(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/21.)

In the early 70s there was a suggestion that Clive Barnes, then the all-powerful theatre critic of the New York Times, might be sent by the paper to Saigon to write about the Vietnam war. "I suppose if he doesn't like it," quipped a contemporary, "they'll have to take it off."

That story came to mind when I read that Judith Miller, formerly a controversial war correspondent and political writer, has been appointed theatre critic of the Jewish magazine Tablet. If eyebrows were raised at the idea of Barnes being translated from the stalls to the theatre of war, they have positively gone through the roof at the notion of Miller making the reverse journey.


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