I reckon it's the weather: The London Review has been unusually mean and cantankerous recently.
So I was glad to find R.W. Johnson write in defence of Gellner in the latest LRB:
[Gellner]generated, to a degree unequalled by any other social scientist I have met, a feeling of "look, what we are doing is trying to figure out how the modern world works and this is a deadly serious task, in fact it is the most serious thing there is." He was never really off duty. Collini sounds a little too English to feel quite comfortable with that Germanic intensity and seriousness.
Granted, in the day and age of the Guttenberg-syndrome, references to "Germanic intensity and seriousness" may sound a tad inappropriate (if not ironic), but of course one can always go back to one's roots.