The Cow had been checking out Lancaster University's latest high profile appointment. Nor was she alone - their Vice-Chancellor was there, a gaggle of staff and hordes of students. The post-lecture wine reception may have had something to do with the presence of the latter, or possibly even the former, but the lecture itself proved heavy going for some in the audience who took to doodling rather than shuffling awkwardly or guffawing delightedly as he nailed his colours to the mast.
"His location of the birth of politico-philosophical terorism in the French Revolution, and thus the categorisation of it as a twin of modernity, seemed to distress some of the historical types, while his relation of it to the tragic form seemed to distress some of the religious types - especially his use of the crucifixion as an example rather than an exception," she explained to Gramsci.
"So he alienated the Americans, the captialists, the post-modernists *and* the historics and the sky pixie brigade?" Gramsci was delighted. That was quite a hit rate for a single appearance.
The Cow nodded. "All within the first few minutes. It was masterly - done with such wit and pleasantry, taking offence would seem quite churlish!"
She paused. "He was rather more tentative when fielding the questions, though. And he seemed very eager to defend essentialism - which was odd given that he'd previously described himself as a 'soft' essentialist."
Gramsci chuckled. "Perhaps his soft side only emerges in the safety of relative anonymity? After all, while at UCT he'd felt safe enough to be spotted reading the Torygraph!"
The Cow reflected. "Perhaps with the move he'll have to change his reading habits," she mused. "I wonder how he'd find the Lancaster Guardian after theManchester version?"