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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs: "Mark Thwaite ... has a maverick, independent mind"

Friday 20 April 2007

Ellis on Shriver

The inimitable Ellis Sharp takes down "crap writer" Lionel Shriver:

These days I don’t need a bucket to throw up in – I need something at least the size of a horse trough.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Reader Comments

Monday 23 April 2007

Paul Saxton says...

The crap writer bit is fine. But perhaps you could explain the boldfaced anti-Semitism. I mean, the way Sharp manages to get in the fact of Shriver's support for Israel - as if, you know, that's all the evidence we need of what a terrible person she is.

'Inimitable' indeed.

Monday 23 April 2007

Mark says...


There is no anti-Semitism there at all. You know it and I know it. Ellis's ongoing attacks on Israel, and her supporters, may be bracing, and it may sometimes be boring, but anti-Semitic it certainly is not.

Shriver regularly writes political opinion-pieces, it seems only right therefore for Ellis to attack her politics alongside her ("crap") writing.


Monday 23 April 2007

Paul Saxton says...

No, I don't know it (and please, don't presume to know what I do or do not know).

That kind of cheap referencing of Israel, the singling out of Israel, is just the kind of thing that anti-Semites regularly engage in. You know, the constant harping on about Israel's crimes and holding it up to higher standards than they expect, or demand of, say, Israel's very near neighbours. I mean, when was the last time you read Ellis banging on about Iran or Syria's terrible human rights abuses - you know, the way that they (unlike Israel) continue to treat women and homosexuals? Or the way they suppress writers, journalists and artists? You know, in exactly the way that Israel doesn't?

Ellis could quite easily have made the point about Shriver (i.e. that she's a 'crap writer') without mentioning Israel at all. He did so, I'd contend, because he believed it was just what was needed to finally portray Shriver in a negative light. Which is an awful thing to do/expect. Besides, as you'll know, support for Israel doesn't necessarily make you a terrible person. Right?

Monday 23 April 2007

Mark says...


I'm not Ellis. Go and have this (dull) argument with him. I'm afraid your sub-Hitchens, pseudo-Geras conflations bore me rigid and RSB is no place for this fight. I'm not interested in your point-scoring non-arguments.


Monday 23 April 2007

Paul Saxton says...

Wow. Thanks for that Mark. You know, you didn't have to reply to my first comment... it's why I assumed you were up for a debate/chat.

Monday 23 April 2007

Stephen Mitchelmore says...

"That kind of cheap referencing of Israel, the singling out of Israel, is just the kind of thing that anti-Semites regularly engage in."

Fine logic! I'm convinced.

However, the reason why Ellis singles out Israel could be because our government gives tacit and overt support to its terrorising of its Palestinians. We allowed aircraft supplying bombs to be dropped on civilians through British airports. Would condemning that be anti-Semitic too? What would you say if we allowed Iran and Syria to do that?

Actually, I wonder why you chose Iran and Syria rather than Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. Ellis tends not to mention them either. Is he an Islamophobe too?

Also, "Or the way [Iran and Syria] suppress writers, journalists and artists? You know, in exactly the way that Israel doesn't?"

I'm sure Ellis could put an end to such blissful innocence.

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Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
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Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
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The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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