Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nick Cohen. Do Not Mess With.

In his cups a bit and the more erudite for it, my good comrade Nick Cohen, on a panel at this year's Orwell Prize awards, gives out at the toffs about the award jury's dubious decision to shortlist the likes of Peter Hitchens and Peter Obourne, and proper salty language with it: "I'm from Manchester. I'm a grammar school boy. I instinctively despise people like that. . . For fuck's sake, these people make a hundred grand a year. They've never risked anything in their lives. They're the people who always made prefect in your schools."
Some necessary background here.

Read. Learn.


Blogger Will said...

Peter Hitchens is real fucking scum.

Just wanted to register that.

12:34 PM  
Blogger The Plump said...

Peter Hitchens is real fucking scumOverkill. 'Tory' is enough to engender disgust.

And what the fuck he has to do with George Orwell is beyond me.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

so now we add sad alcoholic social envy to the list of dubious neocon motivations?

some rich kid stole my tuck shop money so let's drop bunker busters on kids?

even that overrated snitch Orwell must be rolling over in his grave...

7:22 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Orwell: "overrated snitch"?

Peter: Stalinist wanker.

7:35 AM  
Blogger IceClass said...

Is it a particularly English phenomenon that one never fully recovers from the degradations of one's schooling?

Good on Nick though I fear the wear & tear might be beginning to show.

3:45 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

i think its Orwell's craven snitching that makes you love him so much...shame about the anti-semitism, though:

Cranham 6.4.49.

Dear Celia,

I haven't written earlier because I have really been rather poorly, and I can't use the typewriter even now, so I hope you will be able to cope with my handwriting.

I couldn't think of any more names to add to your possible list of writers except FRANZ BORKENAU (the Observer would know his address) whose name I think I gave you, and GLEB STRUVE (he's at Pasadena in California at present), the Russian translator and critic. Of course there are hordes of Americans, whose names can be found in the (New York) New Leader, the Jewish monthly paper "Commentary", and the Partisan Review. I could also, if it is of any value, give you a list of journalists and writers who in my opinion are crypto-communists, fellow-travellers or inclined that way and should not be trusted as propagandists. But for that I shall have to send for a notebook which I have at home, and if I do give you such a list it is strictly confidential ...

Just one idea occurred to me for propaganda not abroad but in this country. A friend of mine in Stockholm tells me that as the Swedes didn't make films of their own one sees a lot of German and Russian films, and some of the Russian films, which of course would not normally reach this country, are unbelievably scurrilous anti-British propaganda. He referred especially to a historical film about the Crimean war. As the Swedes can get hold of these films I suppose we can; might it not be a good idea to have showings of some of them in this country ...

I read the enclosed article with interest, but it seems to me anti-religious rather than anti-semitic. For what my opinion is worth, I don't think anti-anti-semitism is a strong card to play in anti-Russian propaganda. The USSR must in practice be somewhat anti-semitic, as it is opposed both to Zionism within its own borders and on the other hand to the liberalism and internationalism of the non-Zionist Jews, but a polyglot state of that kind can never be officially anti-semitic, in the Nazi manner, just as the British Empire cannot. If you try to tie up Communism with anti-semitism, it is always possible in reply to point to people like Kaganovich or Anna Pauleer, also to the large number of Jews in the Communist parties everywhere. I also think it is bad policy to try to curry favour with your enemies. The Zionists Jews everywhere hate us and regard Britain as the enemy, more even than Germany. Of course this is based on misunderstanding, but as long as it is so I do not think we do ourselves any good by denouncing anti- semitism in other nations.

I am sorry I can't write a better letter, but I really have felt so lousy the last few days. Perhaps a bit later I'll get some ideas.

With love, George.'

7:14 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Peter the Stalinist is back.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Nav said...

Yes, the brilliant Nick Cohen. I lost what respect I had after reading this utter nonsense:

12:15 PM  
Blogger Will said...

I lost all respect for Cohen in 2001

The tone of outraged moral superiority is the same, but was, at that time, directed against different targets.

He opposed that year's Afghanistan war and, in November 2001, argued that Tony Blair had "pinned a large target sign on this country" in his alliance with the U.S. in the war on terror.

In short -- a liberal -- not to be trusted on matters of import.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Oh -- and BTW -- for any thick as fuck Yank readers -- when I use the term 'liberal' I don't mean what you think it means.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Mick Hall said...

Perhaps instead of name calling like little girls and boys, some of you might have dealt with the point that was raised. That is placing on a list that trades under Orwell's name, right wing toadies like Hitchen and Orbone and awarding a prize to a blog written by a policemen, who describes in the most appalling and reactionary manner, working class people who fell to the floor after Thatcher decided there was no such thing as society.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

I thought the main point Cohen was making was that the left censors itself, in particular when it discusses Islam. The stuff about Hitchens was obiter.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Will said...

"Perhaps instead of name calling"

And WTF is wrong with name calling you pretentious moralising cunt?

Fuck me -- that's wot the internetz is for you dickwad.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Right. Here I am back and I will rise in defence of Comrade Cohen.

Cohen' column on Sarah Palin told a truth that nobody on the American left was capable of telling: The hysteria that greeted Palin's vp nomination was riven with bourgeois contempt for the working class: She has a funny accent, her kids are chavs, we can't have someone like her putting on airs in our neighbourhoods. Her loudest critics were toffs and ponces and townies, all of them, and their complaints were the utterances of toff, ponce and townie contempt.

Nick Cohen was right.

The second column cited as evidence against him - Afghanistan Faces a Catastrophic Famine - was based on the aid agencies' grotesque exaggeration of the threat of a winter famine exacerbated by a protracted American bombing campaign, and stupid American "intelligence" presumptions about a resilient, fight-t-the-end Taliban. "At present, unfortunately, all reputable sources agree that a nation is about to be emaciated."

Cohen was right about that, and as a consequence, he was as wrong as almost everybody else. The food got through, the Taliban had been routed from most of the country before a single uniformed American soldier even got there, and the Yanks didn't bomb nearly as much as everyone expected; they didn't have to. Just because Noam Chomsky says something is going to happen doesn't mean it will.

But even so, Cohen distinguishes himself with a prescience that few could claim: "Covert networks are broken by assassins, spies, blackmailers; regimes such as the Taliban need to be encircled and subverted before they are attacked. These are urgent tasks which take time. They require the turning of America's vast and fantastically expensive intelligence apparatus towards a threat which it was unready to face."

Nick Cohen was right.

The last column, on the "soft left," was actually pretty good. Can't see anything worth complaining about, and besides, it was recent only weeks after Spetember 11. It also raised an immensely important question: "Does the soeft left have the right stuff to battle terrorism."

That is the question that is central to the lives of perhaps hundreds of millions of people throughout the world today. Nick was right to raise it.

By and large, the answer still appears to be "no."

7:45 PM  
Blogger Will said...

"Cohen' column on Sarah Palin told a truth that nobody on the American left was capable of telling:"...blah blah blah

Rubbish. You have just made that up!

4:39 PM  
Blogger IceClass said...

Bollocks Will!
Glavin is right. If you didn't see the attack on the working stiff in that revolting reaction to her nomination then you're just another neurotic self hating middle class wanker.

That sorry display had fuck all to do with policy and was the final straw as far as my relationship with the local SWP Arctic Commissar went (Yeah we have them tossers up here too.)

12:06 PM  

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