Monday, December 27, 2010

A Guide To Guardian Pundits.

Most pundits in the MSM or blogs with MSM pretensions are fairly interchangeable. I'm thinking of working out ways to categorise them so as to save time.For instance at the Guardian most of the regular columnists  come into one of these categories:
  • Identity pundit: someone like Gary Younge or Julie Bindel for whom every issue is addressed through the prism of identity politics. This has the great advantage of rendering much of the criticism directed against them as invalid because it is from people who are the wrong colour, have the wrong genitals or want to sleep with the wrong people.
  • Trustafarian Radical: Someone who is from an absurdly privileged background who compensates by taking radical stances to an extreme level presumably due to unresolved Daddy issues. They can be nice (George Monbiot) or nasty (Seamus Milne) but one thing they will always be, is extremely silly.
  • Party Harpy- Middle aged women with an iron clad loyalty to the Labour Party, fond of making bold predictions and wish fulfilment fantasies. Usually insert calls to action which are widely ignored. Polly Toynbee and Jackie Ashley fill this slot.
  • Olympian God- Someone who is so assured at their own righteousness and sensible outlook that they issue columns like Delphic prophecies that aren't meant to be questioned by lesser mortals. The late Hugo Young is the best example of this although Michael White and Timothy Garton Ash also fit the bill.
  • The Hitchens- Someone who makes a living being a professional martyr to the the rest of the left by criticising other elements of the left. Ususally denounces everyone else for selling out the principles of pure liberalism. Nick Cohen is the Observer's resident Hitchens at present.
  • Will This Do?- Someone whose job it is to write about anything that pops through their head, preferably tying it to some event in the news. Has nothing to say but insists on saying it anyway. Often convinced of how terribly witty they are but have usually only got the gig through nepotism or sleeping with the editor. Examples include Marina Hyde and anyone whose name is "Coren".
  • The Celebrity- Similar to the "Will this do?" merchant but the column is usually even worse unless it's ghost written. Think David Mitchell or Maureen Lipman.
  • The Specialist- Someone who knows what they're talking about and who even people like me have to acknowledge are worth reading. Ben Goldacre and the occasional foreign correspondent are the main examples of this.
Next time- a guide to Daily Mail columnists.


banned said...

I used to read The Guardian in my mid-teens until disagreeing with most of it became tedious so I am not now particularly familiar with most of its contributors (except Polly of course).

Some of the cartoons were quite good though. What was the one that poked fun at the middle classes, the good life folk who comprise The Guardians readership?

JuliaM said...

The 'Guide to Mail Columnists' will only have one category, surely?

'Swivel-eyed loons'...

James Higham said...

Party Harpy

I winced when I saw this.

Ross said...

Banned- I find I prefer reading columnists I disagree with nowadays.

Julia- Yeah the loon plus the unfunny humourist are the Mail's main two types.