Magazine January 25, 2010, Issue

Blighty Blight

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth smiles during a visit to Britvic’s bottling plant in east London, March 25, 2009. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)
Our Times: The Age of Elizabeth II, by A. N. Wilson (Farrar, Straus, 496 pp., $30)

Every so often, someone really opinionated comes along to push his way to the front of the crowd, and A. N. Wilson is a fine example. Any number of serious publications carry articles by him bemoaning some aspect of the present, whether political, social, or aesthetic, of which he disapproves, and savaging whoever he thinks is to blame for it. Indignation and ridicule gush out of him. He reminds me of Wyndham Lewis, an old monster from between the wars who made a nuisance of himself by sounding off about everything all the time. Never mind the clamor, such chaps

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I am reminded of one of the supervisors of my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, Roger Tsien, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008.

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