Saturday, June 18, 2011

I fought the Laws and the half-molten clock seduced a giant tortoise

This sycophantic FT piece on David Laws has been kicked around quite a bit already. Personally, I feel it represents a new kind of journalism - writing that should have been kept behind a paywall, so nobody would have to read it. Beyond that, though, it's pretty weird. Check out this par:

From 1987 to 1994 he worked in the City, ­earning “an incredible amount of money for somebody of my age – and frankly for anybody” in senior positions at BZW and JPMorgan. Going to work for a then fringe political party was not the most obvious career choice. “I seem to remember I was in a bath at the top of a skyscraper in Hong Kong when we were there on a quarterly conference when I finally decided that if I didn’t make this move that year, I never would.”

The surrealism of it. André Breton didn't say that nothing was as beautiful as the chance meeting of a skyscraper, a bathtub, and a very serious centre-right banker turned politician on the expensively crunchy gravel driveway of a cottage in Somerset, but you bet he'd have got the joke.

In fact there's a painting in it. The horizon lines thunder off into the distance like a gang of TGVs, the South China Sea standing in for the Mediterranean. Lurching in from the near future, an erect skyscraper dives upwards into the swimming pool. Suddenly an ornate, brassbound Victorian bathtub freed from its stifling interior is zooming and twirling and throwing baroque flick rolls and Lomcevak manoeuvres around it! And here's the intrepid aviator, trailing an enormous Hérmes silk tie as a squadron scarf over the desert landscape interleaved with the wine-dark sea. The bath bubbles with sticky cash as he gazes into a future - or conceivably, a past - of drastically reduced housing benefits and unprecedented PFI opportunities, inflating to enormous size as a tiny Michael Gove beckons in the foreground, saying:

“David has an old-fashioned English manner and he does look like a Tory, but he has an intellectual coherence that few human beings have.”

And here is a pile of damp Polo mints. Orgasmic shame ensues. (Do you realise Laws borrowed the fifty grand off his dad to pay back the money he ripped off the taxpayer?) PS, if anyone better than I wants to actually draw this and put it up on DeviantArt or wherever, I'll buy you a drink and I may even buy the thing to go on my wall.

Seriously, having an epiphany about massively redistributing income from the poor to the rich in a bathtub on top of a skyscraper in Hong Kong is not what I call intellectual coherence. Obvious would do it, as would flaky.

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