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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

I’m glad people are getting so much pleasure out of the Paralympics and I don’t wish to knock either the competitors or disabled people generally. But there’s a bubble of sanctimoniousness surrounding the event and its media coverage which definitely needed popping – and I salute Frankie Boyle for being fearless enough to do it. Brave outspoken souls like him are our final bulwark against the kind of cant and sanctimoniousness and sentimentality which first began to rot our national character in those grisly days after the death of Diana.

James Delingpole

4 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    From the US-
    Help me out here.
    What does “cant” (tilt/slight leaning) imply in this context? Is the death of Diana STILL deemed an acceptable cause celebre for the (para)”rotting our national character”, or anything ELSE for that matter?

    Granted, the never ending dirge for (ie.) “Marilyn” was
    kept on life support for decades, primarily by the vast minority, utterly dependant on vicarious ancilary “fame”, as well as those who hadn’t entirely
    drained all possible “investment” on THAT phenominon. Even “Michael” goes for 24 hour segments without being mentioned, outside of “estate” lawyers circles.

  • Snorri Godhi

    “Cant and sanctimoniousness and sentimentality”, or as I prefer to put it, moral vanity, began to rot your national character years (if not decades) before the death of Diana. I presume to know, because I moved to the UK a few weeks before Thatcher’s downfall.

  • Julie near Chicago

    On the meaning of cant in the quote from Mr. Delingpole: Cant as in “slant” or “list” and cant as a type of verbiage are homonyms. And there are other homonyms spelt the same way.

    People speak of “religious cant,” or “a cant of hatred,” and so on. Really the constant repetition of certain kinds of theme. I think this is the sense Mr. Delingpole had in mind. (“Religious cant” might be literal repetition, as in the set repetition in responsive readings; or it might some idea or belief that is “harped upon” by some religious group or sect.)

    I think that’s it in a nutshell. Still, here’s a little bit more.

    From the print Compact OED of 1971:

    Sub-definition 5, Cant as “a form of words or a phrase”:

    (a) “A set form of words or repeated mechanically or perfunctorily.”
    (b) “A stock phrase … that is much repeated as a matter of habit or form.”

    Sub-definition 6, Cant as “a kind of phraseology”:

    (b) “Affected or unreal use of affected or pietistic religious phraseology; language … implying the pretended assumption of goodness or piety.”

    Mr. Delingpole’s cant is not so much a stock phrase as a stock idea. So it has coloration from both Sub-defs. 5 and 6.

    Probably from the same root as chant: L. canto, cantore, “to sing,” or the noun form cantus, cantus, “song.”

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Surely those athletes who overcome injury and severe disability to compete and excel in such games are doing something very positive: they are refusing to be victims. Sure, there may be some PCness associated with media and political comments, but the core values of these tremendous competitors seem almost Thatcherite. Samuel Smiles or Ayn Rand would have cheered. Quite right too.