It's a Funny Old Life

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Sat, 2013-07-06 12:15

It's a long time since I ruined a dinner party. That's because people who give dinner parties know I ruin them, and don't invite me. Tonight I went to one, to which some ill-advised person had invited me, and duly ruined it. All because, in response to questions, I ventured the opinion that the Kiwi "accent" (read: "disease") is horrible, and makes one sound uneducated and retarded. One of the attendees threatened to break my nose after I suggested he would sound better if he didn't speak through his. There followed several minutes of tumult and shouting as another, more civilised, attendee struggled to usher me away from the venue to safety. It was an unedifying reminder that the biggest sin in this day and age is to uphold standards in any realm, to be serious about "the total passion for the total height" in any manner. It pointed up another reason why Orgoism is useless, eschewing as it does Rand's disparagement of barbarism in aesthetics. It pointed up just why my own disparagement of barbarism touches such a nerve, especially among purported Objectivists. "Freedom" is taken to mean freedom to be a barbarian, especially of the headbanging caterwauling variety (which freedom does indeed subsume, but not as its reason for being or most noble manifestation)—whereas in reality, if barbarism dominates—if the culture is defined by Slayer—freedom cannot last long. Orwell understood this. Rand most assuredly did. I now understand it better than ever, having just been manhandled by a barbarian.

On paper this was, indeed, an educated person, of impeccable pedigree, whose grandfather was a knight of the realm, as he repeatedly, very loudly reminded all of us. Yet all he wanted to do was "deck" me, of which process he began the preliminaries. I'm proud to say I looked him straight in the eye as he clenched his fists, foamed at the mouth and pushed and shoved me, and told him this was no way to conduct an argument.

Earlier, he had asserted that the philosophy that it doesn't matter how you sound, as long as you make yourself understood, is the one the education system should be implementing (as indeed it is). I rest my case against the child-molesters of the mind and for the indispensable role of aesthetics and the upholding of excellence in the battle for freedom. The very vehemence of the vitriol directed against one if one upholds excellence is evidence enough that one is on the money.

Back it up.Lindsay, you

Rick Giles's picture

Back it up.

Lindsay, you accept you have a history of ruining gatherings in this way. That in this setting you mark the people sitting next to you as horrible, uneducated, and retarded. Specifically, before things became physical, you said something along the lines of how this guy himself was one you had in mind.

You need to think about the man you can change not about this other guy and what his deal might be. It's clear to me that how you interacted is what made that man feel like crap and then ruined other peoples' evening. There would have been an escalating tension long before breaking point, clear signs which you either are unconscious of or else routinely disregard- a courtship of fireworks.

The feedback others are giving you right here is Emperor's New Clothes bullshit. The idea you're suffering for your "standards" is an excuse. This entire topic right now is much more important in life- yours- than music or Muslims or politics. You need relationships more, and must set this right before you're too old and alone to do it. I'm trying to tell this to you straight. This is what philosophy is for, this is what self-knowledge is about. If you *really* want to be proud to look somebody in the eye? This.


Olivia's picture

The beautifully made1999 film Onegin, with Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler, based on the Pushkin story, is exactly about this theme:

Long ago, someone I had regarded and treated as a friend gobsmacked me by saying, out of left-field, "You think you're superior to me, don't you?" Whereas in actual fact I had never given the matter any thought, or attached any significance to it, and couldn't believe what I was hearing. Much later, I learned the Oist term, "social metaphysics." My Goblin, how real, awful and tragic it is.

It is tragic and shows just how seriously people take that sort of thing.

Recall that latin phrase from Horace's Odes?

Rosie's picture

My Goblin, how real, awful and tragic it is.

Yes. Awful. And, technically, assault and a crime punishable by up to three years imprisonment. So, actually, what you experienced is serious stuff. Not good at all.

Odi profanum vulgis et arceo.


Marcus's picture

...finding anyone in NZ who claims a superior pedigree is very rare.

Linz at least you can say this for the fellow, he displayed some passion!


Lindsay Perigo's picture

The food and wine were excellent, in quantity and quality.

Here's the kicker: the one threatening to break my nose was obsessed with the idea that I was claiming to be superior by dint of my speech.

Long ago, someone I had regarded and treated as a friend gobsmacked me by saying, out of left-field, "You think you're superior to me, don't you?" Whereas in actual fact I had never given the matter any thought, or attached any significance to it, and couldn't believe what I was hearing. Much later, I learned the Oist term, "social metaphysics." My Goblin, how real, awful and tragic it is.

Oh dear!

Rosie's picture

My guess for his outrage is this:

EITHER a case of poor quality/quantity in the food and wine to have aroused his temper ("A hungry man is an angry man!");

OR the simple fact that any person who repeatedly refers to his grandfather's "prestigious honours" is attempting to claim some sort of (very laughable but irritating) "social superiority" over the group and so, to tell him that he had a quack - i.e., spoke through his nose! - and thereby, implicitly, sounded "uneducated and retarded" (lol) may well have touched a raw nerve that his "social superiority" was not quite so obvious to you as he imagined for himself!

Any fool knows that "pedigree" for oneself can not be claimed by the actions of one's forbears alone; it is found in the manners and conduct of the individual concerned. The hostess of the dinner party is actually responsible for keeping things "smooth-running" so she will be feeling bad, poor thing! (She may well include a copy of Debretts with her next invitations! )

"Take comfort from the fact that you are not alone and that, handled deftly, this can become an amusing story for both you and your victim. " (Victim! lol)


Anyway, Linz, I am sorry that you had that happen to you and I hope that you are OK and will not let this prevent you from accepting an invitation to any future dinner parties. Smiling

Actually, Edge ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... I never pick the fights. The fights pick me. I swear! Eye

Perigo's picture

If I ever travel to New Zealand, I would hope to have dinner with some like-minded folks. If you were in attendance, could you refrain from picking a fight with me over my redneck accent? Sticking out tongue

--Dan Edge


Lindsay Perigo's picture

No. I'm not bothered whether someone says "CONTroversy" or "conTROversy." It's the willful, drawling, squawking ugliness of the voice "production" and the retarded inflections I despise. It's an attitude as much as an accent. You have it in America too. Some of those naked women who perch on stools and present the news on Fox are abominable quackers. When that kind of travesty of educated speech is near-universal, you know your country's in trouble.

Received Pronunciation

Luke Setzer's picture

Lindsay, in the interest of enhancing our understanding of your position, are you suggesting that "received pronunciation" (RP) should be part of the standard grade school curriculum in New Zealand?

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