The Irish Times has been in steady decline for years. Most of the stuff worth reading has already been published in the Guardian - and that includes sport. If it weren't for Fintan O'Toole and the occasional gem from Eddie Holt (OK, I'll add John Banville and Eileen Battersby's book reviews), I'd give up on it entirely.
Last Saturday's was a fair indicator of how standards have dropped. The whole first page of the magazine section is devoted to Roisin Ingle describing in detail a night spent baby-sitting. I have yet to read anything she's written that hasn't been trite and tedious. This set new lows. Does anyone vet this stuff? I wouldn't let it out the door if my 14-year old came up with it. When I pick up a paper I want to entertained or educated - this did neither.
So I throw aside the magazine in disgust and pick up the Review section. Turning to the book reviews what do I find but Rosin Ingle's collected columns being reviewed my Marian Keyes. In addition to her columns she'd added some stuff about being a fat twat who fucked around a lot. Now to be fair, Marian Keyes is a lightweight, she's no John Banville. She purveys harmless chick-lit to women whose brains (for whatever reason) have turned to semolina. So perhaps it's not surprising that she gives Roisin an easy ride instead of excoriating her for boring Ireland.
I turn to the facing page and lo and behold there's Marian Keyes latest novel being glad-handled by some other hack. It's all too much for me. I toss it aside and pick up the Racing Post.