government

51st State

I don’t know if you’ve heard about this but, apparently, there’s been a big election of some kind recently? I can’t remember where, it was only mentioned briefly on the news … I think it was Australia, but in any case I get the impression that a lot people thought it was a really big deal. I suppose that’s always going to be a problem, living on a tiny island like ours; we’re so cut off from the reality of what’s going on in the world, and in the lives of other people, that we exist in a near-permanent state of total ignorance. If we’re honest with ourselves, though, we’d have to admit that it’s ultimately our fault that we never seem to know what’s going on because, for the most part, we seldom venture outside our self-imposed bubble and, because we’ve built up such a formidable wall of self-delusion where our knowledge should be, whenever we do emerge from the anti-chrome shelters we built in the 1950s to keep all the colours out we end up exposing ourselves as a bunch of arrogant, self-serving, jizz-buckets who are doomed to perpetual, and miserable, failure for holding in the utmost contempt anyone and everyone who’s even slightly different from us. Oh, hang on a minute … sorry, I’ve gone and gotten myself confused again. When I said “us” and “we”, I actually meant “Republicans”. Fucking Republicans … Read more “51st State”

Here comes the pride

Once again I am compelled to begin my post with an apology for the complete lack of any kind of ranty, word-based intellectual comestibles over the last few weeks. I’m afraid things have been stupidly busy around here again, with a large proportion of my time spent building a website for my dad and his recently published book (go there now and buy it, particularly if you like wizards, quests, and magic, and especially if you have kids). With all the running around (well, sitting down, if I’m honest) trying to organise things – server upgrades, domain registration, installing software – getting everything set up, and making absolutely sure that the whole thing was perfect and ready in time for an immovable, near-future release date, it sometimes felt like I was involved in planning a bloody wedding. And, do you know, that gloriously ham-fisted and clunky attempt at a segue leads me very shoddily on to what it was I wanted to talk about this week? The ongoing and now, thanks to certain presidents, very high-profile worldwide campaign for LGBT marriage equality. Read more “Here comes the pride”

Into Whine

As you may have noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here of late, what with my having let a few weeks go by with nary a tiny, microscopic hint of anything resembling a new post (of course it’s entirely possible you might not have noticed – I suppose it all depends on how observant you are and whether or not you give enough of a meerkat’s left bollock about my rants to notice when I haven’t done one). The truth is that the post I have been working on recently has proven to be a particularly tough one to write (for reasons which will become clear in due course) and so I decided to put it on the back burner until I can get my head around it enough to be able to finish it while doing the subject matter justice. In the meantime, though, rather than being all self-pitying about not being able to get a new rambling tirade out every week like the good little blogger I pretend to be, I shall instead have a massive bitching session about self-pitying, whinging fucking christians. Read more “Into Whine”

New Model No. 15

I don’t know about you, but when I heard the news this week that the twin bills SOPA (Screwing Over Proper Artists) and PIPA (Positively Invading People’s Anuses) had suffered a humiliating defeat/climbdown when pretty much the entire world told the entertainment industry to go fuck itself and stop trying to ruin the internet, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, wiped the self-satisfied “Ha ha, we did it!” grin off my face, and then started to wonder just what kind of monstrous form the bills will take on once Hollywood and the record companies had re-grouped and returned to begin the next leg of their “Stealing Freedom Tour 1996 – 2047”. For reasons I can only imagine have something to do with my brain feeling particularly charitable (knowing that I had a blog post to write and no ideas), these thoughts began colliding with ones about the nature of religion versus science and how, as it is with content producers versus the internet, the battle is about nothing more than destroying the competition in order to protect an obsolete business model. Read more “New Model No. 15”

* Terms and conditions apply

On Wednesday night, the state of Georgia committed murder in front of millions of witnesses. As if that weren’t terrible enough in and of itself, it was made all the more shocking by the fact that there’s every possibility that the victim was entirely innocent. In its usual, myopic pursuit to dispense “justice”, the United States executed Troy Davis for the killing of police officer Mark McPhail, despite the failure to recover a murder weapon, the recanted testimonies of witnesses (some of which made allegations of police coercion), and no other real, tangible physical evidence linking Davis to the crime. In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter whether Davis was guilty or not; he was still a victim of state-sanctioned execution in what we’re frequently told is a civilised country, and the decision to end his life, as well as a good deal of the support for doing so, came from people for whom “thou shalt not kill” is supposed to be immutable. Read more “* Terms and conditions apply”

Radio 4 Radicals

One of the bizarre things I’ve discovered about getting older, at least for me, is not that I find myself worrying about nature’s great, big, ticking, death-shaped clock of impending mortality cessation; nor is it that I’m concerned with checking off the list of things one is supposed to be in possession of at this point (wife, kids, mortgage, dog, massive sense of futile despair at one’s interminable existence etc.) – it’s more that I’ve come to feel like I’ve sort of always been this “age”, as if my personality were a suit that was at least 14 sizes too large and was just waiting for me to grow in to it. The suit might have had one or two minor alterations over the years, nothing drastic, but it otherwise remains pretty much exactly the same as when I first got it. As your tastes, opinions, and beliefs begin to coalesce in your twenties and thirties, you develop a far clearer understanding of who you are, what kind of suit you’re wearing, and what radio station you should be listening to. Read more “Radio 4 Radicals”

Dear Mr. Murdoch

For the past few days, the news here in our rain-soaked island paradise has been dominated by one, particularly large, story. It’s not a new story, in fact it’s been around for a little while, but this week it managed to achieve a certain measure of grotesque commonality with the funeral-bound corpse of King Henry VIII. I’m thinking specifically of how, as we were all basking happily in yet another warm and sunny day, possibly commenting to one another about what a lovely day it was, it unpredictably, and unceremoniously, exploded, leaving everyone feeling very, very sick. It’s a story that we can’t even refer to as “the elephant in the room” any more because it’s now “the enormous pile of elephant shit in the room” (the elephant having fled the scene in order to calm down, re-group, and work out who best to blame for the massive, festering pile of crap it left behind). Read more “Dear Mr. Murdoch”