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Too kind? November 20, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Anyone read this review of Kevin Myer’s autobiography in the DRB? Not a book I will be making any great effort to read.


1. crocodileshoes - November 20, 2020

Read the review but not the book. The review buys into one of the commonplaces about Myers: that however provocative his views, they were elegantly expressed. I always found his Daily Telegraph- style orotundity and circumlocutions – especially when he was trying to be funny – close to unreadable. The fact that he was proud to say what others were thinking was no mitigation: nobody should be thinking such things, either. The fact that his bigotry was clothed in tweedy prose didn’t mean it should be let into the house.

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WorldbyStorm - November 20, 2020

+1 Always felt he was kicking down.

But read the last paragraph in this and it just shows the incredible lack of empathy he displayed for others and a remarkable level of self-pity.



sonofstan - November 20, 2020

Yes, I agree – to adapt someone’s comment about Boris Johnson, he’s what people who don’t read good writing think that good writing is.

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oliverbohs - November 20, 2020

I didn’t know the exact line from his column that got him removed from the Sunday Times. Tbh it looks gratuitous and unnecessary and the “some of my best friends are Jewish” excuses are beside the point. And as you say, his writing style is convoluted and overrated, so to lean on that as proof he could not have meant what he said cos he’s such a witty guy is… unconvincing. The Times head office people in London were evidently unmoved by whatever apologias to Myers’ towering wit were thrown out there.
Ed Moloney’s still willing to fight his corner as is his right but anyone else interested in journalism wd see a guy who got 40+ years in it, many of those years with a handy number, and shrug.

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2. GearóidGaillimh - November 20, 2020

I read it a week or whatever ago. It does make some good criticisms of Myers, about his writings about World War One, and of southern Protestants, but lets him off the hook far too easily in relation to the ‘Irishman’s Diary’ columns.

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3. tomasoflatharta - November 20, 2020

I think Emmet O’Connor writes a very measured and damning review of Mr Myers’s literary causes : this passage is not “kind”, it is a demolition job, performed politely and without personal abuse – and that is an sample everybody could follow : “Forgotten” must be the most misused term in Irish historiography. All history is forgotten, unless we choose to remember. And we cannot remember everything. Annual state commemorations all over the world normally focus on one or two big events, chosen not for their historical weight, but because they are deemed emblematic of how the regime would like to see itself. Service in the British army did not fit into the narrative of Irish state formation. It is no surprise that governments did not celebrate it, and it was open to anyone to make a case that it should or go ahead with their own remembrance. That wasn’t good enough for Myers. The victim complex kicked in, and he set about laying a major guilt trip on the plain people of Ireland. A public perception emerged that the veterans were deliberately forgotten, and shamefully abused on their return home. Then, bizarrely, the militarism of the British Legion and Poppy Day became plugged into the Northern Ireland “peace process”. President Mary McAleese joined in, saying that the old soldiers “had to keep their memories in shoe-boxes”. That recent scholarship has refuted accusations such as these is of no interest to Myers. Repeatedly, we are confronted with disingenuousness as he poses as an innocent stumbling across a shocking secret. Did he really assume in 1979 that only Northern Protestants were capable of sectarian atrocities and that “there were no Irish Catholic officers in the British army”? It’s not believable. The great lie of course is that all he wanted was remembrance of the fine fellows – as they all seem to be in his book – who fought so selflessly in Flanders. In practice, state commemoration is impossible to divorce from celebration, which is why Myers was so insistent on state involvement.”.


4. CL - November 20, 2020

” The Holocaust (literally the burning of a sacrifice on an altar) refers to the gas chambers and ovens of death camps like Auschwitz or Treblinka but more Jews in places like Russia, where a different railway gauge made the transporting of Soviet Jews to the death camps impossible, were killed with Nazi bullets or worked to death in factories.” – Ed Moloney

” Most Holocaust historians define the Holocaust as the genocide of the European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1941 and 1945.”

Liked by 1 person

Pangurbán - November 21, 2020

The review is as fine a piece of filleting I’ve seen in some time: O Connor has a lovely writing style; gems are the reference to “ pull yourself together man” and his exposure of the false narrative about WW1 veterans: also his comparison of writing history being like house painting or acting. Myers is now a non person

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - November 21, 2020

+1 both.

CL, I thought that an odd definition in the first instance.


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