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Tim Pat Coogan--It’s Not Just Derb


Some readers of the Hibernian persuasion took issue with my
somewhat-less-than-friendly review of Tim Pat Coogan’s book 1916 in NRODT
a few weeks ago
Well, it’s
not just me. Kevin Myers, one of the best opinion journalists on the other
side of the pond (he appears frequently in the London Daily Telegraph as
well as doing a regular column titled “An Irishman’s Diary” for the Irish
) recently tackled Tim Pat’s previous book, Wherever Green Is Worn.
That book has just been re-issued in paperback, and Kevin used this as the
occassion to take a hurley stick to our Tim Pat. The Irish Times website
demands that you–gasp!–pay to read it, so for non-subscribers here are
some choice quotes from Kevin: “Without exception, it [i.e. Wherever Green
Is Worn
] is the worst book about Ireland that I have ever read, an
execrably written and rambling farrago of errors in which just about the
only things that are crystal clear are an obsession with national victimhood
and the indefatiguably buffoonish egotism of the author…” “The author’s
apparent ignorance of history is at times morbidly compelling, rather like
watching a drunken ice-skater repeatedly fall on his bottom…” “Calling
Henry II, son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and Maine, and Duke of
Normandy, ‘British’ when ‘Britishness’ was not to be invented for another
half a millennium is the sort of witless gibberish Christian Brothers used
to rant a couple of generations ago…” “There are over 700 pages of such
ill-informed vapouring. And what’s more unendurable than his wearying
conceit is the national self-pity that he peddles. Taking the index as a
guide, it is surely telling that there are four pages which refer to the
injustices done to the Birmingham Six and 28 to the Prevention of Terrorism
Act. However, only three pages are given over to the Birmingham bombings
themselves, and though this atrocity (his word) took the lives of, he
admits, ‘21 innocent civilians’ – are there any other kind? – the account
here deals almost entirely with subsequent Irish victimhood…” “Wherever
Green is Worn
. Dreary rubbish about the Irish diaspora. Available now in

More Saddam Terror Ties



The Face of Recent Iraqi History


Web Briefing: October 23, 2014




No Distractions From Justice


Re: Re: Wow


Another thing I did yesterday, instead of posting: A quick stop–passed the “Naked Cowboy” in Times Square and thousands of onlookers (don’t you wish you were here?!)–for what may be the worst birthday gift ever given: the “Plastic Ono Band” CD, which was on a loved one’s “wish list” as a joke; I didn’t get the joke. The CD includes the song: “Woman is the Nigger of the World.” I’ll be getting it again and again.

Vanishing Point


So that’s where the Republican Guard went.

Re: Wow


Also crashing on editing for holiday site. Decompression and holidaying still a future prospect.



Well, John, I’ll plead the Fifth on that one, but one of the other great comments from the old country on this topic came from the 19th Century Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. Annoyed by a particularly intense evangelical sermon, he was heard to remark that “things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life”, a comment that, has probably annoyed a good number of clerics over the years. Melbourne himself also managed the quite remarkable dual historical achievement of being cuckolded by Byron and, in later life, having a crush on the young Queen Victoria.

Re: The Observer


As the only NR-ite and Corner visitor to write for the New York Observer, let me put in a word for the pink paper. The Observer debuted in 1987. I thought they might like a conservative columnist, so I called up the owner and publisher, Arthur Carter. At that time all I knew of him was that he also published The Nation.

When I arrived in his office, I began with my spiel of who I was and what I had done, but he cut me off. “Of course I’m familiar with your work from National Review,” he said, then added: “I gave National Review $1000 once.” “Why did you do that?” I asked. “Because I think National Review does a good job, and magazines that do a good job should be encouraged.”
His ideal, I realized, would be to publish all the journals of opinion. Since he can’t do that, he does the next best thing, which is to publish the truly heterogeneous New York Observer.

(Note to Jonah, Kathryn: Let’s not ask him for $1000 for NRO until some time has passed, shall we?)

The Pizza Guy


Writing in the Wanderer, the conservative Catholic paper, Brooklyn’s Fr. Joe Wilson pays wonderful tribute to Steve Brady, a small-town pizza parlor owner, who is also a fearless and prophetic Christian to whom the Catholic Church in America owes a great debt.

More Anglicans


If a non-Anglican may contribute to this thread, I am reading The Way We Live Now for the first time (not top drawer Trollope–too much whinging about swindling rich men, as if Lewis Lapham had written a novel).
Roger Carbury, the umpteenth occupant of Carbury Manor, had befriended an R.C. priest (he converted, or “perverted,” as the book’s Anglicans say, when he was at Oxford, so he is a gentleman). But his Catholic friend lays on the apologetics a bit thick, and Roger grows tired of it. Trollope comments: “Perhaps also Roger felt that were he to take up the cudgels for an argument he might be worsted in the combat, as in such combats success is won by practised skill rather than by truth.”

Derb’s New Book


A cheeky reader wants to know, for browsing purposes, where the dirty bits
are in PRIME OBSESSION. Well, it’s a matter of taste, but the part I
personally find most arousing is when I invert the integral of the J
function in Chapter 21.



Last post at 3:50. My apologies people. I guess war decompression and the holidays have won the day.



Andrew–How about George Orwell: “I like the Church of England better
than Our Lord.” ?

C of E (2)


When it comes to the C of E, I always preferred Churchill’s view. He was not, he said, “a pillar of the Church but a buttress – [he] supported it from the outside.”

The C of E


Well, John, that’s true about the martyred Latimer and Ridley, of course, but I’m a bit worried about the overall tone of that article. Rowan Williams as the saviour of the C of E? Hardly. Not only is he is a left-wing nutter, but he is far too prone to wanton displays of ‘erudition’ and theological obsession – neither of which have any part to play in the true traditions of C of E – nice cups of tea, country parsons, good-hearted social work, the best hymns in the world, the King James Bible, a fairly benign patriotism and a vague injunction to ‘play nice’.

More Shyster


From a reader:

“Shyster” is apparently as anti-Semitic as “niggardly” is anti-black. Its apparent etymology (as I’m sure you found) traces back to a German word for defecation. But it’s not news that shyster was meant to be used derogatorily about lawyers in general.

This really boils down to an IQ problem on the part of the Observer, which you might have emphasized more, coupled with the ill-will and refusal to engage in a substantive discussion about ideas that you pointed out.

On Kicking a--


I apologize for my tardiness in responding to a question Ramesh asked on the Corner a few days ago. If Clinton was so bad for defense, he asked, why did our military do so well in Iraq? Nancy Pelosi made the same point recently, as did others a year ago after the US success in Afghanistan, and it is a fair question.

The first point to make is that in defense matters, as in economic ones, there is often a lag between cause and effect. The Clinton economic “boom” was really a consequence of changed fundamental attributable to the Reagan economic revolution. The situation is similar with regard to defense. During the Clinton years, the military could live off of the capital created by the modernization that took place in the 1980s thanks to the Reagan defense buildup.

But something else happened in both arenas that sustained existing trends beyond what analysts predicted at the time: the information revolution. Hi tech fueled the Clinton boom. It also helped to transform the military before “transformation” became a Pentagon buzz word. Although his acolytes have tried, Clinton cannot take credit for these exogenous changes in the environment.

Finally, we forget that it was the Congress elected in 1994 that insisted on increases in defense funding. Here’s what Michael O’Hanlon said in a piece PRAISING Clinton.

the Clinton administration misused military power during its first year in office in Somalia and then in Haiti….Morale was low, and recruitment and retention posed problems. Cuts in defense spending to help balance the federal budget went too far in some cases — until the Republican Congress stepped in an insisted on adding money for the Pentagon.

Thus the real Clinton legacy was low morale, recruitment and retention problems, and cuts in defense spending while increasing the demands on the force. But the U.S. military is a resourceful and innovative organization. Throughout history, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have learned to cope with problems created by politicians who want defense on the cheap. I would argue that the military has done as well as it has recently in spite of Clinton rather than because of him.



That was in reference to today’s Goldberg File which you should read at least once, but click on 8 billion times.


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