26 August, 2010


The fine calculus of offence

There is a rather inconsequential piece up by Guardian environment wallah Phil Space James Randerson about the climate camp gig at Edinburgh, in which he sets out for our amusement a number of snarky tweets by people not entirely sympathetic to the climate-camp cause. Surprisingly the piece has attracted, at the time of writing, as many as 115 comments, a mixture of the indifferent and the indignant.

All very so-whattish, but what I found interesting was this comment
25 Aug 2010, 11:35AM

Apparently James Randerson thinks it's a good idea to promote a racist tweeter:

@Akvavitix being one of the people whose tweets are quoted in the original article. So commenter "asaw" sets off diligently to find something to take offence at and comes up with the Akvavitix tweet linked above, which reads
Oh dear. There is a new diet sweeping Pakistan. It's called swim fast
Hmm. Well that's certainly in rather poor taste, making feeble fun of people who have suffered a devastating natural disaster. And it's not even a particularly good joke. I certainly don't approve of it, but more in a "moving swiftly on" way than a "shock horror have this person locked up" way.

But that's not what "asaw" is objecting to, is it? He/she is objecting because the tweet is "racist". It is directed at Pakistanis. So presumably a cheap crack at the expense of White victims of a disaster would have been OK, would it?

Righteous Guardianista hypocrite.

22 August, 2010


Not quite the effect he had hoped for

One of my neighbours has a flash motor. Don't ask me what breed it is — as a non-driver I lack the motivation to acquire the encylopædic knowledge of passenger vehicles that many people seem to possess. But it's something of the GTi with extra pepperoni persuasion with a flash spoiler over the boot and a custom painted design on the sides. None of your Halford's stick-on go-faster stripes here.

My neighbour is well proud of his sexy jam jar and spends hours tinkering with it and tuning the engine. Very occasionally he gets into it and drives round the block at the blistering 30mph the law allows before coming back and debriefing the engine. Or something like that.

It really is most impressive stuff. Or it would be but for one thing. Whenever he revs the engine, it sounds exactly like a big version of one of those flywheel-powered friction toy cars that were all the rage when ah were nobbut a chilt misel'. I always fall about laughing. I hope he never revs it up when I'm passing; I really wouldn't want to embarrass the poor lad.


Comment policy as a weapon

Jai the Prolix, Master of the 85 Questions, has a piece up at Pickled Politics arguing against opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque. To be honest I can't say I've done more than skim the OP. Most of Jai's PP contributions are extended treatises on Indian history intended to demonstrate how India was the bestest most wonderfullest civilization the world has ever known before the British turned up and, to use the technical term, fucked it up. They have an effect similar to CiF articles: you are always tempted to skip the "above the line" piece and jump direct to the comment thread for entertainment and enlightenment. Indeed, in the present case Jai has needed two whole PP posts to get his point across, that those who oppose the "Ground Zero Mosque" are historically ignorant bigots.

Safari so BAU, as Christoper Biggins probably wouldn't have said. The interesting bit is this. A commenter calling himself Cronous ventures the following
1. Cronous on 21st August, 2010 at 8:03 pm

The whole article is really off the mark. There are numerous references to supposed Sikh benevolence to Muslims (I am guessing that not wanting a mosque at/near ground zero is somehow equally as abhorrent as going around slaughtering people). The problem is that this assumes that people back then saw the aggressors from a religious dimension as opposed to an ethnic one. Recall that Mughals fought other Muslims just as much as non-Muslims and Durrani targeted the Mughal Empire at large, not only Sikhs specifically.

“It is clear that some people, both here in Britain and in the United States, are either unable or unwilling to similarly take the moral high ground”

People in the UK and US have been taking the moral high ground when it comes to migrants for decades. Both societies commitment to try to gives rights to minority faiths/ethnic groups is unmatched in virtually all other societies. What is there reward for such benevolence toward Muslims? Religious extremism, ethnocentrism, insularity, and a crass unwillingness to assimilate. Sorry but I think the people are tired of being understanding to communities that are blindingly intolerant themselves.

“It’s also a stark contrast to the idealism and wisdom of the historical Americans responsible for the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Gettysburg Address, all of which I personally regard as amongst the greatest moral & intellectual accomplishments of mankind.”

If you read many opinions of the authors of these documents (e.g. the Federalist papers) you would note that they also wanted that idealism tempered by reality. The framers certainly did not want their idealism to be used by the vanguard of retrograde and insular religious group.
He makes further comments in a similarly reasonable vein, engaging with other commenters who challenge him. And then Jai turns up and puts the boot in in no uncertain terms:
14. Jai on 22nd August, 2010 at 9:53 am

I’m going to leave Cronous’s comments up as his behaviour perfectly proves my point, but I will not allow anyone to exploit this thread as a platform for exactly the kind of anti-Muslim bigotry & propaganda which my article condemns. Especially if it involves the usual far-Right tactic of distortion, obfuscation, and initially pretending to superficially respond to a particular point but then going into irrelevant bigotted tangents.

Any further comments by Cronous (or anyone else along similar lines) will therefore be deleted on sight. To those of you who replied to his remarks: I appreciate your efforts, but it’s a waste of time arguing with people who are only interested in self-servingly whipping up hatred.
What's the phrase I'm groping for? Ah yes, sanctimonious twat. There are good reasons for banning people, just as there are good reasons for the lesser sanction of deleting comments, though in my not particularly humble opinion both powers should be exercised sparingly and with great reluctance.

But to ban someone because he disagrees with you and argues his point cogently and politely?

I've never been able to take Jai seriously since the 85 Questions business. And now in addition to being a verbose bore, he reveals himself as a hollow bullying poltroon.

Oh and the 85 Questions, in case you missed them, were Jai's undoubted chef d'œuvre. Published in five parts, the best entry point is probably the final one here where there are links to the preceding four. Jai spent a good deal of time researching the BNP's published policies and manifesto and imagined the consequences of their implementation. He then eked out his hoard of challenging questions by trawling the public records of activists looking for individual unpleasantnesses he could generalize and project onto the party as a whole. The Magnificent Eighty-Five are more digestibly dipped into rather than read straight through. My all-time favorite is
31. Considering the sympathy towards the historical German Nazis, admiration for Nazism, Holocaust denial, and alliances with international anti-semitic organisations prevalent among senior members of the BNP, how will the British civilian population be protected in response to a nuclear attack by Israel upon the election of a BNP government?
The Picklers and their sympathizers then spent months gloating over the fact that the BNP failed to respond to this nonsense. (Though Griffin's then court jester Lee Barnes did eventually take the bait.)

Now you know why I can't be arsed commenting at PP any more, other than occasionally doing the blog equivalent of tossing a grenade over the wall.


Posh pikeys

In this remarkable tale in the Express
Travellers quit genteel resort...because the locals were 'too rude'
have a gander at the photograph illustrating the on-line story. The pictured "travellers" look offly posh to me, and the vans in the background look jolly clean. Even the hoss looks as if it would be more likely to go "Nyah!" than "Neigh!"

Do they have special upper-class pikeys then for upper-class places like Southwold?


Gobbledegook du jour

From Libcom.org, this gem
... everyone in the anarcho-situ-autonomist-libertarian type scene knows ...
Right on, man, right on!

20 August, 2010


Half an ear

I really must stop letting the Semi-Detached Mind listen to the wireless as I work. Just now Person's Hour is airing on Radio 4 and there is a discussion about habitual male adultery, or "Men are such Bastards" as I believe it is technically known in female circles.

So why, when the presentoose, Bidisha Eyjafjallajökull, refers to a "serial cheater", do I suddenly have this mental image of Tony the Tiger?

Ah yes,
serial cheater => cereal cheetah => Tony the Tiger
Oh dear. An hour's penance reading CiF for you my boy.

And, my oh my, I'll bet Katherine Whitehorn's splendid accent could cut glass at 400 yards. I wonder if it's ever been measured.

13 August, 2010


It's the silly season, innit?

I was going to write something serious, considered and carefully crafted (or something like that) about Sunny's latest offering, but the sun is shining its arse off here in Nouvelle Afrique so I'm going out and offer this snippet in its place. (I thought the South East was supposed to be washed away in a thunderstorm today; perhaps that's later on.)

Anyway, the massed newshounds of the UK, including the Mail and, with a rather more succinct headline, the Stroud News and Journal reveal to a shocked nation:


It's the vox pops that make you despair
Shocked mother-of-four Allison Hart could not believe the dead animal was not removed by the painters, who blitzed Hartlepool streets ahead of hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the Tall Ships Races.
"They knocked on people's doors to get them to move their cars, but whoever did this didn't even ask for a shovel to move the poor hedgehog."
I trust the authorities are offering these poor traumatized folk counselling.

A council spokestart adds
"This is obviously an unfortunate incident, but it was the only one reported during the massive project."
I'm sure that lessons will be learned and that Hartlepool will set up a Squashed Hedgehog Hotline next time.

Gordon Bennett! (Or, since we're in the middle of the Proms season, Richard Rodney Bennett!)

Update (five minutes later)

Clearly my skills in luring providence into temptation are undiminished. It is now pissing down.

10 August, 2010


Ambiguous headline of the day

The Semi-Detached Mind draws my attention to this curious item in Bedfordshire on Sunday:


— And after fondling your mirrors in a lascivious manner, you say, this person went on to make suggestive remarks about your tyre pressure?
— Brrrm!!

05 August, 2010


Tales from the Multiculture - WTF edition

General Gordon Place is a landscaped square, or small open park if you prefer, in the centre of Woolwich, named I presume after Gordon of Khartoum, a son of Woolwich back in the days when it was still British. The square is currently undergoing improvement following the semipedestrianization of adjacent streets and the relocation of the bus station. Among the improvements has been a permanent giant TV screen in one corner. It's not entirely obvious what it is for, what benefit it is supposed to confer upon the good burghers of the Occupied Territories. Most of the time it is as useful as the TV screens in Wetherspoons which run Sky News or BBC News 24 all the time with the sound turned down but no subtitles. (Mark you, if you're down your local 'Spoon mid-afternoon at least you can pass the time ogling Kay Burley's bum as she processes purposefully round the Sky studio.)

Anyway, the other day as I passed the Woolwich People's Telescreen on my way to the train station, it was showing a Hindi movie, subtitled in English, to a bemused audience of Nigerians.

Now there's diversity, look you.

04 August, 2010


The Godwinization of the Roma

A tediously predictable article and comment thread on CiF from some or other professional campaigner-for-hire fulminating against Sarko's plans to clamp down on trouble-making East European gypsies. The article is the usual human-rights bleat on behalf of persecuted innocents demanding their rights to be given stuff other people have to work for, and the comment thread descends almost immediately into the expected "Gypsies are thieving parasites" versus "Gypsies are innocent victims" shouting match between the usual suspects.

More interestingly, I notice that the Gypsies-as-Holocaust-Victim ploy, although not itself new, seems to be gaining a firm toehold, as exemplified by these extracts from reader comments:

Expletive (03/08/10 12:49):

People seem to forget that Hitler almost wiped the Roma people out, as a percentage of their population, these people were hit far harder than the Jews. But instead of offering them help at the end of the war (like the creation of modern Israel) the Roma have only ever been offered more prejudice

MiddleEnglandLefty (03/08/10 12:57):

Let's put them in death camps, all of them. Obviously the criminal activities described in this film define all Roma everwhere.

If this takes hold, the next time I complain about East European Gypsy women thrusting their sickly drugged sprogs at me in the expectation of a hand-out I shall presumably be accused of wanting to build gas chambers on Hyde Park. Oh, well.

Mind you, a homeland for the Romany, eh? The creation of the modern state of Israel wasn't actually a direct and conscious act of reparation for the Shoah as 'Expletive' implies, rather a Zionist coup acquiesced in by tired Europeans who had other things to worry about, but the idea of a homeland for the Romany diaspora is an interesting one. Somewhere in the Punjab, presumably. Chandigarh? Amritsar?

03 August, 2010


Auntie holds the line -- just

This morning's Today programme found itself in the awkward position not only of having to report the conviction of 9 men in Manchester for the grooming and pimping of a 14-year-old girl, but also of having to acknowledge that the men were all of "South Asian" (actually Pakistani Muslim) heritage while the victim was "White".

In the damage limitation exercise which ensues, we are treated not only to the predictable "White men commit such crimes too" but the rather more inventive "They target White girls because they would be more readily found out if they targeted girls in their own 'community'". This is not a racially-aggravated crime, we are repeatedly assured.

Nice try but no cigar. If that is the case, why are they not targeting victims in the Hindu, Sikh and the plentiful Black "communities" where similar arguments might be applied? Partly, I suspect, because the retribution from their own and other minority communities might be rather more unpleasant than modest terms of imprisonment. And partly because these are acts of anti-White racism. White girls are worthless slags, little more than subhuman prey to be exploited.

While we're listening to the BBC, I notice there were a couple of EDL gigs over the past few days, one fixture in London against the Muslim Defence League (I think) and a demonstration in Blackpool about the still unresolved issue of the death of Charlene Downes. While we hear nothing of these from Auntie, we do however hear the non-story of some nutters in Manchester going round throwing white powder (which turns out to be harmless) over the vehicles and persons of Black men, a serious matter which the police are treating as racially motivated.

Funny old world, innit?

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