Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's a way we have in the public schools...

Chris Dillow writes, in response to Danny Finkelstein's tongue-in-cheek dismissal of the Bullingdon spat, that his dislike of the Bullingdon club, and indeed all former public schoolboys, is not chippiness but contempt. With a very few exceptions, he writes, public schoolboys (or possibly Etonians - the two are rather elided here) are no-marks, on whose education the vast amounts of money spent were clearly wasted.

I assume that this post is itself mostly tongue-in-cheek - Chris normally writes far too well to be accused of arrogance and pomposity, but really: I for one never had an argument with an aristocrat at Balliol - and if I had, I wouldn't have lost. Either Chris only argues about areas in which he is the sole arbiter and global authority, avoiding argument in any case where he might be bested (which would be odd) or he's being phenomenally arrogant. Aristocratic lineage does not disbar one from intelligence, any more than it pre-determines it.

When I worked in the City, I remember talking to an Harrovian colleague and asking: "aren't you embarrassed that, with all that money spent on your education, you've ended up working next to me?" This is almost a definitive example of chippiness - lacking only the aggression that often accompanies it. In any case, contempt for people based purely on their social origin and education is ugly. If a public schoolboy said he felt contempt for people who hadn't attended a public school, he would be a twat. Should it be any different the other way round?

Finally, Chris identifies, as rare Etonian non-dropkicks, Humphrey Lyttleton, Hugh Laurie, Derek Parfitt and Hugh Fairly Long-Name. Fair enough, but what about Ian Fleming, Aldous Huxley, Harold Macmillan, George Orwell, Gubby Allen, Wilfred Thesiger and Alec Douglas-Home? For example. Not to mention Psmith, James Bond (albeit expelled) and Captain Hook.


Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

And, of course, your humble Devil.


8:56 am  

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