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Brian Sewell on Jessica Lynch
Last uploaded : Thursday 10th Apr 2003 at 23:55
Contributed by : The Editor


The British art critic Brian Sewell has become notorious in the past few years as a fierce critic of Israel and even wrote an irate piece about Jewish aspirations for a Holocaust Museum outside London. As a reward, he received the coveted Orwell Prize in early April in London. He is reviled by many but continues to flourish. On 8th April 2003 he wrote an article that has so outraged me as a woman, as a daughter of a woman soldier and as an American that I would appreciate your feedback on this piece.

Sewell's suggestion that serving women amount to 'bearded lesbians' is beneath contempt, and his description of an American official as a 'weasel' is, frankly, unacceptable in time of war, be we anti or pro-war. He even manages to defame West Virginia. Wonder what Senator Robert Byrd will make of his state being described as 'incestuous?

We all know that Israeli women serve with pride, and that recently 1,200 female Israeli women were called up for extraordinary reserve duty. Not one woman turned the call down.

I believe Mr Sewell has mortally insulted women, women at war and Americans as well as serving people from any country.

Carol Gould

The madness of saving Jessica
By Brian Sewell, Evening Standard
8 April 2003
To puke was the only proper reaction to the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, of the US Army's 50th Maintenance Company, as April Fools' Day dawned in Iraq last week. "To puke" has just the right abrupt, dismissive note to it - "to vomit" and "to regurgitate" both have too much Latin gravity at their roots, "to heave" and "to retch" the false gentility of euphemism, but plain puke, good enough for Shakespeare, is onomatopoeic to perfection. Say "puke" and relish the sound.....'

Read the whole story at


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Carol Gould is the author of 'Spitfire Girls,' an historical novel that chronicles the story of the women pilots of Air Transport Auxiliary in World War II.
To read more about the book please go to Black Ace Books:

Update 30 April 2003:

Since this article was printed we have had the following responses from readers:

Dear Editor,

I am amazed at this article! I cannot believe that in today's world there are people who think like Mr. Sewell. Instead of making these remarks (which, of course, he is entitled to), let him be happy that this young soldier was found alive and will be able to go home. There are many fine people living in Virginia and as an American it upsets me that an entire state has been called names. Mr. Sewell, get a life! or change your name to Mr. Sewage.


I didn't realise he was quite that bad, Carole. Did you?

Joan Lipkin Edwards
This has to be one of the most outrageous pieces I have ever read.
Whether as a woman, a human being or in whatever capacity, surely every
civilised person would want to object to this.
Please write to the Evening Standard to make your voice heard
Joy Wolfe
Write to:
The Evening Standard
Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street
London W8 5EE
My letter:
The only puking that was appropriate after reading Brian Sewell's outrageous piece on the rescue of Jessica Lynch was to use the Evening Standard as a suitable receptacle to puke into.
His insults to women, to the Americans and to any civilised human being reading this are bad enough in themselves,
But the fact that you deemed this a worthy piece to publish in your newspaper brings your reputation as a thinking newspaper down to the lowest possible level.
I feel ashamed to be British knowing this is what we provide for people to read
I am all for the freedom of speech, but a degree of respect and compassion has to go with it
I for one would not be sorry if I never saw Brian Sewell's name in a byline in your newspaper ever again.
Joy Wolfe
Dear Carol, a few days ago I wrote to an American friend that I thought
that Jessica Lynch had no business to be where she was in the first place.
I covered the Yom Kippur War and I never saw any female soldiers any where
in the front lines. Her rescue, I think was mainly a massive publicity
stunt, or, rather used as such.
Sewell uses very colourful and unnecessary languge throughout his article.
But I agree with his basic feeling on this particular matter.
best wishes,
Sally Soames
May I be one of hopefully many *men* to remind Mr. Brian Sewell that a woman had an instrumental part in getting him where he is today. If I were his mother, I'd be ashamed. Perhaps, if he feels he could do better than Jessica Lynch, we should offer him the chance.
Robert Brown
Pittsburgh, PA USA
Hi Carol,

Brian Sewell's inflamatory article should be easily refuted. His suggestion that Private Lynch was rescued as a propaganda exercise is quite twisted thinking. The US military acted upon intelligence, a tipoff from an Iraqi. The did not "plan" for their soldiers to be ambushed and captured by the enemy in order to effect propaganda. This in contrast to the Iraqi regime's habit of hiding in and launching attacks from civilian areas, mosques, hospitals, schools, etc, hoping to score civilian casualties upon their own people in order to bring media and opinion pressure upon the Coalition.

Private Lynch joined the army for a job and educational opportunites. She worked as a clerk. Not for the "excitement" of "fighting next to men", Mr Sewell's article is disgusting and insulting to this young person and to all the members of her unit who died.

I followed the reports of Private Lynch's capture with much concern, and I am very happy for Ms Lynch and her parents that she is now safe.

Joe BB


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