Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Hilary Mantel, John O’Farrell and a food experiment in Louisiana – why lefties are so bloody horrible

If her public utterances are anything to go by, Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel is not a Tory voter. For starters, she is incredibly compassionate:
We have reached a period where we are going back to the Middle Ages; where poverty is once again being viewed as a moral failing or a weakness, and relief by the state is a privilege and not a right. I find this terrifying. Unmistakably, those resonances are there.
Ah, bless!

And then there’s her defence of teenage pregnancies:
Mantel suggested that society is too male-centric and that it is men who want to have children when they are older. "Having sex and having babies is what young women are about, and their instincts are suppressed in the interests of society's timetable," she said. 
(As testosterone tends to make young men violent and randy, should we forgive them when they commit rape or GBH?)

And now Mantel’s given the Duchess of Cambridge a right, royal going over: “a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung”, “painfully thin”, “a shop-window mannequin”, “no personality of her own” and (weirdly) “her are eyes are dead”.

And I hear Kate speaks very highly of you, fatso!

Of course, calling a distinguished 60-year old female novelist with a history of serious illness “fatso” is a nasty thing to do. But, then, she’s been very, very nasty about a young woman who really can’t respond in kind, even if she wanted to. Speculating that Kate's relationship with her husband is a Diana-Charles number rather than one based on love strikes me as both cruel and quite unjustified: after all, the pair had been stepping out for years before getting married – and they even had a Friends-style “break”. Sounds like the real thing to me.

Mantel’s fellow-lefties have been busy arguing that the award-laden author was actually attacking the press. Or society. Or everybody (we are all to blame, in a very real sense). Or as part of a "feminist critique of the monarchy". Her wounding comments about the Duchess were made - we're led to believe - in what Michael Wharton called “a frenzy of compassionate hatred”. Well, perhaps - but when you’ve notched up a couple of Bookers you’d think you might have leaned enough about the use of language to make your message pellucidly clear.

The comic novelist, memoirist and TV panellist John O’Farrell, the Labour candidate in the forthcoming Eastleigh by-election, once wrote (in a book which I had the misfortune to read) that he was sorry the 1984 IRA Brighton bomb hadn’t killed Mrs Thatcher:
I would invent all sorts of elaborate scenarios whereby she would cease to be Prime Minister of Britain. Some involved a sombre deputation from the 1922 Committee  [of Tory MPs] and others involved me popping up with a machine-gun at the Conservative Party Conference. In October 1984, when the Brighton bomb went off,  I felt a surge of excitement at the nearness of her demise and yet disappointment that such a chance had been missed. This was me – the pacifist, anti-capital punishment, anti-IRA liberal – wishing that they had got her. “Why did she have to leave the bathroom two minutes earlier?”  I asked myself over  and over again.
O'Farrell also had a merry old time imaging Thatcher’s state funeral, where "‘the body will be flame-grilled with gherkins and a slice of cheese." Now that’s a funeral I would turn out for.’

Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left paralysed by the bombing, had this to say in the Telegraph:
I do not know to what extent [O’Farrell’s] disappointment that Sinn FeinIRA failed to kill the Prime Minister was eased by the deaths of five other people or the injuries incurred by John Wakeham and my wife.  
I’ve regularly speculated as to why left-wingers who say or do disgusting, hurtful things nevertheless continue to believe themselves to be morally superior to the rest of us. I recently cited that abysmal man Chris Huhne – whose forced resignation is the cause of the Eastleigh by-election – as an example. In that post (here), I cited the Christian heresy of antinomianism as one possible explanation – since we are justified by faith alone, we can behave as immorally as we wish and we’ll still be saved, because we hold the right views.

A research experiment at Loyola University, New Orleans suggests that moral smugness does indeed turn us into worse human beings. They took 62 students and divided them into three groups: the first group were “exposed” to organic food, the second to “comfort” food such as chocolate and ice cream, while the third group were subjected to varied foodstuffs. The results (which you can read about on the university's website here) were fascinating:
After viewing a few organic foods, comfort foods or control foods, participants who were exposed to organic foods volunteered significantly less time to help a needy stranger, and they judged moral transgressions significantly harsher than those who viewed non-organic foods. These results suggest that exposure to organic foods may lead people to affirm their moral identities, which reduces their desire to be altruistic. 
Imagine how much less generous and judgmental you’d be if you’d voluntarily eschewed ice cream and pizza in favour of wholesome, environmentally helpful, naturally-grown foods. Imagine how pharisaically smug you’d feel for having chosen the path of ecological rectitude: your cosmic levels of self-approval would enclose your ego in a suit of moral armour, allowing you to belabour the unrighteous with impunity, certain of your own irreproachability.

Explains a lot. As, of course, does the New Testament: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Left-wingers seem to be convinced that, when it comes to the things that really matter, they are indeed without sin, which is why - I suppose - they're so keen on stone-throwing.


  1. I have never read Hilary "Viewers Look Away Now" Mantel, but given the slavish acclaim she receives from the epicene literary establishment I think I will take a pass and continue to get the female take on history from the likes of Lady Magnesia Freelove [yes, another Leftie, but one with manners] and her wonderful mother.

    O'Farrell. Talking of manners, it is too early in the morning to be thinking about lowlifes and slipping into bad language. Lord Tebbitt says it perfectly. As O'F is so spectacularly unfunny why is he not a regular on one of the BBC's numerous comedy panels?

    1. I got about 100 pages into Wolf Hall, but I'm afraid I didn't get it at all.

      As for O'Farrell, he used to write regularly for Have I Got News For You and has appeared on it regularly as a panelist, looking hungover (but that's probably congenital) and never saying anything remotely funny.

  2. The Duchess of Cambridge should gracefully respond to the orthodontically challenged writer by sending her the name of a good fang doctor. The worrying thing about our greatest living authoress is that she is beginning to look like a waxwork of herself. Poor old Silvio Berlusconi is going the same way.

  3. I fear her teeth may now be considered part of her "brand", as with Ken Dodd. She may very well end up with an unkempt perm and a tickling stick, and ending her lefty lectures with the catch-phrase, "Tatty-by, everybody. Tatty-by!"

  4. If the canine/human owner facial interrelationship theory holds good, there ought to be a well fed russet coloured English cocker spaniel in the great novelist's household, leaving his basket from time to time to have a nip at a passing postman.