Sunday, January 25, 2009

The genius of Polly Toynbee

Guido has a wonderful description of Polly Toynbee as a:
Tuscan redistributionist friend of the down-trodden, the three-house-owning, multi-millionairess toff
I disagree with him, though, where he writes:
With the colourful prose that earns her £117,000 basic
It's not her prose that's making her the money. It's that her columns 'provoke'. One reason is she is unselfconsciously hypocritical beyond the dreams of Anthony 'Tony' Wedgewood Benn (formerly 2nd Viscount Stansgate).

Another is she sounds superficially intellectual, while being totally clueless about, for example, finance. This convinces people who agree with her that she's a great thinker while provoking anger and incredulity in those who don't. Intentionally or unintentionally - she's a genius columnist.

I'd like to reassure Tim Worstall that the purpose of a 'non-expert' column (and Polly certainly ain't an expert) is purely to 'provoke' or 'entertain'. No one with a brain listens to what she says "on matters of political import" since she doesn't have a column because of the quality of her opinions.

Her column is commissioned so people buy the paper or visit the website for purposes of praise or ridicule. While there, they might click or cut out an advert. She's the ultimate example of journalism being the stuff shoehorned between the ads.

If you want rid of her - ignore her. Without the oxygen of publicity, she can't make money for advertisers anymore.


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