This morning I read highly interesting if, how else, doom-gloomish interview in the Wall Street Journal with Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, on how free speech died on US campuses. See for yourself at the WSJ web.
I love the WSJ editorials and even more the two pages of op-eds, opinions and reviews. It’s my daily early morning dose of conservative intellectual thinking and I must admit I am hooked on it.
And that thought led me to muse on my Spectator abstinence anniversary. I went cold turkey on that other ‘conservative stimulant’ (print as well as online versions) a month ago and with the deepest sadness I must report I haven’t felt any cramming for it since.
Who would miss James Forsyth’s never-ending U-turns, depending on who dined and wined him the night before? Are you still reading it? Can you update me on his thinking? Is the coalition now beyond repair or there’s light at the end of the tunnel and James can confide that the dynamic duo of the PM and his deputy (also known as two Cs) met the other week in an unnamed London house of their common PR friend to iron out differences on council tax on rich … Oh, this will probably be spoiled by Dr Cable’s unhinged statement next week, so that dear James can report the coalition is its final dire strait. And so James goes on and on and on. I just wonder whether he ever reads what he wrote a year ago. Perhaps yes … and then laughs uncontrollably, or perhaps no … because he would have resigned his punditry throne a while ago.
Who needs to read pro-Obama, pro-socialist articles by the Spec’s chief of research, whatever his name is. It’s enough to remember he desperately needed Mr Obama to win. Congratulations then!
And then there’s that the deep well of knowledge on every US issue called Freddie Gray…..
And there is a minefield of articles from authors with anonymous names. You start reading them with interest and end up in fury realising it’s that Cameroonian, left-of-the-centre, nanny state fluffy huggy babble. And blood pressure starts rising ….
A few years ago, at the beginning of the current economic and fiscal free fall I remember reading the Spectator business article musing on how gold is not worth buying this time around. Well done! What a great piece of advice it was! The author probably doesn’t write for the big S anymore. You know, it’s difficult to get good Wi-Fi signal from the wine cellar of his Bordeaux chateau. I guess that is where all the profit from krugerrands he bought went. Yes, and to Patek Philipe watches, we all need at least three pieces, for our progenies.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there are no decent writers or articles appearing in the Spectator. It’s just that I realised pleasure from those is always more than spoiled by the lot from above. So I ended up asking: ‘Why to pay for that?’ And no, I am not saying there’s no place for all of those things above. But, please, don’t wrap them up as some ‘conservative’ magazine, perhaps fish and chips paper?
These days the Spectator very much reminds me of the BBC. Shying away from big themes and preferring cycles of ‘ephemeral crises’ which nobody talks about the week after. That’s my biggest quibble. It’s almost like actress Helena Bonham Carter’s description of David Cameron “not a rightwing person. If he was in America, he’d be a Democrat”.
At the time when I am looking for a conservative lighthouse I find evanescent and sliding-on-the- surface magazine I had no problem to throw into a recycling bin next week. Not even Rod Liddle can save it.
So, I don’t miss the Spectator and those moments of disappointment a bit. But I would love to miss it. I would love to be it some gutsy meaty and red-eyed ‘radical’ conservative magazine. Like Paul Ryan or Bill O’Reilly. I know, I can dream on ……
PS. Small warning: while the Speccie is non-addictive as a drug, it’s not harmless as it often causes dangerous rise in conservative person’s blood pressure.