Wednesday 11 January 2023




'In 1995 the New York Times invited its readers to try to name the era in which they were living. The paper argued that, more than five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the term “post-Cold War era” carried an air of “self-doubt”. The entries submitted were no better and included the “Age of Uncertainty” and the “Age That Even Historians from Harvard Can’t Name”.' From the review in the New Statesman by Gavin Jacobson of The Age of Interconnection: A Global History of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Sperber.

'The state has no business running schools or hospitals.' Stephen Pollard. He is probably right. He also said he blocked someone on Twitter for 'Neanderthal antisemitism' for saying the political wing of Hezbollah was not a threat to the UK and should not be banned. I didn't follow his logic there or when he argued that, as well as Hezbollah, golliwogs should be banned too.

'Our period, just because it is so intellectually weak, is given to extraordinarily strong assertions. Many of the great constructions of our time — existentialism, structuralism, transformational grammar, the central dogma and some other sloganized tenets of molecular biology, etc. — have all looked, from their very beginning, somehow shoddy and overblown. There was about them a flavor of not being entirely earned, as of trick images viewed in a mirror. As the mirror clouded over, the images vanished. Much of what they claimed may actually have been true; but they looked like packages much too large for what they contained. One got the impression that it often was the wrapping that produced the particular content; just as there are now packaging artists who wrap entire mountains in plastic flimsy.' Erwin Chargaff, Voices in the Labyrinth: Nature, Man, and Science (1977), acknowledgements to

'The black magic of our days — these mass media concerned with both the production and the distribution of so-called news; these forever titillating and nauseating intimacies, splashing all over us from newspapers and magazines, from radio and television; this bubbling and babbling emptiness of deadened imagination — has taken hold of science, as of all other intellectual products of humanity. They have swallowed it up. It is easy to understand why today's youth experiences a revulsion from all these synthetic celebrities strutting on the television screens of the world, from the ever increasing pollution of our intellectual and our actual atmosphere.' Ibid.

'In this country we are born and we die with a slogan on our lips. The advertising industry—the true curse of our times—has polluted our brains with these little jingles; it has saturated them, and we carry their infernal aroma into our dreams.' Ibid.

The American comedian Robin Williams described himself as 'Chicago Protestant, Episcopal—Catholic light: half the religion, half the guilt'.


  1. The Age of the Understatement

  2. I remember the early 1990s as the age of political correctness, a Communist phrase that George Bush the elder brought into vogue. His doing so I very naively thought would sweep the phenomenon away. It continued the rapid left-wing movement of Western culture which had taken place at a subterranean level in the 1980s.

  3. Haha. Diagnosed as French. Haha

    The age of stupidity. Has any other age been stupider? Fight me

  4. Harry has the unusual distinction of having written more books (1) than he has actually ever read, and for that sort of literary anomaly he deserves credit.