April 22, 2008
A disgruntled Guardian reader attempts to summarise the politics of associate editor, Seumas Milne:
To recap: if we leave dictators in place in a Muslim country and do business with them, we are responsible for repression in those countries and this will encourage terrorism. If we do remove them forcefully, which means war, we are responsible for the subsequent sectarian carnage in the country and this will encourage terrorism. The only other solution is a system of sanctions as with between-wars Iraq, which I don’t remember Milne as being a particular supporter of. In summary, whatever happens we’ll get bombed and it’ll serve us right.
Pretty good, I thought. Certainly, it captures something of the knotted logic typical of Milne, and of countless resentful teenagers in sixth form common rooms. It isn’t just Milne, of course. Contorted self-abasement and pretentious agonising are practically default settings among Guardian regulars. Scanning the paper’s archives, it’s remarkable just how often one trips over headings such as Collective Complicity, How Could We Let This Happen? and - a personal favourite - Their Homophobia is Our Fault. And two weeks rarely pass without some claim that Islamic zealotry and efforts to blow up infidels are entirely our own doing - a result of “gross social inequality” and “Islamophobia” (but never the other way round). Or that alcoholism and overeating have nothing whatsoever to do with personal choices and everything to do with supermarkets, pornography and the crushing social force that is Heat magazine. Or that “hyper-frantic consumerism” and our wicked materialism must be punished, and quite severely, with rationing by the state.
It’s a strange moral landscape at the Guardian, and frequently disgusting. Yet it’s hard to look away.
Another reader weighs in with an imaginary classified ad:
Puerile spokesman for defeated revolutionary movement seeks violent theocratic reactionaries for a long term relationship based on shared interests of killing westerners (commuters or office workers will do fine) and subjugating the global masses to the dictatorship of a monopoly doctrine (any doctrine will now do) and to generally obtain revenge against liberal market democracies for failing to collapse under the weight of their own contradictions as predicted by the delusional ‘revolutionary’ mass murderers of an early era.
Again, not bad at all.