U.K. Independent's Jacobson on Manning

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on June 23rd, 2007

The death of Bernard Manning also brings out this column by Howard Jacobson. In it, he compares the knighthood of Salman Rushdie and the condemnation of Manning and makes some interesting points along the way.

And I am not just referring to his timing, which even his detractors admired. It was the unapologetic, deliberately charmless relish he took in the incorrectness of his jokes that made them work so well. He did the anathema thing. Ugly as a toad, incorrigible, impervious, a man seemingly incapable of spiritual refreshment, he stood before his audience as though in defiance of every decency, and returned to them the brute they harboured at the bottom of their souls and were ashamed of. “This thing of darkness,” he seemed to say, “you had better acknowledge yours, because it’s no one else’s.”

But not, of course, in quite that language.

Jacobson is a comic novelist who “also writes a weekly column for The Independent newspaper as a chronicler of the ‘dumbing-down’ of Britain.” (Wikipedia)

The entire column is worth a read. And, owing to the compound sentences, worth a second read as well. (On the Not Immediately Comprehensible Scale, if Hitchens is a 9, this guy is an 8.5!)