Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I don't normally read John Pilger because I know I'm not going to discover anything by doing so. He is a writer for whom the world is known before it is encountered. He can, therefore, neither learn nor inform. That said, this article is such a fine piece of Pilgerism that it really has to be read. It has no substantial content other than the usual demand for action against everything. A few, dim students might be impressed. But it is the extraordinary madness of the thing that should be studied - not least because it makes one wonder why The Guardian feels justified in publishing such stuff. But I suppose he's box office and, as such, not subject to normal editorial standards of literacy and logic. In the first paragraph, for example, he says that Rupert Murdoch's empire is 'devoted to the promotion of war, conquest and human division' and that Britain is a 'murdochracy'. Hmmm, interesting, so convince me. But, no, Pilger drops that theme after the third sentence. He then issues a torrent of assertion about Blair-Brown illiberalism, much of which I actually agree with. But he destroys his case - for thinking people at least - by simply making a list in silly, Dave Spartish language. 'Britain is now a centralised single-ideology state, as secure in the grip of a superpower as any former eastern bloc country.' Again, hmmm, so we're as bad as Honecker's East Germany are we? But, again, no proper evidence or argument. Pilger has been spoiled by only ever preaching to the converted. All information that he absorbs is manipulated to stir the feelings of this paranoid, unthinking little band of neo-manicheans. He has become a parody both of the old left and of the worst kind of newspaper columnist. He is, in every sense of the word, unbelievable... but also consolingly antique.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:09 am