Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Three Stooges

Isn't it interesting to deek the goons who've come to Roman Polanski's rescue?

First up: Salman Rushdie. To some he is most notable as the bloke who wrote a book full of slapstick humour and purple prose which resulted in some nutters who'd never read it wanting to kill him. Fair dues to the guy for defending free speech, but to me that isn't his most significant act.

No, for me his 90s/ early 00s blurb imploring blokes to read The Bridget Jones Diary was his most significant historical act. He was essentially saying 'if you're a fat baldy aging bloke then you'll love this book about a chubby thirtysomething lass trying to get it on with different men'.

In other words, if you're a bloke and you like reading books about a Waffen SS brigade in the Eastern front or people getting their faces eaten off by rats, then you're a deviant. Stick to girly stuff because girly is the new blokishness. As masterpieces by Sven Hassel and Guy N Smith criminally went out of print, I can only assume that a welter of office drones skipped to the bookshops to pick up their latest copy of the Bridget Jones saga to impress their girlfriends with.

But, it appears things are not quite so simple. If a thirteen year old girl is drugged and raped then Mr Metrosexual cuddly-wuddly the big teddy bear isn't quite such a feminist after all. At least if he thinks he'll bump into the shorty-eyes genius at a cocktail party.

Next in line, Robert Harris. His novels about Ancient Rome sound brilliant, just my cup of tea. And the Ghost seems a bit of a hoot. But Russophile that I am, I can't quite forgive him for Archangel. For those unaquainted with this piece of smug (though admittedly well-written) drivel, a historian discovers that Joseph Stalin has a son living in a Dacha in a giant forest. Koba Jnr's one skill in life is trapping nosey parkers in beartraps and reciting verbatim the old boy's speeches.

So what, you might be asking? Well, in the mind of a smug Middle Englander, this is Ivan's dream come true, politically speaking, a new Stalin which is just what johny foreigner has been looking for. Harris's book had two redeeming features 1) The hero was a historian and 2) The hero was a historian who makes snide comments to his pig-ignorant American sidekick (nothing against Americans, but it's a refreshing change to the usual arselicking). But overall the ant-European bigotry is just too much.

Yet, Harris's support for Western humanitarian values apparently flops when an artistic genius is at work.

Last, but certainly not least, Neo-Con goon and Kosovo Serb hater, Bernard Henri Levy. Fan of bombarding Eastern Europe with Western enlightenment. Once again, this moralising creep didn't seem to be too moralistic when it came to the actions of 'the director of the Pianist'.

One last thing struck me about it: the number of women who've come to Polanski's aid. Could this be one for the radical feminists to think about? Could it be that all the vitriol that is spread at men ignores the fact that feminism has actually failed to give women a feeling of solidarity or change their attitudes towards some things? I'm not saying that's the case, but it surely is worth debating.

Anyway, for now I'm satisfied with the blokes, as it were. I wish that there was a word meaning 'schadenfreud' but aimed at those who don't seem to feel much schaden.

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