Tuesday, December 20, 2005

War in heaven?

Well well. Nick on Sunday says "people who take freebies from dictatorships are bastards". Dave on Tuesday says "people who bang on about Routemasters are wankers"[1]. Have sharp words been exchanged as Nick gatecrashed the Times knees-up (or vice versa)? Leave it boys, it's the beer talking, you're best mates really.

I actually quite liked the Aaro column (mainly because he had a go at the Furediites, in a week when the Guardian decided to do a profile of Furedi himself) although I very, very much doubt if all the references to Cameron and Hague were just off-the-cuff thoughts rather than trailers for something ominous. Rather hilarious that, as RK says, Dave honestly appears to believe that it is our duty to reorganise our lives around the government's plans for us rather than vice versa. But it's reasonably well-meaning stuff, albeit that when he talks about people being unable to pull themselves up a flight of stairs on a bus, it is hard to avoid the uncharitable thought that something fatter than pure altruism is at work.

PS: Possibly a subbing error, but it was a slag heap that buried the school at Aberfan. "Slurry" is a posh word for shit, and it would be inordinately difficult to build a heap out of slurry on even slightly sloping ground.

Update! Dave has emailed me (yes he has, do you think I'm lying or something!) to point out that the phrase "Coal slurry" is used repeatedly in the report of the inquiry into the Aberfan disaster. I was entirely wrong on that one apparently, so apologies to Dave, the Times subeditors and you our loyal readers, in roughly that order.

[1] This is the only mention of Routemasters in Nick's online Standard columns, but there have been loads of them, enough for it to have become practically a running joke in Cohen In The Standard Watch.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Slurry" doesn't mean shit.

12/20/2005 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschetta Boy said...

I've shovelled enough of it in my life to know you're wrong

12/20/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Ach, I was going to post on this, having found DA's latest through Mark Holland of Blognor Regis.

It's a funny old column, IMO. I don't Dave does himself any favours with the tone, which must (by all but the most unthinking) be read as a sneer at the reader. It does demonstrate Dave's deft logic-chopping. Now Mark is presumably offended because I know that he likes the Dambusters and considers it a good film. Whether or not the original film is an accurate historical document (and I believe Dave when he says it's not) is beside the point: Henry V was embellished and reshaped by William S, and is none the worse for that. Now as far as I'm concerned, if the new film pretends to nothing more than an entertaining tale of derring-do hung on a historical peg, they can change the dog's name to "Aaronovitch" and I won't care. If it sets out to be accurate and portray events as they happened and characters as they were, then they can't. It depends entirely on the ambitions of the producers.

BTW, is Aaro having a regular go at tehgrauniad or is this just his usual, in the way that he also goes for colleagues on the Thunderer (well, Matthew Parris at least)?

It wouldn't surprise me if posters on Stormfront had some nasty plans for the disabled, but isn't Dave's job to actually know stuff he writes about? He uses the "probably" trick here, and I'm not convinced.

"Of course at Stormfront, following in the bootsteps of Dr Mengele, they probably have courageous and radical policies for dealing with people with disabilities. The other complainers, however, seem simply to want wheelchair users and others with impaired mobility to fade away and not to bother us with demands for public transport that they can actually use."

DA is probably right here; but shouldn't he be certain?

Anyway, like BB, I quite liked the column until I got to "Or those who complain that the building of a few metalled paths in countryside areas to accommodate wheelchairs somehow represents a destruction of all the natural beauty that they have come to see." That's a classic wedge tactic, Dave, and that's where you part with reality. (And I've enough experience of this sort of thing to know that any metalled paths which are built will be built very badly or will deteriorate and not be maintained. As a cyclist my bete noir is the cycle lane barely wider than a tightrope. I'd feel a lot safer with no lane, than with one where merely breathing takes you into four-wheel space.)

And finally, what did Lisa Jardine ever do to Dave? "All Jardine had to do was to plan her banner-hanging with sufficient forethought to arrange elementary safety. If she can’t even do that, what on earth was she doing chairing the Booker Prize?" Is it me, or is that a complete non-sequitur?

12/20/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good lord, can anyone begin to explain what Mark Holland is on about in that piece?

12/21/2005 12:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Well, I found the Blognor Regis conceit to be quite funny. The meat of it is in the final sentence of the long paragraph -- the bit with "your subconscious does the heavy lifting". DA uses "unthinking" to mean "what peeps who aren't professional chin-strokers comme moi do". Mark sensibly objects, and I share his objection. Despite Mark being nominally "right-wing" and I answering to "left", I also can't stand DA's "I and Tony Blair and the nanny state know what's best for the little people" approach. Democracy is just for when people agree with Dave. Otherwise they're "moaning Minnies" (in old money, "counter-revolutionary elements.")

12/21/2005 10:49:00 AM  

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