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2022: Year in Review
Helen's top pieces for the year
As you may have noticed, I write a lot. As with all professional writers, some of it’s forgettable, but sometimes I manage to hit a sweet spot combining popularity with excellent writing.
Three outlets for which I write included at least one of my pieces in their top ten, so I’ll defer to them and flag those up first. One is paywalled, but because it ran way back in July, I’ve included an archive link.
The Australian: “This is what happens when politics puts on judicial robes”.
Law & Liberty: “World War II’s Unfinished Business”.
Cap X: Two of my pieces finished up in the magazine’s top 10: “Bamboozled by Woozles: the West needs to wise up to how the world really works” and “What Kathleen Stock gets wrong about the Tories, trans and feminism”.
I have a distinctive approach to commentary, which explains my use of the graphic above.
I hold a selection of not merely unwoke opinions but very, very unfashionable ones. I don’t just reject affirmative action, for example, I don’t think representation matters at all. I hold this view most strongly in literature and the arts. I would rather have a canon made up wholly of (excellent) books written by dead white men than one made up out of a team of diversity hires selected purely because they tick one or another box.
However, you won’t catch me saying things like that even on Elon Musk’s Twitter 2.0. This is how — unlike many conservative/classical liberal friends — I managed to avoid getting banned under the old dispensation.
I do, however, say what I really think in outlets that pay me (preferably by the word). If I’m going to be cancelled, it may as well be for something substantive. The observation about representation appears in a review of Andrew Doyle’s The New Puritans, which ran in Law & Liberty. It’s one piece with which I felt pleased immediately after filing, a rare sensation for me (normally, all I can think of is the things I’ve missed or messed up).
To be fair, Law & Liberty does get a fair few of my spiciest observations, because I’m on its masthead.
For the first time, however, a piece from this substack goes in the annual review: “On Freedom & Slavery: Why the US understanding of slavery must be confined to the US” is by some margin my most read effort. Given it’s on the Roman law of slavery, this furnished me with considerable wonder and surprise. De gustibus non est disputandum, as the Romans said (“there’s no accounting for taste”).
Finally, it took me a long time to break cover on covid lockdowns once they were lifted, after initially (ie, back in 2020) being strongly opposed. I explained this oddity in a piece for The Freethinker.
Right, that’s me over and out for 2022. I hope the fizz you down on New Year’s Eve contains plenty of fun (as well as the more typical headaches).