A new thread about what a despicable person Christie was

Continuing the discussion from General Moderation Topic:

  • I agree
  • I disagree

0 voters

We’re about 75% through.

1 Like

Trump’s people of course always refer to this by its original title.

Eewww. Yuck.

I didn’t know that.




…it was ‘cleaned up’ to Ten Little Indians when i was a young teenager… sigh.


Just a shade less ‘horrifically offensive…’


Wait, this isn’t about Chris Christie?


1 Like

Framing the past in modern terms can be problematical… is people’s concern solely over the original book title, or is there more? I haven’t read it.

I have read Kipling, though. People who don’t care to understand historical context will certainly have problems with Kipling.

1 Like

It’s been a while since I read the book, but I don’t recall there being anything really objectionable; the rhyme that the book was originally named for is mentioned, but that’s about it.

And yeah, Kipling’s going to be a problem if people ignore the context. He’s interesting in the sense that while he was undoubtedly a supporter of the idea of the British Imperium, and its supposed civilizing mission, he was sharply critical of the actual practice, focusing on the overworked, underpaid and underappreciated civil servants, engineers, and soldiers instead of the elites. And for all that, he’s obviously quite sympathetic towards the various Indian peoples, sometimes more so than the British when the latter are being fools.


I usually describe his first major work: Plain Tales from the Hills, as “Nihilistic Stories”. They are not very flattering to the British, who are often portrayed as arrogant, vain fools, with a few exceptions of the people who immersed in the local culture rather than remaining aloof from it.

I’m also confused about which Christie is the subject of the thread. I’m in Jersey, so Despicable & Christie have a natural connection.


I think the original objection (and the minifurore that got a subthread deleted) was indeed over the title. My comment was due to the fact that Christie was politically rather right wing, and she famously had a bad habit of racist stereotypes popping up in her books. (The US editions were actually edited to remove some of the most extreme characterizations of Jews, who she apparently didn’t consider as quite human, and of Catholics.)


For me the question is whether, if I were a contemporary of an artist, I would support their work. I take voting with my wallet quite seriously as it’s arguably the most power we have in our consumerist society.

Given what I’ve learned of Christie as I got older, no, I probably wouldn’t. I love her mysteries and, as a once avid theater goer, particularly some of the excellently performed stage plays I’ve seen put on over the years. But it’s kind of like how I am about OSC. I enjoy his stories, but there are other storytellers I enjoy just as much that don’t actively support causes working against my own beliefs about right and wrong. The difference, for me and me alone, is that Christie is dead and I don’t feel bad supporting many of the good actors who continue to portray her mysteries, so for me I don’t see a conflict between criticizing her politics and enjoying her art.

But that said, how one deals with art and artists they find problematic is always a deeply personal choice. So I take a particularly dim view of people who dismiss those who choose differently than them as virtue signalling. That seems to be the new favorite fallacy, dismissing those with different outlooks and strategies of virtue signalling. I’m pretty sure I’ve been guilty of doing it myself.

Also, I feel the poll at the start of this thread is a loaded question. We can always use a good thread to discuss topics like this, but it needn’t be an echo chamber and usually isn’t despite the degree to which outsiders often sell us short as a community.


I think it was meant as a joke. You could look at the end of the general moderation topic to see how it started.

So I take a particularly dim view of people who dismiss those who choose differently than them as virtue signalling.

In thus case it goes a little further. Jewish groups (for example) were calling her out on her stereotyping at the time, especially after the war. I’m pretty sure this qualifies as nervous self-interest, not virtue-signalling.

Here’s what a relatvely recent New Yorker article had to say:

Racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia turn up constantly in Christie’s books. In one, a hostess serves a special dessert called Nigger in His Shirt (chocolate pudding covered with whipped cream). We also get dagos, wogs, and Eye-ties. Most frequently commented on, however, are the Jews. In an early novel, “The Secret of Chimneys” (1925), Herman Isaacstein, who is, of course, a financier with a big nose, is invited to a political meeting at a country estate. When the host, Lord Caterham, is told who Isaacstein is, he says, “Curious names these people have.” Caterham starts calling him Nosystein. The others take this up and shorten it to Nosy.


do you feel that with your fingers or your toes? :wink:

1 Like

Right, yeah…one of those!

Less jokingly, I see what @d_r means about the sarcasm that I missed in said question/poll.


it was a pretty poe poll. Sarcasm tag fail.

1 Like

I saw (and was party to, but my comment got lost in the shuffle) the original OT discussion but didn’t read the General Mod Thread portion. Mea culpa.