Euro watch: Football first, Sunderland second!

THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 2016

Portrait of a world:
International football remains a peculiar cultural expression.

As we just saw with Portugal/Poland, they start with two hours of a format where it's virtually impossible to score a goal. Then, they switch to a tie-breaking format where it's virtually impossible not to.

Countries live and die on this apparently irrational arrangement. They're almost as crazy as we are.

Tomorrow, we'll start with this portrait of the British working class. It appeared in Tuesday's New York Times, written by Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura.

(Be sure to note how many kids the Times got into its photo. Those People breed like rabbits. It has ever been thus.)

Should we loathe Sunderland's working class because their city voted for Leave to the tune of 61 percent? We're going to say that the answer is no, as was suggested this morning.

Amazingly, we'll give the same answer about our own country's white working class, even in this face of this peculiar expression of loathing from a very smart writer.

All that contempt and loathing tomorrow! Then, the Fourth of July!

LOATHING THE OTHERS WELL: Welshmen yes, Englishmen no!

THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 2016

Part 3—O'Hehir votes for contempt:
It's one of the oldest pre-human impulses.

It used to be a survival skill; now it's highly counterproductive. Despite that fact, it's been a basic part of "progressive" culture for the last fifty years. It helps explain why Donald J. Trump may end up in the White House.

We refer to the practice of inventing The Other, then showering Them with contempt. We pseudo-progressives have loved this game at least since the mid-1960s. For an example of how the game is played, consider this piece by Andrew O'Hehir at the new Salon.

First, an elementary fact. In last Thursday's Brexit vote, the constituent parts of the U.K. voted like this:
Percentages voting for Leave
England: 53.4% for Leave
Wales: 52.5% for Leave
Northern Ireland: 44.2% for Leave
Scotland: 38.0% for Leave
England and Wales look almost alike. But hold on! Not so fast!

O'Hehir's piece at the new Salon appears beneath the headlines shown below. Warning! Quite frequently, headlines at the new Salon misrepresent the article they top:
Brexit vs. Braveheart: Will the Celtic nations seek revenge on England for its historic blunder?
Scotland plots a course toward independence and Ireland ponders unity, while Wales voted "Leave" from the left
ANDREW O'HEHIR
According to the headline, Wales "voted Leave from the left!" Does this mean we should admire Wales, while continuing to believe that "Hell is Other Britons?"

O'Hehir doesn't really seem to say that Wales "voted Leave from the left." But you can see why the headline writer may have struggled to capture his meaning.

In the passage shown below, O'Hehir begins expressing his contempt for the people who didn't vote the way he thinks they should have voted. Throughout this passage, O'Hehir is quoting Fearghal McGarry, "a historian at Queen’s University in Belfast."

O'Hehir seems to quote McGarry approvingly—but uh-oh! According to McGarry, progressives shouldn't feel contempt for people who voted for Leave:
O'HEHIR (6/29/16): Then there is the peculiar case of Wales, a beautiful country with a long tradition of working-class activism and a rich cultural and linguistic heritage, which once again finds itself Britain’s odd man out. If you look at the numbers, it appears that the Welsh voted to leave in virtually the same proportions as the rest of Britain did. But behind the raw vote totals lies a complicated tale of a small, struggling nation undergoing an identity crisis, well explained in this essay by Ellie Mae O’Hagan for the Independent. In brief, rural regions of the north and west, the home of Welsh nationalism and the Welsh language, voted to remain in Europe, while depressed industrial regions of South Wales, which are largely English-speaking and dominated by English culture, voted to leave.

“Across England and Wales,” says McGarry, “you can see a strong pattern of economically depressed areas with relatively little immigration voting to leave.” Wales has long been a stronghold of the Labor Party, which was clearly unable to get its supporters to vote Remain in large enough numbers. So while the voting patterns appear irrational, you can’t assume that racism and xenophobia were the only important factors. “A lot of people were voting for things that are not directly connected to Europe,” McGarry continues. “They’re voting out of their sense of political disconnection, they’re voting because they feel that they’ve lost out through globalization. I don’t think the political elite anticipated that all these things would converge around this referendum.”

People on the left, McGarry says, should resist the temptation to express “contempt toward these people who are responding to the economic predicament of being left behind, feeling not represented, feeling that they don’t have much of a future. When you look at the spatial map of how people voted, there’s nothing irrational about people in areas that have been left behind for decades now rejecting the current economic and political status quo.”
In our view, McGarry is giving good sound advice, though it's hard to know exactly what he may have said to O'Hehir.

According to O'Hehir's account, McGarry says that "people on the left" should "resist the temptation to express contempt" toward working-class people who voted for Leave. If we ignore O'Hehir's asides, McGarry seems to be talking about working-class people "across England and Wales."

Note to McGarry! On the American pseudo-left, people will always rush to express their contempt for such working-class people. It's part of our pseudo-left DNA. It's our own greatest tribal tradition.

O'Hehir seems to help that process along in this typically jumbled passage. Magnanimously, he tells us that we "can’t assume that racism and xenophobia were the only important factors" in the voting patterns under review. But he seems to be talking about Wales alone, with its "rich cultural and linguistic heritage."

O'Hehir also seems to be saying that Welshmen in Wales voted for Remain while Englishmen in Wales voted for Leave, though he doesn't provide any data to let us assess the strength of this claim.

At any rate:

As O'Hehir continues, he quickly starts expressing contempt for the stupid people in England who voted in favor of Leave. American pseudo-progressives always behave this way. This helps explain why Donald J. Trump may yet end up in the White House:
O'HEHIR (continuing directly): In the spirit of Celtic solidarity and to placate the ghost of my dad—who spoke both Irish and Welsh, and could probably fake Scots Gaelic and a little Breton as well—I would like to insist that we can’t overlook the true abandoned stepchildren of the Celtic world, the Cornish and the Manx. Except that there isn’t much to say about them. Cornwall, on the extreme southwestern toe of England, voted 56 percent “Leave,” significantly higher than the nation as a whole, even though it’s one of the U.K.’s poorest regions and receives about $82 million a year in direct E.U. subsidies for infrastructure, education and economic development. Which sums up the shortsightedness and stupidity of the whole Brexit phenomenon in one sentence.
There's little to say for Those People in Cornwall! Fifty-six percent voted to Leave. It just shows how "stupid" They are!

O'Hehir has just finished quoting McGarry saying we shouldn't express contempt for working-class people who voted for Leave. But so what! As a card-carrying pseudo-progressive, O'Hehir just couldn't seem to resist.

The concept lies at the heart of our pseudo-lib culture; Those People are so freaking "stupid." And while we're at it, let's be clear. This is O'Hehir's reaction to the following facts:
Percentages voting for Leave
Cornwall: 56% for Leave
Wales: 52.5% for Leave
In Cornwall, that 56% vote shows how stupid They are. As for Wales, it's a beautiful country with a rich cultural and linguistic heritage!

This represents the extent to which we liberals will go as we insist on inventing The Others, the group we proceed to loathe.

The O'Hehirs among us love to hate; it's bred in the pre-human bone. They'll always find a way to invent and loathe The Others. It's where their "identity" comes from.

On a political basis, it's a deeply destructive impulse. Judged on the merits, it's just profoundly stupid.

This afternoon, we'll link you to a news report about some of the working-class people McGarry said we shouldn't loathe. Warning!

The people in question live in England! In the spirit of Celtic solidarity, some among us would spill with contempt.

Tomorrow: Striving to hate the working-class Over Here

Foolishness watch: Could hell really be apricot cocktails?

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2016

And other provocative thoughts:
"Hell is other people?" Is there any chance that's true?

The provocative phrase is drawn from Huis Clos (No Exit), Sartre's provocative 1944 play. Last week, a provocative young philosophy lecturer adapted Sartre's provocative phrase, using it as a way to discuss the Brexit vote.

"Hell is Other Britons," he provocatively wrote. Needless to say, the New York Times scrambled to put his people-hating essay into print.

Tom Whyman seemed to say he'd like England better if it contained no people! His provocative stylings sent us back to our most recent book about Sartre. We refer to Sarah Bakewell's provocative tome, which carries this eye-catching title:

"At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails"

Sadly, you read that right. As she starts, Bakewell says that the provocative philosophy known as existentialism got its start in 1933 over some apricot cocktails. At the mandatory web site, Penguin Random House explains the whole darn thing:
About "At the Existentialist Cafe"

From the best-selling author of How to Live, a spirited account of one of the twentieth century’s major intellectual movements and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it.

Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. “You see,” he says, “if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!”

It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement...
Warning: Bakewell holds a philosophy degree from Essex University. That's where Whyman lectures!

So far, none of this lets us know if hell really is other people. For ourselves, we sometimes felt that unintentional comedy is Bakewell's book, which has been reviewed, and taken seriously, by all the usual suspects.

According to Bakewell, what happened when Sartre and the others decided they could make philosophy out of their cocktails? Early on, she helps us see how exciting the new philosophy had become by the early 1940s.

During the French Occupation, an ex-student of Sartre's came to him with a problem—or at least, so Sartre later said. Bakewell relates the story in the first chapter of her book.

The ex-student wanted to cross the border into Spain; he would then move on to England to join the Free French forces in exile and fight the Nazis. But the ex-student was his mother's only means of support. Also, if he disappeared, the occupying German forces might take it out on his mother.

In The Iliad, it was Nestor, the seasoned charioteer, who "always gave the best advice." Bakewell tells us what happened in this instance:
BAKEWELL (page 9): As a last resort, the young man turned to his former teacher Sartre, knowing that from him at least he would not get a conventional answer.

Sure enough. Sartre listened to his problem and said simply, "You are free, therefore choose—that is to say, invent." No signs are vouchsafed in this world, he said. None of the old authorities can relieve you of the burden of freedom. You can weigh up moral or practical considerations as carefully as you like, but ultimately you must take the plunge and do something, and it's up to you what that something is.

Sartre doesn't tell us whether the student felt this was helpful, nor what he decided to do in the end. We don't know whether he existed, or was an amalgam of several young friends or even a complete invention...
There's more, but you get the idea.

"Sartre doesn't tell us whether the student felt this was helpful?" Turnabout being fair play, Bakewell doesn't tell us how the student could have thought it helpful!

("Go back to Bulgaria!" That's what Rick said, when asked for advice, at a key point in Casablanca.)

Presumably, Sartre returned to his apricot cocktails; they form the narrative framework for Bakewell's opening chapter. They made us think of something we were told, long ago, by someone with first-hand experience, who said the great phenomenologist Heidegger had a heart-shaped swimming pool!

Bakewell's book came out in March; we cognoscenti rushed to devour it. Whyman sampled Sartre last week. It was sloshed into print by the Times.

Bullroar like this is all we have in place of a western world discourse. What can anyone do about this? If we understand his thinking correctly, Sartre would say we should choose!

Noble Nestor sighting: You're right! Just last week, PBS mentioned Nestor in Part 1 of its new series, The Greeks.

LOATHING THE OTHERS WELL: Prepared to define The Others as "trash!"

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2016

Part 2—The soul of the pseudo-progressive:
Would anyone but the New York Times ever have published such nonsense?

We refer to the anguished, eliminationist-favored essay by 27-year-old Tom Whyman, a young philosophy lecturer who took last week's Brexit vote rather hard.

Poor Whyman! In Hampshire County, where he summers with his mum, 55 percent of his fellow Brits had voted for Leave. Whyman himself would have voted Remain, had he actually managed to vote.

Displaying familiar contempt for The Others, the narrow win by Leave led Whyman to vilify all his neighbors and all his fellow citizens. He specifically cited the 80-somethings who look at him "with blank stares."

Are we sure he wasn't thinking of the unfortunate teenagers in his philosophy classes?

So upset was Whyman by the vote, in which he didn't himself take part, he imagined a better world, in which all his neighbors were dead, or at least no longer existed. An anguished headline topped his piece:

"Hell is Other Britons," the headline dramatically said.

There's no sign that his New York Times editors knew it, but Whyman was channeling Sartre, the deep-thinking existentialist deep thinker. More specifically, he was channeling an anguished line from Sartre's anguished 1944 dramaturgical work, Huis Clos (No Exit).

Here! We'll let the world's leading authority limn it:
No Exit (French: Huis Clos) is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors...

The play is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity. It is the source of Sartre's especially famous and often misinterpreted quotation "L'enfer, c'est les autres" or "Hell is other people," a reference to Sartre's ideas about the look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness.
Hell is other people—presumably, all other people! That's the way poor Whyman felt in the wake of the narrow election in which, in best slackistentialist fashion, he himself failed to take part.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, did Whyman find himself caught in the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness? In a sense, but not as such!

At any rate, the New York Times rushed to publish the ridiculous, human-hating madness which had started life as a blog post. And the Times must have loved Whyman's post a great deal. They made the youngster's ludicrous piece the featured essay on the front page of last weekend's hard-copy Sunday Review. Presumably, they dumped some other piece at the last minute, they loved Whyman's essay so much.

(Full disclosure: We were forced to read Huis Clos as a high school senior, part of our French 5 class. At least one local wag rewrote Sartre's famous line at that time. "Hell is being required to read Huis Clos," this local wag thoughtfully said.)

Would anyone but the New York Times have published such an appalling piece? We will guess that the answer is no—but in comments, many Times readers seemed to understand the point of the piece within the New York Times context.

These commenters happily told the world how great the young philosopher's essay was. More specifically, they said the essay reminded them of the hell of the other people in the American towns where they had been forced to grow up.

Progressives, can we talk? In the context of the New York Times, Whyman's essay was an attack on Those People, The Others, the sluggard white working class.

Holding contempt for such people has long been a prominent part of pseudo-progressive culture. Such open contempt lies at the soul of the foppish Times and its low-IQ, self-impressed readers.

There's a long history here. In the 1950s, Hollywood films of William Inge scripts helped the world understand that everyone in the Midwest was crazy. See, for example, Splendor in the Grass and Picnic.

(We especially recommend Rosalind Russell's especially crazy breakdown in Picnic.)

At the same time, Hollywood films of Tennessee Williams and Erskine Caldwell scripts helped us see that everyone in the white South was crazy. (We especially recommend Baby Doll and God's Little Acre.) The mentality behind such works produced a famous moment in December 1972, when Times film critic Pauline Kael expressed surprise that Nixon had won the White House again.

“I live in a rather special world," Kael was quoted saying, by her own New York Times. "I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

She didn't say that she could smell them. But an extremist would say that she was tilting that way.

Existentialists, please! Disdain for the white working class is a long-standing staple of pseudoliberal culture. We'll guess that the New York Times saw its spirit in Whyman's human-hating piece, in which he announced that his home town is "my own personal hell;" that "you will find the demons crawling" if you examine life in that town; and, most gloriously, that "Hell is Other Britons."

Among the right-thinking philosopher class, contempt for The Others can run very strong where The Others are the white working-class. Consider a book review in last Wednesday's New York Times.

The review was written by Dwight Garner, a perfectly reasonable New York Times book reviewer. The new book bears a daring, provocative title:

"White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America"

The new book is by Professor Isenberg of LSU. We often marvel at her political pieces in the new improved Salon. We soon found ourselves puzzled by aspects of her new book.

As he started his review, Garner indicated that Isenberg's sentiments lay with the lower-income whites whose history she was writing. More specifically, it seemed that Isenberg was writing in protest of the way this group has been reviled down through American history.

That said, we were soon puzzled by some quotations from Isenberg's book—by this one, for example:
GARNER (6/22/16): America did not develop a House of Lords, yet we imported the rigging of the British class system, Ms. Isenberg argues. This was hardly a land of equal opportunity. Brutal labor awaited most migrants. There was little social mobility.

“Puritan religious faith did not displace class hierarchy, either; the early generations of New Englanders did nothing to diminish, let alone condemn, the routine reliance on servants or slaves,” she observes. “Land was the principal source of wealth, and those without any had little chance to escape servitude. It was the stigma of landlessness that would leave its mark on white trash from this day forward.”
It would leave its mark on white trash, full stop? White trash, with no scare quotes around the pejorative term?

That seemed like a strange thing to write. But as we continued along, Garner dropped a few similar quotes:
GARNER: From this beginning, Ms. Isenberg moves confidently forward, through, for example, the class issues that undergirded the Civil War and the popular eugenics movement, favored by Theodore Roosevelt, that marked many as targets for sterilization. Slavery and racism are hardly discounted in this book, but she maintains her focus on poor whites.

She singles out North Carolina as “what we might call the first white trash colony.” It was swampy and, thanks to its shoal-filled shoreline, lacked a major port. It had no real planter class. Its citizens were viewed as sluggards, “cowardly Blockheads” in the words of one early writer. Another referred to the state as the lawless “sinke of America.”

[...]

Trailer parks, redolent of “liberty’s dark side,” come under her appraisal, as do movies like “Deliverance.” (She finds its redneck caricatures to be loathsome.) The careers of Dolly Parton, Jimmy Carter, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and Bill Clinton are analyzed. Mr. Clinton’s dalliance with Monica Lewinsky resulted in a spectacle that the author likens to a “white trash outing on the grand national stage.”
Really? We might call North Carolina the white trash colony, full stop? Bill Clinton's affair could be likened to a “white trash outing on the grand national stage?"

We were puzzled by the use of this pejorative in a book by an august professor. And alas! When we got a chance to examine Professor Isenberg's actual book, it seemed to us that she was strangely cavalier in her use of this ugly pejorative.

Her carelessness seemed to have infected her publisher. This text is taken live and direct from the book's dust jacket:

The wretched and landless poor have always been a part of American culture from the time of the earliest British colonial settlements. In her ground-breaking history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg explodes our comforting myths about equality in the land of opportunity, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present poor white trash.

"The ever-present poor white trash?" That strikes us as unusual language—but at the Penguin Random House web site, the formulation is even stranger.

The lofty publisher refers to, and yes we're quoting, "the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash." That formulation strikes us as deeply strange, and yet as highly familiar.

Darn those poor white trash! They're always embarrassing, if occasionally entertaining! So of course are the pseudo-progressives who produce the weekly Sunday Review, perhaps the most foppish Sunday section American journalism has ever produced.

"Hell is Other [People]," a rather peculiar young Brit declared. The New York Times rushed his craziness into print.

Reading comments, it seemed to us that readers had discerned the message. The finer folk always seem to know what people like Whyman have meant.

Tomorrow: Hell is the white working class

Later today: Deep-thinking Sartre's apricot cocktails

LOATHING THE OTHERS WELL: Philosopher loathes The Others well!

TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2016

Part 1—The soul of the New York Times:
Tom Whyman, age 27, had a rough go of it Thursday.

Whyman summers in Alresford, by which he seems to mean this small town and civil parish in the City of Winchester district of Hampshire, England, as opposed to Alresford, Essex.

Whyman summers there with his parents; this seems to trigger his loathing of everyone else on the face of the Earth. We say this based upon Whyman's account of what happened to him last week.

Still being perhaps a bit of a slacker, Whyman had failed to make arrangements to cast his Brexit vote in Alresford, the beautiful town where he summers. For this reason, his time was wasted on trains last Thursday, and he never quite managed to vote.

That said, Whyman hadn't shown much interest in Brexit until Jo Cox was killed. Did we mention the fact that Whyman may possibly still be a bit of a slacker?

In the ridiculous piece which headed the New York Times' Sunday Review this weekend, Whyman described his ennui-flavored lack of engagement in best existentialist fashion. Only the New York Times, no one else, would publish such manifest crap:
WHYMAN (6/26/16): Since my late teens, every effort I have ever exerted has been with the intention of escaping Alresford. And yet, I am an early-career academic and so I am forced to move back, every summer, to live with my parents because I cannot afford to pay rent elsewhere after my temporary teaching contract ends. Then, sometimes, I think: What if I’m actually secretly comfortable here? What if I have chosen the security of death in Alresford over the risks of life elsewhere? What if I am in fact fully in the clutches of Alresfordism?

It was for psychological reasons, as much as anything else, that I didn’t register to vote in Alresford. Registering to vote here would have felt like actually moving here. I registered in Essex, where I live during the academic year, for the recent local elections, so I just thought I’d retain that registration for the Brexit referendum. I also don’t like filling in forms, which is why I didn’t register to vote by mail or look into how I’d amend my registration.

I admit that I was very complacent about all this. I didn’t think one vote would make a difference. And besides, I wasn’t particularly motivated to use my vote anyway. Brexit, supported by some very bad people, would definitely have some bad consequences, but on the other hand, who knows what positive effects it might have? I wasn’t willing to endorse it, but, hey, I certainly bought the argument that it might be a worthwhile shake-up to the system.

My complacency lasted until June 16, when Jo Cox, a Labour member of Parliament and a vocal defender of immigration, was killed;
the man charged in her death, Thomas Mair, had ties to far-right groups and introduced himself in court by the name “death to traitors.” That shocked me into a realization that this referendum wasn’t really a referendum about whether or not we should remain in the European Union. It was a referendum on immigration and on race—on whether to have our borders open or closed.
Do we detect the hint of a tonal borrowing from Camus? Whyman, you see, isn't just any "early-career academic." According to the New York Times, he's a "lecturer in philosophy at the University of Essex."

By his own more specific description, he's "a philosopher who works at the University of Essex. In my day-to-day life, I do research about (and teach) critical theory, German Idealism, and ethical naturalism. This blog is a place where I publish what I guess I would call ‘cultural criticism’. Philosophy is the most serious thing of all, but in order to meet the immense stupidity of reality today, it cannot confine itself to pretensions of academic seriousness."

Do we detect the hint of a borrowing from Camus? In part, we ask because the title of Whyman's revealing piece—"Hell is Other Britons"—is a reference to immortal Sartre, as we'll note below.

At any rate, you can detect the hint of the slacker in Whyman's account of his emergence as a despairing anti-Brexit hard-liner. Two weeks ago, he didn't much care one way or the other! By Sunday, he was condemning the whole human race, over the result of a vote in which he didn't take part.

You may think we're exaggerating about his alleged condemnation of the whole human race. Surely, you will think, this young philosopher issued no such blanket denunciation—and if he did, the New York Times certainly wouldn't have published such a manifesto.

In fact, that is precisely where Whyman was led by his existential despair concerning a topic he didn't care about until June 16 or later. Inevitably, the outcome of the Brexit vote has filled him with loathing for The Others, pretty much for the whole human race.

He seems to want them all to die, or at least to disappear. Here's part of what he wrote this Sunday. It stems from his vast existential despair about the place where he grew up and summers:
WHYMAN: My parents’ house stands in the middle of a 1980s housing development of suburban ugliness, all detached red-brick blocks and generously proportioned driveways. There is not supposed to be nature in the suburbs, but in Alresford (pronounced AWLS-fud) nature is still powerful—every year the grass at the top of the road will suddenly grow tall, and fill with wildflowers, hedgehogs, little birds of delirious and unusual colors. Every morning the birds wake you up at 4 with a chorus of hoots and trills.

But no sooner has nature started to assert itself than the grass gets cut back and the mornings return to being silent and still. Alresford becomes human again. Human in a normal, provincial English way, in a place where people own homes, save for pensions and vote to leave the European Union—as 55 percent of the population of Hampshire county did on Thursday.

Sometimes, in the summer, I walk up the hill and I look out over it, the housing development on one side and the Georgian town center at the bottom of the other, and I have this fantasy image of how it once was, before Alresford was founded in the Middle Ages, when all of this was untouched: just the wild, untamed nature that it keeps wanting to turn itself back into. And sometimes, I think: I wish that would happen. Because all that humans have ever done here is ruin things.

Alresford is my personal hell.
Whyman doesn't seem to like the fact that Alresford is "human." More specifically, fifty-five percent of the people in Hampshire County disagreed with the judgment he only recently reached about Brexit, and he seems to be taking it hard.

The town in which mummy and daddy live "is my personal hell," Whyman explained in his anguished essay. As he continued, he sketched his loathing of The Others in crazier, ugly detail:
WHYMAN (continuing directly): We are not used to thinking that a place like this—a pleasant town with a pretty center—might actually be hell. There is almost no poverty and only the occasional act of violence. There are good schools, a range of shops, a heritage railway. In fact, it’s somewhere that a lot of people, apparently, actively want to live: Houses in the center easily sell for upward of a million pounds. (What they will cost once the vote to leave the European Union makes the economy crater remains to be seen.)

But dig below the surface, and you will find the demons crawling. You can see them in the looks that residents give you when they pass; sneering snobs glaring down their noses with entitlement; small-minded townies, bullying you with eyes that you recognize from the primary school lunchroom; the old people, 80 and above, wearing blank stares. You can hear it in their bothered tutting at the bus stop (especially if they ever hear a visitor mispronouncing the name of the town), the shots that constantly ring out from across the countryside as they set about murdering as many of the local pheasants as they can.
Whyman can see "the demons crawling" everywhere in the personal hell he's too lazy to abandon. More specifically, Whyman can see "the demons crawling" when he looks at The Others.

Forty-five percent of the people in his county voted the same way he would have voted, had he managed to vote. But Whyman seems to loathe everyone in his town. An instinctive democrat, he loathes them all the same.

He even loathes the 80-somethings, who he imagines snubbing him through their imagined "blank stares." Newtown may have started like this, a sensible person might think.

By the end of his piece, the philosopher is explicitly wishing that everyone in Alresford would cease to exist. Everyone in all of England, in fact!

"I want a demented, throbbing, fecund nature to overrun this whole country," the disappointed philosopher-king writes at the end of his piece. He wants that demented nature "to overturn the wretched consequences of the laws that we have, in our stupidity, set for ourselves."

As noted, the headline on Whyman's essay says this: "Hell is Other Britons." It's a reference to Sartre's demon-infested Huis Clos (No Exit), in which one of the characters makes the eternal declaration:

"Hell is other people."

More on immortal Sartre tomorrow. For today, let's note what makes Whyman's piece so revealing.

Whyman's cry for the death of all humans started as a blog post. Incredibly but inevitably, the New York Times became aware of the post—and sure enough!

Instead of suggesting that Whyman seek help, the Times decided to publish his piece! ("Sorry for selling out," the philosopher declares.)

Indeed, the Times didn't just publish this slacker's lament; they made it the featured piece on the front page of last weekend's Sunday Review. We'd call that decision revealing.

Whyman is still quite young; we'd be inclined to say he seems depressive, and quite foolish at this point. That said, his loathing and contempt for his neighbors captures a cultural style of the pseudo-left over the past many years.

That cultural style is ugly and self-defeating. On the merits, it's breathtakingly stupid, but it's very much ours.

Sensible people of the left can learn a great deal from the loathing expressed in Whyman's piece. Americans can learn a great deal from the fact that the New York Times published his troubling blog post.

We'll assume that young Whyman is well-intentioned—but on its face, his essay is a paean to loathing and the desire for death. It's also an instructional manual in the loathing of the underclass, The Others, the subhumans who create Whyman's personal Hell.

His piece is all about loathing The Others, us humans. Inevitably, the New York Times rushed to publish the piece on the highest platform it holds.

Tomorrow: Immortal Sartre's apricot cocktails. Also, lessons in loathing "white trash"