Monthly Archives: October 2005

This week’s ranter: The Moai is a recovering socialist who doesn’t like offending people but realises some of them need it. S/he blogs pseudonymously at Kalahari Lighthouse.

The hand-wringing racists of the Left

Over the past few years, I have begun to question all of the left-wing political assumptions I once had. Many of these assumptions, I maintain. A few I have discarded, such as the strongest and most unquestionable shibboleth of the European Left: anti-Israeli sentiment.

Anti-Israeli sentiment is the acceptable face of anti-Semitism. It is the last hatred that right-on, patchouli-scented hand-wringers allow themselves, and they revel in it. I have heard a woman sporting an Anti-Nazi League badge say “they shouldn’t even fucking be there in the first place”, before tearing into a rant worthy of Goebbels. This hatred is divorced from the horribly complicated facts of Middle Eastern politics — it is simple, naked hatred of the state of Israel, for the crimes of continuing to exist and of being Jewish. It is easy for Guardianistas to hate the Israelis: they are unashamedly Jewish, jingoistic in the face of threats, and technologically advanced. While the nations around them languish under despotic kleptocrats and fundamentalist clerics, the Israelis have built a successful nation, and have even had a female leader, Golda Meir (“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us”).

There are many good reasons to support the efforts of the Palestinians to found a stable democracy of their own, but hatred of Jews is not one of them. The world needs a functioning Arab democracy, desperately, and the Palestinians have undeniably been treated abominably in some cases. I blame the media. It seems every image of Palestine shown on the BBC is of weeping mothers — perhaps we should see some more shattered Jerusalem buses spattered with childrens’ blood? The politics are reduced to one dimension — suffering Arab, Jewish oppressor. Arab freedom fighter, murdering Jew soldier. Until the Palestinians and Arabia as a whole disavows the ancient mission to “drive the Jews into the sea”, no progress will be made. There are very few innocents in this battle, on either side. Seeing how it is depicted by the Left in this country makes my Gentile blood boil.

I’m looking after the review column this week while Nick’s away, so things will be a little different (that is, rubbish.)

I was going to write something about The Daily Show, now available Monday to Thursday on UK television thanks to Channel 4’s new spinoff channel More 4. Finally a reason to own a Freeview box. However, there seems little to add to this interview with the show’s Anchor, Jon Stewart, other than to say that you can download some taster clips from the Comedy Central website and the second half of each show, once the satire is out of the way, are usually interviews with an actor/writer/politician shilling their latest movie/book/self and can largely be avoided.

Anyway, a retrospective in instead. On Saturday, the fourth season of The Shield reached the end of its run on Five. I haven’t watched a police procedural show since Hill Street Blues and superficially that’s what The Shield is. For about the first five minutes of Episode One, Season One.

Set in a rundown precinct in a fictional poor area of Los Angeles, the show’s rap sheet is the usual litany of gangbanging (that’s running with gangs, not going to one of Kate Moss’ parties), drug dealing, shootings, rapings and so on. So far, so yawn.

But. The twist in this show is, to paraphrase Noel Coward in the Italian Job: “Camp Freddy, everyone in the precinct is bent.”

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M People were in Manchester last week, which meant that they were on heavy rotation on local radio. I hate M People more than I probably should. Manchester music used to be enjoyable on a number of levels. It was intelligent and scally, or depressing and danceable. It had a fully formed personality. It took an interest in things it hadn’t heard or seen before and tried to include those things in what it did next. Then back in the nineties it began to curdle into its constituent parts. There’s M People’s sales conference soul and then there’s the plastic gangsters from Burnage. Read More

As a recovering theoretical physicist, I often have the urge to break things down into the smallest possible component to see why and how they work. For those not in the know about the king of all sciences, the general trend over at least the last hundred years in physics has been for reductionism. During the 20th Century, the holy grail of modern physics was to formulate a single set of equations that would adequately describe the behaviour of both the very largest and very smallest things in the Universe, up till now described fairly adequately by the predictions of General Relativity (at the big end) and Quantum Mechanics / Field Theory (at the little end). The problem comes when you try to combine the two, and to cut a long story short, almost a hundred years of hard maths and conceptual dead-endery has left the world of theoretical physics pretty much none the wiser. Although we have quaffed a lot of coffee, and in the long run, that’s all that counts.
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This week’s ranter: MikesBooksandThinks, Retired
Engineer. Politically a shade to the right of Atilla the Hun. Writes in
his blog about books he has enjoyed, but mainly about politics and
politicians he detests!

Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom!

Imagine the impact which the exports of your country are having upon the
economies of the countries to which you export! Your own factory has
tripled in size since you moved from the tiny plant which started you off
in commerce, expansion continues, and your work force has multiplied by
over fifty times since you started out.

At the end of your working day, as you climb into your new Mercedes while
watching the evening shift pour through the gates, you allow yourself a
quiet smile of contentment! You are successful!

You steer your limousine along one of the new expressways, built in the
past two years to accommodate the explosion in commerce and car ownership, and onward towards the expanded house which is but the latest symbol of your success.

Your wife, waiting at the window while holding your son in her arms, waves
as you drive in through the automatic gates into your brick-lined drive;
and you greet her as you tousle your son’s hair.

Then your mood changes, you push away from your family and stand, rigid
with anger, at the window overlooking the garden; for there are two roses
blooming which had not flowered when you left for work this morning.

One rose commemorates the second son you would have had, if he had not
been aborted by the hospital staff as his tiny head emerged from your
wife’s body; aborted and killed because he was not authorised by the State!

The other rose, more poignant still, is in memory of your cousin, dead now
these sixteen years, mown down along with five thousand others in
Tiananmen Square by the tanks of the Mongolian Shock Army, as the Chinese
Communist State moved to crush any vestige of dissent against it’s rule
and diktat.

Welcome to another random walk in the blogforest. The rules are simple: start with an interesting blog that you don’t know, and write about it. Then, find another interesting blog on the first blog’s blogroll, and write about that – and so on. (But stop when you hit number six, no one’s got all day.)

This week I bring you a particularly beautiful bunch of blogs, featuring politics, photography, oil paintings, Japan, a lot of maps and more links than you could follow in a week. I took my lead from Shelley Powers’ Burningbird (an excellent blog in itself). Shelley introduced me to an extraordinary blog, which I hereby name as my #1 for this week: Mark Woods’ wood s lot.

Now five years old, wood s lot Read More

Following the death of toddler Andrew Morton, who earlier this year was killed by a nutter firing an airgun, the government has decided to further restrict sales of airguns:

The UK Government is to impose tighter controls on airguns following the murder of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, BBC Scotland has learned.

The Home Office could confirm as early as Thursday plans to restrict the sale of weapons to registered gun dealers. Firearms legislation is reserved to Westminster but the Scottish Executive has been lobbying for the law on the sale of air weapons to be tightened. The changes would be included in the UK Violent Crime Reduction bill.

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When one learns that George Monbiot has murder, venereal disease and marital breakdown in mind, one would be well advised to lock up daughters, cats, dogs, ferrets and other domesticated animals, and hope for the best. When one learns, however, that he has these things in mind only in abstract consideration of their connection to religion, one may relax a little, though one might want to have a word with the local vicar, lest he become excited; for Mr Monbiot is in bold mood: “The evidence is clear that murder, venereal disease and marital breakdown are all more common in religious cultures”. Read More

There is a scene in ‘America’s Sweethearts’ where John Cusack holds his head in his hands and chants “I am grateful for the sun. I am grateful for the trees” and so on ad infinitum. The general depression of my temporary unemloyed exile in my parents’ home in mouldy Glasgow (it has not stopped raining in three days) is generally alleviated by reminding myself of the two things that are here and here alone which I am grateful for: I am grateful for my dog and I am grateful for 500-odd channels of digital entertainment that my Dad pays for.

Last night’s launch of More4, with its eye-roll-inducing branding that I suppose the marketing men thought was “risque” “quirky” and “zany,” reaffirmed my thankfulness for digital. For a start, there was a joke on the “Daily Show” (heretoafter remonikered the “Day After Show,” as it is yesterday’s American edition) that, I am sure, I alone among the millions of Britons tuned in ‘got.’ What I was waiting for, however, was the “controversial” (read “quirky,” “risque” and “zany”) comedy drama “A Very Social Secretary.”

Without trying to step on Nick’s toes, he doesn’t seem to have digital, so I am going to attempt a review.
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