Tuesday 5 May 2020

You are what you Tweet

Talking of bookcases and their contents (as we were the other day) a Twitter spat is raging over the contents of a bookcase in the Sarah Vine - Michael Gove household.

The Twitterati is (are (?)) cruelly critical of the preponderance of political biographies, autobiographies and memoirs and furious about the inclusion in the Vine/Gove library of Atlas Shrugged. 

Owen Jones is gloating over the sighting of a copy of a book by 'holocaust denier and discredited historian' David Irving.

Is Sarah Vine deliberately flouting her bookcase now for the sole purpose of provoking Owen Jones? (confidently assuming he’ll hoist himself on his own opportunistic petard) 

Be careful not to be too smug though. Those books are suspiciously pristine and organised. Normal bookcases are higgledy-piggledy and don’t look like libraries. Or do they? Maybe it’s just my house.

Sarah Vine’s Twitter thread is ablaze.

Update: More exciting news on the bookcase front. Mary Harrington in UnHerd

Here is a taster: :
The ballyhoo over Michael Gove’s bookshelf, as shared by Sarah Vine, has rapidly sorted into two camps representing the two familiar varieties of liberalism that make up the contemporary culture war. 
On the one hand, stand the defenders of Freeze Peach. I haven’t checked recently, but if Brendan O’Neil and Toby Young haven’t yet published articles defending Gove’s bookshelf in the name of Freeze Peach it’s only because they’re still working on them. On the other, we find the usual proponents of Banning Bad Ideas In The Name Of Progress. 
So far, so predictable. But both sides in this stupid argument are barking up the wrong tree. The real, hidden culture war is over the extent to which it’s proper to arrange our bookshelves as an expression of our public selves, and to what extent this is an act of insufferable vanity. 
On the one side are the people who carefully arrange the most recondite titles on their sitting room bookshelves, to impress visitors with their highbrow interests, while the trash paperbacks get tucked away upstairs. Anyone who does this is guaranteed to scan your bookshelves furtively when visiting and judge you on what they see.

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