Friday, September 12, 2008

Facts - Sacred

Bush and Saudi friend.

I don't want to tread on the good captain's toes any more that I already have in the previous post. There should be a photo above this paragraph. (I pinched it after a Google search; it came from this post: How John McCain can McDo it. Multiculturalists among you will know that, as the post's author did, that Muslims have certain prohibitions concerning the left hand. Some statesmen are a little more ignorant, it seems. But I digress.)

Nick "Wanker" Cohen in [pause, deep breath, almighty swearing attack] FrontPage:

Bush’s doctrine was unexceptional – a leader would be guilty of a dereliction of duty if he did not treat those countries which harbored those who would slaughter his fellow citizens as ‘hostile regimes’ – but it was not allowed to stand [by one assumes, George Soros].

The Guardian this evening: Saudi judge calls for murder of satellite channel owners:

Al-Lihedan sparked controversy previously when he issued a religious decree permitting Saudis to join jihadists to fight US troops in Iraq.

Do I even need to mention Oliver North and the Iran hostage crisis? I could go on, you know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In light of this Frontpage bombshell, I suggest we replace the Seals of Dacre with the Seals of Podhoretz.

The prize at the end of Nick's path to becoming Norman Podhoretz with a dodgy liver is an invite to one of those "intellectuals' dinners" they have at the White House when a Republican is President, when they invite the most cackling of loons for tea.

9/12/2008 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

Damn, I hate to say I told you so, but there it is - it's been bullshit US culture war ever since Nick spotted those hippies on stilts at that anti-war march.

It was the endless chat about non-specific Islington liberal dinner parties that sealed the deal for me. I don't know whether other readers have picked up whiffs of some trace leftism in Nick's articles in the past five years, but practically every one that I've read has reeked of the nastiest wingnuttery.

Okay, sweepstake time - who's going to be the first Decent to call bullshit on Nick and point out that he's neither Decent nor Left?

My money's on Norm Geras or Brownie at HP, but I may be hopelessly naive in this belief.

9/12/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger BenSix said...

He clearly doesn't go to these parties, because a) people don't tend to associate with journalists that routine condemn them as anti-semites and b) if he had to gone to them then HP would be sure to pop up his photo with a caption reading "Nick Cohen - Eats Risotto With Anti-Semites".

9/12/2008 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know if this was already covered here, but if not, it should be.

9/12/2008 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

was covered at the time; note that Nick isn't in fact Jewish, and I suspect that we will know that he's gone irredeemably over to the dark side the day that he starts pretending he is, which hasn't arrived yet.

9/13/2008 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Okay, sweepstake time - who's going to be the first Decent to call bullshit on Nick and point out that he's neither Decent nor Left?"

Well, for all the sneering at those fractious bastards on the left Decency isn't a coherent movement as such. What makes these little fractures interesting (for which read 'boring to all but the most dedicated politics geeks') is which way people jump.

I'd say the mighty Norm is a good bet. I haven't read Harry's Place in a while, but got the impression they were barely saner than Nick these days.

Von Pseud

9/13/2008 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger BenSix said...

"I haven't read Harry's Place in a while, but got the impression they were barely saner than Nick these days."

They've got a guest post from Julie Burchill's little friend, in which he claims that:

- "With a few honourable exceptions", pro-Palestinian activists are anti-semites (they get a "parasexual and visceral thrill from tormenting Jews" according to Julie).

- Israel is forced to "defend itself against incessant Palestinian aggression".

- The ‘concern’ that Anti-war protestors held for the Iraqi people was quite clearly "a sham" because they "coldly ignored an Iraqi exile’s emotional plea that the coalition be allowed to complete the liberation of her country".

- George Monbiot is an elitist because he wears "expensive knickers".

It's the equivalent of a twelve-year old shouting "Yeeeeah, you got told".

9/13/2008 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This provides me with an excuse to plug the late Joe Heller's Good As Gold. In it, Lieberman (a thinly disguised Podhoretz) gets invited to the White House for writing an article supporting the Vietnam War. Lieberman: "I would support a war every day of the week, if they'd invite me back!" A disgusted Gold (a thinly disguised Heller) plans to write a denunciation entitled "Invite A Jew To The White House, And You Make Him Your Slave."

Of course, Gold never gets round to writing the article, as he hopes to get invited to the Carter White House...

It's a pity Nick isn't Jewish, or someone might dust the old chestnut off.

9/13/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Be wary of veering into anti-Semitism... dd's comment could be construed that way, although I don't think it is. Let's not give the Harry's Place loons ammunition.

9/13/2008 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One especially hilarious change made to Nick's wikipedia entry by 'NCohen2' is this.

He changed "Cohen argues he promotes left-wing democratic secular humanism, and is regarded by some supporters as belonging to the intellectual tradition of radical writers such as George Orwell[5] and Albert Camus."

to "Cohen promotes left-wing democratic secular humanism, and is regarded by some supporters as belonging to the intellectual tradition of radical writers such as George Orwell[5] and Albert Camus" as a fact.

He did this while writing for Frontpage Magazine, and inserting further down the entry a furious claim that Hari was lying when he said Cohen claims the mantle of George Orwell. Anyone know a good shrink in Islington?

9/13/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hauling down my copy of 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger' I notice that the mighty Hitch partly dedicates it to "Joseph Heller, who saw it early and saw it whole", and follows that up with a little quote from Good As Gold.

Better days eh.

Von Pseud

9/13/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I hope it's less tedious than Something Happened, in which nothing does.

9/13/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

I'm about to introduce the concept of Decent Delta-Vee, which measures the force with which a given Decent ran off the edge of sanity. The lower the ddV value, the lower your orbit around consensus reality and the sooner you're likely to return to earth.

Geras is a fairly low ddV; he didn't go all that berserk and now seems to be aerobraking, burning off the outer layers of crazy as he returns to earth.

Cohen, however, has achieved escape velocity and is heading for deep space.

Hitchens went off with a fairly high ddV, burning all that liquid fuel, but the orbit is so eccentric that you can't rule out a lithobraking event.

But what baffles me is how some people managed to launch themselves into Decency well after everyone else stopped caring. Julie Burchill, for example, late to the party by five years.

9/13/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Yes, but she generates her opinions at random and therefore can't be taken into account by your formula. Or any other.

9/13/2008 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burchill's a cheap and predictable contrarian, for the most part, but not all of her opinions emerge from the random spittle generator. TWAT may be recent grist to the mill but her loathing of arabs in general (and Palestinians in particular) goes back a lot further than that.

Von Pseud

9/13/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I remember it, Burchill's Judeophilia[1] basically dates from her marriage to Cosmo Landesman, and thus, like so many of her other bizarre views (Stalinism excepted; I think she's recently discovered that Stalin was bad, by the way), has its roots in wanting to tell the world how she is so totally over Tony Parsons.

She's got a book out, hasn't she? I used to quite like the Burchill column when it appeared in the Saturday Guardian, but frankly the idea of actively seeking out Julie Burchill's views, and then paying money specifically in exchange for them, seems very weird to me. It's like paying for sand on a beach.

[1] since we are apparently being lectured on "hints of antisemitism", I'll point out that this is simply a term which means "a fondness for people of Jewish ethnicity", which is precisely the view that Julie Burchill has expressed, more or less in so many words, several times. I stand by my view on Nick Cohen, by the way; I would not at all be surprised if, as the invitations from Frontpage and the like pile up, he conveniently "forgets" that he's a second generation atheist who has historically taken quite a pro-Palestinian line on Middle East politics.

9/13/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Tony Parsons.

I once spent a couple of hours in Oslo bookshops looking for a copy of Sophie's World (I often like, on holiday, to buy in its original language a copy of a book I've enjoyed in translation).

Couldn't find one, but they had wall-to-wall Tony Parsons.

Which I am unlikely to enjoy in any language. Even one, like Norwegian, which I do not read.

9/13/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Nathaniel Tapley said...

Good As Gold is infinitely better than Something Happened, and restored my faith in Heller, having trudged miserably through Something Happened.

9/14/2008 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

However, at least you didn't find a Norwegian bookshop full of Julie Burchill's books. Now that would have been bad news.

Interestingly, she has had the Nick Cohen concern troll, tribal Tory pretending to be a socialist, flogging refugees for the sake of the indigenous working class, domestic politics for as long as I can remember, but she retconned the Decent foreign policy.

Nick, and I think really all the others, started off by adding some Decency to their foreign policy views and ended up importing the stuff from Colombia. But she did the opposite.

9/14/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As I remember it, Burchill's Judeophilia[1] basically dates from her marriage to Cosmo Landesman"
No, the dedication of "The Boy Looked at Johnny" to Menachem Begin, which I assume was her idea rather than that of Parsons, dates from c 1978. And sundry references to "camelfuckers" can be found in her NME singles review columns from the early 1980s. Of course, such references in no way imply that our Julie was anything less than 100% sincere in her devotion to the liberation of suffering Iraqis, nor should we condemn the likes of Norm for linking to her columns.

9/14/2008 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the dedication of "The Boy Looked at Johnny" to Menachem Begin

There's a note in the book saying that the publishers (Pluto) take no responsibility for the dedications, in particular the second one (i.e. Begin). You can almost hear the arguments that had gone on.

9/14/2008 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Go on then, who was the first one to? I know I shouldn't ask...

9/14/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I misremembered. Here's the whole thing:


With love to Pennie Smith, Danny Baker and John May
To Joan Jett and Poly Styrene
To Allan V. Harrison and Pete Mannheim
To Menachim Begin
To Charles Shaar Murray, Angus McKinnon, Denis O'Regan, the Tom Robinson Band and everyone else on the same side at Lewisham, 1977
And especially for our parents

The authors, Spring 1978, Carnaby Street, London W. 1

Dedications are traditionally left entirely to authors but in this case the publishers feel it important to dissociate themselves from line four on this page.

There's probably a Burchill column somewhere where she dissociates herself from CSM but not from Begin - this stuff writes itself after a while.

9/14/2008 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think there was a point in the early 80s where julie was an openly stalinist thatcher-backer supporting the invasions of both lebanon (by isreal) AND afghanistan (by the ussr): she was also (at that time) fairly dementedly anti-american -- has this changed too?

(ps good call on joan jett tho, who hadn't yet become awesome in 1978)

9/14/2008 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"good call on joan jett tho, who hadn't yet become awesome in 1978"
Well they did also claim in the book that the dominant musical figures of the 1980s would be Poly Styrene and Tom Robinson, so let's not get over-excited.

9/15/2008 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Joan Jett was awesome? I missed that. Danny Baker was and is a god, but why no Paul Morley? Also from the NME, though she'd left by the time Burchill arrived, Chrissie Hynde was awesome. Unlike Jett, she wrote her own hits. The Pretenders recorded for Sire Records, also the label for the greatest band in the history of the universe, The Undertones, but poor, gauche, badly-dressed, white Catholics from Derry with a singer who could really really sing weren't going to be Burchill's taste.

9/16/2008 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

why no Paul Morley?

Because he's a pretentious poseur? And poseurs never like each other, because all of them want to be the bigget poseur in the house.

9/18/2008 06:47:00 AM  

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