| " I am no
politician, and still less can I be said to be a party-man: but
I have a hatred of tyranny, and a contempt for its tools; and
this feeling I have expressed as often and as strongly as I
-- William Hazlitt
1. The Prince of Polemicists: William Hazlitt
2. Excellent Dutch TV program about ME/CFS
1. The Prince of Polemicists: William Hazlitt
As I wrote the day before yesterday: "As it happens, I have been feeling
considerably better the last few days, which is very pleasant" - and so
it was yesterday, that finished 25 minutes ago, and in which I did not
write anything for the site.
The reason is typically me: If I feel well enough to do so, I move to a
bookshop, which is what I did, whence I came with "The Day-Star of
Liberty - William Hazlitt's Radical Style" by Tom Paulin, since when I
was mainly in bed, in part too tired to do anything, in part to read the
Hazlitt is probably the English writer I feel closest to, ever since
finding him by accident, in an antiquariat - the same as I got the
abovementioned text from, the proprietor of which assured me today that
it is soon over, since the the days of books and bookshops are past "and
people read no more" - and it is difficult to say why, because he is so
much alike and because it is complicated and difficult to do it well,
also because I don't like literary criticism and the usual approaches to
authors, writings and styles, while I know a fair bit of the Hazlitt
literature, incidentally a lot better than most literary criticism, as is
their literary subject, and also have read some about style, writing,
rhetorics, and related subjects.
Moreover... few of my readers, even if they are English, Irish or
American, will know of him, and far fewer will like him, because he lived
rather a while ago, from 1778-1830; wrote a beautiful but difficult
English, almost all in the form of essays; requires a considerable
intelligence and learning to get well; and anyway just is not for most,
precisely because he was a radical, honest extremely intelligent and
widely learned man who tried to get to the real roots of things - "I dare
venture an opinion where few else would, particularly if I think it is
right" (Hazlitt, on having mental courage) - and who was, as if by
natural accident, the "Shakespeare-prosewriter of our glorious century"
(William Bewick's words, the artist who drew Hazlitt's best likeness).
Hazlitt was so radical, so honest, and also with so few illusions, that
he still mostly met with silence, ignorance, or rejection, although few
who read him with any intelligence and knowledge have denied he was a
master of English prose, and the greatest polemicist in a language with
many great polemicists, whose fate was and still is that he wrote too
well, too honestly, too sharply, too intelligently not to displease most.
2. Excellent Dutch TV program about ME/CFS
But I did not want to speak of Hazlitt, or rather not now and here, for I
had read on the Phoenix Forums that Dutch TV would show an interview with
professor Kenny De Meirleir, also one of the writers of the medical
Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME
(<-- here I have linked in the more readable excellent version later
produced by two of its writers).
As it happens, since 40 years I have no TV, but these days there is the
internet, and some helpful soul had earlier posted a link to the program
in which was the interview, which opened on a Dutch journalist in an
orange - Gerrit? - modern TV-interior, reading cue-cards as if disowning
autocues, and proposing a wealth of Dutch TV-news I much rather do not
partake of, so I switched it off, without regrets at having verified
Dutch TV is still not fit for me nor I for it.
But then there was another post, this time with a link to Youtube, with
just the interview, and here that link is, for Dutch speakers and for those rare souls who
might want to listen what Dutch sounds like - and it is a part of the
program "Eén Vandaag" = "One Today", with the following title and link:
As my title of today suggests - and I have been praising and
encouraging, these days - it is an unexpectedly good brief
interview and program, and one which British readers with ME would
love to see about professor Wessely.
The program starts thus (and see the last Wesselyan link):
"Is the fatigue disease ME located between the ears or not?"
in the 3-fold orange Dutch TV-interior as sketched above, with the
journalist with the cue-cards - but he is quite sensible, I must honestly
admit, against my prejudice, for he continues thus, in a free and fast
"Yes, Dutch experts say, no say some experts from America and Belgium.
People in Holland with ME have been fighting in vain for recognition of
ME as a real bodily disease. In America they have come so far already.
There evidence has been found that ME is caused by a virus, against which
one can take medicines. And that's something quite different than the
behavorial therapy with which ME is dealt with in Holland.
But virus or not: How do you get it and especially: who become its
After which professor De Meirleir appears who says
"Everybody - everybody can get this disease"
It's simply a good program and I'll be putting this text soon on line to say
so, and may write later some more about it, but I do not want to publish
this first reaction without the final quote of the program, by professor
dr. Jos van der Meer, of Radboud Ziekenhuis and University of Nijmegen fame,
who refused to appear in a program on Dutch TV in which a black man also
appears - pardon me: who refused to appear in a program on Dutch TV in
which a professor Kenny De Meirleir also appears.
Here is his full explanation why, as given at the end of the program, in
professor Van der Meer's immortal Dutch prose, followed by my translation
- preceeded by another fine quotation from the program leading up to it,
with pictures from the Radboud Ziekenhuis on the screen and the following
spoken text, in my fast and free but fair translation:
Holland treats patients with ME with behavorial therapy. In popular
terms: "It is between the ears - and do try to exercise as much as
Professor Kenny De Meirleir bases his approach on chronic infections in
- specifically - the guts. The publication Ortho published earlier this
year about professor De Meirleir's treatment.
But what are the results?
By Dutch behavorial therapy treatment approximately 6% of the patients
achieve improvement. By the treatment of De Meirleir 70% of patients
achieve improvement. "
The percentages are shown big on screen -
- and then a Dutch doctor declares
"The people who are far ahead of their own time are being worked against.
(..) Mr De Meirleir is by my reckoning 10 or 20 years in advance of his
time, and he is part, together with some others, of the world top
concerned with ME/CFS (...) unfortunately, Dutchmen do not belong to this
Which is followed by more of a patient of De Meirleir's - it seems - who
has been cured for 85%.
This is followed by the voice of the female commenting voice:
We asked the Radboud Ziekenhuis to take part in our program. They let us
know that they did not want to take part with professor De Meirleir in
one program. They were willing to give a written declaration:
[ DUTCH - read by male voice, background an organ, with text on the
"Prof. Van der Meer, de leider van de Nijmeegse
ME/CVS-groep, voelt vooralsnog weinig voor een
interview in Eén Vandaag; dit vanwege het feit dat u
ook van plan bent de heer Kenny de Meirleir aan het
woord te laten.
Hij staat in medisch-wetenschappelijke kring bekend
als iemand die het niet erg nauw neemt met de
waarheid, voorzichtig gesteld."
[ ENGLISH - professor Van der Meer's immortal rational and reasonable
"Prof. Van der Meer, the leader of the Nijmegian
ME/CFS-group, does not feel much for an interview in
One Today; this because of the fact that you also
have the plan to let mister Kenny de Meirleir speak.
He is known in medical-scientific circles as somebody
who does not take proper care with the truth, to
put it carefully." (*)
At this point I was loving Dutch TV, after which words and text the
journalist with the cue-cards reappeared, speaking his punchline:
And this was One Today.
Excellent stuff! O frabjous day! (And perhaps I have not been writing in
vain... who knows.)
So... another fine day for me, what with being fit to go out and buy an
excellent text about Hazlitt, and then getting the above excellent piece
served by - almost miraculously, in my atheist eyes - Dutch TV.
Nice, very very VERY nice!
P.S. AND a big thank you very much
to the Dutch journalists who made it! Well done! Well served also:
Professor Van der Meer both deserves it and clearly did it himself, for
it must be written under his responsibility, who know by his own hands.
If it isn't actionable, it surely shows what
manner of man professor Van der Meer is... - and yes: if he does not
like the link (he should have been informed of quite some time ago) he
can go to court against me.
O, and please, please, please auntie Beeb: Do one like this on
Wessely for the English patients with ME. They well deserve it! And
there are mrs. Crian Wilson and mrs. Gilderdale, and there is professor
Hooper, all of whom - I imagine - would want to speak with professor
Wessely in front of cameras.
It's about time the BBC allows they can, I'd say.