Philobiblon: Julie Burchill on children and history

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Julie Burchill on children and history

Julie Birchill is being typically inflammatory on the subject of children today in The Times.

As my friend put it: “I wouldn’t want to hang out with an adult who screamed, cried, threw up, tried to maul my tits and never paid for a round of drinks — why should I make an exception just because they’re short?”

She's often obviously writing for effect rather than from conviction, but she does have a way of striking deep to the heart of an issue.

She's also being upset in this article about historians speaking about their subject in the current tense. I hadn't noticed it; has anyone else?


Anonymous Sharon said...

I think it may be used sometimes by the voice-over (rather than by historians) when they're doing docudrama-type reconstructions? And sometimes when a programme is biographical. (I can't think of any specific instances but I think I have heard it without really noticing. Certainly can't say it'd wind me up.) Of course, if Julie B (bless her/hate her)* were less ignorant she'd know that there is such a thing as the 'historic present' tense in many languages, which can be useful and it's a pity we don't really have it in English and sometimes we have to make do with the present tense.

*I do miss her in the Guardian Saturday magazine. Not so much for her columns (mostly sloppy, lazy and repetitive, but occasionally sharp and often funny) as for the outraged responses in the letters column. I don't know what Times readers make of her...

11/12/2005 09:53:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

No, I was working at The Times when she was bought over, and it was (and still is) hard to see how she fits with the rest of the paper. Far too edgy for the generally Daily Mail-style Times.

11/12/2005 09:57:00 pm  

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