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Saturday, 17 December 2011

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He was the sort of chap who was articulate, educated and outspoken a bit above the British norm and therefore a long way above the American. So he found it easier to make a good living there. I've known one like him myself. His stuff reminds me of the better sort of Junior Common Room chat of my undergraduate days, but with an extra thirty or more years in which to distill the venom.

Well, it's not too late.
See "Vanity Fair".

I couldn't stand him, but it was somewhat entertaining to see him on TV, drunk and bad-tempered and oddly unable to make eye-contact.

He wrote a long stupid piece explaining "Why Women Aren't Funny," that sealed the deal for me, years ago. I give him point as a provocateur, but not as a thinker.

Fair point, 'Sis', but I wonder what he was like as a writer. His tragedy, of course, is that essayists of his sort are forgotten nearly as quickly as the headlines upon which they are commenting. Who now remembers, let alone re-reads the late, great Bernard Levin?

I'm reading "Arguably" now, his last collection of essays (well, apparently there is another coming out next year), and it's well-worth your time. The man must have read every book ever written.

I like what he wrote after 9/11 -- "First we must recognize that we have seen the enemy and he is NOT us."

Yes, Dom, all the obits reckoned him one of the greatest essayists of his generation and they all remark on his voracious appetite for reading and his ability to memorise and then quote whole chunks of text.

Also, I do have a somewhat soft spot for the man who finally followed his intelligence past his ideology.

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