Thursday, August 21, 2014

Roger Lewis - 'Iain Dale's egotistical desire to be morally superior'

I think we can all agree that Madame Arcati is a proven champion of polysexuality (ie anything goes provided it's legal), so I was stricken - yes stricken - when I learnt that a celebrated Arcatiste had been accused of homophobia. The man in the dock is Roger Lewis (author of the classic Seasonal Suicide Notes - get for someone's Christmas. Now) and his accuser is someone called Iain Dale, a droning right-wing radio and TV opinionist who makes executive decisions in publishing.

I recall Mr Dale back in 2013 receiving a police caution after scuffling with a pensioner on Brighton seafront. Apparently, the old codger had dared to wave an anti-nuke banner in the vicinity of Mr Dale's author Damian McBride, prompting the sort of behaviour that Theresa May roundly condemns when the cameras are pointing at her and she's thinking of life beyond the Home Office.

Plainly Mr Dale has no keen ear for humour, camp or otherwise: indeed, to observe him on news chat shows, hangdog face composed in stoicism, is to re-experience Clement Freud but without the jokes (and beard). Then one day recently his eye fell upon Roger's review of a Dusty Springfield book in the Spectator. He was so appalled that he withdrew his company's book contract offer to Roger.

I emailed Roger with my commiserations, asking him what he made of all this. Here's his (slightly redacted) reply, from Austria:

"I wrote a perfectly fine piece on Dusty Springfield, inter alia making the joke that lezzos all have big chins the better to go bobbing for apples - and this cunt Iain Dale, a man of whom I had never previously heard, comes out of the woodwork accusing me of all sorts! And me the biographer of Charles Hawtrey and the world expert on camp comics!

"What I hate about the man is his egotistical desire to be morally superior - no sense of humour, hence of proportion, like those Welsh language fanatics I always poke fun at and who foam at the mouth when teased.
"XXX"

Iain Dale has responded on his blog

18 comments:

Paddy Briggs said...

The thing about the Internet is that you can pretty much say what you like on it. True some people have got into trouble but I guess Mr Lewis will get away with his homophobic rant about Lesbians and with his abuse of Iain Dale. And the owner of this blog will get away with his silly comments as well. It's just too easy to trade in abuse. More difficult is to criticise politely. So Lewis and Arcati don't do it. #FAIL

Madame Arcati said...

No, you cannot pretty much say what you like on the internet any more than you can write what you like in a newspaper. There are however many types and degrees of abuse and humour and it is perfectly possible to distinguish one thing from another where there's the will. Any familiarity with Lewis' work establishes him as a comic misanthrope with scarcely a good word for anyone (including himself) - the absurdly exaggerated abuse, comically turned (though perhaps not to everyone's taste or experience) is one small clue as to intent.

Evelyn Waugh used to be asked to contribute pieces in 'his usual style'. It was understood where he was coming from. Likewise with Lewis.

If you like to think that Lewis is capable of a 'homophobic rant' then you really need to get in more and start reading. Properly.

Paddy Briggs said...

I do not have an opinion as to whether Lewis is capable of a homophobic rant. It is not a matter of opinion. The insults to Lesbians were just that. Not comic at all. Vile.

Madame Arcati said...

You should be concerned with whether Roger Lewis is capable of a homophobic rant. That's the point.

C Rehill said...

I am the first to admit the vaginal qualities of Sussex plod yet all I get on my blogges are death threats from neo nazis (Norfolk Constabulary). Obviously I am going wrong somewhere. Julie Burchill is 103.

Louis Barfe said...

Iain Dale's 'egotistical desire to be morally superior' is hampered somewhat by the fact that he's a shit.

Award-winning writer said...

Part of the problem is the calibre of publishers. Many of them don't read hence Mr Iain Dale's inability to distinguish what's from what. In any case it's hard to understand why he took an interest in Roger Lewis in the first place. A glance at Dale's Biteback, which incidentally is linked to Robson Books which brought out the Dusty Springfield book you mention, reveals a taste for literal fact and humourless anecdote. Scarcely Lewis!

Louis Barfe said...

Career politicians are awful people. Failed career politicians like Dale are even worse.

Dame Anna Neagle said...

Iain Dale is awfully pompous. One for Madame's famed bidets, darling.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with Louis Barfe. Mr Dale is a bitter (lemon?) soul, forever wondering what might have been if only he'd been exactly what Britain needs at this time of peril - another Tory cunt MP.

Arcati ex-lover said...

Is it homophobic of me to point out that Dale is a homosexual so perhaps a little over-sensitive on the topic? I followed the link to his blog and was alarmed to see that the first reader comment mentions something about "handbags at dawn". Is this not a response of dubious attitude? The reader has resorted to stereotype because the topic is same-sex. You see, we can all play this game of casting stones.

Anonymous said...

But do lesbians have Desperate Dan chins? That's the question.

Jan/Winter said...

Die you verminous bitch. Die!

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Farah Damji?

Paddy Briggs said...


Very eccentric Blog this !

Madame Arcati said...

Makes a change, doesn't it, sugar.

Anonymous said...

This is so effing funny!!
@scheerbart

Oscar James said...

I know quite a few lesbians and now that I think about them most do have quite firm chins.
But all of them?. Perhaps Mr Lewis is merely guilty of exaggeration.
I could be wrong though and will investigate further.