Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Shakespeare on Terrorism
BRITABUSE. All right. I admit it. The headline was the whole motivation for the post. All that's left is a review by one Nicholas Shakespeare of a book on terrorists by his fellow Brit, Michael Burleigh. I know I should end the entry right now with a link to the book review in question, but I'm a stubborn cuss, and I can't help looking for some meaning to justify the grandiloquence of my headline. My apologies [Leave. Go. Get the hell out of here. I have absolutely NOTHING to say today that's worth reading]. Still here? Damn.
At least I'm not blogging about Eliot Spitzer. That's probably why you're still reading. Nothing is more boring than Eliot Spitzer. Not even Nicholas Shakespeare. And truthfully (???), the review does illuminate the profound death wish of the Brit intellectual caste. They are all so absent emotion that one could cut their throats and their final gurgled words would be a critique of your technique. Here are some excerpts from the review:
We live in an age of cultural disorder, where to point a finger at the absurdities of radical Islam is to be branded a racist, a fascist or a bigot. This timely and important book would probably not have been published 10 years ago, but its relevance is bracing.
Michael Burleigh's theme:
squalor, intellectual poverty and psychotic nature of terrorist
organisations, from the Fenians of the mid-19th century to today's
jihadists - the latter group, especially, being composed of unstable
males of conspicuously limited abilities and imagination, and yet who
pose "an existential threat to the whole of civilisation" with their
crusade to realise "a world that almost nobody wants", all in the hope
of an afterlife featuring 72 virgins and rivers foaming with honey and
Burleigh has read and
travelled enough to express an impeccable
contempt for the "theoretical gobbledygook" of the IRA or the
"stunningly tedious" ideology of the New Left, while sharing the
bemusement of the kidnapped German industrialist Hans Schleyer "at the
incredible ignorance his captors [the Red Army Faction] demonstrated
about the higher workings of the German economy"...
Meinhof's co-revolutionary Andreas Baader embodies many of the resentful and narcissistic traits that Burleigh identifies in his subjects: sour, lazy nobodies, ugly, of febrile imagination and indifferent talent, who can only become somebody by blowing others, inevitably persons more talented and intelligent, up....
Burleigh parades an
arsenal of facts, and the cumulative effect is
undeniable. Only with his claim that the tactic of terror "never
amounted to more than an irritant", and was not crucial in forcing
colonial powers to leave Palestine and Algeria, not to mention acceding
to power in Ireland and South Africa, do I depart from his thesis....
Burleigh shares in his prose style something of the pitiless monotone with which his targets engage with the world. He finds little room for levity in over 500 pages, except where his keenness to be up to date gets the better of him. He has his finger on the pulse, but his foot on the pedal....
Blood & Rage is in all sorts of
ways an outstanding book; it
is also fuelled by the manic energy and focus of someone accelerating a
truckload of intellectual high-explosives into the gates of a
"stunningly" credulous soft-liberal establishment, composed of
"colluding" human rights lawyers and "celebrity useful idiots" such as
Tariq Ali, whom Burleigh witheringly chastises for having
"progressively marginalised high intellectual endeavour" while at the
same time conspiring to convert cosmopolitan London into the Islamic
haven of "Londonistan"...
Al Qa'eda's chief military
spokesman in Europe puts it best: "You love
life and we love death." If there are no flies on Burleigh, there are
plenty on the moribund dogmas of those he dissects. [emphasis added]
An academic subject, terrorism. Really. Something to
pass the time when no one else wants to discuss something important,
like the unutterably depressing brilliance of Graham
Greene novels. So here we have the passionless reviewing the
passionless and noting passionlessness as a stylistic fault.
You know, the Brits are just fucking DONE.
Maybe I should have blogged about Eliot Spitzer. Even he is more intriguing than Brit
BRIZONI! Where the HELL are you when we need you?!