Monday, February 12, 2007

Grandee Posts Early

There's a merciful interview with me in The Independent. This seems to suggest I am obsessed with this blog, rising 'at the crack of dawn' to post 'on such subjects as avian flu (Dead Turkeys and Rationality, 5.53am) and the maverick footballer Joey Barton (Footballer Talks Sense Shock, 6.13am).' It also calls me a grandee. Now would a grandee get up to write posts at that time? Oh I just did. Anyway, see, proves it, I am not a grandee.

32 comments:

  1. Bryan, as a failed intellectual of the highest failure calibre, I doan unnerstan wot 'Grandee' means.

    Care to elucidate?

    ReplyDelete
  2. grandee, n. Spanish or Portuguese nobleman of highest rank; person of high rank or eminence. (Concise Oxford Dictionary.)

    It is gracious to accept a compliment, Sir.

    Apropos your stand on 9/11, mine was much the same until I watched Loose Change t'other night. I am not a conspiracy theorist; but the honest questions raised in that film require answers. The lack of these is especially alarming in view of the latest American rumblings about Iran -- another oil-rich nation, if I am not much mistaken.

    The Pentagon's inspector general has finally uttered on the subject of the doctored intelligence which led to the invasion of Iraq. Alastair Campbell, it seems, has not entirely cornered the market.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, I thought it was just a case of buying a smoking jacket, pantaloons and velvet carpet slippers. And not working before mid-day of course.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You come across very well in that interview, Bryan. I like the distinction you make between being politically conservative and being culturally conservative. I would consider myself politically left of centre (although wrestling with what this actually means) but culturally a bit wary and protective. Ok, I admit it: I'm confused.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm sure the good doctor Johnson would approve of Huxley's line, "Intellectuals are the kind of people who demand evidence and are shocked by logical inconsistencies."

    As an extension of this, what scientific proof can you produce to prove this blog is 70% funny?

    ReplyDelete
  6. 30% serious, 70% funny is the perfect balance: in blogging and in everything else.

    However, surely that claim was slightly disingenuous: it's more like 10% serious, 40% funny and 50% flogging the new book, isn't it?

    Anyway, it worked on me. My copy is sitting proudly atop the bedside pile of Next Things to Read, and even if the Independent is right that "He doesn't understand science" I couldn't care less because I'm hoping its not a book about science.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good point, Brit. However, the 'flogging the book' stuff is laughable at this stage. I have read the first 80 pages or so and it is certainly making an impression on me. It is a kind of odd subject to immerse oneself in before bed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Neil:

    Well, I was only being 30% serious about that.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ok. So where does that leave us? Is that 30% serious across the board or only 30% of the 50%? We may be getting into decimal point territory now. You're a hard man to pin down, Brit? How about, to solve this once and for all, in future, all contributors should state at the beginning of their comment whether they thought Bryan's post was (a) funny, (b) mildly diverting, (c) serious, (d) about the book (sometimes this one is not immediately obvious) or (e) no opinion (in which case, we have to question the reason for commenting in the first place). By the end of the year we should have some reliable data to go on.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Portugese nobleman - you mean like Tim Worstall?

    ReplyDelete
  11. So 6th floor London flat and neat study! Take it this is not in dear Jeff's building.

    Guess people can't cope with those of us who do not fit neat boxes. The tendency to pidgeonhole seems to come with 40's hacs and younger since complexity tends to escape them.

    On the scientists attacking you, well they would, wouldn't they? Their own books do not sell so weel, so have to hang on someone's coat tails. Anyway, just because sme people have a label 'scientist' it does not make them one. And vice versa.

    Andrew, I like the suggestion on marking posts - this one is in your cat. d)

    ReplyDelete
  12. And you say nothing of your late readers!

    ReplyDelete
  13. See I knew there was humour here....now if I can just find it:)
    PS You don't look a day over 54!

    ReplyDelete
  14. A Grandee is like an Elder Statesman, but more camp. Or a Big Cheese, but not as rich. Or a National Treasure, but not as popular.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've just read the negative review of 'How to Live Forever or Die Trying', by Steve Connor, the Science editor of The Independent. Steve, incidentally, is a graduate of the Zoology department at the University of Oxford. The great Dawkins, of course, was a lecturer, and then reader, in this self-same department between 1970 and 1995.

    Anyway, in the course of his review, Steve asks, rhetorically, "how many vintage cars are used for everyday city commuting - the sort of hard driving we put our bodies through just by the simple acts of eating and breathing?"

    It's always fun to answer rhetorical questions literally, so here goes. I'm not sure if Steve really does mean 'vintage' cars in particular, because this term pertains specifically to the automobile era between 1919 and about 1930. However, according to this FIVA survey, 1.3% of the licensed road vehicles in the UK are historic vehicles, and they account for about 0.1% of road traffic:

    (www.fbhvc.co.uk/assetts/all-pdf-docs/fiva-uk-report-web-version.pdf)

    Many vintage cars are not only driven, but raced quite vigorously. Check out the Vintage Sports Car Club: www.vscc.co.uk/vsccweb/. The Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival Meetings feature historic vehicles being driven, and raced, most vigorously.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "He walks down to his uncluttered study." How is this possible if you live in a flat? Is it a space age flat? Or do you have two flats, one on the sixth floor and one on the fifth? Or is it a maisonnette? Great interview by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The flat was decluttered just days before the excellent and sensitive mr Burrell visited. Before it was a swamp. Nothing to do with the interviewer, just a sudden urge on my part.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Is decluttered a real word? Or is it one of those home improvement/reality tv words? People used to do something called tidying. And when they had finished tidying, their home or office would be tidy or uncluttered. Maybe tidy is old-fashioned. It somehow connotes a limited number of things, some of which simply need to be put back where they should be (have always been). Unclutter hints at excess; having too many things, some of which have no place. Sorry, I'm having a quiet day at the office (actually, it could do with some uncluttering).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dr. Johnson apparently did not see the correction referred to in this post: http://instapundit.com/archives2/2007/02/post_2397.php.
    The inspector general did not utter it. Its source was Sen. Carl Levin, as dissimultating a politician as exists on the planet.

    Great interview, Bryan.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Of course I meant de- where I have put un-. My head needs decluttering.

    ReplyDelete
  21. susan b. of phillyFebruary 12, 2007 4:56 pm

    Loved this interview, Bryan. You are absolutely right about the need to be a cultural conservative lest there be no culture to conserve! Everything cannot be treated equally -- some works of art are simply better than others and judgments must be made. You go, boy. As long as you keep ticking people off, you'll know you're doing your job.

    And, as I told you via e-mail, I've read almost all of your new book and I find it fascinating. You are able to do something most cultural historians are not: Understand the workings of your own time, your own Zeitgeist's desires and motivations. Usually these impulses are hidden from people living during them -- they don't become clear until they've reified, like fossils for scholars of a later era to inspect.

    I'm very glad to have discovered this blog. Reading you and your commentators keeps me mentally nimble.

    And people of the British isles: I love your sense of humor! Brit, James, Neil, Andrew, Gordon, et al -- It is delightful how you guys avoid annoying earnestness and always find the funny side of things. Americans, in general, are nowhere near as witty. (I think I'm going to have to move to G.B. if my own country gets any more earnest (and deadly) than it currently is.)

    Thanks dudes, and Grandee Bryan.

    ReplyDelete
  22. "Dr. Johnson apparently did not see the correction referred to in this post: http://instapundit.com/archives2/2007/02/post_2397.php.
    The inspector general did not utter it. Its source was Sen. Carl Levin, as dissimultating a politician as exists on the planet."

    Thank you, Mr Wilson: I am duly chastened and better informed.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I see there has been no proof forthcoming regarding the audacious claims that this blog was 70% funny, and 30% serious. And as for the claims being made about Bryan being a Spanish nobleman: I find that very hard to believe.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Susan, I can't speak for the British Mainlanders here but the Irish humour is actually the utmost seriousness transmogrified by the unnatural imposition of a foreign tongue upon our native consciousness. Very noble and profound thoughts bubble up from deep within our Celtic sap, but once they pass through the filter of the Englsh tongue(located in the Outer Medulla Oblongata) a strange alchemical altering of meaning takes place, which some have argued is a manifestation of the Divine Will, over which the human protagonist has little control. This explains why our great writers like Swift, Wilde, Joyce, Flann O Brien and even that miserable bastard Beckett tend to be the great humourists of the English language. Beckett incidentally sets out to be the incarnation of pessimism, but somehow even this is often transformed into something more absurd. He tried writing in French to escape this sabotaging of his intent by the Divine Will, but of course he was merely going one stage deeper into the problem.
    The entire Irish culture arising from this strange collision of the Celtic and Saxon can be summed up by the word Shite, though without much of the negative connotation this may suggest.
    I am of course being 70% funny here though my intention was to be 100% serious.

    ReplyDelete
  25. What's the problem with early posts? He's not working 24 hours - very few posts after 3pm actually.

    What's with all these pictures? I've missed out here I think - a week's holiday and everything's changed.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Susan B. whose mother was a MonahanFebruary 12, 2007 9:41 pm

    Andrew, I am 25% Irish and I sometimes think it's the funniest part. Also the angriest, strangely enough. Have you heard this joke?

    "What is Irish Alzheimer's?"

    "You forget everything but your grudges."

    ReplyDelete
  27. Apologies for failing to mention the importance of alcohol in my Shite theory of Irish culture. This is of course crucial.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Susan, I'm glad you enjoy the banter. Bryan's blog is a good mix of the serious(ish) and the amusing. And his sense of humour is highly contagious (though not fatal, if caught in time). As for my fellow Hibernian, well, Andrew, you have outdone yourself this time. Interesting that you mentioned the word 'shite'... I jest (75%).

    ReplyDelete
  29. Very good article on the afore-mentioned Flann O Brien below. His application of the theory of molecular transference one of the great comic notions whereby he postulated that some policemen and postmen were up to 75% bicycle. Also the immortal line, "The sweet words of Gaelic were oftener in their mouths than the potato."

    http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/features/article348186.ece

    ReplyDelete
  30. We specialize in laptop battery,laptop AC adapters. All our products are brand new, with the excellent service from our laptop battery of customer service team.
    the most convenient and cheap replacement battery online shop in uk. We specialize in laptop batteries,laptop AC adapters.
    All our laptop AC adapters are brand new, with the excellent service from our customer service team.
    the most convenient and cheap battery online shop in uk.
    You can find some battery and adapter from here is very cool.

    ReplyDelete
  31. You come across very well in that interview, Bryan. estetik ameliyatlar I like the distinction you make between being politically conservative and being culturally conservative. estetik burun ameliyati I would consider myself politically left of centre (although wrestling with what this actually means) but culturally a bit wary and protective. gögüs büyütme estetigi Ok, I admit it: I'm confused. I'm sure the good doctor Johnson would approve of Huxley's line, "Intellectuals are the kind of people who demand evidence and are shocked by logical inconsistencies. estetik gögüs ameliyatlari " Anyway, it worked on me. My copy is sitting proudly atop the bedside pile of Next Things to Read, and even if the Independent is right that "He doesn't understand science" gögüs küçültme estetigi I couldn't care less because I'm hoping its not a book about science. Guess people can't cope with those of us who do not fit neat boxes. karin ameliyatlari The tendency to pidgeonhole seems to come with 40's hacs and younger since complexity tends to escape them. cinsel organ estetigi On the scientists attacking you, well they would, wouldn't they? Their own books do not sell so weel, so have to hang on someone's coat tails. lazer epilasyon Anyway, just because sme people have a label 'scientist' it does not make them one. And vice versa. karin germe estetigi Is decluttered a real word? Or is it one of those home improvement/reality tv words? People used to do something called tidying. estetik And when they had finished tidying, their home or office would be tidy or uncluttered. Maybe tidy is old-fashioned. It somehow connotes a limited number of things, some of which simply need to be put back where they should be (have always been). saç nakli Unclutter hints at excess; having too many things, some of which have no place. Sorry, I'm having a quiet day at the office (actually, it could do with some uncluttering).

    ReplyDelete