Saturday, October 23, 2010

Truth and beauty

A couple of newsfarts that feel as if they might have some sort of thematic connection to the previous post. The first is the revelation by egregious Tory MP Nadine Dorries that her blog is “70% fiction and 30% fact”, although she subsequently explained that “I think I probably meant to say it was 30% fiction.” Of course, the perfect get-out clause would be to explain that the blog is 100% opinion, but I rather get the feeling that Ms Dorries is too stupid to cope with such nuances.

And then there’s the revelation that Jane Austen’s stylistic elegance might have owed rather more to her editors than we previously believed. Although the canon must be defended at all costs; so Kathryn Sutherland suggests that revelations of dodgy punctuation and idiosyncratic grammar
...reveal Austen to be an experimental and innovative writer, constantly trying new things... even better at writing dialogue and conversation than the edited style of her published novels suggest.
So she’s still a great author – just a completely different great author from the one we’ve always believed her to be.

PS: Of course, the most cogent response to either of these is as follows:
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an indispensable companion to all those who are keen to make sense of life in an infinitely complex and confusing universe. For though it cannot hope to be useful or informative on all matters, it does make the reassuring claim that where it is inaccurate, it is at least definitively inaccurate. In cases of major discrepancy it is always reality that’s got it wrong. So, for instance, when the Guide was sued by the families of those who had died as a result of taking the entry on the planet Traal literally – it said “Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal for visiting tourists” instead of “Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal of visiting tourists” – the editors claimed that the first version of the sentence was the more aesthetically pleasing; summoned a qualified poet to testify under oath that beauty was truth, truth beauty, and hoped thereby to prove that the guilty party in this case was life itself for failing to be either beautiful or true.

4 comments:

Billy said...

What percentage of a blog is winsome self-mythologising. In my case, it is fairly high.

blackwatertown said...

Surely she should have claimed that this was the blog of "Nadine Dorries" the fictional character, not to be confused with the "hard-working" and "sane" MP.

The militant working boy said...

Does this mean that if Nadine Dorries and Jane Austin co-authored a blog, it would be 110% not what either of them meant?

Tim Footman said...

Yes, but you’re not a Tory MP, Billy. Yet.

The silly woman doesn’t appear to understand percentages, BWT, I don’t think she’ll be able to cope with metafictional self-reference.

MWB: I’d like to think that the Austen family wouldn’t allow the likes of Dorries into the house.