vrijdag, juli 16, 2004

Tom Paulin's 'Poets and principles'

In 'Poets and principles', Tom Paulin's recent article in the Guardian Review profiling William Hazlitt, Mr. Paulin recounts how Wordsworth's biographer, Stephen Gill, described Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a 'windbag apostate', referring to his retreat from extreme republicanism and turn to Unitarianism and Tory monarchism. It increasingly seems to me that apostasy, betrayal, infidelity are something close to humanity's essential character. From the hundred-year-long-or-so perfidy of social democracy, through the obvious treachery to socialism that was Stalinism, to the quick, quick defection from resistance to submission of Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva today, or even just the path from red to blue of the late Christopher Hitchens or Bob Dylan selling ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’’ to be used in bank commercials - the record of faithlessness is too long.

The late Mr. Hitchens recommends in his fatuous Letters to a Young Contrarian that the ‘contrarian’ must make ‘the decision to live at a slight acute angle to society’. Well, then, I shall, with this here blogging thingy, attempt to angle slightly but acutely both at inconstant society and at him, an apostate windbag, ne plus ultra.