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Key Posts | Anorak - Part 3

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Charlottesville: white supremacist rally brings out liberals’ inner Nazi

Peter Cvjetanovic

 

Do you agree that pin-brained loons on the furthest reaches of the far right deserve free speech? Should Nazis get the same freedom of expression as the extreme far Left, the softest liberals, jihadis, Christians and the rest of us? If you answer ‘no’, you’re wrong. They should do.

You don’t earn the right to have an opinion; you have it by hard-won right.

If you ban one group from free thought and free expression you badly damage democracy. Bans on what can and cannot be said stymie progressive thought. Bans on free speech hand sovereign power to the authorities, who can then judge what it is the rest of us get to hear. You want Donald Trump to be charge of what can and cannot be said?

And hands up who wants to read the banned stuff, those words deemed taboo and too potent for your feeble mind to scrutinise with reason and ridicule? Banning it fetishises the thoughts you want destroyed. There are already enough berks jacking off to Nazi memorabilia. No need to encourage them.

On the shrill and wholly intolerant Change.org site, people are being invited to add their name to the petition “Fire & Expel Peter Cvjetanovic”. He’s the gurning loon goon filmed chanting white nationalist slogans during the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one woman allegedly was murdered. The petition calls for the University of Nevada, where Cvjetanovic studies, to boot him out. The petitioner writes:

We heard your statement about how it is challenging to expel him on legal grounds, but we are asking you to do it for moral reasons based on your school’s code of conduct. And we are asking you to do it because it is the right thing to do. 

Says who? Says you.

What a sad time we’re living in where we have to convince an institution of higher learning to expel a student for marching with the KKK and neo-Nazis.

No. A sad time was when you had to be in the Nazi party to go to college. One cretin giving full throat to his putrid thoughts is not sad for anything but him.

We know Cvjetanovic. Buy who else have the armchair detectives found? The New York Times reports:

After a day of work at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Kyle Quinn had a pleasant Friday night in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague. They explored an art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and dined at an upscale restaurant.

Then on Saturday, he discovered that social media sleuths had incorrectly identified him as a participant in a white nationalist rally some 1,100 miles away in Charlottesville, Va. Overnight, thousands of strangers across the country had been working together to share photographs of the men bearing Tiki torches on the University of Virginia campus. They wanted to name and shame them to their employers, friends and neighbors. In a few cases, they succeeded.

Mr. Quinn, who runs a laboratory dedicated to wound-healing research, was quickly flooded with vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram, he said in an interview on Monday. Countless people he had never met demanded he lose his job, accused him of racism and posted his home address on social networks…

“You have celebrities and hundreds of people doing no research online, not checking facts,” he said. 

Celebs like Jennifer Lawrence, who told her Facbeook followers:

“These are the faces of hate. Look closely and post anyone you find. You can’t hide with the internet you pathetic cowards!”As Twitchy notes, 

Say the wrong thing and the enlightened with pick up their torches, track down people and threaten’ them. Nice. As Reason states: “‘No Free Speech for Fascists’ Is a Truly Terrible Idea: The ACLU is right: Do you really want Donald Trump deciding who gets free speech?”

Greenwald gets it:

Last week, the ACLU sparked controversy when it announced that it was defending the free speech rights of alt-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to allow ads for his book to be displayed on public transit. Lost in the debate was that other groups the ACLU was defending along with Yiannopoulos were also censored under the same rule: Carafem, which helps women access birth control and medication abortion; the animal rights group PETA; and the ACLU itself.

For representing Yiannopoulos, the civil liberties group was widely accused of defending and enabling fascism. But the ACLU wasn’t “defending Yiannopoulos” as much as it was opposing a rule that allows state censorship of any controversial political messages the state wishes to suppress: a rule that is often applied to groups which are supported by many who attacked the ACLU here.

The same formula was applied yesterday when people learned that the ACLU of Virginia had represented the white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville after city officials tried to ban the group from gathering in Emancipation Park where a statue of Robert E. Lee was to be removed.

Free speech for all, then. No buts. Karl R. Popper explains further in The Open Society and Its Enemies:

The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.

Freedom from; or freedom to?

Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

In short: don’t be a Nazi.

Posted: 16th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


British spite rules! The grotesque Garden Bridge is dead

Hurrah! Boris Johnson’s vulgar Garden Bridge will not happen. Londoners should rejoice that this corporate carbuncle is dead. But not everyone is pleased. The Times says the Garden Bridge over the River Thames was “killed off by ‘spiteful’ mayor at cost of £50m”. Reading that you might suppose London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s spite cost £50m. But you’d be wrong.

 

garden bridge

Turning the Thames into a moat

 

The comment was made by Johnson, now foreign secretary, who opined: “It is so sad that Sadiq Khan has killed the Garden Bridge and wasted so much time and money. Labour has no vision for London and no ambition. The garden bridge was a beautiful project. The Labour mayor claimed to support it but killed it out of spite – because it was not initiated in his period of office. The only crumb of comfort is that good plans have been developed and can be readily revived.”

Good plans for a vanity project. Maybe they can be sold to Dubai or some other place where style of the obvious and expensive sort masks the lack of substance? The grotesque bridge Johnson’s childhood pal Joanna Lumley called a “tiara for the Thames” was much more a space for corporate shindigs than a useful and grand public crossing. Situated 200 metres from an existing bridge, the Garden Bridge was to be accessed by stairs or lift, closed between midnight and 6am and for several days a year (so the corporate well off can enjoy it) and paid for by £37.4m of public funding.

Whereas New York’s High Line gives the city a green walkway made out of a former elevated rail track on stilts, the bridge – five times the square-foot cost of the High Line – was a skin-deep marketing venture.

So why does the Times lead with the “spite” and not the soaring costs of the expensive eyesore? The paper features a “strongly worded letter to Mr Khan” from Lord Davies of Abersoch, chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, in which he moans: “About £9 million of public funds has been committed since the mayoral election, and had you made [in May 2016] the announcement you have made now, then most of that expenditure would have been avoided.”

Right enough. It should have been killed at the earliest opportunity. But if you’re going to focus on Khan’s costly dithering, why not mention also Johnson and his chums? The Times does note: “Although supporters had hoped that another benefactor would rescue the project, the estimated cost rose from £60 million to £200 million”. It was going to cost a lot more – and what of the ongoing maintenance?

And then this:

Despite raising £70 million in pledges, including £20 million from the Monument Trust, a charity, £10 million from Glencore, the mining company, and £5 million from Sky, a funding gap of £85 million remained.

So says the Times (prop, Rupert Murdoch) of Sky (prop. R. Murdoch). Part of the bridge the taxpayers funded and the elite wanted was to be named in honour of – yep – Sky.

The paper adds in “Behind the story”:

When work began in 2013, the Garden Bridge project showed every sign of flourishing and one day bearing fruit (Jonathan Morrison writes). It enjoyed the support of Boris Johnson, the London mayor and, through him, Transport for London; it had the blessing of George Osborne; and it enjoyed widespread support in the media and from celebrities.

Lumley loved it.

The design by Thomas Heatherwick, the man behind the London Olympics cauldron, was hailed as a masterpiece: showcasing, as the Games had done, the vein of optimism and genius running through Britain. Soon, £60 million had been allocated from the public purse.

A bad press helped to turn public opinion against the project…

Nah. The bad press had nothing to do with it’s spiking. Honesty did.

Posted: 15th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bill Baxley shames Trump: Alabama Attorney General tells the KKK to ‘kiss my ass’

President Donald Trump’s reaction to the death of Heather Heyer, 32, was lamentable, and to his many detractors illuminating. Heather Heyer, 32, from Charlottesville, was killed as Nazis, the KKK and other white supremacists clashed with counter-protestors in the city. Heyer was allegedly mowed down by a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr, 20, who has been charged with her murder. Nineteen other people were injured, some seriously, as the vehicle ploughed into anti-fascists.

 

James Fields Junior

James Fields Junior

 

Trump blamed “many sides” for the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” in Charlottesville. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” said Trump. “Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”

Trump did not condemn what was obviously a fascist gathering. It’s easy – and right – to bash Trump over his reluctance to call out racists. (It’s less simple to bash the liberal society which has wallowed in identity politics for so long, encouraging everyone to view life through the prism of racial and gender identity.)

Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator who ran against Mr Trump for the party’s presidential nomination, winces. He reasons that Trump “missed an opportunity to be very explicit here… These groups seem to think they have a friend in Donald Trump.” He’s not wrong. David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, chimes: “We’re going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump [to] take our country back.”

As Trump forgets to mention white supremacists at the white supremacists rally – whoops! – we hark back to one man who never forgot.

Trump’s no Bill Baxley.

On February 28 1976, Bill Baxley (born June 27, 1941), Attorney General of Alabama (1971 – 1979), replied to a letter from white supremacist Edward R. Fields – founder of the National States’ Rights Party and Grand Dragon of the New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

 

Bill baxley-letter-letter bombing

 

In 1971 Baxley had ordered the law to look again at the bombing of 16th Street Church – on Sunday September 15 1963 at 10:22 am four African-American girls (Addie Mae Collins, 14, Carol Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, 14, and Cynthia Wesley, 14) were murdered in a racially motivated attack.

In 1968, the FBI had closed their investigation into the bombing without filing charges against any of their named suspects, Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Edward Chambliss and Bobby Frank Cherry. The files were sealed by order of J. Edgar Hoover. Baxley had been a student at the University of Alabama when he heard about the bombing in 1963, and in 1977 recollected: “I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what.”

When Baxley took office he wrote the names of those girls on a small telephone calling card. In 2014, he told NPR why:

“I want to be reminded that before my term was over, I wanted to try to solve that case and do something about the people who killed the little girls. It took us a couple of years to really get on the trail of the right people. And when we finally got on the right group – Robert Chambliss and his group. He was the ringleader. He was responsible for 30 or 40 bombings over a two or three-decade period in Birmingham. His nickname was ‘Dynamite Bob’ and he was very proud of it. So then around about ’76, it got public that we were for the first time looking at that case and making some real progress.”

That’s when Edward R. Fields put pen to paper.

“Well, I took it as a threat,” said Baxley. “He called me a traitor to my race and how dare I prosecute or investigate these white Christian patriots and blah, blah, blah, blah. And so they demanded a response. So I sat down and wrote them a response.”

 

Bill baxley-letter-letter bombing

 

In 1977, Robert Chambliss was tried and convicted of the first degree murder of Carol Denise McNair. Thomas Blanton and Bobby Cherry were each convicted of four counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 and 2002 respectively, whereas Herman Cash, who died in 1994, was never charged with his alleged involvement in the bombing.

PS: Where were the police? An eyewitness recalls:

“There was no police presence. We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park watching… I’ve seen how the police have managed crowds here in Madison, Wisconsin — huge rallies with opposing sides. I’d like to know how the police in Virginia could be so impotent. Are they so afraid of being accused of doing something wrong that they protect themselves by doing nothing?”

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 14th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Lena Dunham and the Twitter narks are coming for you

Anyone hankering for Ostalgie (nostalgia for East German life behind the Berlin Wall) should know that elements of American society are sympathetic to your mood. Ersatz liberals are operating a sinister and tentacular network of volunteer narks who will grass you up for failing to adhere to ‘right’ thinking. Their preferred medium is twitter, over which wrong thinkers will be publicly shamed. If all goes well, the enemy will be interrogated by their employee before dismissal, shunned by their friends and ostracised by decent, tolerant society.

Last week, actress Lena Dunham was on surveillance at a US airport. She picked up two flight attendants engaging in what she termed “transphobic talk”. Swiftly she hopped on Twitter’s spite hotline and grassed: “Not gonna call out the airline who delayed cuz shit happens BUT I did just overhear 2 @AmericanAir attendants having a transphobic talk.”

American Airlines got in touch with Dunham. No, not to condemn her as an insidious voyeur for spying on two working stiffs having a private conversation, but to seek help in fingering the miscreants. Dunham provided details of the conversation and directions as to how the Untermensch could be found.

“I heard two female attendants walking talking about how trans kids are a trend, they’d never accept a trans child and transness is gross,” said Dunham to American Airlines. “I think it reflects badly on uniformed employees of your company to have that kind of dialogue going on. What if a trans teen was walking behind them? Awareness starts at home but jobs can set standards of practice. Thanks for your consideration!”

 

 

lena dunham trans nark A

 

 

Ella Whelan notes:

Dunham’s latest attempt to call out prejudice reveals her own prejudice. She felt comfortable ratting out workers to their boss because left-liberals like her no longer have any interest in expressing solidarity with working people. They also have no interest in free speech. The idea that your employer should punish you for what you say and believe is apparently fine. As a result of the impact of Dunham’s tweet, it wouldn’t be surprising if the two American Airlines attendants soon found themselves out of work.

This is how low the PC brigade will stoop to pose as good and decent. All Dunham’s tweet achieved was to prove that she was a self-righteous eavesdropper. She even tweeted a warning to other employees who might dare to have a political opinion different to hers: ‘Headed back to the airport and I guess my biggest hope is that people will keep it cute. But if they don’t YOU WILL KNOW.’ Beware the PC police – they will try to get you fired if they disagree with you.

Thankfully, no “uniformed” worker was doxxed or sacked. “We always look into complaints from customers, but at this time, we are unable to substantiate these allegations,” American Airlines told Fox News“From the team members we hire to the customers we serve, inclusion and diversity is a way of life at American Airlines. Every day, our team members work to make American a place where people of all generations, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations and backgrounds feel welcome and valued.”

Win-win, then. The airline got to showcase its sound moral credentials. The minted celebrity got to look good and teach the lesser beings a lesson. And the somewhere in East Germany a man ran his hand over his pliers and dared to dream of a return to the good old days when everyone agreed on everything.

Posted: 11th, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Google blacklists Damore to protect weak women from diverse opinions

Everything is not rosy at Google. An internal memo written by Google engineer James Damore accusing the internet behemoth of operating as an “ideological echo chamber” is riding high on the news cycle. Google, opined Damore, is a place where the company’s approach to diversity is taboo. Google “dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the ‘victims’,” he wrote. And for saying that he was – get this-  sacked.

“I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” says Damore. He says “differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50 per cent representation of women in tech and leadership”. He adds that ‘”discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business”.

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, read that and decreed that Damore had amplified “harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”. Google’s workforce is 69% male. A mere 2% of Google staff are African American.

 

Damore’s views were not debated. He was fired. He lost his livelihood for being a disruptor, something Google, which owns YouTube, is proud of saying of itself. You must stick to the orthodoxy or perish. Free expression is out at Google. But Pichai maintains, “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves.” That’s not free speech you can hear – that’s the soft wind of everyone nodding in agreement.

Damore touched a nerve. Google fired him to advertise its own sound morals. Never mind that women are underrepresented and one in 50 workers at any paygrade is African American, just read the press releases and know that Google upholds diversity and equality and will punish anyone expressing ‘the wrong’ views. On Google’s diversity page, Pichai is quoted saying, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” Oh, the irony.

Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, tells us in response to Damore: “Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

She fails to tells us why, though. Damore did not understand the point of Google’s diversity programs. Does it improve results? Can its success be measured? Google defines itself as ‘diverse’ – Damore was sacked for breaking its “code of conduct”.

Picahi adds that female Googlers “are hurting and feel judged based on their gender”. Lucky for them that the blokes in charge are there to rally to the defence of these ultra-sensitive, simpering women who tremble and cower in the face of a man with a memo.

 

Posted: 10th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Facebook is punishing smaller publishers

Is Facebook a friend to quality journalism? As well as publishing Anorak, I publish Flashbak. It’s Facebook page is up to 280,000 followers. But very few of the people who choose to follow the Page get to see it. Facebook limits the reach of anything I and others post there.

To reach every reader who wants to see our stories in their newsfeed, we’d have to pay Facebook a few hundred dollars per post. Post 5 stories a day and we’d be giving Facebook around £1,000. Add that up over a week; a month; a year. We can’t afford it. But that’s the deal. So we play along in the hope that readers will seek us out and find us though Facebook and other means – such as a weekly newsletter pulled together by the excellent Rob Baker.

But Facebook is making it even harder. Facebook is to penalise “reposted” content. They want us to post “new, original, content”. Posting links to stories on Flashbak.com we’ve taken a long time to research and resource, for instance, will be seen by even fewer readers. But slap up a livestream video of one of us walking about an art gallery, say, and lots more people will see it.

Come on, Facebook, we want to work with you but you’re making it harder and harder for small and mid-sized publishers to make the deal work .

Posted: 9th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Alexis Sanchez was in Paris to get his UK work permit

alexis sanchez agents Paris

 

You read the news that Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has “agreed“a  four-year contract with Paris Saint Germain? You read that the Arsenal player had been in Paris to meet with PSG reps? And like me you thought it odd that no-one had a photo of Sanchez in Paris. Now Sanchez is in London, training with – yep – Arsenal. But the Daily Mail has news: “Judgment Day: Wantaway Sanchez flies back to London ahead of return to Arsenal… but what was he doing with his lawyer in Paris?”

He was, er, agreeing to play for PSG?

The Mail doesn’t answer. It just notes that “his brief stop-off in France has led to some fans questioning whether PSG is his next destination, while Man City supporters are still hopeful he will arrive at the Etihad.”

Hie next destination turned out to be Arsenal. Which leaves us to wonder what Sanchez was doing in Paris, if it wasn’t to sign a contract with PSG? The Daily Telegraph explains:

Ruben Inostroza Povea, who is Sanchez’s lawyer, uploaded a picture of the pair preparing to leave Santiago airport, Chile, on Sunday evening.

Odd. The paper said he was already in Paris. But at least his time there was a photo to prove that he wasn’t. But why was Sanchez heading to the French capital?

According to Povea’s Instagram picture, the trip included a stopover in Paris, where the forward is thought to have renewed his British work permit.

Just like he did in 2014, when he first joined Arsenal.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Did the Kosher Conspiracy do for Kevin Myers – sacked for using anti-Semitic tropes in the Sunday Times?

The Sunday Times has sacked Kevin Myers for his appalling article on the BBC gender pay gap. In it, Myers looked own the list of BBC earners and picked out Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman. The two Jews, he suggested, earned more because of their Jewishness.

The story is no longer on the paper’s website but you can see part of it below:

 

Sunday Times Kevin Myers Jews

 

Myers wrote:

I note that two of the best-paid women presenters in the BBC – Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, with whose, no doubt, sterling work I am tragically unacquainted – are Jewish. Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity. I wonder, who are their agents?”

Myers has gone. The paper has apologised. But how did the nastiness ever make it into print in the first place? Frank Fitzgibbon, editor of the Sunday Times Ireland, tells everyone: “As the editor of the Ireland edition, I take full responsibility for this error of judgement.”

Judgement? He means the story was looked at and approved? And what of Myers, who in 2009, wrote for the Irish Independent:

“There was no holocaust (or Holocaust, as my computer software insists) and six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich. These two statements of mine are irrefutable truths.”

That article remained online until yesterday. Didn’t the Sunday Times know what it was getting with Myers on the payroll? Didn’t it just get what it paid for?

 

 

Irish Indy Kein Myers holocaust

 

 

The New Statesman’s ‘Media Mole’ says Myers has been sacked for using an “antisemitic trope”. It goes on:

The Irish edition of the Sunday Times operates separately from the UK versions of the Times and Sunday Times. However, the column’s appearance on the TheTimes.co.uk is likely to reflect on the brand as a whole.

Rival organs like to stick the boot in, using the others’ pain to bolster their own sound morals. But readers might recall the New Statesman’s vile cover which employed another anti-Semitic trope, that of Jews being only out for themselves:

 

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy

 

Its editor followed up:

“The cover was not intended to be anti-Semitic, the New Statesman is vigorously opposed to racism in all its forms. But it used images and words in such a way as to create unwittingly the impression that the New Statesman was following an anti-Semitic tradition that sees the Jews as a conspiracy piercing the heart of the nation.

“I doubt very much that one single person was provoked into hatred of Jews by our cover. But I accept that a few anti-Semites (as some comments on our website, quickly removed, suggested) took aid and comfort when it appeared that their prejudices were shared by a magazine of authority and standing.”

It’s funny how so many intelligent, sensitive and compassionate people keep getting it wrong and coming across as anti-Semitic bastards. But – hey-ho – you can’t legislate for your readers’ misunderstanding.

Sunday Times cartoon shows bloodstained Netanyahu burying Obama in his wall of death

Posted: 31st, July 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Angelia Jolie’s celebrity colonialism comes a cropper

Angelina Jolie has been casting for her film set in Cambodia. The film, First They Killed My Father, features children living under Pol Pot’s murderous regime. According to Evgenia Peretz writing for Vanity Fair, the auditions involved a novel form of mental torture and exploitation. Jolie, a woman with the purchasing power to pluck orphans from slums, slap an ‘X’ on the names and transport them to an American mansion to appreciate the kind of lifestyle a Russian oligarch might find gauche, was looking for the right kind of desperate child:

To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie says. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.” Jolie then tears up. “When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral.”

Presumably all the losers in this ugly contest got an all-expenses paid trip back to the slums from whence they’d came. And what of the local stage school kids who’ve trained to act – because it’s all about pretending, right? Would Jolie pull a similar stunt in the US? Would poor children in Jolie’s native LA be used to make the stinking rich, self-aggrandising narrator’s moralising resonate with purpose and meaning?

Angelina Jolie says she’s been misrepresented. She responds:

Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present. Parents, guardians, partner NGOs whose job it is to care for children, and medical doctors were always on hand everyday, to ensure everyone had all they needed. And above all to make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history.

I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened.

The point of this film is to bring attention to the horrors children face in war, and to help fight to protect them.

Is grandstanding and ‘raising awareness’ better than coming up with solutions and handing over cash? Jolie’s work is a movie, something she hopes people in her homeland will spend their leisure time and money watching. Celebrity colonialism might well make viewers and fans in rich countries take notice of stuff in poorer places but is there a shred of evidence it changes lives other than those lucky enough to make it on the plane to the land of make believe?

Posted: 30th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Reject new trolling laws: free speech means being free to lampoon and abuse MPs

British politicians have been subjected to a wave “of racism, sexism and homophobia” on social media, spiking during the General Election. Not all of it is satirical lampooning of our elected and unelected representatives. A fair amount of it is cruel and vindictive. But – yep, there’s the ‘but’ – so what? If you trammel what can and cannot be said to an MP, you have lost an essential part of democracy.

Tory MP Simon Hart said things have taken a turn for the worse. The “robust banter followed by a shake of the hand and a pint in the pub” of past campaigns has mutated into ‘”death threats, criminal damage, sexism, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and general thuggishness”. Was none of that there before? And can the downturn in pubic discourse be linked to the death of pubs, hastened by the smoking ban and tax on booze? The problem is not one of less pubs, of course, but more internet, which has given voice not only to the oppressed and isolated but also to the bigots, prudes, nutters, mentally negligible and mouth breathers.

So Theresa May PM has ordered the Committee on Standards in Public Life to investigate whether existing laws governing threats against MPs are enough. The mood is that new laws are required to keep MPs protected and the less attractive elements of the demos at bay. The Independent says the MPs are looking at “online trolling laws”.

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, had a word on her own experiences. “We are talking about mindless abuse and in my case the mindless abuse has been characteristically racist and sexist,” she said. “And just to outline I’ve had death threats, I’ve had people tweeting that I should be hung if ‘they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight’. There was an EDL-affiliated Twitter account BurnDianeAbbott, I’ve had rape threats, described as a pathetic, useless, fat, black, piece of shit, ugly, fat, black bitch.”

Nasty. But is being “pathetic” the same as being threatened with rape? Can mindlessness be banned? What about the figures?

Research undertaken by Buzzfeed News and the University of Sheffield looked at 840,000 tweets sent during the month before June 8.

It found that male Conservative MP candidates received the highest percentage of abuse on Twitter while male Ukip candidates were second with just over four per cent of their mentions deemed to be abusive.

Male Labour candidates were next with just under four per cent while female Conservative candidates were also on about four per cent.

Meanwhile, just over two per cent of female Labour candidate mentions were abusive.

What’s considered abusive?

 

Moron. Twat. Coward. Should such words be banned? Of course not. A new law that protects politicians from being hailed by such words – a law that criminalises us from using them when addressing one of our elected reps – is abhorrent.

In 1964, the US Supreme Court ruled that “debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

Well said.

Freedom of speech is, as AA Gill noted, “what all other human rights and freedoms balance on.” Don’t let them or anyone own it.

 

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Police find 30 eyeballs in man’s anus

anal eyeballs

 

Having stopped a car being driven by Roy Tilbott, 51, Wyoming police spotted a few eyeballs on the road close to where the suspect was standing. They seemed to have have slid down from somewhere inside Tilbott’s shorts.

When challenged at gunpoint, Tilbott told police the eyeballs were not human, rather cow eyeballs he’d stolen from Johnson Meats (a slaughterhouse) where he worked as a butcher.

“Company won’t let us take animal scraps home and instead toss them in the landfill,” said Tilbott according to the police report. “They’re a very wasteful company. We should be allowed to take scrap meat and other parts home. The company should start a green initiative. They don’t even have recycling at the plant. I enjoy eating bovine eyeballs and smuggling them out in my colon was the only way I knew how to get them out without potentially getting caught and fired. I put them in soups. They’re beneficial for erectile dysfunction, which I currently battle, but I also just like the texture and taste.”

Tilbott was breathalyzed and arrested for driving under the influence. He was also in possession of a number of large carving knives. Police don’t know what else to charge Tilbott with because no theft has been reported.

File under: no kebabs in Wyoming?

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Conor McGregor wears the jersey of the NBA player who slept with Mayweather’s wife

Conor McGregor v Floyd Mayweather is worth the admission fee. My money’s on the American. But in the build up McGregor is putting in the big hits:

 

conor mcgregor mayweather sex

 

It reminds me of the when Muhammad Ali took on Sonny Liston. McGregor is cast in the role of Ali:

David Remnick explains:

Fury and confusion. Sonny Liston was a very simple man, intellectually limited, and this drove him crazy. He was a great and powerful fighter. He thought he would have no trouble with this guy who fought like Sugar Ray Robinson. He danced around the ring, which, you know, was a bit fey for a heavyweight, after all. And Cassius Clay, who was fearful of Sonny Liston in his heart because he knew how powerful he was – he had seen what he had done to Floyd Patterson – wanted to find a way to get to his mind, to unnerve him. To scare him. To make him second-guess. To think really, that he was crazy because the one thing that Sonny Liston couldn’t deal with was somebody who was nuts. Always in prison – where Sonny Liston had spent some time – the person you never dealt with, the person you always avoided was the crazy man. That’s what you avoided.

And so – and Cassius Clay knew that. I’m calling him Clay now, because that’s who he was at the time. And Clay did things like, you know, drive his bus to Sonny Liston’s house in the middle of the night, at 3 o’clock in the morning, run up to the door, and start pounding on the door screaming and yelling and acting like an insane person. And Sonny Liston would come out on the lawn in his shorty bathrobe not knowing what to make of this guy. And it really unnerved him. And Clay and then Ali did it over and over and over again. And the one thing Sonny Liston couldn’t deal with was a madman. But for Clay, of course, it was all by design.

And the most famous instance of it was the weigh-in before the first fight. The weigh-in, Cassius Clay comes in and starts screaming and yelling. Usually these are routine performances in which you really don’t do anything other than get weighed and flex your muscles and get the hell out of there. He’s screaming and yelling – I’m going to destroy him – and he’s jumping at Liston. It was the most amazing performance, and Sonny Liston went into that ring thinking he was dealing with a nut.

After reading that I’m less sure about Mayweather walking it. McGregor’s got chutzpah. It might just carry him through.

Posted: 25th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Charlie Gard is allowed to die

The legal fight for Charlie Gard’s future is over. The desperately ill child’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have ended their five-month court battle for their son to be released from care at Great Ormond Street Hospital and undergo experimental treatment in the USA. They accept that the damage to their 11-month-old’s muscle and tissue is “irreversible”.

It was ever the expert opinion heard at the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Vatican that Charlie Gard should be allowed to die. His parents and thousands of others, many of whom donated to a fund to send Charlie to the US, disagreed. On twitter they pleaded #dontkillcharlie and became part of #charliesarmy.

Big media fanned the story. In the Daily Mail, we read Connie’ words: “When I think about willingly turning off Charlie’s life support, with him dying in our arms, I cry uncontrollably… He has chubby, squeezable little legs, his hair needs to be combed more.”

Emotion or ethics? Hope or reason? Parental love or the pragmatic State? Pick you side.

Today Connie Yates told the the judge: “We have always believed that Charlie deserved a chance at life.” He said time had been “wasted” on legalities. “Had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy,” she continued. “He may well have had some disabilities later on in life but his quality of life could have been improved greatly… Now we will never know what would have happened if he got treatment but it’s not about us. It’s never been about us. It’s about what’s best for Charlie now. At the point in time when it has become too late for Charlie we have made the agonising decision to let him go.”

Mr Justice Francis was at pains to remind everyone that in “this country children have rights independent of their parents”. He added: “The world of social media doubtless has very many benefits but one of its pitfalls, I suggest, is that when cases such as this go viral, the watching world feels entitled to express opinions, whether or not they are evidence-based.”

The watching word expressing opinion is never a pitfall. It’s glorious. But ultimately, it was futile.

Posted: 24th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The ASA war on gender means mum gets the power drill and dad goes to Iceland

asa gender

 

The Advertising Standards Authority once complained about this site. An advert featuring Page 3 stunna Lucy Pinder was sexist, they alleged. Pinder welcomed readers to Old Mr Anorak’s throbbing organ, which for filthy lucre had been sheep-dipped in Lynx, the stuff that drives women wild with lust. It was all a lot of nonsense. Pinder was willing. No readers were damaged. And rumours abound of a whole generation of young Anoraks. Now the ASA is going for other “gender-stereotypical” commercials, seeking to censor inappropriate ads “that feature stereotypical gender roles”.

There’ll be no more Pinder presenting her primary sexual characteristics like Saint Agatha in a bikini. No more Oxo mum feeding her family. No more Ronseal man telling us it does “exactly” what it says on the tin. And no more ads for yoghurts in which a baby-voiced female celebrity talks about her “tummy”.

Such amplification of “stereotypical gender roles” can “cause harm”. These ads “reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others see them”. It turns out that Lynda Bellingham is a bigger role model than your actual mum and dad.

So mum gets the power drill for Christmas after all, and dad gets a trip to Iceland for own-brand ketchup and other tastes of regret.

How’s that for progress?

Posted: 20th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Clickbait Balls: Manchester United and Arsenal fans tricked by world’s worst journalism

sanchez manchester united

 

Transfer Balls: The Manchester Evening News has big news for Arsenal and Manchester United fans: “Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho talks Alexis Sanchez.”

Can it be that Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is on Manchester United’s shopping list? Having reached the MEN’s scoop through Google News, the story begins:

Jose Mourinho has admitted it is a ‘shame’ Manchester United did not sign Alvaro Morata and appeared to dismiss any chance of a move for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

He only “appeared” to. So there’s a chance Mourinho wants Sanchez.

When Mourinho was asked by a Spanish journalist if United were attempting to sign Morata, he replied in Spanish: “It is a question for Florentino [Perez, the Real president]. I don’t know the first thing about Sanchez.”‘

Weird answer, no? Mourinho just tags Sanchez onto the end of a reply. Has he done that to wind up Arsenal and Manchester City, who were said to be keen on the Chilean? No. He’s not talking about Alexis Sanchez. He’s talking about Jose Angel Sanchez, Real Madrid’s director general.

 

 

But The Metro didn’t even bother to read that. It thunders:

Freudian slip? Jose Mourinho mentions Alexis Sanchez to send Manchester United fans into transfer meltdown

 

 

clickbait manchester united arsenal

 

Undeterred by fact, the Metro coughs up a cut-out-and-keep guff of dire journalism. This is it pretty much the clickbait balls in full:

Jose Mourinho has got Manchester United fans very excited by accidentally mentioning Alexis Sanchez’s name when asked an unrelated question at his post-match press conference.

The Portuguese oversaw a 5-2 victory against LA Galaxy in the early hours of Sunday morning, and afterwards he was asked, among other things, about Real Madrid frontman Alvaro Morata.

But curiously, Mourinho appeared to get the Spanish striker and Arsenal’s wantaway Chilean mixed up, with many fans now speculating that it was a Freudian slip hinting at genuine interest.

When Mourinho was asked by a Spanish journalist if United were attempting to sign Morata, he replied in Spanish: ‘It is a question for Florentino [Perez, the Real president]. I don’t know the first thing about Sanchez.’

The exchange got pulses racing, with United fans debating whether it was an accidental slip of the tongue or something more substantial…

Of course, it is possible that the Special One innocently misspoke, or he would even have been referring to a different player – midfielder Renato Sanches, perhaps.

But even his choice of language – saying ‘I don’t know’ rather than categorically ruling out a transfer… has got United fans hot under the collar.

One day on from that total balls, the Metro reads the clicks, senses that it’s on to something and produces the follow-up piece:

Why Jose Mourinho – not Pep Guardiola – is the perfect manager for Alexis Sanchez

Ewan Roberts didn’t bother to check the source of his opinion piece. He just thunders:

Jose Mourinho doesn’t do innocent slips of the tongue. Depending on how cynical you are, his name-dropping of Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ranks somewhere between a Freudian slip or the planting of a seed. Whether he intended to or not, the Portuguese has inserted Manchester United onto the list of potential suitors for the Chilean – and they may even top it, with Old Trafford arguably a better fit than their sky blue rivals down the road.

 

 

The article based on poor research and what looks like a cynical disregard for readers trawls on and on, pausing a while to produce a graphic of what Sanchez would look like in the United side:

 

 

It’s “random” stuff says one writer at the clickbait-driven Telegraph:

 

 

More great journalism when we spot it.

 

Posted: 20th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Radiohead and Slash sticks it to BDS bigots: Jewish Devils get the best tunes

When Thom Yorke’s gave BDS the finger, we cheered. You should cheer too. The monocular Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) mob demanded Radiohead cancel their show in Tel Aviv, Israel – a country vast in the Bible and Leftish dogma but in reality small and dusty. “Their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side – the one that supports apartheid,” said Jeremy Corbyn’s mate Ken Loach in the Independent. “Every international artist who plays in Israel serves as a propaganda tool for the Israeli government.”

Anyone who saw and enjoyed the Corbyn set at Glastonbury will hope the Jewish state finally sees sense and Tel Aviv gets twinned with Somerset and Islington. Politics is music and music is politics, hymns the popular song of the correct, compassionate and knowing.

Many more have added their voices to the chorus seeking to impose a cultural blockade on Israel, its peoples and anyone who agrees with them in the spirit of – get this – inclusivity, equality and diversity. Desmond Tutu, Roger Waters, Thurston Moore and Dave Randall were all aghast at Radiohead’s concert in the Israeli beach-side city. “Music helps drown out the cries of the oppressed,” opined Randall without irony. Music does more harm than good. It’s the kind of message sure to get a sympathetic ear among the Taliban.

“Anybody who’s tempted to do that, like our friends in Radiohead, if only they would actually educate themselves,” advises knowing Waters, who addresses Yorke in an open letter on a BDS live chat: “I look forward to – if you feel like it, when you finish your trip to Israel, because you probably still will go – write me a letter and tell me how much good you did and how much change you managed to affect by chatting with musicians.”

In the face of the scholarly and superior Waters, Yorke is defiant. “We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others,” he said. “As we have in America. We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art and academia is about crossing borders, not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression.”

He goes on. “Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny.. [Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood is married to an Arab-Jew]. Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word ‘apartheid’ around and think that’s enough. It’s fucking weird. It’s such an extraordinary waste of energy.”

Although it’s not weird to make the world’s one Jewish state a special case for censorship. Israel’s unique status among the enlightened too-often smells of something horribly familiar and nasty. Throughout history the people of God’s dad are often a special case.

But never fear, Jews and your apologists. The Devil always has the best tunes. Pink Floyd’s Waters – a fair-minded and reasoned man who compares modern-day Israel to Germany under the Nazis – can’t make it. But Guns ‘n Rose can. Take it away, Slash:

 

Posted: 19th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jodie Whittaker: the naked Dr Who photos too racy for tea-time telly

jodie-whittaker-doctornaked

 

That the latest incarnation of Dr Who is a woman and not a child or a fridge freezer has not escaped the Sun and the Daily Mail. The papers reviewed Jodie Whittaker’s pre-postgrad career in time travel and noticed that she’s appeared starkers.

Both tabloids have shown their readers pictures of Whittaker naked or topless in previous acting work. To which you might wonder, ‘So what?’ She’s a grown woman who took the roles that required disrobing in the best possible taste under free will. But something called the Equal Representation for Actresses (ERA), is upset. “We are delighted by the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor,” says the camping group without humour, mistaking the BBC’s Verne-fed gurn-fest for an actual character. “However, we are surprised and disappointed by the Daily Mail and the Sun’s reductive and irresponsible decision to run a story featuring pictures of Jodie in various nude scenes.”

The show’s Daleks were naked, moreover the Cyberman and K-9, Dr Who’s robot dog. All nude. Why is it different for Whittaker? Is it because women are so weak that she needs special protection?

 

Jodie Whittaker naked

 

Doctor of Morals

Everything about the BBC’s cash-cow is contrived to milk viewers. What began as a bit of fun is now a marketing campaign so message-laden Dr Who should be recast as a Royal Mail van driver. The last Dr Who looked like your grandfather, or at least the head of English at an inner-city Academy. He was tooled-up with a magic screwdriver in place of plot. When that MacGuffin flagged, he scored a gay female sidekick, who for added twitter-appeal was also black. “It shouldn’t be a big deal in the 21st Century. It’s about time isn’t it?” Pearl Mackie, who played the sidekick told the BBC. “That representation is important, especially on a mainstream show.”

Good for her. But the suspicion is that her identity-first role was led less by desire for change than it was it to suppress desire of a more base sort in the Beeb’s post-Savile era. There was no chance of the Aunty who tuned a blind eye to depravity letting old man Peter Capaldi anywhere near someone young and female who could be perceived as some kind of love interest.

So now you get Dr Who who looks most like a primary school teacher, albeit one with a racier past. She’s safe around children, and on parents’ evening, there’s something for dad to contemplate.

Posted: 18th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mobikes in the canal restores faith in the spirit of Manchester

In Manchester new Chinese bikes are creating artificial reefs in the city’s waterways. It’s terrific. Although it might not be what the Chinese company behind bicycle sharing service Mobike envisioned when it launched in the UK. Can Mobike disrupt Manchester travel?

I really wanted to believe that Mancunians could be trusted with nice things. Just over a fortnight ago, a Chinese company called Mobike brought 1,000 shiny new silver and orange bikes to my city. Unlockable with a smartphone and available to rent for just 50p for half an hour, they could be ridden wherever you liked within Manchester and Salford and, crucially, could be left anywhere public once you were done.

I was an immediate convert, boasting about the superiority of our new bike-sharing system over London’s, pitying sadsacks in the capital who had to trundle around looking for a docking station. One sunny evening shortly after the launch, I rode a Mobike to Salford Quays, where I swam a mile in the filtered water of the glistening Lowry, reflecting as I did my backstroke that Manchester was starting to feel rather European. I had always fancied living in Copenhagen, where the cyclist is king and the harbour has been turned into a lido. Was I now living that continental dream?

Two weeks on and I fear that a dream is all it was. There are Mobikes in the canal, Mobikes in bins and I am fed up with following the app to a residential street where there is clearly a Mobike stashed in someone’s garden. On launch day, the Chinese designer told me the bikes were basically indestructible and should last four years without maintenance. It took a matter of hours before local scallies worked out how to disable the GPS trackers and smash off the back wheel locks.

On Thursday, none of the eight bikes showing on the app as being near my house were actually there. I was so incensed when I reached the location of the ninth and could see it locked away in a backyard that I lost control of my senses and knocked on the door. A young man opened it and I asked nicely if I could rent the bike. He looked surprised and said, no, it was his, and anyway, he needed it later. I explained that was not how the system worked, that the bikes were public, and that if everyone was as selfish as him the whole thing would collapse. He rolled his eyes and told me I would be trespassing if I dared try to fetch it.

You see, what works in a totalitarian state where everyone’s being monitored doesn’t work in Manchester. Good-oh. Theft isn’t right, of course not. But to assume compliance and that people offered a 50p bike ride home will treat the thing with dutiful respect represents a failure to understand your target market.

PS: Chinese airline Wings of China can update its advice to travellers visiting the UK. The 2016 Air China guide told its passengers to avoid visiting areas of London “populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people” – and “We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling.”

The chapter on Manchester should be a hoot.

Spotter: The Guardian:

 

Posted: 17th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Break up long journeys with 30 hours of free Dr Who radio plays

Dr who audio tapes

 

On Spotify, you can listen to 30 hours of Doctor Who audio dramas. The recordings feature six actor to have played the BBC’s Dr Who.

A Dr Who fan on Reddit has made the list:

Main Range:

  1. The Sirens of Time
  2. Phantasmagoria
  3. Whispers of Terror
  4. The Land of the Dead
  5. The Fearmonger
  6. The Marian Conspiracy
  7. The Genocide Machine
  8. Red Dawn
  9. The Spectre of Lanyon Moor
  10. Winter for the Adept
  11. The Apocalypse Element
  12. The Fires of Vulcan
  13. The Shadow of the Scourge
  14. The Holy Terror
  15. The Mutant Phase
  16. Storm Warning
  17. Sword of Orion
  18. The Stones of Venice
  19. Minuet in Hell
  20. Loups-Garoux
  21. Dust Breeding
  22. Bloodtide
  23. Project: Twilight
  24. The Eye of the Scorpion
  25. Colditz
  26. Primeval
  27. The One Doctor
  28. Invaders from Mars
  29. The Chimes of Midnight
  30. Seasons of Fear
  31. Embrace the Darkness
  32. The Time of the Daleks
  33. Neverland
  34. Spare Parts
  35. …ish
  36. The Rapture
  37. The Sandman
  38. The Church and the Crown
  39. Bang-Bang-a-Boom!
  40. Jubilee
  41. Nekromanteia
  42. The Dark Flame
  43. Doctor Who and the Pirates
  44. Creatures of Beauty
  45. Project: Lazarus
  46. Flip-Flop
  47. Omega
  48. Davros
  49. Master
  50. Zagreus

Special Releases:

UNIT: Dominion

The Davros Mission

Fourth Doctor Adventures:

1.01 Destination: Nerva

1.02 The Renaissance Man

1.03 The Wrath of the Iceni

1.04 Energy of the Daleks

1.05 Trail of the White Worm

1.06 The Oseidon Adventure

Eighth Doctor Adventures:

1.1 Blood of the Daleks, Part 1

1.2 Blood of the Daleks, Part 2

1.3 Horror of Glam Rock

1.4 Immortal Beloved

1.5 Phobos

1.6 No More Lies

1.7 Human Resources, Part 1

1.8 Human Resources, Part 2

The Lost Stories:

1.01 The Nightmare Fair

1.02 Mission to Magnus

1.03 Leviathan

1.04 The Hollows of Time

1.05 Paradise 5

1.06 Point of Entry

1.07 The Song of Megaptera

1.08 The Macros

Box 1. The Fourth Doctor Box Set

The Companion Chronicles:

2.1 Mother Russia

2.2 Helicon Prime

2.3 Old Soldiers

2.4 The Catalyst

Destiny of the Doctor:

  1. Hunters of Earth
  2. Shadow of Death
  3. Vengeance of the Stones
  4. Babblesphere
  5. Smoke and Mirrors
  6. Trouble in Paradise
  7. Shockwave
  8. Enemy Aliens
  9. Night of the Whisper
  10. Death’s Deal
  11. The Time Machine

Short Trips:

Volume 1

Volume 2

The Stageplays:

  1. The Ultimate Adventure
  2. Seven Keys to Doomsday
  3. The Curse of the Daleks

Bernice Summerfield:

Box 2. Road Trip

Box 3. Legion

Box 4. New Frontiers

Box 5. Missing Persons

Graceless:

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Dalek Empire:

  1. Invasion of the Daleks
  2. The Human Factor
  3. “Death to the Daleks!”
  4. Project Infinity
  5. Dalek War: Chapter One
  6. Dalek War: Chapter Two
  7. Dalek War: Chapter Three
  8. Dalek War: Chapter Four

Jago & Litefoot:

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

Series 4

Series 5

Counter-Measures:

Series 1

Series 2

Iris Wildthyme:

2.1 The Sound of Fear

2.2 The Land of Wonder

2.3 The Two Irises

2.4 The Panda Invasion

2.5 The Claws of Santa

Series 3

Series 4

UNIT:

  1. Time Heals
  2. Snake Head
  3. The Longest Night
  4. The Wasting

I, Davros:

  1. Innocence
  2. Purity
  3. Corruption
  4. Guilt

Cyberman:

1.1 Scorpius

1.2 Fear

1.3 Conversion

1.4 Telos

2.0 Cyberman 2

Charlotte Pollard:

Series 1

Spotter: Open Culture

Posted: 17th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Thank God for Conor McGregor: antidote to the age of doubt

I’ll remember seeing Conor McGregor waiting in the ring for Floyd Mayweather (video below). How could I forget? What a sight. What style and substance. What panache. What a hoot. In the current era of can’t say that, when “inappropriate” is the watchword and Outraged of Twitter commands compliance in speech and deed, McGregor’s swaggering and shadow boxing was a visit from another world, a more exciting time when mistakes were glorious, failures radiant and life was about daring to do with a big toothy grin and gaping, irresistible laugher.

McGregor knows what he is and wants to be. It’s a clarity out of step with snowflakes, safe spaces, blaming everyone else for your own errors, excruciating debates over gender and identity, and so much guff about cultural appropriation, virtue signalling and a navel-gazing search for fluid indefinites.

McGregor commands admiration. “There’s two things I really like to do and that’s whoop ass and look good,” says McGregor.” He said of an opponent: “How could I hate someone who has the same dreams as me?” And most tellingly of all:  “There is no opponent … you’re against yourself…Defeat is the secret ingredient to success.”

The golden age of derring-do hasn’t been eradicated. It’s been throbbing in a tough part of Dublin. It’s out there. And it’s glorious. “I know who I am,” says McGregor. And we love it:

 

Posted: 15th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The weirdest Donald Trump handshake battle yet

When Donald Trump met Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France, the handshake battle was weird and intense:

When will someone just get a false hand up their sleeve and let him have it when he tugs hard?

donald trump handshake

Posted: 14th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Charlie Gard: hope will always beat reason

charlie gard

 

If you get delve into the steaming heap of pleading, bias, fiscal nous, screeching, virtue-signalling, baby-kissing, dreaming, pining, narcissism, spiritual zeal, butchery and guff, at the root of society, you’ll find the whole point of governance: to support human life. You can consult the history books and thereby, say the knowledge wallahs, learn how not to repeat mistakes of the past. But most of us know what we want and where we need to go to get it. We want a good life. So how did it come to this? How did the parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard end up fighting for their son’s existence in the High Court in London?

Charlie suffers from infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). He’s ill. Very ill. He cannot see, hear, move, cry or swallow. Everything he does is dictated by invasive machines. Science and electricity keep Charlie Gard alive.

And in technology, Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have hope. They know of an experimental treatment that could prolong their son’s life. Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GSOH), where Charlie is on life-support, say they have explored many treatment options and none would improve Charlie’s quality of life and he should be allowed to die. Judges at the European Court of Human Rights ruled further treatment would “continue to cause Charlie significant harm”.

But that hope, the thing that makes us human and active lingers and nags. It drives Charlie’s parents on. They’ve raised £1.3m through donations to take their son to the US for an experimental treatment called nucleoside therapy. It’s untested. Not even mice have tried it. And it’s not being offered as a cure. Having seen the report on Charlie’s brain damage, the American doctor stated that he could “understand the opinion that [Charlie] is so severely affected by encephalopathy that any attempt at therapy would be futile. I agree that it is very unlikely that he will improve with that therapy.”

GSOH says Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity. Charlie is 11-months-old. Dignity is for the aged, the lived and the caring. Can an innocent die with anything but dignity? Can a child yet to make his first birthday have an undignified death? The adults are charge. They are keeping him alive and deciding the manner, time and, through language, the narrative of his death.

Medics will offer Charlie the utmost respect through a hard-fought death; but they will not offer him more life. They’ve blended hard-nosed, pragmatic, experienced views with statistics into a thick gunk, added some sweetness to mask the taste and handed it to Charlie’s parents. Give it to the lad. Swallow once and wait for the end. It’ll be ‘peaceful’.

But for everyone involved in this case – the living – it isn’t peaceful. Hurt by a seriously ill child with an inherited disease, the parents are cursed doubly with hope stymied by bureaucracy .“There is no love of life without despair of life,” wrote Albert Camus. Hope doesn’t mean denying the horror of their son’s appalling condition and appealing for the impossible. Hope is about remembering triumph.

So we give them money. We want the Gard family to prevail. And from the medics, one small boy’s life is now down to the lawyers. The case is now about the State’s reason and critical thinking versus emotion. We know hope won’t do it. It’s not enough. But the money might. The intrepid medics could help. Things are not certain. There is a miniscule chance of something incredible. And in that tiny space, we see a need to act. Hope, more muscular than mere optimism, is the trigger for action. Not to act on hope is to be complicit and complacent this side of the grave. Against cruel nature Charlie’s parents have a chance to influence the outcome.

You’d deny them that chance? I wouldn’t. I’d let them seize it. Things might not change for the better, but they can change.

Posted: 13th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Labour Hunt Tory MP Ann Marie Morris for making remarks she doesn’t agree with

Ann Marie Morris is proof the Tories are “still nasty”, says The National. Ann Marie Morris is proof that the Conservatives are “in chaos”, says the Mirror. Ann Marie Morris is front-page news. She’s the Conservative MP for Newton Abbot. What she said during a meeting at London’s East India club to a group of Tory Eurosceptics is to terrible the paper refers to it as “n*****”, the word censored lest we say it and also become pariahs.

What Ms Morris said was that “the real nigger in the woodpile” about Brexit is if after the two-year negotiation period is up Britain and the EU haven’t agreed on trade contracts. It’s a remarkably stupid and ugly comment. You’ve got to wonder at anyone who uses it outside a class on arcane phrases loaded in racism. But surely one idiotic phrase doesn’t sum up an entire political party and the millions who voted for it.

When Prince Philip told British students in China “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed”, the Mirror called it a “memorable gaffe“, a bit of misspeaking we should cherish. It was one of his many “classic quotes”, other being about Aboriginal “spear chuckers”. Did we hear them and say that his words summed up every Windsor in the Family Firm, including The Queen, Harry and Diana?

 

ann marie morris tories

It’s not really about race. It’s about party politics, which is nasty and unsure. It means politicos have to be seen to be active. Theresa May, the actual Prime Minster, suspends Morris from their party. Labour MP Tulip Siddiq tweets: “I’m absolutely appalled by this. I assume PM will take appropriate action?” Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s campaign coordinator, says: “Theresa May once spoke about changing the Tories’ ‘nasty party’ tag. If she’s serious about that, she will admit it’s not enough for the Tories to ‘investigate’ and will apologise and act immediately. If that means withdrawing the whip, that’s what they should do.” Guardian invention Owen Jones wants action against other Tory MPs who were at the meeting and who failed to denounce Morris for her choice of phrase. For people against blood sports, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour seem to love the thrill of the hunt.

Neither circumspection nor reason is countenanced.

Anne MArie Morris

 

But the good news for Morris is that, like Naz Shah the Labour MP who suggested all Jews should be deported from Israel, you can embark on a “journey” and learn how to become socially acceptable among your enlightened Commons peers once more.

And Corbyn, with his interesting friends, should be sensitive to Morris’s re-education, after all when Naz Shah shouted “RAUS!” at the Jews, Corbyn told us, “We’re not saying she’s anti-Semitic. We’re saying she’s made remarks she doesn’t agree with.” More guff than gaffe.

Posted: 11th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


CNN v HansAssholeSolo: Trump’s Reddit meme tweet exposes the old media’s thin skin

trump cnn memeWhen Donald Trump tweeted a meme made by Reddit user HansAssholeSolo, CNN were upset. The meme was a mash-up of footage of Trump wrestling WWE CEO Vince McMahon to the deck in 2007 altered so that McMahon’s face was replaced with CNN’s logo.

Trump and CNN are at loggerheads. He says they broadcast fake news to an anti-him agenda. They say he’s America’s enemy. HansAssholeSolo morphed this sad war of words into an actual fight. Joke. Geddit?

CNN didn’t. It’s issued a threat. No, not to Trump. They’re threatening HansAssholeSolo. If he lampoons CNN ever again, the broadcaster will stop talking truth to power and attack. Judgmental CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski says CNN “reserves the right to publish his identity” if he commits “ugly behaviour on social media again”. To some this sounds like “blackmail“. Take on the corporation and you will pay. Comply or else. That Kaczynski’s makes his threat beneath the headline “How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF” only adds to the absurdity. Unless the BBC can discover which leg Trump puts first into his trousers, that Pulitzer’s in the bag.

In a lengthy apology, a worried HansAssholeSolo says: “Free speech is a right we all have, but it shouldn’t be used in the manner that it was in the posts that were put on this site. I do not advocate violence against the press and the meme I posted was [not] advocating that in any way, shape, or form.”

It was a joke that thanks to Trump’s priapic tweet finger and monocular news agency CNN has gotten out of hand. And it’s exposed how prissy CNN is; how like Trump, CNN is over-sensitive, vain and self-regarding. It shows us how terrified CNN is of the power of newer, non-telly media. CNN’s viewers are in bed by 10pm and watching from rented rooms because they’ve tired of the hotel’s infomercial; twitter and Reddit users are tuning in anywhere at any time.

It’s as illuminating as it is entertaining. And the row is mildly contradictory: like The Donald’s skin, it’s terrible – and there’s not enough of it.

Posted: 6th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Barry Norman’s letter to two drunks who asked him to be their ‘honorary uncle’

“Drunk one Saturday night my friend I wrote to WONDERFUL Barry Norman asking him to become our honorary uncle,” tweets . “I treasure his letter.”

 

 

barry norman letter funny

 

barry norman letter funny

 

Barry Norman: Barry Norman (21 August 1933 – 30 June 2017)

Posted: 3rd, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0