Last year Brockes interviewed the black British poet, Benjamin Zephaniah after he refused an OBE. Towards the end of the piece, Brockes asked Zephaniah about what he was reading:
“I ask him what he is reading at the moment. ‘Chomsky’, he says. ‘I am always reading Chomsky.’
“I tell him I find Chomsky hard work. ‘Really?’ he says. ‘Really? That’s cos you ain’t got a Birmingham accent.’ And he throws back his head and brays like a donkey.”
This is a good illustration of a characteristic of many of these showcase interviews, where the interviewer sneaks in a kidney punch after the interview is over, when she’s safely back in the office. So the readers are left to warm their hands over the rancid and somehow racist snap of “brays like a donkey”.
Alexander Cockburn, “Storm Over Brockes’ Fakery”, CounterPunch, 5th/6th November 2005.
Wednesday, 9 November 2005
An Instance of Desperate Defamation
In the intemperate pages of CounterPunch, (“America’s best political newsletter”, according to Out of Bounds magazine, but “America’s least sane rant-rag”, according to me), Alexander Cockburn makes a strong case for the weakness of his character:
Quite how “brays like a donkey” is racist is unknown to me, but then perhaps it is unknown to Mr Cockburn, who has to rely on the phrase “somehow racist” just so that he can pin the tail on the donkey, as it were.