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News | Anorak - Part 49

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Madeleine McCann found in a listicle, the child as big as the pyramids and free holiday posters

Madeleine McCann: very few words on the missing child haver featured in the national press of late. Big stories – murderous terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, and the horror that engulfed lives at London’s Grenfell Tower – have kept journalists and editors busy. No need to press f9 on the keyboard and fill the pages with no news of Madeleine McCann.

But let’s see what has featured in the past few weeks.

The Sun: “‘KEEP THE SEARCH ALIVE’ – Holidaymakers urged to print off and pack Maddie McCann posters when they go abroad in new bid to track down missing youngster”

Passports. Money. Tickets. Poster of missing child…The Sun tells us:

The posters have been printed in 17 different languages including Romanian, Filipino and Arabic

And English, right? Not just foreigners being reminded about the missing child. But anyone holidaying in Bucharest, St John’s Wood or Iraq can tell the locals to watch out.

None of the posters contain information on any reward.

 

posters maddy mccann madeleine

posters maddy mccann madeleine

posters maddy mccann madeleine

 

Posters have featured a reward:

 

 

Of course, maybe the posters will help. You never know.

The Sun then hears from people it calls “website fans”, people who read the Find Maddie Campaign website. Fans is an odd word. Can you be a fan of finding missing child?

Sharon Wood vows: “Every trip I make posters go up in Lanzarote and I keep my Find Madeleine tag on my case.” Sarah Green adds: “I’m in Crete and my eyes are peeled all the time for her.”

Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal ten years ago.

The Star wonders if she left Portugal. “Is THIS where Maddie was hidden? Hundreds of wells were NEVER searched,” says the paper. “A WELL just 15 minutes from the apartment where Maddie disappeared is one of hundreds in the area reportedly never checked by investigators,” the paper reports.

The report runs the full gamut of Madeleine McCann reporting. We begin with the former detective’s opinion:

Ex-detective Roy Ramm said the well, which it’s claimed was used to hide swag by local crooks, was an obvious place to look for clues

Then we get the anonymous source:

The Brit, who asked not to be named, said: “This was brought up by an ex-cop who said that local criminals used it all the time. I don’t know whether that well has been investigated or not but if you pick wells on disused farms in the area of Luz there are lots of them.”

They don’t know about one well, and they don’t know about the other wells, either.

“It could be that one, it could be another one, it could be none of them. For it to matter, somebody needs to have information that Madeleine was in that well.”

And after speculation about place we get speculation about people:

Our source also said that – if a well was used to hide Maddie – her tormentor must have been someone with local knowledge who knew where to go.

 

Madeleine Mccann daily mirror

 

After the “ifs”, “coulds” and “maybes”, the Mirror shoves Madeleine McCann into a listicle . “Agony of 7 most famous unsolved cases in the UK – including Madeleine McCann, Jill Dando and Suzy Lamplugh,” comes the headline. Yeah, “famous”.

“The shooting of TV presenter Jill Dando alongside the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh and Maddie McCann are among the infamous unsolved cases that may remain a mystery forever,” the paper continues.

Readers can play along. The “seven” cases to solve are: Jill Dando (shot dead); Jack the Ripper (presumed dead); a dead child’s torso in the River Thames; Ben Needham;  Madeleine McCann; and Suzi Lamplugh. Yes, that’s six. The seventh famous mystery will have to wait.

If you want more lazy journalism, South Africa’s East Coast Radio has a question: “What would you ask the universe to explain? If you could have one answer to any mystery of the universe, what would it be?”

“We live in a mysterious world and in mysterious times,” we’re told. “Do you ever stop to think about world events that just don’t have answers and wish you knew what had happened?”

The writer has a few wonders to get you started:

Things like the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that just literally disappeared off the face of the earth?

Bits of the plane were found on earth.

Princess Diana’s death, maybe? There’s been speculation and controversy around that story for two decades.

Had she worn a seatbelt, would she have survived a car crash whilst on holiday in Paris? Discuss.

Madeleine McCann – the young girl who disappeared while on holiday with her parents Gerry and Kate in Portugal?

Unlike the plane and Diana, no sign of the missing child has been found. And lest you think one missing child is a personal horror for her and her loved ones and not one of life’s great mysteries, the radio station tells just how big the story is.

What about the Bermuda Triangle, the pyramids, Stonehenge in England?

And above all else – and let’s toss in the meaning of life, God and why EastEnders is till on the telly – the writer has one burning question:

Mine would be: Where is Madelaine McCann [sic] and what really happened?

Maybe technology can help?

The Telegraph and Argus reports: “University of Bradford team develops digital face-ageing that could help in search for missing children like Madeleine McCann.”

As a test case, the researchers chose to work on the case of Ben Needham, who disappeared on the Greek island of Kos on July 24, 1991, when he was only 21 months old. Since then, several images have been produced by investigators showing how Ben might look at ages 11-14 years, 17-20 years, and 20-22 years. The team used its method to progress the image of Ben to the ages of 6, 14 and 22 years. The resulting images show very different results, which the researchers believe more closely resemble what Ben might look like today.

 

Ben Needham

The images of Ben Needham provided by police above, and those generated by the new algorithm below

 

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 2nd, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment


After Grenfell Tower and ‘luxury flats’: milking the horror for clicks

There’s fake news and there’s regretful reporting. After Grenfell Tower, the Independent told readers in a big and shocking headline: “Grenfell tower was covered in material to keep luxury flat owners happy. That’s being blamed for multiple deaths.”

 

grenfell tower was covered in material to keep luxury flat owners happy

 

The link between the desires of the rich and the horror endured by and fatal to Grenfell residents was stark. The story told readers.

Shocking stuff. People died so that the rich could enjoy a better view. But was it true? The story went viral, being shared tens of thousands of times on sites like Reddit and Tumblr. The Indy got lots of clicks. But the story has been changed, the headline now telling readers:

 

Grenfell Tower cladding that may have led to fire was chosen to improve appearance of Kensington block of flats

 

Grenfell Tower cladding that may have led to fire was chosen to improve appearance of Kensington block of flatsGrenfell Tower cladding that may have led to fire was chosen to improve appearance of Kensington block of flats.

The suspected cause of so much pain “may” be about appearance. And there’s no word on luxury flats. The story’s URL makes no such caveats. It has not been updated from the original:

 

renfell tower was covered in material to keep luxury flat owners happy

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-cladding-fire-cause-improve-kensington-block-flats-appearance-blaze-24-storey-west-a7789951.html

 

In paragraph 3 we get the first word on those “luxury flats” and the view from them:

And that cladding – a low-cost way of improving the front of the building – was chosen in part so that the tower would look better when seen from the conservation areas and luxury flats that surround north Kensington, according to planning documents, as well as to insulate it.

The story is based in a 2012 planning report. It stated:

“Due to its height the tower is visible from the adjacent Avondale Conservation Area to the south and the Ladbroke Conservation Area to the east. The changes to the existing tower will improve its appearance especially when viewed from the surrounding area.”

Still no word on owners of luxury flats triggering the cladding. But in paragraph 8, readers are told:

An environmental statement said that the “primary driver behind the refurbishment” was to address the insulation and air tightness”.

You can read the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s entire document here. You can also read that the cladding was “an integral part of the upgrade to the heating of the building, while also being a complete overhaul to its appearance”.

Looks were a factor. However, the reports contain not a single mention of luxury flats. But let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good click.

Posted: 30th, June 2017 | In: News, Reviews | Comment


Czech nuclear power plant auditions bikini-clad students for internship

power plant models

 

The search for Miss Nuclear Power Plant has reached the swimwear section at the Czech Republic’s nuclear facility in Temelin. The winner will secure a two-week internship at the site. All 10 contestants are given a hard hat – safety first! – but lamentably not work boots and a high-vis bikini.

And you get to vote for your favourite worker. The power plant has posted photos of all the candidates on its Facebook page. The one who gets the most votes wins.

But no sooner have the photos gone up then complaints pour on. “We didn’t want to offend anyone,” the plant says in a Facebook post. “The purpose of the competition was to promote technical education. But if the original vision raised doubts or concerns, we are very sorry.”

Fair enough. We live and learn. Technical matters are important. Next time best to include the ladies’ vital statistics.

UPDATE: all 10 finalists were given an internship.

Posted: 30th, June 2017 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Anti-racist Chicago Dyke vexiphobics weed out the wrong kind of Jews

I’m on the Chicago Dyke March Collective (CDMC), “a grassroots mobilisation and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual and transgender resilience”. But I’m not all that resilient. I am offended and terrified. I boast strong “anti-racist, anti-violent” credentials and work “to bridge together communities across race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, size, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, culture, immigrant status, spirituality, and ability”. But I am scared by flags. I am a vexiphobic.

Yes, I know it’s odd but phobias are. And mine’s more intersectional than most because I’m scared only of flags depicting the Star of David. Whenever I see one I feel ill and want it removed from decent society. I’d like it burned but I’m worried about the carbon footprint. When I saw one being brandished as part of Jewish Pride on the march, I felt physically sick. A CDMC health worker saw my suffering and asked the flag brandisher to leave because the flags “made people feel unsafe”.

So the rainbow flag with the rainbow Star of David on it that tested the extremes of my resilience and anti-racist credentials, and breached them both, was banned. That it also meant the Jews holding these disturbing flags also were banned was a shame but, then, if the wrong kind of Jews arrive, they should except no special favours. I am neither biased not bigoted. Get thee hence. It’s what you do with people who have everything, you take things away.

For purposes of clarity there are two kinds of Jews. You’ve got the Jews who still haven’t learnt not to be barbaric and sub-human and you’ve got the educated Jews who admit they are barbaric and sub-human. As Bari Weiss notes:

For progressive American Jews, intersectionality forces a choice: Which side of your identity do you keep, and which side do you discard and revile? Do you side with the oppressed or with the oppressor?

Do you wear that yellow Star of David on your arm or on a flag?

That kind of choice would have been familiar to previous generations of left-wing Jews, particularly those in Europe, who felt the tug between their ethnic heritage and their “internationalist” ideological sympathies. But this is the United States. Here, progressives are supposed to be comfortable with the idea of hyphenated identities and overlapping ethnic, sexual and political affinities. Since when did a politics that celebrates choice — and choices — devolve into a requirement of being forced to choose?

Laurel Grauer, who was told to take her flag and go, and is one of those Jews who refuses to learn, moaned: “It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade, marching in the Dyke March with the same flag.”

Another woman told to leave was Ms. Shoshany Anderson, who wrote: “I wanted to be in public as a gay Jew of Persian and German heritage. Nothing more, nothing less. So I made a shirt that said ‘Proud Jewish Dyke’ and hoisted a big Jewish Pride flag — a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center, the centuries-old symbol of the Jewish people. During the picnic in the park, organizers in their official t-shirts began whispering and pointing at me and soon, a delegation came over, announcing they’d been sent by the organizers. They told me my choices were to roll up my Jewish Pride flag or leave. The Star of David makes it look too much like the Israeli flag, they said, and it triggers people and makes them feel unsafe. This was their complaint.”

CDMC replied on Facebook:“This decision was made after they [the Jewish Pride flag carriers] repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Chicago Dyke March Collective members. We have since learned that at least one of these individuals is a regional director for A Wider Bridge, an organisation with connections to the Israeli state and right-wing pro-Israel interest groups.”

In the name of anti-violence and equality, we should pull the flags from those sticks and beat these Untermensch with them. But we’re tolerant and peaceful. “We want to make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March,” says the all-inclusive CDMC.

And that’s right and proper. Compliance is all when you’re celebrating diversity and freedom.

Posted: 29th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Coins and the superstitious to be added to banned items on planes

Add coins to the list of items banned on aircraft. And you can add the superstitious, too. Because a woman boarding a China Southern Airlines Flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou thought it good luck to toss nine coins into the plane’s engine. As she boarded her flight the woman “blessed” the plane by lobbing a handful of coins into the important bits.

China Southern Airlines told reporters that passengers were reminded to comply with civil aviation laws and regulations, which prohibit behaviour that could jeopardise the safety of the flight.

Best to slip the coins into the little paper bags they pass around passengers for charity collections, or, as superstition dictates, investing in lucky heather from a woman who looks like she’s very much down her hers despite having bought armfuls of the stuff.

Spotter: SCMP

Posted: 29th, June 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney ‘bullied’ in yet another body-shaming attack

When Wayne Rooney finally waves adieu to Manchester United, the tabloids will miss him. He’s been an environment of on-the-clock sex, foul-mouthed rants, rethreading and explosions of ferocious power and sublime skill. When he goes the Sun will produce a special souvenir issue with Shrek toys for the kids, phone-box calling cards for the dads and a hailing of the theme tune from The Adams Family for everyone to click along to when the paper is opened.

It’s been easy to take the Wazz out of Wazza. Given the amount to abuse chucked his way, Rooney might well we reappraised as a model of self restraint.

For an age Rooney has been a figure of fun – and the tabloids have been at the forefront of mocking the most gifted English football of his crop. Rooney has been portrayed as thick, fat and ugly.

 

rooney wayne shrek fat

rooney wayne shrek fat

The Sun salutes the captain

wayne rooney sex

 

 

Today the Mirror – the paper that told readers Rooney had been “kicked out” of the club years before he became United’s all-time top goal scorer – points and laughs at the man. In “The remarkable differences between Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo with their shirts off”, readers are invited to look at “two men of similar age… and very different physiques: “Take a look at Ronaldo and Rooney and “it’s considerably harder to believe that they are of a similar age… particularly when they go topless.”

 

manchester united rooney mirror fat

 

Imagine this were women the paper was talking about, say, comparing Theresa May’s legs to Nichola Sturgeon’s. When the Daily Mail did just that, the Mirror branded the paper “sexist”. Jeremy Corbyn told the paper that supports his Labour Party: “It’s 2017. This sexism must be consigned to history.” It was, said the paper, a “sexist row”. Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, called Press watchdog IPSO for “breaking the editors” code and treating women with contempt.

But the Mirror sees a paparazzi photo of Rooney on his holidays and says “given how similar Rooney and Ronnie once were, the recent images of the England captain on holiday in Ibiza become particularly interesting when they are put alongside images of his former team mate. Especially when you remember that the Real Madrid superstar is actually eight months OLDER than the United striker…”

This from the paper that talked of “body-shaming bullies”.

Having diced Rooney into body parts – “the abs”; “the tan”; “the modelling potential” – the Mirror heralds another long lens photo of Rooney minding his own business: “Behold the most unflattering image of England’s record goalscorer you have ever seen.”

Maybe to escape the name calling and body-shaming, Rooney should seek out a new career as an MP? One thing for sure: his skin’s thick enough.

Posted: 28th, June 2017 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Teenagers put glasses on museum’s floor and people thought it was art

When we saw Brooklyn Beckham’s terrible photography being passed off as a talent for anything other than parody, we recalled another example of meaningless nonsense being passed off as art. In 2016, two pranksters placed a pair of spectacles on the floor at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. Before long the glasses were being viewed as a telling and important piece of art.

 

san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art

 

The hoaxers, @TJCruda and @k_vinnn, would doubtless be delighted to realise that their artwork fared better than other proper arty things. Tate Britain once threw away a Gustav Metzger installation, a bag of paper and cardboard.

Meanwhile, my own artwork, Vomit In Sock, has been touring the country’s music festivals. Catch it where you can.

Is it art? Dunno. What do you care? It is if it looks like it is.

Spotter: Bored Panda

Posted: 28th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Glastonbury: Liam Gallagher ad libs about the smoke machine mid-song

You know how it is. The artist comes on stage. He wants to sing his new stuff but the crowd are there to hear the old faves. But at Glastonbury 2017, Oasis singer Liam Gallagher combined the two to leave everyone happy.

Having introduced his new song Wall Of Glass, Gallagher then moved into Oasis territory with Rock N Roll Star, Don’t Look Back In Anger and What’s The Story?, in which he ad-libbed a new line about a fog machine. “Turn that fucking shit fog machine off,” sings Liam in a departure from the normal lyrics.

The crowd loved it.

 

Posted: 27th, June 2017 | In: Celebrities, Music, News | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn: the tot Trots named Corbyn

Would you call your child ‘Corbyn’? The Daily Star says you might if you drink enough scrumpy cider with your magic mushrooms.

The paper says parents are “flocking” to name their “tots” after the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. No, not Trots, tots. No typo. But are parents really massing at council offices to demand their children are named and renamed after Jeremy Corbyn? The Star says Corbyn’s “cool” was “boosted after appearing on Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage”.  I’d spin that round and say that Glastonbury was stripped of cool when it invited a leading politician to address the crowd and build a personality cult around a man who wants more State control, favours Brexit and has worked for Iran’s theocratic regime.

The fact is that in 2015, 15 children were named Corbyn (source: Office for National Statistics).  The Star reasons that if “festival nookie” results in anything other than a nasty rash and regret, “thousands” more children could be named after the Labour leader.

They could also be named Theresa, if they shagged in a field of wheat.

Posted: 27th, June 2017 | In: News, Politicians, Strange But True | Comment


Tabloids lead with naked women, feuding women, mad women and lesbians

tabloids women

 

Who buys newspapers? Women and men who like looking at women do. Or at least they used to buy them – now they get them for free in supermarkets. Today’s tabloids are curious for the absence of men on the covers. They look like fashion titles, porn mag and women’s weeklies. Across all the tabloids, only the Daily Express features a man on the cover, and he’s Prince Charles, the kind of bloke who never understood what a T-shirt is and grimaces as he attempts to straddle two poles by being both relevant to the hoi polloi and beyond the reach of mere mortals. Charles is on the Express‘ front-page to illustrate how lucrative it is to be a royal. This year the proles are to fund the Queen to the tune of £82.2million, or £1.21 from each of us. That represents “such good value” says the Express. The Express costs 55p.

But the rest all focus on women only.

The Daily Star, the Express‘ fun stablemate, has Eastenders actress Jessie Wallace looking tired and emotional as she “boobs” on a bight out; “Sexy” Emma Willis illustrating the fact that Big Brother, the show she presents, is crap (yes, it is still on); Theresa May signing a deal with the DUP (pronounced D! U! P!) to give the county a working Government; and Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s current lover, often “nips over to Harry” on a plane.

The Sun leads with claims that “lesbian jailbird” Syndee Offord and “female prison guard” Faron Selvage enjoyed “LESBIAN ROMP BEHIND BRAS”; May’s deal; and the Sun’s “Chest test”, in which Alice Lazar covers her naked breasts in glitter and walks about the streets of London.

The Mirror leads with Theresa May and D!U!P! leader Arlene Foster engaging in a “handshake of shame”. It’s “May’s £1bn Bribe to Crackpots”.

 

 

But the Daily Mail takes the cake. Its cover shows a picture of Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowes, once “Britain’s most hated woman” and now part of the PR camping to make us believe that after Her Majesty leaves the throne the feckless ninnies and knobs who make up her Royal Family will do a decent job of being our betters.

To recap, then: in this enlightened age, the tabloids lead with naked women, sexy women, mad women, women’s primary sexual characteristics, materialistic women and lesbians. We’ve come a long way, baby….

Posted: 27th, June 2017 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


After Grenfell: John McDonnell suggests Camden Council is guilty of attempted murder?

John McDonnell says the Grenfell Tower disaster was “murder”. The shadow chancellor says the victims of the horror in west London were “murdered”. He says the dead were “murdered” as a “direct consequence of Tory attitudes to social housing”, cuts to fire brigade numbers and political decisions made over “decades”. As such the guilty should be charged with murder, no? And the likes of Camden Council leader Georgia Gould, where residents have been forcibly evacuated from tower blocks swaddled in flammable cladding similar to that used at Grenfell Tower, should be arrested for attempted murder, right?

Camden Council is run by Labour. The cladding on its estate in Swiss Cottage was installed in 2006, under Tony Blair’s Labour government. It’s good to see that McDonnell is not biased in his call for justice. In his judgement, Tory and Labour members are all guilty of murder. Lock ’em up. And the LibDems, too, after all they formed the coalition government. And let age be no barrier to justice. Go back over those decades when mass murder was fomenting in politicians’ warped hearts, and lock up anyone still alive. Strip honours from the dead.

McDonnell’s judgement that the dead were “murdered” is at least hasty. The deaths of 79 innocent people were not designed and arranged. Georgia Gould’s decision to evacuate the towers in her area was not because she experienced a change of heart about murdering scores of people. Thousands of people who advised and worked on cladding tower blocks with dangerous substances are not part of a huge conspiracy to murder. If they are, they are being remarkable silent.

McDonnell makes get play of speaking up for the victims. But we know how little politicians think of the great unwashed by their attitudes to Brexit. When the working classes and poor voted for change, they were called thick. David Lammy, who lost a friend in the Grenfell fire, wanted the Brexit vote undone by the politicians, you know, those people who knew best about social housing and used their nous to commit “murder” in a decades-long plot. “We can stop this madness’: London MP David Lammy calls on Commons to overrule Brexit vote and ‘end nightmare’,” ran the headline. As one writer notes: “Lammy has pushed himself to the forefront of politicising Grenfell. He wants to be a voice for the voiceless. We must be a society where ‘we care for the poorest and the vulnerable’, he says. This is the same David Lammy who following the first June disturbance, following Brexit, devoted himself to overthrowing the voice of the voiceless.”

Politics matters, but let’s not put too much faith in politicians.

Meanwhile, it turns out that every council block cladding checked since Grenfell has failed fire safety tests. So far 60 of 600 blocks have been tested. And what of the insulation behind the cladding? No news on that.

Posted: 26th, June 2017 | In: News | Comment


This is why we hate the word ‘moist’

Words I do like and words I don’t like are many. I like “twat”, “spoon”, “bingo”, “slash”, “bins” (when referring to spectacles) and “pastry”. I don’t like “schedule” when it’s pronounced with the hard Americanised ‘k’, “cockwomble” and “moist”. On the last prejudice I’m no alone. In 2012, The New Yorker asked readers to nominate a word to remove from the English language. ‘Moist’ was the clear winner. Not that any words should be censured, of course. Better we make up better ones and recognise the hatred and loading when saying things are ‘moist’. (This might explain the furore over Dapper Laughs, the British comedian who aimed to teach losers how to “moisturise” women – get ’em “proper moist”. Dapper wasn’t nuanced enough to be in on his own joke; his act was not based on self-deprecation. But the use of “moist” in any catchphrase gave him limited appeal and shelf-life. Generally, in my experience, men who use the word “moist” have something to hide and would make a decent case study for any budding psychotherapist.)

Also, our dislike of “moist” might be down to what the word does to our faces:

A separate possible explanation not tested in the current studies, but which the author acknowledges, is rooted in the facial feedback hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that facial movement can influence emotional experience. In other words, if facial muscles are forced to configure in ways that match particular emotional expressions, then that may be enough to actually elicit the experience of the emotion. On this explanation, saying the word “moist” might require the activation of facial muscles involved in the prototypical disgust expression, and therefore trigger the experience of the emotion. This could explain the visceral response of “yuck” people get when they think of the word. Separate research has identified the particular facial muscles involved in the experience and expression of disgust, but no research as of yet has tested whether the same muscles are required when saying “moist.”

There might be something worse than moist. Something could be ‘like, moist’. Or, perish the thought, “M.O.I.S.T”, the word spelled out to give it added repulsion.

Posted: 25th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


After Finsbury Park the police attack free speech

The tally of people arrested after a man drove a van into a group of Muslim worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque is two. Darren Osborne has been arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism, attempted murder and murder. The second man is Richard Evans, aka the self-styled ‘Richard Gear Evans’, who when not making bad puns is allegedly posting vile messages on Facebook. Evans, reportedly the owner’s son of the hire firm whose vehicle was used in the attack, has been pinched for writing things.

“Glad I’m not running the van hire,” he allegedly wrote on Facebook. “The police wouldn’t like what my answer would be. It’s my dad’s company I don’t get involved it’s a shame they don’t hire out steam rollers or tanks could have done a tidy job then.”

Idiotic? Yes. Horrible? Yes. Illegal? Surely not. But it might well be because Evans has been arrested on suspicion of displaying threatening, abusive, insulting written material with intent that is likely to stir up racial hatred”. Did you read that and think: “I never thought about it before but now it makes perfect sense. Evans writes so persuasively and with such rare eloquence. I’m in. I’m going to hire a tank and murder innocent people. I think I’ll go and do it.”

The police think you might have read it and become radicalised. They’re not taking any chances.

Trouble is that the kind of person who doesn’t like Muslims will feel that their views have been martyred. They are unlikely to reconsider their monocular view when it’s outlawed. They will most likely feel repressed, right and aggrieved. Which makes us wonder what the point of nicking him is?

The case has echoes of the treatment dished out to Samina Malik, from Southall, west London. She was found guilty at the Old Bailey of owning terrorist manuals – or reading, as we like to call it (The Mujaheddin Poisoner’s Handbook, Encyclopaedia Jihad, How To Win In Hand To Hand Combat, and How To Make Bombsand Sniper Manual) . She called herself the Lyrical Terrorist “because it sounded cool”. In her work The Living Martyrs she wrote: “Let us make Jihad/ Move to the front line/ To chop chop head of kuffar swine“. A second poem was called How to Behead. “It’s not as messy or as hard as some may think/ It’s all about the flow of the wrist,” she rapped. For that Malik was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months. She appealed and won.

And it all leads to a key point about what it is to be human and be able to speak your mind, which vitally includes saying what you hate. Hate is active, angry and makes you do things. Most often it makes things better. If you hate Nazis, you fight them. If you hate the sound of nails down a blackboard, you invent projectors and marker pens. If you hate living in a poor country infested by corruption, you work hard to live in a better one and expose the rotten core.

Am I hateful for sticking up for hate? You hate that that I am, don’t you. You don’t? Oh, I see, you just want a quiet life of conformity and agreeing with whatever the latest law decrees. You don’t want to cause offence. Well, that’s fine so long as you never want to prove anything, challenge the status quo and win.

Richard Evans allegedly says hideous things. But what’s much worse that hate is to cut out tongues and let the nastiness fester unchallenged by reason.

 

Posted: 24th, June 2017 | In: News | Comment


All aboard the Betty Bus where boys are looking at a sad girl on her period

The Betty Bus aims at “encouraging open and honest conversations about periods with girls and boys aged 8-12”. What will the boys learn about periods? Well, here’s a picture of boys looking at a sad girl on her period. Pity her and her suffering.

 

Betty Bus

 

And it’s got a slide.

 

betty bus

 

The Betty Bus has a slide. Your period is an adventure playground. Which way to the (mood) swings? It is a slide, isn’t it – not an applicator?

Spotter: Joanna Williams

Posted: 23rd, June 2017 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Anthony Gormley should get over himself: Crosby beach statues are there to be enjoyed

Britain is replete of big ornaments, keepsakes and statues. Anthony Gormley made a few more and stuck his life-sized iron men statues into the sand at Crosby beach on Merseyside. Now someone’s gone and decorated them in bright bikinis and shirts with slogans like ‘This is Art’.

Gormley wants the paint removed. He says the painting is vandalism.

I’d argue that his statues modelled on Gormleys own body are worse. Who asked for them to be there? But since they are why not embellish them? And they look good, don’t they. The sinister grey lunks now carry a spot of seaside fun. It can’t be long before someone goes full gadabout Stag and Hen do and augments them with knobs and knockers. Ah, they have. The art world is nothing if not fast moving.

 

 

 

I understand Gormley’s cheesed off that his work has been subverted. But what his public work means is not set in stone, whatever he initially intended. Is it really art now it’s been updated? Dunno. What does it matter to you if it is or isn’t? Maybe better next time to make it very big or stick the statues on plinths, thereby reminding the great unwashed to look up at art and see it as something better than you. Of course, if the officials do remove the paint the statues become memorials to crowd control and conformity, which would be very fitting for our age.

Posted: 23rd, June 2017 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


After Grenfell: 600 deathtraps, party political boomerangs and another lousy inquiry

News is that Grenfell Tower was not the only building swaddled in flammable cladding. The Sun leads with “600 Fire Traps”. It sees “thousands of families living in fear” that what happened in North Kensington could happen to their home. Eleven building in eight local authorities have been tested by the Government so far, including those, says the paper, in the London borough of Camden, which just happens to be a council under Labour control. So much for the narrative about only people in jeans, double-vent jackets and brogues placing the poor in danger. The Sun is happy to point out when a horror comes along and upsets all the pieces on the board, playing party politics with the dead is a campaigning boomerang.

Theresa May does not murder children. Jeremy Corbyn does not value life more or less than other party leaders. Using the dead for a political campaign is sick. I’m sure among the enlightened and knowing screaming about justice for Grenfell and Tory child killers it’s a monumental order of self-restraint not to revisit Guy Fawkes’ old plot.

 

 

On page 5, the Sun tells us of the 4,800 residents in five Camden council tower blocks who can’t sleep for fear of a blaze. The “killer cladding” was installed by Rydon, the same company that worked on Grenfell Tower.

Over in the Mirror, the front-page news is also of thousands more people “living in deathtraps”. We hear from Labour’s Harriet Harman, who calls the news “chilling”. It too mentions Camden Council, and looks at the Rivers Apartments in Tottenham, London, where the building is wrapped in the same “lethal material” as Grenfell. In Camden, the council has ordered the cladding on the Chalcots Estate to be stripped immediately. The paper does not mention that Camden Council is under Labour control. It does, however, remind readers that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is under Tory control, and that its hapless leader has resigned.

 

 

In the Express, Grenfell and cladding becomes something to do with illegal immigration. Ross Clark agrees that any illegal immigrants who survived Grenfell Tower should not be prosecuted but his bleeding heart swiftly dries like camel spit. No-one wants to be an illegal immigrant, dead or both. But he tells us that illegal immigration is a health and safety issue because lots of them live in sub-let council flats. Presumably, the way around this is to flush them out with random spot-cheques and drills. All for their own good, of course. The Grenfell Towers disaster, he notes, “might not have been caused by overcrowding” – no might about it, Ross, it wasn’t – “but unless we investigate properly the living conditions there, then sooner or later we are going to have similar tragedies caused by having people crammed into unsuitable housing.”

As the Express looks to rehousing the poor and displaced in better accommodation – i.e. a prison before deportation – the Mail sees the “GREAT EVACUATION”, saying that thousands of tenants in the 600 infected towers may have to move out.

Of course, the exact cause of the inferno that destroyed Grenfell Tower on 14 June remains to be discovered. But, yes, you’d want to move out if you lived in a tower block with questionable safety standards.

So they move out into temporary accommodation, the contractors move in, the council wonks say “lessons have been learned” and thank sheer luck that Grenfell never happened on their patch – and then what?

Right now the feeling is not that we need more legislation, but that building companies and clockwork councils need to better observe rules already in place. They should employ more common sense and gut-feeling in jobs that have been reduced to box-ticking. A disaster on this scale could have been prevented had people in power listened to the warnings. The cladding changed the building. But who was looking into how cladding affected fire risk and fire control? Nothing exits in isolation. In focusing on the cladding, the councils are not considering the bigger picture: who oversees the whole thing not just the micro-management? Who wasn’t listening to Grenfell Tower’s residents when they campaigned long and hard for their Tenant Management Organisation to address their concerns? Instinct and local knowledge were ignored. Removing faddish and dangerous cladding won’t alter that.

And then there’s the ubiquitous inquiry. Over the need for quick action and addressing the concerns of people who live in their flats and know them best, politicians franchise action to a body not accountable to the public. And nothing changes.

 

Posted: 23rd, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment


The Tories are rubbish but poll says we don’t want a Labour government

Labour Tories May Corbyn poll

 

Not much demand to overthrow the Government is there, according to this poll in the Times.

A Tory Party bereft of ideas with an illiberal ‘dead woman walking’ as a leader and yet Labour remains unattractive and less trusted on the biggest challenge. Corbyn’s hollowed-out Labour might be ready to form a government, as he keeps telling us they are, but we don’t want them to.

Glastonbury, however, does. And he’s very much at home in that hard-bordered, middle-class police state.

 

Posted: 23rd, June 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News, Politicians | Comment


Jeremy Corbyn finds his natural home in Glastonbury’s police state

Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury is perfect. Corbyn will preach about the rich who aren’t able to tell you the cost of a pint of milk (cow’s not almond) while addressing the middle-aged and middle-classes who can afford the better drugs and cosier tents, who can take a few days off work to spend £238 to stand in their Jerusalem and even more on bottled water, sparkling wine, a cutting of AK47 and sanitary wipes.

 

Glastonbury Labour

 

Corbyn is among his people at Glastonbury, the big BBC-endorsed party of organised rebellion and spiritual bollocks headlined by Ed Sheeran – the ultimate box-ticking performer Simon Cowell would decant into his cloning machine.

As the middle-classes realise they’re paying a fortune to watch Newsnight Live! whilst striving to make little suburban front gardens in the mud, the rest of us can laugh our heads off enjoying the televised rain-soaked hell of all those poor sods at Glasto, knowing that the campers are staring into bucketfuls of projectile rectal pebble-dashing wondering if spending the price of a Tuscan holiday and a good plumber pretending to be homeless and incontinent was worth it.

Go Jezza! Yay! You really are at home in your curtained-off, self-governing, hard-border mini-state patrolled by millions of police – a city-dweller’s vision of the countryside that runs on Boden, bankers and bands they play on Radio 2.

Posted: 22nd, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


DAY OF RAGE: tabloid facts and figures from the Grenfell Tower march

How many people attended the “DAY OF RAGE” March? Was it a success? What did they protestors achieve? The tabloids review the action.

 

day of rage

 

Daily Mirror: “Rage against the Maychine” – “400 people passed Downing Street shouting ‘Theresa May – murderer'”. The protest is front-page news. The protestors are seen behind a banner demanding: “We Need Justice for Grenfell Tower.”

The Mirror finds one person who survived the disaster at Grenfell Tower who supports the march. She wasn’t on it, however. It makes no mention of survivors who did not agree with the march. Says survivor Anita Mohamed, 46: “I blame the council and the Government. More than 100 people could be dead because of their policies.”

Daily Star: “DAY OF RAGE MARCH FURY.” The paper says protestors “clashed with police”. The Mirror made no mention of any aggro. The march “erupted in violence”. There were “several arrests”. How many were on the march to topple the Government? “Around 250,” says the paper.

 

day of rage sun

 

The Sun: “TOO HOT TO TROT.” The march to “bring down the Government” “fizzled out”. In all “around 400 turned out to march 5 miles from Shepherd’s Bush to Westminster”. How many people were nicked? “There were two arrests.” We don’t hear from any Grenfell Tower survivors who support the march. We do hear from aid worker Zeyad Cred, 29, who says: “The community are still trying to recover – the last thing we need is a day of rage.”

On Page 10, the Sun calls the marchers “the furious few”. It was a day out for “freshly-minted Socialist Worker propaganda”.

On Page 13, Rod Liddle tells readers the march was organised by “another tiny left-wing organisation, the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary”. They are “nasty, self-righteous, thick-as-mince Trots and snowflakes”. He says the people who suffered and the charities helping the Grenfell survivors “did not approve” the march. Their “misery has been hijacked by Left-wing nutters” – it was “egged-on by by the Labour Party”, specifically Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.  When McDonell doesn’t get his way “he can always be found standing in a street surrounded by furious anti-Semitic Muslim protestors, radical lesbians… bedwetting students and professional agitators”.

Daily Express: “Militant mob clashes with police outside Downing Street.”

There were “fewer than 500” on the march. The march continued “despite the pleas of victims’ families who said their grief was being hijacked”. One volunteer helping the Grenfell survivors tell the paper: “It’s politicising the anger. Now is not the time… They are running around saying how can we get Jeremy Corbyn in.”

 

day of rage mail signs

 

day of rage mail signs

 

Daily Mail: “‘THIS is class war!’ yelled a thug at an old boy in a blazer.”

“Hey! Hey! Theresa May! How many kids did you kill today?” ask the “few hundred” fair-minded marchers. One woman carries a poster of Jeremy Corbyn with the word “Hope” over his face. We learn that the march did include “some who had been personally affected by the fire”. One woman whose young son had lost a friend in the blaze in marching. We see a few banners. “WHY DO TRAGEDYS [sic] always happen UNDER TORIES?” asks one, the holder seemingly oblivious to goings on in Iraq and Libya.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 22nd, June 2017 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


After Grenfell Tower: let’s envy the ‘victims’ in their luxury flats

Kensington Row grenfell tower

 

After Grenfell Tower, news that displaced residents will be rehoused in “Posh New £5m Flats” (Star) at a new-build complex called Kensington Row located around a mile and a half from the disaster. The development has 68 flats, where the three-bed and four-bed flats are worth “around £5m” each.  These bigger flats, says the paper, are where “a majority of the survivors” will live.

Over in the Express there’s news that only “some of the victims” will be rehoused in the new flats. I’d say none of the victims will be. They’re dead – at least 79 of them. It’s the survivors who are being rehoused because their last home was a toxic time-bomb.

The flats, secured by the City of London Corporation, are worth even more in the Express. Now homes on the plot are worth up to £8.5m. Residents have access to a “gym, swimming pool, spa, private cinema and 24-hour concierge”. Are we supposed to envy them, or just marvel at the insane London property market which keeps so many people off the property ladder?

 

Kensington Row grenfell tower

The Mail says those survivors are living the dream

 

And then we learn that the City of London Corp paid around £10m (source: The Sun) for the 68 flats. That’s not £5m each is it – even if Diane Abbott is doing the maths. The majority of survivors are not living in £5m flats. It’s just under £150,000 for each, on average. Yes, I know that’s not the asking price, but the base price. The developers have “sold the properties at cost price”. But it proves that the flats’ monetary value is affected by many forces, not least of all guesswork and the legal requirement that all new complexes contain an element of low-cost housing.  The government defines affordable housing as “social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market”.

The need for a decent roof over your head is not a luxury or an investor’s punt. It’s a basic human requirement.

Oddly, the Mirror makes no mention of the new flats until Page 5. Buried in the 14h paragraph of a story on how Grenfell Tower became enveloped in a “deadly cyanide cloud”, we learn that “some Grenfell residents” will be rehoused “in a £10m deal”.

The Mail leaves it to pages 20 and 21 to focus on the flats. Now the flats are in “£2bn blocks” and worth up to £13m. The flats are “the stuff of dreams”. Well, the privately owned ones next door the council flats on the same £2bn development are. The council homes will have a lower spec.

The rehoused Grenfeell Tower survivors will, the paper observes, “live near multi-millionaires”. Not everyone’s a multi-millionaire in London – yet. There are people in the city who live in social housing and do menial and blue collar jobs. Who knew?

Posted: 22nd, June 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids, The Consumer | Comment


Someone stole the amputated toe from the Sourtoe cocktail

Amateur drinkers drink cocktails. They’re the Happy Hour dross fuel, the drinks the witless and bovine sup at moments of enforced joviality and acute self doubt. At Dawson City’s Downtown Hotel, Yukon, Canada,  the cocktail of choice is Sourtoe Cocktail Club. It might well be the perfect anti-cocktail cocktail, a lampooning of the usual pretentious swill . The Sourtoe cocktail is 1 oz of whisky, mostly a decent bourbon, with a severed toe.

You don’t drink the toe – it’s not pureed. You just chin the proper booze and let the toe touch your lips. It’s the literal kicker to the hard liquor slap.

And now it’s gone. Not swallowed. Stolen. Someone has stolen the toe.

“We are furious,” says Terry Lee, the hotel’s Toe Captain. “Toes are very hard to come by.” No, they’re not. You just need to look in the right places. The inside of rugby boots, graves and building sites have plenty. The original Sourtoe toe was found in a jar.

 

sourtoe cocktail

 

CBCNews has more:

The hotel says the suspect is from Quebec and had earlier boasted about wanting to steal the toe. Lee says the man reportedly coaxed the bartender to serve him the drink after the nightly 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. “Toe Time.”

“One of the new staff served it to him to be nice. And this is how he pays her back. What a low life.”

If you can’t trust a toe sniffer, who can you trust? But, then again, all cocktail drinkers lack spirit in the hard drinkers’ race to the bottom.

Posted: 21st, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True | Comment


2 minutes of Hew Edwards not reading the BBC News is compelling TV

hew edwards news

 

BBC 10 o’clock News anchor Hew Edwards sits in silence. A technical glitch meant viewers saw Edwards sitting alone and in silence as the cameras rolled on last night’s live news feed. News continues inexorably. Even if there’s no news, there must be rolling news. If Prince William flying a helicopter can be news or Cheryl Cole getting a tattoo, why not Edwards sat at a desk?

The video of Edwards looking at his table top, contemplating the meaning of EastEnders, if taking two bottles into the shower is right and proper, and if the next BBC makeover show should feature amateurs auditioning as news readers, is compelling. We want to know what happens next.

And given the doom and gloom in the news of late, no news might be the luckiest thing we’ve experienced for some time. More no news, BBC, we need a break.

 

Posted: 21st, June 2017 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment


Barbie’s Ken’s got a manbun and cornrows

man bun ken

 

Keeping in step with the times, Mattel has unleashed a new range of Fashionistas Barbie and Ken dolls. This 40-strong platoon of dollies come in a range of shapes to reflect modern humanity’s obsession with individuality. You can buy a “slim” Ken, a “broad” Ken or an “original Ken” –  “for the ultimate storytelling experience.” You can create whole worlds of narration as Ken bulks up on protein shakes and ‘roids,  slims down with tape worms and stays just the way he is.

The gang also comes in 11 skintones and 28 hairstyles. Bu the picks has to be Ken’s Manbun.

 

barbie fashionistas

 

 

Ken might not be able to talk, but he sure can issue a loud cry for help.

And look of the Cultural Approbation Ken, who sports cornrows.

 

Man-bun-Mattel-dolls barbie

 

Spotter: The WOW Report

Posted: 21st, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Peak Clickbait: Arsenal player transfers to Arsenal

Have we reached peak clickbait in the Daily Telegraph? In “Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave Arsenal? Seven destinations and seven replacements”, the paper of record ticks all the boxes in how to create clicks from nothing.

 

clickbait arsenal telegraph

 

Having asked the question to which you’d once-upon-a-time have expected a national newspaper with experts to answer – and the answer is always ‘No’ to any question posed in a headline – the paper then sets about making a Transfer Balls list.

 

The Tele argues that Oxlade-Chamberlain could leave Arsenal for – deep breath – Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, West Ham, Everton, Manchester United and…Arsenal! Can you leave and remain at the same club?

As the paper mangles the English language, it also lists 7 players who could replace the underwhelming Ox. One of them is Kylian Mbappe, a striker, which Oxlade-Chamberlain most certainly isn’t.

 

Posted: 20th, June 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, News, Sports | Comment


Otto Warmbier and me: The Huffington Post’s disgusting attack on North Korea torture victim

Not long after Otto Warmbier was arrested in North Korea, the Huffington Post produced a hatchet job on the man. Entitled “North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege Is Not Universal”, writer La Sha laid into Warmbier, using his suffering to nourish her status as the real victim.

Warmbier was a 21-year-old University of Virginia student on a visit to North Korea with China-based travel company Young Pioneer Tours when he was arrested on January 2nd 2016.  The North Koreans claim the “student entered the country under the guise of a tourist and plotted to destroy North Korean unity with the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation”.

The dastardly US plot involved Warmbier allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel the tour group was staying at. For this Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labour at a March court hearing. Warmbier had already been shown “confessing” to “committing a crime” and begging the Korean people and government for forgiveness.

According to the North Koreans, Otto Warmbier “fell into a coma” that same month. The North Koreans never mentioned his stricken state. On June 13 2017 a comatose Otto was flown back to the US. On June 19, 2017, Otto Warmbier died. His family has released a statement:

“Unfortunately, the awful, torturous treatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.

Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed – he was at peace. He was home and we could sense that.”

 

otto wambier huffington post

 

The Times saysthe brain damage he suffered was more consistent with the effects of respiratory arrest, which can be caused by physical trauma, suffocation or the misuse of drugs.” Sources suggest he lost a significant amount of brain tissue. Horrific stuff, then.

But to the Huffington Post’s writer, Otto Warmbier’s horrific ordeal is something to be celebrated. On March 23, 2016, the Post stuck the knife in. La Sha tells us:

…my reaction to [a] young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.

As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what’s been described a “college-style prank.”

La Sha is shocked by a man’s curiosity to see North Korea. Dennis Rodman (not white) has visited the place. Shocked? She continues:

That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country.

The “reckless gall” of being a tourist whilst white. Salon thought as much, telling its readers: “This might be America’s biggest idiot frat boy – meet the UVA student who thought he could pull a prank in North Korea.” He had it coming. Lark about, get tortured and killed. They’d pick out bits of brain through his nose if they could find it. Ha-ha. What a dick.

La Sha is not alone in her nastiness.

She then slips into full on English student mode, using the kind of convoluted language kids employ when they want to look smart:

Every economic, academic, legal and social system in this country has for more than three centuries functioned with the implicit purpose of ensuring that white men are the primary benefactors of all privilege.

It’s not been working that well of late, then. Barack Obama is away, so too is Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Kim Kardashian, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sarah Palin, Angelina Jolie, Alice Walton and more and more women and non-white male faces who have made a decent fist of making it in the USA. The list of white males who didn’t rise to the top is long. But who cares for those millions of losers who frittered away all that privilege in The Rust Belt and elsewhere in America’s hinterlands? Maybe there’s a wrinkle in the Matrix?

And on and on she goes:

The kind of arrogance bred by that kind of conditioning is pathogenic, causing its host to develop a subconscious yet no less obnoxious perception that the rules do not apply to him, or at least that their application is negotiable.

Let’s interject, break up this hideous hatchet job. We can share another aspect of Otto Warmbier’s life:

In a tearful statement made before his trial, Warmbier tells a gathering of reporters in Pyongyang he tried to take the banner as a trophy for the mother of a friend who said she wanted to put it up in her church.

He says he was offered a used car worth $10,000 if he could get a banner and was also told that if he was detained and didn’t return, $200,000 would be paid to his mother in the form of a charitable donation.

Warmbier said he accepted the offer because his family was “suffering from very severe financial difficulties.”

Check your privilege, whitey.

But the Huffington Post’s writer isn’t listening. She’s making it all about race. It’s very nasty:

Yeah, I’m willing to bet my last dollar that he was aware of the political climate in that country, but privilege is a hell of a drug. The high of privilege told him that North Korea’s history of making examples out of American citizens who dare challenge their rigid legal system in any way was no match for his alabaster American privilege.

She then likens Otto Warmbier – a young man who allegedly tried to nick a sign for larks – to mass murderers who gun down innocent people in a church and run amuck at a fast food restaurant. You see, Otto’s skin colour makes him a suspect:

When you can watch a white man who entered a theatre and killed a dozen people come out unscathed, you start to believe you’re invincible. When you see a white man taken to Burger King in a bulletproof vest after he killed nine people in a church, you learn that the world will always protect you.

Not stopping there, she attacks his parents.

And while I don’t blame his parents for pressuring the State Department to negotiate his release, I wonder where they were when their son was planning a trip to the DPRK.

Dunno. Is it relevant?

What a mind-blowing moment it must be to realize after 21 years of being pedestaled by the world simply because your DNA coding produced the favorable phenotype that such favor is not absolute. What a bummer to realize that even the State Department with all its influence and power cannot assure your pardon. What a wake-up call it is to realize that your tears are met with indifference.

A “bummer” to see your son ripped away from you and vanished. Biased, bigoted and wholly objective, the article is the antithesis of good journalism. Pause from casting aspersions over all whites and the dead man’s grieving parents to wonder how this bilge passed before the editor’s eyes and wasn’t spiked.

She continues:

As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws.

No. Visiting North Korea is not unimaginable. It’s something you can do legally with a ticket. And if you find it so hard to imagine the hell of enslavement in a work camp, I can commend If This is A Man by Primo Levy and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Reading when you’re a writer can be useful. Also manual labour – yeah, who does that for 15 years? That question to coal miners and anyone else employed in one of those “unimaginable” blue collar industries that keep the lights on and writers in laptops.

She concludes:

I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.

No. You don’t. Because in the race to the bottom that is competitive victimhood, your moral compasses has gone haywire. Otto Warmbier appears to have been tortured to death. His trial and treatment should earn our utmost sympathy. To use his plight as a means to showcase you’re own victimhood and self-aggrandisement, to stand on his grave and shout ‘But what about me?’ is anti-human, needy and ultimately self-defeating.

Posted: 20th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (3)