Friday, November 03, 2006
This is already a second post on the subject, but I just can't stop marvelling that there is to be found in these sad, all accepting, all ignoring times a political commentator that really is reaching the levels of Mencken and Orwell.
Billmon is easily as savage as Mencken (though without Mencken's Nietzschean amusement) and as politically radical as Orwell (without Orwell's grim optimism or his English sentimentalism - this latter really a weakness rather than strength, it was this eccentric warmth that elevated Orwell into greatness). Even if you would not agree with his politics (I by and large do) the mercilessly hardhitting language itself is joy to read although it doesn't yet quite reach up to Orwell's personal majesty or Mencken's steely intricacy. Strange that the Internet these days really does beat the mainstream media hands down as regards political criticism and satire. The centralization of the media into giant corporations and news merging into a branch of the entertainment industry plays a role here no doubt. Luckily we still have these fiercely independent voices, hopefully amplified in the future - talking of which: a book of political essays by Billmon would be treasured, an instant classic surely if it would have the same quality as his blog.