Archive for September 16th, 2005

Slug Fest

The prominence given to the absurd Hitchens-Galloway debate is embarrassing, to say the least. (So why are you writing about it then? – imaginary ed)

If all that is at stake is a Blur vs. Oasis-style expression of preference, then I pick Hitchens, purely on the grounds that he is on occasion an entertaining writer, and I deplored Galloway’s crass moralising about the former’s drinking. As a rule, I can trust a man who doesn’t drink, but I can’t trust a man who never stops referring to the fact that he doesn’t drink. Also I pity Hitchens, because anyone who puts himself at the service of so many masters is doomed to a ridiculous end. In sum, though, I find both personalities almost equally objectionable.

The ‘debate’ is just another media event, in which the supposed subject – ‘The war in Iraq was necessary and just’, by the way – was of far lesser import than the slavish fascination surrounding the two men and their quixotic trajectories. Oh, and George Galloway is on a book tour.

Gary Younge is right to observe that:

when historians come to judge Wednesday’s event the first question they might ask is why in a city the size of New York, two British polemicists were needed to conduct it.

In the size of New York, yes, but also about a country the size of Iraq, full of Iraqis who can speak for themselves. The most hyped debate for some time about the Iraq war is one with no Iraqis. Spiffing.


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