August 17, 2004

Calling the Kettle a hack

Nasty-minded piece by Martin Kettle in the Guardian today attacking Robert Tressell and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. It includes the following passage:
I just wish that...readers would face the fact that people who believed what Tressell believed spent much of the 20th century murdering millions of people and enslaving countless millions of others in a system which did not work.
There are many things which could be said about this, but let's stick to three before tomorrow's letters appear:

  1. Is there any word in the language that should be employed less loosely than the word fact?
  2. Is this not one of the most outrageous examples of literary McCarthyism you've ever seen?
  3. Is it not a "fact" that people who believe what Martin Kettle believes - or at least, share more of his opinions than Robert Tressell shared those of Joseph Stalin - spent much of the 20th century murdering millions of people in the Great War, the destruction of Vietnam and sundry other episodes besides?
Should that, therefore, disqualify Martin Kettle forever as a writer of whom we should take notice, as he would like to disqualify Robert Tressell?

I guess it doesn't really matter. He'd disqualified himself already with his own appalling paragraph.


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