I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who is likely the most recorded drummer of all time (typically uncredited — a common joke is that Blaine is typically ten of everyone’s favorite drummers, but they don’t know it until later), and is also noted for his sense of humor. For example, Blaine preformed so many drum charts that it was sometimes difficult for producers to remember which ones were already in the can. So Blaine had a stamp made that reads “Hal Blaine Strikes Again!” When he’d finish a take that was a keeper, WHAM! The chart was marked. (Apparently he uses it for autograph requests as well, and Nancy Sinatra claims that the stamp probably should appear somewhere on her body, so often did he play her sessions.)
I suppose the blogging equivalent would be Theodore Dalrymple. I don’t know that he’s necessarily the Johnson of our age, but he seems to have a Johnsonian knack for the elegantly crafted thought, and that means that I often find him eminently quotable.
Case in point: From an article at City Journal looking at some young men from Portsmouth, England, who joined ISIS, Dalrymple suggests:
There is a strange parallel here with how heroin addicts explained themselves to me. When I asked them why they started taking heroin, they almost invariably answered that they “fell in” with the wrong crowd, again passively, as if by some kind of natural force. By this means they denied responsibility for their situation, though it was obvious that they had not so much fallen in with as sought the wrong crowd. They knew that their explanation was bogus, because they laughed when I said how strange it was that I met many people who fell in with the wrong crowd but never any members of the wrong crowd itself.
But this contrived account of “falling” into drug addiction is often accepted at face value by liberal intellectuals, who want to divide humanity into the tiny minority of people with agency (perpetrators) and the vast majority without it (victims)—the latter requiring salvation by liberal intellectuals. The rich and powerful are perpetrators with agency; everyone else is a victim without agency.
WHAM! Theodore Dalrymple strikes again.