Nothing else will happen this week, and nothing at all for several weeks round next June
In the same way that I didn’t care about two people I’d never met and and am not likely to meet getting married and was really quite sick of hearing about it by the time it actually happened, I don’t care that they’re now expectant parents. I’m not being curmudgeonly here. I’m delighted when people I know break the happy news that they’re having a baby, but I manage the disappointment of not hearing about it from the >99.9999% of the world I’ve never met and am overcome with indifference when it’s a sleb. What I said of the weddingathon is just as applicable now:
Despite my long standing republicanish tendencies I don’t harbour any ill will towards William and Kate. Okay, it does annoy me slightly that unless Australia ditches the monarchy he’ll be ‘my’ king one day, but that’s not his fault. The poor bugger never asked for the job and for all any of us know may turn it down when the time comes. So no, I have nothing against them, but I don’t know them and they don’t know me and it’s vanishingly unlikely that that will ever change, which means I have nothing but indifference towards them either. Sorry if this isn’t entering the flag-waving spirit that seems expected of everybody British born, but I’m just not prepared to jump on the bandwagon and sit here pretending that it’s in any way meaningful to me.
And there’s no reason anyone else should apart from the fact that millions are adherents of the cult of celebrity, of which the British Royal family is very much a part. Somewhere in Vietnam there’s probably a Mr and Mrs Nguyen who are also expecting their first child, and the indifference of rest of the world is such that not only does it not care, it doesn’t even know whether or not Mr and Mrs Nguyen exist. Worse, parts of it are probably only dimly aware of the country they live in because some good movies have been made about a bad war there.
Putting it another way, have a look at this screencap of a Google image search.
Do you personally know any of the people in the images? Do you feel the need to express joyous feelings towards the ones you don’t know? Obviously you hope people’s pregnancies go well because you’re a weapons grade shit if you sit there wishing all the various horrible pregnancy complications on someone, but do you feel like e-mailing photo libraries asking for your congratulations to be passed along to any of the couples in the images? No? No inclination at all? So why will millions be mailing St James’ Palace?
This is something that happens to most people sooner or later and I don’t get why I should be expected to express happiness, or any emotion at all, for Wills and Kate when nobody thinks I should for any of the other 7 billion people who aren’t in my own social circle. I do get that it’s welcomed by some who can expect to get away with releasing bad news while most of the world and media are distracted for several months, and I do get that it’s welcomed by the media themselves who can milk it thoroughly for cheap news of poor Kate’s latest bout of morning sickness.
But I don’t get why it’s of more than academic interest to the rest of us and why any couple expecting a child should also expect to have to release images of the fucking sonograms to the press. Or for that matter break the news much earlier than planned because a hospital admission would only lead to press speculation otherwise.
So now we all know, okay? Any chance we can leave it there and just have the one day of multi-page coverage when the royal sprog/s is/are dropped? I ask in hope, but no real expectation, of not seeing the news filled with speculation of the baby’s name, sex, weight and eventual height and fashion preferences for the next several months.
And in other news…
Nice to see that the media are all over the hugely important issue of Tom
Thumb, er Cruise being divorced by Katie Thingy… not Perry, the other one… Holmes! Yes, that’s it, now where was I? Oh yes, being divorced by Katie Holmes and wanting sole custody of the kid (unless it’s kids). The state of the marriages of all actors should be a matter of huge concern to absolutely everyone and far more important than such trivialities as, say, some uncontrollable wildfires in Colorado that have destroyed hundreds of homes, caused millions of dollars of property damage and appear to have resulted in at least one death. In fact this prioritisation of the coverage of news events is such that I have just one question for the media and everyone in it:
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?
This isn’t scraping the bottom of the barrel
The question is who will be Australia’s own “Snooki”, with Ten announcing its own TV reality series based on the hit US show Jersey Shore.
With its stunning beauty and “tribe-like” community, the Sutherland Shire, in Sydney’s south, has been chosen as the perfect location to shoot The Shire.
Network Ten has announced the commissioning of the series – which will follow the lives of a group of “charismatic” and “controversial” characters.
“The Shire is a fascinating look into a unique sub-culture in Australia and the first time a local dramality series is being introduced to the commercial television landscape,” says David Mott, chief programming officer, Network Ten.
“The genre has been a hit in the US (Jersey Shore) and the UK (The Only Way is Essex), changing the way people view television, and we intend to do the same,” says Mott.
Not so much scraping the bottom of the barrel as smashing right through it and tunnelling all the way through the Earth in order to scrape the underside of a barrel on the other side of the world. Gets some bloody good comments though (because unlike WordPress.com you can still comment at The Age).
My ex girlfriend lives in The Shire and looks like Snooki… and acts like Snooki.
Commenter M.O. – Location Sydney Date and time Mar 19, 2012, 02:52PM
Please Death – Just take me now.
Commenter Crackers – Location Any where but near a TV showing is ….. Date and time Mar 19, 2012, 01:05PM
Free to a good home. Sony 40″ TV
Commenter Sydney Fox – Location South Coast Woop Woop Date and time Mar 19, 2012, 11:07AM
The Shire…isn’t that where hobbits live?
Commenter Brendan – Location Date and time Mar 19, 2012, 08:31AM
every time I see something like this, that Mayan end times prophecy seems both more plausible and more appealing.
Commenter Roaster – Location Sydney Date and time Mar 19, 2012, 11:31AM
And the first and possibly best…
I’m emigrating to Pluto.
Goodbye and good luck.
Commenter pops – Location Melbourne Date and time Mar 19, 2012, 08:07AM
Quite a few commenters also mentioned a show here called Housos about people living in social housing, apparently with the expectation that they’ll be exactly the same kind of people doing the same kind of things. If that’s true then it really is time to arm up and run to the hills to prepare for the collapse of society – Housos was a satirical fiction portrayed by actors.
NSFW with the sound on.
You know copyright law’s got out of hand when…
When it’s being used to attack an endangered species. Not a biological kind of species, because they usually have a queue of people trying to save them. This is a pub, and so the great and good are mostly absent with the exception of Stephen Fry.
Actor Stephen Fry, who’s in the cast of The Hobbit films, has accused their American copyright holder of bullying an English theme pub called The Hobbit.
Lawyers for California-based Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) have written to the landlady of the Southampton pub, demanding it changes its name and remove all references to author JRR Tolkien’s classic by the end of May or face legal action for copyright infringement.
Fry, who plays the Master of Laketown in The Hobbit being filmed in New Zealand, says he’s ashamed of being in the film business.
His tweet helped boost the cause of the Save the Hobbit, Southampton Facebook page, which quickly attracted more than 13,000 followers.
Honestly, @savethehobbit, sometimes I’m ashamed of the business I’m in. What pointless, self-defeating bullying. fry.am/yGQDeh
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) March 13, 2012
He’s a funny bloke, Stephen Fry. Not funny ha-ha, though he certainly can be, but funny in that I really don’t know what to think about the guy. I once called him names because he defended political expense fiddling, but I’ve also blogged at how ridiculous it was that he had to cancel travel plans to Japan because of what someone else on QI said about one of the few double A-bomb survivors. In this instance, though, it’s very easy: I think Fry is absolutely right and I’d be fucking ashamed as well. What else can you think when a company who did not create the original works but have simply bought the rights is setting lawyers on to a member of a dying trade who’s highly unlikely to be able to afford to defend herself.
SZC are doubtless looking forward to a nice cheque from the movie studio behind the upcoming film, and this isn’t exactly promoting ‘The Hobbit’ (am I allowed to say that?) as a good brand. It’s tempting to suggest boycotting the film just so SZC, who are making money from doing fuck all I can see apart from buying the rights years ago – they’re not even making the fucking movie, for Christ’s sake – get less. I won’t because this isn’t the studio’s fault, but seriously, fuck Hollywood, fuck copyright abuse and fuck the parasites who live of this kind of thing. If a #BoycottTheHobbitmovie hashtag starts appearing regularly on Twitter I reckon it’ll be SZC who deserve the credit for it.
Another downside of summary justice
I’ve blogged a few times on how Australian police forces have the power to impose summary justice on drivers at the side of the road in the form of impounding vehicles, and that my concern isn’t so much that I think it’s being abused as that it’s fundamentally a recipe for injustice due to its inflexibility. If vehicle is seen doing, or in practice is merely believed to have been doing, X, Y or Z then it’s impounded for N days no matter what, even if the person whose car it is and who’s therefore being punished was not actually the driver. Hence we have the Perth doctor who lost the use of his Lambo for a month after police stopped and impounded it for speeding despite not even being in the car at the time, never mind driving it, and despite the driver later being found not guilty of the offence; we have the Mercedes dealership who lost one of their loan vehicles to Victoria police for a couple of days after they took it away from Lewis Hamilton for being a tyre smoking dickhead outside the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit two years ago, again without anyone representing the car’s owner being present let alone in control of it; and we have the Perth Mum whose car was impounded for a month after her son was caught driving it, yet again without her even being in the car let alone at the wheel.
This is sort of more of the same, but with a couple of important differences. First is that in this case Tom O’Sullivan, the person driving at the time the car was impounded, was the owner, which means that at least they weren’t punishing someone who wasn’t even there again. Sure, it’s still an over the top punishment to lose your car for all that time for “undue and excessive noise” (Seriously? Not even speeding, just “noise”? What’s wrong with a defect notice?) and there’s that thing missing from the process… oh, what’s it called again, now? It’s on the tip of my tongue…Kang Oh yes, a fucking trial. Anyhow, that’s by the by. The point is that in this case the person who was driving is the one on the receiving end, disproportionate or not.
But then there’s the second big difference, which is that in all likelihood Tom O’Sullivan will never see his car again because it was stolen from the impound yard. And to add insult to injury it took them a fortnight to tell him.
Police waited two weeks to tell the owner of an expensive high-performance car impounded under anti-hoon laws that his vehicle had been stolen from a towing yard.
Embarrassed police told PerthNow there had been a “communication breakdown” between themselves and AAAC, the private company it contracts to tow and store seized vehicles.
It was not until February 29 that Mr O’Sullivan received a call from East Cannington Police Station to say his car had been stolen from an impound yard at Kewdale on February 17.
How much communication is even needed here? Ring ring, hello officer, one of the cars we tow away and store for you has been stolen, please tell the owner … ring ring, I’ve very sorry sir, but there’s been a break in at the impound yard and your car was stolen. Two phone calls. Two! Okay, that’s a bare minimum but it’s hard to believe that it could take two bloody weeks to have broken the bad news to this poor guy.
“The keys to every car are in the impound shed are kept on the car…..they simply jumped the fence, walked in played with the electric gate and drove my clubby out the door.”
Or maybe not so hard to believe.
Police said it was the first time such an incident had occurred.
If the keys have been in the cars all this time that sounds like you’ve got luck to thank for that.
“This is a one off and very sophisticated operation possibly done by professional people,” Inspector Bill Munnee said.
Yes, jumping a fence, starting a car with its regular ignition key, opening the gate and driving away sounds like the level of sophistication that would have given even Danny Ocean a migraine.
Needless to say Tom O’Sullivan is less than ecstatic and wants compensation from WA Police. And fair enough – he’s insured but why should he have to eat the increased excess given it was in someone else’s care at the time? For that matter his insurance company could be forgiven for wondering why the police and/or the towing company shouldn’t pay all the costs if it’s true about leaving the keys with the vehicles.
But I think Tom O’Sullivan is missing a trick here. I think he should also be asking for the undue or excessive noise charge to be dropped and any fine he paid to be returned along with any compensation. Because I think it’s possible the police haven’t just lost his impounded vehicle, you see. They may also have lost their evidence that there was a reason to impound the car in the first place.
The Treasury’s policy of “Continuity Brown” means we look set to borrow more money in this Parliament than Gordon Brown managed in 13 years.
I’ve long since stopped trying even to estimate the number of times I’ve said this, but this ConLib Cobbleition government really is as bad as Labour, arguably with the additional down side that if the whole house of cards has to come crashing down before it can be unfucked and rebuilt Labour’s incompetence in general and Gordon Brown’s lunacy in particular might have brought that day a little sooner. The Cobbleition seem to be there with the purpose of prolonging the agony in the hope of winning power and prolonging it for another five years, and for that I despise them.*
* Actually I despise them for quite a lot of other things, all of which they share in common with Labour. But tonight it’s just the insane profligacy.
Tell me this isn’t a coincidence
First, there’s this:
A chief examiner at one of Britain’s biggest exam boards was recorded boasting about the lack of substance in the company’s tests – and their disbelief that it has been cleared by the official regulator.
Steph Warren, in charge of Edexcel GCSE Geography, said that teachers should pick her company’s exam because “you don’t have to teach a lot”.
And then there’s this:
Now I do realise that these are from different countries but the UK and US have quite a lot in common, including the modern sleb culture and persistent worries about dumbing down of edumacation – ‘dumbing down’ is an American phrase, after all. If you want a more UK-centric example of sleb-fascination as an alternative to news you don’t have to look far. Looking at The Daily Mail’s site now their sidebar consists of the following (and I really don’t blame if you don’t read every line of this):
- Something about Sinead O’Connor getting married again
- A story about the average weight of British women
- Something about Anna Nicole-Smith, who is apparently still dead
- Something about Angelina Jolie
- Something about Jennifer Lopez
- Something about X-Factor judges who are apparently called Gary, Kelly and Tulisa (who, who, who and who gives a fuck?)
- Something about someone called Selena Gomez and Justin fucking Bieber
- A story about a single father raising twins
- Something by Jan Moir about someone called Caroline Flack
- Something about someone called Kimberley Walsh
- Something about someone called Irina Shayk
- Something about Charlize Theron’s clothes
- Something about someone called Chelsee Healey
- Something about someone called Kate Upton
- Something about Prince William’s wife’s clothes
- Something about Declan Donnelly’s car
- Something about Katie Price
- Something about someone called Lea Michele
- Something about someone called Kris Jenner being upset about something Daniel Craig said
- Something about someone called Alicia Douvall
- Something about something called a Kardashian (who are apparently not Star Trek aliens but real people… for a given value of real)
- Something about someone called Amanda Seyfried
- Something by Jizz Loans
- Something about someone called Harry Judd
- Something about Paris Hilton
- Something about Beyoncé whatsername
- Something about Twiggy
- Something about Salma Hayek’s tits
- Something else about that Caroline Flack person again, but not by Jan Moir
- Something about a coat owned by Emma Watson, Natalie Portman and someone called Kristen Stewart
- Something about someone called Anna Massey in something about a loony in Broadmoor
- Something about someone called Amy Childs
- Something about Ray Winstone being in something
- Something about David Jason being in something
- Something else about Angelina Jolie
- Something about someone called Jacqui Ainsley
- Something about Louise Redknapp’s shampoo
- Something about Sacha Baron Cohen
- Something about someone called Kara Tointon
- Something about Venus Williams
- Something about someone called Kelly Rowland and someone called Amelia
- Something about something called JWoww (who seems to be a person but sounds like a cleaning product)
- Something about someone called Jennifer Hudson
- Something about someone called Kitty Brucknell
- Something about a transexual trying to turn him/herself into Barbie (just more plastic, I assume)
- Something about someone called Jennifer Garner
- Something about one of Michael Jackon’s kids being in a film or something
- Something about someone called Christine Bleakley
- Something about that Grilled Bear bloke meeting Mrs Queen
- Something about someone called Andrew Garfield
- Something about someone called Pat Sharp and her daughter, and someone called Mark Wright
- Something about Andie MacDowell’s daughter
- Something about someone called Rachel Crow
- Something about another one of the Kardashians
- Something about someone called Kris Humphries
- Something about someone called Dianna Agron and someone called Sebastian Stan (almost current affairs in that he sounds like he might be a country)
- Something about Shakira
- Something about someone called Coco Rocha
- Something about Jessica Alba’s sprog meeting Santa
- Something that might be about sexual abuse in Mormon communities, but might be more about some Mormon piano group
- Something about someone who’s someone’s widow being angry with Alec Baldwin for whatever he did on that plane
- Something about Michael Jackson’s doctor getting a prison visit
- Something about that Katherine Heigl who used to be in Grey’s Annoying Me
- Something about that Tiff Needell who used to be in the old Top Gear
- Something about someone called Toni Collette
- Something about Kirstie Alley’s current size
- Something about Demi Moore’s daughter’s arse
- Something about something called Chord Overstreet (who seems to be a person but sounds like gameplay from Guitar Hero) and someone called Emma Roberts
- Something about someone called Demi Lovato (who seems to be a person but sounds like musical notation)
- Something about someone called Jennifer Hudson
- Something about that Amy Childs again
- Something about someone called Selma Blair
- Something about Jessica Alba
- Something about Lady Gaga
- Something about Gwyneth Paltrow
- Something about Cheryl Cole
- Something about Christina Ricci
- Something else about Katie bloody Price
- Something about handbags
- Something about shops
- Something about shopping
- Something about Tom Cruise
- Something else about this Demi Lovato
- Something else about this Emma Roberts person having a tattoo like the one in that book about the girl with a tattoo
- Something about bridesmaids wearing tuxedos
- Something else about Tom Cruise
- Something about someone called Kendra Wilkison
- Something about someone called Kevin Federline
- A story about a fake doctor doing bad cosmetic surgery in the US
- Something about new Top Shop branches coming to your local high street, providing you live in Australia
- Something about someone called Abigail Breslin
- Something about someone called Danny O’Donaghue and Tom Jones
- Something about Jersey Shore
- Something about Brad Pitt’s hair
- Something about someone called Ali Larter’s son
- Something about cocaine and Charlie Sheen and someone called Brooke Mueller
- A story about how Christmas drives everyone fucking nuts
- Something about that horsey woman from Sex and the City
- Something else about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
- Something about a body scanner, but at clothes shops to help you buy stuff rather than airports to help delay you while you’re treated as a suspected terrorist
- Something about some people called Arg, Mark and Dougie
- Something about Lindsay Lohan
- Something about Nigella Lawson
- Something else about Emma Watson, but apparently not her coat this time
- Something about someone called Adele
- Something about money and divorces
- Something that might be about sexual abuse in Mormon communities, but might be more about some Mormon piano group, and appears to be exactly the same something as the something about sexual abuse/Mormon pianists from earlier
- Something about someone called Jeff Probst and someone called Lisa Ann Russell
- Something about someone called Patrica Klanic whose husband is a soccer player and has been accused of rape
- Something about Blur
- Something else about Andie MacDowell
- Something about Cameron Diaz
- Something about David Cameron’s hair (for fuck’s fucking sake I’m fucking losing the fucking will to fucking live here)
- Yet another fucking thing about this Caroline Flack and someone called harry Styles
- Something about Prince Harry and his brother’s wife’s sister, except not really because they’re only lookalikes (that’s it – when I’m finished with this I’m going to book a holiday where I’m legally allowed to shoot things)
- Something about Katy Perry
- Something about that woman who looked all upset when Jeremy Clarkson said he wanted to shoot strikers and how she used to have a damp spot for Jason Donovan
- Something about a model who’s going bald
- Jesus H. Christ in a fucking mothership, something else about Tom fucking Cruise
- Something else about a Kardashian, possibly one of the ones from earlier but I’m so far past fucking caring at this point I just asked Mrs Exile to hold a mirror up under my nose
- Something about Prince Charles not understanding Peter Kay’s jokes or something
- Something about Madonna likeing Prince William’s wife’s clothes
- Something about someone called Gamu
- Something about someone called Zac Effron kissing Michelle Pfeiffer
- Something about Dawn French’s clothes
For those that skipped much of that list it’s 125 articles, 95% of which involve slebs, and close to 0% of which involve actual news. Okay, sure, they do put a lot of shite in the sidebar and more newsy news in the main bit, but even there Sinead O’Connor puts in an appearance along with one or two things about house prices (wouldn’t be the Mail without them, would it?) while the story about exams being made easier appears nearly halfway down the home page.
Coincidence? I find that hard to believe. Whether it’s just an effect of successive governments prioritising the appearance of educational success over actually educating or whether it’s a deliberate attempt to create Orwell’s proles, the undereducated 85% who were conditioned to have little or no interest in the world but were easy to manipulate. As always I tend to go with Hanlon’s Razor and assume stupidity and cupidity over conspiracies, but sometimes I do wonder.
|Click for linky|
Cynthia Crawford, who worked as Lady Thatcher’s personal assistant from 1978, said the Hollywood biopic was likely to upset her friends and family.
She said the opening scenes of The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep, were likely to be particularly distressing as they show her suffering from dementia.
I have exactly the same thing to say to offence seeking right wingers as to their offence seeking left-wing oppos. There is no right to not be offended and there never can be such a right because I for one would find the imposition of it extremely offensive (and no, I’m not saying that to be bloody difficult but because I’m a fucking adult my skin’s thick enough that I don’t need some paternalist twats wringing their hands on my behalf). If someone says something you don’t like, don’t listen. If they say something you think is wrong then debate it. If they make a film that you think is unfavourable to someone you admire in that it portrays them with dementia, even though they really do have dementia in real life, then just don’t go and watch it. And so on.
This is not rocket science. Grow up and get over yourselves.
Questions to which the answer is "No"
|Cick for linky|
… the question arises, should the rest of the world take over management of Europe to prevent or mitigate disaster? Specifically, should the US Federal Reserve assume leadership as a monetary superpower and impose policy on a paralyzed ECB, acting as a global lender of last resort?
And for the answer I think we should turn to one of those well worn graphical illustrations of how deep America’s debt rabbit hole goes. This one is an excellent example from usdebt.kleptocracy.us. The first image shows the approximate US public debt by the end of the year if it was a piles of actual size $100 bills compared to quite a famous landmark, and the second shows that plus its unfunded liabilities.
If you’ve read the captions on those images (you can embiggerfy, or better yet go look at the original where you can see a similar representation of the US budget for 2011) you’ll have noticed that the first of those, the $15 trillion pile, is roughly the size of the Gross Domestic Product for the entire United States. In fact the captions are a little out of date – US debt will not now reach 100% of GDP by Christmas 2011 because that happened four weeks ago.
So actually the answer to the question of whether the US Federal Reserve should act as Europe’s lender of last resort is not just “No” – it’s “With what?”
A modern parable
Spotted by Fausty.
Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of nowhere. Parliament said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.
Then Parliament said, “How does the night watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.
Then Parliament asked, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?” So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One to do the studies and one to write the reports.
Then Parliament said, “How are these people going to get paid and administered?” So they created the following positions, two time keepers and three payroll officers, and then hired four human resources consultants and five health and safety executives.
Then Parliament said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?” So they created an administrative section and hired fifty people including administrative officers, assistant administrative officers, legal secretaries and a chief executive on £250,000 per annum.
Then Parliament said, “We have had this in operation for over one year and we are £25,000,000 over budget, we must cutback the overall cost.”
So they laid off the night watchman.
The whole Libya intervention thing doesn’t get any better, does it?
After what I had to say the other day the news that both sides in the Libyan revolution, civil war or whatever we’re going to call it, plus NATO, are going to be investigated for war crimes doesn’t really require much in the way of comment.
NATO forces are to be investigated by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes during the Libyan conflict.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court’s chief prosecutor, told the United Nations yesterday that Nato troops would be investigated alongside rebel soldiers and regime forces for alleged breaches of the laws of war during the battle to overthrow Col Muammar Gaddafi.
As well as the original charges that Gaddafi and his close family perpetrated attacks on Libyan civilians, there are a series of complaints about the Western alliance and its allies in the National Transitional Council (NTC) under consideration.
“There are allegations of crimes committed by Nato forces, allegations of crimes committed by NTC-related forces … as well as allegations of additional crimes committed by pro-Gaddafi forces,” said Mr Moreno-Ocampo. “`These allegations will be examined impartially and independently by the prosecution.”
The only person who’s coming out of this looking better than before he went in is ol’ Muammar Gaddafi himself, and even that’s only because he’s more popular dead than alive. It’s not the only bit of good news for him either.
Charges against Gaddafi could be formally dropped when the court gets official proof of the former dictator’s death on Oct 20, the prosecutor said.
‘Could’ be dropped? Christ on skates, only ‘could’ be?