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Cecily Cecily

Writing Worth Reading

Autobiography By Morrissey

Entertaining and admiring review. “Morrissey is scurrilous, withdrawn and disdainful, an odd mixture of shyness and vitriol. He enjoys his celebrity, but the sardonic self-irony of the book seeks to persuade us otherwise. There is a relish and energy about its prose that undercuts his misanthropy. Its lyrical quality suggests that beneath the hard-bitten scoffer there lurks a romantic softie, while beneath that again lies a hard-bitten scoffer” (1,300 words)

No Self-Mockery, Please, We’re American

Observations on the American character. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek. “The good news about the citizens of this kindly, violent, bigoted, generous-spirited nation is that if ever the planet is plunged into nuclear war, they will be the first to crawl over the edge of the crater, dust themselves down, and proceed to build a new world. The bad news is that they will probably have started the war” (2,770 words)

Bono: Simple But Devastating

Review of The Frontman: Bono by Harry Browne. “As a multimillionaire investor, world-class tax avoider, pal of Bush and Blair and crony of the bankers and neo-cons, Bono has lent credence to the global forces that wreak much of the havoc he is eager to mop up. His technocratic, west-centred, corporation-friendly campaigns have driven him into one false solution, unsavoury alliance and embarrassing debacle after another” (980 words)

To The Manor Born

Review of Selina Guinness’s Crocodile By The Door, about the Anglo-Irish upper classes and their country estates. “Houses for the middle classes are just places to live in, but for the gentry they are evolving organisms. Individuals come and go, but the grange or manor house lives on, more like a transnational corporation than a bungalow”

Derrida: A Biography

Review of Benoit Peeters’s book, noteworthy for explaining deconstruction in half a paragraph. “It seizes on the out-of-place element in a system, and uses it to show how the system is never quite as stable as it imagines”

What Would Rousseau Make Of Our Selfish Age?

“Universities are no longer educational in any sense of the word that Rousseau would have recognised. They have become instruments of capital. Confronted with this squalid betrayal, he would have felt sick and oppressed”

Religion For Atheists

Tirade against Alain de Botton and others who claim to be atheists, but applaud religion as a force for good in society. “They hijack other people’s beliefs, empty them of content and redeploy them in the name of moral order”

In Praise Of Marx

“Marx was no more responsible for the monstrous oppression of the communist world than Jesus was responsible for the Inquisition”. He respected the creative energy of capitalism. But he also saw its costs, and its weaknesses


Intelligent, informative review of Hobsbawn’s How To Change The World, a collection of essays on Marxism. “Seventy years after Marx’s death, one third of humanity lived under political regimes inspired by his thought”. Still 20% now

The Prince Of Wales

Very funny, very rude. “Old-style Tories like the prince support a system that breeds materialism and cultural cretinism, then throw up their hands in well-bred horror at what they have helped to bring into existence”

Case Of The Pope

How Canon Law shields paedophile priests. “One reason for the huge amount of child abuse is that the perpetrators know they will almost certainly get away with it”

Of Men And Monsters

Edited extract from Eagleton’s book ‘On Evil’. Reflection on whether wickedness and sin – think Jamie Bulger, Jon Venables – exist, and how we should think of them

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