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Terrible immigrants

Amis on the filthy foreigner

Martin Amis has predictably outraged the bienpensants with his call for euthanasia booths, but an eagle-eyed reader has spotted something more bizarre buried in his effortful verbiage: ((Thanks to redpesto.))

How is society going to support this silver tsunami? There’ll be a population of demented very old people, like an invasion of terrible immigrants, stinking out the restaurants and cafes and shops.

Terrible immigrants? How exactly are these immigrants supposed to be “terrible”? Amis cannot mean for us to imagine people who are really bad at being immigrants, because the most incompetent immigrants of all would never have got into the country in the first place, much less had the organizational capacities to gang together and mount an “invasion”. So one must conclude that terrible immigrants are, on the model of “terrible lizards”, immigrants who are particularly frightening, with scaly skin and massive teeth, like velociraptors and T Rexes stamping down the high street and — as a secondary implication of Amis’s syntax — “stinking out” the place, presumably with their strange bodily unguents and spicy foodstuffs. ((Previously in Martin Amis’s World of Prejudice: Any ethnicity.))

Martin Amis has not yet announced that he will be campaigning for the BNP in the forthcoming election, but it can surely be only a matter of time?

  1. 1  richard  January 26, 2010, 3:24 pm 

    I see you tastefully ignoring the obvious here, but I can’t: immigrants?

    Per your BNP allusion, he’s probably using immigrants as an insult in itself, but even after I’ve poured that filth out I’m still left with this bit of tarry residue: that getting old is like losing your citizenship and having to re-enter society as a petitioner?

    And I couldn’t resist this: [Kingsley Amis] had perverse attitudes, and something I really watch in myself: failures of tolerance.
    …he must have a lot to watch. No wonder he has no time to look around outside.

  2. 2  Me  January 26, 2010, 3:24 pm 

    Why doesn’t Mr Amis lead the way to the booths? He is clearly demented and at his “grand old age” is of no use to the “society”.

  3. 3  des von bladet  January 26, 2010, 8:24 pm 

    Everyone is always hating on Pingo “Martin” Amis[1] and fair enough, but in his defence I would point out that his son Louis – while otherwise as shameless a gravytrainer as you could ever hope to point and laugh at – has yet to perpetrate a novel, at least publically.

    That’s got to count for something?

  4. 4  des von bladet  January 26, 2010, 8:30 pm 

    [1] In the risible War against cliché he finds himself at one point invited to ponder “The Arctic penguin, the Saharan wind, the Patagonian mountain creek”. Google won’t, sadly, complete the sentence for our collective amusement, and my own copy long ago ceased to be mine.

  5. 5  des von bladet  January 26, 2010, 8:38 pm 

    Ah, google books to the rescue! Page 34 of whatever edition they scanned, apparently:

    “The Arctic penguin, the Saharan wind, the Patagonian mountain creek: all now bear man’s taint. We rightly regard this disaster as our own unpremeditated” [at which point the extract stops].

    (Sorry for the threadjacking.)

  6. 6  Steven  January 26, 2010, 9:13 pm 

    I do not actually care how that extract continues, but I’m sure the commentariat could continue it in a more entertaining way than Amis did?

  7. 7  sw  January 27, 2010, 4:03 am 

    Honestly, I’d like to see someone try. It’s such eyebleeding nonsense that it’s hard to add something, anything . . .
    The Arctic penguin, the Saharan wind, the Patagonian mountain creek: all now bear man’s taint. We rightly regard this disaster as our own unpremeditated desecration of nature, but are blind as to how the Arctic penguin, the Saharan wind, and the Patagonian mountain creek were gagging for it. Arctic penguins squaddle through life without a thought for the doe-eyed elk who share the wintry snowscape befouled with the inky squirts of penguin guano. The Saharan wind blows like the foul-breathed gas of radical Islamic jihadist propaganda across the summery sandscape. And Patagonian mountain creeks have never been known to write a good novel. They bear our taint, but, like a bear’s taint, were already a ragged, evil patch of life between a bear’s grass-plugged arsehole and its curled, ursine cock.

  8. 8  des von bladet  January 27, 2010, 6:39 am 

    “We rightly regard this disaster as our own unpremeditated fault, but I suppose we could always move back to Earth One and take a shot at saving the Antarctic penguins or something?”

  9. 9  NomadUK  January 27, 2010, 9:55 am 

    I haven’t noticed that restaurants and cafes and shops empty out when I enter, so I suppose my deodorant must be working.

    Or is it just that terrible immigrants don’t have pinkish skin or blue eyes?

  10. 10  Steven  January 27, 2010, 11:00 am 

    #7 and #8 both admirable super-Amisian efforts. My own feeling is that it should go:

    The Arctic penguin, the Saharan wind, the Patagonian mountain creek: all now bear man’s taint. We rightly regard this disaster as our own unpremeditated cockmiss, but what is far more serious is that I can no longer sashay down the streets of Londoninium without a babelgeddon of odoriferous foreigners, like some musty batallion of geriatrics who can’t speak English, descending upon my person to paw at my elegant dress while living lazily off the taxes on my enormous talent.

  11. 11  sw  January 27, 2010, 1:47 pm 


  12. 12  democracy_grenade  January 27, 2010, 2:03 pm 

    I’d like to believe that Amiss is just critiquing these people’s immigrating skills. Their packing was awful: didn’t split up their valuables at all. Got half way to the airport and realised that their passports were still on the mantelpiece. And those visa forms distinctly asked for black ink, dummies.

    Such terrible immigrants.

  13. 13  richard  January 27, 2010, 2:07 pm 

    Arctic penguin
    I wonder how long it’s been since he last had an editor.

  14. 14  Dan A  January 28, 2010, 6:23 am 

    Is he serious with the euthansia booths? Cos I don’t know if he knows, but Futurama had suicide booths as a joke.

  15. 15  mark c  January 29, 2010, 9:02 pm 

    I liked this post on the Bookslut blog…

    One day, Richard Powers will write a novel based on the neurological disorder that is afflicting Martin Amis, a rare form of aphasia: the intellectual writer, a little past his prime, yes, but whose mind is alert and all too aware that when he opens his mouth to say brilliant, thoughtful things, his words come out as brittle scandalmongering. Oh, to be a great man trapped in the body of a dick! The pain of never getting your true words across, no matter how you try. If it’s any consolation, Mr. Amis, they will probably name this terrible disorder after you. One day there may even be a cure, and your reputation will be restored. Way, way after your death.

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