Friday, May 06, 2005

Hoo-Hahs and Passing Frenzies, by Francis Wheen

The title of this collection of journalism is a dig at Tony Blair, who described government and corporate scandals as nothing more than either ‘hoo-hahs’ or ‘passing fancies’. Cheesy spin at its best!

I find it hard to truly enjoy collections of essays, columns and features, harvested from various papers and magazines and packaged in one bumper book. Words written on a weekly basis for a paper column can fall flat when reprinted in book form a decade after the fact. It’s like drinking flat coke. Plus most of the stuff in this book is about British contemporary politics. A lot of the names I didn’t know, not that I really think it would have helped if I had known the people being written about. The fact is a newspaper column is written with a view to being quickly digested and done with – a bit like junk food. Whereas a book is more considered and permanent.

This is not to have a go at Franis Wheen. He surely is very witty and a sharp observer. I enjoyed reading his humorous dispatches on Tony Blair and his third way project.

But in future I must remember to steer clear of collections of journalism.

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