August 28, 2006

The Spectator’s Spectacular Spill?

Surely one of our favorite weekly reads is The Spectator, a conservative British alternative of sorts to The New Yorker. Only not as stuffy. And without the interminable articles on nugatory subjects. Oh, and no Seymore Hersh (thank God).

But we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would be remiss if we failed to mention that the jolly old Spectator has irked us a bit of late. First, it is darn near impossible to find this magazine at the newsstand in the USA, unless you are at a very fine newsstand indeed. Once a mainstay at the local Borders or Barnes & Ignoble, now it is almost nowhere to be found.

This would not be such a big deal, dear reader, if The Spectator weren’t such an obscenely expensive rag for those of us across the pond. $256 for a year’s subscription? For crying out loud: You can probably get, say, a vasectomy for cheaper.

But some of the recent editorial decisions rankle as well. Now, we aren’t the type to argue that The Spectator’s columnists should be lock-step behind the Bush administration—we think the diversity of opinion on display in the magazine makes it quite fun. It’s always humorous to read mop-top Boris Johnson’s ludicrous take on the Middle East, for example.

Yet why in the good Lord’s name did the folks at The Speccie give the preternaturally entertaining Mark Steyn the boot? We savored his columns and film reviews each week, and the magazine dearly misses his caustic wit.

And then there’s the cheap little semi-advertising section that The Speccie has recently dreamed up. Since the arrival of Matthew d’Ancona as editor, the back part of the magazine has featured a few articles that are really elaborate plugs for various companies—companies that paid to be mentioned, no doubt.

For instance, delight in this bit of writing-cum-advertising from the pen of one Jenny Wilhide:

In the end I went to optometrist Viren Jani (020 7409 2559) on Mount Street in Mayfair because the eye test came with complementary Iridology—the Ayurvedic practice of analysing flecks in the iris for signs of trouble in the body.

Gee, Jenny: Thanks for including the telephone numbers and “website” addresses of all the businesses you mention in your uncompromising, un-commercial writing. You complete hack.

Most assuredly, however, the most irritating thing about The Spectator is an old one: The continued presence of Taki, the insufferable paleo-conservative Greek heir to a shipping fortune who bought his way into the world of punditry.

Now, don’t get us wrong, dear reader: We don’t disesteem Taki merely because we disagree with him. Rather, this self-described anti-Semite routinely presents the most insipid commentary the world has ever seen. Why would the eminences who bring us The Spectator—surely one of the most well-produced magazines in the world—see fit to present us with the ramblings of a lecherous goof who lacks even a semblance of political acumen?

Think we’re a bit harsh? Take in this genius from Taki’s August 5 column:

I may be biased, but what I’d like to know is who the terrorist is: the one who has killed 750 civilians and 100 fighters, or the one who has killed 33 soldiers and 18 civilians? The Spectator’s editors may disagree with the poor little Greek boy, but the proof is in the numbers. The Israeli high command sounds like George Michael. They insist their behaviour is not in any way abnormal, obscene.

Uggghhh: How obtuse can you get? To this moronic cocaine addict, a “terrorist” should be defined solely by the number of civilians he has killed. Never mind the fact that Hezbollah specifically targets citizens and the Israeli army does not. Never mind the fact that Hezbollah uses civilians as human shields. This is all irrelevant to the dimwitted Taki. Perhaps he’d like to take a gander at the definition of the word “terrorist” in the dictionary, before he proffered yet another criticism of the lone Jewish state.

Presumably, Taki would agree with the lunatics of the far Left, who see the United States as a terrorist entity due (in part) to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And why aren’t the Allies in WWII “terrorists”? They sure proved more effective at killing Nazis than Nazis were at killing them—much to Taki’s dismay, no doubt.

Posted at August 28, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack