Page 1

egotism and greed. Lying and manipulating

One could say that Weil’s philosophy

these needs met or whether we have first an

or possibly even the name of an ice-cream

give an edge in the competitive game, but

makes possible a transformation in the

obligation to meet the other’s fundamental

in his native Uruguay. Interestingly, after

liars and manipulators should be respected

concept of respect. This stems directly from

needs. Having established the priority

defending Terry in the London high court,

because they increase the GDP. These are

her recognition of radical alterity. She was

of needs, she concludes that rather than

the black English defender Ashley Cole was

genuine examples of innovation and growth:

born in Paris to Jewish parents in 1909.

inalienable rights, humans have obligations

called ‘a choc ice’ by Anton Ferdinand’s

the more we distance ourselves from our own

Even in childhood she exhibited academic

towards one another.

more famous brother, Rio. Who knows,

principles, the more we generate wealth,

verve. After studying under the philosopher

Most importantly whereas rights are self-

maybe there’s a theme emerging here or

therefore we become worthy of respect.

Alain for two years, she qualified as a

interested, obligations are disinterested

even a new product line: frozen deserts

Why some criminologists like myself have

philosophy teacher at the Ecole Normale

and exist purely because all human

based on racial slurs.

arbitrary, resulting from personal, rather

stopped studying criminal behaviour and

Supériere in 1928. It is well known that

subjects have needs, regardless of the

But I digress. The really shocking issue

small red bean cakes are offered to take

than functional, role divisions. In comparing

moved on to study the official economy may

Weil found observing the world at a remove

arbitrary national apparatus that envelops

here is not that some footballers are racist

away the bitterness of the matcha. Bows

such authority with bureaucracies, Max

perhaps be understood as an attempt to

unsatisfactory. In 1933, she took a position

their legal status. Needs are not subject

(I mean ‘duh?’) but the following: why are

are exchanged. After the whisking of the

Weber attributed to the latter a high

follow the money - and the power. (VR)

on the assembly line at the Renault Factory.

to the changing vocabulary of dignity and

all our football players suddenly expected

tea, more bows are exchanged and the bowl

A desire to experience what others must

value that dictate the inspiration of respect.

to be Kantian. Why are they all obligated to

is presented to the most senior guest, who

experience - for this her critics are quick

Weil knew that a lexicon we assume to be

feel a priori respect for the universal law? If

rotates it three times while looking into the

timeless or binding is rarely so.

you don’t believe me, then read the following

frothy green brew. After taking a few sips he





degree of predictability and rationality that transcend the individuals operating in



Late last spring, I gave a class on Simone

to charge her with naivety, as if knowledge

irrational and unpredictable functioning.

Weil’s political writing to a group of adults

gained from experience rather than theory,

After the class I mentioned to an

version of the categorical imperative from the

passes it to the next guest with a bow, and

Hence his observations on charismatic

studying philosophy. These adults are

logic or history, could have little or no

acquaintance my surprise at how well Weil’s

website of the English Football Association,

so it goes on until the first bowl has been

authority, which does not stem from

brought together by a charity whose aim

philosophical value. T.S. Eliot is particularly

challenge to the human right had been

‘Respect is the collective responsibility of

drunk, when the process begins again.

transparent appointment procedures, and is

is to alleviate the isolation that aggravates

scathing. Sometimes when I read his preface

received. He replied that he found this

everyone involved in football to create a fair,

Historians claim that this soothing ritual

not independent of the person who holds it.

emotional or mental distress. I attend

to the Need for Roots I think of the young

surprising too, ‘this is a group of people

safe and enjoyable environment in which

helped to avert many battles. It’s difficult

Charisma knows only inner determination

these classes as a supervisor or facilitator.

Milosz, a great reader of Weil, lying flat

you might assume to be heavily invested in

the game can take place’. You see, pure

to imagine how: I have rarely encountered

and inner restraints and those holding it

I mention this only because the group’s

in the street, The Waste Land in his back

human rights’. He meant a group of people

Immanuel. Complete cant.

a less tranquil pastime; the interminable

demand obedience by virtue of their mission



pocket, while German machine gun fire

that may be or may have been sectioned.

Why can’t our footballers be Aristotelian or

attention to detail, the queasy fear of

that supposedly benefits others.

arbitrary. Sometimes I watch a discussion

rattled across the cobblestones. Robert Hass

For weeks I agreed with him, not really

Benthamite or even Troskyite? Why couldn’t

breaching any one of a thousand points of


Charismatic authority and the respect

group curious as to why I’m on the one

notes that Milosz recalled thinking as ‘he lay

thinking about why, until I realised that

they have the word ‘prudence’, or ‘utility’ or

etiquette. Conversation, in hushed tones

demanded by it, however, vanish as soon

side of an invisible divide. Occasionally

there, cheek pressed to the stones… that

the students recognised the respect that

‘sport is petit-bourgeois deviation’ stitched

and kept to a minimum, revolves around

as the person holding them is no longer

participants articulate themselves why

the reality he was living in might require a

obligation afforded their agency. Respect

to their shoulders?

the placing of a scroll or the choice of

recognised as charismatic by those he

this is - philosophy’s overlap with the

different kind of poem from Eliot’s.’

that, I think, historically could not be

claims to represent, namely as soon as

experience of some mental illnesses is

In her taste for sharing experience,

the authority relationship on which it is

then made explicit. During a discussion

Weil responds to a task of apprehending

based is vehemently questioned. Thus

on moral intuition, a woman ventured that,

something that is incommunicable. It is a

some feminists contend that patriarchy is

as she is prone to psychosis, her therapist

step towards broaching subjective isolation,

over, because it no longer enjoys credibility

had cautioned her to question instinctive


among women. It is over because it has lost

responses. Whilst talking about Hume, a

formed by experience and a history of this

its meaning in women’s minds.

student once removed his shoes so as to

If we move this analysis into the political realm, we can see a pervasive legitimacy

guaranteed by rights alone. (OF)

SPORT Ethical Football

Of course, the problem here is properly

colours in the tearoom. Then there is the

dialectical. The Kantian imperative to

physical pain: at my first tea ceremony,

respect is transformed into the irresistible

trussed in a pale pink kimono like an angry

desire to disrespect. This is the reason

salami, my ankles collapsed when I was at

why Lacan paired Kant and the Marquis

last allowed to stand up.

de Sade as the Janus face of universalistic,

It’s a bumpy, clumsy learning curve, but

Respect, says Kant, is the a priori feeling

Enlightenment morality. If you wear your

eventually, the mores of deference will start to

experience. Weil found factory life to be

for the moral law. Now, one might think it

respect on your shoulder, you’ll inevitably

become intuitive to even the most untutored

throw them at me and thereby demonstrate

‘a refinement of torture’. The effect of the

odd to have an a priori feeling. What exactly

end up behaving like a cunt. Remove the

gaijin. When I arrived in Japan, I smiled so

the invariance of natural law.

work on the soul was numb obedience and

would that feel like? Kant insists that respect

cause and you will eliminate the effect.

much my jaws ached for weeks, stood up too





crisis - respect for established authority

For the students, if this class is about both

humiliation. Andrea Nye reads in Weil a

is a unique subjective feeling that does not

Through dialectical inversion, John Terry

late at office meetings and started drinking

is over, as its ability to provide for the

philosophy and mental illness, then this is

latent suspicion of the abstract, suggesting

arise from anything empirical, but solely

and Luis Suarez have exposed the perverse

far too early at office parties. More than

routinised necessities of everyday life is

acknowledged rarely but publicly. Amongst

that for Weil it was ‘intellectually dishonest’

from the thought that my will is shaped the

core at the heart of respect. They deserve

once, a glass was removed from my hand, to

increasingly inadequate, while its leadership

facilitators, the correlation is discussed

to avoid manifest contradiction in the

duty I have to the categorical imperative. In

our thanks and admiration. (SC)

be withheld until the most senior director

is by now less ‘natural’ than artificial and

privately, for the aims for the class are

name of establishing logical consistency.

respect, I feel myself.



in line with those of the charity. If we

As such, Weil positions herself against that

But what is even odder is why it is that

becomes the only variable that can attract

communicate these aims to the group, the

preference for consistency above all else in

this questionable Kantian concept should

respect, in which many dream of acquiring

message is badly disguised: a class on the

the Western philosophical cannon.

turn up on the left shoulder of John

social distinction if they imitate those who

Socratic method, for example. We wouldn’t

When war broke out across Europe for the

Terry’s Chelsea football shirt and indeed

The bells start to ring. Thirty intent

sake under the hot sun; as we left, slightly

are already have it, by wearing designer

use the word respect but, I imagine, this

second time, Weil moved first to Marseilles

on shoulder of other worthy footballing

buyers form a circle around the rows of tuna

tipsy, I thought I’d been quite a success. But

clothes or sporting the right logo. But the

is a behaviour we hope we are fostering.

and then to New York with her family.

moralists, like Luis Suarez of Liverpool, and

laid out like seals as the salesmen shout out

Shuhei was furious - I’d accorded everyone

distinction they crave is a chimera, failing to

Small talks about Plato, Aristophanes,

However she returned to Europe alone to

indeed every other footballer in England

the qualities of their wares. The voices and

the same salutation, regardless of their

command true respect.

Foucault. Regular, organised attempts to

work for the Gaullist operation in London.

and across Europe. Whence this madness?

ringing get louder and louder, the crowd

positions. A couple of years on, working for

alleviate loneliness.

There she was asked to write a memorandum

Both Terry and Suarez were charged with

presses in, until the youngest vendors doff

a Japanese bank in London, I was bowing correctly, even on the phone. (AW)


It is not surprising that, having failed to

present had made the first toast. A year


into my stay, my salaryman boyfriend took me to his company barbecue. His seniors


were jovial and welcoming as we drank plum

secure itself in the official world, respect

More often than not a lexicon of respect

on the post-war reconstruction of France.

allegations of racism last season. Terry, in a

their baseball caps and drop into a series

migrates into the underworld, where it

pervades the culture of community building,

The Need for Roots, published in English

moment of rare lyricism, called QPR’s Anton

of ever-deeper bows, heads nearly touching

can be galvanised before, perhaps, moving

often with a view to softening rifts in

in 1949, was the result. For Weil, it was

Ferdinand a ‘black cunt’, but insists he was

their knees. Then the bidding begins.

back to the legitimate political and

intergenerational, intercultural relations.

obvious that human rights, the governing

misunderstood. He was self-consciously

Anyone who has seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi

economic spheres.

In many ways, this class is an object lesson

ideology of the French Republic, were

using the phrase parodically, ironically,

will remember this scene at the Tsukuji Fish

Within the underworld, there are several

in how to build something of a community

derived from human needs. Humans need

sous rature if you will, in the proper

Market. In a film riddled with the nuances of

forms of respect, ranging from the very

where, previously, you imagine, old streets

nourishment, shelter, freedom from violence

Derridian manner. It would appear that

obeisance, from the abbreviated nod between

traditional to the crassly materialist. What

felt full of sadness. We assume that respect

and medical assistance when required. The

Terry is destined for a successful career as a

almost equals to the ninety-degree angles

is interesting in criminal groups is their

is intuitive although we are always keen

soul has basic requirements too. These are

performance artist after he finishes playing.

afforded to valued customers, it stands out

emphasis on ‘honour’, which is closely

to instil it in those we presume may lack

comparable to hunger. Human needs are

By contrast, Suarez – and, to be clear, I

for its apparent humour. To the European

linked with respect, and perhaps for this

appropriate systems of value. We imagine

real. Human rights are relational. A human

write as a lifelong Liverpool fan – merely

eye, the gesture is so exaggerated that the

reason makes them authoritative entities

that objects must inspire respect in the

in isolation would still have needs but

called Manchester United’s Patrice Evra

salesmen seem to be taking the piss: for

from which politicians themselves may

subject or else that a subject will conjure a

they would not have rights. Weil questions

un negrito, which, he insisted, does not

us the scraping of medieval courtiers, the

be tempted to take inspiration. To be

specular value worthy of respect in an object.

whether or not we are first entitled to have

mean ‘nigger’, but is a term of endearment

ironical bow of the Regency buck, died out

sure, ‘honour’ is a fuzzy concept, but the

decades ago, to be resurrected only when

cloudier its contours, the more attractive it

honoured plebs come awkwardly face to face

can become to those who pursue success.

with the Queen. In this instance, however, it

Crucially, success is determined by the

may well be genuine.

capacity to disown one’s principles and,

For the Japanese the mastery of bowing


in a flexible fashion, to evolve so that new

is essential to social success. For centuries

principles are affirmed. ‘Honour’ allegedly

the traditional form of greeting, it was


diverted organised crime from the illicit

officially codified around 1190 by Minamoto

Robin Blackburn

drug trade, but this business allowed

no Yoritomo, the first Shogun, who decreed

some groups to reach prominence in the

that the Ogawasara-ryu Reiho (Samurai

Giuseppe Mascoli John Mitchinson William Skidelsky Alice Waugh

underworld. ‘Men of honour’ proclaim that

Way) be taught to all warriors. Ogawasara-

women should not be killed, but they kill

ryu Reiho is founded in Confucianism and


them nevertheless. Honour imposes respect

based on showing deference and humility

Margrit Fauland-Blackburn

for other organisations and consultation

to elders; rei, bowing, is the physical


with them before dramatic decisions are

manifestation of modesty. Yet its goal is ‘to

Robin Blackburn

made operative, but successful criminal

so cultivate your mind that even when you

groups are those who disrespect this

are quietly seated, not even the roughest

honourable principle. Finally, honour

ruffian can dare make onset upon your

prohibits grassing on colleagues, but

person.’ Politeness brings steely strength.

grassing is an important resource in the competition among criminal groups.







disbanded by a modernising emperor in

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES Andrew Catlin ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE Enzo Apicella Paul Davis William Hogarth

©2013 Spannerworks, published at 67 Dean Street, London W1D 4QH International Edition


decide), it has become something to which

In such circumstances, there is something

As I tried to regroup she smiled and grew

survive her fifth birthday. Tina lacked for

everyone thinks they are entitled. And as the

to be said for the establishment of a certain

coy, as if sensing that history had already

nothing: ornately dressed each morning


demand for respect has increased, so has

baseline notion of respect based on the

intervened, as if sniffing the vast extent

and mercilessly cuddled by her father until

Mrs G was the only person in the Court

Margrit Fauland-Blackburn

the outrage that erupts when it is withheld.

recognition that we are all humans, and so

to which Latin art would insult her supple

he left for work in the giant greenhouses,

dissatisfied with the judgment awarding her

Nowadays, failing to show respect is a crime

should try to treat each other well. But that is

form and twinkling eyes, and spoil literature

which supply London from the Bedfordshire

sole custody of Tina and placing the child

that, while not on a par with paedophilia, is

a different thing from the respect of the past,

on her account for a thousand years.

still pretty despicable. Andrew Mitchell, the

and rhetorically melding the two together,

ex-Chief Whip, recently found this out when

as politicians are wont to do, isn’t helpful

he failed to cooperate with the policemen

to anybody. One way to set out on the path

outside Downing Street (whether or not he

towards ensuring respect’s return, it seems

called them ‘plebs’ is almost besides the

to me, is to talk about it a good deal less. (WS)


Enzo Apicella Nicholas Courtman Pamela Cox Simon Critchely Paul Davis Olivia Fairweather Marina Forti Pierre Hodgson William Hogarth Simonetta Agnello-Hornby Bill Knott Satish Kumar Nicholas Lezard Jane O’Grady Thomas Meany DBC Pierre Vincenzo Ruggiero William Skidelsky Alice Waugh

EDITORIAL The concept of respect has undergone a remarkable transformation. Once upon a time it chiefly referred to the proper attitude of inferiors to superiors, as several of our contributors remind us. Wives, were expected to ‘love, honour and obey’ their husbands, lower castes to defer to higher castes, servants to their masters, plebs to patricians. But modernity was meant to challenge all that, and inaugurate the century of the common man (later amended to man or woman). Where religion once recommended us to honour the stranger, a secular ethic now commands us to show respect to all our fellow humans. It’s not altogether clear where this came from, though one plausible source is African Americans, a community which had good cause to insist on it as the basis for sociability. However some, as one contributor observes, detect a whiff of incense, with respect for human dignity being central to the new social doctrine of the Catholic Church. Whatever its origins respect can still furnish the inspiration for a democratic etiquette, if detached from hierarchy and so long as various other pitfalls noted by our writers are avoided. Anything of value can be undone by excess. Some enjoin us to respect ‘nature’. However this is not just an ethical imperative but also a matter of survival since nature will wipe us out if, as one of our contributors observes, we are lacking in respect for the fragile envelope we inhabit. (MFB)


both, equally. Honour was intact. Later on,

in suitably respectful terms is the equivalent

Social Services discovered that Mr G had

of an 18th-century peasant who fails to doff

never left the family home and indeed his

his cap to the lord of the manor.

wife was pregnant. They started proceeding

Politicians (successful ones, anyway) are

again to remove Tina from the family.

hyper-attuned to the importance of respect,

Mercifully little Tina died before the

and avail themselves of every opportunity

final hearing. (SAH)

to talk about it. Increasingly, they borrow


from the courtroom the custom of prefacing sentences in which they intend to express

We live, as the Chinese curse has it, in

disagreement with the words ‘with respect’.

interesting times. For instance, I am typing

(I think it was ex-barrister Tony Blair who

this piece not on my beloved - if somewhat

did most to popularise this annoying habit,

ancient and temperamental - Olivetti Lettera

which is particularly rampant on the Today

32 typewriter, which now languishes in the



hall cupboard with a set of hickory-shafted

agendas’ (Blair again) and even name



golf clubs and my old bakelite gramophone,

their parties after the concept. Business is

but on a computer.

getting in on the act too: companies now not

This was at the behest of Adam, my

only ‘value’ their customers but ‘respect’ them as well, and often request that those same customers respect their employees ‘in return’. People are enjoined to respect not just their fellow human beings but also

forceful nephew, a very modern young man

SHORT STORY Mary Magdalene

physiotherapist and her parents failed to

‘Not to worry,’ said Adam, brightly. ‘I’ve

register for the nursery place suggested by

booked us an appointment at the Apple

the utmost respect for broccoli.

cornerstone of all Christianity. It was the

the best. If you said to Her Majesty, ‘Not

social services. The explanation was simple:

Store.’ This turned out not to be a fruiterer

Church’s banker across millennia, an

bad’. ‘Bit salty.’ – it would be the same as

she did not like physiotherapy and cried a

at all, but a glaringly modern emporium

unplayed trump card. I was intrigued.

saying ‘This is shit’ in the Holiday Inn. So

lot when subjected to it, and did not need to

in a ghastly shopping centre, full of young

what could it mean to say ‘You are lovely’ to

go to the nursery, since there were enough

people in jeans and blue T-shirts, all

the possible mother of God?

Does all this talk reflect the fact that people are being more respectful than in the past?

smelled of must, and from a cabinet of large,

cousins around, she was never alone. Her

sporting rather odd rectangular, metallic

square drawers, he pulled out relics in the

A nightmare. The bagatelle of respect:

condition was progressive and made her too

necklaces. Davidoff of St James’s it was

it’s heading for the door. One thing to bear in

form of yellowing, tightly rolled bundles.

total crapshoot due to fluctuating value. I

weak to stand or crawl. Tina spent her days in

most certainly not.

mind about respect is that it operates most

Then he stacked them end on end, and lo –

tried to reverse-engineer the question, in

the arms of her mother, father and extended

‘Hi!’ said one of the benecklaced people,

smoothly within societies whose members

the Virgin Mary emerged from them.

my first waking moments, and define the

family. Her clothes were hand made by her

proffering a puppy-like paw. ‘My name’s

I admit I was taken aback.

material difference between the Queen,

grandmothers, aunts and mother and all the

Brad. What’s your name?’

is therefore broad agreement over which

I met her, and we strolled together in

Holiday Inn, and the possible mother of

baby jewellery the family had was hers. A

objects are respect-worthy. At the start of

sunlight and shade. She was sweet, and

God. Not easy, because although the words

social worker was assigned to check on her

The Godfather, when Don Corleone accuses

we didn’t so much chat as connect through

were harsher at Holiday Inn, they’d still have

welfare: that included physiotherapy and the

the undertaker of behaving disrespectfully

random words that made us smile and look

you back for dinner. So there’s a spectrum

supposed stimulation of a council nursery.

on his daughter’s wedding day, he doesn’t

at each other. Most memorable was that she

in operation, with floating thresholds. In the

Mr G spoke only the dialect of Sancalo’

need to spell out precisely why this is the

wasn’t a historical figure at all, she wasn’t

United States the line falls just below Sir

del’Cozzo and the area around it. This was not

This seemed unnecessarily personal, not

case, because it’s clear, within the hierarchy

holy, or pious, or even robed. She was just

and Ma’am, but we don’t go for that. If we

at all uncommon amongst the nurserymen

to say wholly inaccurate, but I let it pass.

of the mafia, exactly what respect is. (If

a girl. Unafraid and quick to smile. We

hear Sir or Madam it means we’re going to

of Bedfordshire. His wife spoke the same

We were ushered to something called the

nothing else, it means not pissing off the

understood each other. She walked, and

be eighty quid lighter within two minutes, or

dialect, no Italian and accented English,

‘Genius Bar’, although I fail to see any

boss.) Respect permeates the world of The

her lower back had a fine, lean curve to it,

told to cease and desist. Our threshold floats

learnt at school in England, at home and in

genius in a bar where you can’t get a gin

Godfather to such an extent that it scarcely

and she was pretty, and quite modern. Her

just above abuse, in the neighbourhood of

her Bedfordshire village community. Once

and tonic. Anyway, young Brad tinkered

needs to be mentioned. Indeed, the fact that

feet were dusty in their sandals because

cursing under the breath.

proceedings were commenced to obtain a

with my new-fangled typewriter for a little

its operation is overwhelmingly tacit is what

she had a playful gait, dragging a little, or

The day was starting badly.

Care Order in favour of the County Council,

while, got the blasted thing to work again,

guarantees its power. No self-respecting

toeing the ground when she was still. As we

I didn’t even get her number.

it was necessary to find interpreters to

and we made our escape, past the steely gaze

mafia boss would seek to implement a

walked I marvelled that she was the Virgin

O sweet Mary mother of God. (DBCP)

translate from English to Sicilian. None

of the Supervisor who - given his striking

‘respect agenda’.

Mary, the very mother of Jesus, though from

could be found. So one interpreter was

resemblance to the late ‘Reverend’ Jim

hired to translate from English to Italian

Jones - had probably been sequestered from

and a second, a Sicilian truck driver to

Guyana for a ‘team building’ project.

share similar outlooks, and where there

Modern Britain, by contrast, is an

a younger day of course. Still, what a coup for the Church. I remember reading Roman

is little agreement about what is and isn’t

literature from a time before Christ, and it

That everyone is entitled to respect is

respect-worthy. The old forces through

was modern, and fun - so I knew she could

one of the cardinal assumptions of our age.

which respect was inculcated - social

be modern too. And fun. What a coup.

be shown courtesy, and so forth. ‘Respect’

society, has become something qualitatively

would never wear. Then social discomfort

is a convenient shorthand under which to

different from the densely embedded respect

set in. Because in line with custom at the

bracket these expectations.

of the past. It is a thinner, more abstract

time, the Virgin Mary could only have

In recent times, however, something odd

notion that usually amounts to little more

been thirteen when Jesus was born. And

has happened. Respect has gone from being

than a hope that people will behave civilly

this moment must have been before His

a polite (and mostly unvoiced) expectation

towards one another, or tolerate differences

birth. For all we know she was twelve.

for greater grace.) The degree of respect ranges from obtuse to acute angles, exactly

London W1D 4QH 020 7233 7374

the wretched thing went wrong within days.

respect precisely because people sense that

their ordinary dealings with others they will

efficient business people, on the other hand,


is the case: that a fuss is being made over

I knew it, I was wearing that green coat I

actually put them in practice. Criminals as


He took me to a kind of reliquary that

disappointment – it could only be a dream.

67 Dean Street


I suspect something close to the opposite

Respect, in so far as it exists in contemporary

to place her fingers together on her thighs,


‘hooked up’ to the Interweb; needless to say,

it does that she could have served less than

or accuse others of being ‘disrespectful’.

although they possess no strength to

In her third year, Tina had missed

at her place shows disrespect, suggesting as

the polling booth if nowhere else), that in


ending badly. It woke me as I recalled that

According to him it was the unheard-of

that their opinions will be listened to (at

as you bend forward. (A woman may choose

writer would be vastly improved were I to be

something secret. Something astounding.

remember where the reliquary was. Then,

in making their violent threats credible,

at ping-pong. He insisted that my life as a

it back.

the US chef Thomas Keller claims to have

I’ll remember her always. I wish I could

John Mitchinson & Justin Pollard

remittances and the few retirees who made

now I couldn’t compliment her; the date was

respecting ‘the planet’ and ‘nature’, while

to when people today call for ‘more respect’,

perfectly straight, wrists facing the haunches

mother of God? First I couldn’t address her,


asking, then, what exactly is being referred


with many talents, although utterly hopeless

even complementing the Queen on a meal

at least feel that they will be treated fairly,

rei begins and ends at the waist, back held

the successive generation nurtured by

The man was going to show me

to function, democracies require people to

deploy firepower. Some gangs may succeed

is lovely too poor a word for the possible

inanimate entities: environmentalists talk of

I was glad to meet her. She must know

others capitalising on their alleged ability to

could she cope in a nursery?

person who fails to address an ‘ordinary’ one

No halo, no aura.

Moira Orfei

would take her to the physiotherapist? How

age population, to be slowly restocked by

Both sets of relatives congratulated them

the fabric of social relations. It is worth

Usually performed standing, the formal

villages had been emptied of the working-

only a despicable coward would go further.

retreated. Respect is no longer woven into

their own skills as market operators and

Our hands touched in parting, and I wanted to tell her how lovely she was. But

status. In contemporary society, a ‘high-up’

indeed probably useful principle. In order


sleep when she woke before dawn? Who

downwards, at people of (relatively) lowly

Xander Cansell

in all its bewildering forms.

up in the night to rock their daughter to

the UK from the 1920s onwards. Entire

using anything other than his own hands;

the rigours of the Second World War, but

The attendees of periodic Spanner Lunches

of Sicilians who had emigrated en masse to

People might think he was weak. As for

acquired through techniques of simulation

most noticeably, the addiction to courtesy

Worse for me, it’d be awkward if we met again and I didn’t know her name.

course, was that the disrespect was directed

In many ways, it’s an unobjectionable and

use them more deftly. Reputation building

husband would be furious. Who would get

What made both cases so terrible, of



under the supervision of the Council. Her

and vegetation built and tilled by generations

Mr G was confused. He hadn’t hit his wife,

the nineteenth century and finished off by many aspects of their strict code remain;

countryside. Huge warehouses of glass, soil

It was all too much.

ever. But he couldn’t say that he wouldn’t.

Respect in illicit markets, therefore, is that add to the symbolic capital of those who

day was unnecessary.

he was recorded bad-mouthing a pensioner.

increasingly diverse society in which there

Respectful Dilemmas

The Judge had heard enough. A fourth

point), as did Gordon Brown in 2010 when

solidarity, class, deference - have largely

is essential, with some groups promoting


• Issue 0007 • £2.50 •

them, whereas he ascribed to the former an



LAW REPORT The Universal Right of Respect “Question from the Bench – ‘Mr Giufa, did ever you hit your wife?’ Italian translator. - Signor Giufa, ha mai colpito sua moglie? Sicilian translator. – Vossia. a cafudda’ su’muggieri? (‘Do you slap the missus’?) Answer of Mr G – Certu, si sa’ meritasse.

‘Good day,’ I replied. ‘You may call me Sir, or Mr Knott. Either will suffice.’ Adam shot me a withering glance. ‘His name’s Bill,’ he explained. ‘He’s got a dodgy hard drive.’

manage the final leg back to the dialect.

Returning chez Knott, I was greeted by

The truck driver was married to the

Brygida, my morose but usually level-headed

receptionist of the local police station and

housekeeper, who curtseyed and called me

accredited as official police interpreter of

‘My Lord’. I was dumbfounded. This is a

the county constabulary from Sicilian into

woman who, in her native Poland, had such

Italian. For this reason, and the numerous

an egalitarian disdain for hierarchy that she

witnesses called, the hearing was into

would berate her priest if the wine at Holy

its third, unscheduled, day. Hence, the

Mass was corked.

Judge’s willingness to intervene directly. So he continued:

(‘Course, if she needs it.)

‘Have been thinking, my Lord. Is not right how you dress yourself.’ Alarmed, I checked the fly of my Huntsman corduroys, but all

Sicilian trans. – Certamente, quando se

“Question from the Bench - Mr Giufa, what did you hit your wife with?

lo merita. Reply to the Bench via Italian translator – ‘Certainly, when she deserves it.’ ”

Italian trans. - Signore Giufa, con che strumento ha colpito sua moglie? Sicilian trans. – Vossia, che pigghia’ pi

seemed quiet on the southern front. She frowned. ‘You need proper valet. Like in Downton Abbey.’ Brygida





household of this seemingly Elysian estate

may be deemed more reliable than criminals

calculated to match the receiver’s rank. The

as infallible killers. It should be obvious,

shallowest nods are for shopkeepers, the

to being a vociferous demand. Rather than

of ethnicity or religion. Often, it shades into

Things grew uncomfortable, although she

at this stage, why the variable ‘respect’

very deepest bows for the Imperial Family

being something one might deserve (though

the crude demand that someone’s wishes

seemed unconcerned. Perhaps Mary was



Answer of Mr G – Un omo di panza

I said that, should she wish to leave my

can now migrate back to the official arena,

- although government officials and valued

best, all things considered, to let others

should be met. An academic friend tells

too familiar a name to call her, I thought.

directly. The hearing was to decide if Mr G’s

un’’avia bisogno d’autru. (A real man don’t

employ, I would of course be sad to see her

where myriad political and entrepreneurial

clients are not far behind. How and when all

me that, when she awards her students low

Then I had to kill an impulse to simply

daughter, Tina, a girl aged three with a very

need nuffin’.)

go but that I would provide her with an

individuals and groups can finally claim

this is learned remains a mystery, but even

it as their distinctive trait. The career of

nursery school children seem able to judge

Silvio Berlusconi illustrates several of these

status and mete out respect precisely.

variants, but so too does technocracy that

Another essential aspect of the Samurai

wields threats and demands respect in ways

Way is the tea ceremony, originally designed

appropriate for a financialised society.

to help warriors find harmony in a war-torn

Violating the philosophy of the free market

land. You enter the room on your knees

is a guarantee of economic success for those

and stay kneeling throughout. Bows are

who profess a belief in market freedom.

exchanged, the coals are lit, water is heated,

Following personal interest while claiming

a piece of silk is folded and refolded before

that self-love will bring benefits for all is a

being wrapped ceremoniously around a

technique of neutralisation that absolves

glazed earthenware bowl. Sugar flowers and



After the second day, the Judge had to



cafuddarla? (What do you use to hit her?)

in some detail to me. Rather taken aback,

marks, they often complain by accusing her

call her Virgin. Suddenly she was so alive,

short life expectancy should be removed

Blacks Club, Soho The Academy Club, Soho The Author’s Club, Soho

of ‘disrespecting’ them. What the students

so here, and I was on eggshells. I tried

into the care of Social Services given their

are demanding, in such a case, is actually

to recall her surname but couldn’t, maybe

allegations of neglect against both parents


the opposite of true respect, because to give

she didn’t even have one.

and of domestic violence against the father.

someone something they don’t deserve just

Then I hit on Magdalene.

Pernod Ricard Aubert & Mascoli The Catlin & Blackburn Trusts The Directors of Blacks

because they want it is a form of special

Mary Magdalene, that was it. Relief. And

earlier from Sicily to marry a girl whose

I was about to say ‘Ms Magdalene’ – but I

family came from the same village; Sancalo’

A number of relatives were among

remembered that Mary Magdalene and the

del Cozzo. Although arranged, the marriage

the restricted public. That included

Virgin Mary are different girls.

was a success and Tina was born by the first

everyone Mr G had respect for in this

The Spanner acknowledges and welcomes all cash inducements, advertising, gifts, donations, favours and/or benefits in kind. Please contact

the question of how people should get on

I looked at her.

anniversary. Both parents were devoted to

country (and some for whom he had

‘I live in a mansion flat, Brygida.’ I further

when they don’t have much in common, or

It must be Mary Magdalene. Could it be?

her, the more so because of a congenital

none) and a few more from Sicily who

pointed out that, were I to install a servants’

see themselves as ‘being in this together’.

I wanted so badly to keep our connection.

disease, which meant she was unlikely to

had come to show support.

hall downstairs, it might upset the elderly

treatment that borders on contempt. Naturally, there are real problems raised by the effects of respect’s erosion, above all

Mr G had come to England four years

Sicilian trans. – Sono una persona di rispetto, non ho bisogno d’altro.” Reply to the Bench via Italian trans. – ‘I am a man of honour, I need no more than my hands.’ ”

excellent reference. It transpired, however, that she had no wish to join the staff of Downton Abbey, it being the fictional setting, apparently, for an Edwardian soap opera. ‘Brygida,’ I explained, patiently, ‘Downton Abbey is clearly a mansion, with ample room for flocks of servants.’ ‘But you live in mansion, my Lord!’ she protested. ‘You need proper staff!’

judge who has the temerity to live there.

manservants. They were, she said, becoming

to 12 hours) and, significantly, for servants

grammar. Respect is something that we

feels, and it is this natural sympathy that

old brother tried to kill him. Ten years ago,

hospital. The graduate student who insists

Out of symbolic respect for the passed life?

placards saying ‘rape is a shame to society’,

unaccustomed to think of them beyond the

less than pleasing standard of food to be

nature as our slave and our precarious niche

It also emerged that her sole candidate

flunkies with ideas above their station yet,

to be able to be called by their own names

can give without costing us anything.

morality is based on. Reason will never make

in the suburbs of Athens, it was my turn: a

on splitting the cheque with his banker

Out of some kind of concern for ourselves?

‘my body needs respect’, ‘the battle will not

traditional, idealised figure of the caring

had at the local hotel, or whether the same

within nature as impregnable. This human

for the position of valet was none other

she concluded wearily, there was ‘little to be

rather than their employers’ preferred

Sometimes not to give it can be dangerous.

us good. ‘Reason is and only ought to be the

near-fatal car-crash. Now I am fifty and he

friend. The toddler who demands release

I do not know the answer. But our work

stop’. One poster I saw said, simply: ‘Women

mother-devote wife-innocent sister’. This

hotel really deserves the world-class rating

arrogance is suicidal and has to stop.

than her son Krzysztof, a window cleaner

done’ because they were just ‘so much a part

names. Model employers, like the fictional

It is what the gangster sees as his due:

slave of the passions’.

seventy-five. Old men need respect like they

from the safety harness in her highchair

in the world seems clear enough. On the

want respect’.

reminded me of a feminist slogan popular

it has often been given. It is this unwavering

We need to recognise our dependence on

by profession, laid low by a protracted

of our climate, like our Christmas fogs and

and farcical Crawley’s of Downton Abbey,

to diss – whose etymology I do not need

And yet passion (the 18th century term

need water and air and an old man that has

so she can eat her dinner a bit more

one hand, to forge together different

Of course rape is nothing new in India,

in Italy in the 70s: ‘neither whores nor

disagreement and disdain for pretty much

nature. She has sustained us for thousands

bout of vertigo and urgently in need of

roast beef and our cricket.’ In a surprise and

may have been happy to accommodate these

to belabour here – is to invite physical

for emotion) is unreliable. As Kant pointed

not earned the respect of his children is like

freely. I have always found the father of

conceptions of dignity among cultures

or indeed anywhere else. Perhaps the

madonnas, just women’. In India women

everything that has both attracted and

of years. She gives us wellbeing. We are

other employment. I told Brygida that I

stinging reply, Mr Robinson castigated his

requests. But many others were not and,

violence. At which point we can begin

out, it’s a matter of luck whether or not

a beached whale, dying in ugliness.

the Karamozovs one of the most terrifying

while remaining constantly vigilant of

perception of it is starting to change. Indian

started asking for respect; a traditional

repelled readers in equal measure. While he

all connected and wellbeing can only be

would try to find Krzysztof some suitable

employer for her outmoded attitude and her

as a result, experienced the sharp end of a

to suspect that the notion of respect has

you feel sympathy, and many people are by

At night, through the double-doors

figures in literature for just this reason:

covert interests and violence. On the other,

media reported that in 2010 as many as 414

patriarchal mindset does not recognise them.

launched his attack on Austria’s narrative

achieved if the personal, social and economic

job on terra firma, as long as she stopped

own moral failings. Lady Greville was wrong.

lasting servant shortage.

treating me like some aristocratic derelict.

Something was happening. The old ideal of

Any more of this, I thought, I’ll be inviting

service was starting to break down.

become poisoned, far removed now from

temperament cold-hearted. He may have

of Mary Brown’s house, I hear my

he seems capable of living a satisfactory

to ensure that calls for human dignity

cases of rape were registered in Delhi, the

Says Sharma: ‘It is almost a clash of cultures,

of victimhood with a ferociousness and

spheres exist as an integrated part of nature.

Why was it so hard to afford domestic

the idea of good manners or propriety, and

been thinking of himself, but is surely

stepmother, who has lost her mind, talking

life without dignity.

don’t end up distracting from deeper, more

highest rate among Indian cities, and the

and women are paying the price of it’. Also

intelligence matched by few others, the

We are happy only when we respect the

servants respect, recognition and dignity

now nothing more than a matter of eliciting

sensible in avoiding optimism; whereas

in her sleep. He whispers kindnesses. By

It turns out the word ‘dignity’ has an

material forms of inequality that, after all,

number of cases has risen around 10% the

when dalit and other lower caste women

total denial of the possibility of redemption,

rights of nature and all people – it is a

subservience. Respect is no longer a two-

Hume, who may have been generalising

day, he is a monster, a Minotaur. If you

unusual history. The Latin term dignitas

are the most common source of indignity

following year. One can only wonder whether

demand respect, their violation serves to put

improvement or positive change within

seamless process. If the forests are cut

way street. It is now a matter of kowtowing,



say, ‘I lost my job’, the Minotaur will

referred to behaviours and privileges

in the world. In an age when the Kantian

it is the incidents of sexual aggressions that

them back ‘in their place’, and to reassert

his literary universe appears to some as

down, if biodiversity is diminished, if the

of knowing your place in the hierarchy.

spiritedness, has, as an empiricist, no right

roar, ‘I lost my job once’. If you lament, ‘I

accorded to social rank. The dignity of a

revival in philosophy is in full swing, we

actually rose, or the number of women that

both gender and caste hierarchy. (MF)

nihilistic defeatism.

rivers and oceans are poisoned, if animals


His stance is not dissimilar to Elfriede

are cruelly oppressed, then humanity

Jelinek - another author often criticised for

is impoverished too. And if human

what is perceived as her failure to suggest

communities are damaged, because of

an alternative to the depressing world she

poverty and deprivation, then they will

depicts. However Bernhard’s savage humour

lose respect for nature and be forced to

lends a special sting not found in Jelinek.

encroach more upon natural resources.




As I write this, the New Year’s Honours list

to such a profligate induction. Perhaps he

didn’t sleep’, the Minotaur will cheer ‘Well

king was not the same as that of a marquis

should remember that regardless of how

dared to report it: because it takes a great

has just been announced. The idea behind

is correct, certainly about his readers, that

I slept fine.’ If you admit, ‘My train was

whose dignity was not the same as that of a

much dignity inheres in the human person,

deal of courage for a woman to denounce

this is that the State is conferring its respect

each of us feels sympathy towards our own

late,’ the Minotaur will counter ‘I was on a

duke. Fine degrees of dignity ensured that

it cannot bear much meaning without

a rape, both because the social stigma

upon those whom it deems its people should

family and friends; but this limited, biased

train that was late once.’ And if he cannot

aristocrats could not, like commoners, be

access to our wealth and parity with our life

that will remain with her and she knows

respect. Well, that’s a nice idea as far as it

sympathy is exactly what leads to feuds,

trump, a piggy red meanness invades.

bodily seized or jailed for debt. Today we still

chances. The reader will perhaps agree that

in advance that the police will be reluctant

There are few authors who have made

goes. The idea in practice is far murkier.

favouritism, injustice and oppression. How

Funny if it weren’t so raw.

speak of certain political offices as having

the term ‘respect’ shares all or most of the

to register the case, or may ask for lurid

disrespect into an art form - both in and

For example: the thought that should I, on

can Hume explain the moral requirement

Rain in sheets. Goat bells in the

‘dignity’ separate from the person who holds

problems that I have alluded to. (TM)

details, perhaps insult her, or insist she

outside of their writings - as did Thomas

meeting Bruce Forsyth, feel like observing

that our whimsical flickers of compassion

wuthering storms. Day after day, the sheet-

them. In the 20th century a great levelling

accept some compensation and withdraw

Bernhard. The first major act of disrespect

representation, and its implications for

protocol, I would have to address him as ‘Sir

be extended more impartially, and that pity,

lead swell of the Aegean at equinox. The

of dignity took place. What Melville called

the case – police and even judges are often

may be traced back to 1968 as he was awarded

both political and personal well-being, is

It is impossible for an individual to have

Bruce Forsyth’, makes me feel the stirrings

if not felt, be at least practiced? Perhaps

clash comes on the first bright morning.

‘democratic dignity’ took hold — and we

reported to suggest the victim marry the

the Kleinen Österreichischen Staatspreis;

at the centre of his late novel Old Masters.

self-respect when others are suffering from

of profound nausea. That, when he was alive,

he relies on his idea of ‘natural virtues’

The Minotaur is in a grump. His tender

all fairly suddenly started enjoying certain

aggressor as a ‘reparation’. No wonder rape



The central figure, the aging musicologist

starvation, social injustice and wars. Also,

Jimmy Savile had to be similarly honoured

being elevated into ‘artificial virtues’. Yet

wife, of cloud stuff made, ventures:

privileges once reserved to a small slivers of

It was an unusual New Year’s Eve in India.

is under-reported.

minister for education to leave the room and

Reger, sits every other day in Vienna’s

how can an individual be healthy or happy

(also, for good measure, he revelled in the

surely the elevating can only be achieved

‘I listen to the World Service at night.’

royals. Legally speaking, all of us in theory

Or at least in Urban India, and certainly in

The harsh truth is that ‘rape is almost

a Viennese newspaper declared Bernhard

Kunsthistorisches Museum in front of

on a frazzled planet? The very elements are

KCSG, or the Pontifical Equestrian Order of

through Kantian-type reasoning. That is

And like an idiot, I mutter:

have joined the ranks of a higher caste.

New Delhi. Most celebrations in public places

culturally sanctioned in India’, wrote

a ‘bug that must be exterminated’. This

Tintoretto’s ‘The White-Bearded Man’. He

punishing us with tornadoes, inundations

St. Gregory the Great, but then the Catholic

what enables us to judge that others and

Church has a good deal of well-documented

their loved ones, even if we can’t palpably

form in ... well, you know) is now making a

feel for them, have as much of a claim to our

lot of people very uneasy, but only because

theoretical sympathy as those with whom we

they are now wondering whether it can be

automatically sympathise. This theoretical

possible for these baubles to be taken away

sympathy is respect.

‘I wouldn’t listen to those Foreign Office goons, crowding out private thought.’ ‘French people always say that’, he spits. His pupils shrink to angry black dots.

REPORT India’s Daughter



The Value of Disrespect










Respect for people and respect for nature are inter-linked.

This great historical achievement in the

such as clubs and hotels were cancelled in



all too public act of disrespect against the

is not there to glory in the accomplishments

and drought. As we withhold respect from

West has now been enshrined in all our

a sort of common mourning for a young

Chaudhury. She pointed to the common

prize bestowed upon him by the state, was

of the masters, but rather uses his visits to

the earth that sustains us we bring new

legal and human rights covenants — to a

woman whose name and face was unknown

attitude of looking at it ‘through the

followed by a wave of hostility against him

find the imperfections visible in every piece

disasters upon ourselves. Without respect for

point of promiscuity. But several problems

to the public, but whose fate outraged the

prism of women’s responsibility: were they

that came not just from the government but

of art ‘when we have studied them really

nature, the future of our planet and people

I have left England to live in France.

remain for those enthusiastic intellectuals

nation. In December a twenty-three years

adequately dressed, were they accompanied

also the Austrian public, branding Bernhard

and truly, and that means as thoroughly

is bleak. Social justice and environmental

‘French people’ to him, is code. It means:

who now want to hang every last ideal on

old paramedical student was gang-raped on

by a male protector, were they of sterling

a ‘Nestbeschmutzer’. But it wasn’t only his

as possible for as long as possible’, upon

justice have to be built on respect for the very source of life, the mother earth.

posthumously – not whether they should

Kant was a fervent democrat, and was

‘that part of you which has rejected me’. It

the hook of human dignity. First, how

a moving bus she had boarded with a male

‘character’, were they cautious enough’

public appearances that earned Bernhard

which ‘they dissolve, they crumble for us,

be sprayed around thoughtlessly. Cherie

terribly excited at the outbreak of the French

also means: everything I hold in contempt.

easily can an essentially aristocratic

friend on the way back home from a movie

(’Why did it need such a brutal incident

this moniker; in his novel Old Masters,

leaving only a flat taste, in fact most of the

We need more self-respect and more

Blair gets her CBE for services to charity

Revolution (which, Hume, had he lived to

We know each other well.

concept be transvalued into a democratic

theatre in South Delhi. Raped and savagely

to trigger our outrage’, Tehelka). It’s the

Austria is described as ‘Catholic National

time a very bad taste, in our mouths.’ This

respect for others. Self-respect is a

(that’s a good way of getting a gong – which

see it, would have found appalling). He was

I stand. I say, ‘You had better apologise’



beaten with a metal rod, then dumped on

eternal game of blaming the victim: did

Socialist state’, her politicians as ‘state

discovery of imperfection is the result of

first step to social and environmental

involves a conspicuous infringement of the

a democrat in morality too. In saying that

and step outside. A carpet of dropped

seems to have come always at someone

the road (her friend too was nearly killed),

she ‘invite’ the aggression? Not that India

murderers’, her judiciary as a ‘political and

total, critical engagement with a work of art,

respect, but without respecting social and

Christian suggestion that charity should be

the wish to lie is self-contradictory, he is

figs ferments acidly on new-laid paths.

else’s expense. Now it’s very universality

she did not survive the violence and she

is different from most places of the world

public danger’, her art as ‘so cheap it does

to which the only alternative is the practice

environmental integrity self-respect is

private and discreet), but how long will it be

concerned not with the liar’s inconsistency

Half-a-mile below, a classical tower, big

threatens to flatten out its definition and

later died in a Singapore hospital.

before yet another example comes up of her

but with her failure to see herself as an

ironstone rocks cut neat and piled dry

leave us with little more than a banality.

greed and venality? One need not, of course,

equal member of a moral community. It is

into a cone, guards. My heart is cold: an

single Mrs Blair out here; and indeed, by the

because I treat myself as if I had special

achievement, I reckon.

standards of the times, she is a small player

privileges (‘because I am rich’, ‘because I

when it comes to fondness for cash, or the

am poor’, ‘because I belong to that family’,

blandishments of despots.




to this regard - except perhaps that the

not even deserve our blushes’, the state

of ‘admiration’, the reserve of the ‘dimwit’

a delusion. These three dimensions are

The news of this unspeakable brutality

Indian police officials have a tendency of

itself is ‘a chaotic rubbish-heap...where

who is more interested in what he knows to

intertwined. Respect for the self. Respect for others. Respect for the environment.

Second, ‘human dignity’ appears to

shook the Indian capital, not because

being too explicit about their feelings: last

thought has died out’ and the nation as a

be respectable than an actual engagement

have entered the contemporary lexicon

such an occurrence was unheard of but

April two Tehelka reporters spoke with

place where all one sees is ‘a gigantic heap

with a work of art.

I go to my room and pack, come into

of human rights under the less-than-

precisely because it was becoming so

dozen of senior cops in the Delhi-National

of alarming physiognomic refuse’.

How different, really, is this type of art

the cult of economic growth has to be

the kitchen and say, ‘I’ll drive my bags

auspicious banner of Catholic conservatives

common. Demonstrations and marches

Capital Region and caught them on

As this little salvo shows, Bernhard had

appreciation from the social critique that

challenged. It is obvious that unlimited

Respect for the biosphere means that

‘because I have been wronged’) that I think

down to the hotel, bring the car up and

in the 1930s. The phrase, according to the

filled the centre of New Delhi and other

hidden camera saying that in most sexual

no trouble finding terrible things to say

one finds in the works of both Bernhard

economic uses up – destroys - a finite

Why should we respect these people,

myself entitled to steal, lie, extort, kill. But

walk back down.’ Now I am leaving, I feel

historian Samuel Moyn, first showed up in

Indian cities: women and men, young and

assaults ‘she asked for it’, that ‘they’ll

about his country, and it did not stop there.

and Jelinek?

planet, yet politicians, business leaders

then? The principle seems to be along the

why should I, among all these others with

a surge of release, a fifty-year-old weight

the preamble of the Irish Constitution of

old, many students but also people from

drink with men and have sex but then say

Such complaints are but finite elements,

Just as Reger in Old Masters decides

lines of To him who hath, more shall be

whom I am equal, be somehow exempted

off my brain. I can live and love.

1937. Part of the reason the Irish set about

different backgrounds. They wanted the

it was rape’, ‘it’s all about money’, and

strung together into tirades, which were,

that the only option, given the sheer

given, for all the lollipop ladies and lifeboat

from what I expect them to do?






comprehend this simple fact.

He tells me, tugging on his blue pyjamas,

enshrining the term was that it seemed to be

culprits to be imprisoned. Some wanted

so on. In some cases senior policemen

most impressively of all, latched onto one

ridiculousness of all experience, is to

volunteers who are given the so-called

The other is not someone whose emotions,

that I am over-reacting. He offers to spend

bulwark against the perceived inhumanity

more police in the streets. Many asked

have revealed the identity of rape victims,

another to create highly readable novels.

‘turn the world into a caricature’, one

We need to learn from nature that linear

‘people’s medal’ (means: condescending

when I detect these, are liable to affect me

the day with me. The others are going to a

of leftwing totalitarianism and the moral

for stricter laws and fast track courts

showing no respect for the women (nor for

Admittedly, one must get used to the rhythm

could respond to the sheer bleakness of

Natural life-forms move in cycles. There

trinket), the British Empire Medal. Alan

(and with any luck prompt me to help), but

museum. What comes into my mind is this:

degradation of liberal secularism. For

for rapists. Some suggested to castrate

the laws they should enforce).

of Bernhard’s writing before one can really

the political and social sphere depicted

is growth, decay and renewal. But in

economic growth is unsustainable.

the bloody Mitfords around for tea and

The recent BBC2 series, Servants: The

in the past? We might ask the same

Sugar has his millions; yet that baronetcy of

someone who necessarily stands as a solid

the Minotaur uses my toothbrush without

them, the phrase human dignity’ signalled

them. Some shouted ‘hang the rapists’.

When I asked for her comment, Kalpana

enjoy the work, but once accustomed to the

in Bernhard’s writing by focusing upon

industrial economy we don’t respect this

letting it be known that I don’t think

True Story of Life Below Stairs, tracked

question in relation to those who do the

his trumps his former knighthood. I doubt,

presence in the passageway of whatever I do.

asking. If I sleep after lunch, within minutes

a kind of illiberal corporatism with obvious

The government was caught off guard,

Sharma pointed out that rape is everywhere,

pace, one finds oneself moving from attacks

injustice rather than on ways of changing

basic law of nature.

Germany really fancies a war.

the rise and fall of Britain’s servant class.

domestic work today. Some of this work is

for instance, I could have any more respect

I should, says Kant, always treat the other

he wakes me. There is nothing of mine that

metaphysical commitments that set it apart

the police tear-gassed the marchers, and

that 80 to 90% of cases of reported sexual

on the Austrian education system (‘teachers

it. If the rites and pomp of Catholic ritual

The spectre of debt, deficit, recession and

And so, in a single morning, I had been

At its height, service employed more

creative and fulfilling and can involve Cath

for George Martin than I already do, and

‘never merely as a means, but always at the

is not his, not gobbled up, metabolised into

from other ideologies. In the postwar era,

the opposition jumped on the bandwagon

violence in India are committed by men

ruin their pupils...and Austrian teachers in

and Renaissance painting can be seen as

unemployment now hovers over much of the

called by my first name by a young man

people than any other single industry.

Kidston accessories. Much of it is dirty and

calling him ‘Sir George Martin’ is a small

same time as an end in himself.’ So I can use

him. He is a bull, yes, a sullen king, a wine-

‘human dignity’ was salvaged as an ideal

accusing the government. Meanwhile,

known to the victim - relatives, neighbours,

particular’), to the abysmal state of Vienna’s

ridiculous caricatures, what’s to prevent

Western world. Respect for nature is seen

in a shop, whom I had never met, and

In the early twentieth century, over

thankless: cleaning, sweeping, scrubbing,

price to pay for the pleasure he has given

a taxi-driver, with her agreement, as a means

sodden baby. He is an old man on a stick

by Christian democrats of a decidedly

deeply enraged, thousands continued to

colleagues, with a high proportion of family

public toilets (‘Vienna is one great lavatory

our own society from being seen as such?

as a luxury to be heeded only in the good

addressed as a Lord by my housekeeper.

1.5 million people worked as domestic

washing, wiping. It is also work that is never

me, and countless millions, since producing

to get to Heathrow Airport – that, given her

unable to wait, unable to stand or sit for

conservative, if no longer illiberal, cast.

fill the streets of central New Delhi for

members - not the unknown man assaulting

scandal’) and on to everything else (‘we may

This is both the strength and the danger in

times. For the moment, concern for nature

Nobody seems to understand how to greet

servants. Yet in the decades that followed,

done but must be repeated day in, day out.

‘Love Me Do’. But it does not make the

livelihood, will serve her purposes too – but

pride and I am his son. Set free.

each other anymore.

the trappings and rituals of traditional

It’s the stuff of life, the bedrock of intimate

Beatles’ music any better. Nor will his

if she has a heart-attack on the way I can’t



care and comfort. Yet few societies value

knighthood make Bradley Wiggins any faster

just hop out of her taxi in pursuit of my own

Professor Hudson - a man, incidentally,

1950s, the uniforms and bells had all but

it or those that do the bulk of it. Today,

on a bicycle. It may, indeed, even slow him

means and hail another one. Pursuing her

without a first name of any kind, as far

disappeared. As the series presenter, I was

the domestic service sector in Britain

down. So let us instead respect those who

ends, I have to ensure she gets to hospital. I

as we knew. He once tried to recruit me

intrigued to understand why.

My old linguistics tutor at Cambridge,




The third problem with ‘dignity’ is that

conservation is considered an impediment

I say, ‘I am going now so as not to lash

it does not have the equalizing effect that

to economic growth. The environmental

out.’ But I do not leave. I sit at the end of

many think it should. ‘Human dignity’ has

agenda has been sacrificed. Politicians,

the table in the shade and listen to his talk

often been a kind of smokescreen to hide

industrialists and business leaders are

of Lyndon Johnson’s White House and book

behind. Take the 1990 Cairo Declaration

desperate to restore business as usual and,

is dominated by low-paid migrant and

do not choose to accept honours, who refuse

feel far more upset about missing my plane

contracts and the Sunday Times and when

on Human Rights in Islam, whose article

despite empty rhetoric, see sustainability as

for MI5, a fate I only narrowly avoided

A major reason was that later generations

part-time workers, most of them women.

to bow down before the monarch that others

and my important project abroad than about

I can take no more I walk Rilke’s letters

6, in contrast to the Universal Declaration

an awkward and unnecessary detour.

by pleading heterosexuality - used to call

of young workers had more choice and were

Domestic workers’ search for respect still

may bow down before them. Let’s look at

the illness of a stranger, but I respect her as

down the grey, flagstone path through

of Human Rights, asserts that women share

This presents a great challenge to the

them ‘honorifics’ (at least, before he fell

keen to exercise it. Young women in particular

has a long way to go. (PC)

them again. Type ‘list of people who have

someone whose ends are as important to her

the village, past the spring beneath the

equal dignity’ with men but conspicuously

environmental movements. Our task has to

victim to a shameful putsch by a rabid

– my own grandmother among them - were

refused honours’ into your search engine

as mine are to me, and different.

cabal of Chomskyites): titles bestowed

no longer prepared to follow their mothers

on one’s fellow man for the purposes of

and aunts into service, despite the fact that

civilised interaction.

the demand for servants remained high.

COMMENTARY Honours’ Lists

swooping plane, down along into the shade

drops any mention of ‘equal rights.’ Among

be to show that ecology and true economy

of choice and you will turn something up.

Respect and equality, rather than fickle,

of a carob, out through the bright sheep

Western governments, the mention of

need not be in contradiction with each other.

The extraordinary thing is the number

biased feeling, are what Kant’s moral system

wire that keeps the goats from the village,

‘dignity’ either seems to cover for political

What will we do when we have covered

of non-famous people who have declined

depends on. His starched Prussian thought-

up to the point of the road vertically above

inaction or none-too-subtle permission to

all our land with concrete, all our fields

The point of an honorific is to address

Some of them were asked to explain why to

You might have thought it was easy to sidle

this official mark of respect. In their very

experiment is arguably more conducive to

the tower, whence I stare out over a steep,

engage in upholding dignity. Last year when

and farms with industrial parks and

people as they might wish to be addressed:

a parliamentary enquiry into the ‘servant

up to the concept of respect and inspect it.

modesty resides that which we should

equality, justice and respect than Hume’s

parched valley, that, but for the sea, would

François Hollande promised to ‘commit

shopping centres and when we have

to do this correctly, one needs to pay them

problem’ in 1923: ‘We just don’t want to be

For example, just look at what I did there:

respect the most. (NL)

stringed-instrument metaphors and fluent

be Anatolia or dry Alp or the mountains of

[himself] to upholding human dignity

cleared all our forests to make way for

the respect of understanding a little of who

treated as skivvies’, they reported. At the

put ‘respect’ and ‘inspect’ very close to each

emotional twangings, however appealing. It

North Africa. Instead, because of the sea,

wherever it’s violated’ during a visit to the

buildings, airports, and motorways that

they are. This should not be some ghastly

heart of this major social shift was a search

other, so we can peer at the Latin roots.

also gives a more accurate representation

the peaks are Greek islands, dotted with

House of Slaves museum off the coast of

do not respect the natural order, that

relic of the class system - codified deference,

not just for better prospects but a heartfelt

Inspect, to look into something; respect,

He was a fashionably dressed little man

of our moral intuitions (Kant meant it to

white houses and fig trees and mulberries

Senegal, he seemed to be implicitly asking

waste energy and exude CO 2.

in other words - nor should it be the one-

search for respect.


to look at it again, to give something a

(5 foot 2), of regular habits, who never

describe, as well as prescribe, what we do and

and bougainvillea. And I stare back up at

for a carte blanche for French actions in

Without respect for the environment a


The old ideal of service had been built

second glance, to pay attention to it, not to

ventured more than two miles beyond his

expect when behaving morally). Of course

the terrace above, where a seventy-five

Africa. Yet when Hollande visited Algeria in

saturation point will come very soon. If we

in its workers by a mammoth, cult-like

upon servants’ respect for their masters

insult by overlooking it; to give something

home-town of Königsberg, loved military

Kant is less loveable than Hume, of course

year-old schoolboy waits, not wanting to

December and the Algerians demanded an

continue to pollute, damage and destroy

corporation. Rather, it is politeness. If you

and mistresses. In return, the masters and

its due. As an example of the casual way

marches, was obsessed with his bowels and

he was hidebound by his character and

know how joy and love are a dangerous

apology for French colonialism ‘in the name

our environment, we will end up causing

snap your fingers in La Coupole and shout

mistresses had a duty and a responsibility

in which respect can be denied someone,

bodily ailments, held up his stockings by

prejudices -- he gave money but not time or

blood that runs in the veins of our species,

of Algerian dignity,’ he made clear that he

an economic crisis on a scale we cannot

‘Garçon!’ at a waiter in his 60s, he will find

to meet the needs of those lower down the

I allude to an episode that occurred

means of bands running up his inside leg

affection to his working-class siblings; Jews

like language and colour and the irrational

had not come ‘to apologise.’

even imagine. Respect for the environment

it rude; more to the point, you may have a

social scale. As the Servants series showed,

between me, the editor, and an accountant

into his pocket where they were attached to

he described as dirty swindlers – and he

ability to reason, and I think I cannot walk

Defenders to the concept of ‘human

is more than an economic imperative. It is

long wait for your steak frîtes. Show him

in practice this ideal placed both sides under

of a magazine I occasionally write for. I’d

springs, and almost certainly had no sexual

didn’t live out his equalising principles. But

down the hill seven kilometres into town in

dignity’ still have several decent arguments

also a moral imperative. We, the present

respect by calling him ‘Monsieur’, on the

enormous emotional strain. Employers were

asked her anxiously for a payment due

experience whatsoever. These anecdotes

we should respect his moral philosophy.

the sun, he will be wanting his lunch.

in their arsenal. Among the most common

generation, have no right to take the

other hand, and he will be mastic in your

harried by ‘insolent’ and ‘incompetent’

me, she asked the accountant, a few times,



And love it. Respect can, admittedly,

I open the tall, white, sheet-steel door and

is that if dignity is what separates men from

forests, fields and fisheries from future

hands; although, it must be said, I have not

servants, while servants lived their lives on

when this was going to take place, and the

Immanuel Kant might seem to epitomise his

be seen as just a fail-safe option to

go to the table where he sits holding a GCSE

animals then it is critical that this difference

generations. Human wellbeing, social

yet discovered an honorific to melt the heart

standby, waiting for a bell that might ring

accountant, perhaps mistakenly, perhaps

moral philosophy as well as his character.

be adopted when sympathy fails, but,

textbook of Ancient Greek history and say,

be respected. The reason, we are told, much

cohesion and environmental sustainability

of a Parisian taxi driver.

are all interdependent. (SK)







at any time of the day or night. Resentment

not, had included me as a recipient of his

His dictum ‘Act as if the maxim of your action

properly practiced, it can lead us through

‘I’ll make lunch.’ I cut tomatoes, onions,

of the savagery of the great systematic

I have been called Knott-san in Tokyo,

of the lack of simple personal freedoms –

reply to her: ‘I cant just drop everything to

were to become through your will a universal

behaviour to attitude to a feeling stronger

cheese, basil; fetch cool water, a tin of squid

massacres of the 20th century could be

Bill-ji in Delhi, and Mr Bill by the chap who

freedoms that were beginning to be won by

make payments.’ Although, at first sight, it

law of nature’ might sound like a legalistic

than sympathy. The meaning of ‘respect’

in ink and beer. And afterwards I say, ‘Do

perpetrated with such easeful impunity is

makes my breakfast in Sri Lanka. None was

other workers - fuelled servants’ demands

is rather breathtaking how an accountant

version of the schoolmarmish ‘how would

covers all three. Respecting someone can

you want to talk about what’s happened?’

because the victims had been stripped of

given, or taken, as implying superiority: it

for a new kind of reciprocal respect.

merely oiled the cogs of civilised behaviour, building an atmosphere of mutual esteem.

might feel that of all the jobs he has to

you like it if everyone did that?’ Suppose (is

involve treating them with deference,

And for four hours we do. And though he

their dignity — that is, their very status

These demands took different forms. John

perform for a magazine, that of paying its

one of his examples) it would be convenient

regarding them as having dignity, or,

cannot bear to show he does not understand,

as fellow humans. Primo Levi gives the

Robinson’s public attack on his employer

contributors is the most demeaning, it is the

to lie in your present circumstances – would

ultimately, feeling admiration for them

I say what I must say, which is that he has

example of the old man at Auschwitz who

For the umpteenth time running, I

was rare. But countless others voted with

missing apostrophe in ‘cant’ which is the

you want everyone to be compelled to lie?

and their attributes. In a way respect is

not been a Dad. (PH)

took care appear well-dressed and fix his tie

thrashed young Adam at ping-pong the

their feet and simply switched jobs when the

cherry on top of this ice-cream sundae of

Surely that is precisely what you rely on

more loveable than love. (JO’G)

other day. ‘Nuff respect, Uncle!’ he panted,

work or conditions didn’t suit them. Then

disrespect: he couldn’t even be bothered to

them not doing. For, if lying were the rule,

as I administered the coup de grâce, a rather

as now, better employers retained good staff

punctuate properly. (Of course, by another

then there would be none of the trust that

fine top-spin smash. No, I thought, one

for longer. There were also several attempts

token, the amount of badgering this editor

is necessary for your lie to be believed. Your

really can never have enough respect. (BK)

to unionise servants in the early twentieth

has to do in order to get copy out of me

wish to lie is therefore self-contradictory.

century. None really succeeded because

might itself betoken a lack of respect on my

Yes, all right, but (as post-Romantics) we

Dry, mica shale in upright slabs, four-feet

although domestic servants were arguably

part – but no, that’s another matter entirely.

tend to be more in tune with the loveable

tall. Giant autumn crocuses: pale lilac in

the largest single group of workers, they

Ask any writer.) Slovenly use of language

David Hume, who lived just before Kant,

colour with sharp pointed petals. On each

were also arguably the most fragmented and

may usually be a matter of poor education

and said that it is fellow-feeling, not reason,

casualised, mostly employed in twos and

beyond the user’s control; it’s when well-

that guides us to moral action. Just as, ‘in


Servants’ Search for Respect

CRIMINOLOGY Respect, Tradition and Honour many days, as if in a cathartic exercise.

you in a street, as is commonly supposed.

look at whatever we please... we only look at

a disrespect as pure as Bernhard’s; it may,

The notion of respect has always been

in order to be treated with more respect —

It certainly was the first time an incident

What happened in Delhi awoke the urban

malice and infamy and at betrayal and lies

in its unwaveringly negative depiction of the

linked to that of authority. Think of

and more soup — by the guards. But even

of rape provoked such a wide reaction in

public to the insecurity that women

and hypocrisy and... absolute baseness’) as

world, encourage a nihilistic defeatism in

traditional patriarchal authority, which is

this more instrumental understanding of

India, well beyond the women’s groups

experience in big cities, but rape occurs in

if carried along a giant, unstoppable wave

some, but its ability to force people into a

rooted in the provision of recurrent and

dignity — that, if we drink deep enough

who had long campaigned on the issue; the

small town and villages as well; it is endemic

of revulsion, fusing the political, the artistic

new perspective and to stimulate debate -

routinised necessities of everyday life.

We agree that human dignity is to

of the dignity discourse, we will become

first time that a debate on sexual violence

in areas of conflict; it is a daily experience

and the petty into one long, provocative and

welcome or not - by dint of that very same

Respect, in this case, relates to the socio-

be respected, but this hardly helps us

immune to evil — is unsatisfactory. Not

reached mainstream India. Rape is no

for dalit or adivasi (‘tribal’) women, who

frequently hilarious whole.

intensity makes this kind of disrespect a risk

economic sphere, from which the patriarch

understand what dignity means. The phrase

to mention the notion that human dignity

more a ‘women’s problem’ - indeed it has

are actually comprise the greatest number

It is clear that Bernhard’s disrespect does

worth taking. (NC)

derives his function of ‘natural leader’ and

‘human dignity’ has burrowed itself into the

has to come at the expense of anything —

never been, argued well known journalist

of victims. It often occurs in police stations

not function only in a political sense, and

petal a rectangular labyrinth in darker

heart of our legal documents, but this only

including animals.

Kalpana Sharma (‘What’s wrong with

– such as was the case with Soni Sori who

neither are his works political critiques as

purple, like a circuit-board diagram. I pick

makes the work of retrieving its meaning

The strangest thing about dignity is that,

Indian men’, The Hindu).

was sexually tortured in police custody, as

we traditionally understand them. There is

related in The Spanner a year ago.

no alternative put forward to the state of

DIARY Honour Thy Father…

OPINION The Price of Dignity

Respecting People and Nature

threes in small middle class households.

taught people can’t be arsed to put in the

strings equally wound up,’ the plucking

two. Beside the chapel, a small graveyard,

harder. We have lodged so many ideals on

on a cultural level, it appears universally

In 1894, there was very public spat

Servant unions’ demands were modest

right punctuation mark that I feel, on behalf

of one string sets the others vibrating, so

not more than a dozen graves through a

the concept’s shoulders that it threatens to



The Indian Interior minister promised

‘Indian society is in transition’ summarised

affairs that he so vociferously attacks, and

between a well-known socialite, Lady Violet

but telling. A 1913 Doctrine of Discontent

of the English language, insulted. It is the

emotion (said Hume) is readily conveyed

locked gate, each with its separate cross.

become nonsense. And yet we know dignity

everywhere treats their dead with respect.

‘exemplary punishment’ (homicide carries a

Sharma. ‘Young women are more and more

serious points, such as Austria’s failure

Greville, and her butler, Mr John Robinson.

issued by Glasgow maids lead by 17 year old

equivalent of scratching your arse in public:

from one person to another. To see someone

Three times, I have come to Greece, each

when we see it. The celebrity patient who

Why do we do this? Why, when our humanity

death penalty in India). But those protests

in the public sphere, in education, at work,

to engage with its own role in National

Respect for nature is lacking in our

Lady Greville had complained in a newspaper

Jessie Stephens included a call for higher

sheer bad manners.

crying (or laughing) is inevitably to feel, if

time with my father. On the northern coast

demands some dignity from the paparazzi

is at its lowest ebb — has just vanished

raised deeper questions than just ‘hang the

leading independent lives - but a male

Socialism, are strung alongside and linked

society. Rather than treasuring her as a

column about the quality of Britain’s

pay, a shorter working day (but only down

to a lesser extent, the grief (or hilarity) she

of Crete, in the seventies, my twelve year-

photographing her as she enters the

—— does our instinct for respect increase?

rapists’. In New Delhi young women waved

dominated society failed to take notice,

into arguably petty complaints, such as the

thing of beauty and intrinsic value, we use

This is more than just prissiness about



What will remain of this surge of protests?


provider of various forms of patronage, seeing it as grounds for other forms of respect and authority that invoke tradition. For example, the supposedly legitimate authority of husbands, fathers and seniors may be based on a system of sacred norms whose infraction results in magical or religious punishment. Traditional




The Spaner  

Simon Critchley on Sport and Ethics, column in The Spanner issue 0007, 2013

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you