A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting
It’s that use of “single” as a term of abuse.
The thing is, I’ve been single all my life and I’ve often thought that this was, if anything, an advantage in writing. This is simply because I’m single because I don’t fit in - where the hell would I find someone I had anything in common with?* - and this not fitting-inness gives me an orginalish perspective. My singleness and my post-ambition anti-managerialist Marxism are two sides of the same coin.
So, why does Marr think it a bad thing in a writer to be single? I’d suggest two hypotheses - which are perhaps related to the curious fact that Cabinet ministers are disproportionately married.
First, the job of the newspaper columnist is not to be original, but to echo the readers’ prejudices. This is much better done by someone who fits in, who is a simple, marriageable stereotype; Polly Toynbee and Simon Heffer are identical in this respect.
Secondly, the job of the columnist is to pitch it strong - to overlook ambiguous evidence and bounded knowledge, and to not express self-doubt. And the confidence that comes from being married - or at least from being marriagable - helps in this respect.
Which brings me to a piece in the Times by Rachel Sylvester. She tells us that Labour must restore its “lost reputation for economic competence.” What she doesn’t ask is: how can she possibly judge economic competence when she kicks off by using the meaningless phrase “neo-endogenous growth theory”?
Such a mixture of ignorance and arrogance is, I’d suggest, more likely in a married person than a singleton. Which is why being single is so abhorrent to the self-appointed metropolitan elite.
* It could be that my expectations are infinitely too high, as I’m looking for someone one-millionth as good as this.