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The Cult of Insincerity

by Theodore Dalrymple (October 2009)


I once had a patient who had had the words ‘Fuck off’ tattooed on his forehead in mirror writing. When I asked him for the reason for this, he said that it was to wake him up in the morning when he looked at himself in the glass. It never failed, he said.

Newspapers perform more or less the same function for me. There is always something in them to irritate me profoundly, and there is nothing quite like irritation to get the juices circulating and the mind working. Oddly enough, only the print version of a newspaper, not the online one, has this tonic effect upon me; perhaps this is a conditioned response. I am like one of Pavlov’s dogs, who salivated at the sound of a bell. I have only to hold a newspaper in my hand to feel a pleasant frisson of outrage coming on.  more>>>