I also no longer buy either the London Review of Books or The Independent (daily or Sunday). I think I should go further and stop reading spare copies of either journal. Reviewing paperbacks in the broadsheets is occasionally delegated to some emptyheaded twentysomething trustafarian, but Laurence Phelan in the Sunday Independent should be given a special prize for unselfconscious, callous, stupidity. He reviews the often contemptible London Review of Books‘s 25th anniversary anthology like this:

“The contributors’ initial responses to 9/11 are variously insightful, prescient, graceful, and provocative (‘however tactfully you dress it up, America had it coming’).”

Call me “provoked”. The nearest Phelan gets to condemning this quote is to imply that other pieces in the book are more “considered”. The massacre of thousands of innocent American civilians at the beginning of this century exposed in a terrible moment the nastiness and snobbery of this country’s political, media, and academic classes and it does so over and over again. So did Europe’s persecution of Jews in the middle of the last century and its persecution of Muslims at its end. Comments like these stink of the same blank spite and caste conformity.