MOST POLITICALLY INCORRECT NOVEL?: I don’t think I’ll put this under “Great Books According to Me,” although I do think it is pretty great.  Brownout on Breadfruit Boulevard, by Timothy Mo. This follows on my post on AA Gill and Mark Steyn which, I see, got a citation on Steyn’s website as “reader of the day.”  I should think so.

As for Timothy Mo … It’s not that the novel opens with a scene of coprophilia that makes it politically incorrect (any “transgressive” artist, or South Park, can do that).  Nor even that the coprophilia involves a professor from Germany (though apparently Mo’s refusal to alter that opening lost him his publisher, hence his self-publication under “Paddleless Press”).

‘Politically incorrect’ is more than just saying things to one’s followers that others find offensive, and it is more than simply offending people.  It is a knowing assertion that is calculated to find its target; it is just an updated form of epate-ing la bourgeoisie in a society in which the bourgeoisie that matters happens to be of a vaguely leftish, progressivist variety. In that regard, Mo’s book is numero uno.  I paraphrase from memory the (London) Spectator’s quite astute review when it came out:  ‘A novel that appears to have been written expressly to annoy John Pilger … an example in that very rare genre, the work of genuinely successful reactionary art.’ So.  You had me at “expressly to annoy John Pilger.”