Thursday means another battle between sanity and curiosity. It’s called, “Do I buy The Spectator“?
What would make it easy-peasy is to have alternate weeks.
The Spectator one week, with its pertinent and perspicacious reviews. Though I would make an exception for James Delingpole listing all that was wrong with Gaddafi (which, probably does no great harm in itself — slow learners need all the help going) but hanging that hat on the peg of a BBC4 documentary (which is a step too far). Those of us who received, unsolicited, a copy of the Little Green Book had the swine nailed as a wrong’un forty years ago.
Then, in the “bad” weeks, we could ignore the Compiled Paranoia issues, stuffed with all the crap that gets Surbiton all of a tizz:
- No need to be flummoxed by yet another Christopher Booker rant on the EU. A fortnight back, there he was, explicating how the outbreak of WW1 was what started the whole European Dream. This was The 100-year plot, and naming names — not just the obvious Jean Monnet, but also:
a now forgotten British civil servant called Arthur Salter.
- No need to have another trauma — and an endless succession of unfunny pocket-cartoons — about wind-turbines.
- No need for nightmares of President Hillary — though, to be fair, Patrick Allitt’s piece was more about her loony fright-wing detractors (even if he had said much the same a fortnight earlier). Yet, that associated graphic, a parody of the Jack Nicholson poster for The Shining, played well to the engrained simplistic prejudices of Speccies. Oh. so clever, huh? —
Had one any doubt over the brain-cell count of the typical Spectator reader, the comment column settles the matter:
Bush, on the other hand, was a VERY successful governor of Texas before becoming POTUS. He was also a fighter pilot (not draft dodger — that was Clinton), and ran a successful business.
That’s Dubya, of course, wannabe Top Gun (certainly a draft dodger, and arguably AWOL — somewhere between six months and a full year) of the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard. The “successful business” should bring a smirk to all aficionados of dodgy-do-dab: try a quick google of Arbusto Energy (more bust than energy), the Salem bin Laden (brother of the obvious) connection and Harken Energy (again, the energy being in tax-writ-offs).
- Then, if all other spine-chillers fail, there the ever-reliable diatribe against QUANGOs and their administrators. These are Labour’s fifth column. Sally Morgan of Ofsted might be yesterweek’s bugaboo, but — thanks to the drowned acres of Somerset, there always Chris Smith.
It is a melancholy object to those who read through this once-great periodical or scan its web-pages, when they see the pages, the columns, and diaries, crowded with beggars of the journalistic trade, followed by three, four, or six obsessions, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These blighters, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in trolling to beg sustenance for their harmless fantasies: who as they grow up either turn talking-head for want of work, or leave their dear native notions to fight for the Pretender in Wapping, or have to continue to sell themselves to the Barclays.
A fortnightly alternation is the only thing.
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what The Spectator is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.