In other Raj-related news, people in the UK can now buy his excellent book Stuffed and Starved in paperback, and the US edition has been published over there, too. Buy it and read it, if you haven’t already. (Even the Daily Mail liked it!)
Archive for the 'pollardiana' Category
Stephen Pollard isn’t just an expert on cycling (“the team element is missing”, etc.). He also has sophisticated opinions on postwar European cinema. Here he is, for example, discussing the films of Ingmar Bergman. It’s already been labelled “the dumbest thing I’ve ever read” by one of the cinÃ©philes over at the Criterion Forum.
I should say that I’ve not seen much Bergman: Wild Strawberries once upon a time, and lengthy snippets of The Seventh Seal. So it’s just, just possible that I might agree with Pollard were I to see the rest of the oeuvre (which I’d like to do). But given that he lumps Bergman in with James Joyce and Harrison Birtwistle — my favourite novelist and one of my favourite living composers respectively — somehow I doubt that he and I are going to end up seeing eye to eye on this one, as on so much else. [Yo, bro.]
UPDATE, UPDATE: The same brother reminds me I’ve also seen Bergman’s Magic Flute (and it’s stupid of me to forget this, as I’ve got the DVD at home), which is just fantastic. And it probably has the best Pantomime Walrus in cinema history. YouTube clips over here, though I’m not sure they’ve got the PW in there.
2d UPDATE: And here he is, the darling:
[images nicked from over here]
Stephen Pollard sensibly thinks that most online petitions are “a gimmicky waste of time”. But not when you put your online petition on the No.10 website, as anyone is able to do.Â Then, if Pollard agrees with it, it becomes “imperative that it is signed”, no less, “precisely because it has the imprimatur of 10 Downing Street”.
What a funny man.
(Note also that in the post below this one he demonstrates his mastery of Islamic culture by confusing a hajib with a hijab, and note also also that the case was never about the hijab anyway, but about Ms Begum’s jilbab.)
Here’s a chunk of one of today’s posts, about the BBC reporter Matt Frei.
Frei then claims that when Ann Coulter used the word ‘faggot’ in reference to John Edwards (Frei doesn’t mention Edwards, and so fails to put the remark into context) the audience “lapped it up”. Well no, they didn’t. If he’d bothered to speak to people who were there, or even watch a video, he’d have seen that after Coulter made her remark there was silence, then some embarrassed/nervous/polite laughter.
I’m not sure why adding the “context” that Coulter was talking about Edwards makes a difference here. But what I think you ought to do is watch the clip here and then decide for yourself whether Pollard offers an especially accurate account of proceedings. One bit of “context” that Pollard unaccountably fails to mention, for example, is that there’s quite a lot of applause, too.
I’m a bit alarmed to find out that right-wing hack Stephen Pollard considers me friend for life on the rather shaky ground that I know who Adrian Slade is. I’ve known who Adrian Slade was for twenty-five years now, ever since 1981, when he was elected to the GLC in the part of London where I grew up. I shall have to hope that this claim of Pollard’s is about as sincere and/or accurate as most of the other claims that appear on his blog and in his other writings, as I’ve absolutely no desire to be his friend. Yuck.
The ever-absurd right-wing hack Stephen Pollard challenges his critics “to point out a single example of an example I have cited being made up, or in any material way inaccurate”, claiming that “it is an outright falsehood to argue that I have made any of my examples up or been in any way inaccurate in the reporting of them…”
Here’s a claim Pollard posted on his blog this morning:
“But what of the 300,000 Israeli refugees, driven from their homes by Hezbollah terror attacks? The BBC does not consider their plight worth reporting.”
And here’s a page from Wednesday’s BBC website:
“Having fled her home in the city of Haifa an hour after the first Hezbollah rocket hit the city, Alma Herbst says she now has an emergency bag packed and her passport to hand…”
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Before he feels too smug, Pollard might like to look back at those occasions when he has made similar claims that he has removed material from his own site (here and here) and has himself failed to, um, remove the relevant material from the site (which is still here and here).
Oh, and if, as Pollard thinks, it’s OK to mock the rather hapless Neil Clark for failing to follow up on his promises to be critical of Oliver Kamm’s recent writing, then it’s probably also OK to mock the rather hapless Pollard for his failure to follow up on his own stated desire to return to the matter of Channel Four’s donation to Interpal.
There are relevant remarks, incidentally, about both flogging dead horses and about people who lack a certain sense of irony at the bottom of one of the posts linked to above.
On 15 January right-wing hack Stephen Pollard posted on Interpal, the charity which Mr Galloway’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother is intended to benefit. “The real villain of the piece is not the odious Galloway, whose penchant for licking the backsides of terrorist sponsors we all know about”, he harrumphed. “It is Channel Four, which is knowingly allowing such an organisation to benefit from its airwaves.” He concluded with these words: “This is an altogether more serious matter than Galloway’s humiliation. I hope to return to it soon.”
Pollard’s hopes were gratified, and he did indeed return to the matter soon with a new post on the matter today, which reads in full:
“You might notice that a posting from yesterday on Interpal is no longer up. I removed it after a few minutes (although I understand that it remained visible for a little while afterwards). It concerned its nomination by George Galloway in the Big Brother programme.I want to make clear that the charity operates as an entirely legitimate organisation and no evidence has ever been produced to suggest otherwise.”
So, there we are. Some people might think an apology was in order, but not, apparently, Pollard. So, no apology.But it’s always fun when Pollard posts-and-retracts.
On 1 November 2004, a post modestly titled “Pollard Speaks, YouGov Quakes” was followed up by a new post which said that “for reasons which I can’t go in to, I have had to pull it” (i.e., the earlier post). This was doubly puzzling, because not only was the earlier post never in fact pulled – you can read it by following the earlier link, and don’t forget to read Mr Shakespeare’s comment while you’re at it – but also because the retraction ended by declaring “Game, set and match” to Pollard himself, which in the circumstances seemed, well, peculiar.
Pollard’s relationship to truth is complicated, as long-time Stoa readers know. He’s been known to post straightforward falsehoods: the Tour de France, one of the most complex team events of the sporting calendar, is dull “because the team element is missing”. Sometimes he just makes up figures to support his arguments. And he’s also been known to cite his own work – the same work that contains the made-up figures – without mentioning that it is his own work, thus creating the impression that there’s something more than made-up figures behind his arguments. He’s a funny chap.
Morals: don’t believe what you read in the Daily Telegraph. Don’t believe what US government officials say. A third moral would be, “Don’t believe what you read on Stephen Pollard’s blog”, but I can’t believe anyone’s really that stupid.
UPDATE [9.15pm]: Surprise, surprise — there’s falsehood even in Pollard’s retraction. Who’d have thunk it? The post he “removed… after a few minutes” and which “remained visible for a little while afterwards” is not only still available in the Google cache, which is indeed outside of Pollard’s control. It’s also available on at least one other blog that quotes the post admiringly. And, as happened in the case of “Pollard Speaks, YouGov Quakes”, it is also, incredibly, still available on Pollard’s own site, so that nothing at all seems to have been removed, except perhaps the post’s appearance on the front page of his own blog. What an absurd creature he is.
UPDATE [9.30pm]: It seems that Pollard “cannot recommend Anthony Browne’s new book, ‘The Retreat of Reason’… too highly”. Ho hum.
UPDATE [9.50pm]: Since my original post, I see that Pollard’s retraction has acquired a slightly different form of words. I wonder what’s behind that little edit? It now reads: “I want to make clear that the charity operates as an entirely legitimate organisation for the relief of suffering and no evidence has ever been produced to suggest otherwise” (emphasis added).
Nice to see that the Virtual Stoa is identified as a “British Conservatives” blog over at the What is Liberalism? blog [right hand side and scroll down].
It’s a pleasingly idiosyncratic run-through of the UK World of Blogs, in fact. The same list tells me that Backword Dave (from Scotland, lives in Wales) is “some wit from England”, that Oliver Kamm is a “democratic marxist”, and that Stephen Pollard belongs to the “radical center”, to pick out only a few of the more counterintuitive labels.
We’ve seen quite a bit of photographic evidence concerning right-wing hack Stephen Pollard’s suitability for this year’s Widmerpool Award which celebrates, among other things, pomposity, self-importance and lack of self-awareness.
Here’s another pic for the dossier. It’s Pollard testifying on something or other before the US Senate a few days ago:
It’s somewhat alarming to discover that on the Jerry Springer issues sensible people are in more or less full agreement with both Melanie Phillips and Stephen Pollard. Pollard, however, still can’t write prose very well:
“I cannot think of a single rational reason why the BBC should not have broadcast the opera. I am, as regular readers will know, the first to criticise the Beeb. This, it seems to me, is one of the rare recent instances of the BBC doing exactly what a public broadcaster should be doing.”
Oh, and Matthew Turner has a good point to make, and makes it well.
Also great fun, of course, over the last few days, has been the saga of Stephen Pollard and YouGov. Pollard wrote a characteristically irritating post about how YouGov wasn’t very good, in his opinion, which prompted a damning response from one of the chaps who works there in the comments box (reproduced here).
A little later, Pollard announced that “Some of you will notice that a post which was here earlier today about YouGov, the pollsters, has disappeared. I’m afraid that, for reasons which I can’t go in to, I have had to pull it.” This is mysterious, for the title of the original post was “Pollard Speaks, YouGov Quakes”, which makes it highly unlikely that Pollard pulled the post after YouGov pointed out that it was libellous, Pollard not being the kind of guy to quake in the face of any kind of legal threat.
All of this then left regular readers puzzled, first as to why Pollard continued to leave the offending post up on his site here, despite having told the world that he had pulled it, and second as to why he went on to insist that he’d won some famous victory over YouGov (“Game, set and match”), even though, quite patently, he hadn’t.
I mentioned yesterday that right-wing hack Stephen Pollard was going to win next year’s Widmerpool Award, which celebrates, among other things, pomposity, self-importance and lack of self-awareness. But now Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram emails me to suggest that there may be physical as well temperamental affinities between Anthony Powell’s immortal creation Kenneth Widmerpool and Pollard.
Well, are there? You decide.
The pics on the left are images of Kenneth Widmerpool at different stages of the life-cycle, taken from the Channel Four adaptation of A Dance to the Music of Time (and lifted from the excellent anthonypowell.org.uk website). The pics on the right are images of Stephen Pollard, lifted from here, here and here.
I’ve cropped and resized these images to carve out irrelevant detail, and presented them here in low resolution to save on bandwidth, but I haven’t otherwise buggered around with the photos, the originals of which you can find by clicking on each of them.
In other news, Pollard fessed up to pulling numbers out of his arse, and insists that all he ever meant to do with his ridiculous claim that the EU kills a person every 13 seconds was encourage other people to produce a more credible estimate. Ho hum.
Stephen Pollard, a dead cert for next year’s Widmerpool award, has taken to quoting himself as an authority in his latest piece in the Times, referring to “a recent paper by the Centre for the New Europe”, without revealing his co-authorship of said paper:
“A recent paper by the Centre for the New Europe calculated that one person dies every 13 seconds somewhere in the world – mainly in Africa – because of the EU’s protectionism…”
That’s comic enough, but it also gives me an excuse to link back to a post of a bit over a year ago, in which I read that wretched paper and pointed out just how stupidly stupid this claim really was.
I’ll just note here that his comments box [and scroll down] is also haunted by another ignorant git. There’s a chap called Andrew Ian Dodge who posts nonsense on some of the blogs I read from time to time, such as at Harry’s Place, whom I first noticed when he wandered into my comments box to make an obviously false allegation, and who really outdoes himself this time with this piece of illiterate rubbish:
Yeah never really understood why the left does not give a damn about the Kurds. They get slaughtered (with WMDs no less) and the left actively campaigns against saving them (rather than say staying neutral). While on the other hand, black Africans get killed and we have to rush in and save them.
Thinking back to the time of Halabja, I can remember Kurds protesting, I can remember far-left Trotskyist groups protesting, I can even remember an early-day motion signed by a bunch of mostly left-wing Labour MPs protesting.And I can remember a Tory government in general and David Mellor MP in particular doing their best to ensure that this little atrocity didn’t disrupt the profitable relationship that the British state enjoyed with the Baathists, and very little interest from the back benches of the Conservative Party (or indeed, from the front bench of the Opposition) in what was going on.
I wonder, by contrast, what Andrew Ian Dodge can remember of that time that I have been managing to forget?
(I suspect that the key to understanding Andrew Ian Dodge lies in deciphering this page, which Matthew Turner pointed me towards once upon a time. But I can’t manage to get beyond the first few sentences. Apparently he has a blog with a stupid name over here, though I can’t say I’ve ever read it.)