Saturday, January 05, 2008

A List

Usually quite boring, lists can be useful for ordering information when that information is quite diffuse. Er, yes, well...

anyway, the Times have come up with a list of interest to me, mainly because this site's favourite poet, Philip Larkin, is placed at number one in their rankings of finest British postwar writers.

It's quite surprising- I thought I was quite unusual for placing him there but I think that he's one of these characters whose persona was so miserable people want to posthumously recognise him as a kind of exculpation of neglect. It helps that he happens to be transparently good.

What's so good about Larkin? David Baddiel writes a nice account.

Looking at the list, I am struck by its thinness- I feel that Ted Hughes at number four must be there to save the blushes of those of us who had to spend months, years, nay, decades, aeons, perusing his hamfisted countryside ramblings. Nice for kids... ah- but actually not, since his worldview is much more darwinian-dark than Larkin's ever was. Then there are the novelists, and with William Golding at number three one feels something like despair. And that's where Larking comes in, as quoted by Baddiel:

"If I seem good it’s because everyone else is so bad. Well, almost everyone. Well, anyway ..."

well, exactly Philip.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Onwards and Upwards.

Progress: "misinterpreting the weather is getting easier and easier."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

That UK Janus face again

Complicated country, Britain.

As we enter a new year, Mark Steyn picks up two stories which show the two sides of Britain:

The NHS worshipping side, and the martially soaring spirit.

See, what we need is to divert a little of the latter to rip into the former, and then we'd be kicking, so to speak.

An amusing Beeb-based opening to 08

Sometimes the deference shown by the BBC to the statements of the so-called authorities of questionable nations can be hilarious. Sometimes it's just foolish and unfair, since the Beeb can be so critical of western governments with whom they wish to pick a bone- for example the US.

Well I think in this case it's the former.

"Malaysian Health Minister Chua Soi Lek has admitted that he is the man who features in two widely circulated DVDs of an unmarried couple having sex.", runs the lede (italics and emboldening mine).

Later we learn "his own wife and children had accepted his apology.". So what was the point of the "unmarried couple" thing? He's married, alright, so why the tricksy little moralistic-sounding intro? Or is that just to help me with my google search- ahem, not that I would, of course (and anyway it doesn't seem to produce anything)

I dunno. It does get funnier though, when they quote:

"I am the man in the tape," Mr Chua, 60, told reporters.

"The girl is a personal friend."

Mmm. Certainly what I call a personal friend.

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