Karl Miller liked to quote a passage from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread And, having once turned round, walks onAnd turns no more his headBecause he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. The passage was much better, he'd add, if you changed a word in the penultimate line. Take out 'fiend', replace it with 'friend'. Mark Boxer was a friend of Karl's; he was a friend of the LRB, too, and while he was no fiend, exactly, he was on the tail of his many friends, caricaturing them in his drawings, not always to their liking. He was the first editor of the Sunday Times colour supplement, as such publications were called back in the day, but the drawings are the lasting achievement.
The New York Times Magazine recently profiled Charles Johnson, who – back in the good old days of Dick Cheney’s ‘Go fuck yourself’ – was an important online player in what one ex-associate of his terms ‘the trans-Atlantic counterjihad movement’. A ponytailed, LA-based jazz guitarist, Johnson was one of those who went a bit nuts after the 11 September attacks. Little Green Footballs, previously a personal blog devoted to web design and bicycle racing, rapidly became the go-to site for defenders of Western civilisation who wished to share genocidal fantasies about Muslims, fret or gloat over the plight of ‘Eurabia’, send pizzas to Israeli troops in the Occupied Territories and so on. Melanie Phillips became its best-known British fan.