As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is the New Statesman magazine.
About a year ago I wrote a blog about the New Statesman, so now I'm doing the inevitable: Ruining it with a sequel. And as with most sequels, the audience are bored, the writing's getting lazy and the idea was never that good in the first place. Here are 3 things that have annoyed me in the New Statesman recently:
3. This interview with Abi Morgan, writer of Thatcherite creepfest The Iron Lady and just about everything currently on British TV. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that she was secretly writing the news. Firstly, I hadn't heard that the director Phyllida Lloyd had called The Iron Lady a "Shakespearean" film, but as the self-inflicted staple-wound on my face shows, I have now. I'll go through some of Abi Morgan's quotes:
"I think there's a vividness to Phyllida's work" - I assume she's using vivid in its meaning of "brightly coloured". In which case, a fair comment. If anything can be said for Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady, it's that they're brightly coloured. You know, like Shakespeare.
"It was always my intention to interrogate Thatcher's political life" - Well in terms of interrogation, it was more a Rural Affairs Select Committee than Guantanamo Bay.
"This is a very small film" - No it isn't.
"I saw it as a small film" - IT FUCKING ISN'T.
"A kind of King Lear for girls" - Presumably because girls don't understand Shakespeare, the idiots.
2. This article by Mehdi Hasan. I love him, but this is a staggeringly punchable piece of non-debate. He starts by posing an interesting question: "Can you believe in God and science?" And then he argues that yes you can, because look at all of these people that do! Case closed, right? WRONG. Simply pointing out that there are people who believe in both God and science completely evades the issue. Yes people do believe in both, but the debate is about whether that set of beliefs is coherent.
It's like the argument about religion and morality; when the religious just reel off the same list again and again (Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Bono) to prove that religious people are "good" people, the real debate is neatly sidestepped, and kicked in the groin.
The question Mehdi Hasan initially asks isn't, "Are there people who believe in God and science?" But that is the question he chooses to answer. And a very boring question it is too, because of course there are. The question is "Can you believe in God and science?" That's the interesting question, and that's where the debate lies.
Then right at the end, "The biggest threat to science and scientific progress is not religion or religious believers, with our superstitious or supernatural beliefs, but the arrogance of those atheist fundamentalists..." Firstly, surely the "arrogance" lies with those claiming to be watched over by an all-powerful God, and secondly, if anything is a "threat to science" then it's "superstitious" fucking beliefs.
1. This political cartoon, which are things I've complained about on here before, but this one is just so brain-meltingly lazy and dreadful that as I was scanning it in, I had to repeatedly slam the lid of the scanner shut on my fingers just to render myself physically unable to phone the police and report the New Statesman for crimes against humanity.
And people say the New Statesman lacks the academic clout of The Economist...
Thanks for reading, this blog is named after a Catch-It Kebabs song which obviously I've used before, so I'll use their song 5 Years because it's also political, enjoy! Oh, also I'm willing to bet that the title of this blog has the best New Statesman/A Nightmare On Elm Street crossover joke in the world.