Sunday, 27 September 2009

Switching sides.

If there's one thing the News of the World can be proud of, it's the ability to switch sympathies within a matter of hours after an opportunity for a headline presents itself.

Even more audacious than Carole 'I always liked Jade Goody, despite what I said earlier' Malone's attacks of literary diahorrea (something I want to get my teeth into later), the NotW has decided the quickest way to jump on the Andre v Andre gravy train is to get Dwight Yorke in for a bit of 'insight' into the matter.

The only person who can safely be assumed to be the villain of the piece is somewhat incredibly painted as the heroic father figure, with any whiff of fact thrown out of the window. Fair play to them, they've managed to attempt to portray a hero in a man that abandoned his disabled son after a brief relationship with a glamour model; this is pretty professional stuff considering the level of journalism is barely above that of a racist monkey on a typewriter.

Apparently Jordan's son sustained a burn to his leg, which when Yorke found, made him 'want to smash up the ward'. Not start court proceedings for full custody or call social services? Well, I guess he needed a few years to think about it first. I should probably say at this point that I'm completely indifferent to the characters involved in this banal tale, it's only the NotW's level of denial to the facts that makes me come across as some sort of Katie Price raging fanboy. I suppose I set my expectations too high of the Sunday papers, hoping to find something that resembles journalism on a Sunday is like finding something that resembles anything other than race hate in the Daily Mail.

But really, it's the columnists that do my head in. A recent story dominating my local headlines (and now national), is the sad tale of a woman and her disabled daughter who committed suicide after the police ignored the bullying taking place at the hands of local youths. A sad thing that happened when the police overlooked this case, one might think. Although Carole 'do you have kids? Then shut the fuck up' Malone sees it another, more hysterically paranoiic way:

"Fiona was a British... being terrorised on a daily basis - yet still she wasn't considered a priority in PC Britain. Perhaps if she'd been an illegal immigrant, someone from a different country claiming to have been persecuted - better yet if she'd been a victim of racism - I suspect teams of officers would have been beating a path to her door."

Yeah, Carole. Hit the nail on the head. Those fucking immigrants. You'd think we were blaming them for stuff they hadn't even done or something.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Fear tactics.

After news that Iran has taken North Korea's place as the wayward child of the United Nations and developed nuclear weapons, it's time to once again consider something we haven't needed to think about since the Cold War; what to do if a big fat nuke drops in our garden.

Ok, I'm being dramatic, obviously if that happened, no Scout's guide on Earth is going to change the toasted outcome of that one. However, there's nothing like Government information guides written and produced in the 70s and 80s to thoroughly scare the shit out of the British public in the name of information.

20 short films were produced in order to advise the public what to do if we were attacked with nuclear weapons. This one in particular is a highlight.

As if this wasn't enough to encourage one to be prepared for the incoming nuclear holocaust, the kids got their own version. Children's informational programmes about dangerous stuff in the 70s and 80s were known for inducing nightmares on a level that makes The Exorcist look like a walk in the park, with producers clearly deciding that pushing death in the faces of the young ones was the way forward. Even something as basic as telling them to stay away from deep water needed a Grim Reaper to hammer the message home.

Even after being hardened by this emotional abuse, there was nothing to prepare the little ones for Threads, a docu-film about a nuclear attack on Northern England. A thirteen-part series in small enough chunks to be shown in school classes, it's surprising more kids didn't join the armed forces for some emotional shelter. Here's some highlights from Threads:

After seeing this stuff, it always makes me crack a wry smile when people mention the desensitised youth with brains battered by horror and violence. Perhaps they just blocked out their own experiences with denial or a casual bit of alcoholism.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

I wonder what PETA have to say about this.

We've known for a while that Glenn Beck's state of mental health has been in a controlled and rapid decline.

His eagerness to prove a point through visual aids hasn't been an approach that has served him well recently (remember the 'oligarhy [sic]' blunder?), and this recent video is no exception.

I was at first rather disturbed by the combination of a smart blazer and tie with jeans, but as soon as I heard his description of Obama's presidency and saw the saucepan, I realised that the ending to this story wasn't going to be good.

It seems the payoff of this video was even better than I dared imagine.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but I think he could have done with a trial run of this beforehand. Maybe I'm being rather obtuse, but I didn't really understand the point he was trying to make.

I assume from the results of this experiment that Obama won this one by default.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I feel like such a square.

None of my parties were ever this cool.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Couch potatoes

So you may have seen the Derren Brown thing on telly on Friday, where he made loads of people stick to their chairs. Didn't work on many people, but luckily this girl filmed herself watching the video, causing more entertainment to me than the show itself.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Do the dog?

It has always struck me as rather odd that programmes which deal with issues such as addiction (well, I say 'deal' in the loosest terms) choose to be sponsored by gambling companies. Maybe they're just ensuring a long-term supply of guests, which seems like a plausible explanation.

Anyway, the task of portraying such a destructive activity like gambling is a tough one, and it's clear those marketing types are struggling. Here's Wink Bingo's most recent effort.

"Yeah, I have it! A bollocks CGI dog doing some Irish dancing!"

That said, I'll probably eat my words, when the country is swallowed into a global rec-... oh wait.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


I must confess, this played some havoc with my mind. Charles Bronson is so cool, even spraying deodorant is like a gunfight to him.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Wanted: My crayolas.

Damien Hirst has scored a rather spectacular own goal, after sending threats to a young artist for profiteering from his work. Cartrain was forced to stop selling his work as a result, and responded by stealing a box of Hirst's pencils from his Pharmacy exhibit, offering only to return them if his art was also returned to him.

The 'Wanted' style poster designed by Cartrain included the final line: 'You have until the 31st July to meet my demands, or the pencils will be sharpened'. According to Hirst, the pencils are worth over £500,000, and Cartrain has been arrested in relation to the theft.

Unfortunately for Damien Hirst, the public reaction to this story has been a very clear siding with Cartrain, especially in light of evidence that Hirst is not himself a stranger to plagiarism.

The top image is Hirst's 'Valium', produced in 2000, whereas the lower image is the work of computer graphic artist Robert Dixon, in 1984.

Looks to me like someone's throwing stones in glass houses.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Lord have mercy on my soul.

I often wonder why there's such a concern over Islamic fundamentalists when Christian fundamentalists so often demonstrate that it's them we need to keep an eye on.

The video below is something that will stay with me forever, a man from Los Angeles who has decided to preach the Bible using an assortment of puppets that wouldn't look out of place in Child's Play.

Apparently this is aimed at children. I'm pretty sure these are the same people that complain about corruption of youth through violence and horror on TV. I'd like to see David Lynch match this.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Freedom of the press.

If there's any danger British justice, it's the British Press.

Once again, they put their own profiteering needs before anyone else's, and manipulate the public into believing that they're doing them a favour.

A recent casing example? The Baby P case. I realise I put myself at risk with these words I am about to write, but if anything, that only proves how far this (admittedly sophisticated) process has gone. The pattern goes as this:

Appalling crime happens to an innocent victim, usually something none of us members of the public can contemplate without extreme emotion.

The British Press, in particular red-tops, spends weeks on end driving the message home of the abhorrence of the crime, and the suffering of the victim. At the same time, the articles build an underlying hatred in the reader for the perpetrator, with language such as 'monster', usually underlined and in capitals to ensure impact.

Over weeks and weeks, the public is spun into a frenzy of rage for the criminal(s) involved. The victim is almost forgotten in comparison to the bloodlust and murderous intents of the readers for the perpetrator. Usually this is expressed in forums, Facebook groups and any platforms that come to hand. In fact, the newspapers even have a comments section underneath their articles so we can be told what to think by our peers.

Then, the grooming process is complete. The Press strikes the moment the information is available and posts the names, faces and in some cases, locations of the perpetrators. The infatuated public leap at the scraps of information like rabid dogs to meat, and are suddenly a very real threat to the lives of the perpetrators.

Now, I ask you to put aside your own thoughts about the Baby P parents, murderous as they may be, for the moment. If we live in a country with a justice system, why on earth are the Press allowed to indirectly distract that course of justice? A murderer, rapist, kidnapper who comes to court, comes away with a sentence. Whatever our thoughts are on that sentence, too short, too soft, etc. it is not our place to interfere. If we take issue with the sentences imposed on criminals, the place to go is Parliament, not to criminals' homes to impart our own sense of justice.

The Press may not admit their approach, in fact, it may just be the collateral damage of their own profiteering, and not factor into their plans. However, to whip the public into a frenzy and cause them to crave personal details that they will impart when available is a dishonest technique to sell papers. It condones violence against criminals, which is not part of their sentence.

Some may say the Baby P parents deserved the death penalty, to be torn limb from limb. These are not few in number. I say to these people: campaign for the death penalty to be returned. They respond that certain people deserve it more than others. Where then, do we draw the line? We can't. Flawed as the justice system may be, it is a damn sight better than tearing those to pieces who we think deserve it. As a society, we are above that.

As a result, our government must spend millions on changing the identities of these said criminals, to avoid vigilante violence upon their release from prison. So not only do the Press exploit public information to sell papers, they cost the UK taxpayer doing so. Not that it's any guarantee of their safety.

It concerns me greatly that we're living in a society where it is becoming more and more socially acceptable to express murderous intent without a hint of irony. Criminals or not, it is impossible for anyone to decide that this person definitely deserves a violent death while another doesn't. Some even extend their violent urges to the care workers involved, who are accused of, at most, negligence in their job. When that warrants a violent death, I'll be leaving the country, and this simply underlines how far the papers have allowed this madness to go.

The Press gives the public a false sense of power, indirectly allowing them to think they can change the course of history with their bare hands. It is like the Emperor's new clothes, the papers encourage this criminal thinking as if it is something to be admired.

They even campaign under titles like 'Justice for Baby P' and similar titles. Put simply, there IS no real justice for a violent and painful death. The best we have is locking the perpetrators away for life, or a number of years decided by a jury in a legal court. 'An eye for an eye' belongs in the Old Testament, and needs to stay there. Anything within that vein makes our society no better than the few and far between criminals lurking within.

The news reaches the bunker

So Oasis have split and it's real this time and blahblahBLAH, but I found this related video in response to the break-up.