by Kieran Healy on April 16, 2006

People speaking in some official capacity should always take care what they say, because they aren’t just speaking for themselves. The higher up the ladder you go, the more care you have to take. Most of the time inappropriate comments don’t even raise a laugh. So it’s hard not to feel a twinge of sympathy when someone is — rightly — made to apologize for having said something that’s actually funny. In this case it’s “Police Chief Constable John Vine”: who, when speaking to the Perth Bar Association in Scotland, told a joke about Al Qaeda fathers chatting about their suicide-bomber sons. One says wistfully to the other, “Kids blow up so quickly these days.”

Terror, liberalism, and shoddy research

by Chris Bertram on April 16, 2006

The peculiar British tendency that is the “decent Left” numbers among its sacred texts Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism. One of the most prominent Eustonian thinkers, the columnist Nick Cohen, has even mentioned Berman’s book as the reason for his own epiphany. But is it any good? Over at Aaronovitch Watch the Cous Cous Kid has been directing his attention to Berman’s work and noticing that the accounts Berman gives of other people’s ideas, of religion, and of historical events, ought to have impressed Cohen somewhat less than they did.

CCKs’ review is split into seven parts, so the easiest way to read his text is just to visit the site and scroll down. But for archive purposes, I also give the links to each part below.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7