This is a guest post by Jonny Strummer
Journalism is best served, I’m sure you will agree, when political views are put to one side, agendas not pursued and it is safe to say that one certainly does not expect a review of a classical music concert to contain emotional claptrap.
So when Evening Standard journalist Nick Kimberley was tasked with writing a review of a recent concert by the Jerusalem Quartet in London, he was so torn up inside about exercising his liberal rights and freedoms that the poor man “duly felt pangs of liberal guilt”, brought on by the fact that the quartet was made up of Israelis.
“Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have featured at Jerusalem Quartet concerts before; yesterday, there were banners and leaflets protesting the quartet’s perceived status as cultural ambassadors for Israel. I duly felt pangs of liberal guilt,” he said, am sure with tears in his eyes.
The distress of it led him to devote a third of the “review” to sharing his political affiliation and feelings, causing him to forget to mention even where the gig was. Given that he only had 197 words, it is safe to assume that readers would have wanted a little bit more detail on the concert itself, and to not have to wait until the middle of the second paragraph for the review to start.
Luckily he pulled himself together, brushed himself down and forced himself to go, am sure with a heavy heart. One shudders to think what kind of journey he had home, and night lying in bed pondering how he caved in to his pangs, subverting his ideology and belief system in the process.
In an email sent to Kimberley, Daniel Hochhauser asked if it was only Israelis that led to this sensation of guilt that he had been riddled with.
“What, do you think, would be the best term to describe your singling out of this one specific nationality which offends your liberal sensitivities?” he asked in the email.
To which Kimberley duly replied: “My review made no mention of “Israelis”. I referred to “Israel”, which is quite different.”
Hmm, anyone feeling pangs of confusion?