Saturday, December 14, 2002

Who's Abusing Whom?

Saturday, 14 December 2002

Ken Parish and I have very different tastes when it comes to blogs: he likes Wog Blog and Professor Bunyip some of the time. Most of the time, try as I might, I don't.

In an extended rant, the good Professor takes Margo Kingston to task for "abusing" George Orwell nee Eric Blair on this Web Diary page. You'll actually have to search the page to find it, which is perhaps why the good Professor neglected to provide a hyperlink. You'll also discover that the springboard for the Professor's launch into blustering outrage is not, as the Professor's presentation of it might suggest, an extended article by Margo but a short response to a reader's post. And finally, the Orwell quote Gudgeon accuses Margo of abusing occurs within the context of Margo's own quoting of the article she offers as suggested reading.

There's also this quibble:

While Zmag requires a subscription, it's online incarnation, Znet, charges exactly what Cromwell's tosh is worth, which is to say not a cent.

Which is true, just as it's true of the New York Times. But a lot of people, myself included, get irritated with those huge on-line subscription forms that you need to fill out to access NYT articles and I think it's more reasonable to assume that this is what Margo might have been referring to even if you're disinclined to go the whole hog and give her credit for some intelligence.

I had intended this post to be about the widespread conservative appropriation of Orwell as a rich motherlode of juicy anti-left wing quotes, and the bizarre irony this presents, especially when you read Orwell's largely approving descriptions of the way POUM was organised: POUM officers were elected by the troops for example. But I can't be bothered - Bunyip's bile doesn't warrant it. The last time I saw intellectualism this dishonest was when my rampantly Hayekian economics lecturer dismissed the whole of Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by citing his tongue in cheek proposal that the government create employment by burying 5 pound notes in bottles and giving the unemployed spades to dig them up. She omitted to mention the next sentence in which he went on to say that it would probably be more useful if they did it by investing in public works.

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