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6 August 2016

9:00 AM

6 August 2016

9:00 AM

Costume drama

Sir: Could I remind Michael Buhagiar (23 July) that the great conflict in Jane Austen’s greatest novel is between the Crawfords and Fanny Price: that is, between the values of style and “excitement”, against the values of fidelity and precision. I suppose it’s possible to take “civilisation” to be “a man in possession of a fortune in search of a wife”, and there’s plenty of “healthy upstanding manliness” in Jane Austen. But really, who do we prefer – Odysseus or Thersites, Adam Smith or Rousseau, Darcy or Heathcliff? It’s not really a conflict between “civilisation” and “wisdom” is it?

What we altogether do not find in Mansfield Park or any of the other Austen books is preening journalists with a taste for “tolerance” and “cultured reason”, idolising “the goodness of others” while immediately discerning “bad others” who don’t have any “audacious confidence” in “the goodness of others” (however any of that computes). Why Mr Buhagiar treats us to a version of this as befitting any of Jane Austen’s novels is anyone’s guess. Maybe he’s been watching too much BBC costume drama.
Jim Packer
Macquarie Fields, NSW

We’re still dancing

Sir: I am writing in connection with the article ‘Hang the DJs’ (30 July) claiming dance music is dying. I am 12 years of age and have a huge passion for electronic dance music — so much so that I started making it last year. EDM isn’t just ‘bleep bleep bloop’. Many artists use real instruments mixed with computer generated beats, including sampling old jazz. Drugs in EDM are also mentioned in this article, and yes, they may be present in the genre. But that’s nothing new. In the 1980s, Grandmaster Flash even made a song called ‘White Lines (Don’t Do It)’.
Dominic Holyoake
Salisbury, Wiltshire

Remain calm

Sir: I am sorry that the redoubtable Martha Lane Fox is still angry at the exaggerations made by the Leave campaign (Letters, 30 July). I expect that the 17 million people who voted to leave are also still pretty angry at the exaggerated claims of Remainers. House price crashes, everyone £4,500 a year worse off, a revenge budget and even a third world war. And of course, the threats from elite corporatists. Vested interests, perhaps? It’s interesting to see how many of the big corporations that threatened Armageddon prior to the vote are now voting with their money to stay.

The investment adviser Tim Price says he has never felt so excited about the possibilities in front of him, and I am sure that there are countless budding young British entrepreneurs who feel the same way. Please cheer up, Martha. Moaning from Remainers is not going to help Britain to become even greater.
John Warbey
Reigate, Surrey

Room at the top

Sir: The SNP’s Angus Robertson (Letters, 30 July) seems to have cornered the market on piety, gesture politics and grandstanding when it comes to EU immigration. It is easy for his party to make a virtue of the welcome Scotland offers to EU immigrants. This country is large and has a small population with low population density and has therefore not experienced some of the problems related to high immigration south of the border. To portray the SNP as good and the Tory party as evil on this matter ill befits a supposedly serious politician.
Richard Clayton

Spaniel smarts

Sir: It does not really surprise me that, in the land of the Corbynistas, Cavalier King Charles spaniels are considered too refined (‘My pedigree chum’, 30 July). In Malta, ‘cavs’ are generally admired, loved and accepted for their gentle natures. On her morning promenade, our Missie is greeted with pleasure and affection. My wife also has an objection to Mark Edmonds’s assessment of their intelligence. He will find out pretty soon that his companion is more observant of his movements, habits and moods than he is of hers. That she wags her feathery tail at some sympathisers and ignores others is a good indication of her wisdom. ‘Cavs’ observe people and dogs from a good distance and react accordingly — yet always politely. They aren’t aggressive — at most, a small growl. Might this be the reason why the objectors on Hampstead Heath think that you have chosen an aristocratic companion? A ‘cav’ doesn’t get trained — she trains you.
Peter Apap Bologna
Sliema, Malta

A dream fulfilled

Sir: I’m surprised at the people who feel repulsed by the emergence of Donald Trump as a leading contender for president (‘American horror story’, 23 July). After all, Trump embodies the American dream. Given a billion dollars, most Americans would lead the life he does: buy a jet, move to Palm Beach, marry a model and bless their country for making it possible. Every mainstream magazine and TV show extols this fantasy. Americans have been alienated not by Trump, but by the holier-than-thou know-it-alls who claim a privileged insight into the workings of the world. The US intelligentsia can’t get their heads around the monster of greed, narcissism and bigotry that their nation has created. If Trump wins the presidency they’ll look at each other in disbelief, as if he is some sort of aberration. He’s not. He’s the face of America.
Bruce McDougall

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