Hypocrisy stripped naked

By Francesca Segal, August 8, 2008

First, let's be clear - I adore Julie Burchill. She's fearless, feminist, razor-sharp, frequently makes me laugh in the best way possible: while making a damn good point. I could kiss her feet with thanks for being a lone, brave, sane voice supporting the Middle East's only true democracy in the face of an epidemic of impossibly trendy, uber-left anti-Israel bile-spitting. If Julie Burchill published her shopping list, I'd buy it.

That said, the list that she and her co-author Chas Newkey-Burden have published together is infinitely preferable. Absolutely brilliant, in fact. Not in My Name: A Compendium of Modern Hypocrisy (Virgin, £12.99) is exactly that - a compilation of articles excoriating, indeed eviscerating, the modern hypocrite in all his (or her) forms.

Self-righteous cyclists; sour-faced critics of reality television; anti-Americans; chav-haters; anti-war protesters - no hypocrite is safe from exposure. You might not care about the hypocrisy of fat-girl feminists, or ex-smokers, but buy it for the Israel parts alone.

And where has Newkey-Burden been all my life? He's every bit as entertaining as Burchill. His essay on Israel haters made me ache with gratitude. I had tears streaming down my face as I turned the pages. Because he's right, of course. And because, for once, Israel appears in his prose just as it really is: humane, tolerant, forward-thinking, relentlessly democratic, a great place for a holiday, a bloody good place to find equality if you're a woman, or to have a successful military career if you're a gay man.

Did you know that, during the conflict with Hizbollah, the IDF brought in a gay porn star to cheer up gay troops? I had no idea, but almost burst with pride when I read it. The other side might not have been so open-minded.

This is a fabulous, clear-eyed book that will frequently make you laugh out loud. Put a copy on your coffee table immediately (but read it first).

Last updated: 1:46pm, August 7 2008