http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28971276

I criticise the above below.
But immediately below is a link to a talk that David Ramsay Steele recently
gave on Orwell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbaEyvui1zU

His book on Orwell might well
be out soon.

How mediocre was George Orwell?

George Orwell was no
philosopher, or thinker, but rather he was a follower of Bertrand Russell.
However, he was certainly a master of the English language. He might not
have often been very informative, but even when he wrote on making a cup of
tea, his prose was well worth reading, even if nothing much could be learnt
from what he wrote.

Like so many others, it was
all too easy for me to soon read all the main things he wrote in the 1960s. His
surviving wife brought out his collected journalism in four volumes in 1969.
All four have been widely read.

Daft Will Self picks on
Orwell’s ideas of writing to criticise or to reject. This is certainly Orwell’s
strong point. But in clear and readable writing Orwell has few rivals. This is
why he continues to be read. Oddly, in this attack, Will Self confesses to
being an avid reader of Orwell’s. He finds the books can be returned to again
and again. How many others can he say that of? It does not occur to daft Self
to ask why that is, if it is to be truthfully said to be mediocre. Presumably,
it is because he finds the writing to be good, rather than mediocre. He even
explicitly admits that he likes the style. But then the love of paradox leads
daft Self to say that it is the good style that makes Orwell a mediocrity but
the likes of Self rarely can see the difference between the sort of paradox
that is logically valid but merely clashes with common sense only, that can be
true, and the intrinsically absurd such as he employs here in saying readable
prose is a sign of mediocrity. It is plainly a sign of excellence. The plain
fact is that Orwell was an excellent writer. Hence his success as a writer.

Self confounds his folly
further by saying that Orwell had a particular genius in his prose style that
had almost hypnotic virtues of clarity that suggests to the reader that he
alone comprehends what is being said. How mediocre is that?

Self seems to think the word
“ideology” can do a lot of work in getting over his rather absurd message. He
accuses Orwell of being an ideologue but the accusation is nebulous in the way
it is used of late, as it seems to refer to no more than some sort of outlook,
or other. Don’t we all have an outlook of some sort? Why bother saying it of
Orwell [or of anyone else] then?

Self uses another
intrinsic paradox to end with viz. whenever we tell a truth we thereby
obfuscate other truths; but this, again, is yet another absurdity. A truth that
should obscure nothing is that Self is clearly a bit on the thick side.