Martin Amis: “I miss the English. I miss Londoners. I miss the wit. Americans, they’re very, well, de Tocqueville saw this coming in about 1850 – he said, it’s a marvellous thing, American democracy, but don’t they know how it’s going to end up? It’s going to be so mushy that no one will dare say anything for fear of offending someone else. That’s why Americans aren’t as witty as Brits, because humour is about giving a little bit of offence. It’s an assertion of intellectual superiority.”

“Let’s stop overstating the harms (e.g., “brutalizing,” “violence”) that an academic article can cause. Such overstatement increases the likelihood that legitimate complaints about real problems and harms an article might cause will be dismissed as hyperbole. Part of human progress has been an increased awareness of the variety of ways in which people can harm each other. We don’t aid in that progress by taking an unfamiliar and perhaps difficult-to-explain harm and pretending it is just some obvious severe harm people already recognize.”

The BBC National Short Story Award shortlist.


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