Saturday, 24 October 2009

We're so good at Television!

So I see that the episode of Question Time with Nick Griffin got approximately a gazillion more viewers than average. With the highest viewing figures in its history, I decided with inevitability to watch it on youtube. Yes, that's right. Whenever I've been near a TV, I've always flicked channels to get as far away from Dimbleby's patronising face as possible. Yet I felt that I'd have to look it up.

And what a heap of utter crap it was. I mean really, even my the standards of Question Time it was rubbish. Or maybe it became brilliant after twenty minutes. It seemed that everyone there was trying to clarify that Nick Griffin was a racist. Couldn't they just chain up a bear and say they were sure they saw it making a mess in the woods? It would make for a livelier and more interesting debate. And all that nonsense about Churchill. Why do Brits have this creepy personality cult? Churchill was an idiot who first rose to prominence by messing up the Asia Minor campaign in WWI then by his idiotic diplomacy during WWII, his bombing of German cities and his handing over Central/ Eastern Europe to Stalin.

Don't ask me if his brain or conscience would stop him voting BNP. I haven't the foggiest. But doesn't it say something about intellectual life in Britain that guessing which party a cigar smoking dope who died half a century ago would have voted for? (Sadly I can't find Thomsen's rant in Das Boot on Youtube; not a fan of the Kriegsmarine but it cracks me up compared to how the Brits adore him).

To think I could have spent those twenty minutes watching Are You Being Served on Youtube or something equally valuable (oh, for a time when Britain was British: NOT as in 'ethnically British', but as in 'not an American aircraft carrier' British, And isn't that the weirdest irony about the BNP? They are greatly concerned that only 'indigenous' people should be allowed to watch American TV, wear American clothes, eat American food, listen to American music, speak in American slang and talk about American politics in Britain).

Speaking of which I watched a really disturbing but intelligent British film on youtube called 'Blood on Satan's Claw'. Pretty grim stuff overall, but definitely well made, atmospheric and intelligently written. Given its mystical view of the semi-pagan British countryside, I'd imagine it has a few BNP fans. Though I suspect Linda Hayden gave it a broader appeal than Anglo-Saxon nostalgia could provide.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Watching Me, Watching You

Took these photos. Seems that whenever you turn a corner in Blighty these days there's guaranteed to be a camera and a several technicolour signs. No impact on violent crime/ arrest rates.

In modern Britain, it is regarded as a sign of mental illness to have a hobby, so needless to say, numerous blazer clad types and traffic wardens give funny looks to the nutter who snaps Masonic symbols and CCTV cameras with his own camera. One thing I've discovered is that they loose interest in their self-appointed civic duty to monitor conformity levels if you sing doo wop songs. Just murmur 'white port'n' lemon juice, whoo what it do to you' and they quickly start minding their own business.

Whether they've decided I'm harmless or that they risk GBH by monitoring my behaviour, I don't know.

Anyway, in some cases the metaphors are better than I could have imagined. I especially like the one of the gargoyle under the CCTV (never noticed the gargoyle before; I suppose as a horrific protrusion it can't compete with the concrete and polymer 'makeover' the highstreet had)). I liked the one as well of the camera and the model, symbolising how our society is so narcissistic and obsessed with beauty that we are oblivious to the harsh reality. There is something tragicomic about the boarded up little shack with the CCTV sign outside it. It seems a perfect symbol of Britain: the tinpot spirit on a dilapidated shack.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Horror, The Horror

If one thing really sickens me about modern Brit politics it’s the ongoing farrago about whether flabby, oily creep Nick Griffin should appear on Question Time.

For those who don’t know, Question Time is a mindnumbing show the purpose of which seems to be to discourage anyone from being vaguely interested in politics. It consists of numerous egocentric middle Englander bigmouths who generally agree on most things (‘humanitarian’ intervention, utilitarian justification for surveillance state, the inherent efficiency of privatisation, embarrassed dislike of poor people, US hegemony, 'right to choose', secularism) who squabble over lexical quibbles, lack of disclaimers, deliberate misinterpretation, lack of praise for their personality cult leader and other idiotic non-arguments Eg ‘Vladimir Putin and George Bush are both monsters’ ‘I strongly disapprove of your implying moral equivalence between Putin and Bush’ (Boris Johnson’s words of wisdom).

It is awful, awful, awful television. The highlight will be Boris Johnson saying ‘cripes’ or Christopher Hitchens’ purple head getting engorged as he yells at an elderly lady for not providing enough disclaimers about opposing fatwas.

If you assembled the most charmless, arrogant, opinionated, oily, patronising, self-righteous, over-praised, under-achieving pillocks you’ve ever met and got them to have a debate, then it would probably provide a sunny picture of humanity compared to Question Time.

Which leads us to Mr Griffin. Now, maybe Peter Hain is justified to think that Nick Griffin will look good on Question Time. That is not a compliment. It’s like saying that being hanged with chicken wire looks pretty good compared to being scraped to death by oyster shells. Yes, that is Nick at the top of the page: he looks like one of Dr Moreau's worst attempts and is incredibly sleazy to boot.

But there is a chance that oily gimp Griffin will not come across as quite so hysterically self-righteous as his co-panelists. Especially as I can pretty much guarantee that a Tory will appear to call him ‘left wing’ for supporting renationalisation of the Railways. Given that John Major’s privatisation led to rail companies receiving four times as much in annual subsidies as was spent running British Rail (whilst the ticket prices are through the roof) it is sad that only a nutter like Griffin supports renationalisation, whilst the hysterical narcissists who pass for ‘left wing’ these days are entirely in favour of the privatisation process. So maybe by appearing on Any Questions, Nick might find a few more saddos to support him purely because of how appalling his fellow panelists will be. If nothing else he seems to be the great white hope, as it were, for public transport.

However, I think in a sense, hyping up the BNP ‘threat’ is even darker. Griffin’s clowns are utterly unlikely to become a significant electoral force. Yet the idea that they will get tens of millions of votes overnight is more a sign of how the establishment suspects that the British working classes are seething racists who would support Nazis if they only knew that they existed. Poor people in Britain are thoroughly dehumanised as income inequality grows. Implying that they are far-right extremists who are too thick to know it yet is more a way of easing the upper middle-class conscience than based on any empirical research.

Needless to say, Peter Hain’s squawking is creepy in its own right. He belongs to a party that has launched preemptive war on three countries, which has supported the ecocide in Serbia, the endless bombing in Afghanistan and has not questioned the use of torture and white phosphorus in Iraq.

Yet he will not hesitate to leap onto his high horse whenever he decides that a ‘bad party’ is out there. And he will make a legal case against it.

PS: Saw this disturbing article which also speaks volumes about freedom of speech in modern Britain.

Yes, Jan Moir's article was disgusting and stupid. Yet do we really need the rozzers to tell Daily Mail writers what is acceptable or not? Seems like the best way to create a society where Daily Mail journalists tell the rozzers what's acceptable or not.

What about those people who praise the 'humanitarian intervention' in Serbia whilst ignoring the vast numbers of rapes, murders and lootings inflicted upon the Serbs by the KLA goons?

Update: Nick Cohen proves my points far better than I could. For those who don't know, Cohen is a snide, astoundingly ugly, oily creep who is wrong about absolutely everything: and needless to say, he is often invited to Question Time.

He thinks that Michael Gove (the snide, astoundingly ugly, emotionally damaged oily creep who thinks that the Fallujah 'shake'n'bake operation against civilians was a moral success) would be ideal to debate an extremist. Jack Straw who helped turn Britain into a police state would also be a valid 'mainstream' opponent. Nick provides the following gem:
'All extremisms, far left, far right and religious fundamentalists, are the same in essence. And today, although the BNP strains at the leash to attack British Muslims, prominent neo-Nazis who grace its rallies will join British Trotskyists in appearing on Press TV, the Iranian propaganda station, and the BNP's foreign affairs spokesman denounces "the warmongers in London and Washington" with all the fervour of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.'

Nick proves he cannot write a coherent sentence or have a coherent thought (which hasn't stopped him being nominated for an Orwell Award) whilst implying that extremists are those who are opposed to preemptive strikes on other countries rather than those who support Britain's role as militant imperialist lapdog. I do not think that the BNP are getting smarter, more ethical or more popular, its just that the mainstream is plunging to meet them.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

'Putinite Terror'

Will try to find out more, but this sounds like nonsense.

A historian who was researching Stalinism has been arrested in Russia. Says Luke Harding:

'It comes amid Kremlin attempts to rehabilitate Stalin and to clamp down on independent historical research – with political repression during the Soviet era and victims of the gulag system now taboo topics'

Really? Any facts to back that up? Or is this what you mean? Or this?

He then quotes everyone's favourite Russophobe, Orlando figes:

'Today the historian and writer Orlando Figes described Suprun's arrest as unprecedented, and part of a "Putinite campaign against freedom of historical research and expression".'

So it is unprecedented 'Putinite' strategy to arrest historians during Medvedev's term? How very odd.

Don't get me wrong, whilst I try to defend Russia by highlighting the nonsense printed about it, I would not pretend it is an open society. Yet this really sounds like a load of rubbish to me.

This Cannot Happen.

I don't know what's the worst news: that David Peace's 'Red Riding Quartet' is going to be Americanised, or that it is going to be Americanised by Ridley Scott and Steven Zaillian.

Firstly, the Americanisation. Okay, I haven't seen the Brit version, and don't know if I could. Even if a mate remembers to lend it to me, it is still very violent and I don't know if even Paddy Considine could keep me watching if it is as nasty as the book. The book I read was pretty grim stuff alright, but it was British. As another mate said when we were watching 'Get Carter', 'what I love about this film is that everything isn't so bloody American'. This was the seventies when Britain was a country in its own right, not (to quote Gore Vidal's superb epithet) 'an American aircraft carrier'.

Then there's our friends Ridley and Steve who collaborated to make the worst horror film I've ever seen: 'Hannibal'. Yes, I've seen 'Legend of the Werwolf', 'Vampire Circus', 'The Unnamable Returns', 'thatonewiththeevilcarrotbyrogercormanthenameofwhichiforget', 'parasite!', 'The Isle of Dr Moreau' and many other stinkers.

But these were all masterpieces compared to 'Hannibal' (and incidentally, the British ones jolly well were British even if they were laughably set in Transylvania and Cockerney Paris).

Having said that, 'Hannibal' did not remind me much of its astoundingly over-rated predecessor 'Silence of the Lambs'. It was more like a remake of 'Carry on, Don't Lose Your Head' by some psychopath who thought that the original was a superb, brooding, intelligent revenge drama.

It even has its 'Camembert' character (a paraplegic paedo called Mason Verger: acted by Garry Oldman, presumably because Kenneth Williams was unavailable) and a 'Bidet' character (Paul Krendler, by Ray Liotta, who makes a complete fool of himself by actually putting an effort into his performance: Frankie Howerd would have been much better, especially in the scene where he eats his own brain).

Anyway, the story is that Mason is a nutter who fed his face to some puppies that he was busy starving to death. He then broke his neck after being hypnotised by Hannibal Lector. A thoroughly nasty piece of work is Mason, and he has revenge fantasies about Hannibal. His 'revenge' includes sitting above a pit full of man-eating pigs on a wheelchair beside an attendant who would tip him in if given half a chance whilst putting Hannibal Lector into a complex cage and putting the cage onto a crane operated by some very stupid people and then very slowly lowering the cage into an unguarded pig-pen...

With all the usual disclaimers about being a sandal-clad leftie who finds The Guardian too right-wing, I'd personally have settled for chopping his rattlers off with a pair of garden shears. Maybe that means I am a greater sicko then Mason. Or maybe that simply wouldn't result in a ludicrous set-piece which gives Hannibal plenty opportunities to escape. You decide.

Anyway, the film was a disgusting mess. 'Silence of the Lambs' was vastly over-rated but it worked. Lector was a well-written character who was a sicko, humanised through his odd delicacy with Clarice, who was superbly acted by Jodie Foster. His witticisms and the role that he plays in helping to catch the serial killer work because we never lose track of how nasty he is.

'Hannibal' doesn't do that: there is little doubt that he is the hero. Whilst his one-liners work as chilling asides in 'SOTL', in 'Hannibal', he comes across as the poor man's Sid James. Furthermore, he only mutilates paedos, smokers, puppy-molesters and misogynists. A fairly politically correct cannibal.

In fact, speaking of political correctness and horror, it occurs to me that James Herbert's magnum opus, 'The Rats' has still not made it to the silver screen. This is a fascinating insight into the genesis of political correctness as whilst ethnic minorities are somewhat over-represented among the victims, the rats also take out quite a few bigots to even the tally and to conveniently nullify any accusations of racism. The horror fiction law in the 70s was that if you exhibit a fraction of schadenfreude when describing an immigrant family vanishing down the rats' gullets, make the next victim a racist who wets his pants when rats eat his kneecaps. If only mainstream politics was so simple. Maybe this would be more fruitful for Hollywood?

Especially as the novel, 'Hannibal', was truly dismal. But Scott n Steve make a real bum of the scenes that actually could have worked. Not the dreary romance scenes, but the ones with the pigs. I live next door to some pigs and they are really scary at times: they make horrific noise, have huge mouths and tiny eyes and are really, really, really greedy.

Yet they also look a bit ridiculous. To make a horror film about them, you'd be best shooting them in the dark: catching a flash of tusks, a bristly back, a patch of foaming drool a gimlet eye. Focus on the sounds rather than the sights.

But nooo: Ridley shows us that he should stick not only to man-eaters that don't speak but to maneaters from outer space. He shows huge CGI porkers running to and fro. They wouldn't even be scary if someone we liked was going to be fed to them. However, the film-makers would, I'm sure, respond 'Weren't you in anxiety when Hannibal, the only gentleman in the film who does such a great job of getting rid of the scum of the earth and that man who was mean to the puppies, was almost fed to pigs'?

It is a hypothetical question (especially as no-one actually asked it) but it does demonstrate the basic level of the film. 'Hannibal' is also full of the typical Hollywood bigotry against Christians, the disabled, fat people and classical music. Being an attractive, cultured cannibal is better than being a sweaty, bearded opera enthusiast who smokes in enclosed areas.

Now to come full circle, these are not disparate points, but different sides of the same point. If they do remake the 'Red Riding' films, they will be like this. From what I read of David Peace, he doesn't do black and white. Yet black and white is no longer an ethical distinction as a class distinction. If Peter Sutcliffe was a charmer with a good education he would probably appear as the hero to bring the Yorkshire Constabulary out of their corruption.

Given America's historical record, I would not be surprised if Peter Sutcliffe is the hero.

And this is literal, factual history that Hollywood messes up. What about the atmospheric history? The North of England in the seventies and eighties had a very specific political culture, as the industrial revolution fell to its knees. Yet whether by coincidence, it was also a vibrant area, especially in cultural terms. It combined virility with stagnation. Is there any chance that this atmosphere will be provided for Johny Yank who treats the working classes with profound embarrassment, fear and dislike? About zilch chance I should think.

So, I know I probably sound a bit of an eejit complaining that Americans are going to remake British TV films I haven't actually seen, but I do know that it will be a very, very bad idea.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

As the World Falls Down

I'm afraid the bastion of the left has fallen if their Russian coverage is anything to go by. Following from previous post, I found this comedy gem. I'll sleep snugly in bed knowing that Julian Borger's 'Global Security Blog' is online, and could you imagine a smugger customer?

You can read it yourselves, but this is a stunning insight concerning Obama's pragmatism*:
'It is a matter of strategy rather than belief. Whether that strategy works any better than confrontation in democracy's name, is more a matter of debate.'

Yes, that is a matter of debate. After all, Bush's plan of confrontation set such a high standard in those paradises of Afghanistan and Iraq. We'll have to see if Obama can live up to this. I for one fear he will always be overshadowed by his predecessor's towering achievements.

*Which is largely based on an article in a Russian paper which they don't link to and which sounds a load of bullshit anyway.

It Must Be True...

From the Graun:

'According to today's Kommersant newspaper, the White House will no longer issue public criticisms of Russia's democratic failings.'

Well, I'm pretty cynical, but if Kommersant say it, it must be true.

'The reported plan is likely to dismay both international rights groups and Russia's opposition. Barack Obama's predecessors, Bill Clinton and George Bush, regularly criticised the Kremlin over its war in Chechnya and the rollback of democracy under the former president Vladimir Putin.'

Russia's Opposition? Is that Kasparov the Magnificent's travelling freak circus? And 'rollback of democracy'? Does that mean carrying out popular reforms and being re-elected by about 70% of the population? And not bombing the parliament and presiding over an era when half as many journalists were murdered?

'The Bush administration frequently complained about rights abuses in Russia, a source of massive irritation to the Kremlin.'

Good to see that they've got psychics at work. But I got the distinct impression that what the 'massive irritation' was more stunned amazement that Dubya would have the nerve to criticise anyone's human rights record. Given that he opened torture chambers throughout Iraq and bombed civilians with white phosphorus, it may seem a bit rich that he decided that all was not well in the Russian Federation. However this irony was lost on Britain's leading hrmhrm 'left wing' paper:

'Today's apparent climbdown on human rights suggests that Obama has pragmatically retreated from the aggressive democracy promotion of the Bush era'

'Aggressive democracy' is right. Getting American soldiers to sic Alsatians on naked Iraqis to persuade them to vote for parties that the Americans like may indeed be described as such. But others might just say that the use of white phosphorus and torture in Iraq made the USA and Britain hated and despised throughout the world and any criticism of Putin hypocritical warbling.

Still, I do think it is an interesting demonstration of how Britain lives in a disturbingly totalitarian society. Yes, the 'Graun' publishes articles about what a silly billy GWB was. But the editorial line is actually not much different from the 'conservative' papers in believing that Anglophone countries have an innate ethical superiority. The strange paradox is that GWB was actually a fairly aggressive liberal, not the fundamentalist cowboy he was often portrayed as. If Obama really is a pragmatic leader, then it will make Britain's neo-liberal hegemony deeply uncomfortable.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Look Behind You!

There is a saying that something is 'mad enough to work'. I keep thinking of this whenever our solidly neo-liberal media/political establishment get on their high horses whenever the BNP (Bedwetting Narcoleptic Pillocks as I think of them) get five or six votes somewhere. I don't know if the BNP is actually getting more votes. I do know that cock-eyed self-styled-ubermensch Nick Griffin is as likely to become Prime Minister as I am to become Mr Universe.

However, the political establishment is very concerned that Radio one let a couple of bedwetting narcoleptic pillocks get their fifteen minutes of fame:

It provoked this response from Jeremy Hunt:

"The point of interviewing the BNP is to make sure that they are held to account for their totally noxious views. It would appear that did not happen here and that is a matter of great concern,"

Yes, a matter of great concern. Because the Brits are too thick not to realise that these are bad people and they are racist? After all the Brits are thick enough to not care about the Labour/ Tory attacks on civil liberties and destroying the economy. But let's focus on the important things: two BNP clowns being given airtime.

Frankly, I'd make a better Nazi than those guys, and I'm a sandal wearing Guardian reader. There are probably hundreds of overweight 'ethnically British' Brits limping and staggering through Blighty in 'Cole' tee-shirts. Even from a completely amoral perspective he was not the best target.

Meanwhile, presumably this is not of great concern:

Seems Gordy is aiming for a Yeltsin award. All three political parties are unamimously supporting his measures to flog Britain's state owned assets. Funny how this came when everyone was horrified that the BNP had a couple of minutes on national radio. Certainly, Gordon Clown was living up to his nickname in doing it at the worst possible economic time, though it was a 'good time' in the sense that the press were mouthing off about the BNP.

It seems to me that the purpose of BNP coverage is two-fold 1) Whenever the centre parties mess up, they can be a useful diversion and 2) To show that neo-liberals really, really are not nasty totalitarian imperialists.

The thing that makes me squeamish here is that the neo-liberals have more blood on their hands to date and incite hatred and support unnecessary wars, yet they are very different to the 'far right' BNP.

Of course, there are many complex debates about multiculturalism in Britain and if the ghettoes are breeding resentment and instability. There is also a debate about religion and how much religion can be criticised without veering into criticising the race that practices it.

Given the large number of 'liberals' who have supported bloodthirsty wars on Muslims, I felt a bit queasy about this subtitle on an article on the English Defence League:

So if skinheads attack Islam then it is to do with race (and what is 'racially aggravated material')? But if Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis or Sam Miller call to harm Muslims* then it is 'muscular secularism'?

This isn't a defence of the EDL but it does seem to me that by demonising them, the media is adopting a double standard with the neo-liberal intelligensia who completely supported the 'war on terror' and launched Stalinist attacks on those who disagreed with the bombing of Iraq.

When a dictator finally does get his grubby paws on Britain's vast CCTV network and DNA database, it is unlikely they'll come from the BNP. It is far more likely that they'll say they need to take our liberties away to protect us from ourselves in the name of liberty.

*Amis later splendidly defended his statement as a 'thought experiment'. I can just see the contents of a future popular philosophy book:

-Descartes: Of demons and Mind/ Body Dualism
-Phillipa Foot: Trolley Cars and utilitarian ethics
-Martin Amis: Inflict GBH on Johny Foreigner to set him on the straight and narrow
-Plato: Shadows in the Cave and Sensory Perception

Mystic Greg

Given that it's not infrequent that I do daft things (like running in sandals with a fork in my mouth) I find it interesting just how often I am right about matters political.

Either I have some particular gift. Or most 'political experts' are demented. Take Georgia and the recent EU statement that Saakashvilli was to blame for the conflict. I was spot on about that, when practically everyone else in Britain was wrong, purely because I thought that bombing civilians and attacking them with tanks was a pretty rough thing to do.

Maybe it is similar to the way I seem to be psychic when it comes to clothes (I remember when shellsuits were fashionable, and I knew they wouldn't last) and idioms (I always knew the insult 'dip***t' harmed the speaker more than the target).

The way I see it, people as a species have little interest in logic, being wise or being right and not being stupid. They just do what other people do and say what other people say. That is why political journalism is such a farce. I'm sure most of these people are smart enough and in their heart of hearts know they are speaking bullshit. But to paraphrase Machiavelli it is better to be wrong than be unpopular.

Incidentally, being right isn't always comforting. This is what I wrote a while back on Sublime Oblivion:

'I can see England turning into a 80s South American style nation with a generalissimo and his plutocracy going through barrios in bullet proof landrovers'

Seems the Tories are getting Gen Richard Dannatt into their cabinet. In a sign of how turgid and idiotic modern Brit politics are, I noticed that the genius Chris Grayling called it a 'gimmick' when he thought it was the other centre right party that had done it. Grayling's previous claim to fame was saying that crime in Britain is like crime in that TV show he doesn't watch.

For more bemusement, look at the hilariously titled Editorial Intelligence awards. Best polemicist shortlist consists of David Aaronovitch (anti-nationalisation Iraq war supporter) Johann Hari (anti-nationalisation Iraq war supporter) and Richard Littlejohn (anti-nationalisation Iraq war supporter). Isn't it a scream? It's like having a Best Mechanic Award where the shortlist consists entirely of people who've been convicted of criminal negligence and manslaughter.

However, whilst going with received wisdom is not the best way to be right, I do think that David Cameron will be the last Prime Minister of Britain (or the United Kingdom as it is officially called). Never has there been such a shower of misguided, disorganised idiots in line to take power. Despite hating kilts, cabers, bagpipes and supporting a 0 child policy for people with ginger hair, I'll probably be voting SNP in the next election. Choosing which neo-liberal, neo-con America-adoring idiots get to run Britain will be a mug's game. Whilst Scotland is sadly becoming a little version of England, I think there are sufficient numbers of switched on geezers to decide that enough is enough.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Quote of the Day

"Here is the big argument in British politics today, put plainly and simply. Labour say that to solve the country's problems, we need more government. Don't they see? It is more government that got us into this mess."

Thank you David Cameron for demonstrating the intellectual health of modern Britain. Plagiarising a thirty year old quote by a geriatric movie-star perfectly demonstrates our level of discourse.

It isn't that I disagree that the British state is too strong: the CCTV surveillance is creepy, as are phone tapping measures and the 'war on terror' officers who are over-armed. Furthermore, the armed members of our state are given free reign to invade any nation America decides is attackable: Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq.

Yet Dave is no supporter of civil liberties and is gung ho for any American conflict (why not? It isn't his sprogs that'll be fighting there) and thought that Saakashvilli should have been rewarded with NATO membership for attacking civilians with tanks and aircraft. He wants the delightful British police to take action on Brian Haw: apparently the 78 rozzers the nu lab softies sent wasn't enough. That'll teach him to live in a 'shanty town', twat him with a nightstick like they did Mr Tomlinson, that'll put him on the straight and narrow.

So whilst not caring about the police having too many powers or the possibility of Brit soldiers killing foreign civilians, 'big government' in Dave's case means... well, he doesn't specify. But I think it's fairly safe to assume it means too many services for poor people. Thank you again Dave for helping me find motivation to invest in further TEFL qualifications.

* I usually like to have an illustration, but even thinking of Cameron's repulsive smarmy melon of a head makes me feel ill.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Holocaust Porn

If the moral health of a nation can be determined by its book-covers, then things don't look very good for whatever country produced these masterpieces. Probably America, but from what I've heard, this was the book that Joy Division were named after so it must have had its (ahem) enthusiasts in Blighty as well.

The question it raises for me is: was it better before 'political correctness' and people judging their neighbours? Now, you'd probably think it creepy if your neighbour was reading a book that offered titillation based on women being exploited by genocidal sadists. Yet 1) it was popular at the time* and 2) Do we really have the right to judge our neighbours and 'psychoanalyse' their motives and emotions and 3) Wouldn't it be oddly liberating living in a country where no-one cared especially what their neighbours thought and 4) Wasn't fascism like communism the result of people thinking they had the right to pre-emptively judge others based on popular values and 5) Does the success of books like this pretty much prove we're mainly bastards anyway, just some are less bashful?

Of course political correctness would stop books with such covers being released, but only puts a different slant on pretty similar stuff. Hence, Schindler's List had all the typical Spielbergian sentimentality, but when it came to the shower scene, it was all young women as far as I can remember.

*Over five million copies sold apparently, dunno if it crossed their minds that 'five million' might not be an especially tasteful figure when marketing a book on the Holocaust

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

See Saw

Well, ain't that nice, a severed hand. Just what I want to see when I open yahoomail. When I was in Dunfermline I noticed the buses had this poster on their sides.

I'm totally opposed to film censorship except in extreme circumstances. Adults have a right to choose what to watch. Yet putting up posters like this is a sign of how selfish consumerism is. At risk of sounding like Maude Flanders, won't somebody think of the children? Or am I just a young fogey for thinking that children should be protected from such images even if it means clogging the wheels of commerce?

Whilst I have recently written about how the left have focussed on self-righteous extreme social liberalism instead of making a comprehensive argument for social democracy, I do wonder why conservatives seem to adore the free market even when its consumerism brutalises society? Surely the Middle Englanders can see that the free market had done more harm to their values than any socialist policy?

I hope through this I do not sound self-righteous, I do not regard myself as better than these poster-makers, in fact I am probably a lot worse. Yet I do find it curious that many people think our values should be spread abroad.