Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3559 Set by George Cowley

"If there is one thing worse than a fuzzy intellectual, it is a focused one," said John Lloyd in the NS. We asked for a chat between Focused and Fuzzy.

Report by Ms de Meaner

Yes, Will Bellenger is a runaway winner again. But this may be because Anne Du Croz started late. So, it's up to you, Du Croz. In addition, Nick MacKinnon was doing very well at the start, but faded. This is the biggest shake-up in the Top 20 for years, with Du Croz the best new entrant since Noel Petty in 1984. This week, the winners get £15; the bottle goes to the afore-mentioned Bellenger.

Focused An intellectual views the world dispassionately, through a judas window of absolute logic, and his or her observations therefore require neither apologies nor apologists.

Fuzzy So, being an intellectual means never having to say you're sorry.

Focused A little contrition is never in order.

Fuzzy Oh. Sorry.

Focused So an intellectual - nota bene - is as sane in the course of his employment as it is consistent with rational argument to be.

Fuzzy You don't have to be mad to work here but it helps. Sorry.

Focused An intellectual never asks for his or her argument to be acceptable; it is quite natural for any argument to invite the contrapuntal dignity of an opposite and inimical argument.

Fuzzy So, do not ask for credit because a refusal often offends. I see.

Focused And there is no necessity to feel guilt; indeed, it is best to dispel any such emotion.

Fuzzy Yes! Yes! Now wash your hands, please!

Focused And pace your interruptions, the understanding of an intellectual argument requires a general view, rather than a specific investigation and/or rebuttal.

Fuzzy If you can read this, you're driving too close.

Focused Shut up.

Fuzzy Sorry.

Will Bellenger

Focused It's easy to mock the Third Way, but it's our only chance of having what Jospin calls "a market economy without a market society". Given a changed world context we could talk about socialist measures. As things stand, we can't. So between the anarchy of class war and the horrors of an all-powerful, unrestrained capitalism, a creative interplay of public and private investment is a progressive option. Give credit to Blair for that.

Fuzzy How can you give credit to a man who can't form a satisfactory relationship with his own hair? And have you noticed how he sweats? There's a Nixon inside him who's eternally trying to get out. He wants to be Caesar, but as Barthes noted, Caesar doesn't sweat. A pure schizoid.

Focused: Personalising it that way misses the point. It's ideas that count. Blair is a third way man in another sense, you see: he's united two great 20th-century traditions - market capitalism and the Leninist party structure. A winning combination.

Fuzzy Well, what goes around, comes around - first as tragedy, then as farce, finally as a postmodern feedback loop. Didn't Mosley talk about a third way?

G M Davies

No 3562 Set by Leonora Casement

The Guardian recently noted a pamphlet for US parents (by a Utah criminology professor) that identified as a sign of dope use in kids "excessive preoccupation with social issues, race relations, environmental issues, etc". We want letters by 21 January from parents detailing the symptoms and asking for advice. Max 200 words.

This article first appeared in the 08 January 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Stuff the millennium