Watching sites are bizarre – the Christopher Hitchens one, the David Aaronovitch one. They are the antithesis of the fan club, where you really admire someone’s work and are interested in everything they produce and the minutiae of their life. But what a waste of time to read someone you dislike. If I dislike someone’s work I read or listen to something else. These sites are evidently loved by the contributors for their Three Minute Hate fests, which are like bitch fests at work about an unpopular colleague. Nothing is so binding as a shared hate.
The Hitchens haters link to one John Dolan who spews out the most amazing ignorance about books, British politics and well known British writers in order to make a thesis about books, British politics and well known British writers. It’s fisking for beginners, and, as I dislike spending time reading dislikable stuff, I won’t go through the whole thing. In fact when I read it, I had that kind of “where do I start” sense that you get at total wrong-headedness.
Martin learned the poison-pen trade at home, from his father [do you really think writers learn from their fathers like musicians? And they differ greatly from each other as writers], novelist Kingsley Amis [you cribbed that from Eagleton, and that was one of the most idiotic remarks he ever made]. Like Hitchens, Kingsley started out by calling himself a leftist, but a leftist who hated almost everything about the left except that fact that it shared his hatred for his social superiors. Once his novel Lucky Jim became a hit and he joined the elite, Kingsley discovered that he had no further grudges with the Tories and spent the rest of his life vilifying women, non-whites, and anyone else who failed to meet his standards of Englishness. [Kingsley Amis stopped being left out of the common disillusionment with the Soviet Union and Stalin]. . .
Tory writers always go a little crazy when sex comes up.[Mind who you call crazy on that subject – you’re not that sane yourself.] One of Amis' most distinguished predecessors in the use of sexual slander against the Left [the Left for Dolan equals Islamist suicide bombers] is C.S. Lewis. Lewis knew very little about the modern world -- or women, or sex -- except that he was against the lot. [Against women? Till We Have Faces is a novel with a feminist heroine] So rather than research the topic and risk learning something [no, he was too busy turning out novels and literary criticism and Christian apologetics – how do you research women and the modern world, by the way?], he resorted to novelistic technique, peopling his anti-modern science-fiction fables with homophobic caricatures [only one that I can think of, that plural is a cheat] like the sadistic nurse Hardcastle, a socialist monster [a high up in the police force] who delights in putting out her cigars on the heroine's breasts.
By the way, Dolan seems to think his villains;’ – Lewis’s and Paul Johnson’s – odd sex lives, have something to do with their work. He doesn’t say anything about the effect that those heterosexual male champions’ enviable sex lives – Amis Junior and Senior and Hitchens – has on their work.
This article is total nonsense, and the Hitchens watchers link to it as being somehow a worthy analysis of their favourite hate figure. But I suppose their hatred is a bit like a pig – it has an appetite for anything, whether nutritious, swill or garbage.