Unsupported by dignity of thought
rant: n high sounding language unsupported by dignity of thought
Johnson's Dictionary (BBC)
Editorial Intelligence (surely an oxymoron? -- Ed and no, I've not heard of it/them either) are somehow responsible for something called the "Comment Awards". Here are the nominees. Here are the judges. Can you spot a name on both lists? (Hint: it's Iain Dale.) I'm impressed by such impartiality!
Actually, the judges are a diverse lot, which makes the overwhelming middle-aged white maleness of the nominees even more depressing. Rachel Sylvester who appears alongside our Dave in today's Times seems to me a far more insightful "Political Commentator" than Daniel Finkelstein (who made the short list). Middle-aged white maleness is forgivable in the case of Chris Dillow - up for "Online Commentator (independent blogger)" against Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes - because he's actually smart. I'm not even going to waste time on the meaning of 'independent' here. Chris is IIRC still a Labour member so I imagine to some people he's just as non-independent as the two Tories.
But what of our Dave? He's on two shortlists. "Commentariat of the Year" (I'm not making that up) against Johann Hari of the Independent and Martin Wolf of the FT.
You may want to check your incredulity at this point. Bullshit detectors will not work as advertised when reading the following paragraph. You have been warned.
Dave's second nomination is for "Poison Pen: Polemicist of the Year, sponsored by Demos." (That's Demos the allegedly left wing think tank.) The opposition comes from Johann Hari (again!) and Richard Littlejohn of the Mail.
The Awards Nomination Criteria PDF state:
Judges will be looking for commentators whose style of writing is acerbic, witty, or even straightforward, but that has the desired effect of ruffling feathers. The awards will go to a writer in any media (online, offline, newspaper or magazine) who has managed to deliver an unexpected twist to their piece or writing. Judges will base their award on several pieces.
This isn't what a polemic is at all. Desiring to ruffle feathers has a much simpler definition. It's "being a cunt." And one of the shortlist meets that criterion admirably. I hope you can see why I chose to start with Dr Johnson, even if "high sounding language" is not exactly appropriate.
Well, all I can say is I hope Demos (which is a charity by the way) feels that its sponsorship money was wisely spent if the not-at-all-racist-apart-from-hating-Muslims-and-gypsies columnist takes the prize. Being associated with Richard Littlejohn in the public imagination for all time has got to be worth a few grand of anyone's money.
Anyone aware of "unexpected twists" in Dave's writing?
Update Thursday 10:26 am. Sarah Ditum (whom you should read, BTW) posts on this too, via which I've learned that Steven Poole is posting again and has a good post on Johann Hari. I don't imagine that the mockery of a few bloggers will mean anything to the sponsors or the recipients of these awards, but it won't hurt to try. If we get any further comments, I'll probably belabour this point again.