David Mitchell - puerile and pathetic


By Stephen Pollard
July 12, 2010
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Oh dear; another one bites the dust.

I love Peep Show. And That Mitchell and Webb Look is usually very funny. So I wish I hadn't read David Mitchell's dreadful rubbish yesterday in the Observer, in which he demonstrated that, far from being thoughtful and intelligent, he is a caricature mindless lefty. The start of his piece is simply drivel:

Rupert Murdoch is a pretty uncontroversial figure among people I know. Everyone
agrees that he's a monstrous arsehole who wants to ruin everything for
everyone. Liberals who've reluctantly come round to thinking that
Margaret Thatcher might have had a point about the extremes of 1970s
trade unionism, that Kim Jong-il just feels excluded from the
international community and that Noel Edmonds is actually bloody good
at what he does are unswerving in their hatred of the Murdoch empire
and everything it stands for. This is the man Dennis Potter named his
cancer after and, to most of my friends, that seems about right.

Perhaps
this sums up all that is unrepresentative and self-serving about my
circle of acquaintance: like a smug and insular cult predicting the end
of the world and having sex with each other's children, we're holed up
with our certainties and only ever indulge in self-affirming
conversations. Or maybe we're right and Murdoch is a man whose
dedication to money is surpassed only by his enthusiasm for the
merciless elements of the political and economic rightwing and his
determination to bludgeon the British liberal establishment to
smithereens with the granite-hard, post-colonial chip on his shoulder.

Either way, I wasn't surprised to read, in all the places I usually read unsurprising things, that the Times
website's paywall is a horrible thing. Most of the criticism centres
around how it won't work: few web users will pay for something they're
accustomed to getting for free, particularly when they can still get
something very similar for free elsewhere. I'm perfectly willing to buy
that – as the former Times reader probably didn't say when confronted with the paywall.

This
prediction of failure is accompanied by rejoicing because it's a Rupert
Murdoch idea, so it must, of course, be evil. All that is necessary for
good to triumph, the reasoning seems to be, is for evil men to do
something stupid. And evil. But I don't think that everything evil men
do is evil, any more than the paywall's critics believe that everything
rich men do will make a profit. The Times paywall may fail as a business model, but that's the only problem I have with it.

As it happens, my own view is that Rupert Murdoch is one of the few genuinely great men of our times, a man who has done more to enrich our lives than any other single human being of the past generation and who should be a hero for his commitment to freedom.

But that's irrelevant. Mr Mitchell seems to think that if he starts off by admitting his circle's knee-jerk hatred of Rupert Murdoch and how "smug and insular" they are, that somehow makes it valid. It doesn't. Because what is truly offensive about his smarmy little piece is the casual description of Mr Murdoch as "evil".

Does he have no idea of the meaning of the word? Even if you think, as Mr Mitchell and his friends do, that Rupert Murdoch is indeed "a monstrous arsehole who wants to ruin everything for
everyone", why "evil"? Has he murdered a child? Has he murdered anyone? Has he embezelled pensions for his own benefit? Has he committed any crime? Of course not. He's run a media company whose products Mr Mitchell doesn't like - although you can bet your smug, liberal, ignorant fortune on the fact that if Sky came calling offering £20 million for Mr Mitchell for a TV series, he'd grab the money with his tongue hanging out drooling.

What a puerile, pathetic little man.

 

COMMENTS

Joshua18

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 15:52

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"What a puerile, pathetic little man."

We knew that already:

Peep Show's David Mitchell in Anne Frank row

'Mr Mitchell told a joke on his new Radio 4 show, The Unbelievable Truth, where he said: “There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that the last line in Anne Frank’s diary reads: ‘Today is my birthday and my dad bought me a drum kit.’” '

http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/21558/peep-shows-david-mitchell-anne-f...

But, you're right: that piece in Yesterday's Observer was utterly shocking. As soon as you imagine that the Guardian can't sink any lower, there it goes, and you are proved wrong yet again.


mattpryor

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 16:13

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I think David Mitchell is a funny and intelligent bloke. I've read the piece and I liked it and thought he made some very good points. It seemed to me that the pops at Murdoch were somewhat tongue in cheek, as much mocking his "smug liberal friends" as Mr Murdoch. Overall with regards to this topic I thought he was poking fun at liberal attitudes.

The real topic of debate is not Rupert Murdoch but the pros and cons of chargeable news content, and the ridiculousness of the Guardian's moral crusade against it. And he makes some very pertinent points.

"Like the bile that is spouted in newspaper website comment sections, this demonstrates a lamentable truth: many people only really value something they've paid for."

I don't think any of us would argue with that would we?


Joshua18

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 16:22

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"I think David Mitchell is a funny and intelligent bloke."

So?


mattpryor

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 16:28

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Well the article isn't exactly "shocking" is it?

He's pointing out that people who think Murdoch is evil are generally the same people who think Noel Edmonds is great and Kim Yung Il deserves our sympathy. He describes such people as "unrepresentative and self serving".

He's having a go at his liberal friends, not Murdoch.

I don't see what there is to get upset about.


David T

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 16:42

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Stephen

I think you're missing David Mitchell's teasing of people with "bien pensant" views.

O dere!


mattpryor

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 17:15

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Anyway I thought his son James, the notorious Israel hater, ran News International now?


Joshua18

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 17:25

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'I don't see what there is to get upset about.'

I agree with this:

'Mr Mitchell seems to think that if he starts off by admitting his circle's knee-jerk hatred of Rupert Murdoch and how "smug and insular" they are, that somehow makes it valid. It doesn't. Because what is truly offensive about his smarmy little piece is the casual description of Mr Murdoch as "evil".'

It is merely a throat-clearing exercise. If he genuinely believed his friends were awful then intelligent bloke that he is they would no longer be his friends.

If he wants to understand the true nature of evil he should visit more with his colleagues at the Guardian.


Joshua18

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 17:26

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"I think you're missing David Mitchell's teasing of people with "bien pensant" views.

O dere!"

If only Stephen Pollard had the special kind of insight that comes with being one of the leading supporters of the Jews for Jesus campaign.


NicoleS

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 16:59

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Stephen, I'm afraid you've failed your comprehension test.


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 07/28/2010 - 12:30

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You angling for a News International job by any chance Stephen?

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