Why has the Daily Telegraph replaced its cultivated and discerning radio critic Gillian Reynolds with the arrogant oik Jemima Lewis?
This week she writes: “My ignorance of Paradise Lost is more of a chasm.”
Question: So why are you going to write about it then? Jemima is an expert in the art of the sweeping – and groundless – judgement: “Hardly anyone reads Milton’s epic any more.”
How do you know that?
Never mind, the unread elitist John Milton eventually manages to gain some street cred with Jemima on account, so she informs us, of the fact that he “inspired Pink Floyd.”
(I’m tempted to say hardly anyone has heard of Pink Floyd).
After her excursus on 17th century English verse, Jemima next shines her expertise on the subject of music in a review of the programme Is Music a Civilising Force?
Not if it’s Pink Floyd, it isn’t.
The programme was a talk by Sir Roger Scruton in which the philosopher, musicologist and church organist agrees with Plato that ”the barbarous rhythms of dance music could produce in young people traits of character which no civilised republic should allow.”
Sir Roger continued: “Beware of those rabble-rousing disc-jockeys and music in which there is nothing but a beat. It really matters what the young are listening to.”
Yes, Plato and Sir Roger are in agreement about this. But, according to Jemima, the views of the greatest of ancient philosophers together with those of one of our most distinguished modern thinkers count for nothing. These views are, Jemima instructs us from her perspective in the gutter, “absurdly dyspeptic.”
Jemima Lewis? We’d be better off reading Jemima Puddleduck