Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Well, that's kind of how I feel today, except it's a bit more like I'd been invited for a drink by a friend who turns out to be Squeaky Fromme, and the guest of honour at the party is Charles Manson.
A quick explanation - months ago, I promised to write a post about Hillary Clinton, proclaiming her America's Nixon-in-Waiting.
Of course, when I said that, I meant mean-spirited, pusillanimous delusions of persecution, and not perfectly happy to threaten nuclear genocide for political gain.
"Hillary Clinton today threatened to “obliterate” Iran if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel, her most aggressive rhetoric yet against Tehran as she seeks to cast doubts on whether Barack Obama would be a strong commander-in-chief."
I don't know, maybe this was just one of those occasions when leaving the room and counting to ten would've helped...
Anyway, never mind whether the Iranians a) actually have nukes or whether b) they're deranged enough to actually attack the Israelis.
In what universe is aggressive the correct adjective to describe a presidential candidate's threat to exterminate a nation of seventy million people?
A few other, more apt descriptors spring to mind, and suffice to say they're a tad stronger than belligerent or combative.
Noting quickly that this follows on from McCain's threats to bomb Iran and Obama's to bomb Pakistan, I think I'm seeing a pattern forming here.
It's the presidential version of small-man syndrome, isn't it?
Now, I'd be a lot happier if Hillary set her sights low... It'd be far saner for her to wait until the next debate, then to throw herself at the camera, snarling and vowing to skullfuck the Guantanamo detainees to death with a collossal stars 'n' stripes strap-on, live on national television.
Or perhaps John McCain could throw darts at kiddy fiddlers on the Tonight Show, before saluting and loudly humming Hail To The Chief while maniacally whacking himself in the knackers with a snooker ball in a sock.
Now, that would be impressive.
Because, you know, when I look to the next leader of the free world, I'd prefer it if they looked a little bit less like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... And if they absolutely have to, they could at least put on a bit of a show while they're doing it.
(By the way, I'd originally intended to do an amusing post about how American politics closely resembles The Crystal Maze tonight, but even I can't work out how to wedge mushroom clouds into the metaphor.)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Staff Walkout "Unlikely" To Lead To Petrol Rationing, Radioactive Zombies
All Tabloids, 22nd April 2008
Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney today played down fears of widespread petrol rationing, economic woes and marauding gangs of irradiated, flesh-eating undead ghouls from the very pits of Hell itself.
"I have discussed this with the management and the unions, and I am confident that this pension dispute can be resolved amicably." He told journalists. "I would urge all Scots to refrain from panicking and fill up your cars as normal, without putting unnecessary strain on reserves by buying excess fuel."
Asked whether he had drawn up contingency plans for an invasion of rabid, shuffling zombies, the Minister responded that any predictions of blood-curdling attacks by the unquiet dead were "ridiculous", "absurd" and had "absolutely no basis in fact".
"I can categorically assure the Scottish people that there are no such things as radioactive zombies," Mr. Swinney said, "And any suggestion to the contrary is purest fantasy."
Pages 2-3: Will ravenous zombies eat your child's face while you look on horror-struck through the ropes of your entrails?
Page 4: 10% off canned food and shotguns
Pages 6-7: Time to fill up your car?
Pages 9-10: How YOU can survive the upcoming zombie holocaust, AND lose weight!
Back page: McGeady claims double trophy haul
The case was heard on 27th March 2007 at the Hibernian Court, Easter Road, Edinburgh.
The Plaintiff, Musselburgh Hibs Supporters Club, alleged that the Defendants, Ayrshire Bhoys Supporters Club, had committed the crime of vagrancy, to whit -
1) That on an unspecified date, within unspecified Glasgow slums, Ayrshire Bhoys
a) Did rake in an unspecified bucket for something to eat and;
b) That within said bucket, they did find a dead rat and;
c) That they did think said rat a treat and;
d) That the above occurred within unspecified Glasgow slums.
The Defendants, Ayrshire Bhoys, denied the charge and made a counterclaim, to whit
1) That Musselburgh Hibs were guilty of being
b) Poofs and
They further contend
2) That Musselburgh Hibs were guilty of being
b) Poofs and
and two further charges to the same effect.
There then followed a side claim by Ayrshire Bhoys against an unidentified Hibernian player, in which the Defendants claimed that
1) He (the unidentified Hibernian player) had been booked for
a) Being ugly;
2) He (the unidentified Hibernian player) had been booked for
a) Being ugly;
And two further charges to the same effect.
The court then adjourned for pies and bovril, and will reconvene fifteen minutes later, at which point the court will hear further claims and counterclaims of wanton soapdodging.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
"A barrier to people accepting libertarianism is the notion that we'd let people starve in the streets."
This is, of course, absolute nonsense. I laugh at the mere suggestion that a libertarian government would let a load of starving people lie in the streets, bringing down house prices and annoying real people, when there are perfectly serviceable prisons about.
After all, every libertarian I've ever conversed with has been emphatic in their belief in the rule of law. It's encouraging to note that, on the day when the people are informed that there will be no more benefits or NHS and immediately descend on the houses of the libertarians in an orgy of looting and violence, the government of the day will consider the philosophical implications before it orders in the riot squads.
Or perhaps I'm wrong and, when the first baying mob eviscerates the first local businessman, the libertarians will call for even more liberty.
Good Reaganauts being what they are, there's also time for nostalgic stroll down memory lane with the well-worn notion that charitable donations will instantly fill the benefits gap. Let-Them-Tug-Their-Forelocks-And-Say-Please, Sir - I've always loved that one. I'd love to see it argued in a job centre... Although not at close enough quarters to be struck by the flying blood and teeth, of course.
Finally, we close with the assertion that the certain path to public starvation is Teh Commies, which is fair enough when we consider Russia and China, for instance. Still, it would probably have surprised large numbers of dead Irish and Indians to learn that they were the victims of rampant socialism... And when I read about those food riots this week, I don't recall the protesters demanding that a hammer be taken, Casino-style, to the dead hand of government.
Now, I may be exposing my honking ignorance, but bear with me here... This whole libertarianism thing, didn't we try that in the late nineteenth century? And, correct me if I'm wrong, didn't we have millions in the poorhouse and a majority of the public leading miserable lives?
If it didn't work in an era when the most lucrative occupation was invading other people's countries and ripping off everything that wasn't nailed down, is there a reason to believe it'll work today? Because if there is, I can't see it.
It's when I read this kind of thing that I suspect that Libertarianism = Hand's off my Lexus, filthy starving hippies.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Thus spake Emily Eavis, daughter of Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael, of the public's lukewarm reception of rapper Jay-Z's top billing at the event.
Now, it's entirely possible she's onto something here. These days, racist idiots have realised that slack-jawed bigotry is frowned upon by reasonable people, and tend to cloak their prejudices. Modern racism, in the main, comes not burning crosses but in outbursts of whining, ever-so-victimised self-pity.
As you'll have guessed, I suspect that the public's discontent springs from more practical considerations. The last hip-hop gig I was at - Jurassic Five circa 2002, showing exactly how down with the kids I am these days - was attended almost exclusively by a "white, middle class audience". Nor can I fail to note the ironic, inconvenient fact that white, middle class kids probably make up half the global audience for hip-hop.
Which is rather the point - if we were to be honest about modern hip-hop, the adjectives that spring to mind are not edgy, street or keepin' it real... More like po-faced, risible bitch-slappin', Cristal-swillin' clown parade, or Laughably desperate and entirely voluntary consumption of skipfuls of corporate bullshit in the pursuit of cold, hard cash.
Or maybe Ludicrous charicature of the American capitalist dream, something like that.
So perhaps there's more at work here than the racism of middle England. Perhaps the public's animus towards Jay-Z's Glasto appearance is the result of two obvious facts...
1) Jay-Z himself sucks like an enraged Electrolux on PCP and
2) Jay-Z's music is so astonishingly bad, it could suck a cannonball through a hosepipe in three seconds flat.
Take your pick.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama came under fire on Friday for saying small-town Pennsylvania residents were "bitter" and "cling to guns or religion," in comments his rivals said showed an elitist view of the middle class."
Damn, that old devil elitism... Now he's under fire from rough-hewn sons and daughters of toil in the American press and political establishment.
He has my sympathy, because I've been called elitist more times than I care to mention by leftists, rightists, Mail-reading cranks, Guardian-reading loons, wingnuts, moonbats... Pretty much everyone, in fact, and one day I sincerely hope to be castigated for elitism by someone who actually earns less than I do.
See, the purple prose I spout is the result a lifetime of burying my head in books geek-style, rather than a childhood of brie-scoffing privilege... And all that book-learning makes me suspicious of wealthy, well-educated political insiders who don rhetorical shell-suits to shout Me simple caveman, Me is angry about elitism!
Point is, these soulless oxygen-thieves are clubbing Obama for speaking the truth - lots of people who would've instinctively voted Democratic thirty years ago now base their votes on a candidate's love of guns or his commitment to cleaning up the country for the glorious return of the baby Jesus. That's not because of public stupidity - although God knows there's always been a surplus of that, everywhere on Earth - it's because the Democrats have long since stopped addressing their concerns and cheerfully thrown any defence of their economic interests down the pan for corporate contributions. Horrible as it is to contemplate it, the mendacious Jesus-pimps and the NRA have actually been addressing issues voters care about, while the Democrats were busy signing NAFTA.
That's also why British politics feels like an eternal scribbling in the margin exercise, with regular intervals of cretinous moral panic. The argument over the economy and the welfare state seems to be over, leaving the politicians to issue ever more grandiose and ineffective pronouncements on 1) how nasty they'll be to foreigners, 2) who's going to save the planet from eco-death and 3) scum-baiting promises to exterminate crime.
I don't think you have to be a conspiracy theorist or a class warrior to work out why any attempt to discuss that situation earns you the elitist tag and a stiff arse-booting from 20,000 exquisitely-pedicured feet.
Elitism? Bollocks, more like. I hope to God that Obama gives this the response it deserves, i.e. the finger, followed by a polite invitation to fuck off. Who knows, if it works, perhaps politicians in the UK might take note and stop inventing new ways to annoy the public with healthy eating and anti-smoking campaigns, and possibly even start examining their own timid centrism.
n.b. Hillary Clinton's response to this = Karl Rove. All of her supporters who are currently whining about sexism- and I'm looking at you, fellow non-American voter Elton John - should perhaps consider the possibility that she's perceived as a quasi-Republican android with a huge, throbbing boner for power because, you know, she is one.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I'm hugely in favour myself. I've a few mates who are rugger types and I think we miss out by not playing our neighbours regularly. I couldn't give a monkey's for rugby, but they do look like they enjoy it, don't they?
Given the generally friendly relations between the Celtic countries, this sounds like it'll be great fun all round. The atmosphere around the games will be much more like the Six Nations than regular international football, and it's a great excuse for a weekend holiday.
I'm inclined to dismiss the general complaint that the teams won't take it that seriously, because I know that the fans won't take it very seriously either - win, lose or draw, it'll be viewed as an opportunity to get away from it all for a good drink and a bit of a laugh with mates.
And now the bad part - fixture congestion has knocked the competition back to 2011. Worse, it looks like they're intent on playing the ties in February and May, so we can kiss goodbye to players from the big English and Scottish clubs. While it'd be a good opportunity to give young players a go in high-profile games, it doesn't help put bums on seats.
If the tournament goes ahead, is there a reason why they can't do it over two weeks after the season has finished? Surely the tournament would attract far more attention if it dominated the sport headlines in a traditionally quiet part of the year, and everybody likes summer football.
In favour, against or don't care? Is the rugby analogy offensive to football fans? Will it work with the fragmented-fixture set-up? Will they even do it, or is it all just bullshit?
Those who care, fire away...
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
To be honest, it makes a pleasant change for Grauniad columns to focus on the actual, real flaws of some of its readership, i.e. their maniacal compulsion to boss the public about and their misguided belief that I personally care deeply about the effect of plastic bags on the environment and the harm my smoking does to their children's health etc. It's a definite improvement on the regular articles denouncing them in fiery tones for being in league with a goosestepping troupe of clockwork Hitlers.
Now, my grasp on economics is as firm as a eel's grip on a buttery muffin, but even I know that there must be a significant part of the readership that gets off on being scolded for their snottiness and closet fascism by wide-eyed sex-kittens and torn-faced ex-Trotskyites. Why that should be, I have no idea.
After all, I've never read a column in the Torygraph telling their readers to shove their frustrated pastoral fantasies up their wrinkly old hoops... Nor have I read any articles in the Express revealing that 90% of their readership secretly yearn to cheer on legions of black-clad stormtroopers as they beat half the planet's population senseless with cudgels.
If anyone can give an example of a business successfully advertising its products with the tagline Buy This, You Snivelling Pack of Pointless Cretins, I'd be grateful.
As for Ruth Fowler's other points about the sheer level of vitriol on display at Comment Is Free, I think my theory is blunter, yet perhaps more accurate...
Comment Is Free attracts morons, twats, bigots, snobs, wankers and tools to its comment threads because it a) deals with contentious issues and it's b) on the fucking internet.
There. Can I have a column now?
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Kent, England - Richard Lambert, head of the Confederation of British Industry, today condemned the International Olympic Committee for awarding the Games to China, a nation notorious for human rights abuses.
"The CBI is disgusted by this decision to award the Olympics to the Chinese," he said. "China's punitive taxation rates and overly-restrictive health and safety legislation will discourage British businesses from cashing in on lucrative investment opportunities, such as the exciting tiger-penis farming industry or its burgeoning demand for handcuffs, stun-batons, tear gas and tasers."
Secretary Hu "Baffled" By Protests
Beijing, China - Speaking from his throne of human skulls, Chinese Communist Party Chairman Hu Jintao expressed incomprehension at recent anti-Chinese protests and comments by political figures.
"I don't understand," he said. "Hillary Clinton gets most of her campaign contributions from corporations that own factories at Suzhou Industrial Park, amongst others. They get their products at a fraction of the cost, while using China as an excuse to crush their own domestic unions, demand regressive labour laws from bought-and-paid for Congressmen, and bilk vast tax breaks from states with massive unemployment by threatening to cut jobs... And here she is, calling on President Bush to boycott the Olympics?"
"Honestly... I literally have people bent over backwards to please her, and this is the thanks I get."
Hu shook his head in exasperation, pausing to order some minions to force another 20,000 industrial slaves into a death-trap prison/factory to apply radioactive paint to children's toys. "This arrangement suits everybody," Hu said. "Doesn't she realise how tiring it is driving the global economy 24/7? I've a good mind to ask for that trillion dollars back..."
Protester Totally On Television
London, England - In a completely, like, mindblowing development, sources report that local protester Samantha Parkinson was totally on television yesterday, which is, you know, just like... Wow. 27 year-old Parkinson was briefly glimpsed if you pause the screen and look in the top-left corner during this well mental sequence, in which London police officers confiscated banners, T-shirts and flags from free-speech protesters.
Reports also suggest that you can see the back of Parkinson's Killers shirt in an online photo depicting police arresting several demonstrators for public order offences, which is actually kind of a bummer if you think about it.
Unconfirmed speculation suggests that a man seen being shoved to the floor and handcuffed by police may have been Charlie, you know, that one with the nose-ring that Ashley got off with at Tabitha's party, which would be just like, hey, this is crazy, right?
Dead Iraqis "Silent" on Chinese Human Rights Abuses
Baghdad, Iraq - Sources report that several hundred thousand dead Iraqis remained unmoved by the plight of the Tibetan people yesterday. Despite China's brutal fifty-year occupation, levels of public awareness amongst Iraq's minority deceased population remains at a surprisingly low 0%, prompting British human rights activists to wonder whether a change in tactics might help foster public sympathy on the issue.
"The problem appears to be spreading to other countries," one activist said. "Initial studies suggest that dead Afghans are, if anything, even less interested in the fate of the Tibetan people."
"Hello, Is There Anybody There?" - Burma
Rangoon, Burma - Confusion reigned in Rangoon yesterday as the Burmese people began to ask where all that international attention had gone. "Uh, hello? Is anybody there?" asked the Burmese population, whose struggle for basic human rights and freedom of speech was briefly yet ecstatically popular in Britain just a few months ago. "Uh, we're still here," they said, collectively.
Local Blogger Stable After Frenzied Attack On Self
Edinburgh, Scotland - A local blogger was rushed to hospital today after being overcome by a life-threatening attack of cognitive dissonance. The unnamed internet loudmouth was overwhelmed by the seizure, and began bashing his head against his desk shouting "Arseholes!" at the top of his voice.
"Bastards," he sobbed as he was carried to the waiting ambulance. No further details are forthcoming at present.
p.13 - Athletes Shuffle Feet, Change Subject
- Dalai Lama Asks International Community For Aid, Yaks
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Interestingly, though, I've noticed that people I speak to internalise these kinds of talking points. I have to keep tabs on the daily papers at work, and I'm always stunned by how often I meet people who quote more or less directly from that day's scare-story. Immigrants push up wages, take our jobs and push up the price of houses, that kind of thing.
Well, since the tabloids seem to have sussed the all-too-human flaw of credulously adopting the last thing we read until another fact comes along to shove it out, I've done a bit of research into the issue of immigration myself.
Hopefully, these fascinating facts will quickly penetrate the public consciousness....
- Polish plumbers display 40% more bum-cleavage than good old British tradesmen. Additionally, it's an ancient Polish tradition to slyly half-inch your lighter when you're not looking.
- Romanians are capable of smuggling as many as four gypsies into the country by shoving them up their arses. One in ten gypsies carries a rare and highly infectious disease that causes sufferers to urinate through their ears.
- Pakistanis exude an air of wistful melancholy, like a handsome middle-aged woman recalling the passionate dalliances of her youth with a series of well-endowed suitors. This is because they're all listening to the cricket on Radio Islamabad, which is beamed directly into their skulls via subcutaneous aerials embedded in their spines.
- Bulgarians don't take global warming seriously, and fly to work in jumbo jets while spraying deodorants at the sun and laughing like fucked-up hyenas.
- Albanians are rubbish at Tetris - most of them can't even get past forty lines on Level Three, for Christ's sake.
- Almost 90% of Bosnians prefer The Terminator to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, despite the latter film's vastly improved special effects and action sequences.
- The Turks only pretend to like kebabs so they can flog them to gullible Brits. In private, they eat Weetabix.
- Latvia is a leading cause of male pattern-baldness.
There, let's see that in six-inch letters on the front of the Daily Mail. Much more agreeable.
n.b. About the scuddy-women pictures - I'm upping the half-naked women quotient because I'm starting to worry that readers might suspect that I'm some kind of secret cock-farmer.
Nothing could be further from the truth, which is just as well, since homosexuality impairs one's ability to drive and operate machinery.