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Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality Paperback – May 1, 2011
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It is difficult to define sentimentality. One could say it is insistence that one's feelings must be beautiful, and that this matters above all else. So, compassion for a large number of people one knows nothing about -- 'the poor' , say-- is very beautiful, and gives one a warm glow of self-satisfaction. The fact that these feelings have no use for 'the poor', and are indeed only of use for making me feel good about myself, is irrelevant to the sentimentalist. It is not the truth of his thoughts that matter, but the beauty of his feelings. Sentimentalists tend to be utterly ruthless and unscrupulous. They are as dishonest and manipulative with others as they are with their own all-important feelings.
That is only a starting point, of course. There is so much to say on the subject.
One very interesting question, which I wish Dalrymple had said more about, is the historical context. Is there much more sentimentality than there was, say, in Shakespeare's time (an author entirely untinged with sentimentality) and if so why? One reason is the decline in Christianity. Dalrymple is not a believer but the doctrine of Original Sin certainly kept one is a state of healthy distrust of one's feelings, although of course that could turn into unhealthy self-flagellation. Second, the rise of the mass media, and films and pop videos which convey ultra-simple emotional instant gratificaton. Third, the rise of overall wealth and comfort certainly has something to do with it.Read more ›
As is also typical, he does not lazily rely on external reference after reference and leans more on thought experiments and logical conclusion. You can test many of his ideas for yourself.
The packaging of the book is questionable, though. While the subtitle -- "The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality" -- is right on target with respect to the book's content, the main title -- "Spoilt Rotten" -- is not, and nor is the picture on the dust jacket. Although you could make a connection between sentimentality and a childish outlook on life, the content has very little to do with children itself. A similar mistake was made with "The New Vichy Syndrome", where the subtitle warned of European barbarism but the content suggested that it was not a problem. There are also some typographical errors.
I highly recommend readiny anything by Mr. Dalrymple. I will rue the day I no longer have any books by him I still need to read and I have to wait for his next book to be published.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Never a dull moment when reading this author. Always provocative and interesting.Published 28 days ago by A. L. Jermaine
This is more an essay than a whole book, and repeats a little (the author is putting together stuff from a host of articles), but Dalrymple is always refreshing with his... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
The best Dalrymple in a while. A scorching, pitiless account of present popular culture and its absurd mixture of narcissism and irresponsibility.Published 3 months ago by Nathan Shachar
Dalrymples book is expertly written. His command of the language lends itself well to explaining the complex social and political problems he has observed over years as a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Morgan Hughes
A must read for anyone who is enthusiastic about different cultures and mob-mentalities. This has opened my eyes to the ways in which cultures reveal a duality. Read morePublished 6 months ago by donnie
Another series of essays which attack what Mr Dalrymple calls the cult of sentimentality. His main target is the media , he asks why does a wealthy handsome victim of a serious... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Paul Rooney