NEW HUMANIST VOLUME 122 No4 Tel 0207 436 1151 Fax 0207 079 3588 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Offices 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD
Editor Caspar Melville Commissioning Editor Laurie Taylor Associate Editor Sally Feldman Editorial Assistant Paul Sims Designer Nick McKay Cartoons Martin Rowson, Judy Walker Subscription manager Judith Walker Subscription assistant Holly Walsh Subscription enquiries email@example.com Tel 0207 436 1171 Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.newhumanist.org.uk ISSN 0306-512X
Published by the Rationalist Association RA President Jonathan Miller Vice presidents Baroness Susan Greenfield, Paul Kurtz, Laurie Taylor Honorary associates David Aaronovitch, Peter Atkins, Lord Birt, Harold Blackham, Colin Blakemore, Alan Brownjohn, Colin Campbell, Philip Campbell, Noam Chomsky, Bernard Crick, Helena Cronin, Richard Dawkins, Sanal Edamaruku, Paul Edwards, Ekow Eshun, Winston Fletcher, Michael Foot, AC Grayling, Stuart Hall, Tony Harrison, Simon Heffer, James Hemming, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Hobsbawm, Richard Hoggart, Ted Honderich, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sir Ludovic Kennedy, Richard Leakey, Sir Michael Levey, Sir John Maddox, Haydn Mason, George Melly, Edwin Mullins, Conor Cruise O’Brien, John Postgate, Claire Rayner, Amartya Sen, David Starkey, Ralph Steadman, DJ Stewart, Ian Stewart, Hazhir Teimourian, Claire Tomalin, David Tribe, Baroness Turner of Camden, Arnold Wesker, Francis Wheen, Lewis Wolpert
4 new humanist July August 2007
REGULARS 3] Editorial Style matters 6] Parish news 8 ] Yours sceptically Readers’ letters 36 ] Letters for numbers Chris Maslanka’s quiz
46] Endgame Laurie Taylor finds a playmate
FEATURES 10] Bosphorus straits Turkey’s crisis threatens us all, argues Ahmet Altan
12] Irish stew Newton Emerson on the surprising rise of Ulster’s secularism
14] Charity balls Richard Curtis tells Laurie Taylor why sentimentality is better than cynicism 21] Springtime for Hitler We cannot ignore Nazi links to modernism, warns Roger Griffin 24] Hollow land Eyal Weizman’s map of the West Bank reveals colonisation by design, says Daniel Miller 26] Atheism a la mode Michel Onfray adds a French flavour to the “God book” bonanza 34] Through the looking glass AC Grayling throws some light on John Gray’s dim world view 38] High flyer Danny Postel remembers the daring philosophy of Richard Rorty
JULY & AUGUST 2007
CONTRIBUTORS Newton Emerson was founder of the Portadown News website and has regular columns in the Irish News and Daily Mirror in Belfast. He discusses Ulster’s gay rights debate on page 12.
30] Clouded judgement As smokers are finally forced outdoors, Sally Feldman mourns a pungent affair
COLUMNS 7] Diary Natalie Haynes notices a tiresome trend 20] Opinion Christina Martin’s Jesus gags were too much for Paramount Comedy 37] Thinkers 18th-century French priest Jean Meslier left behind an atheist bombshell
BOOK REVIEWS 40] Graham Farmelo finds that even the greats of physics enjoyed larking about 41] Jonathan Derbyshire is unthreatened by an Enlightenment sceptic 42] Toby Saul doubts the power of the American endtimers 42] Philip Womack enjoys a meeting of old and new worlds 44] Meera Nanda on India’s fundamentalist mix 45] Poem New Word Hawdah by Linton Kwesi Johnson
Stand-up comedian Christina Martin broke through at last year’s Funny Women awards. A regular contributor to Viz, she is the first female writer in the comic’s history. As she recounts on page 20, she has been known to take on Jesus in her live set.
Daniel Miller explores a 3D view of Israeli occupation on page 24. He is a freelance writer and researcher, and editor of the film magazine Kino Fist.
Roger Griffin is Professor of Modern History at Oxford Brookes University. His article on page 21 is inspired by his new book Modernism and Fascism, published in June by Palgrave.
Natalie Haynes’s diary appears on page 7. She has toured internationally as a stand-up comedian, and writes regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and the Times. She has appeared frequently on BBC radio and is a regular guest on Newsnight Review.
Danny Postel was the last person to interview Richard Rorty, whom he remembers on page 38. He is a freelance writer, and the author of Reading “Legitimation Crisis” in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism and one of the contributors to the book Take Care of Freedom and Truth Will Take Care of Itself: Interviews with Richard Rorty.
July August 2007 new humanist 5