Lyndon Hood - Beer Denier, Lower Hutt

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

And sometime the beer gets you

I note with mild amusement that Monteiths has given a special-edition beer from the other year general release. The drink, which for the sake of clarity I will refer to as the "Radler®", was apparently inspired by something they serve in Bavaria called a "Radler".

Speaking as someone who's tried both, the Radler® is quite nice - a sort of lemon-lime flavoured beer. If someone offered me one, I'd drink it, though probably not in the half-litre or litre quantities one gets in a Munich beer garden.

I imagine that the Dom Post's beer columnist was reading off the company's publicity when he described a Bavarian Radler as being lemon flavoured, quite low in alcohol and named for its cyclist-refreshing properties (pronounced rahd-luh, the word means "cyclist").

What they're not telling you is that the reason a Radler is low in alcohol and tastes of lemon has nothing to do with brewing. It's because it's half beer and half lemonade. Something that, in the English-speaking world, we a call a "shandy".

Duh look at me I'm David Irving

Okay, so I've decided to weigh in. I didn't have much of an impression of David Irving before. I could, for example, imagine that if one had a real revisionist argument about the Holocaust, people's reaction could make one bitter pretty quickly.

I'll admit a failure in that I can't be bothered digging through his website to determine the actual extent of his current Holocaust denial, but on the basis of the research I've done, I'm concluding that David Irving is a cast-iron tit with a chip on his shoulder. And wrong. Most notably, when Irving sued Penguin Books and author Deborah Lipstadt over the claims in Denying the Holocaust that he knowingly distorted or suppressed evidence, denied the holocaust and was an anti-semitic racist, he lost.

Which leads me to wonder what the (so-called) Press Club were thinking. If they wanted a discussion of the problems of writing history they might have done better to invite somebody without a reputation (if only on this one issue) for selectively ignoring bits of the kind of evidence that he is, admittedly, very good at digging up.

Linda Clark interviewed him this morning. I had thought that talking to Irving was unlikely advance the cause of balance, or of fairness, or of accuracy. Judging by the first batch of email responses, most people thought he was a cast-iron tit, so maybe I was wrong. I'm guessing he was restricting his opinions, as we all would, to what he thought his audience would find reasonable. That didn't stop him saying that when he put up a reward for information on the cemetary-wreckers it was in the hope of finding them to be mentally disordered Jews or Israeli agents.

I am entirely (or at least very broadly) in favour of free speech. But that doesn't mean we should give everybody a slot on National Radio. Actually, I think even debating Irving is a strategic error. My wife's family has a saying: "Never argue with an idiot - people might not know who's who". Similarly, to vilify him or, worse, to suppress him is to give him too much importance. David Irving should be debunked for those who are interested and, more generally, mocked.

Apparently he still expects to come to New Zealand. When he is prevented from getting on the plane, he intends to take legal action. When he loses, he won't (as is his way) accept the verdict.