Monday, July 27, 2009
I was at James Lovelock's 90th birthday party at the Orangery of Blenheim Palace yesterday. Blenheim - a work of double genius, Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor - is in the English baroque style that inspired the purist revulsion which led to Holkham. It is a more purely English building in that nothing quite like this was ever built - could ever have been built - anywhere else. Also there are the supremely English grounds by a third genius, Capability Brown.
Jim, of course, is the most purely English man imaginable. At 90 he is fully vindicated. There are no serious challenges now to his Gaia Theory except from those who persist in believing it's some New Age nonsense about crystals. The earth is now routinely considered as a single complex system, though few give credit to the man who first worked out how and why, on the way inventing the electron capture detector and, apparently, the microwave oven. He never made money out of these things, it is not in his nature. He was further vindicated yesterday by the declassification of pictures suppressed by Bush showing the extent of ice melt in Alaska. Jim has said the speed of the ice melt proves current climate models are over-optimistic. He is one of the greatest men alive and, at 90, his genius is undimmed.
Judge, then, of my reaction on reading, when I got home, this article. It advocates active discrimination against gays, blacks and Muslims - sorry, sorry - against people over fifty. They are, it seems, inefficient or something. I won't bother taking it apart line by line. Why should I? Jim Lovelock is a friend of mine.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 4:54 am