‘Then what do you intend to do?’
‘If you approve, headmaster, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics. I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.’
‘It’s a short-sighted view, Scott-King.’
‘There, headmaster, with all respect, I differ from you profoundly. I think it the most long-sighted view it is possible to take.’
IT IS NOW more than twenty years since Sokal and Bricmont hoaxed the leftwing academic world with their fake paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Theory” (“transformative” is a touch of brilliance there). As scientists, both had grown sick of scientific concepts being misused by postmodernist academics to discredit the very basis of objectivity. They knew that the authors of these papers had no knowledge of understanding or the sciences but would nevertheless be accepted as creditable as long as they showed themselves to be bona fide leftists. This included references to the gods of the postwar pantheon of “fools, frauds and firebrands”, as Roger Scruton so aptly called them — Foucault, Derrida, etc.
Sokal and Bricmont thus concocted a paper out of the meaningless verbiage that typified such research at the time and submitted it to a journal called Social Text, who had it peer-reviewed and published as authentic. A furore followed the revelation that the academic world had fallen for such obvious fakery. Despite the laughter and scorn of many, there were still plenty of defenders of nonsense within academia willing to claim the hoax meant nothing at all. Eventually the waters of discord settled, the academic idiocy continued and the Sokal hoax was gratefully forgotten by its critics and left unmentioned to a new generation of left wing scribblers.
WHEN I WAS preparing a short podcast on Peter Pan for some students it occurred to me that some of what I was talking about had a direct relevance to current left of centre politics. This can be boiled down to two points: the first is the overwhelming desire to live in a fantasy world where you do not need to grow up, and the second is the amnesia that accompanies that desire.
We all know that Peter Pan himself is a Lost Boy, who refuses to grow up, preferring to live in Neverland, where he can play to his heart’s delight without having to bear the responsibilities of growing up in the real world. Listening to any leftist is like listening to a Peter Pan promising utopia: you can do what you want, everything will be free because mummy state will provide it, and the rich will pay for it. You don’t have to worry about taking responsibility for your own life or actions.
IT CAN’T HAVE escaped the intelligent observer that the left — and what we can call the Establishment in general — is more than indulgent towards Islam. It is truly, madly, deeply, pathologically besotted with it.
Whether it’s Merkel opening her country up to a million immigrants or the other leaders of the West dribbling inanities about Islam being a religion of peace or the police and other authorities ignoring the systematic sexual abuse of thousands of girls by Muslim gangs, etc., to the immediate response of the media to every terrorist atrocity with blatherings about solidarity, unity and a condemnation of the threat from a phantom right-wing, the message is clear: Islam is a marvellous, wonderful, humanity-enriching culture that cannot be held responsible for the actions of those who act in its name, and those of us who aren’t Muslims (affectionately known as kuffars) must prostrate ourselves in admiration and submission to its every wish.
AS I’M NOT a follower of that tediously over-hyped game known as football I missed the initial outburst of horror that came when a manager of some club made some post-interview comment to some female journo which rocked the whole of western civilisation to its rapidly-decaying foundations because it was (don’t wait for it) sexist and “wholly unacceptable”…
ONE OF THE misfortunes for men getting old is that however little hair remains on top, plenty of it seems to spring from the nose and ears. To that rather mundane phenomenon can be added a tendency to tearfulness, if a couple of my friends are anything to go by.
The first of them, speaking to me on the phone last year, asked me if I ever found myself quietly crying on my own. He went on to say this had started happening to him – he would be sitting on his own (usually in the pub) and have a “quiet cry to himself”. He admitted there was not usually a specific subject prompting his tears. It was just something that welled up from inside. I could be cruel and just say that’s what comes of being a poet with an extremely irregular income and no pension plans in place, but I know it’s deeper than that.