I’ve been toying with putting books I’ve read, am reading or am about to read somewhere on the page. Partly because there’s so much good stuff to talk about (such as Barcabook, the new J.G. Ballard novel and Jane Stevenson’s recent, brilliant trilogy).
I’m reminded of this just now because I wanted to cite Ian Duncan-Smith lookalike, Francis Wheen, who has a new book out on mumbo-jumbo. A favourite journalist on a favourite subject. I am blissfully happy.
Wheen is, as ever, as sharp as Occam’s razor. Here he is in digested form on ‘the Diana moment’:
The psychotherapist Susie Orbach interpreted the ‘floral revolution’ outside Kensington Palace after Princess Diana’s death as proof that we were “growing up as a nation”. Will Hutton, radical social democrat and republican, said that the collective genuflection before a dead aristocrat showed that the British were “freeing ourselves from the reins of the past”. The assumption is that emotional populism represents a new kind of collective politics. In fact, it is nothing more than narcissism in disguise.
I would have found that striking even if I had not recently completed The Empress of the Last Days, a stiletto into the overinflated stomach of the modern monarchy.