Why bother with something true to life, dignified and classy when you can create something untrue, cheap and vulgar? While surfing through channels looking for a black and white oldie, I came across something that I think is called Rogue Heroes. I’m not sure of the title because the program annoyed me so much that I turned it off after less than ten minutes. And it took as long as that because the trash was based on a terrific subject: the war in the desert pitting the bold Rommel against timid Monty.

What made the few minutes...

Why bother with something true to life, dignified and classy when you can create something untrue, cheap and vulgar? While surfing through channels looking for a black and white oldie, I came across something that I think is called Rogue Heroes. I’m not sure of the title because the program annoyed me so much that I turned it off after less than ten minutes. And it took as long as that because the trash was based on a terrific subject: the war in the desert pitting the bold Rommel against timid Monty.

What made the few minutes I watched seedy and sordid was the language. I’m no prude and can swear with the best of them, but only in the right environment. In the scene I watched, David Stirling, a gent and an officer in real life, approaches General Auchinleck and proposes a guerrilla group to attack Rommel’s supply lines. He uses the F-word non-stop when he meets officers he doesn’t know.

Poor little upstanding Taki was outraged. I used to gamble with Bill Stirling, David’s brother and co-founder of the SAS, and have been a friend of Bill’s son, Archie, for fifty years or so. I never heard Bill Stirling use the F-word, even when losing a fortune at the Aspinall tables. Nor do I think British officers of the time used that word in public when being introduced to each other. I suppose it’s the trash urge that makes directors and writers include such stuff — or, better still, it is the lack of talent that demands it. The actors were no better. They overacted and made faces to show intent as if it were a silent flick. What surprised me was Dominic West appearing in a brief role. He’s a good actor, so why go so downmarket?

What is more interesting is why today’s audiences prefer trash to good taste. Tom Wolfe called it “nostalgie de la boue.” The satisfaction that trash offers to Brits and Americans does not transfer to, say, the Frogs, the Italians or the Spanish. What many Anglo-Americans demand is trash, pure and simple, and when confronted with it, they blame conservatives and Christians who angled to ban anything offensive. But that’s bull, because people have been clashing over filth since time immemorial. I think filth is an acquired taste, and slowly but surely the porn industry and Hollywood has managed to infect us all.

In fairness, however, I watched this particular series for only ten minutes, and have no idea who produced, financed or directed it. The ubiquitous use of the F-word shocked me because officers of the time were more likely to use Twitter sixty years before it was invented than address a fellow officer using expletives. And speaking of Twitter, I hope Musk makes it. I’ve never used social media and wouldn’t know how to start, but the obsessive engineer that is Musk intrigues me. He is now being accused of “Twitter poisoning,” a supposed side effect when one’s actions are driven by an algorithmic system designed to stress one to the maximum. “Total bull,” says the most famous engineer-computer-social media expert Taki. The trouble with Twitter, according to the great Greek expert, is that it was selective, and is no longer. Musk believes in the right of everyone to participate, not only those with whom the lefty, nerdy freaks who ran it agreed.

Basically, Twitter is just noise. I hope that Musk can control the vitriol and lies spread on the platform. If anyone can, Elon can. Musk was smart enough to ditch Amber Heard, unlike the fool Johnny who went ahead and married her. After the divine Amber — she really turns me on — Twitter should be a cakewalk. I just spent Thanksgiving with my friends George and Lita Livanos, and I gave George hell because of what he didn’t do on his private island.

It seems that an artist’s son I know slightly brought Amber to Koronis some time ago. Everything was hunky-dory until George’s telephone rang at two in the morning. It was Amber wanting to find out why some machine wasn’t working in her bungalow. So George, like the good husband that he is, advised her to ring the island’s engineer in the morning, then hung up. When he told me the story I started screaming at him: “What the hell is wrong with you? Are you gaga?” and things like that.

But Georgie Porgie is no fool. Had he gone over to her bungalow at 2 a.m., a little bird told him that it would not exactly turn out to be a slam, bang, thank you, ma’am type of evening. George is a serious family man with five children, eigteen grandchildren and one wife. He had smelled trouble and went back to sleep like a baby. I, of course, would have rushed over and fixed that bloody machine even if I don’t know how to start a car at times, but then that’s the difference between our number one ship owner and yours truly.

Anyway, that was long ago and I had fun screaming about how Amber turns me on and how Musk will definitely put Twitter to rights.

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s UK magazine. Subscribe to the World edition here.