Pollard, film critic

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 cinéphiles 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]

I Really Should Have Better Things To Do With My Time Than Reading Stephen Pollard’s Inane Blog

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.  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.)

Pollard’s Friend

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.

Pollard’s Challenge

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.

Pot, Kettle, Dead Horse

In blogposts here and here, right-wing hack Stephen Pollard today criticises the Guardian for not removing comments from its new blogsite that it said it was going to remove.

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.

The Magnificent Pollard

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).

Beyond Left and Right?

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.

Widmerpool Award?

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:

[Full image gallery here (at least for now), link via the great man himself.]

Pollard Discovers Alliteration

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.