Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Disappeared of Islington

Your mission, should you decide to accept it is: find the Aarowatch (including "World of Decency") watchee here. Hint: I can't. Paul Wolfowitz contributes - perhaps they don't need his interpreters.

I haven't looked at any of the articles (generally, they do my head in). Sound off about anything that captures your fancy in the comments.


Blogger ejh said...

The Koran: Scrutinising the Inscrutable looks like a case for Orientalismwatch, doesn't it?

As it happens, my enthusiasm for reading any of it self-destructed in about five seconds...

7/30/2008 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

I count Brendan Simms of the Scoopies and Jamie Kirchick, who is basically the American Oliver Kamm.

7/30/2008 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger BenSix said...

Prospect is claiming that they've already lost their publisher:

7/30/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger BenSix said...

(Wolfowitz on Kagan...and the reality is more disturbing than the mental image.)

7/30/2008 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the header of the Standpoint website is really shouty.


It's not online is it? I would never have guessed.

7/31/2008 05:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the new issue is out today (apparently) and I'm sure there'll be a Cohen column. I reckon it'll be a three weeks late 'mauling' of bonekickers.

If you look at the 'blogs' section you can see that the deputy editor thinks that richard Littlejohn is 'always underrated' as a political thinker. In general Standpoint is worse than Decentiya for having an unambiguously clear, and predictable, set of aims behind every single article.

Also I'm not surprised they're having trouble with their publisher. £4.50 for a new magazine which is available in its totality online is not a very coherent business model, surely...

7/31/2008 07:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a look at the Simms article, with it being sort of my area. Basically a rehash of Marko's talking points, without the comedy value of Marko calling someone a Nazi in every paragraph.

Incidentally, Simms is an expert on the Napoleonic Wars, is he not? Not that he lets that restrict him.

7/31/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the new issue is out today (apparently) and I'm sure there'll be a Cohen column. I reckon it'll be a three weeks late 'mauling' of bonekickers.

Perhaps - but House of Saddam's just started its run on BBC2 - I claim my Friday Forecast a day early.


7/31/2008 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lot of shite.

I read the Hezbollah article and it was boilerplate HP stuff. The writer knows sweet FA about Lebanon. The idea that Hezbollah is weak and 'imposes' a regime on unsupportive Shia in the South is utter nonsense.

And the bracketing together of
Yasser Arafat with Al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Ladin is ridiculous.

7/31/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Nick actually ended up writing his television review column on an as-yet unperformed script:

the entire article rests on an assertion that the BBC refuses to make the drama on the grounds that it's 'Islamophobic' - but for the evidence of this, Cohen can't quote the BBC and relies on the 'journalists' who apparently wrote the programme, who of course would have no axe to grind against a corporation which skewered their drama - which sounds hackneyed and dull even in Nicks wannabe exciting account, and covers almost exclusively old ground.

much like nick's column in fact.

7/31/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The extracts sound fairly terrible.

"What did people do before Google?" the admiring Hussein asks.

“They’ll go straight to paradise,” answers Sidique. “It is quadaa [fate] that they’re there. And if it is Allah’s wish …” (Pause ). “We need more acetone."

Just really weak dialogue. And here's that conspiracy theory again:

It makes no sense until you understand the moral contortions of the postmodern liberal establishment. In the past few years, the Foreign Office, the Home Office, the West Midlands Police, the liberal press, the Liberal Democrats, the Metropolitan Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Lord Chief Justice and the Archbishop of Canterbury have all either supported ultra-reactionary doctrines or made libellous accusations against the critics of radical Islam.

7/31/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that list is recycled from something he recently wrote on Harry's Place as well, isn't it? funny how the conflation of the two accusations seems to mean that he considers himself immune from libel, since the archbishop of canterbury is not really guilty of either of the things he's accused of.

the problem with nick's article is that he makes the programme sound awful, neither gripping nor well-written, and thus essentially vindicates the BBC's decision to can it. Either the writers need a better class of supporter than nick, or their drama just wasn't very good. There's hardly a big audience out there waiting desperately for yet another programme about 7/7 - and if the BBC had screened it, Nick would probably have found nits to pick anyway.

and 'every writer and director who has read it disagrees' is hardly convincing either. Has Nick spoken to them all? Do they have any idea of the budget needed and the budget available? etc etc.

The defining characteristic of Islamophobic prejudice is the belief that all Muslims are potential terrorists

is that really true? It's a defining characteristic, but it's not the only one by any means.

7/31/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

The Lebanese article certainly starts out fact free:
sweets were handed out in plenty of Arab capitals on 9/11.

Even if you still believe the story about Palestinians, there were never any serious accusations about other countries.

The author's naivety about the realities of Lebanese politics are quite amusing though. Who'd have thought that so many Lebanese politicians would be fair weather friends... I mean in Lebanon? Soon we'll discover that Italian politicians are taking bribes, and then where will we be?

7/31/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Nick's not using the word "postmodern" without having a clue what it means again, is he?

7/31/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

The Lebanon article is really bad. Stay away.

7/31/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope we're all looking forward to listening to Aaro on Radio 4 next Monday at 8pm - "The Sixty-Eighters at Sixty".

7/31/2008 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Nick may have tracked the postmodernism = relativism meme to its source, namely the book by Gellner that he cites.

It's actually Gellner's one not particularly good book, allowing for the fact that Gellner's off days were vastly less embarassing than, say, 'What's Left'. Now there is such a thing as relativism, which has always been around in the field of anthropology and which stems from people like Ruth Benedict and Melville Herskovitz who claimed that it was impossible for one culture to make moral judgements about another culture. Gellner rather cavalierly dubbed this 'post-modernism'.

Unfortunately it was rather well written and convinced large numbers of people that 'postmodernists' were all the sort of people who thought that chopping people hands off was morally legitimate in Riyadh but not in Rotherham. That in turn became a useful explanation when the left declined to sign up for the 'Greatest Intellectual Struggle of Our Time'.

The irony is that whilst Gellner was a self-confessed 'Enlgihtenment Fundamentalist' he would have had little time for Decency with its insistence on substituting moralism for analysis, its cosy belief that everything in the west is roses and its naive idea that you can invade countries and install western political institutions at gunpoint.

If only Francis had leant Nick his copy of 'Civil Sociey and Its Rivals' instead.

7/31/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Its a bit rich for the Harry's Place lot to rant about postmodern academics, when they can post garbage like this:

Brett is just Richard Littlejohn under a pseudonym, right?

7/31/2008 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Brett is just Richard Littlejohn under a pseudonym, right?"

Indeed. What an extraordinarily stupid and badly informed piece.

7/31/2008 06:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to recall that Brett is, apparently, gay, and is therefore intrinsically "liberal" and even "left wing", no matter what his actual political beliefs.

By the way, the world has a new shittiest website. You can tell from the URL exactly how bad it's going to be, but it's worse.

7/31/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

The book report on American Pastoral was very special.

7/31/2008 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i met gellner once -- or rather, annoyed him without being introduced

i have a slightly fancy friend who knew him -- may even have been taught by him -- and so we were at the same party, and i was chattering away (this is 25-odd years ago) about how much more important than ANYTHING ELSE pop music is, and i could see out of the corner of my eye this many in an odd little pillbox hat whincing and pretending to concentrate on what he was saying and trying not to LEAP AT ME AND TEAR ME TO PIECES for being a POMO IDIOT or whatever

anyway afterwards i asked my friend who the man in the funny hat was and he said gellner, so yay me i guess :\

7/31/2008 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

The book report on American Pastoral was very special.

Yes, I read American Pastoral too. The review does seem to miss what I considered the most important sentence in the book - What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?

It could, of course, be that I'm too infected with the dread disease of Stopperism to realise that this is a retrospective justification of the Vietnam war.

n.b. AP is good, but The Human Stain is better.

7/31/2008 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Harry's Place Arts site is very odd - it seems to have about 2 posts a week, almost all of which are youtube links or, at best, GCSE book reports. Even the more thought-out posts like the one on Britpop are typical HP: myopic and evincing a curiously arrested thought process, but long, and with an author who is unwilling to listen to any comments but will reiterate the points of the article ad nauseam in the comments.

Standpoint describes itself as an 'intellectual' magazine. first two entries in Standpoint's 'blogroll': 'biased BBC' and 'honestreportingUK'. Richard Littlejohn described in a standpoint piece as 'always underrated'. And now on Harry's Place we have sub-Littlejohn ranting from Brett (at least Littlejohn can string a sentence together - Brett seems to think that he avoids looking like a poor-quality Mail columnist by saying 'this is a gut reaction' and 'i don't want to sound like the Mail, but...') which not even the usual HP cheerleaders can bring themselves to agree with.

this stuff speaks for itself really.

8/01/2008 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice piece by David Hill on Anthony Browne at CIF today. The article also takes a sideswipe at Nick. He quotes a Julian Petley review of Browne's Retreat of Reason which exhibits:

"peevish, aggrieved tone and cavalier approach to adducing evidence for its arguments," and concluded that it "boils down to a particularly shrill and unappetising mishmash of self-aggrandisement (I'm a stalwart lone voice of truth) and self-pity bordering on paranoia."

The thing is, that also appears to describe to a tee, Nick's more recent writing.

8/01/2008 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Harry's Place Arts site is very odd"

I thought it might be a half-hearted attempt to turn HP into a 'magazine' rather than a monomaniac crank weblog with an audience limited to fellow cranks and monomaniacs.

8/01/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT but it must surely be worth catching Aaro on Radio 4 tonight about 1968. I suspect a festival of rationalisation from former communists turned NuLab types.

8/04/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

On the other hand, I reckon Aaro Watch is here to save the rest of us having to listen to him....

8/04/2008 11:29:00 AM  

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