Joe Gordon update

by Chris Bertram on February 5, 2005

Blogger Joe Gordon, sacked by British bookselling chain Waterstone’s (see “an earlier post”: ) seems to have been offered “a better job by some nicer people”: . Splendid!

Mysterious denunciation

by Chris Bertram on February 5, 2005

I’m one of the objects of denunciation in “an article by Louis Proyect on marxmail”: . Proyect is disgusted with various former editors of the New Left Review who have supported “humanitarian intervention” here and there. It is certainly true that I did (and still do) support the intervention in Kosovo, but Proyect has much more specific allegations:

bq. In October 2000, the NLR asked Bertram to write an article on the anti-Milosevic revolt. However, editor Susan Watkins nixed the article since it implied political support for the forced absorption of Yugoslavia into Western European economic and political institutions.

The NLR never asked me to write such an article, I’ve never written such an article (asked or not), and so Susan Watkins couldn’t have “nixed” it. In fact, I’ve had no contact whatsoever with NLR since 1993. I don’t know whether the facts adduced by Proyect against other people in his piece are accurate ….

(Thanks to Henry for drawing my attention to this.)

[UPDATE: Proyect has now edited the piece so that Marko Attila Hoare is referred to as the author of the rejected NLR piece. I hope that’s correct]

Airbrushing the past

by Chris Bertram on February 5, 2005

Every so often the Guardian brings me up short. Today, for example, when “I read the following”:,10795,1406216,00.html :

bq. Thirty years ago a book by a Grenadian writer about the number of black British children being sent to schools for the educationally subnormal caused outrage in the community. Here author Bernard Coard describes how the ‘ESN book’ came to be written and its relevance to today’s black children.

Now, whilst it is strictly irrelevant to the merits and demerits of his book, it seems to me to be remarkable that the Guardian fails to mention that this is the same “Bernard Coard”: who led a Stalinist coup-d’etat against the Maurice Bishop, charismatic leader of the New Jewel Movement. Bishop and several other people were arrested on Coard’s orders and shot. This gave Ronald Reagan an excuse to invade the island. Coard was subsequently sentenced to death, but this was commuted to life imprisonment, and Coard is still in gaol. A “Grenadian writer” ….

Six Nations

by Chris Bertram on February 5, 2005

The multinational character of Crooked Timber means that there’s bound to be more than one view about who is going to win “Rugby Union’s Six Nations tournament”: this time around. The smart money is on Ireland who have the best player in Brian O’Driscoll and home advantage against the stronger teams. I’ll be tuned into Wales v England this afternoon and there’s every chance of an upset this time. Unfortunately for Kieran and Henry (and for Brian who is an interested neutral) I shouldn’t think that a microsecond of this will get transmitted in North America.

Discovering Steve Earle

by Chris Bertram on February 5, 2005

I’ve not been posting much lately because I’ve been teaching new material, starting a new semester and also been assessing another department as an external panel member. Busy busy busy. Still, life goes on in the insterstices. One of the things I look forward to in my weekly schedule is driving my youngest son to his piano lesson because this co-incides with “Bob Harris Country”: on BBC Radio 2. I’d long have said that the one genre of music I just couldn’t listen to is country. But Bob Harris has always been one of my favourite DJs and I’ve just been sucked in by what is one of the best music programmes on the BBC, to the point where I’ve bought 5 Steve Earle cds in the last month. No doubt everyone else has been listening to Earle for years, but for me he’s a new discovery, a songwriter who managed to summon up a whole world in a few minutes. I confess to listening to the unbelievably poignant “Billy Austin” from his live “Just an American Boy”: several times in a row.

We’re Back

by Kieran Healy on February 5, 2005

Crooked Timber has been out of commission for the past day or so. Our hosting provider had a hardware problem on one of its file servers, and fixing it took longer than they thought. The upshot was that this site was accessible the whole time, but everything was read-only: any attempt to post a comment, or write a post explaining what was wrong, or do anything that involved creating any file on the server, would get an error. Sorry about this: we didn’t have any control over it. But now here we are again, I hope.