All entries for Thursday 27 October 2005

October 27, 2005

Francis Wheen

Writing about web page,6109,1140156,00.html

Francis Wheen is perhaps my favourite writer, broadcaster and journalist. He writes the Street of Shame column in Private Eye in which he exposes the hypocrisy and in-house scandals of stories in Britain's newspapers.

His recent book How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World makes a case for the decline of reason over the last quarter of a century. Wheen's targets include the rise of theocracy in the Middle East and, arguably, Republican America; the increasing fashionability for New-Agism in Britain, including the increase in lifestyle Gurus and alternative medicine; the sillier aspects of postmodern thinking; the unquestioning worship of lassez-faire market principles and the teaching of creation mythology as science in some British schools. The best thing about Wheen is his no-nonsense, cutting prose style – almost every sentence could act as a stand-alone quotation. It is controversial and refreshing stuff.

A brief introduction to Wheen's writing is available at the Guardian webpage Francis Wheen's top 10 modern delusions. His Radio 4 programme The History of Folly can be listened to on-line here.

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