Monday, July 30, 2007

Melanie Phillips Attacks Will Self

Right, this time she has gone too far. This is gonna get personal. Melanie Phillips has dissed one of my favourite human beings on the face of the Earth. During her defence of Harry Potter from accusations of being the preserve of ‘kidults’, she takes her attack too far:

A few days ago the fashionable novelist Will Self took to the airwaves to denounce the ‘kidults’ who have their heads deep in the final volume. In his view, they should not be concerning themselves with ‘language that is so banal and basic’.

Mr Self, a former heroin user who has said of the nihilistic character of his own fiction that he ‘consciously styled myself in that way as a destructive intellectual force’, doubtless has a fan club composed entirely of the finest minds and most exquisite sensibilities. But whereas Harry Potter and JK Rowling have become household names, few would recognise Mr Self let alone know the titles of his books.

Now, just what is the point of making such a personal remark when discussing literature?? It is not exactly relevant is it?? I guess this is pretty systematic of the kind of debating style that Phillips likes to utilise. Screw the intellectual evidence based rationale, let's just go straight for the smears. Now, I know Mr Self can defend himself far better than some blogging moron can, but he has been a bit of a hero of mine for sometime (ranking up there with Stephen Fry) so I couldn't pass up the chance to comment on this. Up until now, I have been quite reserved in my attacks on Phillips - now this is war. Prepare for things to be cranked up a notch.

* Incidentally, this reminds me of the time I met Will Self a couple of years back. It was at a reading of his latest book at a well known book chain. At the end of the reading we got the chance to have our books signed and say a few words to Mr Self. During the whole time I was in the queue, I kept trying to think of something witty to say when my turn came. Eventually my moment arose and what did I say?? Something insightful and funny?? Some wry observation on modern life?? No, I just said "That was great". How pathetic. My one opportunity to strike up a conversation with one of my idols and I come across like a bashful teenager. What a loser.