Flushed with success from having annoyed a bona fide philosopher, I am pleased to report that Splintered Sunrise has also annoyed a leading local pundit. Long-term readers will recall a somewhat tongue-in-cheek review of Fortnight magazine we ran a while back. This has attracted the attention of Fortnight honcho Malachi O’Doherty, who wishes to point out that he isn’t really a neocon. Okay, I’ll take your word for it, Malachi.
Malachi also directs our attention to his website, no doubt worried that someone who only knew his work via Splintered Sunrise would be as well-informed as, well, someone whose knowledge of Irish republicanism is derived solely from reading Fortnight. As a public service, I am happy to add Malachi to the links on the right.
This then provides the perfect opportunity to take a look at the new, revamped Fortnight. I’d been meaning to do this since the relaunch was plugged on last week’s Hearts and Minds, with a rather bizarre discussion between presenter Noel Thompson, Fortnight managing editor Rudie Goldsmith and Newton Emerson, who I am startled to learn is on the Fortnight editorial board. Much as I like Newt, I couldn’t help feeling that it might have been better to bring in somebody like Brian Feeney to rip the piss out of Fortnight.
So what of the new magazine? It’s a bit thin, physically I mean, but very stiff paper disguises that. The division between the arty-farty back half and the political front half remains. As for the politics… well, you knew what to expect with the old Fortnight, which is why I approached it with trepidation every month. We would have Malachi on why Gerry Adams is a bastard or why the unionist middle class need to get up off their arse and seize back leadership; Anthony McIntyre on why Gerry Adams is a bastard or why Irshad Manji is the greatest thinker of our times; Henry McDonald on why the Provos are like al-Qaeda; and Gary Kent on why the Provos are like al-Qaeda. Tony, Gary and Henry might sneak in digs at the SWP, which must have baffled the nice middle-class people who read Fortnight; Malachi, who’s by far more interesting than the other stooges, would get some Catholic theology in there somewhere.
Malachi is still there, for a comforting sense of continuity, with a think-piece on whether Ian and Marty will get on with each other in the new dispensation. But in general, the main thrust of the new Fortnight seems to be on governance. This is “governance” in the Norn Iron sense of making Stormont work, in the same way that “community development” here means teaching UVF men to fill out grant applications. So we have a reasonably useful piece by Graham Gudgin on the public finances, plus articles on education and the RPA. Also a pull-out on equality, which I’ve tried and failed to get to the end of.
There is something missing here, and that something is politics. In a sense, Fortnight is a victim of its own success in that it pioneered many of the concepts of the peace process. Now that devolution is restored, and the local media determined that this time it’s gonna work, all the big political issues are deemed sorted and we have only to face the brave new technocratic future. Maybe, but this makes for dreadfully boring journalism. If you want lively commentary these days, you may have to resort to the Hibernian.
Rud eile: As further proof that this blog is hitting the big time, I’m hugely pleased to get this plug on the Beeb. Thanks for the recommendation, Mick.
Rud eile fós: By way of contrast, any blog author will know how compulsive looking at your site stats can be. And it’s nice to know that traffic is healthy, but WordPress stats helpfully break down your search engine terms for you. The good folks at Shiraz Socialist get a witty regular feature out of this. I’m slightly sobered to realise that, since taking the piss out of Gail Walker, we are attracting a lot of people looking for saucy schoolgirls. And, based on an ancient TV review, we still get a steady trickle of readers who want learned Marxist commentary on Suranne Jones’ big boobs. Still, it takes all sorts, and if the traffic falls off I suppose we can always get it back up with an article on Lucy and Michelle, of lad mag fame. It’s also heartening to see that somebody out there is googling Kevin Wingfield. Pass it along – Splintered Sunrise, your top source for Kevin Wingfield news!