“Melanie” rides again
May 3, 2007
Time for an apology. I am sorry for implying that Johann Hari in general was an “idiot” and an “anti-intellectual”, ((In this post, now updated with more handy footnotes for idiots.)) instead of limiting my contumely strictly to the idiotic and anti-intellectual nature of his printed assault on Zizek. There’s a difference between saying something is idiotic and calling someone an idiot. Another good reason to apologise for this is that, allowing too free a use of such words, we might run out of vocabulary for people like “Melanie Phillips”.
In this recent post, “Melanie” is writing about the recent resignation of Lord Browne, head of BP. Browne has been defended by Matthew Parris, who writes: “What this story is really about is the awkardness of gay sex in the business world and our general fascination with the lives of the rich and (in Lord Browne’s case) slightly famous.” “Melanie” responds:
What extraordinary insouciance towards dishonesty in court. And what a spectacular misrepresentation of the cause of Lord Browne’s downfall. That noise you can hear is the rumbling of an agenda that drives all before it. It is not a pretty sound.
“An agenda”? Time to conjugate:
I have principles;
You have interests;
They have an agenda.
And what is this nefarious “agenda” to which “Melanie” objects? The second half of Parris’s column is about what he calls “a lingering problem about homosexuality and business” in Britain. Obviously, Parris’s “agenda” is to discuss bigotry. What a terrible thing to have on your to-do list. Well, I suspect that that’s not quite what “Melanie” thinks the “agenda” is. Darkly warning of this “agenda” that is “rumbling” and “drives all [all!] before it”, making a sound that is not “pretty”, “Melanie” is really sticking her fingers in her ears and screaming: “Shut up y00 gayz!!!!!!!!”
Of course “Melanie” has no “agenda” of her own. I certainly doubt it has entered into the calculations taking place in her tiny mind that Lord Browne, for example, is widely admired as the head of an oil company who has stated clearly that anthropogenic global warming is real, and caused by burning fossil fuels. Doubtless her post is pure of intention, as far as shrill hatred goes.
Anyway, perhaps we should have a whip-round to buy “Melanie” a pair of earmuffs, to protect her from the horrible “noise” of this gay agenda. Ah, but on second thoughts, if an excellent pair of earmuffs were clamped or stapled to “Melanie”‘s head, we would still be able to hear her, even if she couldn’t hear anyone else: arguably, the worst of all possible worlds. Come to think of it, it’s rather like the one we live in already, isn’t it, readers?