Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Saturday 30 April 2011

Letters to Lillys.

WHILE this is not a newspaper there are some inky traditions worth sticking to, and one of those is letters from The Reader.

Those who criticise must take the same with good grace, even if it's written in capital letters, using green ink, or in perfectly-scanned rhyming couplets with frequent mention of corgis.

So here's a selection from this week's mailbox, edited for sense and grammar but otherwise untouched. Where you see (...) text has been removed.

The post which got most attention was this one on Andrew Marr recanting his own newspaper super-injunction.

An unrelated Andrew wrote:
"I agree with your article and in no way am I an apologist for Marr. But you wrote: 'If only he kept his trousers on first.' When a man has sex with a woman it is either consensual sex or rape. As you seem to be in no way apportioning any blame to the woman, do I take it you are inferring rape? Just curious. But I have to say, I imagined Marr going around dropping his trousers every time he saw a woman and didn't know what to think."
Ed: For the benefit of lawyers there is no suggestion of rape. Marr's injunction and its effect on his journalistic credibility was the topic of the post, not the morality of his mistress. If she pops her head over the parapet she's fair game. Another day perhaps.

Henry was stirred enough to write at length on Fleet Street Fox's own morality and that of The Other Woman in Marrgate:
"I wish I could make some plea to any conscience or kindness you may have, just so you might think first before trotting out an article like the one you wrote about Andrew Marr... It might be worthwhile looking at your own behaviour.


"How you and others crow over it all, how easy you find it to believe he has no feelings about it. You may live or work with people who think 'he can take it'. Anyone who says that is simply giving a lame excuse for their own cruelty at another's suffering.




"The mother... slept with him, after all, and apparently someone else as well. She happily accepted payments from him... on the pretext that the child was his. Could she not have admitted there was doubt and established paternity sooner? She might have saved the child some pain there...How is Andrew Marr to blame?


"Do you have ANY EVIDENCE AT ALL that he has washed his hands of this child? ... This whole sentence 'reeks' [of] someone who thinks that Marr's feelings are of no consequence whatsoever, in a situation where he is powerless and probably ill-treated. I'm afraid you just don't want to see why what you have written is so venomously cruel. If that is the case, I feel sorry for you. Also, it seems very hypocritical of you, frankly, to take the moral high-ground about 'the interests of the child' in the middle of a piece of writing full of such spite and schadenfreude. But I guess I'm wasting my time telling you this. I think I can imagine the reception this mail will get."
Ed: I refer The Reader to the original post, and thence to a dictionary. The post was neither personally malicious nor born of a desire to harm but, as should be clear, about the ethics of a journalist injuncting the Press.

Nick was more interested in the identity of Marr's mistress:
"Please help your readers work out who Andrew Marr’s mistress may be. With only a passing interest in politics, we don’t have your comprehensive knowledge. My personal list of suspects is limited: Ann Leslie, Julia Hartley Brewer, the woman who used to be the The Whip on The Sun, Orla Guerin, Catherine Bennett. Am I close?"
Ed: Not even lukewarm.

Ian wanted to point out that after many years as a journalist "I can count on one hand the number of colleagues I know who have not adulterated". He went on to name and shame a few, which I won't repeat here because I don't want to be injuncted, but it included the phrases "respectable erection", "The Westminster Hotel" and "the photographer's missus".

He added:
"If you wish to do this in your blog feel free as long as you add [Ian] Hislop is not a newspaperman, he is an ex-schoolmaster and the most powerful argument there is against nepotism. Our trade invented hypocrisy. By the way do put me on your mailing list because like all fellow hypocrites I love a gossip."
Finally we have "R" who asked not to be named but wanted to say:
"I've only recently discovered your blog, and love it. I write because, as a retired journo who worked for many years out of Fleet Street itself (going back to when typewriters were tools of the trade), I know it's important sometimes when someone out there notices and appreciates what one writes.
"I started to read one of your posts, and in no time had gone through all I could find on the blog site. I was initially sceptical that the author was 30-something -- too much wisdom packed into so few years. But having listened to the R4 link that one of the blogs referenced, I'd accept it may be the case.
"That being so, I reckon you will go far. Your style puts you apart."
Which is nice.

On a separate note, a personal thank you to my Twitter friend @ReynardCity who kindly spent a lot of time producing some artwork for this site, which for technical reasons to do with Blogger doesn't work. But if fox-based sexy cartoons are your thing, I recommend his website to you.

Foxy out.