Neil Lyndon

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Neil Lyndon
Residence Fife, Scotland
Alma mater Cambridge University
Occupation Writer and journalist
Years active 1968 to present
Employer The Sunday Telegraph
Known for Writing the first progressive critique of feminism
Notable work(s) No More Sex War: The Failures of Feminism
Spouse(s) Linda Lyndon
Children 2 daughters, 1 son

Neil Alexander Lyndon (born 1946) is a British journalist and writer. He is currently the motoring correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1946, Lyndon grew up in the Sussex Weald, a rural area.[1] He attended Collyer's school, Horsham.[2]

In 1965, Lyndon became the first student from a comprehensive school to be awarded an unconditional place at Cambridge University. At university he took a job in a scrap yard and later in light engineering.[3] Having flirted with communism as a teenager and having been a committed member of CND he rapidly became involved with radical left-wing politics at Cambridge. He took part in many demonstrations and sit-ins and after his graduation he co-founded of The Shilling Paper, a radical weekly.[4] In 1969, he joined the editorial board of the underground paper The Black Dwarf.[5] Years later, in 2007 he wrote in The Sunday Times of his shame at how he had "once toasted mass murderers, torturers and totalitarian despots", particularly as he had distant relatives in Czechoslovakia.[6]

1980s journalism[edit]

Lyndon was a successful journalist in the 1980s, writing for the "Atticus" column in The Sunday Times, as well as for The Times, The Independent, the Evening Standard and others. He wrote columns, profiles and feature articles covering a wide variety of issues such as politics, sport, music and books [7]

Writings on feminism[edit]

Lyndon first focused on gender issues in a 1990 essay for the Sunday Times Magazine entitled "Badmouthing". The 5,000 word piece argued that, in advertising, entertainment, the news media, family law, education and health research, "an atmosphere of intolerance surrounded men", blaming this intolerance on "the universal dominance of feminism".[5] It later emerged that female writers at The Times had attempted to have the article censored, although this was unsuccessful they instead wrote a derogatory article about Lyndon in the magazine's "Style" section.[8]

No More Sex War[edit]

The following year he wrote his book, No More Sex War: The Failures of Feminism,[9] published in 1992, in which he expanded on these arguments.

Reception[edit]

The work received a large amount of attention in the media,[10] most of it hostile and abusive, vilifying Lyndon.[11]

Rather than addressing the issues and arguments raised by Lyndon, most critics instead chose to abuse him personally. They suggested he was sexually inadequate, questioned the size of his penis, his masculinity, his ability to attract women and even the smell of his breath.[11] Almost two decades later feminist writer Julie Burchill continued the attack, suggesting he was a "sad-sack" and "the opposite of a man".[12] In a review of book of the year, Helena Kennedy refused to even discuss the publication, simply instructing people not to buy it.[11]

Even more serious abuses of Lyndon were to come such as an assault at Heathrow Airport.[11] At Cambridge university, Lyndon's Alma-mater, the female president of the student's union encouraged students to burn his writings and a don told her pupils that she would like to see him shot.[7]

Impact[edit]

The book did sell well but Lyndon's work in journalism dried up. In August 1992 he was declared bankrupt.[13] Before the publication of No More Sex War, Lyndon's marriage had broken up and his wife had abducted their child to Scotland where she obtained an order of custody without Lyndon knowing the case was being heard.[5] In the subsequent divorce, his media notoriety was used against him in court, and he lost all access to his son. He rebuilt his career in journalism during the 1990s, and was later reunited with his son, who lived with him in Scotland before going to university.[6]

Eight years after the controversy, Lyndon revisited some of the issues in his book and discussed his story. He highlighted the issues in relation to "the treatment of dissidents in what is supposed to be an open society". Whilst not comparing his plight to the coetaneous case of Salman Rushdie, he suggested it was "paradoxical that many of the people who defended Rushdie's right to write whatever he wanted should be so censorious and destructive about wanting to limit my freedom to do the same".[11]

Men's issues[edit]

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Lyndon described his reluctance at attending the birth of his children and the relief at not having repeat the experience for his grandchildren.[14]

Other works[edit]

Lyndon has also co-written a musical, Hail to the Chief, now renamed "Men of Respect", about America between the inaugurations of John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Lyndon is married to Linda, they have two daughters and live in Fife, Scotland. Lyndon also has a son from a previous marriage.[16][17]

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

See also[edit]