Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inappropriate Merchandise

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Instapundit classic thong.

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

Video Games - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

(Warning: Total game spoilers ahead)

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

Insert Revolution/Televisation Gag Here

You've got to love the British public's pearl-clutching outrage over suspicions of manipulation in the blockbuster ITV moneyspinner The X Factor - three thousand complaints thus far, and counting.

"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

Britain Blogs Its Branez - Going Postal Edition

Plenty of questions may soon be answered with the news that Fort Hood shooter Nadal Malik Hasan has regained consciousness. Did his dog tell him to do it, or does Allah just ring him up personally and chant Kill, Kill, Kill into his mobile phone? Is the Major as nutty as a fruitcake or a cold-blooded, calculating killer?

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

Bain: Rangers Supporters Unrelated To Rangers Supporter-Related Violence

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

No Point Crying Over Genocided Milk

Having just ticked off a noted author for bashing easy targets, I hereby accept the Blogging Hypocrisy Award for Tuesday by turning to the musings of the Spectator's Melanie Phillips.

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).