And Yet I’m still left with the sense the best of Hitchens is missing

Christopher Hitchens Dies, December 2011 by Surian Soosay

For all the slating that Christopher Hitchens attracted in his lifetime, it’s the quiet criticism of Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, that best captures the man’s flaws as a writer.

In an otherwise generous obituary in 2011, Cowley wrote that Hitchens’ “polemical denunciations and pamphlets on powerful individuals […] feel already dated, stranded in place and time, good journalism but not literature”.

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Is Matt Forde Britain’s answer to Jon Stewart?

Matt Forde, via his website

The berserk news anchor leering over his desk as he fulminates against the blunders and mischief of his government is a phenomenon better known to America than to Britain.

For the longest time Britons have been forbade from this kind of open partisanship practised by the likes of Fox News, our broadcasters being bound by Ofcom guidelines which confine them to a mostly centrist political stance.

It is with this in mind that one must assess Matt Forde, a former Labour staffer turned comedian (at a time when there was some distinction) currently piloting a show that satirises the week’s events in a chat show format.

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Bill Buckley, Gore Vidal, and the flourishing of American partisanship

William Buckley debating Gore Vidal, 1968 in public domain

In a year that Donald Trump could well become president of the United States, it is arguable that the country’s cable news networks appear, by comparison, oddly sober.

As such it is intriguing to find the roots of America’s love affair with polarised punditry dissected in The Best of Enemies, a documentary on William Buckley and Gore Vidal.

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The Big Short, or why Margot Robbie explaining economics in a bathtub works

Margot Robbie in "The Big Short" via YouTube

Just how often does one leave the cinema these days having actually learnt something?

It’s a question The Big Short, a movie about the men who managed to profit off the 2008 financial crisis, seems badly poised to answer in the affirmative. Economics plus douchebags seldom, if ever, equals entertainment.

Yet somehow, The Big Short works. And why? Because you’ll leave the cinema both smarter and angrier.

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