Friday, August 22, 2008

Off Topic

One of the things which gets me down about blogging for Aaro Watch, as I mentioned in my last post, is the awfulness of some of the stuff we watch. I think Nick Cohen exposes all the weaknesses of the generalist straying into specialist territory: he doesn't know much history or economics or ecology, hence his articles don't hold any insights. David Aaronovitch, in contrast, is actually pretty good on liberal and local topics. Again, he's no good on politics abroad or war or anything like that. On those, he's at the mercy of agenda-pushers (I suspect NuLab spin-doctors with deep pockets).

I was reading Simon Barnes' blog on the Times site (which I only discovered because Aaro appeared a day late last week). Yesterday he wrote:

As the two British swimmers threshed their way around the marathon course yesterday, my old friend Matthew Engel, former editor of Wisden currently writing for, of all things, the Financial Times, announced: "It's time to invoke the Conway Principle." He meant that he was now cheering for a British one-two, not that one cheers out loud in the press-box, at least, not very often.

Two things stand out for me: he's generous in naming names and he's specific. Aaro has this off-and-on Jackie Ashley bashing thing, but without telling clueless Times readers who he's fighting with. Clarity should be journalistic commandment number 1.

So, as an antidote to all this negativity, we've covered journalists and bloggers who've got everything wrong. Who, in your view, actually gets it right? Who would you recommend on the Georgia thing? Or on China? Because I need a break from idiots.

PS Who you would recommend on anything really.


Blogger John B said...

Jamie Kenny and Clive Matthews are the best UK writers I've read on Georgia - weirdly, despite the fact that they're both professional journalists, the only relevant stuff they seem to have written is bloggish.

8/22/2008 11:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wise old independent/idiosyncratic liberals who have seen a lot, and still actually travel to these places and talk with people - they could have been diplomats, but chose to be journalists. UK examples are Neal Ascherson (see his recent piece on Georgia for Open Democracy), Jonathan Steele, and recently departed Charles Wheeler.

8/23/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

You can find some of these people in the London Review of Books, which, for instance, has a good piece about Kosovo in its most recent issue by Jeremy Harding.

Wheeler was a really fine US correspondent. God knows what he must have thought of the crew who folowed him (Esler et al).

8/23/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Georgia? LRB? By coincidence, on that magazine's website, they're currently running a old piece on Abkhazia, from 1992. The author (who, in passing, commends a piece by Christopher Hitchens) is leading Decentman John Lloyd.

8/25/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a tough question. Anyone you care to mention is likely to be open to all sorts of criticism. Perhaps the question should be: who's worth reading for the perspective they bring and doesn't persistently stray too far beyond their zones of expertise?

Juan Cole usually seems to know what he's talking about though, and he refers to a fairly wide range of sources.

8/25/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glenny is somebody I've always had time for, even though I have some pretty major disagreements with him. He's a good honest bloke, gets to know his subject, practices hands-on journalism and is usually pretty clear on the difference between when he's reporting and when he's editorialising.

Ori Nir at the Forward has always been a good source on the intersection between US and Israeli politics.

But yeah, the old-style foreign correspondent (think someone like Tully) who would spend years in a country, know the language, build up lots of contacts, and actually report independently instead of conforming to a discourse set thousands of miles away... those are a dying breed, sad to say.

8/25/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the course of the world wide war, I've seen a lot of good stuff in the Christian Science Monitor. Dunno how much chaff there is, mind. Otherwise, Barnett and the Open Democracy crowd often come up trumps.

Chris Williams

8/25/2008 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not the worst paper. Remember, those guys are not only Christians but scientists.

8/25/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, not sure exactly who I would recommend, but it certainly wouldn't be this guy .

I await the first approving link at HP.

8/26/2008 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

I think Gary Younge is excellent on the US. I'm not sure how good he is on the rest of the US, but I've spent quite a bit of time in the south (my wife is from there) and he really understands the place, its hypocrisies and the ways in which race plays a part. An underrated journalist here, though interestingly he seems to be quite respected in the US.
Justin Webb is fucking useless.

Obviously Patrick Cockburn on Iraq. Helena Cobham (who writes for the Christian Science Monitor) is very good on the middle east. She seems to have good contacts in Lebanon for example.
The FT has some very good foreign correspondents (so does the WSJ, but I can't imagine that lasting Murdoch). Although he no longer works for them, Anatole Lieven is good on Russia. He has a definite bias, but its one you don't here so much in the west and its a much more realistic one.

On economics, Doug Henwood is excellent. Unfortunately he doesn't have a blog, so you have to rely on podcasts of his radio show, or subscribe to his (excellent, but non-regular) newsletter and look out for occasional pieces in the Nation. And actually the Guardian's economics editor (Larry Elliot) isn't bad on economics either. And the Observer's business section is, extraordinarily given the rest of the newspaper, very good.

On the environment George Monbiot is better than his many critics would like people to believe. He does his research and he has the background and he admits when he gets it wrong. Yes he has flaws, but they're obvious. I've also been very impressed by Felicity Lawrence over the years. Her coverage of the politics and economics of food production is very good, not something which gets covered much and should be a much bigger deal than it is. Personally I think the environment is what we should be worried about, not terrorism. Fuck terrorism.

8/26/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hardly without his axes to grind, but Simon Jenkins is always worth a read; a great stylist. I like both George Monbiot and Polly Toynbee because they make the effort to work their way through specialised literature with policy implications, and then tell you about it in capsulsied form. It feels like they're doing work so that you don't have to, which is how it should be. Johan Hari is definitely, I think, one of the good guys - a 'Decent Left' who is actually 'Decent' and 'Left' (so hated by Decents, obviously).

Not really a journo, but Richard Overy's pieces in Literary Review are reliably good, particularly as almost everyone else who writes for them are strident defenders of western (preferably Anglo-American) civilisation against the Islamo-PoMo-Hippy hordes.

8/26/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha Andrew I saw that piece at CIF and thought exactly the same thing. Ascherson is excellent on Russia, Hilton I think is very good on Latin America and I used to really like David Hirst when he reported on the Middle East. I think Hirst and Fisk both write very well and that's always a big bonus. On economics I like Larry Elliott and William Keegan. Both Monbiot and Hari say the odd daft thing but are more often than not close to the money. On TV I think Jon Snow and Lyndsey Hilsum are outstanding.

Funnily enough our list of favoured authors (Steele, LRB, Cole, Younge, Cockburn, OD, Monbiot, Hari, Hirst) reads like a 'Decent shitlist'.

8/26/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meant to also mention David Leigh and the investigative journalists Duncan Campbell and Nick Davies.

8/26/2008 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the Observer's business section is, extraordinarily given the rest of the newspaper, very good.

Simon Caulkin's management column in the Observer business section is excellent.

Other than that, Andrew Rawnsley is great at giving the "insiders" view of politics. I've also got a bit of a thing for Jenni Russell in the Guardian.

8/26/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy the David Runciman pieces in the LRB even if I don't always agree with them fully. In fact the quality of writing is always a reliable guide to people who are worth reading, even if you disagree with them - which is why I'll always look out for Simon Jenkins's stuff. One thing i've never understood about Decencts (HP and Decentiya especially) is the fact that they don't seem to care about the quality of writing at all. Never a good sign. Equally they seem to consider some publications (LRB being the pre-eminent example) worthy of blanket dismissal, which again is never a good sign.

On literature, James Wood is generally good even if he tends to only really like certain things; Daniel Soar in the LRB is generally sound as well even if his coterie is less good - his skewering of Martin Amis (the source of Eagleton's info on Amis) was outstanding.

To go a little 'downmarket', I think Paul Kelso on football finances in the Guardian is almost always excellent.

8/26/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few no-one's mentioned so far: Nir Rosen on Iraq and MENA generally. Of the western journos covering China I think Richard Spencer in the telegraph's the best, especially his blog. In terms of writing from the US, I've got a longstanding soft spot for Alex Cockburn, elder brother of Patrick. Also, Jesse Walker, who writes for the libbo magazine Reason

rioja kid

8/26/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

um, when i said paul kelso i actually meant David Conn. Kelso is ok but Conn is excellent.

8/26/2008 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Heh. David Conn and I had football books published on, I believe, the very same day and by the same publisher in 1998.

Whatever did happen to him?

Soar is good, as in the latest issue, when he knows his subject...

8/26/2008 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry ejh i never knew that. And I meant Soar on fiction really. His recent surveillance stuff is ok - i'm guessing it's part of research for a book - evidently he's less good on chess. but on novels he's generally reliable and readable.

incidentally have you come across this

8/26/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

marc mulholland: I like both George Monbiot and Polly Toynbee because they make the effort to work their way through specialised literature with policy implications, and then tell you about it in capsulsied form. It feels like they're doing work so that you don't have to, which is how it should be.

I agree - but unfortunately, Toynbee too often gets the politics wrong (viz. her belief that New Labour will - one day - turn into the social democratic party in her head).


8/26/2008 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funnily enough our list of favoured authors (Steele, LRB, Cole, Younge, Cockburn, OD, Monbiot, Hari, Hirst) reads like a 'Decent shitlist'.

Yes. Jonathan ("appeaser!" N. Geras) Steele produced a classical piece of reportage / thinking in yesterday's Guradian. Well-informed, balanced, clearly expressed, and clear in its views.
Any response to this sort of cool stuff yet from the 1938ers?

8/26/2008 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes. Jonathan ("appeaser!" N. Geras) Steele produced a classical piece of reportage / thinking in yesterday's Guradian. Well-informed, balanced, clearly expressed, and clear in its views."

Do you really think that? I found that as vacuous and partisan as some of the anti-Russian stuff coming out of the other side.

I hope that feeling moderately pro-Georgian in this conflict (as I do) isn't going to be treated as synonymous with Decency. For me, the most interesting thing is not that the Decents have been pro-Georgian, it is that they have had so little to say about the conflict, presumably because of the lack of Muslims involved (except a few in Abkhazia).

8/26/2008 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conor Foley is very good on humanitarian intervention and the legal issues surrounding it. He also strikes me as a really nice bloke. He actually engages with his critics at CIF and is prepared to debate in good faith.

I also really like Martin Shaw, though he's an academic not a journalist. His stuff on risk transfer war and also the 'global state' is excellent.

8/26/2008 09:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, I'll certainly second Conor Foley.
Also Joseph Stiglitz on economic issues, especially globalisation.

8/26/2008 09:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have my doubts about Martin Shaw, who's a smart guy but does tend to go off on Decent benders. His campaign against Pilger being a case in point, not a million miles removed from Kamm-Chomsky.

But someone I really like, and she's been praised here before I think, is Mary Kaldor. Both decent and left, which is why in his interview with her Alan NTM comprehensively failed to get what she was saying.

8/26/2008 09:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are being rather unfair splintered. I don't think Shaw is remotely Decent. You can see this in his attitude when he takes part in debates with people like NTM. However much he's pushed he doesn't accept their premises. In terms of Pilger's attitude to the Balkans, I think Shaw was right to be critical as I think Pilger got it badly wrong by saving pretty much all his opprobrium for Nato. I like a lot of Pilger's work and I admire him but I do feel he has lost his way quite a bit recently. I think Chomsky is a much more reliable writer but then I don't agree with everything he says either, though he's clearly a major intellect and thus always worth a look.

8/26/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

incidentally have you come across this book?

I'm aware of its existence. The publishers' Hardinge Simpole, are cronies of the Times' notorious chess correspondent, Ray "The Penguin" Keene - or rather, he's one of theirs'. I have a strong suspicion that the "Susan Hardwick" whose name appears on the adulatory Amazon review is in fact a relative of the Penguin's.

Martin Shaw does have a tendency to go off on one, no? Actually I'd have thought that tendency was pretty much a distinguishing feature of Decency.

Re: the Decents and Georgia. I've observed before here that the current taste for denouncing antiwar leftists as apologists for totalitarianism and genocide really took off during the Yugoslav wars and especially during the Kosovo business (which is regarded as a classic Good Intervention by a fair number of people). Now it's possible that the parallels between South Ossetia and Kosovo are so glaringly obvious to all that the task of constructing an argument that doesn't fall at the first hurdle of whatabouttery has so far proven beyond the comrades. I suspect however that in practice the contradiction will be resolved and that a last stand for civilisation will need to be made in the name of Mikhail Saakashvili.

Did anybody else snigger at Guradian?

8/26/2008 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger the management said...

In re Shaw - he is basically a good guy and knows what he's talking about. He does go off on Decent benders from time to time but we are not big on excommunications here so either he's not wholly Decent or "Decent" isn't wholly pejorative - take your pick, I'd choose the second personally.

In re Steele - I am with Simon to a certain extent. I like Steele a hell of a lot and want to be like him when I grow up. But he does often take the "ohhh it's more complicated than that" theme a bit too far; he did a lot of really good stuff on Darfur, but always seemed to be holding back from blaming Bashir for things that were ludicrously obviously his fault.

in re Russia vs Georgia - I don't think that being a qualified supporter of the Georgian cause is going to lose you any friends round here - I seem to remember writing something in this line on my other blog. Tough on imperialism and tough on the causes of imperialism is my line and Russia is pretty obviously an imperial power. But otoh, it's pretty obvious that appeasement of the Russofascist octopus is actually the only option on the table.

8/27/2008 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger the management said...

btw, a glance at the Marko Attila Hoare site reveals that the contradictions are resolved by noting that the Russian-speaking South Ossettians are only a majority because of a past act of ethnic cleansing, and thus Ossetia can be made consistent with Kosovo. Obviously this gambit does rather result in a fucking huge bubble popping up under the wallpaper in Israel, but remember that for the Decents, "the old woman who swallowed a fly" is a counterinsurgency manual.

8/27/2008 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Marko may be thinking of Abkhazia. South Ossetia was something like two-thirds ethnic Ossetian at the time of the last Soviet census. Unless Marko actually wants to reverse the Ossetian settlement in the area in the 13th century, which is not impossible, but where would that leave his Kosovo policy?

Abkhazia, though, may be more analogous to Kosovo in that there was in Soviet times a mass immigration of Georgians, encouraged big time by Beria, which is how the Abkhaz got to be a minority. But not quite analogous in the way Marko might like it to be. Although I'm sure he can stretch a point.

8/27/2008 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""Decent" isn't wholly pejorative".

Quite. Often what's reprehensible about actually existing Decents is less their particular policies than (a) their millenarian fanaticism combined with conformity to power; and (b) their anathematising and imputing of bad faith to all opponents or even doubters.

As has been observed before, "No need to be such a blackguard about it" (or words to that effect) might be the core rebuke to 'Decentry' in general, which makes reasonable, non-foam-flecked Decents all the more worthy of approbation.

8/27/2008 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I like Ross McKibben in the LRB too.

8/27/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I think there's also this Manichean approach to Decency, in which all issues involve an adversary who is essentially evil and relentless and who therefore can either be stood up to, or appeased (or worse). Among the many problems this causes - not least its destructive effect on political discussion - is that it makes it very hard indeed to see that certain things "we" do may genuinely make a bad situation worse by giving the other side all sorts of genuine grievances.

The most glaring example of this is "how Western democracy alienates public opinion by its enthusiastic support for Israel" but in the present situation it's possible to see, for instance, that the West lost a lot of friends in Russia by backing a drunken president whose policies impoverished the population, that it followed this up by a policy of surrounding Russia and supporting whoever made the most bellicose noises against them. The upshot is that the bona fides of the West simply aren't taken seriously in Russia, including by a lot of people who are perfectly aware that Putin and Medvedev are very far from being democrats. However, they may also think the same of Saakashvili, and they'd be right.

In Decentworld this doesn't really register, because all who have is an enemy who needs to be stopped, but in truth if you want to appeal to public opinion in Russia (or the Arab world, or what you will) it is really helpful to undestand that the other side will have genuine grievances and that following a policy of pursuing strategic objectives while proclaiming one's ethical purity is likely to makes things worse.

The Decents tend to think it's always 1938: me, I tend to worry that it's just coming up to 1914. Expansionist powers and all.

8/27/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

but remember that for the Decents, "the old woman who swallowed a fly" is a counterinsurgency manual

Oh, that's lovely. And very funny.

8/27/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still like Hamish MacRae in the Indy for big-picture economics that become politics.

8/27/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Decentworld this doesn't really register, because all who have is an enemy who needs to be stopped, but in truth if you want to appeal to public opinion in Russia (or the Arab world, or what you will) it is really helpful to undestand that the other side will have genuine grievances and that following a policy of pursuing strategic objectives while proclaiming one's ethical purity is likely to makes things worse.

I think this is at the heart of the problems with their analysis of Iraq. Decentism assumes that because Saddam was such a tyrant and America and the UK have noble motives then anyone fighting against the US-UK forces or opposing them must be either seeking to take the country back to the Saddam era or must be a nihilist jihadist.

The fact that most people in the ME don't see the war as a liberation must be swept under the carpet. Why else are the Decents, HP sauce and Decentiya in particular, so keen to wheel out obscure Muslims who back the project.

At the end of the day there is a complete unwillingness to think about how our actions are seen by other people. This is of course why they refuse to accept that people in the ME might actually have some real grievences.

8/27/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of HP sauce, they seem to be having a little legal problem.

8/27/2008 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, that's very bad - a warning to all blogs. Calling somebody out for linking to David Duke is not libellous, and having HP closed down over it is outrageous.

8/27/2008 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger the management said...

Totally unacceptable behaviour, although frankly, if someone was going to do this utterly wrong thing, Harry's Place is more or less the best possible target they could have picked. Frankly I'm surprised that they haven't become a test case for the responsibility of blog owners for their comments sections.

8/27/2008 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

It depends upon what the complaint was, no? Given HP's tendency towards exaggeration, she may have a point. I'm not supporting the woman (at the least she's bloody stupid), but HP have form, so I'll wait until I know the full facts before passing comment.

8/27/2008 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it - it was bound to happen eventually. They have been so outrageous in smearing people I am only surprised that it hasn't happened earlier.

8/27/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger the management said...

I also have to say that I'm not wholly inclined to blame the employee of the ISP who made the decision to pull the plug - can you really honestly put your hand on your heart and say that looking at the Harry's Place comments section from cold, you'd have said "no, this is obviously not a hate site, this must be a frivolous complaint!".

Actually, thinking about it, it's quite possible that there were a whole load of libels and death threats on the relevant page and in fact, HP may end up finding out that they've been brought down by their notoriously shitty comments section management policies.

8/27/2008 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

1) What's happened to HP is unacceptable bullshit.

2) The post's subject might have complained because she was caught posting a link to a far right site, but I reckon it might well have something to do with the fact that her email address went up in the comments thread.

8/27/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ISP have their hands tied in this kind of case so I agree with bruschettaboy that the blame does not really lie with them. It's the law that's the problem and any of us who blog could fall foul of it, so it's right to condemn what has happened to HP even if they are not always the easiest people to have sympathy for.
And it's not exactly easy to have sympathy either for someone who is supposed to be an academic who links to David Duke's website and then claims she didn't know who he was.

8/27/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger the management said...

It's the law that's the problem and any of us who blog could fall foul of it

I don't really agree that the law is so much the problem - one shouldn't be able to libel people on the internet with impunity and although it's not germane to this case I have a lot of sympathy for the view that people ought to be accountable for their comments sections if they're transparently not making a good faith attempt to manage them. Also, although in principle it could happen to any of us, in fact it was always much more likely that it would happen to Harry's Place.

I think all the blame here goes to whoever put in the complaint (probably the lecturer but possibly just someone on the UCU list who was pissed off with HP and saw a chance to lash out); they're abusing the ISP terms of service system and that's not on. And also the ISP could (and a blogger-friendly one would) have made a better judgement call on the merits of the complaint (although as I say, HP does itself few favours here).

8/27/2008 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant the law that leaves ISPs open to libel actions for material published on websites they are hosting. I'm not against having a libel law per se and agree that people do have to be responsible for material they publish whatever the medium.

8/27/2008 04:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have just read the comments on the HP sauce farrago over at the Tomb. I don't normally visit the place because its not my sort of politics, but I thought the post raised some interesting issues. Apparently one academic Mike Cushman of the LSE advised the academic in question to complain because

People who have had their names and details on this blog in the past have received threatening and obscene e-mails.

Why doesn't that surprise me.

Gosh I have so many conflicting thoughts about the whole affair. Part of me thinks that the libel laws are pretty indefensible and I want to defend HP's right to publish whatever they like, however libelous. On the other hand I can't feeling that a lot of this stuff is intended to intimidate people who they disagree with, and I don't like that. There's lots of groups that do this and its not very conducive to free speech. On the other hand the woman in question was at the very least an idiot, if not much worse. But then again the whole sorry affair has now given HP an excuse to wrap itself in the mantle of free speech martyrs and go on ad infinitum about the red-green-brown-white alliance thus making themselves even more insufferable than ever. What a terrible quandary...

8/27/2008 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

She's not an academic, she's a lecturer at a college of Further Education. This is more akin to a teacher posting a link to David Duke's site.

8/28/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really frustrates me when people label Jenna Delich, or any 6-form college lecturer, an academic on the basis of their involvement with the UCU. in the eugenides post it's in inverted commas, but nobody would call her an academic - she's a sixth-form college lecturer, and as cian rightly says they're closer in terms of their job to a teacher than an academic. This is my problem with the UCU, that the 2 types of education are fundamentally different.

I'd have more sympathy for the idea of HP as free speech martyrs if they didn't delete some stuff they disagree with from their site while allowing clearly racist comments. It's also odd that they will jump down the throat of any post that disagrees with the articles they publish, but at the same time they'll allow anything that agrees with the sentiment to pass, no matter how batshit insane or dodgy.

also the David T article about all this suffers from the perennial HP problem - not only is it dreadfully written, but it's also incredibly, and pointlessly, long.

8/28/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

Its probably also worth mentioning that she's German.

8/28/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Well, I think the style goes with the territory: when you're forever trying to uncover things that aren't really there to uncover and tell everybody what such-and-such really means - when they don't - it does tend to go on a bit and it does tend to have an obsessive air to it. 9/11 stuff is the same, for what it's worth.

8/28/2008 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when you're forever trying to uncover things that aren't really there to uncover and tell everybody what such-and-such really means - when they don't - it does tend to go on a bit and it does tend to have an obsessive air to it.

this is true, but then again, to get back to the topic of this post, when Christopher Ricks does it with poetry it's almost always brilliant (if obsessive and often quite long).

8/28/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No you are quite right she's a FE lecturer and apparently she's also Eastern European so she might not actually have known who Duke was.

I still don't like the idea of publishing peoples pictures and email addresses and encouraging others to hound them. Also the whole affair as been used to cast the whole UCU boycott as seething with fascist sympathizers when many of them objected to the posting.

8/28/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I'd be willing to bet the majority of the population don't know who David Duke is. Its easy to forget sometimes that most people have lives...

8/28/2008 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Towards the end of a job interview - which was going well, and it was for a job I really wanted - my prospective boss mentioned casually that his boss, and the founder of the company, was an American guy named Dave Duke. I've always been slightly ashamed that I didn't ask the obvious question, either then or when I was offered the job.

(I took the job, then asked. It wasn't. I don't know what I would have done if it had been.)

8/29/2008 10:38:00 PM  

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