Wednesday, August 02, 2006

please don't make me do this

I am currently listening to the Cohen/Gove interview and it is excruciating. The whole thing has been recorded with a horrible dead echo and neither man is known for his clear diction. Nick is saying "achoffle cofloffle offle", to which Gove replies "nyee nyaaar nyaaaaadebum nyarrr". It is like Nick is trying to do the interview while eating Kleenex and Michael Gove has just been told that he won't get a bike for Christmas unless he eats a plate of sprouts.

Highlight from the first minute is that Nick introduces Michael Gove by saying that he has just finished his own book on the subject, but that Gove's "Celsius 7/7" is covering the same ground much better. Nick can't possibly mean this literally; I have now read half of Gove's book and it is fucking terrible.

Do I really have to do this? I know I said I would but will you let me off?


Blogger Matthew said...

Just listened to first few minutes - you're right about the sound quality. Then they started talking about John Humphries - is this another book that is convinced the left-wing (supposed in this case) media is more of a problem than the actual problem?

8/02/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

What I find interesting is that Gove's analysis is fairly archetypally right-wing, with Islamism as a sort of independent force of nature we can do nothing about except crush by military force, and yet Cohen appears to agree with every word of it. I say appears to because I could only make out about one in every five words he spoke.

8/02/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gove's book does deal with the "left wing media denial" thing, but only as part of a tour d'horizon of every dull platitude you've ever read in the last year of blogs. It's an utterly pointless book. It is much, much worse than Melanie Phillips' book in that it is very badly written (the typesetting is also appalling too; whoever did it apparently didn't care enough about the book to get block quotes right) and utterly unoriginal.

The flavour of the thing is this; a dozen pages in, he is talking about somebody appearing on Newsnight in February 2003, and it is conscientiously cited in a footnote "Newsnight, February 2003". Then two paragraphs later there is a huge and important quote from Sayyid Qutb with no citation given at all. I am 100% sure that practically all of his sources are secondary.

There is no mention whatever of Michael Moore in the book, btw, so the title "Celsius 7/7" is meaningless as well as being a moronic pun.

8/02/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

You actually bought it?

8/03/2006 04:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, and I bought Londonistan too. You won't be laughing when I sell these on eBay in fifty years time and make a fortune.

8/03/2006 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Why is it called 'celsius 7/7'? I get the 7/7 bit, sort of, but not the celsius bit. Also sure Gove has never uttered the word 'Celsius' in his life?

8/03/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's some publisher's forlorn attempt to carve out a British market for dashed-off right-wing polemic of the sort which is much more popular in the US.

8/03/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Marc Mulholland said...

Having just read Michael Gove's 2000 booklet on Northern Ireland - a baleful chore - I for one am disinclined to let BB off the hook of his heroic commitment to finish and comment on Celsius 7/7.

8/03/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Funny what where mistyping in Amazon search can lead you:

"Celcius-7" starts in the physical world and quickly moves to the spiritual world as confusion, pain and sleep take the souls of eight physical beings. They journey to a sphere called Celcius-7 to embark on a journey of discovery with the help of two spirit guides, Triacia-37 and Adius-13. They explore past events that shaped their personalities, the connection between perception and current belief, and the importance of love. They watch twelve individuals of different ethnicities in a situation, where they too, feel they don't belong. There are twists and turns and the spirits learn of a far greater connection than they anticipated.With their new found knowledge they embark on a journey to make a real difference."

8/03/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Do you remember Gove's pre-election call for federalism in which the best use to which he could think to illustrate it was 'Welcome to Section 28 country'.

8/03/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be a little off-topic, but I was struck by this Gregory Djerejian post and in particular Robert Pape in the NYT.

In writing my book on suicide attackers, I had researchers scour Lebanese sources to collect martyr videos, pictures and testimonials and the biographies of the Hezbollah bombers. Of the 41, we identified the names, birth places and other personal data for 38. Shockingly, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were from leftist political groups like the Lebanese Communist Party and the Arab Socialist Union. Three were Christians, including a female high-school teacher with a college degree. All were born in Lebanon.
What these suicide attackers -- and their heirs today -- shared was not a religious or political ideology but simply a commitment to resisting a foreign occupation. Nearly two decades of Israeli military presence did not root out Hezbollah. The only thing that has proven to end suicide attacks, in Lebanon and elsewhere, is withdrawal by the occupying force.

Like Marc, I want BB to persist with the Gove. Obviously a Tory MP won't be too put out to learn that 28 out 38 Lebanese suicide bombers were in fact communists (noted generally as a secular grouping), but how will Nick cope?

I know that this is the word of one writer against another (though Pape has worked in the Middle East which makes him more authoritative to me), but I expect such nuance to be missing from Gove's and Cohen's works. BB you have to say if I'm right or wrong here.

Pape's book is very well reviewed on btw (and not at all on; barring one one star review -- by a reviewer whose only other effort was five for a similar sounding book. (Actually, while both Amazons recommend both books, reviewers of both give 5 stars to one and one to the other; it all looks a bit childish to me.) I also did a quick Google for Robert Pape and Michael Gove: they've both got books out; neither seems to have heard of the other.

8/04/2006 02:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basically, if the index of citations is anything to go by, Gove will not hear of Pape until he is published in the Sunday Telegraph.

8/04/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a diversion from Gove (who looks just like Joe 90 - he is a small boy, but his glasses contain the mental powers of a US Neoconservative)

here is Nick's latest Standard piece, in which he gives up , more or less without a fight, on his opposition to Asbo's.

The Evening Standard

August 2, 2006 Wednesday

New Labour's most popular legacy will be the Asbo

IKNOW THIS is the silly season, but I can't remember a previous summer when a study by MTVwas treated as a serious work of scholarship.

But this week the media were loudly trumpeting the pop channel's claim that almost one third of 16-24-year-olds see Asbos as a badges of honour that gives them "street cred" rather than a punishment.

Newspapers which want a tougher line on law and order liked the story because it "proved" that criminals laughed at New Labour's punishments. They didn't look too closely at MTV's preposterous poll, which wasn't a study of teenagers who actually have Asbos, just the random views of an unrepresentative sample of young people about Asbos.

Like other liberally minded people, it played to my prejudices as well.

Asbos strike me as the best illustration of the Government's contempt for the basics of English law.

Instead of arresting suspects for specific offences and proving them guilty beyond reasonable doubt, New Labour has authorised the imposition of blanket bans on behaviour, which often isn't even criminal, and jail sentences if they're broken.

To make matters worse, it is clear that lazy bureaucrats use Asbos to criminalise people who aren't bad but mad - there's a poor woman in Bath who keeps trying to kill herself, and has been ordered to keep away from high bridges on pain of imprisonment, as if that's going to help.

How outrageous, I think.

Unfortunately, every time I go to a London estate the residents tell me they love Asbos and want more of them.

The estates of Somers Town at the back of Euston are a good example. They're a part of the hidden London. You can come in and out of the station every day of your life and never know Somers Town exists.

Nor would you want to visit if someone told you about it, because unless you are a police officer or social worker there's no good reason to go there.

Drug-dealing and lethal gang violence were endemic in the Nineties, but my friends who live there feel a great deal safer and happier now because Camden council and the Met have deployed Asbos ruthlessly.

They have told drug dealers they will be jailed if they are seen in "drugs hotspots", and targeted prostitutes, noisy neighbours, unruly youths and graffiti sprayers. There's even a "good-behaviour zone" in which the police can move on or arrest anyone who strikes them as a shady-looking character.

When I protest that the police's tactics are an affront to the principles of justice and a worrying sign of the growth of an authoritarian state, my friends in Somers Town reply that they are poor and frightened and Asbos are one of the few New Labour measures that they thoroughly approve of.

You joined the wrong club, Mel I CAN'T help but feel sorry for Mel Gibson.

If only he had joined the Muslim Brotherhood or Hezbollah rather than an ultra-reactionary Catholic sect, his views on a world Jewish conspiracy would have done him no harm. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, declared that if Jews "all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide", yet Channel 4 News bends over backwards to make excuses for him. Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, has a constitution which might have been written by Adolf Hitler, yet the Foreign Office gives the Brotherhood public money and the allegedly "Leftwing" Ken Livingstone hugs its spiritual leader.

You picked the wrong type of fascism, Mel. If you'd been cannier, there would be pieces in The Independent denouncing your critics as Islamophobes.

Londoners hate Ken's tall storeys THE Evening Standard's poll findings on Londoners' disquiet about Ken Livingstone's gargantuan building projects show how little the Mayor understands this city.

Londoners have always wanted low-rise buildings which don't blot out the sky. The trouble with having a dictatorial mayor rather than the old system of a leader accountable to his or her fellow councillors is that, if Livingstone indulges his passion for grandiose megadevelopments, there's no one to stop him.

M'learned friends rush to claim their place in Macca's history A FRIEND involved in a horrible divorce told me she couldn't get hold of her barrister for days.

She tracked down his clerk, who explained that he, like all the best divorce lawyers, was devoting his energies to getting on board the spectacularly vicious McCartney case.

With a substantial chunk of an Pounds 860 million fortune up for grabs, the cheap thing for me to do would be to make a gag about lawyers rushing to get their snouts in the trough.

But for once I don't think that this is all about money. Mills v McCartney will be the divorce lawyers' big one, their Ashes series, their Olympic final. Like footballers fighting for a place in a World Cup final, the briefs just want to be able to tell their grandchildren: "We were there."

8/04/2006 12:29:00 PM  

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