So rudely interrupted…

Here is a question: Who restarted his newspaper column with the words, ‘As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…’? And what interrupted him? The answer is below.

My personal interruption to this blog has been not nearly so long nor so justified as was the break that writer was forced to take. Nevertheless I regret that it was necessary.

As the previous two blog posts explained, I have been finishing a degree in philosophy, and writing a dissertation on ‘dirty hands’ – the circumstance when you may have to commit one ‘evil’ in order to prevent an even greater ‘evil’. The example given is a politician authorising torture to get a terrorist to reveal where bombs are hidden which, if detonated, would kill hundreds. Torture is always bad, but might it not be even worse to allow the deaths of many innocent people? The question asked in the last blog was, Does the end really justify the means?

Well, thankfully, my nearly 12,000 words on the subject are written and submitted, with a verdict some months away. The degree has been interesting, challenging, informative and occasionally disturbing. Like climbing a mountain, you’re glad to be at the finish rather than about to start.

The last two blogs I wrote were about rule-keeping and consequentialism. There was always meant to be a third, but then my work became more pressurised and there was insufficient time to do justice to any blogs. So, regretfully, on August 21st I was interrupted by the necessity of academic study.

But who more famously wrote about being so rudely interrupted, and what interrupted him? There are two answers about who it was. His actual name was Sir William Neil Connor (26 April 1909 – 6 April 1967),[1] but he wrote under the pen-name Cassandra in the British newspaper The Daily Mirror between 1935 and 1967. What interrupted him? It was World War II, which squeezed so much that was not ‘hard news’ off the pages.

I am happy to report my interruption is over, and the final part of my ‘philosophical’ trilogy will appear soon.