Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This week's "Cohen in the Standard Watch" is brought to you by the letter "r"

There are two situations, I was always taught, when the letter r can help you avoid embarrassing yourself. First, if you're eating oysters, make sure there's an R in the month. Second, if you're using words like "safe", "wise" or "rich", try to make sure they end in an R and you're less likely to say something silly.

viz, from Nick's latest (in the context of claiming "it felt as if half the country [including, I think, David Aaronovitch - bb] was blaming Blair for the [7/7 -bb] murders. One family even refused to go to the memorial service because they believe the Iraq war led to the bombs", which Standard readers will know is basically having a go at an eleven-year-old) :

The trouble with this line of thinking is that it can swiftly slip into denial. We can forget about the strange motives that drive a cult of slaughter and self-slaughter. It's crimes aren't really our fault but the fault of our politicians. If only they were wiser, we would be safe."

Good catch on "wise", Nick but you dropped it with "safe". See:

If only our politicians were wiser, we would be safe = stupid

If only our politicians were wiser, we would be safer = sensible.

And of course, it's the second one that everyone believes. Continuing on:

I can see the appeal. With 20th century fascism and communism, as much as modern religious totalitarianism, you are dealing with psychopathic movements that are in the end beyond rational explanation

Leaving aside the fact that a rather famous chap who lived in Islington and is buried in Highgate had a good old go at "rationally explaining" communism, let's stick to Nazism, shall we? It's the perfect example of what I mean.

Why did Nazism start? Buggered if I know. Psychopathic irrationalism. On the other hand, a long time before it got going in earnest, John Maynard Keynes wrote that the Versailles Treaty in particular, and the Allied compulsion to rub the Germans' noses in it in general, were going to lead to pretty fucking serious problems in Germany. For his pains, he got called a limp-wristed sympathiser by plenty of people both stupider and more intelligent than Nick, but he was neither. This is, of course, the long term side-effects of far-left student politics. It's the hatred of the partial explanation, the lack of a big single cause that explains everything, which shows itself in the fact that Nick would rather say that there was no cause at all rather than admit that part of it was under his nose. It takes some gumption to go from saying that Stalinism was an inevitable consequence of the relations of production to saying that it can't be explained at all, but I guess that if you're on the Decent Left, gumption is what makes you

the rest? Blah blah Routemasters, blah blah Ken Livingstone blah blah grammer schools. The grammar schools bit is particularly spiteful (in fairness, this may have just been hasty writing but it does look quite mean)

I know I keep banging on about this, but Labour MPs need to learn that their refusal to allow competition from selective state schools is letting the children of the rich continue to get all the gravy

As a comprehensive bruschettaboy myself, I say spare us the fucking whingeing, you grammar school toff. It is precisely because I'm in favour of a politics that kicks away greasy poles, not attempts to scamper up them and kick away the ladder, that I am not yet prepared to accept Nick's new political categories under which I am a "pseudo-leftist" and he is not.


Blogger Matthew said...

Cohen's piece on Question Time being dominated by public school boys and girls is funny.

These are the years I calculate those on the show LEFT school (assuming they were 18):

Dimbleby - 1956
Yeo - 1963
Hastings - 1963
Jowell - 1965


Laws - 1983

So excepting Laws, all of them had the choice of a grammar school education, in its supposed glory years, and none of them took it. How there appearance can be comprehensives' fault, except in some bizarre time warp, I don't know.

11/02/2005 08:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is the cause of an Islamofacsist state, and supporting the butching of Shi'ites in Iraq in defense of "Muslims", is totally irrational. This is a totally unexplainable nonsensical cause.

Another very good piece from Nick Cohen in the standard. Very weak response from you lot - bad luck.

11/03/2005 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Any ideas why Cohen doesn't name the man or the mosque in the piece?

11/03/2005 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

I know this is not Melanie Phillips Watch but I got to highlight this classic Mel piece here:

It's solid gold Mel.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said this:

‘There is one thing that is always common to any sort of terrorist action, wherever it happens and whoever performs it. It aims at death – not the death of anyone in particular, just death. It does not matter to the killers if their victims are Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Humanist; what matters is that they show that they can kill where they please.’

Mel responded thus:

"Anyone spot the omission in the list of victims? Yup – he left out the Jews. OK, let’s not jump to conclusions here. Let’s be charitable. Let’s think of some reasonable reasons why he omitted the people who are specifically targeted for genocide and ethnic cleansing by Islamic fascism and who in Israel are in the front line of attack in the jihadi war on the free world (not to mention the fact that three victims of the London bombings were Jews). Maybe he just selected a few random faiths with a pin. Maybe inserting a monosyllable here would have ruined the poetic symmetry of his sentence. Maybe his washing machine blew up just as he was typing J… and he forgot the rest of what he was going to say.

Or maybe he just doesn’t think of Jews as being victims of Islamic terrorism at all because he thinks of Jewish victims as Israelis. And Israelis, in the eyes of so many in the CofE, are a different category of people altogether. They are not victims but oppressors. In the new moral order that the church represents, Jews may once have been victims – safely in the past -- but Israelis are the new Nazis. So when Israelis are incinerated by the unspeakable atrocity of human bomb terrorism – merely the latest weapon in the fifty-year genocidal war against them -- they become for the Church of England as invisible as those who fell out of favour with Communism and were airbrushed out of the pictures."

Is satire necessary?

Perhaps you should incorpate Mel Watch too, because nothing much happens on the "official" Mel Watch site!

11/03/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ralph does "butching" mean what I think it means: dressing up in a moustache and leathers (especially if female). It may be irrational, but some people think it's fun. I'm a dread liberal, and all for tolerance in these matters.

11/03/2005 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

The point is

nope, ralph, the point is that little nubby bit that stands out.

You see, journalism isn't like throwing hand grenades; accuracy matters. If I were to publish an article saying:

"The people of Somalia are suffering and the UN is doing nothing about it because Ralph's mother is such a whore"

then presumably you might object that

a) your mother wasn't a whore


b) even if she was, this is not the main cause of slaughter in Darfur.

I would then say "look, the point here is the murder in Darfur, I don't see why you pseudo-leftists are so keen to be apologists for it".

can you see why this is a) wrong b) analogous?

11/03/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

That Cohen's a lunatic. He left a comment on my blog using the name Baruch Spinoza. Called me a self-hater, accused me of sophistry without any back up and then he told me what a fine tradtion of debate the Jews have as if I didn't know that. I tracked the hit back to Nick Cohen's own password protected tracker.

Jews sans frontieres

11/03/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

That's very interesting; I may post something on the front page about it as soon as I work out what a "blog-tracker" is.

11/03/2005 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

It shows where your hits have come from. See my post on it and you'll figure it. (Co)Incidentally Nick Cohen has now closed down his comments. I was leaving a link to my blog exposing his sheer stupidness in each one.

Mark Elf

11/04/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

It seems like Cohen can't handle blogging with comments - there's always a danger of swift and public rebuttal.

At least I assume that is the reason - it may be that his comments have turned into a sewer, and in that case, fair enough.

But it seems that was not the case.

11/04/2005 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

If that comment that Mark Elf's highlights was by Nick, its very odd behaviour. He temporarily adopted the language and style of a rightist supporter of Israel to make some points, and assuming he would not be revealed.

But the "real" Nick - at least the one that writes in the Observer - would not sound like that.

Of course we already have a somewhat different Nick Cohen in the Standard.

Will the real Nick Cohen please stand up?

11/04/2005 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

You need to read his outrageous article "on" anti-semitism, first published in the New Statesman. The whole of the anti-war movement comes in for flak exactly like the "Baruch Spinoza" comment on my blog.

If you look at the comments, there was only one person (Love Supreme) who could be described as anti-semitic.

His writing on immigration generally has been nice but he lost the plot over the war and his support for Israel.

He has closed down his comments because he has been exposed using a phoney name to post what he would like to write openly but is afraid of being sued.

The management of Aaronovitch Watch should be getting on the case here.

I should point out that on Nick Cohen's blog he states that the site is maintained by him. So it was definitely him who left the Baruch Spinoza comment. He at least has enough decency to be ashamed of what he did.

11/04/2005 06:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Benji for those insightful comments.

Of course, if it was him, he could just have been trolling. Though I haven't noted anything particularly right wing in what this individual said.

11/04/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is fantastic news. I personally lobbied the webmaster of Nick Cohen's site to shut down the comments facility.

For journalists who blog it's a very different scenario to ordinary bloggers. Every crack pot and loon on the web thinks they have the opportunity to talk to 'the media' by talking to them, and they are followed around by obsessive types who are extremely interested in everything they do and even set up 'watch sites' about them - whacky or what! Therefore their comments box quickly becomes flooded with hundreds of ridiculous and often libelous comments a day that no webmaster has time to sort out, meaning they are forced to close it down - as is what happened with Melanie Phillips and Johann Hari, etc. Far better to close it down now before it gets to that stage.

I think especially with Jewish journalists they also can become exposed to campaigners of the virulently anti Zionist bent who can get very emotional about things. It's best for all concern that the comments remain closed.

11/04/2005 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Oh well, perhaps he was drunk. :-)

11/04/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...


But was all that sorry stuff actually happening at Nick's site?

11/04/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Nick Cohen isn't jewish.

11/04/2005 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

That's right Nick Cohen isn't Jewish when he used the name Baruch Spinoza on my blog to denounce George Galloway as being anti-semitic and me as a "self-hater" he pretended to be Jewish.

But Nick Cohen has now written to me to say exactly the same as Roger said. I think Roger is either a very good friend of Cohen's or another of Cohen's pseudonyms.

11/04/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger levi9909 said...

And he has now written to me to say that it was my email that persuaded him to take down the comments because I said in it that Linda Grant supports a racist state (Israel) and a racist ideology (zionism) and that that could cause him "legal problem". So first it was all the neo-nazi attention the blog was getting though there's very scant evidence for it, then it was because of an email I sent him after he closed the comments. I think he's losing the plot.

11/04/2005 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There journalists in the USA - such as David Corn and Marc Cooper - who have blogs and good, open comments. No problems.

11/05/2005 04:32:00 AM  

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