Thursday, December 10, 2009
Answer: Because there's no such thing as the Nobel Prize For American Presidents Not Acting Like An Utter Prick About Absolutely Everything.
Nor is there a We'll Turn a Blind Eye To All The Predator Drone Attacks On Lots Of Countries You're Not Even At War With, Provided You Don't Threaten Other Nations With Nuclear Annihilation award, although it's worth noting that while Obama might win one, neither John McCain nor Hillary Clinton would have had they won the Presidency. So it's bombs away in the name of peace, and everyone's happy, except the people they're landing on.
On the other hand, I see that Barry O. is now referring to himself as "Commander-in-Chief of the nation". My American history gets rustier by the year and I'm aware that this is just a continuation of George W.'s bombastic rhetoric, but isn't this rather like the President proclaiming himself Caesar?
There's a lot of stuff in their constitution neatly demarcating "president" from "Imperator," if I recall correctly. Some of the habits of the last administration just turned out to be too tempting to pass up, I guess.
Anyway, my optimistic assessment of the Obama presidency, made the day after the election, still holds good - so far he's been much less of an arsehole than Clinton, either Bush or Reagan. Quite an achievement when you're occupying two countries and your remote controlled flying death machines are running amok over at least another two. Time will tell, though.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
That from boggle-eyed Spectator bore Rod Liddle, who is one of many who seems to believe that both lies and bigoted boo-hoo are now legitimate weapons in the great battle against the awful liberal elitists.
It looks like the bugle has been blown, and every cheap, nasty bullshitter in the land has acknowledged its message... With the Tories almost certain to triumph at the next election, anyone who's spent the last decade masquerading as a basically decent human being should now rip off their masks and show the world their hideous deformities.
Hence we get the hilarious spectacle of climate change skeptics raving about secret global Commie conspiracies, throwing around accusations of Stalinism and Hitlerian evil while clutching their little pearls about the connotations of the word "denier"; we get the world's Liddles railing against those awful blacks, and a whole load of bluntly racist shite hurled at Britain's Muslim population under the comically transparent disguise of "opposing extremism".... With the inevitable result of open celebration when the Swiss decide they need to curtail the rights of their religious minorities.
All of which is smuggled under the usual silly bollocks about leftist treachery, but is essentially the same populist lunacy that has led the Teabaggers and Sarah Palin in the US into a cul de sac of self-reinforcing, unelectable wingnuttery. With no moderating force to reign in their most paranoid and belligerent pronouncements, the Teabaggers have been swiftly demoted from the status of "hard-working ordinary people/mad as hell/not going to take it any more" to "Gibbering cretins/comedy losers/get the hell away from us, dipshits".
Stuff like Liddle's post could only come out of a net-based operation like the Spectator, which has seen its traffic soar even as its political trajectory has taken it zooming out of the Earth's atmosphere, bound for planet Radioactive Political Embarrassment at light speed. In an era of declining magazine sales, it'd take a brave and strong editor to ignore his readers' demand for the red, red meat of raw right wing insanity. Thus do we get conspiracism, paranoia and outright race-baiting.
To which I can only say, well, good. Despite three decades of tabloid hysteria, most people are basically reasonable and decent individuals, and I am eager to see Britain's right wingers disappear right up their own rectums in pursuit of ever-greater nuttiness. Veiled nastiness is devilishly difficult to combat, but open idiocy and naked meanness defeat themselves. The Labour Party have proved that one single-handedly.
Who knows? Maybe a majority of the electorate would read stuff like that Liddle column and think Finally, somebody said what we're all thinking. Me, I reckon most of them would read it and think, Jesus, what a cunt.
I like the battlefield that the right wing fringe is preparing. They're conceding the high ground of legitimate grievance against New Labour's horrible incompetence and vindictiveness; positioning their guns where they'll inflict maximum damage upon their own infantry. I forget who it was who said that you should never interrupt an enemy when he's making a terrible mistake, but it sounds like good advice. I'm just going to put my feet up, crack open a cold one and watch these jokers cut their own legs off at the knees.
Well, okay, I might poke them with a stick occasionally. Just for fun.
Friday, December 04, 2009
1) That practically the entire planet's scientific, political, media and business classes have colluded in the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon mankind, in the teeth of fierce opposition from some of the world's most powerful business interests, in pursuit of a secret, socialist scheme to do, er, something totalitarian or
2) Lots of angry wingnuts are barking like a pack of pissed-off chihuahuas about bugger all, because they are angry wingnuts, and that's what angry wingnuts do.
Now, on the face of it, I can see how many people might plump for 1). After all, when one considers the logistics of a global scam featuring hundreds of thousands of eager participants each adhering to a strict greenie omerta, while forcing through hairshirted measures that cut into the profit margins and personal habits of political backers, industry and electorate alike... Well, you just have to say My God, it's all so obviously a conspiracy of unprecedented propotions!
But readers, I implore you to consider option 2). No, I hear you say. Surely it's impossible that a bunch of angry wingnuts with proven records of barking like pissed-off chihuahuas about bugger all could be doing so all over again, driven by their angry wingnuttery? By God man, have you lost your mind?
I know how unlikely it sounds but please, just give it a go, in the interests of scientific inquiry.
(For a more logical but less direct version of this argument, see John Band).
I mean, okay, Starbuck is a sexy female pilot who dogfights her way around the galaxy doing all kinds of daredevil, hotshot Top Gun stuff, but not once has she reversed her starfighter into an intergalactic lamp-post while trying to parallel park it.
It stretches credulity to breaking point, if you ask me.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Presumably the market for this product consists of individuals looking for underwear that is comfortable, uncomplicated and prone to outbursts of hilariously one-eyed partisan hackery. Ironically, I've always mentally associated the Instapundit with the genitals of both sexes.
So what inappropriate merchandise would you like to see from your blogging heroes? A blow-up Guido Fawkes sex doll? The FlyingRodent Guide to Creative Writing?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
So Modern Warfare 2 is finally out, with sales through the roof after the inevitable controversy over its questionable content.
For those who don't pay attention to such things, MW2 is the cutting edge in big studio games console whizzbang. Overall, it's basically a deranged episode of 24: Jack Bauer's Disembowelment Splatterfest Christmas Special at its wingnuttiest, featuring some of the most equisitely rendered war porn I've ever witnessed.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was an astonishing game, mixing intense action and set pieces with some moments of genuine pathos. Walking through the swimming baths in a deserted Pripyat to the echo of long-departed children's laughter was spine-tingling, the city itself truly haunting. The game was, as they say, all killer and no filler, tightly-plotted, tense and relentless right up to the blockbuster finale - think Die Hard and Black Hawk Down doing tequila slammers while watching The Matrix on an IMax screen.
MW2, on the other hand, ditches all that wussy tension and plot stuff, and just turns the explosions up to eleven. It's Red Dawn joyfully skullfucking 300 during the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now, with Slipknot handling the tunes.
Charlie Brooker has called it The Citizen Kane of repeatedly shooting people in the face, and it certainly is - an astonishingly brutal and exhiliarating non-stop action extravanza, guaranteed to bring joy to the hearts of teenage boys and thirtysomething office drones with hardware fetishes, and to offend absolutely everyone else.
To be clear, MW2 isn't doing anything new or wildly clever. It's just a very, very flash first person shooter, not so much reinventing the wheel as packing the wheel with high explosives and firing it into an oil refinery. From space.
And yes, it does feature a level where you play a terrorist and can shoot lots of civilians. You also get to shoot Afghan militiamen, Brazilian gangbangers, Russian paratroopers (during a Russian invasion of the United States, for Christ's sake) and, when it turns out your commanding officer isn't necessarily fighting for truth and justice, lots and lots of American special forces. At one point, one of the heroes detonates a nuclear missile over Washington DC. Like I say, there's something in there to offend everyone.
In the end, the terrorist massacre is another big, dumb, flashy attempt at gravitas in a big, dumb, flashy action spectacular that rocks like a thermonuclear hurricane and will make about a zillion dollars.
P.S. Haven't had a chance to play the multiplayer enough to tell you whether MW2 is better package than Uncharted 2, my choice for game of the year so far.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"Simon Cowell has ruined the whole series for me," one of my work colleages informed me today, in tones of profound disgust. She felt that the Clarkson of pop's blatantly self-interested decision to punt one of his wide-eyed cash-cows off the show rather than another, potentially more lucrative act, had cheapened what had previously been an Olympian clash of skill, courage and sheer willpower.
"If you ask me, Simon was more interested in making money than honestly choosing which was more talented," she confided, conspiratorially.
Say it ain't so! Naked avarice? On television?
And to think, just twelve short months ago, people were telling me that the financial crisis meant the downfall of the financial gods and the destruction of the capitalist system itself. My advice - put all your money into gold-leaf toilet roll and champagne fountains, and always, always bet against pitchforks, torches and guillotine futures.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Whether Hasan is a psycho terrorist or just a tosser with a bad attitude, British bloggers were relentless in pursuit of the real bastards in this situation, namely the BBC, the BBC, the BBC, the BBC, and courtesy of BBC-watch site Biased BBC, the BBC, the BBC, the BBC and finally, the BBC.
Maximum hilarity comes from B-BBC blogger David Vance, who decries the corporation's foolish report that Hasan was shot by a soldier rather than, as it later transpired, a civilian police officer.
"You would think," he hoots, "with all that world class journalism they could get the basics right, wouldn't you?".
We should be grateful that we had those major independent American networks to provide the public with viewpoints unmolested by the clammy hand of socialism - between them, they managed to report that there were three shooters involved (oops); that one shooter was dead and two in custody (not quite); that a second gunman had been cornered; that the shooter used machine guns (not so much); that Hasan was a convert to Islam (sorry) and so on and so forth in an avalanche of wildly inaccurate, flatulent horseshit.
Local interest was provided by both Counting Cats and Constantly Furious, who felt that the critical aspect for their British audiences was Barack Obama's insufficiently severe gravitas.
Both remembered to compare Barry O's delivery of his scheduled speech, followed by brief comment on the shooting, to his predecessor's weirdo The Pet Goat 9/11 moment of painful inaction. "Dear God," is Mr. Furious's horrified comment. One can only imagine his horror if the next Islamomentalist to succumb to his inner terrorist decides to pilot a pair of automatic pistols into the Empire State Building.
Hats off to Donal Blaney though, who manages to play every note on his little anti-Jihadist ukelele, cramming "9/11," "Decapitating hostages," "religion of peace," "With us or against us," "Clash of civilisations," "Global caliphate," "Sharia law" and "Barack Hussein Obama" into a Twitter-length jam-session. Long story short - they're evil Muslim bastards, twing twang pluckle aye-yay.
So is Hasan a terrorist or a lunatic? Britain's bloggers are too busy beating up their various bugbears to give the matter any thought, but probably Yes.
Competition time, then - ten points to the first commenter who finds somebody blaming US gun rampages on Gordon MacBottler Jockbastard Ochaye MacBroonface.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Annual mass brawls "A huge coincidence," Rangers chief executive tells credulous reporters
BBC News, 5th November 2009
Rangers chief executive Martin Bain today issued a statement denying any link between the latest incident of Rangers-related violence and the presence of a great horde of drunken, belligerent xenophobes.
Instead, Bain criticised the Romanian authorities for failing to provide cake, Margaritas and a light finger-buffet.
"We saw this last year," Bain told a pack of trusting, wide-eyed hacks.
"Rangers supporters travelled all the way down to Manchester, only to discover that the free toilet facilities were substandard, the local pubs insufficiently spacious and that the taxpayer-funded big screen was malfunctioning... When fans attempted to register their objections by politely embarking on a rampage of bloodcurdling violence, they were then shamefully mistreated by the police".
"Personally, I don't know anyone who wouldn't go completely berserk if they arrived in an unfamiliar city to find that the local council had provided such second-rate provisions free of charge".
"We saw this again in Romania, where many supporters who had spent the day getting pished out of their skulls finally arrived rowdy and aggro at the stadium five minutes before kick-off, and were horrified to discover that they were expected to queue up to enter the stadium".
"Imagine, the indignity! UEFA will be hearing about this shameful lack of facilities for inebriated and aggressive away supporters".
UEFA are currently considering whether to take action against European minnows Unirea Urziceni for these disgraceful provocations. Previous experience, including the occasion when the organisation failed to take action against C.F. Villareal for having the temerity to travel to their own stadium in a bus with unbroken windows, suggest that UEFA will once again fail to action.
"It's a disgrace," one fan told the BBC. "I was innocently charging the stewards and attempting to beat them unconcious, when suddenly I was maliciously skooshed in the face with pepper spray".
"I could've been injured or anything".
Previously: Who's Who at the Rangers Riot?
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Now, you can say what you like about critical coverage of Israel/Palestine by the UK's media and political classes - you might think the Israelis don't get a fair kick at the ball, or that certain sections of the press are actively pro-Palestinian. Melanie thinks such public criticism is a verbal pogrom.
It's surely only a matter of sitting back and watching her work up through the gears here. If we're currently witnessing a verbal pogrom, then several oral democides and argumentative megadeaths are surely imminent. So I'm hereby placing this blog on Rhetorical Nuclear Holocaust Watch, a formulation which Melanie will inevitably spit out in her mad dash towards the Defcon 1 of dialogue.
(And while we're on overblown comparisons, let me just note that if Melanie's crack-smoking, wackadoodle opinions were puppies, they would divide their days between sitting in their own faeces and repetitively banging their heads on walls. If her opinions were cars, they would explode like oversized petrol bombs when you turned the key in the ignition; if they were made of chocolate, they would be made of 100% Stupid As Fuck cocoa beans).
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
"That Jordan... She's just a ruddy great pair of tits, eh? No arse on it, mind, but ye'd have a go at that coupon."
Thus does Martin Amis introduce us to his latest work. It bears the ominous title State of England, and surely threatens a joyless regurgitation of whatever shit he's been reading in The Sun.
He used to be good, you know. I've been hard on Mart in the past - no doubt he's ashamed to be so derided by Some Guy With a Website - but I always thought he had a little bit more class than my brother, at the pub, after seven pints of Guinness.
(Cheers for the heads up - BenSix)
Monday, October 26, 2009
Shorter left wingers - We must counter the BNP's threat of racist persecution by coming up with new and inventive publicity wheezes for breaking down doors, dragging away whole families in dawn raids and interning them or sending them back into warzones.
Top notch internet comedy from left and right recently with this Nick Griffin on Question Time nonsense. For a start, it's been an interesting insight into how Britain's Nazi party has been slyly exploiting some of the prevailing bullshit myths that seem to pass for logical argument in our national press. Additionally, I've been laughing long and hard at their obliviousness to their own political status.
Remember, the BNP are basically the prison bitches in the showers of British politics, forever gullibly bending over to pick up the slippery soap of electoral success. They're lanced from the left to terrify Labour's distrustful supporters into submission, and rammed from the right to make the Tories' belligerent, small-minded hatreds look comparatively reasonable. Meanwhile, the press plays the guard who's been bribed to ignore the sexually enraged bellowing and the gruesome, piggy squeals.
It's an arrangement which suits everyone except, perhaps, the voters who have to witness the whole sorry charade. Nonetheless, having had a run-in with one of their supporters recently, I thought it'd be worth typing up a few points in a post I can link to in future.
The BNP represent the "white working class".
Of all the national myths around the BNP, I think this is their favourite. Note the easy elision between "some working class white people" and "the white working class" and you've basically fragged their bullshit instantaneously - after all, every one of the main parties picks up more working class votes than they do, and frequently do so in elections that actually matter. Plus, you'd think that with the theoretical support of such a large demographic, they'd have done better than two representatives at the European Parliament, but hey ho.
And of course, there's the small matter that Griffin himself is a Cambridge graduate, and that their leaked membership list is not exactly bulging with coal miners and steel workers. It's one thing to be ticked off for posho, elitist contempt for the working man by a rough-handed, plain-spoken son of toil, and quite another to get the same crap from people who pull down twice your annual salary.
Still, it's a commonly-cited point that the BNP are some kind of workers' revolt against metropolitan elitism. Weak support for the notion exists in the fact that the last two big fucknut race-baiting movements in Britain - Enoch Powell's Merrie Band and the National Front - were also largely working class phenomena.
On the other hand, both the British Union of Fascists and the German Nazi Party were middle class/aristocratic phenomena which would back the thesis that basically, working class people can be plain evil-minded dumbasses too.
The fact that we've got a fifty-year history of British fascist arseholes - mysteriously disappearing while Margaret Thatcher addressed working class Concerns by tossing them out of work and sending in the riot police to break their heads when they got uppity - does quite strongly support the notion that, well, there are about a million fascist arseholes in Britain.
Not to mention the very obvious point that the idea that working class people are inherently racist idiots, just begging to be brainwashed with the most hateful and insane propaganda, is a thoroughly ridiculous insult to working class people themselves.
Every voter is a beautiful, precious snowflake.
All of this Me Humble Caveman, Me Represent Working Man stuff is swallowed uncritically by many left and right wing politicians and papers, who seem to believe that if we would just listen to those Very Real Concerns, we'd be able to swing the cretinous Nazi voter back to reality. This is a politically convenient fiction for right wingers, who basically share the BNP's fist-pounding rage at a similar series of modern, new-fangled bugbears, and is also an artifact of a number of sappy left wingers' desire to be all inclusive and open minded about nakedly fucking stupid ideas.
The idea that everyone is a precious snowflake with entirely valid opinions is, as far as I can tell, a hangover from certain strains of sixties hippiedom. That's why we wound up with all those fuckheads on stilts at those anti-war marches - everyone was too polite to tell them they looked like twats, and that they were on a bloody anti-war march.
Well, it's now bled into right wing discourse too, and we're all the poorer for it. Few would contend that we should consider the feelings of 9/11 Truthers or militant Islamists on the future of British democracy, but when it comes to the type of loony who thinks the nation's problems will be solved by emptying the country of black people and Asians, then Whoah! Everybody, put on your Serious Faces and prepare to show some hardcore Respect!
It's bollocks, of course. Truthers are Truthers, and Nazi morons are Nazi morons. As a nation, we should listen to their Concerns only so far as it gives us the opportunity to politely invite them to fuck off with great gales of public derision ringing in their ears.
The Concerns! The Very Real Concerns!
Let's be blunt - the Very Real Concern of BNP voters is that there are too many blacks and Asians in Britain. Since no party with a genuine chance of power can propose either a) repatriation or b) a crackdown on white people shagging their ethnic minority partners, without then being strafed, bombed and obliterated at the ballot box, there is no point whatsoever in trying to address BNP voters' Concerns.
And yes, this means that British Nazis have no chance of serious representation in Parliament. Welcome to the world British Commies, Yogic fliers, religious fundamentalists, hardline libertarians and any other variety of crank has inhabited for the last century, and boo fucking hoo for you. Myself, I want to live in a post-scarcity leisure Utopia where all the work is done by machines, but you don't hear me getting all blubbery about the sad lack of sci-fi Parliamentarians.
BNP voters aren't racist - they're just alienated.
Ha ha, yes, very good... And UKIP voters don't hate the EU, Green voters aren't environmentalists and SNP voters are English nationalists. If a political party is primarily known for their Nazi lunatic tendencies, what possible basis could we have for concluding that people who vote for them are racist? The very thought!
Nonetheless, let's assume it's true, and BNP voters are just making a point. They're showing their displeasure by voting for Nazis, often with the result that they get Nazi councillors. These are people willing to burn their own neighbourhoods down in a fit of pique; electoral toddlers, red-faced, squeaming and squeaming on the floor of the bus, and they deserve the same level of respect.
I'm a great believer in learning through experience - I say, let 'em watch while their new Nazi councillors find providing public services a little tougher than shoving shit through a Pakistani shopkeeper's letterbox or baseball-batting Asian teenagers.
If there's one party capable of making a bigger cock of governance than the mainstream parties, it's the BNP, and anyone stupid enough to vote for Nazi fuckwits deserves to be represented by Nazi fuckwits.
That applies to us all, voters - if we know what we want and tick a box for it, then we all deserve to get it good and hard.
Really, I could go on in this vein almost indefinitely, but I'll save it for now. My basic point is that this non-stop avalanche of obvious bullshit isn't going to stop until it ceases to suit absolutely everyone involved barring us. Sadly, I think the British electoral system will be able to absorb a lot more fascist bollocks and scaremongering about the same before anyone in a position to change the situation recognises how utterly poisonous this crap is and says so publicly.
Well, if nothing else, we've always got football, unhealthy foods and Modern Warfare 2 coming out at the end of next month...
Friday, October 23, 2009
I may say more on this later, but for now let us ask the obvious question - is Griffin talking about the old-style, ultraviolent lynch mobs, or the new-fangled, non-violent KKK type that he was telling us about on Thursday?
Lots of vitriolic, torn-faced blubbing today from left and right about how that ghastly old bounder Dimbleby played into Griffin's hands, and they're probably right - a quick tour of the blogs shows that more or less every blogger and journo I'd previously suspected of hackery or idiocy is giving it boo-hoo as an excuse to put the boot into their chosen bugbears. Why, it's a veritable concern-trolls' playground, with slides and swings and seesaws and everything.
My favourite so far is surely Iain Dale, who solemnly informs us that the BBC's performance was a travesty because "Five against one is never very edifying". You'd think Iain would avoid that particular phrase, given that his entire output is essentially a furious and deeply unedifying bout of Five Against One, but I digress.
When we get down to it though, if you are your idiot party's hotshot PR gunslinger and yet are reduced to defending your Ku Klux Klan mates with the glowing adjective "almost totally non-violent," five minutes into your first national television debate, then you've already shot your own balls off before you've even got your gun out of its holster.
As for the various political wheezes about the nasssty BBC, the awful Jack Ssstrawssess and the horrible liberalssess, I feel honour-bound to point out that there are only four simple questions that need ever be asked about anything that BNP ballbags have to say, and these are...
1) Is this bloke a Nazi?
2) Does this Nazi deserve to be whipped through the streets, tied to the stocks and kicked up the arse to death?
3) Are the various tools bleating about "multiculturalism" basically trying to advance their own fucknut political agendas by piggybacking on Nazi bullshit while using a hilariously transparent code for "all these awful blacks and asians"?
4) Do these various tools deserve to be whipped through the streets, tied to the stocks and kicked up the arse to death?
The answer to all of these is, of course, Yes, and this is surely the logical starting point for any subsequent debate.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Dear God, I missed this piece of waffle from the Hitch back in July of this year, stumbling across it today by accident.
Some context - Hitchens' article was penned back during the anti-government protests in Tehran, when every UK and US-based bullshit-artist on the blogosphericals was busy painting his ballbag green in solidarity and waving it at a webcam in the mistaken belief that a glorious blossoming of Persian liberal democracy was imminent.
A reasonable summary of Hitchens' piece - A supposedly conservative group has condemned the Iranian government and I once spoke to an Iranian cleric who referred to the invasion of Iraq as a "liberation", facts which I will now use as yet another excuse for me to pretend that I have not, in fact, been absolutely wildly fucking wrong on pretty much every important issue in the region beyond "religious extremism is like, a bummer, man" for the past eight years.
Now, I can see Hitchens' points from two angles here. Firstly, he is undoubtedly far more well-versed in the political and theological traditions of the region and, were he to walk into the room this very second, would surely school me brutally with the fruits of his knowledge and experience. Therefore, his views on the subject deserve a certain level of respect and it is entirely conceivable that the ideological undercurrents of Iranian society are favourable to moves towards greater democratic openness.
On the other hand, bollocks on stilts. I fully expect to open the paper in 2019 to find Hitchens' name under the headline The Sucking-Off Of Sanjar - Did The Toppling Of Saddam Lead to The Esfahan Teenager's Behind-The-Bikeshed Blowjob?
He could lard the article up with anecdotes about Iranian teens responding to his questions by waving loose fists in jerk-off motions at him, plus some snazzy graphics depicting the pre-invasion Iranian blowjoblessness rate, then wrap the whole thing up with some half-assed maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon all Iranian teenagers will experience the gift of freedom's sookie platitude.
Some might think this harsh, but really - Hitchens went to Iran and all he found was a cleric who was delighted the Americans had fragged Saddam Hussein, and this is evidence of... Well, not a democratic revolution, that's for sure. Thanks to that whole Iran-Iraq War that killed about a million Iranians, they were wearing party hats and tooting little kazoos the day Saddam dangled. In terms of predictable outcomes, pro-invasion Iranian clerics are about as likely as stabbed Glaswegians on Old Firm derby day or champagne-and-caviar-canape sick on the streets of Edinburgh in August.
Bonus Hitchens, for anyone who's disgusted by my crude sexual imagery - his most recent article is called Engaging With Iran Is Like Having Sex With Someone Who Hates You.
In a similar vein, reading Hitchens these days is like having your neck nuzzled by an amorous manatee while it slimes a clammy flipper up your shirt and assures you that it will totally respect you in the morning.
Update!: It's only just occurred to me how truly weird the having sex with someone who hates you analogy is here. Any psychologists who read me - and I wouldn't blame you for being here, since you must have a field day - feel free to interpret for the sane.
It'll be a hard battle and the Israelis will fight to the last minute, but with a little luck we should be able to destroy them before they've even realised what's happening. We'll have to be ruthless and crush any resistance instantly and brutally, and we may even need to target certain key individuals who need to be taken out of play completely, but if we keep our composure we should be able to decimate the opposition and claim victory.
I'd play McGeady in behind MacDonald myself, but the manager is the unpredictable type and so prone to odd decisions verging on tactical genius that I wouldn't be surprised if he subbed on a terrapin at half-time and we still won 4-1 - we'll just have to see. Should be a decent game either way... On to glory, Bhoys!
Update! Curses, foiled once more, this time by a player named Lala. Being defeated by inferior opposition is never fun, but to be undone by a Tellytubby just adds insult to injury.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
And so to prison for the latest shower of slapstick suicide bombers, who at least managed to avoid setting themselves on fire and getting kicked in the balls by a baggage handler this time.
No doubt that'll be a great comfort to them as they spend the next several years staring at walls, mopping floors and discovering that You know, the Koran's a right good read and proper holy and that, but maybe Razzle isn't so bad after all.
Like so many before them, this particular gaggle of twats played right to the rulebook by recording suicide videos and getting caught red-handed, before demonstrating their hardcore ideological commitment to their cause by pleading not guilty and trying to wriggle out of the charges. Not clear what religious edict it is that says Thou shalt throw thyself upon the mercy of the court like a gaggle of wailing, weepy wusses but no doubt some hook-handed loon will be able to think up a good excuse.
That's not what's caught my eye today though. I don't mean to be nasty, but all I'm saying is, take a look at this joker...
Now, I don't like to draw conclusions about people based upon their appearance, but I'm willing to make an exception for convicts and the only fair summary is surely Johnny No-Stars, Clean-up on aisle eight! Clean-up on aisle eight, Johnny No-Stars!
That was Assad Sarwar, and there's nothing wrong with either looking like or being a moron. Problem is, I'm seeing a pattern developing here - check out the boat race on Benny Hill bomber Muktar Said Ibrahim*...
Again, decent people don't judge a book by its cover, but if Ibrahim's face was a book, it'd be Pooh Goes To Plopland and the reader would require crayons. But that's not all - below, we have shoe-bombing laughing stock Richard Reid...
...I could go on and on.
I've been thinking this through, and I've come to the the amazing realisation that Al-Qaeda are working on the Father Ted model - one schemer, one blubbery drunk and one ignoramus. Obviously, the schemer does the plotting, the drunk builds the bombs that don't go off and the idiot is in charge of fucking everything up beyond belief so that the lot of them spend the next two decades fantasising about virgins in a prison cell.
I can just see scheming one explaining to the idiot how these painted harlots are small, but the ones at Tiger Tiger are far away, while the drunk sits in the corner shouting Arse! Vorgins! Cretinous plans for mass morder! at the television.
That would leave obliterated Pakistan-dweller Rashid Rauf as some kind of beardy Bishop Brennan, forever sweeping into the room roaring and demanding to know why everybody is watching Hollyoaks instead of martyring themselves. Come on, schemer Ted will say, I know we're supposed to love death more than life, but while Rauf shoots them a blazing, disapproving eye**.
Anybody got a number for MI5? I think I'm onto something here...
*The Cue Yakkety-Sax 21/7 bombers, as a Viz reader pointed out, should really have struck on the twenty-fourth instead. The 24/7 bombers sound like they're ready to strike fear and terror into the hearts of the populace at their convenience.
**Literally A blazing eye singular, if it's Abu Hamza. It's an old gag, but the authorities really wasted their time prosecuting the hook-handed cyclops when they could've just made a crocodile swallow a clock and had it chase that lad all over Finsbury Park.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
This week's seen the Mail jerking off over grovelling apologies from German Chancellor Angela Merkel (born 1954); semi-hysterical bedshitting over the Putin/Medvedev whitewash double act (Russian politicians in "self-serving lies" shocker) and wild alarm at Nixon-wingnut Pat Buchanan's revisionist history.
All of this is basically the background noise of British existence, with constant teary-eyed panegyric on the glorious dead and endless TV repeats of The Nazis - History's Most Evil Bastards. The iron rule of international sport is that the British will turn in a flash from reasonable people into snickering seven year olds, and commentators can never resist getting in on the act with snotty comments about the French football team's poor defending and the Germans' fierce aerial bombardment etc.
I mention all this because I'm currently reading Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker, which I picked up specifically because it caused paroxysms of spluttering outrage from some the country's biggest bellends. It's a series of sketches and extracts from journals and newspapers of the time, all aimed at making this central point - World War 2 was one long, grinding atrocity in which all belligerent parties bent much of their power to exterminating civilians.
The individual points that have so enraged the patriots are, in short, that 1) Churchill was a war-mad nut who popped boners for saturation bombing of civilians; that 2) the allies were pretty much indifferent to the plight of the Jews, and that 3) avoiding total war might've caused less deaths than the total war that resulted, my take on these being 1) True 2) True and 3) Maybes aye, maybes naw, and unprovable anyway.
I think this is a representative example of how people react to the suggestion that the allies weren't shy about rubbing out thousands of innocents and that WWII wasn't the bestest and most moral war EVAR.*
Now, I've spent much of my life reading rah-rah histories of the period and watching nostalgic hokum like The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan. I have a damn good grasp of the era and I can be trusted to consider the opinions of pacifists and draw my own conclusions; I don't need to be protected from dangerous, national-myth challenging opinions by a gaggle of angry idiots.
And it's the challenging of national myths, not whether Lord Halifax said (x) to (y) in 1938, that is the problem for some people here. Well-reasoned consideration of our history often leads to uncomfortable conclusions, which may have knock-on effects on present and future policy, and that just Can't Be Allowed To Happen.
Would anyone like an example? No doubt it would be possible for us to spend eight years in Afghanistan blowing up civilians and psychos alike, losing two hundred soldiers while mouthing stock phrases like bad things happen in wars and we will not give in to totalitarianism that threatens our way of life without all the pom-pom waving WWII nostalgia.
One major difference between the two conflicts, of course, is that the Prime Minister didn't need to take the podium in 1947 to explain why we were fighting in the first place. Gordon Brown did it yesterday.
*If you want to test how deeply embedded this stuff is in our society, try saying Nuking Hiroshima was a war crime or Allied bombing killed more French civilians than the Blitz killed Londoners to friends or family members. Oh, and be sure to stand well back.
Friday, September 04, 2009
I'm long since past the point where these relentless assaults on our national character annoy me, so I'll just challenge any BBC journalist to visit a random bar in, say, Copenhagen, and track down five sixteen year olds who will even stand their round, let alone down three bottles of Smirnoff Ice in a minute. Best of luck, Beeboids!
And yet here in Scotland, the boozers teem with teens who will not only put their hands in their pockets on cue, but will match you nip and pint 'til closing time, then clatter you round the puss with a bottle of cider and fight the police like the Tasmanian Devil all the way to the back of the van.
Worst drinkers? Beat that, Belgium!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Hannan's schtick - basically, trotting out the same sorry cavalcade of fork-tongued lies about the NHS that have recently been terrifying FOX's audience of cowardly, snake-handling pinheads - has bloggers of all stripes wringing their hands over the illiberal measures that should greet Hannan upon his return.
UK blogs being what they are, the measures proposed fail to meet the level of draconian viciousness that the sleekit streak of piss so richly merits. Naturally, Hannan deserves to be rammed by vans like Stephen King just for being a right-wing Tory, and that's before we even get to his gooey-eyed on-screen love affair with Glenn Beck.
Beck's a revelation for foreigners unacquainted with the fierce pride that the lesser North American wingnut takes in his own emboldened stupidity. Squatting on FOX's gilded primetime lilypad like some kind of malevolent toad, Glenn Beck makes a grand living by feeding America's heavily-armed survivalists overwrought Hitler analogies. By agreeing to take part in such a hilarious parade of public idiocy, his guests might as well don T-shirts printed with the slogan Will Suck a Cock For a Dollar.
And sure enough, where there's a dollar, there's a Dan. Witnessing the blossoming romance between the blushing political ingenue and the thick-jowled, bug-eyed mentalist is an excruciating experience, like watching Stan Laurel being groomed for crazed penetration by a sweating Oliver Hardy. You could honestly cut the sexual tension with a knife - I was seized with mortal dread, certain that at any second Beck would fling away his desk like the Incredible Hulk and throw himself roaring on top of the pencil-necked politician...
But I digress. Some lefties are, predictably, outraged by Hannan's open treachery and are calling for him to be censured upon his return. Obviously, he deserves to be spot-welded to a heavy radiator and hurled into the Thames, but left wingers have once again got the wrong end of the stick.
Liberals, socialists, progressives of every stripe should be clamouring for the perky little geek to be goaded onto every primetime television show going to defend his remarks. Glue a giant royal blue Tory rosette to his forehead and force him to explain his baleful hatred for the NHS - zoom that camera right in on his pallid, perspiring face as he gabbles feeble justifications like he's just been caught whacking off to twink porn on the office computer.
The Tories will lose a percentage point for every minute the man spends speaking.
See, the public may have finally seen through the tissue-thin veneer of fake humanity that New Labour draped over their mean-as-hell authoritarian obsessions, but they're not on the verge of pledging allegience to Satan.
Five minutes in a room with this buttoned-down gimp would have the electorate streaming to the polls to vote for Esther Rantzen, or the Monster Raving Loonies, or a piss-filled balloon with a face painted on it - hell, maybe even the Liberal Democrats. Anything to keep ideological fruitcakes like Hannan out of power.
Slap that sucker on The One Show and he'll crack like a quail egg. Word is bond, peeps.
Monday, August 10, 2009
1) Yes, it's hilariously hypocritical for any lefty who even hinted at the F-word to complain about right-wingers calling Obama a Nazi after eight years of OMFG Bushitler! and they should all have their own crap pushed down their throats every time they open their whining mouths.
2) Boiling this down to brass tacks, one president is trying to set up a system of basic health care for the worst-off, while the other orchestrated a highly expert and sophisticated propaganda campaign to justify an insane, disastrous middle eastern bloodbath.
3) Neither treating cancer nor shooting foreigners is inherently fascist, but it should be obvious that Hitler is not notorious for being history's most evil mass-medicator.
That is all.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Naturally, Melanie isn't keen on the idea. Can't say I blame the woman for her objections to euthanasia myself, since I imagine she has a far more real and personal phobia of being strapped down and injected with powerful sedatives than most people do.*
This being the Mail's website rather than the Spectator's, Melanie has to tone it down a little - more a hint and a nudge about how the populace are being manipulated into making bad decisions, rather than the usual accusatory explosions. Undiluted, primal Mel would be speaking in tongues and seeing black helicopters packed with socialist doctors descending with murderous intent upon sleepy English villages.
At the Mail, it seems, you can go a little Forrest Gump, but you never go full-retard. You go full-retard, you go home empty-handed and anyway, you'd be stepping on the commenters' toes.
What's odd is that it seems to be an issue that flips switches for entirely sane and reasonable people. Splintered Sunrise has misgivings because, as best I can tell, it finds favour with people like Polly Toynbee, while Jamie K.'s objections seem to be based on Health-Naziesque disturbances he feels in The Force.
If euthanasia inspires that reaction in them, I shudder to think what the hacks will make of it. I can almost taste yet another dumbass wedge issue here, ripe for exploitation by nutsacks and freaks. Within three seconds of any clarification on assisted suicide being issued, every reactionary headbanger in the land is going to be hallucinating hospital wards filled with British Mengeles. A Technorati search for "socialist euthanasia" should return a representative example.
Well, I guess one man's mercy is another man's murder, and there's no need to rehash the well-thumbed arguments for and against. All I'm going to say is that I can barely deal with a nasty hangover; that if I - John Frum forbid - wound up with some heinous terminal illness, I wouldn't be able to see how a shitload of apologetic coppers throwing the book at Mrs. Rodent for helping me onto a plane would be a sane or sensible use of anyone's time.
On this issue, I've got far more headspace for the opinions of people like Margo MacDonald, Debbie Purdy and Terry Pratchett. After all, what's an interesting theoretical question for us is a rather more pressing issue for them.
*Well, not that I actually favour this kind of treatment for Melanie. After all, drugs are expensive, while cricket bats are very cheap.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
- Johnnie Walker whisky has been produced in Kilmarnock since 1820, and the factory employs seven hundred people in the town. It's consistently produced a healthy profit. This used to be come under the general umbrella term "industry".
- That's not good enough for Diageo though, who intend to close the factory and build luxury flats on the site, or "maximise their earning potential". They'll employ four hundred more people in Fife, but I'll wager they'll demand twice the graft for two thirds of the pay. This is called "increasing productivity".
- Diageo have agreed to hold off on this until they've looked at a government-backed plan to save the site. Basically, if the plan involves the taxpayer paying Diageo several million pounds, they'll be willing to reconsider. This is called "extortion", and it mirrors similar phenomena in America where firms regularly demand payoffs to stop them shipping jobs to China. The jobs are going to China sooner or later, but a megabucks payoff ensures it's later, i.e. after the politicians who agree the deal have left office.
I can't think of a better metaphor for the last thirty years of UK fuckyounomic policy than Diageo sinking their vampire fangs into the town of Kilmarnock, sucking every penny out of the place and then spitting thick wads of hard cash into the bank accounts of people who haven't lifted a finger to earn it. This is what I like to call "a massive transfer of wealth from low-income families to the very, very wealthy", or "cutting-edge business practice".
Now, I can deal with this kind of vicious economic gangsterism, since it's been the norm my entire life. What I can't deal with is the kind of obfuscatory nu-speak bullshit above.
See, if every Prime Minister since Thatcher had been elected on a platform of promises to put a massive percentage of the populace in direct competition for employment with Chinese slaves, I'd respect their democratic right to do so.
I could get with the program if Tom Friedman's leg-humping, panegyric tomes were titled You Just Paid Me To Lie To Your Face! and You're Fucked Because My Wife Needs Another Learjet.
And I could just about cope if the Centre for British Industry restricted itself to calling the people of Kilmarnock and Glasgow peasants, then ordering them to shut their insolent mouths, get on their knees and beg their mighty overlords for leniency. That would be infinitely preferable to their habit of issuing press releases warning threatened workers to keep quiet and take their imminent redundancy like men, lest they scare off the ever-skittish collossi of international investment.
Hell, I came into this world as clueless as I'm going to leave it, and I hold out no hope for the likes of Diageo's execs being whipped through the streets. I'd settle for a little more honesty and just a little less self-serving gibberish designed to disguise vice as virtue.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Baddest Dog on Telly Turns 52
So overused a term is "genius" that, in this era of literary cliche, it should cause the reader to flinch at the inevitability of "troubled" popping up next to it, as if it had sprung from a very, very reliable toaster, probably German-made.
Yet it's near impossible to conjure a less hackneyed phrase that so neatly summarises the life and work of children's entertainer Sweep, although many have tried...
"Sweep (is) ...an artistic giant, blessed with an almost effortless, magisterial brilliance, but tragically cursed with a Herculean appetite for bones, drugs and pussy," was co-star Matthew Corbett's attempt.
"A televisual collossus with one paw upon the Olympian peak of light-entertainment nirvana and another plunged in the fetid sewers of his own personal Hades," was Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson's verdict. Writing in her 1998 work Sweep - The Lost Years, 1984-89, pseudonymous writer "A. Panda" was blunter, referring to the canine thespian as a "...goddamned sexual Tyrannosaurus".
Such glowing tributes offer little more than a glimpse into Sweep's long career in slapstick, sexual gymnastics and stolen sausages. They say little of his symbiotic connection with co-star Sooty; a relationship of intense, almost erotic friendship spotted with periodic fistfights and stained by several attempted mutilations.
Little could the public suspect that, only minutes before filming the now-legendary Sweep forgets where he buried his bone sketch - a heart-warming scene ending with the actor buried upside down with only his iconic red wellingtons waggling in the air - the vodka-crazed canine had flown in about his fellow performer with a knife between his teeth and murder in his heart.
And who can explain why even that infamous 1969 incident, in which Sweep was forced to publicly explain why his car was found in a deep river near his family retreat with a very beautiful and very dead stuffed elephant in the back seat, failed to tarnish his reputation?
It says much for the high esteem in which he is held by the public that, after long decades of drama, decadence and dishonour, Sweep is entrusted with the education and entertainment of the nation's children. As did their fathers and their grandfathers, so will a fresh generation grow up to the trill of Sweep's signature squeak.
No, even as he enters his fifty second year at the top of the children's TV tree, it seems that Sweep shall remain an enigma... A complex and vulnerable artist separated from his public by the twin ironies that have bedevilled his career - the fact that only Matthew can understand him, and that he is a glove-puppet.
Sir, I salute you.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
It may be difficult to tell now, but this was a comedy blog when it started - a fine idea thwarted by the fact that while entertaining, witty writing is hard work, complaining about things is easy... Appropriately, a no-brainer.
Which would pretty well summarise my thoughts on blogging in general, after a few years' experience. In terms of public acclaim, it seems to rank somewhere between pigeon-fancying and stealing women's underwear for sexual gratification; the kind of activity that logic dictates should be pursued solely by lurking, sexless freaks and pallid shut-ins with abnormal genitalia.
The form has its upside, allowing snarky, semi-literate smartarses like myself to put buckets on our heads and make like we're miniature Hunter Thompsons until the wife gets home and kicks off mental about the unwashed dishes. At its best, it's a knockabout club for sharp people with a talent for argument. At it's worst, it's a Comment Is Free pissfight about Israel-Palestine - about as edifying as a flock of half-spazzed, one-legged pigeons pecking each other to death over a pile of sick.
This is why stories along the lines of Newspapers in terminal decline tend to fill me with horror. The idea that blogs might become one of the world's primary news sources was popular when I started my own, and the prospect fills me with the same mind-numbing, gibbering dread now as it did then.
Make no mistake - the day that blogs become the primary news source for a plurality of the populace will be a cataclysm at the species level, like Spanish Flu or the Black Death.
If I believed what I read just on British blogs, I'd genuinely believe that the country was simultaneously powerless before a ravening horde of scimitar-wielding foreign invaders and seconds away from marching all minorities into death camps. I'd believe that democracy itself - an electorate voting in favour of public services and the necessary taxation to cover them - is a psychotic tyranny akin to Nazi Germany. I'd never set foot over my door for fear that I'd be instantly raped in the face by a gang of feral crackheads.
Some readers might point to intelligent, well-written blogs run by reasonable individuals, but frankly, pish and tush. British blogs run at roughly 5% sober budget analysis to 95% face-raping crackheads.
Never mind blogs as a primary news source, I'm struggling to think of a handful of bloggers who would merit even the fabled fifteen minutes of fame. That's particularly ironic, since the vast majority of them certainly deserve chemical castration, and that's being charitable.
Iain Dale's running his annual Blog Awards wankathon as we speak - I defy any reader to deny that the world would be a richer, more rewarding and more just place if each of the top ten writers on his final list had been ripped to pieces by enraged mako sharks three seconds after they logged in to their first Blogger accounts.
Paulie Hippie was asking the other day what lefty blogging can achieve, notably to no response. That's because the incoming Cameron administration could have the lot of us flown into the middle of the North Sea in helicopters and flung out at thirty thousand feet, and only our pets would notice. In truth, they too would remain oblivious but for the empty food bowls.
No, good old British blogs are a menace to humanity itself - a playground of vicious, barely-restrained hatred and emboldened, snickering ignorance. You might argue that it's incredibly unlikely that any blog could rival the clout of a daily newspaper, but that's why we should adopt Dick Cheney's one percent doctrine on unlikely threats, and volunteer en masse to be shot into the heart of the sun on rocket ships packed with nuclear warheads. I'd direct operations from Earth, just in case anyone got cold feet at the last minute.
It would be just and fitting, since anything fired into the sun returns to Earth as radiation eight minutes later, casting far more light in a split second than our interminable, rambling diatribes ever did.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Is there nothing these charlatans won't try to pin on the Prime Minister?
And on the BBC, of all places! I'll remember this the next time they try to tell us the Beeb has a left-wing bias, the fiends.
FR: Sure I know he's ill. I've got most of their albums.
ePal: Well, yes, but did you hear that he's really, actually ill? Like, really very ill indeed.
FR: Yes, I know how ill he is. I told you, I like the Beastie Boys.
ePal: No dude. They've found cancer in one of his saliva glands.
FR: (Long Pause) Did they Check His Head?
ePal: You and I can't be friends any more.
(Cheers - Seth C.)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
By Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias
Gentlemen, I really must object to your behaviour in the strongest possible terms.
Some might say that it is impolite to rouse a man from his slumber at such an ungodly hour; others, that enticing him and his family into a chilly basement on false pretences is simple bad manners.
While the Empress consort may have had cause of late to chide the Emperor for his stuffy and old fashioned ways, one feels that one is quite within one's rights to state that your execution of one's servants and one's personal doctor with revolvers is, frankly, downright rude.
I can see that you are somewhat excited. I appreciate that you are acting upon the orders of your superiors, and that any decision on your part to forgo the immediate perforation of the royal party with bullets and bayonets may cause you significant inconvenience.
Nonetheless, we are all gentlemen here. As men of reason, surely we can resolve our differences without anyone's daughters getting stabbed or shot.
Oh - ah, I see. Well, the majority of them, in that case.
Perhaps I can appeal to your better natures. As Emperor of All the Russias, one has on occasion been presented with difficult choices, and one has always attempted to follow the urgings of one's conscience towards leniency and mercy, especially as regards the ever-thorny issue of firing large quantities of hot lead into the offspring of one's political enemies. Why, I recall addressing this very matter with Guchkov of the Oktobrists of the Third Duma -
By God... My good man, I can assure you that there is no need for - well, really.
Why, bless me - it appears that the Grand Duchess's pendant - an especially sturdy and grandiose accoutrement, although I might say somewhat gaudy - has somehow contrived to deflect the murderous projectile, thus saving -
You gentlemen really are a most objectionably impulsive rabble, if you don't mind my saying so...
Sunday, July 19, 2009
FlyingRodent Applauds As Martin Amis Shocks The Literary World Once More With His Highly Controversial "Amin Was a Bastard" Polemic
Idi Amin Was a Right Bastard, by Martin Amis, 306pp, Jonathan Cape, £19.99
"...And though a thousand years may pass like the somnambulant meanderings of the Katonga river, never again shall the suncinerated plain of Afric' suffer the horrorism of another bastard like that proper nasty fucker, Idi Amin".
So ends the introduction to Idi Amin Was a Right Bastard, the latest assault on a little-known and seldom criticised historical figure by the pugnacious Martin Amis. As we might expect from so much of his recent output - Stalin Was a Right Bastard; Saddam Hussein Was a Right Bastard; Mohammed Atta Was a Right Bastard; The Gulag Was a Right Bastard and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Right Bastard - Amis takes aim at an obscure yet much deserving target, then eviscerates him before the scandalised eye of the bien-pensant liberal literati.
Stylistically, Bastard Vol. V differs little from its predecessors, in that Amis has clearly read other writers' work on his subject and then regurgitated it in an emetic torrent of florid 19th century prose, splattered heavily with forced neologisms and masturbatory torture-porn. Indeed, some passages are redolent of a hobnailed, Gestapo Wordsworth shoving a perfumed thesaurus up a puppy's arse then kicking it yelping up and down a burning stairwell, with great effect and mortifying impact.
Yet to focus solely upon the obvious relish with which Amis approaches his material is to do great violence to the delicacy and precision of his attack on the Ugandan dictator - "A great big fat ugly genossassin and an arsehole to boot" - in this work. I fear that Amis's bravery in tackling so beloved a figure as Idi Amin will gain him few friends and likely cost him many more.
Witness the countless thousands who, provoked to incandescent, spluttering rage by Bastard Vols. I-IV, marched in the streets with placards declaring Saddam Hussein Was Just Misunderstood and Once You Get Past The Murders, Stalin Was Merely a Little Ill-Tempered.
Once again Amis has dragged the well-flogged corpse of a bloodsoaked past into the light of day and now sits poking it with a stick and mumbling like a piss-streaked tramp on the Special Brew. Amin Was a Right Bastard is evidence, if evidence were needed, that Amis remains one of the UK's most vibrant, relevant and serious authors.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
People told me I was crazy; that Iraq and Afghanistan are nothing like Vietnam. Vietnam is mostly tropical jungle and rice paddies, they'd say. Iraq and Afhanistan are more your kind of arid desert/mountain kind of deal. This time, bombing and invading countries whose people and politics we don't understand without the slightest clue what victory is going look like will totally work, you'll see
Well I've been proven right at last, because Trisha Goddard - scum-baiting purveyor of Aldi-flavoured scandal to housewives, students and the unemployed - has just said the V-word on the BBC's flagship current affairs debate show, Question Time. And I don't mean Vagina.
No word as yet on whether she favours counterinsurgency or mere overwatch, but I think it's clear from her facial expression that Trisha is acutely aware of the inherent dangers of search-and-destroy missions in canopy jungle. You can tell that hard-bitten pop-cultural gossip merchant knows the face of war from the glint in her eye and the steel in her jaw.
Next week, Fearne Cotton inveighs against the risks of using unsustainable public debt as a reflationary gambit while George Osbourne MP swings a steam iron from his pendulous clackersack and trumpets Colonel Bogey into a bucket.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Is she a villain? It rather depends, doesn't it?
Thus does passive-aggressive society girl Megan McArdle construct an analogy for the current financial disaster, reaching the happy conclusion that, since everyone is to blame for the latest bubble and the most recent crash, no-one is to blame.*
This is in response to accusations that some of Wall Street's most prestigious firms may have deliberately manipulated the crisis to their own advantage and everyone else's great detriment. As noted previously, this implies that the notion of the planet's leading financial whizzkids actually knowing what they are doing is a hilarious, ridiculous conspiracy theory.
Coming as it does on the day that Goldman Sachs announced a $3.44bn net profit for April to June, it's tempting to observe that perhaps they do in fact understand this economic system based upon self-interest stuff rather well. This means that average staff windfall for Goldman employees is $384,000 for the first half of the year, in the middle of the worst recession of our lifetimes.
Still, this Financial-Crisis-As-Horrific-Car-Accident excuse should conjure a rich bounty of automotive imagery, from the financial genius under the car selling the brake fluid for short-term gain, to a metaphorical raft of Clinton-era deregulations that allowed manufacturers to build motors without airbags or seatbelts.
The analogy that should be seared onto our brains for the rest of our lives, however, is this - that seconds before the smash, a multi-billion dollar industry of politicians, pundits, bankers, experts and trustafarian bloggers were crammed into the back seat, commanding the driver to stamp on the accelerator while joyfully screaming, Go right! Go right!
Or I could be wrong - perhaps those self-interest advocates like McArdle, who walked away from the crash without so much as a career-threatening scratch, are merely trying to help those still being cut out of their cars. I'll leave you with this thought, from the same article...
Once you have tens of thousands . . . or tens of millions . . . of people in the dock, you don't have villains. You have a system that has gone badly wrong.
Reader, I put it to you that blaming the system has not aided the hundreds of thousands of drug addicts in America's prisons, but then, it might all be so very different if those same drug addicts were drafting the laws.
*On this "We are all to blame because we were all greedy and stupid" theme - I owe the bank around £600 for a loan I took to buy a new TV when my old one bust; have a £200 overdraft, and I still have four grand to pay off on my student loans after three years of making repayments. Can I be counted out, or is that evidence of the very vices that broke the banks?
Friday, July 10, 2009
In Which The Author Drinks Seven Beers Then Makes Strategic Proposals For Concluding The War In Afghanistan
Britain could have stationed aircraft carriers offshore in order to suport operations in Jugoslavia...
Britain could've stationed Mecha-Godzilla offshore in order to support operations in Yugoslavia, to roughly the same effect, i.e. none whatsoever.
So went the chat at the cheerful Hey, Let's Stage a Complete Renewal Of Progressive Politics Right Here In The Church Hall! website Liberal Conspiracy this week, on the subject of multi-million pound military hardware and its utility in modern warfare.
It's an urgent issue, given the casualties British forces are taking in Afghanistan right now. Newspaper articles I've seen today have called for more helicopters and better armour, especially troop transports.
Well, British squaddies have been getting killed in Afghanistan for seven years now without any noticeable progress or the government taking any serious flak about it, so I think it might be time to make a suggestion of my own.
It's a question of What Could Be Done In Theory versus What Can Actually Be Done In Reality. Why spend a fortune on armoured vehicles when we could use the Earth's natural resources?
From what I can tell, this has been the standard order of battle for British forces in Afghanistan for at least five years, i.e. being airdropped onto a Helmand plain or the side of a mountain to provide the Taliban with something to shoot at.
Well, the problem we have here looks to me like the famous - and probably apocryphal - story of how the Americans tried to solve the problem of writing in space. Remember, pens can only write because gravity pulls ink downwards, and there's no gravity in a vacuum. The urban myth I heard says that the Americans spent a million dollars on a pen that would force ink downwards artificially - the Russians, on the other hand, were alleged to have said Fuck it, we'll use pencils.
We have the same story here. There's a form of armour that would offer British soldiers 100% bullet and blast-proof cover that military strategists have overlooked. I call it "The Curvature Of The Earth," and the secret to protecting our boys is to make sure that there's at least a thousand miles of rock between British soldiers and the enemy. We could do this by staging a tactical withdrawal to, say, Aldershot - very popular with squaddies, in my experience.
By way of demonstration...
Readers might think this is inappropriate and flippant stuff to be posting in a time of war, but I would argue that my idea a) will work and b) will not cost hundreds of millions of pounds.
On that basis, I commend it to the MoD.
Note: This proposal is conditional on several factors, the most important being that I'll go back to the drawing board and start from scratch if the Powers That Be have, at long last, come up with some kind of detailed proposal or set of commands for achieving victory that doesn't involve dropping squaddies into the middle of nowhere and letting the Taliban take potshots at them. I'm no expert, but I believe military strategists call it a "plan".
Note2: The Soviet-Afghan war produced the Russian version of Full Metal Jacket - it's a very dodgy film on several levels, in my opinion, but it provides a primer for taking on potentially-unwinnable conflicts. Let's not talk about The Beast Of War.
Note3: Anybody else notice how the word Vietnam stopped cropping up in the press since President Obama got elected?
Thursday, July 09, 2009
by Bill Fuffkass, Ordinary Hard-Working Blog Commenter
There was a time when the nightly news used to frighten and intimidate me. Every day, I'd sit down in my favourite chair to catch up with domestic and world affairs, only to be presented with an incomprehensible babble of impenetrable jargon, rampant criminality and bloodcurdling atrocity.
None of it made sense - wars, famine, death, plague... It felt like the world was a terrifying vortex of unaccountable power, random chance and purposeless violence. It's only been since I started being as cuntish as possible about absolutely everything that I've realised how simple politics really is.
Take poverty, for instance. It's a hellishly complex issue affected by international and local economics, education, social conditions... any number of factors, in fact, enough to fill a lifetime's painstaking study. Your average person, confronted by an online discussion of the issue, might think hard before pronouncing their opinion on the matter.
If you're a smug, self-satisfied arsehole like me, however, it's a no-brainer - poverty is the inevitable result of benefit dependency created by the socialist nanny state and the feckless indolence of today's bone idle youth. After all, I work hard, and I'm not poor. See?
Or try crime. Some joker at Leftopia.typepad.com was asking what, if any, effect does alcohol and drug dependency have on rates of criminal recidivism? Why, absolutely none whatsoever! There'd be no crime at all if we brought back flogging, castration and hanging, and I bloody well said so.
Of course, they said they had evidence that indicated low correlation between the death penalty and crime rates in first world countries. Well, they would say that - it's touchy-feely do-gooding liberals like them that have turned this once-great country into a Gestapo toilet filled to the brim with filth and horror with their so-called "evidence" and their PC "human rights" and their government-funded Playstations for paedophiles.
Oh, they wanted me to read and respond to their points, of course. Fuck you, I'm right! How's that for a response, dickheads?
And don't get me started on immigration. Trust me, if you were an incurious, self-righteous bigoted cunt like me, you'd find that my kind of inflammatory, racist propaganda practically writes itself!
The police force? Deskbound idiots more concerned with fiddling the murder stats than stopping the blacks from stabbing your kids. Doctors? Blundering incompetents on the make. Social workers? PC stormtroopers, more like! Judges, criminal-coddling scum! Teachers, a bunch of timid woofters too scared to get a real job! "Experts"? Fuck 'em!
Everything's so much simpler when you stop worrying about right-on, modern follies like "reason" or "proportion" and just let the contents of your paranoid id run rampage in a reeking spew of ignorant bile.
Yes, I have to say that being as cuntish as possible about absolutely everything has made me the man I am today, and I'm not afraid to leave an anonymous comment on your web page telling you so.
You make me sick.