Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"It's a shame stupidity isn't painful..."

Do you ever get tired of reading opinion pieces by supposedly informed commentators that are so mind-numbingly idiotic that you want to slam your own head in a door because you don't have the actual offender close to hand? (Rheotrical question - if that doesn't happen to you every so often you probably wouldn't be reading this).

My current frustration is around the massive media hyping of Nick Cohen's new book What's Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way. I can't bring myself to get worked up about the book itself, because its central premise, that those on the anti-war march were all basically supporting Islamic fascism, is the same tired, unoriginal and unpersuasive stuff that you get if you peruse the hawkish section of the American blogosphere for more than thirty seconds. What upsets me is that people who are paid to know about current affairs get so incredibly excited when this drivel is presented in book form, presumably for no other reason than because Cohen has delusions of being a bit left-wing himself. I've noticed the Times, the Observer and the FT falling into line on this (can't speak for any of the others, except for the New Statesman, which tore the thing to shreds pretty effortlessly).

John Lloyd at the FT really deserves a special mention for the brilliance with which he constructed an article apparently designed to make himself look like an idiot, though. It starts with a quick review of how he went to see a remake of the musical version of Candide (By the way, who the hell goes to see that anyway? What's next, The Social Contract on Ice?) which "satirised not, as Voltaire did, the view that life was always destined to turn out well... Instead, this was a satire on the US." Lloyd goes on to explain how those silly arty types on the left think anything's satire if it takes a knock at authority figures, and it's this sort of degenerate thinking and refusal to shoulder responsibility that characterises the left more and more. This, of course, is why he likes Cohen's book so much: "It is an essay of wide reference and great brilliance, which flays every kind of foot-shuffling excuse for not facing up to the nature of the regime which that most evil (and now, mercifully, dead) tyrant, Saddam Hussein, inflicted on his country and planned for his region."

Now I can't be the only person who recognises that, in the current context, that is a truly stupid statement. No WMD, a vicious civil war that looks like it might spread across the region and thousands of civilian casulaties. It seems to me that to think that the current situation in Iraq was anything like a vindication of the pro-war position, you'd have to be a quite serious believer in the idea that "All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.” Someone should really do a satire. Oh, hang on...


Blogger DrummerDave said...

A lot of people that have, at some point, received some sort of positive reinforcement that their opinions are correct then go on to spend a lot of time trying to fit reality to their opinions.

Case in point: people who still think there is some noble cause for our involvement in Iraq. Do people still believe that toppling Saddam was worth the cost? Oh wait, we don't even have a total on that cost yet...

When I hear about people writing and opining about how the Left and liberals in general are 'helping the terrorists', I can only ask: how did our sticking our proverbial national dick into the blender that is Iraq not show Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organizations that our leadership is a bunch of bumbling, greedy asswipes who can't manage an invasion any better than they can manage a budget??? How did that not send a message of incompetance and empty threats????

If you seriously think that Iraq was worth it, I must ask: was it really more important than letting Bin Laden go? More important that using overwhelming public compassion for 9/11 to do something truly remarkable, something much more imaginative than killing people??? Really?????

22 February, 2007 18:54  
Blogger Steve said...

So what is John Lloyd and the FT's current "foot-shuffling excuse for not facing up to the nature of the regime which that most evil (and now, unmercifully, very much alive) tyrant, Islam Karimov, inflicted on his country...", i.e., Uzbekistan?

Oh, wait: Karimov and his brutal regime are our allies in the "War On Terror". So it's okay for him to literally boil dissidents alive, then. Whew! That's a relief!

Wait another 15 years and let's see whether he turns out to be another Noriega/Saddam Puppet Gone Bad in the eyes of the US administration and its media concubines. I'm pretty sure that John Lloyd or his successor will then have something equally interesting to say on the issue.

24 February, 2007 05:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democratiya: What’s Left? How Liberals Lost their Way, The Euston Manifesto, Engage and Mishcon de Reya are delighted to invite you to a conversation with Nick Cohen In “one of the most discussed current affairs books of the new year" (Guardian), Cohen tells the story of how parts of the Liberal-Left of the 20th Century ended up supporting the far Right of the 21st in the shape of Islamic extremism.

Copies of “What’s Left?” will be on sale at the event. 6.15pm - Thursday, March 22 Mishcon de Reya, Summit House, 12 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4QD (Nearest tube station is Holborn).

Interviewing Nick will be Anthony Julius, lawyer and academic, founding member of both Engage and The Euston Manifesto, and author of TS Eliot, Anti-Semitism, and Literary Form. Drinks and nibbles will be available after the event Tickets for this event are £10.

Enquiries: Alan Johnson 01539 720 485

16 March, 2007 11:47  

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