I’ve had enough of The SpectatorMarch 13th, 2012 by Paul Hensby
I’ve had enough of The Spectator. I know it’s difficult to bring out a weekly magazine with relevant and high quality articles, but there ought to be a higher bar than the silly ranting of Stephen Pollard, whose observation of the audience booing of Dvorak’s Rusalka at the ROH has the strapline: ‘The British no longer know how to behave in public’.
A cruel, or stupid, sub-editor highlighted the crassness of Pollard’s piece by selecting this statement as the stand out: ‘Now that going out is as easy as staying in and watching TV on the sofa, we behave when we’re out as if we are watching TV on the sofa’. Clearly Pollard hasn’t tried to reach or park in theatreland in the past ten years, but why let facts get in the way of a space filler.
Rod Liddle fills his space with a daft piece that argues the falling support of right wing racist parties will result in a rise in racial violence because bigots and fascist thugs need an outlet for their anger.
Lucy Bannerman writes just about the only worthwhile piece, reporting on Zambia’s achievement of changing goverment peacefully after last year’s election – fairly rare in Africa – and the appointment of a white man as vice President – understandably an exception in post-colonial, post-apartheid Africa.
James Delingpole, who a few weeks ago contributed what was virtually a press release praising the children’s book The Hunger Games, this week attempts a critique of Quantitative Easing, equating it with Soviet style planned economic policy. He fails, not least because he admits that he isn’t an expert in this area. Is there, readers probably wonder, any area on which Mr Delingpole is an expert?
In the Arts section, it goes without saying the reviewer, Andrew Lambirth, is taken in by Cy Twombly’s scribbles. This sentence confirms the reviewer is a fool. “Looked at in one way, it’s only a bit of scribble. Differently angled, it’s a rough chimney shape in blue crayon with five dabs of pink oil paint and three further touches of pink.” So it doesn’t matter which way you hang it up were you daft enough to buy it.
But why I won’t read another copy of The Spectator is the insert, The Spectator Guide to Independent Schools.
The publisher of, and contributors to, The Spectator are too myopic to realise that private education, available only to privileged children, divides and perverts our society. Unimportant to them that the guide is full of fluff such as the importance of going to open days to see if a private school is worth the money, which schools specialise in sport, why one writer enjoyed his private school days as an army cadet, and the most absurdly self indulgent and banal piece by James Delingpole (yes, him again) justifying why he sent his son, whom he calls ‘Boy’, to Papplewick, a school in, where else, Ascot.
‘Boy’ was boardered there because it had a snake club, and when taking his son round on the open day, the inane Delingpole senior was hit on the chin by a rearing and understandably annoyed snake. ‘From that moment on,’ he says, ‘ I knew this was the school for Boy.’
‘Boy’ apparently asked his parents during the tour: ‘Might I really be able to come here?’ Anywhere rather than staying in the company of his pompous father would be a considerable relief to ‘Boy’, one suspects.
The adverts from these wretchedly unrepresentative educational establishments in the guide may subsidise The Spectator, but it now has one fewer reader.