Rise of the plebs


by Kulvinder
8th December, 2008 at 6:24 am    

Its finally happening. Britain is being gently shuffled into pooterish mediocrity. Whilst the generation of artists that had to face up to Mary Whitehouse and her hateful brigade were confrontational and interesting the generation of British artists that has emerged post cool-britannia produce generic crap.

They don’t have the ability to fathom what the interesting topics are let alone contribute in any meaningful way to breaking taboos or saying something interesting.

The result is a heckling encroachment – not from religious bigots and fanatics whom most agree are lunatics, but from middle-of-the-road plebs relentlessly pounding the notion in our heads that naked images of children not only lead to men committing rape but that the definition of images includes just about everything. We live in a society that looks at angry men burning flags of nations that printed something they find reprehensible and we declare we shall be steadfast in our determination that freedom of expression shall not eroded – shall not be outlawed.

Yet when middleclass men and women stand in their dreary suits and declare that an image taken more than 30 years ago is a danger, we take them seriously.

I await the day when wholly abstract art forms are dictated to be obscene.


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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Civil liberties,Culture,Moral police,Net Campaigns






18 Comments below   |  

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  1. Kulvinder — on 8th December, 2008 at 6:40 am  

    btw i hope the amount of self-rightous tutting will decrease when stories about the Chinese blocking websites are published.

    We aren’t better than them just further behind on the same road.

    The best comment ive read so far comes from /. ; lets ban access to the terrorism article – its sure to lead to a decrease in bombings.

  2. Trofim — on 8th December, 2008 at 8:53 am  

    Hateful brigade? I think you’ll find that quite a few people have softened their attitude to Mary Whitehouse in the light of Brand and Ross and the rise of entertainment which relies mainly on enunciating “fuck” every other word.

  3. Kulvinder — on 8th December, 2008 at 9:32 am  

    I think you’ll find that quite a few people have softened their attitude to Mary Whitehouse

    ‘rise of the plebs’

  4. AdamB — on 8th December, 2008 at 9:58 am  

    I’m not sure about your use of ‘plebs’ unless there is some modern meaning I’m not aware of. By plebs do you mean commoners, and if so why?

  5. Kulvinder — on 8th December, 2008 at 10:51 am  
  6. AdamB — on 8th December, 2008 at 11:00 am  

    So you did mean it how I thought you did. I’m not sure what class has to do with being open-minded and tolerant of other peoples freedom of expression but there you go.

  7. Kulvinder — on 8th December, 2008 at 11:21 am  

    I have no idea what point you’re trying to make.

  8. AdamB — on 8th December, 2008 at 11:28 am  

    And vice versa. On the one hand you seem to be suggesting that freedom of expression is under threat from the rise of thick commoners and on the other hand you lay the blame at the feet of middle class people in ‘dreary suits’. My point is that threats to freedom of expression do not come from any particular class, but are as likely to come from the most educated Lord as they are from the thickest council estate ‘pleb’.

  9. Kulvinder — on 8th December, 2008 at 1:10 pm  

    On the one hand you seem to be suggesting that freedom of expression is under threat from the rise of thick commoners and on the other hand you lay the blame at the feet of middle class people in ‘dreary suits’

    I’m not responsible for how, or what you read into an article, but the word ‘pleb’ is no longer attached to ‘class’ in the frankly bizarre way you’re asserting. The use was synonymous with ignorant, and from an intellectual point of view inferior. The word ‘common’ inferred widespread and not prole.

    My point is that threats to freedom of expression do not come from any particular class, but are as likely to come from the most educated Lord as they are from the thickest council estate ‘pleb’.

    Well done.

    Im still at a loss as to why this is relevant to what i posted – societal stratification wasn’t foremost in my mind when writing the original piece. But its obviously important to you.

  10. AdamB — on 8th December, 2008 at 2:09 pm  

    Well I did ask what you meant by it first.

    “the word ‘pleb’ is no longer attached to ‘class’ in the frankly bizarre way you’re asserting.”

    Well I’m not so sure about that.

    Wikipedia: “In British, Irish, Australian and South African English pleb is a back-formation; a derogatory term for someone thought of as inferior, common or ignorant. In Dutch it is used literally; someone may be part of the Plebeians. See also: prole.”

    Free online Dictionary: “Brit informal, often offensive a common vulgar person”

    These are the first two search results on Google, so I hardly think they count as a ‘bizarre’ interpretation. If that wasn’t how you meant the word then fair enough, but ‘pleb’ clearly does still have a class meaning.

    ‘Well done’

    For what exactly?

  11. Don — on 8th December, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

    Actually, the class connotation was the first to spring to my mind.

  12. Leon — on 8th December, 2008 at 3:19 pm  

    Me too.

  13. justforfun — on 8th December, 2008 at 3:46 pm  

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/464495/plebeian

    Pleb from Plebian .

    I knew my Latin lessons would come in usefull one day !!!

    I also know Gaul was split into three parts, but I can’t remember if that was Caesar’s Gallic Wars or Asterix I learnt it from.

    justforfun

    justfofun

  14. Kulvinder — on 8th December, 2008 at 4:05 pm  

    Brit informal, often offensive a common vulgar person

    The above doesn’t relate to Marx’s class theory unless you take the word ‘common’ to mean prole.

    but ‘pleb’ clearly does still have a class meaning.

    How specifically? At this point im uniterested in semantics and more curious about the modern take of that with respect to Marx. The dictionary definition i linked to pointed out what the etymology of the word (two thousand years ago) was as well as its ‘modern usage’ (which i quoted)

  15. Kulvinder — on 8th December, 2008 at 4:06 pm  

    Actually, the class connotation was the first to spring to my mind.

    Me too.

    Not the naked children, freedom of expression issues or implications for web traffic?

    Oh well.

  16. Leon — on 8th December, 2008 at 4:47 pm  

    Well what do you expect? The headline is the first impression any story makes. You chose that one and for some readers it’s going to colour the reading of the rest of the piece…

  17. soru — on 8th December, 2008 at 4:54 pm  

    ‘How specifically?’

    In artistic terms, a ‘pleb’ is someone who, say doesn’t get Shakespeare because it contains too much archaic language. That doesn’t appear to be your argument – you are not claiming there is something not being understood, but something being rejected as an affront to morality.

    The usual word to mean what you seem to be saying is ‘bourgeois’, as in ‘epater les bourgeois’ – shock the Daily Mail readers. Bourgeois means something specific in terms of both artistic tastes and Marxist class theory, so its easy to see, when you switched the terms, people think you are making some point about class.

  18. Kulvinder — on 9th December, 2008 at 6:36 pm  

    No i don’t mean bourgeois, as that would be overtly about class; if you go back to the dictionary link i posted, you’re all using the word pleb in its original context whilst im taking the modern interpretation.

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