A pointed dissent, written by a theologian, from my February column on God and the tsunami was received by The New Criterion a few weeks ago, and I happily set about composing my doubtless crushing reply until the editors informed me that the author did not wish his letter to be published. That, of course, made the crushing reply otiose, and I regretted the loss of my fine phrases and biting ironies the more as the letter appeared to me quite pointless unpublished.

But I was reminded of how seldom anyone ever bothers to answer what are—let’s face it—the mostly disparaging remarks I make about my fellow scribes in these pages. I should like to imagine that this curious silence is owing to the definitiveness of my put-downs. The word is out, I fancy, that once Bowman has animadverted upon one’s journalistic and human failings, one might just as well crawl into a hole somewhere, get a job at the take-out...


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