For newcomers and the nostalgic, more items from the archives:
The Guardian’s Theo Hobson sticks pins into his eyes, rhetorically.
Despite Mr Hobson’s claims, rejecting “liberal guilt,” as manifest all but daily in the pages of the Guardian, doesn’t require an indifference to, or denial of, real injustice, merely a dislike of pretension and dishonesty. As, for instance, when Mr Hobson’s colleague Guy Dammann looked at the stars and howled, “Am I fit to breed?” Or when Alex Renton told us, “Fewer British babies would mean a fairer planet.” Some Guardian regulars declared their plans to make us “better people” by making us poorer and freeing us from the “dispensable accoutrements of middle-class life,” including “cars, holidays, electronic equipment and multiple items of clothing.” While others chose to agonise over peanut butter residue.
And then there’s Decca Aitkenhead’s classic piece, Their Homophobia is Our Fault, in which she insisted that the “precarious, over-exaggerated masculinity” and murderous homophobia of some Jamaican reggae stars are products of the “sodomy of male slaves by their white owners.” And that the “vilification of Jamaican homophobia implies… a failure to accept post-colonial politics.” Thus, readers could feel guilty not only for “vilifying” the homicidal sentiments of some Jamaican musicians, but also for the culpability of their own collective ancestors. One wonders how those gripped by this fiendish dilemma could even begin to resolve their twofold feelings of shame.
Just another day at the Guardian.
The paper’s leader writer, Susanna Rustin, is very much troubled by thoughts of impending catastrophe and is keen for your routine shopping - for groceries and maybe a pair of shoes - to be replaced, “painlessly,” with forms of “artistic expression and creativity.” Like dance lessons. It would, of course, be “a reordering of society.”
The strange, tearful world of “water-bottle separation anxiety.”
What follows is a catalogue of unobvious woe and amateur dramatics. “Activist Manuela Barón” - whose area of activism is left fashionably unspecified - explains how her ancient, battered water bottle had become a “part of” her, and how the loss of it, at airport security, resulted in a swell of emotional activity: “I cried as I went through the scanner and ran off to my gate; I didn’t realise it would be like saying goodbye to an old friend.” At which point, it occurs to me I may be misusing the word explain.