Saturday, May 3, 2008

The 90's, Waugh-style

Not the 1890's, but the 1990's. My diaries from this decade center mainly around my own life and how the world affected it. I came across 'Way of the World' by Auberon Waugh recently, and decided to see if Auberon was as good a writer as his illustrious father. Does anyone know about 'Way of the World'? Is it still in the papers in England? Is Auberon Waugh even still alive? Anyway, I got to reading this book, which was made up of Waugh's best articles from the early 1990's. He talks quite a bit about Robert Maxwell, John Major, BSE, the Royal Family, bats, giant pandas, and the quirks of life in England. I was too young to know much about the 90's, but Waugh nicely fleshes out the bits and scraps I picked up as events happened.
That is one of the good things I got from this book. Auberon Waugh is also a fair writer. Bear in mind that this is a collection of articles and not a real novel. I really cannot compare Evelyn with his son unless I can find a more level playing ground. Auberon did successfully inherit his father's thoroughly cynical sense of humour, and it made for good reading - at first. Over time, as I continued to read, my opinion began to turn. I believe I called Waugh a git in my diary after I finally closed the book. He strikes me as being rather ignorant about things like global warming, AIDS, and other topics that even I know more about.
Of course, these articles were written at the dawn of the 1990's, so Waugh can be forgiven for being so pompous. There was still a great deal of innocence in the general public about these topics. There's also a touch of exaggeration that runs through just about everything Waugh dissects in his articles. For instance, giant pandas are wonderful creatures but they would not make good members of the clergy. I'm not even sure the current clergy cuts it, but that's just my opinion. I don't know if Auberon Waugh is still alive, but if he is, I hope he doesn't mind me calling him a git. I'm sure he's called people that in the past as well. His father probably would have called people that if he knew the word.

No comments: