Reading this reminds me of the slogan with which Life of Brian was marketed in Sweden: “The Film That Was So Funny, They Banned It In Norway.”
Le Monde, in one of its summer retrospective thingummies, over here.
Today, tehgraun‘s arts critics are writing about sporting events, so we have theatre critic Michael Billington on darts and rock critic Caroline Sullivan on the Second Test Match.
Tomorrow we’re promised “chief football writer Kevin McCarra on Finnish contemporary dance” and “golf correspondent Lawrence Donegan on the San Francisco Symphony’s Brahms cycle”.
I like this kind of thing.
So farewell then, Miles Kington.
Go over the fold for what I think is my favourite Kington column (though I only ever read a fraction of the oeuvre), published, appropriately enough for the inventor of franglais on the occasion of the bicentenaire [Independent, 14 July 1989].
Black has described the US government’s case against him as “rubbish”, “nonsense”, a “vendetta”, a “persecution” and as “essentially a substitute for a wealth-redistribution policy”. He has condemned prosecutors as “Nazis” and “pygmies”. All these comments were pinned on an office noticeboard by prosecutors, who filed arguments last week calling for a longer sentence because of Black’s contempt for the process.
This prompted a slight change of tack from the peer, who informed the Canadian press in an email that he considered the US justice system to be “one of the 10 best in the world”
UPDATE [5.30pm]: Six and a half to eight years, apparently. So assuming he starts the term in early 2008, he might be out just in time for his seventieth birthday on 25 August 2014. That’ll give him something to look forward to.
The Stoa has long been interested in universities, Fabians and beavers, so I’m interested to learn that the newspaper of the LSE student union is called The Beaver. But can anybody tell me why?
There’s a helpful round-up of the recent Martin Amis kerfuffle over at Matt‘s place.
All I’ll add is that we need to see the remarks about his urges to stripsearch people who look as if they might be from Pakistan (etc.) in a slightly wider context. Amis is also someone who thinks he can discern murderous intentions towards his family in the glance of an Arab doing his job, who can write things like “the impulse towards rational inquiry is by now very weak in the rank and file of the Muslim male”, who seems to absorb Bernard Lewis-like explanations of historical problems when non-crazy explanations are readily available, who recycles inflammatory quotations from Hezbollah’s leader that circulate freely around the internet, but which no-one ever quite manages to trace back to an authentic-looking source, and so on.
(This last one strikes me as weird, because presumably it’s not too hard to find Hezbollah leaders saying offensive things, so why is the very-possibly-made-up quote the one that everyone’s heard somewhere or other?)
We can practice our careful reading skills as much as we like on that particular “urges” passage, and we can be as charitable towards him as we want to be (though we should also bear in mind that there’s a long history of people with really offensive views managing to present them in ways that aren’t quite so offensive on a charitable reading of their words). But Amis also has form here when it comes to saying the kinds of things about Muslims that the real crazies also like to say, and it’d be a shame to lose sight of that fact in the parsing of his words from the interview.
I’m not sure enough about what I really think is going on in Amis’s head (and I’m not interested enough in either him or his books to spend too much time on trying to work it out), but he seems to me to be somewhere on the slippery slope that has Mark Steyn and Melanie Phillips festering at the bottom, and it doesn’t look to me as if he’s too anxious to be stepping off it any time soon. (But perhaps I’m being uncharitable.)
This is all terribly, terribly funny. First we have Johann Hari writing about Nick Cohen’s not especially good recent book What’s Left? in Dissent here (with bloggers’ responses here, here, here, here and here). Then we get NC’s reply to JH here and JH’s reply to NC’s reply to JH here, with today’s blog discussion over here [update: subsequently removed].
I want this one to run and run.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Oliver Kamm weighs in, again; AaroWatch has an Ode to Kamm [update: subsequently removed]; and JH has added bits and pieces to his reply to the reply [update: and some of the bits and pieces have been, er, subsequently removed].
As Europe drifted towards war in the Summer of 1939, the Chicago Sunday Tribune was asking the questions that matter: just how tall were the men guiding their nations’ destinies?
Here are the shorties, the rest are over the fold:
[With many many thanks to PM for sending this my way!]