights. It’s your duty as a citizen to
        become a popopaparazzo, recording police misconduct. Use your smartphone to
        unmask cops, kangaroos, marilizards, godzillas, and other bastards of
        kleptocracy.

        DOUBLE STANDARDS

        EU practices double standards on civil rights. It’s freakish for EU to interfere in the
        civil rights of foreigners, but condone the abuse of my civil rights, a citizen
        of EU! EU should get its own house in
        order before lecturing others. EU should rein in barbaric Greece,
        the most corrupt country of Europe with prisoners of conscience, testilying
        police, malevolent prosecutors, perjurers, and stupidest jurists. Basil Venitis, venitis@gmail.com, http://venitism.blogspot.com

        Greece is an incivil nation with kangaroo justice,
        overcriminalization, brutal police, huge political corruption, persecution of
        dissident bloggers, huge bureaucracy, huge taxation, and 23% VAT. Freakish Graecokleptocrats use the kangaroo justice as a political tool
        to gag political opponents.

        J’ACCUSE!

        I accuse the government of Greece for:

        Persecuting me for four years

        Stealing my life

        Stealing my computer and files

        Spreading lies about me on all Greek media

        Using the kangaroo justice as a political tool

        Postponing my trial eight times

        Locking me in jail without toilet and pillow for a night

        Taking away my hypertension pills

        Making me urinate in a bottle

        Humiliating me with handcuffs, fingerprints, and mug shots

        AN UNCONSCIONABLE SILENCE

        The political philosopher Edmund Burke
        once remarked that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good
        folks to do nothing. A glaring example is my persecution by the government of
        Greece, which grossly violates my civil rights.

        THEN THEY CAME FOR ME!

        Martin Niemöller said: First
        they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a
        Socialist. Then they came for the Trade
        Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not
        speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one
        left to speak for me!

        CORRUPT GOVERNMENT
        STOLE MY LIFE

        It’s been now four
        years since the government of Greece stole my life, my computer, and my
        files. Nobody cares, nobody gives a
        damn! I have done absolutely nothing,
        and I am being persecuted by the Greek government without any real reason. My ordeal is against all rules of civil
        society and treaties that Greece has signed.
        Greece, a corrupt
        country without a functioning justice system, has gone bananas. Graecokleptocrats use the kangaroo justice as a political tool
        to gag political opponents. Graecokleptocrats
        think the laws exist to give them whatever they want! Basil Venitis, venitis@gmail.com, http://venitism.blogspot.com

        STOLEN LIVES

        GEORGE ORWELL’S MINILUV AND MINITRUE

        BARBARIC MINISTRY OF PUBLIC DISORDER AND CITIZEN
        HARASSMENT

        MINILUV

        BRUTAL POLICE STEALING COMPUTERS!

        On October 18, 2010, a gang of six brutal cops of the violent Greek
        Cyber-Crime Unit (CCU), a real godzilla, supervised
        by a dishonest prosecutor, a disgusting liar, raided my home in Athens and stole my computer,
        software, files, documents, and personal data.

        HUMILIATED

        The brutal policemen locked me in jail for a night, they
        humiliated me with handcuffs, fingerprints, mug shots, and lies, leaked false
        information to the media parrots, and the corrupt Greek government initiated
        sham ex-officio court proceedings for a stack of freakish trumped-up charges!

        URINATING
        IN A BOTTLE!

        There was neither pillow nor toilet
        facility in my jail cell. I had to urinate in a bottle! I, a 69-years-old man with high blood
        pressure, was not allowed to keep my hypertension pills with me. There was
        neither toilet paper nor soap in the whole CCU jail.

        BARBARIC MINISTRY OF INJUSTICE, OPACITY, AND HUMAN
        DEPRIVATIONS

        MINITRUE

        Greece, a
        country of infinite political corruption, perjury, injustice, and brutal
        police, must be revamped. Ex-officio
        law suit, αυτεπαγγελτος, the
        most dreadful word in justice, means the state sues somebody without
        involvement of the accuser. This
        terrible scheme has been used by the corrupt Greek government to persecute
        me.

        EX-OFFICIO TERROR

        Mariliza
        Xenogiannakopoulou, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, sued me, and she
        wouldn’t show up in court, because the corrupt state took over her
        position!

        DISGUSTING
        KANGAROO JUSTICE

        PSORIASIS
        OF DEMOCRACY

        At the ex-officio law
        suit, the accuser just hits and runs!
        This hit-and-run justice is the most disgusting kangaroo justice on
        Earth. The accused must be in a position
        to face his accuser eyeball to eyeball. The right to confront and cross-examine
        one’s accuser is a sign of civility. The malicious accuser slings false
        accusations against you, the state takes over, the accuser disappears from the
        court, and the trial is postponed infinite times! This is penalty of the presumed innocent. This is penalty without trial. This is kangaroo justice of Third World
        countries! This is barbarity and
        brutality, pure and simple. Shame, shame, shame on corrupt Greece.

        SHAME ON CORRUPT GREECE

        TAKE ACTION

        Please email appeals to

        GenSecretary@justice.gov.gr, grammateia@justice.gov.gr, minister.office@yptp.gr, primeminister@primeminister.gr, proedros@nd.gr, allusers@primeminister.gr, vassilis.kikilias@kikilias.gr, ypourgos@justice.gov.gr, xathanasiou2@gmail.com, allusers@justice.gov.gr

        Calling for the immediate stop of the persecution of Basil
        Venitis.

        Stating that you believe these trumped-up charges to be politically
        motivated and intended to prevent him exercising his right to freedom of
        expression against political corruption.

        Seeking assurances that the civil rights of Basil Venitis will
        always be respected.

  • Taki belongs to the dying specie of European Traditional White Christian men who have not fallen into ”modern” degenerate sodomite-multicultural-self hating propaganda of the last 40 years. There is not a single Western media,Financial institution,Film studio, political party that is not a puppet of cultural globalist marxist neocons . Pat Buchanan,Gerald Warner,Taki,Thomas Fleming, Joe Sobran will be remembered as the last great generation of Western men i.e. true paleoconservative, pro British, pro Christian, pro family , pro tradition , anti multicults, anti cultural marxists.
    Now enjoy ”progress” where Europeans dress and act like pre-Columbian Amazonian and African tribes … Post WW2 new world order has destroyed the Western White European man.

    • Fritz123

      We and the others. There is a lack of sustainable rules that are valid for all in all cases. There is no common good anymore because all sides are selfish and nobody is ready for something new. All that is offered is war.

    • Jean de Valette

      Excellent comment and, if I may say so, excellent user name.

  • RobX

    We probably have the P in wasp to thank for the manners, less so the AS and not at all the W. This is a strange nostalgia piece. I agree that much arts and entertainments now are derivative at best, filth at worst. I heard that some people cut the cords on the Christmas tree/sex toy in Paris causing it to collapse. Well done them I say. The faux-scandalised Mayor said: “Paris will not succumb to the threats of those who, by attacking an artist or a work, are attacking artistic freedom.”

    Perhaps I will make a statue of a cross in central London and see how long that lasts. If I were to fight to prevent it being torn down, I would probably be accused of restricting the saboteurs’ artistic expression. The act of tearing it down would be defended as a manifestation of natural artistic impulse (or something like it).

    No, I joke. I would never be allowed to construct it in the first place. I don’t have the right to “force my views on others”. No views, only sex toys.

  • davidofkent

    And race is all they talk about on this side of the Atlantic. Look at the faux distress caused by Mike Read’s little calypso. Oh the horror of it; copying a Barbadian accent! Clearly that marks the end of civilisation as we know it. Well the world is changing and there will be few beacons of decency left in another generation. The word will be full of people scrabbling to gain some advantage over others. And this is how the world ends, not with a bang but with a yelling, screaming demand for ‘more for me’.

    • Roger Hudson

      Faux calypso?, look at the make up of UB40 and sigh for those simple days before enforced ‘progressiveness’.

      • firgo

        I can’t remember the left kicking up such a fuss over Ali Campbell singing “Kingston Town” with a Jamaican accent in 1990. The row over Mike Read couldn’t be politically motivated could it?

        • Samson

          Is there a lot of anti-immigrant stuff in Kingston Town? Doing an accent isn’t racist, people sing with all sorts of weird put-on accents. But doing an accent and singing a song about those dastardly foreigners is always going to come over a bit shaky. No one’s saying civilization is doomed, that’s hyperbole on your part. Read should have kept the song on sale, because everyone is a bit racist, and his song was racist in the way an old granny thinking black people are spearchuckers is racist: borderline charming, if a little awkward. Not sure why Read apologized and removed it, must be a secret PCer.

  • Davey

    I completely agree that swearing is too commonplace, in life and on screen, but it is a symptom of inadequate education, poor literacy and poor vocabulary. Unfortunately, it is ‘uncool’ to be well-spoken and to have a rich vocabulary – you are immediately denounced as ‘posh’, even if you aren’t. I don’t know where this attitude came from, but it’s been around since my schooldays several decades ago!
    The F-word has become the universal adjective and is over-used. However, these are just words and have their place. Swearing is a hell of a good way to express anger, as we all know, and there’s something about a correctly phrased expletive that is very funny – is there a comedian in the land who doesn’t swear repeatedly?
    I think the worst problem is lack of manners and selfishness, and that is rife! It used to be the British way to queue and be polite, but that seems to be disappearing fast, and is a symptom of the dilution of our culture by outside influences. Having said that however, I have just been to a supermarket (not Waitrose!), and boy, there are some ignorant oiks out there, but most of them seem to be white British!

    • Ambientereal

      It is easy to speak “bad” but it takes much more knowledge and effort to speak “good”. Lazy people solve the difference to the laborious ones by degrading their product and heighten their laziness. As lazy people become majority laziness becomes fancy.

  • pointlesswasteoftime

    A confusing piece, poorly argued for a university educated WASP. Are you equating the “loss of manners” with the decline of the WASP, the influx of non-white immigrants, the use of bad language or popular culture? Times change, and manners should change with them. They only exist to help people get along with each other – especially strangers – with the minimum of fuss or offence. I suggest you listen to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOcp7lTIpTo

    Also, it is not necessarily rude or indecent to use what you would no doubt classify as bad language. If it helps the other person understand exactly what you mean, surely it’s fine?

  • Ambientereal

    I usually travel a lot to countries with different culture, languages and economic status and have the luck of speaking many languages and I see this phenomena everywhere. If the F-word is used so frequently, it is because the people knows no other words to show anger, surprise, etc. In short, people are losing their lingual richness. There are also no swearing words that are becoming commonly used in quite different meanings so, that confusion may easily arise. For the sake of simplicity or less effort we are sinking in poorly used and maintained languages which sometime in the future will prevent us from a fluid communication.

    • Andy M

      In many languages there isn’t actually a ‘lingual richness’ compared to the extremely rich and expansive English language. I don’t blame people whose language is limited for choosing to opt for swearwords. It is when we see Brits resorting to using the basest and most obvious of language that we should be concerned, as thanks to a great tradition of education in Britain as well as a ridiculously deep, rich and colourful language, they have no excuse for resorting to obscene swear-words, other than the usual reasons of laziness, apathy, or possibly a conscious or subconscious desire to deliberately kill off our richly-woven tapestry of language that has been crafted for centuries upon centuries.

      • Ambientereal

        The languages I´m talking about are quite rich too. It is a fashion to talk that way, and that is the “fashion of minimum effort”. After it is practiced for sometime, the person loses the richness in his expressions.

        • Andy M

          Which languages are you referring to? It is a fashion, hence why it’s so popular where Pop Culture is prevalent, such as Britain and America. However there are many cultures where it is born out of lack of education and lack of vocabulary. Some people just don’t have the words to express themselves and that, combined with the fashion element, is a recipe for disaster.

          • Ambientereal

            Spanish for instance.

      • Samson

        That seems a little reductive. Certainly the most commonly used swear words are used to death, out of apathy, poor vocabulary and whatnot. But plenty of writers, poets, directors etc use them as what they are, another aspect of the full breadth of the language. Say what you like about Lawrence, Auden, Larkin, Chaucer, Joyce, Thomas, Updike, McCarthy and all the many others who put the odd naughty word onto a page, but laziness, apathy, a desire to kill the language? We’d all benefit mightily if people used swear words less, but there are times when it’s appropriate.

        • Andy M

          I don’t think you quite understood my point. Using the odd swearword withing a piece of literature, possibly to make a particular point, is not the same as using them for every other word with no reinforcing or surrounding with richer and more advanced language.

  • Paddy S

    I wonder will Western civilisation go out with a seismic bang or will it be like the roman empire, one small tragedy and disaster at a time until people wake up and realise the entire culture and civilisation their ancestors created has been utterly transformed. Although why do I have a sneaking suspicion that following generations will be even duller than our own. Sadly…

  • rtj1211

    Old money also believed in rotten boroughs to keep the oiks out of politics, women knowing their place and neither having the vote nor the right to work after marriage, and a class system which, far from being selfless, kept the rich aristocrats in a permanent position of ascendant wealth, privilege and dominance.

    It’s all so easy to paint nice pictures about a small aspect of life, namely bad language.

    The rich and wealthy remained so because, when push came to shove, they were as ruthless as was necessary to maintain their position. Bad language is appalling, but getting others to die to maintain wealth and privilege was good form.

    I know which I consider to show the greater lack of talent……

    • davidofkent

      You forgot to mention the ‘divine right of Kings’, ‘Droit de seigneur’ and all those loveable old monarchs who parcelled the land out to their favourite barons. The article was about bad language. If you didn’t want to be bothered about it, why read it?

  • little islander

    “Wasps paid their taxes…….America….still a paradise….” Ricky Gervais lived and paid his taxes in the UK. David Letterman, surely more Waspic than Mr Gervais, said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ When my friend applied for green card during the first Gulf War, his American lawyer asked him, “Why? Are you stupid? Elisabeth Taylor became a South American because of the taxes.”

    Manners have their dark side. I remember reading Ms Karen Armstrong saying this and agreeing with her. My thinking: the wealthy used this to differentiate them from the…..er, ‘oiks’. According to my friend’s mother, a person’s breeding could be gleamed from a packet of sugar. Good if it’s lightly tapped. Bad if it’s being flapped.

    ‘Fuck me!’ is one of the nicest obscenities and especially so when expressed by an Englishman when he’s stumped. More than one person, not English, told me that ‘fuck’ is just not vulgar compared to its equivalent in French or Chinese.

  • Roy

    Good article.

  • Lydia Robinson

    “It’s nice to know there are others as appalled as I am by today’s so-called elite’s ghastly manners.” I am equally appalled. Taki probably has had little contact with the “lower orders” but in fifties England, people from lowly origins were extremely polite – to each other as much as to those considered from a higher echelon of society. Bad manners were not excused in either the working class or the upper class at one time. I remember my fifties modest background and childhood and how nice and polite we all were to each other.

  • Precambrian

    Good article (although sadly ironic when you include the word “bullsh*t” when decrying bad language). I wonder how long it will be before you are forced to humbly appologise and take it down….

  • Frank

    This is a fabulous piece for any scrapbook collection on hypocrisy. To have Taki lamenting that the “battle for decency has been lost” is quite funny, almost enough to make one wonder if he is losing his marbles. This is the chap who is perpetually banging on about his sex life, lusts after prostitutes, worships the waffen SS and is a crashing snob despite being early euro-trash.

  • Fenman

    We all made the mistake of believing as the lower orders rose into the bourgoise they wd adopt the behaviour and interests of them. But, what has happened is they have brought with them the worst aspects of undermensch behaviour and language, coarsening our culture and replacing the concepts of service, duties and patriotism, with a vulgar array of ‘rights’. It is the end of Western civilisation, and our enemies such as Putin and China smell it.

  • John Wright, Ph.D.

    I liked the article. In my opinion, if most of the citizens of ANY nation have no regard for decency the ultimate outcome will be a wreck, and it looks like that’s the current situation in the United States. But never mind my archaic remark because I’m 76; therefore I don’t know anything.

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