Flat Earth: Oh my gourd]

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AN intemperate attack, it seemed, on James Fenton, Independent columnist and Poetry Professor at Oxford, by Taki, who is also a columnist, though not a professor of poetry. Taki writes in the Spectator that not only is Mr Fenton's poetry aimed at a readership burning with envy of Taki's wealth, but that he has consistently pushed 'the communist line' in the Philippines and Fiji. Taki, being a millionaire, is better at spotting communists than you or I, but this is the first time anyone in or out of Fiji has ever heard of any communists in those islands.

Still, the Spectator is often a bit hazy when it comes to the Pacific. It's not long since Charles Moore, in pursuit of some point or other, was writing in its pages about 'Polynesian penis gourds'. As you know, penis gourds are worn by Melanesians, a dark and stocky people of the western Pacific. Polynesians are a tall, light- skinned race thousands of miles to the east and no more likely to wear gourds than Mr Moore is. In fact, rather less so: Polynesians are strict Wesleyans, whereas Mr Moore, like the Melanesians, is Roman Catholic, a Church with a sensibly more relaxed attitude to pagan customs.