Archive for the ‘O Tempora! O Mores!’ Category

In Defence Of The Boomers

The counter-culture of the Sixties seems to attract more and more opprobrium as time goes on; “boomer” has become, like “liberal” in the US, one of the insults against which no defence is possible. Our parents were forever telling us that we lacked discipline, sour old men on the street were forever telling us that […]

Do It All By Hand!

Sociologies of the twentieth century assume that domestic labour-saving devices were welcomed by everybody, at least by those who did not have servants. This is not true. Some parents of the so-called Greatest Generation insisted on doing everything the hard way, because it built Character. This was code for a simple exchange, whereby they sacrificed […]

Putting The Kids Off The Idea Of Society

Many of the parents of the Boomers were accustomed to ask for whatever they wanted in the first or third persons plural. Either they claimed that third parties needed the thing that they wanted, thus appealing to community loyalty, or they pretended that it was in the interests of the “family”, meaning themselves. This was […]

“The Goodness Of Our Hearts”

Many people have observed that anyone who starts a sentence, “To be honest with you”, is just about not to be. If professional con-men do this as well as amateur liars, then we have even less excuse for losing our money, but perhaps it is a beginner’s mistake. If this is made by some residual […]

Forming Characters

In my childhood, there were many adults who liked to maintain that draughty rooms were “Character-Forming”. What did they mean by this? If it were true that plenty of early exposure to draughts and cold water toughened up the body, that would clearly be a good thing. We may remember the Spartiates, who as boys […]

The Confucian Scam

Asian immigrants complain about the “granny-dumping” allegedly so prevalent in the West. The assumption is that this is entirely due to the greater individualism and thereby egotism of our culture. There is doubtless much to be said for such an aetiology, and we might add that worship of youth and disrespect for age is a […]

Posted on August 7, 2011 at 12:40 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · One Comment

No Sex Please, We’re British

Fictitious elderly people like Terry Pratchett’s “Nanny Ogg” always come as a surprise to me, and can be downright disorientating. This is because nothing in my youth prepared me for the possible existence of older people who were cheerful, positive and horny – whether or not they actually did anything about that horniness. My expectation […]

Collective Socialisation

The University of Groningen has run a study that experimentally confirms the “broken window” theory of policing adopted by Bratton and Guiliani in New York, namely that seeing littering and vandalism around you increases the probability that you will commit a crime. It might seem that our grandmothers were right after all about the importance […]

Isaac Newton And Other Long-Haired Buggers

A Lancashire-born science postgrad once told me about a Northern proletarian who was given his first tour of the National Portrait Gallery, or some similar collection, featuring members of the 17th and 18th century Royal Society. His only comment was, “Right lot of long-haired buggers in them days, weren’t there?” This man’s attitude was an […]

Posted on August 10, 2011 at 11:03 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 7 Comments

Selling Discipline

The parents of the Boomers were right to think that their offspring needed to be more disciplined but very stupid in the way they went about achieving this. You cannot say to a young person, “You must do this because you need some discipline”, as if the youngster will then say, “Gosh! You’re right, I […]

Posted on August 11, 2011 at 14:12 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment