Home > Blog > Alhimself Season 2: Nixon, Klingons and The Pope

Alhimself Season 2: Nixon, Klingons and The Pope

So I can’t quite believe that it’s been two months since I last blogged  on here. I have been rather busy though, and aside from falling head-long into a Twitter addiction (which you can bask in here) I’ve been largely guest-blogging for Edinburgh Guide during the festival here.  I was performing my usual duties as part-tour guide/part-security guard for  the Edinburgh International Book Festival,  I saw some theatre (not all of it rubbish) and I am ten days away from taking a well-deserved break in Holland.


Back to the news grind then.  Pope’s visit anyone? As Richard Nixon once reportedly said,  ‘the style is the man’.  Pope Benedict XVI is a man styled almost entirely on his past life as “God’s Rottweiler”. A quick forage in the undergrowth of Joseph Ratzinger’s past and you discover a web of intrigue linking tiny HIV-sized holes in condoms, the “Evilness” of homosexuality and holocaust denying bishops. During his time working for Vatican 2 he presided over  serious centralisation of information and power into his own office. While he probably didn’t tape every conversation, the Nixon reference still bears fruit when you consider both men swear by the tenet:

“A public man must never forget that he loses his usefulness when he as an individual, rather than his policy, becomes the issue”.

Only Nixon has actually put that thinking into words, but Benedict XVI is a man very keen on keeping things close to his chest. Even when those “things” include systematic child-abuse. If he did in fact single-handedly control  all information pertaining to child sex scandals in the Catholic church rather than opening up the files to secular law enforcement, then it probably isn’t the only controversial thing he will be barracked for on Thursday when he parades down  Lothian Road in Edinburgh.

(For a less heavy-handed and far more informative piece of journalism pertaining to the organised protests going on this week, take a look at my article in this Wednesday’s edition of The Journal.)


*During my time at the EIBF in Charlotte Square I managed to attract the attention of an Independent journo, who mis-quotes me badly enough to reverse my intended correction. My, as yet-unpublished  correction would look a little like this:

“As my memoirs will confirm, the actual discussion involved the Star Trek 6 quote that: “Shakespeare was best enjoyed in the original Klingon”. David Mitchell had mistakenly attributed it to Star Trek 7 when comparing it to his Dutch translators account of their work on his novels. An easy mistake to make, but sadly incorrectly reported in the above article.

I was, in fact, the above mentioned “ticket attendant” who was supervising the venue. I also happen to be a journalist. Mitchell is a lovely chap and clearly a wonderfully talented writer, he really was one of the gems of the programme that we had this year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

I look forward to discussing the Tokugawa Shogunate with him in more detail at a later date, and wish him the best of luck with his award nomination.”

I wouldn’t have minded so much, but I’m a miserable bastard. I’ll be back in a day or two with more news.



(Many thanks to Chris Scott (@Chrisdonia) for the Book Festival photos)

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