Is That A Masterpiece Or What? Oh, Give Me A Fucking Break! It's definitely a what, right? The great thing about growing up is you stop caring about what is admired and respected by those you admire and respect and settle down to liking what you actually like. I can remember studying and pretending to love, for instance, the films of Eisenstein; Syberberg or Jean-Marie Straub and Danielle Huillet; the writings of Kierkegaard, Proust, Musil, Robbe-Grillet or Michel Butor; the artworks of Joseph Beuys, Frank Stella or Morris Louis; the music of Ligeti, Stockhausen, Xenakis or Luigi Nono. Now, I admit I think they're all quite boring. All lies; damned lies! And yet...and yet I think this article by Tom Utley is thoroughly philistine and brutal. Still: could it be that we all fake it to some extent? When we're young, at least? Have you ever lied about your taste? Are you ashamed?
‘We can say “God”, “God” is fine, but we have to be very careful about anything that involves the name of the Lord and Saviour.’ Tory MP and Spectator editor Boris Johnson reflects on the process of getting a breezy op-ed past the editorial process of the Gray Lady. Jokes at the expense of the President of Guinea just aren't done.
What Happened To My Woodcock? Much as I love reading Mary Killen's etiquette column in The Spectator, it has to be said it's becoming more and more exotic and self-consciously ridiculous. But that's nothing compared to the success of This England magazine, Britain's best-selling quarterly, complete with a crusty, pastoral editor's letter (Yes, Amanda, it was published in 2002) and a reactionary, anti-EU petition. Add magazines like Country Life and The Lady, Countryman or The Field, and the old question once again arises: will there still always be an England or will it just become more and more parochial and eventually go undercover? Or just disappear?
"The oldest profession in the world" gains a whole new meaning with this 57-year-old woman's spirited account, in The Spectator (est. 1858) no less, of her successful new career as a prostitute. I must admit a part of me said "Hooray! There's hope for us thirtysomethings yet" but the rest remained highly suspicious or (to be honest) whispered "How pathetic!" Is this ageism or are (much) older women really more attractive nowadays?
The editor-at-large of The Spectator has resigned in protest at the publication of an anti-American article.
The editor-at-large of The Spectator has resigned in protest at the publication of an anti-American article. There has already been some discussion of this here but the British press seems to be tearing itself apart about how much to support the War on Terror, and what viewpoints it's acceptable to express. The offending article will presumably appear here sometime in the next few days, though its content is somewhat predictable given the views of the author. Funny quote: "I want to be in the magazine more often than I seem to be". Maybe the price of freedom is eternal whingeing.
"I have no hesitation in describing this mentality, carefully and without heat, as soft on crime and soft on fascism. No political coalition is possible with such people and, I’m thankful to say, no political coalition with them is now necessary. It no longer matters what they think." Christopher Hitchens says that intellectuals of the left who seek to understand the new enemy are no friends of peace, democracy or human life. Two different versions of the same article here and here. Along the same lines, a piece from The Economist arguing that "Whatever its mistakes, the idea that America brought the onslaught upon itself is absurd."