The Will to Outrage

There is no racist like an antiracist: That is because he is obsessed by race, whose actual existence as often as not he denies. He looks at the world through race-tinted spectacles, interprets every event or social phenomenon as a manifestation of racism either implicit or explicit, and in general ...

Oscar Pistorius

The Person Behind the Door

The verdicts in the case of Oscar Pistorius, and the reasoning behind them, seem to me curious. Either Pistorius was guilty of murdering his girlfriend or he was guilty of nothing. I don"€™t know whether there is anyone who needs to be told who Pistorius is. His surname makes him sound like a ...

Indignation (Righteous or Otherwise)

With a little effort I can work myself up into a fury of indignation about most things, but strangely enough not about climate change. The whole subject bores me because I can"€™t really make the whole of the planet the object of my affection or concern. I wish it no harm, of course, but I cannot ...

The African Scene

I think I may safely claim to be one of the few people alive to have flown in a Malian air force DC-3 from Bamako to Timbuktu in the company of a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel Laureate in question was Nadine Gordimer, the South African novelist and short-story writer. We were ...

For Crying Out Loud

A British judge is reported to have wept recently as he sentenced two murderers for a particularly vicious and sadistic killing. A reporter for the BBC apparently wept on air as he described the aftermath of the Paris massacre. I couldn"€™t help thinking of Augustus Carp, Esq., by Himself: Being ...

Er, F—- Monomania

To celebrate the arrival of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, in Britain, the Guardian newspaper reported that many eminent British writers had, in an open letter, urged the British prime minister, David Cameron, to raise the question of increasing intolerance of dissent in India under ...

A Quick Word

Last week I was irritated to receive an e-mail from the British Medical Journal asking me what I thought of its new format. What I thought of it was unprintable; and now that we know that e-mails are as permanent as the Rock of Gibraltar, I thought it wiser not to answer. The Journal claimed that ...

One More Feather Duster

La Rochefoucauld said that it is easier to give good advice than to take it, to which he might have added that it is also easier to agree with good advice than to act on it. Enacting wisdom is a little like speaking a foreign language that is pronounced perfectly in the head but comes out of the ...

Something Is Rotten

The British government-funded cultural establishment's fawning and flattering but insincere attitude toward popular culture and the demotic was shown once again in a recent production of Hamlet at the National Theatre, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the Prince. The text of the play was ...

Secondhand Knowledge

There is no quality more fleeting than modernity and nothing staler than an analysis of a past crisis that was written at the time it was happening. The problem with our present economic crisis is that it has been going on since 2007 (or is it 2006 or 2008, one tends to gets a little muddled in ...