Ad hominem.

Among the invectives I’ve had the dubious taste of using over the years are some that, to my shame, I must admit I am still a trifle proud:

»Hermann Hesse for bad boys« (of Ernst Jünger);

»Sibyl of the sausage box« (of a Danish poet);

»Pathos athlete« (of one of the most tanned specimens in Swedish letters);

»Johnny Cash lite« (of one of our most celebrated crime writers); and

»H&M-Bataille« (of a second-book writer with out-of-place hormones).

What would I call myself if I was going to be nasty? »Nobel wog«? »Posh radical«? »Complexity cowboy«? It’s difficult to be accurate when you have to deliver the coup de grâce to yourself.