tantrumFew nations can do the storm in a teacup style of controversy better than the English. The loathly Giles Coren, long a restaurant reviewer for The Sunday Times in London, recently threw a tantrum over the removal by a sub-editor of an indefinite article in one of his reviews.

As we eschew coprolalia at Knocklofty, we aren’t going to quote from such an intemperate vomit of bile and arrogance, but you can read it here and follow a number of links and comments through this silly and delightfully trivial spat.

Our Department of Literary Taxonomy classifies restaurant reviewers as a parasitic form of life very low down on the food chain of journalism; the most complimentary description it could come up with is ‘a salaried glutton employed to write thinly disguised puffery, usually as part of a commercial conspiracy with the advertising sales department.’

The point missed by nearly everyone who jumped into the tiff sparked by Coren’s outburst is that most newspapers these days are full of the sort of highly mannered tosh he writes; it is often hard to distinguish where journalism leaves off and advertising takes over in the welter of so-called ‘lifestyle’ sections, which occupy far more space than serious news and opinion.

If the print media are serious about reducing their carbon footprint they might contemplate giving narcissistic trendoids like Coren the bum’s rush and save readers the chore of having to dispose of three quarters of the great slabs of newsprint that newspapers have become.