A recent theme in Andrew Bolt’s work is an effort to blame every social ill on “these coarser times”, when Good Moral Values have been destroyed by “fashionable ethicists”, “feminists” and “post-modernists” on “government grants”.

It’s a handy – if misleading – rhetorical device, because you can use evidence of societal failings that these very people would argue they’re trying to change as evidence against them. Women are being abused? That’s the fault of the feminists who are arguing for them to have the rights men enjoy. And so on. If the evidence can’t be denied, twist it around so you can pretend it makes your point for you.

But what were these Good Moral Values, and when were they practised?

Yesterday Andrew reposted a trailer for the new Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr, asking “Has Sherlock been murdered?”. He wondered:

And will Holmes be retained as the aesthete, or are his manners to be trashed to suit these coarser times?

Holmes’ manners were notoriously brusque and inhuman. He was brilliant – but also cold, and arrogant. And he was well-known as a cocaine and morphine addict (in a less “coarse” time when such use was not criminalised). And I must confess to being surprised by this sudden preference for aesthetism – I thought Bolt was a critic of the impractical, elitist arts.

Which of these manners represent the Good Moral Values to which Andrew Bolt wishes we corrupt moderners would return?

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