Peter Black, Lib Dem AM (Liberal Democrat Welsh Assembly Member) posts a halfway approving piece about Mary Riddell’s wittering in the Observer. Riddell’s article, supposedly on image in politics, is about Daniel J Boortein’s early stab at pre-empting silly Continental ‘philosophers’. I suppose Riddell’s education stopped before 1968 because she name-drops Sartre rather than the obvious post-structuralist comparisons. I think she’s simply got the wrong French philosopher and misunderstood Sartre. Baudrillard and the precession of the simulcra would have been a better reference. I confess to having read Barthes, Derrida, et al. At least Barthes could be funny. Baudrillard and Derrida, simply meaningless crap.
Riddell seems in thrall to the notion of inauthenticity and pseudo-events. Yes, a bird flu pandemic hasn’t occurred but it could – and only the royal inbred half-wit Prince Charles was ever much worried about nanotechnology and ‘grey goo’. She seems to ignore her own role in writing up non-events – as if she forgets that weekly grind of having to find something to write about.
Riddell then loses it completely when, amongst a random list of contemporary, supposedly ‘synthetic’ experiences, she includes podcasts. That is, saveable audio files distributed over the Internet, a convenient way of me hearing Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time because I’m working after 9am on a Thursday when it’s broadcast. This is one of Boorstein’s nightmares come to pass, apparently.
No, this is shockingly poor journalism. Why does Peter Black seem to like it?
Maybe, like that anti-philosophe Paul de Mann, who preferred post-structuralism to admitting an unfortunate history of collaboration, Black preferes an understanding of events and experience that have only a passing resemblance to fact. At the moment, with reference to MP Simon Hughes, he is maintaining that the Liberal Party did nothing wrong in the Bermondsy Election of 1983 except for not speaking up against the homophobia targetted at Labour candidate Peter Tatchell. This despite Tatchell saying they fought a dirty campaign and Hughes apologising for it. Inauthentic indeed