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02 July 2009

No puns allowed

When talking about Alain de Botton, it's wise to self-impose a ban on puns. Anyone can think of their own. I've read another critical review of Adam Thirlwell's Miss Herbert, this one by Philip Hensher, who says:
The sad impression that this book gives is that he started it wanting to be George Steiner. Very soon, he revised his ambitions, and wanted to be Alain de Botton. Neither of those should be the ambition of a grown man.
Three birds with one stone! I've never been impressed by AdB. Some of this is entirely irrational. That name. That face. That hair. But he just seems to me to be pretending to be a philosopher. There's no real insight, just an ability to quote germane extracts from diverse writers.
And now AdB's lost part of the plot. Unwisely (or is it a calculated bid for notoriety?) he's responded to a critical review, with this well-argued case:
I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make. I will be watching with interest and schadenfreude.
as Nietzsche might have said.

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