Friday, January 26, 2007

Respectable prejudices

Here are some of the things I've been reading in my hiatus from blogging.

Howard Jacobson had a superb piece in the Independent on the bien pensant prejudices of the liberal classes. This article captured my views perfectly. It's not that I like Bush and Blair and "their" war, it's just that I can't stand the other people who don't.

Robert Fisk
revealed his deep cultural conservatism in this article, possibly one of the least original articles ever written. Fisk rehashs the familiar Grumpy Old Man/Daily Mail complaints against the jargonisation of contemporary life, in a mildy entertaining way. For examlpe, Fisk doesn't like the fact that lady writers can't be called "authoresses" any more. What an iconoclast.

One passage stood out for me as slightly objectionable:
who, I ask myself, invented the false reflexive verb? [...] "stressed". In northern Iraq in 1991, I was once ordered by a humanitarian worker from the "International Rescue Committee" to leave the only room I could find in the wrecked town of Zakho because it had been booked for her fellow workers - who were very "stressed". Pour souls, I thought. They were stressed, "stressed out", trying - no doubt - to "come to terms" with their predicament, attempting to "cope".
I get the Lynne Truss lite point about nouns that shouldn't be made into verbs. But note the self-importance in thinking that a journalist has better right to a room than an aid worker actually helping people out in a terrible time of crisis. Note the smug scare quotes around "International Rescue Committee" , as if it is not a serious organisation. Note the self-aggrandizement in the implication that Fisk, the seasoned atrocity tourist, is immune to stress.

At the less liberal end of the spectrum of overfed cultural conservatives is Chris Patten, the Tory the liberals love. In an q&a, he is asked by one Mary Seaton of London, "isn’t Europe’s influence on America’s Middle East policy relatively weak compared to the weight of America’s Israel lobby?" The FT says, "Do you think she has a point?" Patten says, "I do, particularly if Europe doesn’t speak up." That darned Israel lobby.

A Guardian reader free of the liberal intellegentsia's respectable prejudices is Denis MacEoin, who wrote this letter a while back:
Only the Guardian could write, "Hizbullah's Katyusha counter-strikes were about as effective as throwing pebbles at a firing squad" (end of year review, December 30). If Katyushas ever start raining on London, you will all be on the first train to Edinburgh.

And, finally, a fairly sophisticated view from Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, in the Indy again, in what at first seems likely to be an opportunity for yet more wittering class anti-Americanism, but isn't.

Hopefully, normal service from Bob From Brockley will resume after the weekend.

Previous: Chirac and the cheapening of the language; Loveable Tory
tags: Bush, ,


Steven said...

Good to see you back Bob.

Richard said...

Thanks for the Jacobson tip-off, Bob. Excellent stuff.

Odd topic - but is there a feed for your blog?

Richard said...

**cough** "off topic" I meant...

bob said...

Not that odd a topic. It's


richard said...

Marvellous! Ta