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Friday, November 23, 2007

The Pro-Waugh left: a decent anecdote

It’s obvious that the decent left likes a bit of Evelyn Waugh. Take Christopher Hitchens, for instance, as he sticks up for Martin Amis:

In the same essay that initially attacked Amis, Eagleton also slammed me for disappointing him and not, after all, becoming the George Orwell of my generation. I have instead, he snorts, become the Evelyn Waugh! How is one to come to grips with a man so crude in his sneers that his idea of an insult is to compare me to one of the greatest novelists of the past century?

Nick Cohen is also a fan and riffing off fictional entities the Daily Beast and Lord Copper is one of his ways of talking about the British media today.

Another familiar Cohen trope is his annual exposés of the erstwhile Revolutionary Communist Party (1981-1997). A couple of these drew on the anecdotes of the historian Dave Renton, until an inevitable parting of the ways:
“I used to have correspond occasionally [sic] with the journalist Nik Cohen [sic]: until the Iraq war. He interviewed me twice for pieces in the New Statesman. I tried emailing him as the bombings in Afghanistan started. By the end, we could hardly speak."

Renton may or may not crop up as “John” in one of these articles when it appeared in the Observer. He’s definitely in the second of the series, observing an RCP member who won’t give money to a beggar because it’s “helping capitalism”.

I also remember Comrade Pappenhacker, who was perennially rude to waiters. He used to say that “every time you are polite to a proletarian you are helping bolster up the capitalist system.” He was not in the RCP, but part of the supporting cast of Evelyn Waugh's novel Scoop (Centenary Edition, p.32).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It kind of suggests a future when there is an 'encyclopaedia' entry about everyone - and every criminal conviction, far Leftist (or Rightist) view expressed and even lie told about someone will be there for every potential employer to see.

5:50 am  

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