Wow, for an absolute clash of cultures, it's fascinating to read Melvyn Bragg's Telegraph piece about his friend Francis Bacon and then to read the comments 'below the line' (as we say in the blogosphere).
I love Radio 4's In Our Time, and can forgive Melvyn Bragg almost everything for the sake of it. Plus (as you may have noticed), I've something of a fondness for 'purple prose' myself.
So, I rather enjoyed His (Labour) Lordship's ultra-ripe, poetic prose style in this Telegraph article. It strikes me as being pleasingly self-conscious in its intelligence, as well as being deliciously old-fashioned:
And there, the very pope of it all, Francis Bacon. Looking around. Up for anything. For everything. The champagne flute, the cigarette, the deadly eye, that Teddy Boy quiff, and the archly falling love curl on his forehead. His slow Thirties upper-class drawl did not quite disguise the rumble of Irish violent sex in the stables of his boyhood.
(I suspect Jeanette Winterson would approve too).
Then you read the comments. So disrespectful, so vibrant, so modern, so funny. Everyone hates Melv & everyone hates Bacon. (Mmmm, bacon!)
Lord Bragg seems like a left-wing voice from the past. Those commenters are clearly part of the right-wing present.
So how to do I feel about all this?
Well, I'm right-wing myself, but I'll admit to feeling some sympathy for poor lefty Melvyn here.
He's someone who refuses to dumb down, who loves the English language, who shows an omnivorous curiosity for all manner of subjects (scientific, historical, cultural, philosophical, religious), and who presents the finest programme on BBC Radio 4.
So I will continue to cut him some slack - even if the commentariat at the Telegraph won't. The rapscallions!