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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Antipathy sliced and skewered

Many have their dislikes; far fewer are prepared to explain them. Yet it's a great discipline and helps hone articulacy.

HUW EDWARDS (BBC news presenter). Operates to a formula; not a spark of life in that dead face. Two tones of voice: neutral and solemn. For great tragedies (eg, the tsunami) he slows down slightly.

CUCUMBER Remarkably aggressive taste. Behaves like a Nazi propagandist for freshness, insisting that slower, earthier tastes are somehow immoral. A Mississipi fundamentalist in vegetable form.

IAN McEWAN Much lauded British novelist, inhabiting small, contained, uninteresting yet frequently unikely worlds. Precious according to the third meaning (excessively refined, affected) and fourth meaning (used as an intensifier: highly valued but worthless). On top of all that: dull.

CONSERVATIVE/TORY PARTY Forget their so-called agonies about EU membership. They're in their element. Huge national deficit (created by bailing out the banks) is allowing them to follow their ideology and dismantle the welfare state. The nasty party gets nastier.

LADDISHNESS A negation of all that is glorious in having two genders. A delusion that laughter may redeem bad behaviour. The jettisoning of responsibility and a disdain for all that is not "immediate".

SOCCER Mildly entertaining team game where low scores mean it is obligatory to travel hopefully than to arrive. Tainted by class-wide oafishness of its supporters, the extremity of its mediators and a general sense of disintegrating values.

POPULAR TV (Dr Who, The Apprentice, cooking competitions, infantile quizzes, etc) A dislike which might be characterised as prejudice since I don't watch them. I don't have to. Programmes are trailered to the point of insanity, their banality heavily emphasised.

Please be advised; it is the reasons not the dislikes themselves that make for engaging conversation.


  1. The great Dr Johnson was reported (by Boswell) as commenting on cucumbers:
    "It has been a common saying of physicians in England, that a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing."
    I rather like them, especially as dressed above, in delicate cheese sandwiches.

  2. Do all abhorrent tastes seem aggressive to you? Do agreeable flavors seem shy? What about other types of melon?

  3. I am sooo relieved. I thought that it was compulsory to find Ian McEwan's books interesting!

  4. Avus: Oh, the sandwiches have to be delicate - Ca va sans dire. Remember the preparations for Lady Bracknell's arrival in Earnest: the butler says, "I went to the market for cucumbers this morning; there were none available - not even for ready money."

    MikeM: I equally abhor the cucumber's first cousin - the courgette. The flavour's almost undetectable, it's the squishy consistency I hate.

    Two strong flavours I do like: most wines from the Rhone Valley and VR's new rethink of Sauce Bolognese with a whole chilli chopped up in it.

    Blonde Two: What a renegade you are. Welcome to my library where you'll find other books with opaque black dust-jackets.

  5. I think you're a bit unfair on our Huw, he can manage a self-congratulatory little simper sometimes too.

    I also think there's a distinct taint of nastiness in Ian McEwan too, depite the preciousness, like bad air in those close spaces.

    Does your liking a telly programme automatically preclude it from being popular (though I'm inclined to agree about most of what's on).

  6. Sorry, I forgot a question mark somewhere there.