Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Missold PPE?

Who’s been listening to  Radio 4’s book of the week? ‘Age of Anger’ by Pankaj Mishra.
“In a ground-breaking new analysis, Pankaj Mishra traces the tangled roots of hatreds and nationalisms across the world. 

Technology allows anyone to express their ideas freely and publicly, but judging by the general standard of internet commentary it would be generous to assume your average listener is bigly gifted in the comprehension department.

Unless you’ve graduated from Oxbridge, PPE; first class hons., I doubt you’d be able to take in the entirety of this essay’s densely-packed prose, so I did wonder who is the BBC commissioning editor’s target audience?  I was willing to give it a good go, but I found the author’s delivery difficult to grasp.

I hadn’t heard of the author, so I found this in the Guardian, which is either derived from, or is the essay itself, I can’t be sure. 
I think the author's analysis of the new phenomenon of global anger bestows moral equivalence upon all sides of what we might call the clash of civilisations. 
He attributes much global anger to the West, (Trump featured a lot in the first instalment) and (according to the Guardian at least) some anger seemed more noteworthy than other anger. 

At any rate, both illustrations they used depict far right individuals shaking their angry little fists, while those ubiquitous illustrations depicting hoards of Mohammedans with arms flailing furiously at something or other are conspicuously absent .

Average Brexit voter

Average Trump voter

The second instalment made me reconsider. It seemed to broaden out more, so I thought maybe I’ve got it wrong, and it will pan out over subsequent episodes. 

The third instalment focused on India, a subject about which I know very little. Two more instalments to go, so if you understood it better than me, I’d be interested to hear your interpretation, because I’d like to think it was much more than an anti-Nationalist, anti-West, anti-Trump polemic.


  1. A pseudo-intellectual exercise by the sound of it. Connecting and conflating every expression of discontent from the Russian peasantry in 1917 to rustbelt unemployed in 2017, will hardly prove just creates a parade ground where you can exercise your personal prejudices.