Sunk in a slough of despondency, I had decided to devote no more time to metaphorically gnashing my teeth over the hardly credible Muppet Show masquerading as our new government.
But … a friend, Chris R, also in despair, has drawn my attention to an excellent piece by Fintan O’Toole in the Grauniad. O’Toole writes for the Irish Times, and was on Channel 4 News last night offering some highly intelligent comment on the ‘new kids on the block’. You can read his piece here:
A brief extract: “Boris lies” is like Jonathan Swift’s “Celia shits”. Have I got news for you? No. Everybody knows already.
His (O’Toole’s, not Swift’s) thesis is that people want to be lied to; they want to be told that Boris will fix it. He has told them that it will all be alright, so they are prepared to suspend disbelief.
That masterful dystopian novel 1984 articulated the philosophy perfectly in the concept of Doublethink – the ability to hold two contradictory, mutually exclusive views simultaneously. God knows what Orwell would make of the current situation.
Then, I received an email from the London Review Bookshop who have just reissued a pamphlet: Boris Johnson, The Beast of B******, A Study in Depravity by Heathcote Williams. I have not read it yet, but I am intrigued: “Dishonesty, hypocrisy, incompetence, violence, ‘remorseless self-promotion’, racism: ‘a ruthless and often cruel ambition together with an elitism and a ferocious temper when challenged’” I blame Stanley Johnson …
The ‘Celia shits’ quotation is from Dean (of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin) Swift’s highly amusing poem The Lady’s Dressing Room which can be found here:
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