Saturday, 31 July 2010

Blighty Fury

If the cinema of Steven Seagal is any indicator of the 'special relationship' then it is very special indeed.

For those unaquainted with Flight of Fury, I can only implore you to rush to Asda bargain bin to pick up this deathless masterpiece.

Anyway, this film (in the off-chance you haven't already seen it) starts with the usual cliches: American pilot steals plane, goes to rendevous with terrorists: then it really pulls the carpet from under your feet. 'Are these Serbians'? My friend asked, seeing whitey terrorists in Afghanistan.

Good question. The Slavs in general are a gold mine for Hollywood: foreign enough for the audience to gloat over their being massacred by white people who speak English, white enough to stop the PC crowd from whinging.

But blow me down, as I expected them to start speaking weeth theek accents, did they not turn out to be Cockerneys?

And before they can say to the yankee traitor 'consider yerself one of the far-m-i-ly', have they not asked him to drop toxic weapons on Uncle Sam? No negotiations, no asking for money, no Blofeldian plan to take over: just death to America.

Two things to note. One: as I've already pointed out there are ample white foreigners waiting to be massacred by Americans for Hollywood to keep its pompous, self-righteous colourblind veneer. Yet of all the dodgy, backwards, foreigners that Middle American audiences believe inhabit the commie wasteland between Russia and Portugal, they choose 'our no 1 ally'. No wait, its us who call them that.

Secondly, whether because the script was pulled out of someone else's waste basket and they lost the pages with this cliche or whether they wanted to avoid this cliche or whether thy really think we Brits are the nastiest people on earth, they didn't even have the Brit terrorists blackmailing Uncle Sam. No, they just wanted these germ cannisters dropped on American schools and 'football pitches' (not meaning football at all, but that rugby they play over there).

This made SLIGHTLY more sense after reading the Wikipedia article on the film, which says that the leader is half-Iraqi. I missed this piece of plot exposition, whether they cut it due to it being bullshit or whether Seagal mumbled his lines so badly that it was unintelligible. It's worth noting that the baddie's sidekick, a Brit lass, is also somewhat swarthy. This seems to me that they are making a none-too-subtle point about the dangers of miscegenation on our sceptred isle.

I daresay that the Mark Steyn bullshit has seeped so deeply into American culture that even Seagal is making a hat-tip to the Eurabia theme: that Blighty is populated by grannies, neds, socialists and Islamofascists. And a handful of public schoolboys who will save Britain by spending a fortune getting us into stupid conflicts with countries that haven't harmed us. Except that Seagal and co didn't even have the common courtesy to include an uncle Tom Brit to balance the message. Even that wretched left-behind film I watched had the decency to include a Bill Bailey lookalike as the head of the Brit armed forces. Maybe he lasted two minutes on a computer screen before it went blank (signifying the snuffing out of our nation) but at least they made the gesture.

Flight of Fury doesn't even manage this. In fact the lead goodie (who does all the athletic fighting whilst Seagal spends five minutes waddling like a bear and twatting a bloke on the head with a metal pipe) is actually an Arab.

I have to admit I was chuffed by this. And horrifically sad as it is, I was even more chuffed that he was acted by a Greek actor, which made me nostalgic for that 80s masterpiece 'The Jewel of the Nile' which is set in an Arab country, the prince of which is acted by a Greek, whilst a Jewish actor is the nation's real leader. But really, I do think it's time for Britain to wake up to what this says about the special relationship.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Quote of the Day

'Nevertheless, to this government, the private sector is automatically better. To suggest otherwise is heresy. That's why they're restructuring the NHS, in a way that will encourage more private enterprise, three weeks after the Commonwealth Fund declared it the most efficient health service out of the seven it had studied – that's ahead of Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, all systems with more private sector involvement. The NHS might well be, in terms of the results it delivers with the money it gets, the most efficient health service on earth. And yet the Tories are convinced that hasty and sweeping organisational reforms will make it even more so.'

I've always had a soft spot for David Mitchell. Perhaps it may seem ironic, but I like his portrayal of modern British conservatism as being rooted in misanthropy, shyness and awkwardness rather than any Hayekian idealism or Randian amoralism or even Churchillian nostalgia. I also respected his honest rebuke to fellow comedians who pointed the J'accuse finger at him for appearing in a commercial (shock horror) as if British popular culture really was a hotbed of revolutionary anti-capitalism not a pillar of consumerism.

Still, the comedy conservative seems to find it difficult keeping up with the pace of Cleggaron's 'progressive coalition'. Says it all really. Whilst I'm generally astounded by how inarticulate David Cameron is, his quip about Nick Clegg being his favourite political joke was actually cleverer than it appeared, as the little rich boy who claimed that the Lib Dems were the true progressive party sits vacantly and quietly as the Tories speak of tearing up the NHS.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Showbiz News

Does Mel Gibson have a future in Hollywood? Given that every second film these days seems to be based on a comic strip, I think we could ask if Gibson would want a future in Hollywood?

The Three Stooges

Isn't it interesting to deek the goons who've come to Roman Polanski's rescue?

First up: Salman Rushdie. To some he is most notable as the bloke who wrote a book full of slapstick humour and purple prose which resulted in some nutters who'd never read it wanting to kill him. Fair dues to the guy for defending free speech, but to me that isn't his most significant act.

No, for me his 90s/ early 00s blurb imploring blokes to read The Bridget Jones Diary was his most significant historical act. He was essentially saying 'if you're a fat baldy aging bloke then you'll love this book about a chubby thirtysomething lass trying to get it on with different men'.

In other words, if you're a bloke and you like reading books about a Waffen SS brigade in the Eastern front or people getting their faces eaten off by rats, then you're a deviant. Stick to girly stuff because girly is the new blokishness. As masterpieces by Sven Hassel and Guy N Smith criminally went out of print, I can only assume that a welter of office drones skipped to the bookshops to pick up their latest copy of the Bridget Jones saga to impress their girlfriends with.

But, it appears things are not quite so simple. If a thirteen year old girl is drugged and raped then Mr Metrosexual cuddly-wuddly the big teddy bear isn't quite such a feminist after all. At least if he thinks he'll bump into the shorty-eyes genius at a cocktail party.

Next in line, Robert Harris. His novels about Ancient Rome sound brilliant, just my cup of tea. And the Ghost seems a bit of a hoot. But Russophile that I am, I can't quite forgive him for Archangel. For those unaquainted with this piece of smug (though admittedly well-written) drivel, a historian discovers that Joseph Stalin has a son living in a Dacha in a giant forest. Koba Jnr's one skill in life is trapping nosey parkers in beartraps and reciting verbatim the old boy's speeches.

So what, you might be asking? Well, in the mind of a smug Middle Englander, this is Ivan's dream come true, politically speaking, a new Stalin which is just what johny foreigner has been looking for. Harris's book had two redeeming features 1) The hero was a historian and 2) The hero was a historian who makes snide comments to his pig-ignorant American sidekick (nothing against Americans, but it's a refreshing change to the usual arselicking). But overall the ant-European bigotry is just too much.

Yet, Harris's support for Western humanitarian values apparently flops when an artistic genius is at work.

Last, but certainly not least, Neo-Con goon and Kosovo Serb hater, Bernard Henri Levy. Fan of bombarding Eastern Europe with Western enlightenment. Once again, this moralising creep didn't seem to be too moralistic when it came to the actions of 'the director of the Pianist'.

One last thing struck me about it: the number of women who've come to Polanski's aid. Could this be one for the radical feminists to think about? Could it be that all the vitriol that is spread at men ignores the fact that feminism has actually failed to give women a feeling of solidarity or change their attitudes towards some things? I'm not saying that's the case, but it surely is worth debating.

Anyway, for now I'm satisfied with the blokes, as it were. I wish that there was a word meaning 'schadenfreud' but aimed at those who don't seem to feel much schaden.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Cleo's Revenge

In the off-chance that none of my readers have seen Steven Seagal's masterpiece The Glimmer Man, then watch it this second, then come back and read this post. If you have seen it continue reading.

The one very minor flaw in this masterpiece for me has always been the ending where competing teams of dastards start fighting each other. Never happens in the real world I thought. They always form alliances against the goodies and they always win because the goodies are too busy fighting each other over self-righteous minutiae (just compare how many left-wingers criticise each other for not being anti-Putin enough with how many right-wingers have criticised Richard Littlejohn for his comments on the Rwandan genocide). Baddies fighting each other, never happens.

Until today. Russophobe historian Orlando Figes and Khodorkovsky groupie Rachel Polonsky are duking it out after Orlando was found (hehehehe) writing good reviews of his books and bad reviews of hers on Amazon.

Reading his reaction however, gave me mixed feelings:

'In a statement released on 23 April Figes admitted "full responsibility" for the posts, saying he had been under "intense pressure". He said: "I have made some foolish errors and apologise wholeheartedly to all concerned."'

Hnn, funny as it is to see a worm squirming, I do wonder what to make of a society where a grown man can blubber like this and (presumably) still be respected? Sometimes I could turn and live with Russian barbarians smoking themselves into early graves*.

*Those familiar with the Russian blogosphere will get the allusion.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Secular Puritanism

'Catholics angry as church puts female ordination on par with sex abuse'

Now there's a headline from The Guardian. The funny thing is though that the article is mainly about how angry secularists and feminists are and there is no evidence that 'Catholics' are angry (except for some individuals; but I daresay that 'Catholics' would be angry at ordaining women as well). And what really gets to me is how strong their opinions are, and what they think to be their business:

'Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, called the document "one of the most insulting and misogynistic pronouncements that the Vatican has made for a very long time. Why any self-respecting woman would want to remain part of an organisation that regards their full and equal participation as a 'grave sin' is a mystery to me."

I'd imagine it is a mystery to you Terry, so maybe you should keep your mouth shut as you obviously have no idea of the tradition, its history or its culture. I daresay that all the 'self-respecting' women will all entirely agree with you and leave in a few weeks, then you can have a pint with Big Ian and rant about the popish harridans with no 'self-respect'.

'Vivienne Hayes, the chief executive of the Women's Resource Centre, said the decision to raise women's ordination to the level of a serious crime was "appalling".

She added: "This declaration is doubly disempowering for women as it also closes the door on dialogue around women's access to power and decision making, when they are still under-represented in all areas of political, religious and civic life. We would urge the Catholic church to acknowledge that women's rights are not incompatible with religious faith."

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: "We are sure that the vast majority of the general public will share in our abject horror at the Vatican's decision to categorise the ordination of women as an 'offence' in the same category as paedophilia – deemed to be one of the 'gravest offences a priest can commit'.

Yes, I'm always sure that the vast majority of the general public shares my abject horror at the RC church defending its traditions.

"This statement follows a series where the Vatican, an institution which yields great influence and power not only in the Catholic community but also wider society, has pitched itself in direct opposition not only to women's rights but to our equal worth and value. We hope this is an issue that the government takes the opportunity to raise if it still feels the impending papal visit is appropriate."

If the almighty British state 'still feels that the impending papal visit is appropriate'?

It is curious because I remember a time when Brits used the words 'busybody', nosey parker' etc as pejorative terms. Now I reckon that these would near-enough be compliments. Everything, or anybody, is now an 'institution' or 'organisation' and every Tom, Dick or Harry has the right to feel 'abject horror' at its shortcomings within their own ethical outlook.

Not everyone has to like the Vatican's opposition to female ordination. However, I find it difficult to see how anyone can get on their high horses about a tradition and faith which they don't belong to and which anyone can leave. I notice that the word 'rights' was used twice, which seems incompatible with the voluntary nature of Catholicism. I think if these people are genuine progressives, they would do well to think about what 'rights' really are, and how they can be enforced.

Those were the days, where are they now

I've never heard of Gilberto Gil or Caetano Veloso: Brazilian psychedelic rockers. Thought they sounded interesting, and it's nice to read someone putting in a good word for Blighty, albeit half-a-century ago:

"Lisbon and Madrid were out of the question as Portugal and Spain were under a heavy dictatorship. Paris had a boring musical ambience. London was the best place for a musician to be."
'''together they frequented museums, art galleries and football matches, and learned to love Monty Python's Flying Circus – Veloso says its surrealism influenced some of his more experimental music.
"But London is one of the most interesting cities in the world, and I am lucky to have lived there."
"We arrived the week the Beatles released Abbey Road, we saw the Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse, we jammed with great musicians, we met great people, we heard reggae for the first time," he says. "The fact you could walk up to a policeman and ask directions – in Brazil that just doesn't happen!"

Smashing stuff chaps, quite a place post-war Britain. Bulging with joie-de-vivre, creativity and originality and a time when you could say 'football matches and art galleries' with no irony. Ah, but what is that I see at the bottom-right corner of the page, like a bunch of Gargoyles bordering a verdigris basilica? What do I see like a raincloud behind a sun-drenched meadow? Could it be the worst crime ever committed against popular music?

Why it was the most important story last evening:

There was one thing I'll say about Take That: it was a hub for deeply untalented musicians. That might not be a good thing, but at least it stopped Robbie Williams and Mark Owen from pursuing solo careers. Owen's career seemed to grind to a halt at one point. Don't know if it was because he went thin on top or developed a spare tire or simply started snorting charlie. I would love to think that even the British people decided his music was so crap they wouldn't buy it. But in my heart of hearts I know that's not possible.

Still, I don't think that Take That was given priority by Te Graun for its damage limitation effect. I think the priority they've given it says it all really, and in a weird way highlights the strange paradox of modern British liberalism. There is a pseudo-nostalgia for a time when popular art was subversive, whilst really they live intensely in the petit-bourgeois present of pop music. It is sad that this broadsheet expects their readership to recognise the slogan 'Back for Good'. But in a sense it is sadder that I got the reference given that I'd rather eat my intestines with vinegar than willingly listen to Take That.

Last time I looked, they've taken the Gil and Veloso article off their front page. Take That are still there though.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Music from the Other Side of the Fence

I don't know what possessed Te Graun to host an interesting video with an interesting person, but this Zizek piece is essential viewing (h/t Anatoly). Not quite up there with the opportunity to watch Peter Mandelson tributes of course, and he is talking drivel, albeit amusing and engaging drivel.

The weird thing, I thought when watching this was what a great demagogue Zizek would make, and ironically, how the capitalist system could prepare people for such a figure. Who cares if he praises Lenin and Mussolini if he comes up with such great one-liners? Think by contrast of Te Graun's man of the hour, Peter Mandelson, a smug little dullard who they adore because he reconciled the Labour party with being 'filthy rich'. All very well, but will the free-market love Mandy back and reward Te Graun for unrolling the red carpet for him? Will panting lefties be racing for the news-stands to grab their copies of Te Graun before it's all sold out, just so they can read about their hero? Imagine the collective sigh of relief when they find they've picked up the very last one?

By contrast, I think Te Graun grudged giving a few milimetres of internet to Zizek. His self-conscious interesting nonsense certainly upsets the humanist vicars, who are less interested in dialectical playfulness than pointing the J'accuse figure. And no doubt the blogosphere will erupt that Te Graun has come out as a friend of Stalinism or whatever self-righteous delusion appeals to them.

Perhaps strangely, Zizek reminds me of one of my favourite literary characters, Peter Stepanovich Verkhovensky in Demons. This character was very prophetic in my opinion, because he was attracted to anti-establishment politics just to be a troublemaker rather than for any concern about the poor of the earth.

Perhaps Verkhovensky is a favourite character because he knew this, unlike Christopher Hitchens say, whose observations of the American right led him to notice that caring about the world's poor was no prerequisite for self-righteousness.

I don't know if Zizek is any more idealistic than Hitchens, and his holding onto the commie card is probable a tactical masterstroke (so as not to join the clapped out last-chance saloon of lefty neo-cons: Henri-Levy, Hitch, Julie Burchill etc, who don't even know they're clapped out), but it is precisely because Zizek knows that he is a clown first, that as a consumer from a consumerist culture, I find him an appealing figure.

Out of Order

Have been a bit busy recently not reading newspapers. Think I'll be a bit busy not reading newspapers for a while after seeing that te Graun has a Peter Mandelson extravaganza, about his efforts to save 'his beloved Labour party', no doubt by popular request of the thousands of left-wingers who were begging them to do so.

Once more it highlights the weird irony of the economic right: they adore the free-market and they are fans of Mandy for endorsing the free-market, but they are utterly oblivious to what their own 'market' would actually want. Furthermore, the most juicy piece of gossip, for these friendless metropolitan losers, is about the vast ideological struggle between Tony 'pro-Iraq war, anti-nationalisation' Blair and Gordon 'pro-Iraq war, anti-nationalisation' Brown. A real clash of the titans there.

As most of my readers come from Neil Clark's blog, I suppose it's pointless linking to this, which sums my views up but is well worth reading.

Friday, 9 July 2010

No-One Expects the Humanist Inquisition

Following on from my last post on identity politics, the humanist association are concerned at people praying at council meetings:

'There are many — maybe even the majority — of local councils in this country that start their meetings with Christian prayers. Non-believers and people of other religions are put in the embarrassing position of wondering whether to participate or pointedly not participate. We believe that it is unacceptable for elected representatives to be put through this in carrying out their duty. A typical reaction to their protests is that they are told they can leave the chamber during prayers. We also know of potential candidates who will not put their names forward for election, appalled that they are expected to participate in prayers. This deprives local democracy of much-needed new blood and people who would better represent the full spectrum of the local community...

...We have been working on this campaign for some months and after complaints from councillors, top lawyers working on behalf of the NSS have sent a letter to one council advising them that prayers during council meetings are in conflict with human rights provisions. The council is currently considering our lawyers’ letter and we will publish details of the outcome shortly...

We now need to know which councils are including prayers in their meetings and which aren’t'.

What would my mate Pericles make of this? When democracy was under attack did he call some top lawyers to care for some cry babies and pretend their human rights were under threat? Some people have died for democracy, but in modern Britain people are so 'appalled' at taking part in a part of our heritage that they won't consider getting involved in our political system. Well, good, in my opinion: if they're such over-sensitive, whinging, miseries, then what would happen if they need to show a bit of backbone?

Backbone? But don't you understand, cough, cough. When people ask us to put our hands together and close our eyes, cough, cough, it means that our human rights, cough, cough, are actually being compromised. It makes us cry, cough, cough, and feel very, very sorry for ourselves, cough, cough. And mumsy calls for a top lawyer to take part, cough, cough. And the nice lawyer gets the bill involved, cough, cough. And he takes away bundles of cash, cough, cough. Which makes poor little me feel a bit less poorly, cough, cough.

Flip sake. Don't the atheists like to claim they have Nietzsche on their side? He'd probably be writing a sequel to Pilgrim's Progress if he could see this shower.

But don't expect any of this namby pambyism from top lawyers. They'll have smelt blood and can't wait to empty bank accounts and destroy reputations to get a few more Armani suits in their wardrobes.

Now, whilst I am myself a Christian, I do have sympathy for people being annoyed at these prayer meetings. Praying at a mixed denomination event like that sounds quite unpleasant to me. But really, you can bloody well leave for a few minutes: there's no cause to whinge about human rights and top lawyers and involve nosey parkers who think they need to know what people they never met are doing.

Incidentally, before anyone gets leftier than thou about this, I came across the NSS website via the very modestly and originally monickered Winston Smith. And what a lovely bloke he is to, hailing as he does from 'Scallysville' in 'chavshire'.

Maybe it's time to admit that all the identity politics and anti-Christian propaganda that the left focuses on now helps to feed a particularly sociopathic form of conservatism.

Declining The West

Identity politics is an odd one, isn't it?

Maybe one of the reasons I dislike identity politics is looking across the pond (where most of this stuff comes from, not the 'Euro fags' that metropolitan softies like to snigger at) and seeing my Eastern Orthodox cousins and their bizarre views of victimhood.

Essentially, one thing I've learned in life is that the best way to be liked is not to be unlikable. Thank you oh Greg of the mighty intellect for showering us with your great wisdom, you might say. You're welcome. But the whole point of identity politics seems to be to whinge that you are unlikable and people think you're unlikable because they are wicked.

Just read this

I did get the logic here right, didn't I?
-Hello, I'm collecting money for a blowup doll to make love to; wondered if you'd have £50 on you?
-Ugh, that's pretty grim. Anyway, I think I have better things to spend my money on.
-Typical paedo scum!
-Don't you know Mr Wilson down the road was found with his hand down a boy's underpants?
-No, I didn't know that and why I should pay for you to-
-Then you are a paedo. I just want an artificial girlfriend and you won't give me anything, and there you are ignoring Mr Wilson. Evidence if any was needed that you're a paedo.

Now, you might be asking, this is about Israel. Why is an Orthodox Christian website blabbering on about Israel when Israel's major interaction with its Orthodox neighbours in Palestine and Lebanon is dropping incendiary bombs on them?

Well, that's what identity politics is. This movement of fanatical conservative converts has no interest in Orthodox religion, far less Orthodox brotherhood when it clashes with neo-conservatism, because their religion IS neo-conservatism.

Yet, mark the tone of self-pity? I only pity these people for being so stupid.

One of the things I love about Europe is (and I say this carefully) what an irreligious place it is. That isn't to say that I think its apostacy rates are good or to deny that I think Christianity should play a greater community and intellectual role in the continent. But that I am pleased that religion plays such little role in legalism, censorship or politics here.

Yet the Yanks try to combine religion with politics and in the end have neither Athenian political ethics or Christian religious scruples.

An ideal model of Athens and Jerusalem, or a trainwreck?

I think I can guess that will be an easy one for my readers, but it does demonstrate why identity politics will always work for the right in the end.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Novel Idea

So sixty years of British fiction has been run through Te Graun's computer and discovered to be 'surpassed' by Johny Yank? There's a surprise.

'Any honest fan of modern fiction has to acknowledge the supremacy* of American writers since the 1960s. For this particular British reader, to discover the novels of Philip Roth and Thomas Pynchon, in particular, was to be released from the tongue-tied mumblings of postwar English fiction into a new world of generous imaginative reach and exuberant language'

This statement is actually quite interesting. Very, very stupid of course, but interesting in its own sense. Could the 'post-war English fiction' be despised precisely because it spoke about a time when our country had values that most modern middle class Brits really despise? Is A Clockwork Orange 'tongue-tied mumbling'? Or High Rise? Somewhere East of Life? Riddley Walker? The Serpent? Murdo Stories? After the Funeral? Lanark? Trainspotting? The Bull From the Sea? Nothing Like the Sun?

These are just some names that came off the top of my head, but one thing came to my mind. These are all either generic or Scottish. I find this interesting in a sense, because this demonstrates that for neo-Liberal Uncle Tom Brits, American pop-culture is valuable because it gives a certain zing to their petit bourgeois metropolitan blinkeredness. It gives a break from the dullness of East Anglian RP speech, without being associated with one of those poor, Labour voting regions. It offers middle brow narratives about mediocre things happening to middle class people without any of this sci-fi/history/detective nonsense. And sure enough:

'...Surely, if the novel in English has a master now at the peak of his powers, it is Ian McEwan.'

This is a good chuckle: precisely because McEwan is undoubtedly as middle class, East Anglian and safe as Brit writers come (which would be fine, if Jones didn't make a point of admiring the ballsiness of American fiction). I seem to remember Te Graun published the first chapter of Saturday, which was one of the most embarrassingly silly things I've read. Whilst overall, Te Graun was fairly good on the Iraq war, I think McEwan's reflections on the subject were amongst the dumbest 'these people probably don't know that Saddam was a nasty chappie' sort. Of course, one of the strengths of a novel is that it can give insight into how people may think without expressing themselves. In this note, it would be interesting if a fictional sympathiser of the war were to consider the none-too utilitarian, PC or neo-liberal question of whether being America's poodle would damage British self-esteem.

I don't think that the author thought about this either. Which is why he is still Te Graun's posterboy.

*Note, not 'superiority', which would be the word if continuing the British comparison but 'supremacy over all the nations of the world.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Will You Still Need Me?

Now more than ever, Macca. Whilst so many of his fellow post-war rockers get more passionate about their support for fox-hunting than than for the thousands of children in unhealthy housing in this country, it's good to see that one rocker still has idealism.

Saving the whales used to be a fashionable thing in the 80s but now is probably rather passe, for the rock establishment. I guess at the time they were probably more interested in the potential hippy market than concern for cetacean well-being.

Of course, the entire area of animal rights is one of illogic and double standards on both sides. It is curious to me, as a Christian, that secularism has not brought about a greater standard of animal rights. I would never buy anything from Macdonalds or eat anything but free-range eggs and very rarely eat meat.

Yet factory farming is still very lucrative in Britain despite the animals being kept in horrific conditions.

From this view I actually have slight sympathy for the countryside alliance: it is hypocritical to ban foxhunting when battery farming exists. I feel even more strongly that efforts to ban bull-fighting in Spain are hypocritical. If I was a bull, would I rather die in the open air, lunging at a nylon clad ponce who's been throwing darts at me, or be herded into a reeking abattoir? Of course it's ridiculous to displace my Nietzschian outlook onto a ruminant, but then animal rights is all about displacement and empathy, no matter how illogical.

It is precisely because of the illogical nature of idealism that I do feel wounded at seeing the number of rockstars who campaigned in favour of bloodsport. It seemed to me that the post-war rock movement was all about living in a better world.

Whilst MacCartney was never the most charming of stars, his continuing support for animal rights and saving the whales is a great example to us all. Even if such a progressive cause was always going to look unfashionable as popular culture is coming to terms with what it really is.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

That ain't the way to have fun

As something of a not-terribly-coherent, none-too-righteous, endearingly modest Christian, I'm always astounded by just how embarrassing the 'new atheist' movement is because of how closely it mimics the all-out vulgarity and self-righteousness of Evangelical Protestant culture.

Now one of their leaders, Christopher Hitchens, fan of all things Neo-Conservative has cancer. Boohoohoo and all that, but I'm afraid that's the price you have to pay for being a middle aged bloke who's praised for doing something that only 12 year olds are usually praised for: smoking. Maybe 'the Hitch' should have invested in a BMX to really impress the spoilt wassocks who think smoking's so outrageous. If Hitch went cycling, it might have made the photos of the fat berk wielding a Kalashnikov less embarrassing. But anyway, Johann Hari tweets:

'And I forbid everyone from praying for him. He would HATE that. And rightly'

Yaaaaawwwnnn. Uh, I mean, how dare you, you razor-witted Zarathustran iconoclast you. Wait, where's me copper's uniform so I can impersonate Sergeant Howie doing Frankie Howerd facial expressions at the sight of bare arsed teenagers dancing around standing stones. I think I'll burn my Nietzsche, Russell and Voltaire books because obviously the atheist movement has gotten so much more interesting. But there's more:

'I seem 2 have sparked a wave of sanctimonious Xians praying for Hitchens.'

Hari doesn't provide links for proof of how he 'sparked' this 'wave', but I think anyone who's read anything by Hari will be bemused at the 'sanctimonious' bit.

Still, for all you can say about Christians, at least we have some nice etchings. Sure beats the 'new atheist' idea of fun: riling non-existent Christians.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Let Me Out

Just following on from my last post about how nosey parkers keep spying on one of the few creative American directors, was I fast asleep one morning when Pro-Americanism was declared the state ideology of Britain?

Just reading Empire (after a link on another forum, don't read the thing meself):

'Reeves has done fans of the original (and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel) proud. The footage shows a remarkably faithful translation of the film (virtually shot-for-shot in some cases), perfectly capturing the bleakness of Alfredson’s vision.

Remake detractors may turn their self-righteous noses up at the the need to rework foreign language classics for the Anglophone masses but this is definitely one to keep an eye on.'

So Johny Yank just has to steal without messing up too much to receive praise? I did read that right, the director was praised for not messing things up with his own ideas? That's where Western civilisation is heading? He's done 'fans of the original proud'? By stealing from a film they enjoyed? And Lindqvist as well? He can be flattered that someone made a film that was based on a film of his work?

Leave Mel Alone

See that Mel Gibson has put his foot in it again. Some nosey parkers apparently managed to obtain records of him making racist and sexist comments (which counts as an achievement in our society: look he bad, we good, let's congratulate ourselves).

Now, Mel way indeed be an utter pillock for all I know, but he is possibly America's greatest living director. No, I didn't like Braveheart, but Apocalypto was one of my favourite modern films. Intelligent without being pompous, mystical without being dogmatic, visually stunning but with a tense script.

Furthermore, he doesn't make out that he's some kind of goody-two-shoes like Steven Spielberg. Which really says it all: I'm sure Spielberg wouldn't have the guts to speak in a derogatory way to any man, woman or child for fear of being owned. But sure enough, watch Munich 'wicked Middle Eastern darkies being taken out by European stars acting Middle Easterners' and see how genuinely progressive he is. Not that I'd really care, if the film wasn't everything Apocalypto wasn't: pompous without being intelligent, Judeo-Christian puritanical self-righteousness, visually dull despite the contrived set-pieces. But the different attitudes towards Spielberg and Gibson demonstrate just how daft political correctness has been.

No-one has to respect Mel, but no-one has the right to feel self-righteous after peeping into his private affairs.