Daphna Shezaf went to QED last weekend and wrote a blog post about it Thursday. Specifically she wrote about the panel that featured Brendan O’Neill doing his usual shtick and getting annoyed when it didn’t go down well. Shezaf made a substantive point about the subject, but in my frivolous way I’m going to focus on the O’Neill aspect, because after all he’s there.
There was the “is science the new religion” debate, which turned out to be about science and politics. It was really the only panel with someone from “the outside”, journalist Brendan O’Neill. He debated with physicists Jeff Forshaw and Helen Czerski, and comedian Robin Ince. As Vicky puts it, “it quite quickly deteriorated into an exasperated and highly entertaining bun-fight between” O’Neill and Ince. Ince blogged about the exchange, O’Neill published his “speech” and allegedly said that “QEDcon was like a crazy cult”.
So, there was a contrarian journalist, whose politics in almost any question are reversed to that of almost any other person in the room. It was a good show. O’Neill was the ultimate bad guy, Ince was fantastically enraged. The QED crowd got to be called consensus zealots on Twitter, which is utterly satisfying.
The reason I saw Shezaf’s post is because I first saw this tweet:
Here’s what’s both funny and infuriating about that: Brendan O’Neill wants to be everything’s Emmanuel Goldstein; it’s what he does. If it weren’t and he didn’t he wouldn’t keep going out of his way to do it. If he didn’t want to get up everyone’s nose he wouldn’t write such awful shite.
And Patrick Hayes also writes for Spiked so he knows that perfectly well.
They’re such frauds, those guys, posturing for all they’re worth and then pretending to be wounded when people get exasperated with their posturing.