As for the members of the Leavis Society (if any are left), writes Mr Scribbler, they can vote with their feet. Reports from Downing College confirm Mr Scribbler’s remarkable prophetic powers: it seems that the Society’s upcoming conference will be largely audience-free (it is a marvellous thing that Leavis should look on benignly in this way). Whether their speakers know about this is a moot point – Professor Belsey heads the Starship (the Society’s Editor operates the wind machine bringing her into port). One of them is reported to be expecting a substantial fee, but (rumour has it) even paying for the sandwiches might be a problem. Still, there’s a Pizza Hut nearby. It might have made a better venue – Leavis’s father used to run his piano shop from the premises.
All may not be lost. They could sell Howard Jacobson’s Pussy at the event and bring in millions: Downing would like that, the Chair has reportedly said, with sharp insight into the college’s finance strategy. A biting satire. But dammit! – suddenly a group of unruly feminists avow the intention to pull down Bill Clinton’s statue in Arkansas (why ever did he pay an out of court settlement of $850,000.00, as reported in the Washington Post, Nov. 14th 1998?). And all those hard-pressed families in the industrial mid-west; they could plainly see their intellectual betters burning down buildings and overturning cars but they persisted in working hard and voting for the wrong candidate! What is wrong with humankind?
As for this side of the pond! That Leavis would have voted to ‘remain’ is so strikingly obvious that you wouldn’t think even the dimmest of dimwits could doubt it. After all, you would only have to consult any member of the liberal elite – or just listen to the BBC. Utter perversity!
Never mind. Even a few names dropped in the right ears can save the day. There is Mr Jack Derry Dar, for example, the true author of ‘Shakespeare’. Worth a conference paper any time, any place. But it can’t be easy for the Leavis Society. Their man kept on churning out literary criticism interminably. Did he really think we could sit up all night reading those essays and Mr Derry Dar and Mr Baht (48 of those for a pound at current market prices)? Mr Maskell had something pungent to say about the breaker’s yard – a paper by him might have stirred things up. Why ever didn’t they invite him?