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Downfall

July 10, 2011

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“There is an inescapable conclusion that we must reach if we are to have a better society. The only reliable, durable and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit.” — from James Murdoch’s McTaggart Lecture, 2008

“The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the masses’ attention to certain facts, processes, and necessities, whose significance is thus for the first time placed within their field of vision. The whole art consists in doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary, the necessity correct.”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1926)

“I will take you the reader with me into the secret inner world of the pimp. I will lay bare my life and thoughts as a pimp. The account of my brutality and cunning as a pimp will fill many of you with revulsion…” — Iceberg Slim, Pimp: The Story of My Life (1967)

Near Placentia a calf was born beside the road with its head fastened to one of its legs. Soothsayers deduced that a new head was being prepared for the world–but that it would be neither powerful nor secret since it had been deformed in the womb and given birth by the roadside — Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome (1st century AD)

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It’s been a satisfying week. Watching the vile Rupert Murdoch and his amoral flunkies drive the News Corps pimp-mobile over a cliff is a heart-warming sight…and they haven’t hit bottom yet.

We can expect more and more revelations of the Murdochs’ fundamental seediness and criminality. The Sun will be next to go super-nova–it’s utterly implausible to imagine that the News of The World practices were not common currency across the Murdoch empire. I couldn’t be more delighted at the prospect: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind Hosea 8:7 KJV

The Murdochs are about to learn the truth of the old saying: ” Be nice to the people you meet on your way up because you’re sure to meet them again on your way down.” I don’t think they’re going to enjoy the experience.

The Murdochs have made a lot of enemies in their long climb to media dominance but most of those enemies, especially those in the media and in politics, have kept quiet for fear of the power of News Corp. But they were biding their time, dreaming of revenge and keeping their knives sharp: now the knives are being unsheathed.

Murdoch is 80 years-old and looks every day of it. The awe with which he has been regarded for a long time is dissipating like the bad smell that it was. His son James is viewed as an arrogant, incompetent buffoon whose appallingly bad judgement has paved the way for OFCOM to judge News International as ‘not fit and proper persons’ to own BSkyB; and when that happens (as it surely will), the Murdochs are finished.

If the Murdochs and News Corp are judged ‘not fit and proper persons’, they will not only be denied the chance to buy the part of BSkyB that they don’t own but they will be forced to divest themselves of the shares they do own and all their media interests in the UK. All the countries that host a Murdoch media operation have regulatory bodies overseeing the media. If the Murdochs are ‘not fit and proper persons’ in the UK then the rest of the world will come to the same conclusion. Game over.

As a charming side-show, we have the sight of that spineless, fat-faced twit Cameron floundering desperately as he tries to explain his hiring of Coulson. Cameron is fucked. His closeness to the most reviled woman in Britain, his employment of a man who is almost certainly going to prison, his back-room deals with the despised Murdoch, all these and more are going to sink him.

Truly, my cup runneth over.

Verse on how the mighty art fallen, please.

125 Comments
  1. July 10, 2011 1:16 PM

    Undone by your eyes and the girth of your thighs
    Undone by your crooked half smile
    I ordered a gin with some tonic
    And watched from afar for a while

    Try as I might I could not but delight
    In your languorous limbs thrown akimbo
    While the alcohol slipped past by tonsils
    I could feel myself slipping to Limbo

    I refilled my glass and lit a cigarette
    Heavenly pleasures would yet be mine
    You caught my gaze and you held it
    Took a meaningful drink of your wine

    By the third g&t, we were talking
    Your hand touched the small of my back
    While my senses got high on your presence
    My conscience was morphing to black

    Hand in hand we slipped from the bar stools
    You followed me back to my room
    My dearest and deadliest downfall
    In room 101 in the gloom.

  2. July 10, 2011 1:17 PM

    Or Reine even…

  3. July 10, 2011 8:53 PM

    Hello Mishari. Will you change “me” to “be” in line 10 please? Good to see you… Where are all the other “bosom cronies” – drinking, laughing and carousing I hope.

  4. mishari permalink*
    July 10, 2011 10:05 PM

    Hello, sweetie. I suspect the gang are attending services at their local house of worship (in Mowbray’s case, that’ll be Our Lady of The Perpetual Twix and 50″ Flatscreen).

    You see, today is a Holy Day: The Advent of The Casting Out of Rupert (known colloquially as ‘Fuck Off Back To Oz and Take Your Billabong With You Day’). Don’t they celebrate that in Ireland, the heathens?

    • July 10, 2011 11:03 PM

      Oh indeed we do celebrate it. Wasn’t it the main topic over breakfast? Kindliness man and woman were visiting and kindliness man (a newspaper man more in the Lou Grant mode) had much to say on the matter. He celebrated with some pork and apple sausage HI had ordered from a prizewinning butcher in Cork…(although truth be told, kindliness man doesn’t really hold with fruit and meat as bedfellows). He is an old fashioned sort.

      They were at a wedding yesterday in Dublin so I dropped them into town with my mother shouting “Mind, mind” every time a vehicle swerved into view. Daddy said he was thinking of entering me in the grand prix. Anyway, I walked them to the church and it turned out we were an hour early so we whiled away the time at the café which is on the church campus. (Clarendon St. Church and its stuck in time Bell Café just off Grafton St, should anyone find himself or herself in need of a prayer and/or a coffee and fag offstreet.)

  5. mishari permalink*
    July 10, 2011 10:45 PM

    Michele Bachmann, the Republican presidential candidate, signed a Christian conservative pledge that stated that African American children were more likely to grow up in stable families during the era of slavery than under President Barack Obama. —The Telegraph, today

    …erm…right, Michele…unless they got, y’know… sold.

    You know when I said that Bachmann was yer run-of-the-mill right-wing nutcase? I was wrong. She’s a whole new class of nutcase: she makes Sarah Palin look like Doris Lessing.

  6. mishari permalink*
    July 10, 2011 11:09 PM

    Pork and apple sausage…very nice. When I said more revelations were coming, I wasn’t expecting THIS (tomorrow’s Mirror). If this is true, this story is going to finish Murdoch in the US…oh, happy day….

  7. July 11, 2011 9:40 AM

    A week where Hugh Grant was made to look like the shining sword of journalistic truth. I’m neither here nor there with Grant ( he could be a great light-comic actor a la Cary Grant if he hadn’t made so many lousy films )but to have done that is quite an achievement on NI’s part.

    Did you see the Newsnight with Steve Coogan tearing a strip off an ex-NotW editor? Great TV. Coogan was but a whisker away from decking him completely and was squirming around in his seat with non-manufactured anger.

    You wonder why it’s taken a few celebs/comedians and a Guardian journalist to do the job the police and the politicians should have done.

  8. mishari permalink*
    July 11, 2011 10:05 AM

    I did see Coogan on Newsnight (thank you BBC iPlayer). Priceless stuff. As Coogan said to the the tabloid reptile: “You’re a public relations disaster…” and he was–shifty, amoral, sniggering, defensive and deluded. Hats off to Coogan for restraining himself; if ever a man needed a swift punch in the mouth, it was McMullen.

    According to today’s Mail:

    News of the World is accused of hacking phones of 9/11 victims

    So far, it’s an ex-NYC cop making the accusations but God help News Corp if any hard evidence for this emerges: the US justice apparatus in a fury is a fearsome thing–Murdoch and his gang could end up in Guantanamo…what a happy thought…

  9. July 11, 2011 12:37 PM

    What I found fascinating was how school-boyishly un-emphatic McMullen was in his own defense… he was barely able to make eye-contact. So, who’s worse, the sociopath wired without empathy/morals or the non-sociopath whose empathy/morals can be inhibited for a price? And which group is responsible for most of the look and feel of the world we know?

  10. July 11, 2011 1:48 PM

    SA McMullen had put himself up for virtually every press interview about this. He’s been kicked around by just about everybody. It looked like the Coogan blitzkrieg was pretty much the last straw. The next 2 interviews will see him look more and more like Mel Gibson in the Last Temptation of Christ.

    But there was no sign of a Damascene conversion as of yet. I suspect that will make an appearance in the book that he must have up his sleeve.

  11. hic8ubique permalink
    July 11, 2011 8:45 PM

    The the sociopaths, StA, are the worse, because they influence the rest of us who are tractable, corruptible, weak, irresolute, self-indulgent, deluded &c… at least to some degree we are*. Wouldn’t you agree there’s more karma in taking others down a dark alley with you than in just being a garden-variety flawed human stumbling along.
    I feel we do well to be noble and kind most of the time and be rubbish as seldom as we can manage.

    I heard an interesting radio piece by Jon Ronson who just came out with The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry . I believe he’d say that’s the cohort most responsible for our sorry state of affairs.
    By the way, thanks for that appalling poetic assignment; I like to think the prospect of going to the dogs induced Mishari to rejoin us post haste.

    Missed you, Boss. Did you look at those crash pics of the Tour? Kinda NotW worthy I thought, but there I was eyes glued. Gluteal varicosities? ooh la la!

    *Inez* is naturally the rule-validating exception

    • July 11, 2011 10:20 PM

      Hello Hic. Now he’s back, we can focus our missing on others. (*sigh*)

    • July 11, 2011 11:42 PM

      Hic!

      1) You’ll think me gratuitously controversial (laugh), but, re, “Wouldn’t you agree there’s more karma in taking others down a dark alley with you than in just being a garden-variety flawed human stumbling along”… I always thought of “Karma” as Cosmic Sociopathy. Think about it: those German Jews must have done something pretty horrible, in a previous life, to *deserve*… and so on. I mean, any system that implicitly posits Adolph Hitler as an agent of divine balance can’t be nice…

      2) But the genuine Sociopath “can’t help it” (or don’t really know why they should, if getting caught isn’t an issue); the weaklings among us can… there are far fewer genuine Sociopaths (who tend to be in charge, since the modern corporate-political structure is basically a pyramid for filtering non-sociopaths out of its upper levels) than there are venal collaborators. I think the only possible hope (in some distant century) is a DNA-tweaking pharmacological treatment for the inhuman, empathy-free bastards at the top… and lots of soul-searching for their millions of enablers. Failing that, an invasion of benign Intergalactic Overlords is our only hope…

  12. mishari permalink*
    July 11, 2011 9:09 PM

    Hi, hic…it’s true, as you say, that people are complicit in the degradation of public life and civility that’s been accelerated by the likes of Murdoch and his jackals. The people’s passivity and acquiescence in the face of it all for so long is depressing, however…I’m fond of the old saying: ‘beware the fury of a patient man’.

    It’s refreshing to see how many otherwise long-suffering people have snapped and are baying for Murdoch’s blood (including, in what must be a terrifying development for Murdoch, News Corp shareholders).

    As you rightly say, Murdoch and his lackeys are not the only villains in this–all the people who consume the tabloids and Sky television and the culture of Hello! magazine and Big Brother and the rest of our tawdry, vapid Theatre of Cruelty (I can hear Antonin Artaud’s laughter from beyond the grave) need to take a long, hard look at themselves…but, hell, de-fanging Murdoch and his gang is a start.

    In comedy news, News International’s reaction to allegations that they had hacked Gordon Browns bank account and his son’s medical records is a classic:

    We note the allegations made today concerning the reporting of matters relating to Gordon Brown. So that we can investigate these matters further, we ask that all information concerning these allegations is provided to us.

    Priceless. After all that’s happened, they’re offering to investigate themselves…again; we all know how well that worked out the last time.

    And the good news keeps on coming

  13. July 11, 2011 11:26 PM

    Will You?

    Will you know me in weather
    Where once sheathed in feather,
    I embodied finesse?

    Will you recognise me
    Minus all sophistry
    And lacking largesse?

    Will you see what I am
    Whom once you called ma’am
    In an embellished dress?

    Will you know then and see
    The trompe l’oeil who is me
    When I’m just a lush mess?

    Will you spare me a dime
    For a vodka and lime
    And my cold hand caress?

    Will you turn a blind eye
    When I bow down and cry
    And your compassion bless?

    Will you?

  14. mishari permalink*
    July 12, 2011 12:35 AM

    Very nice, Reine…I wonder what that rhyme scheme (AAB, CCB, DDB etc) is called?

    Curious as to what exactly male ‘genital enhancement’ actually means, I clicked on this story in The Graun; I rather wish I hadn’t:

    The organisation (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) is particularly worried about backstreet procedures for men seeking genital enhancement. It says it has evidence of a number of websites promoting the use of silicone injections into scrotums and penises – unlicensed treatments performed by medically unqualified practitioners that can result in serious medical problems.

    Jim Horton certainly wishes he had heard this warning earlier. The 50-year-old aircraft engineeer underwent one such procedure in 2007. “I’ve always had quite a tight scrotum and heard through various online chat sites that I could get it made bigger,” he says. “Everyone who’d had it done seemed to say they were really happy with the results, so I emailed the guy who I was told was carrying it out and arranged to see him. He sent me details of what would happen. It all seemed very professional and above-board.”

    It was only when he arrived for his appointment that Jim began to worry. “I thought there’d be some kind of surgery inside – but it was nothing more than a normal house,” he says. “The man I went to meet said he worked on North Sea oil rigs, but he seemed very calm and confident and he told me that he’d done this to more than 90 other men, as well as having had silicone injected into his own penis and scrotum. I trusted him and went upstairs.”

    But after Jim had showered and was lying on the bed, waiting to be injected, things got worse. “I noticed the silicone was kept in an open milk bottle on the side – and this guy put the syringe full of the silicone into a regular sealant gun you’d buy from a DIY store. He said he needed to apply extra pressure as the fluid was so thick, but by now I was in his hands and went along with it.”

    Over the next 30 minutes Jim had 60ml of silicone injected in each side of his scrotum. Afterwards, he got dressed and handed over £120. “I felt fine and my scrotum looked and felt better. I was happy with what I’d paid for,” he says.

    However, by Christmas he noticed that the injected areas had started to harden and become misshapen. “I called the guy who did it, asking if this was normal, and he just said ‘bad luck’ and hung up on me.”

    Frankly, it’s hard not to laugh. ‘Open milk bottles’? ‘Sealant gun’? And ‘Jim’ still went through with it? Just how stupid is he?

    • July 12, 2011 1:00 AM

      I think I’ll need to read about the Bestiality Farm again to clear my mind of this…

    • July 12, 2011 10:27 AM

      Terza Reine? Thanks.

    • July 12, 2011 10:29 AM

      Former comment went in wrong place, oops. That bestiality farm stuff literally gave me nightmares… I woke up in a lather patting my bottom worriedly.

  15. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 12, 2011 9:06 AM

    The fact that he didn’t use a staple-gun and cable-ties during the operation would have alerted me to the fact that the surgeon wasn’t a professional.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 12, 2011 2:19 PM

      …nor any mention of Superglue.

  16. mishari permalink*
    July 12, 2011 1:07 PM

    Videos For Morons Presents: How To Open A Bottle of Wine (featuring long-time PolHom hero, Steven Seagal).

    Next Week: Steven Seagal Shows You How To Set Your Nose On Fire While Lighting A Cigar.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 12, 2011 2:18 PM

      Now I’m feeling my uncorking technique could use a bit of enhancement. I would ask our resident sommelier (sommelierre?)
      whether that bit about tasting for ‘bits of cork’ is fallacious.
      I thought any pre-tasting is meant solely to ascertain that the wine hasn’t ‘corked’, which does not mean crumbling to bits.

      A nice bum well-attired… daresay I could work on improving that too, but today is almost too hot for mobility.
      However, I must away inland as it’s a Brookline day.
      PolHom… a most pleasing contraction.

    • July 12, 2011 4:44 PM

      I am no expert, Hic, but one tastes to ascertain that the wine isn’t off or oxidised through contact with a contaminated cork. Nothing to do with cork floating around which just means one swivelled too far. Never a good thing, over-swivelling.

  17. hic8ubique permalink
    July 12, 2011 2:09 PM

    Ah, Re, don’t despair; the Queen’s favourite is most likely in an intake phase, ie stuck in a good trilogy, and will burst upon the scene again anon.
    ‘Terza Reine’ :) Love it.
    ~
    !St. I’d fail to recognise you if you weren’t provocative ;)
    Per your no. 1:
    I probably shouldn’t have used ‘karma’… I don’t conceive of karma as a Yahwehgian crime and punishment scheme as you illustrate, rather as an evolutionary creative principle impelling us toward ever better choices. That isn’t obvious in casual conversation though. Pardon my over-mystification…

    no.2: The ‘inhuman, empathy-free bastards at the top’ seem to be self-imploding at an increasing rate, no? Maybe instead of a Big Pharma script, they each have a timed detonator in their DNA pushing them inexorably to their brinks.
    Absolutely agree with soul-searching for the rest of us, but no more overlords, thank you very much.

    • July 12, 2011 3:10 PM

      “…but no more overlords, thank you very much.”

      Not even Horus-headed super-beings of incalculable age and beneficence, cloaked in healing lights, Hic?

      “The ‘inhuman, empathy-free bastards at the top’ seem to be self-imploding at an increasing rate, no?”

      That merely indicates to me that the “top” actually has a Top and a Bottom… the Bottom being the visible bit. Arrivistes like the Murdochs and Amins and Nixons of this world are never as secure as we think they are, I’m guessing. I don’t expect substantial paradigm-shifts from these shake-ups… but the Schadenfreude they afford sometimes does *this* serf’s heart some good. One question for Murdoch: is it too soon to try the “fake your own death in a bunker and escape to Argentina in a submarine” gambit, again?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 12, 2011 9:29 PM

      Weeell now you mention it, St. You do drive a hard bargain.
      You’re not just trying to soften me up now for the Advent of your True Falconous Self? … tricksy fellow, you.
      If so, and if I say ‘No’, I’ll be cast out of your firmament forthwith.

      Alright then… but the healing lights are non-negotiable.

    • July 12, 2011 9:53 PM

      Well… they’re not really *healing* lights, any more, Hic (something seems to be wrong with one of them and I can’t find the warranty on it) but they’re very… comfy. Talons are trimmed now, too.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 12, 2011 10:54 PM

      Oh. Oh. Now, I call that Bait and Switch.
      Nothing short of the AuroraF*%@£*!Borealis, my man, or no deal.

  18. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 12, 2011 3:51 PM

    The current UK Coalition government are trying to sell us this idea that self-regulation works therefore they can pull money out of public spending and give it all to their mates in business.

    One of the many good things about this affair is that it pours a huge bucket of cold water over this concept so that it’s not just the politically cynical who think this. Self-regulation didn’t work with the press so why will it work as regards food companies filling their products with trans-fats and mechanically recovered meat?

    Whether it will do any good is another matter. Like businesses going bust owing everyone and then setting up a week later with a different name I’m sure we’ll be encouraged to swallow the same old shit repackaged in fancy new paper a month down the line..

  19. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 12, 2011 5:28 PM

  20. July 13, 2011 9:47 AM

    For the London PH contingent – our Compost Heap show will be at the Shoreditch festival this Sunday 17th. Shows are at 2.40 and 4.30. I’m the podgy, slightly balding one with glasses.

    We are by the Regent’s Canal – in between Pownall Road and Regent’s Row.

  21. July 13, 2011 11:26 AM

    My Downfall

    When I was twenty
    I’d more of less than of plenty
    And made do
    And then some years later
    I had to split nothing in two

    When I was thirty
    I celebrated that birthday
    With relish
    Drank champagne with my lobster
    Arriviste in a world I’d embellish

    That decade was mixed
    Money flowed, I transfixed
    On acquiring
    Things of beauty, some rare
    Which often had people admiring

    Antique lace from the east
    Tapestries, not the least
    Of my swag
    Vintage sat side by side:
    Prada shades and Gucci bag

    And then came the downfall
    The cash cow inverted her teats
    What were once paved with gold
    Now turned into lean and mean streets

    The honey and milk
    The fur and the silk
    Are all past
    I’m a pauper again
    But I’m one of a very large cast

    • July 13, 2011 11:29 AM

      one too many “swag”…

      Maybe this instead please…Prada glasses and Gucci handbag

      [I took the liberty of adding my own edit: it scans better…but I’ll lose it if you hate it -Ed.]

    • July 15, 2011 2:37 PM

      It’s an enhancement, thanks. Good luck with the move and everything; hope the frenzy will dissipate to bliss.

  22. July 14, 2011 12:12 AM

    And, of course…

    (PS I can’t believe this film was ever taken seriously; all Ganz was missing were the bolts in his neck)

  23. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 14, 2011 8:27 AM

    Top Cat bestrode the BBC like a giant
    The humour was zippy we were all compliant.
    The morning after it was the show to have seen
    The afternoon before at about five fifteen –
    The water-cooler moment at a primary school
    Re-enacting when Benny the Ball played the fool.
    But Top Cat fell foul of a UK cat food brand
    Renamed as Boss Cat, its real title was banned,
    The new name played havoc with the show’s theme tune
    A musical head of steam built up then ended too soon
    The written equivalent of a slap in the face
    Put “he’s the most tip-top Top Cat!” in its place.
    This change of title was surprising
    All down to the Beeb’s stance on advertising.

    A useful historical precedent I think. I hope parliament remembers.

  24. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 14, 2011 8:42 AM

    Last line came out a bit Tonto in the Lone Ranger.

    Should be ” All down to the Beeb’s stance on advertising”

    runs off to catch the 9.30 iron horse with the rest of the palefaces.

    SA Downfall was meant to present Hitler in a bit more of a human light wasn’t it? Wasn’t it that aspect that caused all the fuss?

    All the more peculiar then that they presented him as Klaus Kinski in between takes for Nosferatu..

    • July 14, 2011 2:49 PM

      “All the more peculiar then that they presented him as Klaus Kinski in between takes for Nosferatu.”

      Can you imagine what Kinski could have done with this role, ET…? Boggles me.

  25. hic8ubique permalink
    July 14, 2011 1:50 PM

    I recall that objection to Ganz’s Hitler, in effect that he was portrayed as a deranged human being rather than a one dimensional madman. It was obviously not a sympathetic portrayal.
    Do some viewers need Hitler to be the one-off worst monster, and so can’t for allow his representation as something within the human spectrum of pathology?

    Ganz is one of my favourite actors, StA. I’m curious about your response to Downfall.

    • July 14, 2011 2:47 PM

      To be frank, Hic, I think this movie suffers from the same Teutonic OTTness that lots of local flicks (and music) do. I’ve never watched the whole thing (never sat through Das Boot, either), but the few clips I’ve seen are dialed far too high on the Freak Meter; the true horror, of course (as we all know, by now), is how “ordinary” those people were… “ordinary” people in an extraordinary circumstance that you wouldn’t be able to gauge or even notice without satellite photographs, in most cases. Well, gee, look at the POTUS: he sits atop his blood-drenched throne with a camera-ready demeanor, does he not? Maybe a closer analog would be Nixon’s last days in office.

      I know the operative difference is that one bloody throne (the one in Der Untergang) is set in a bunker. Still, there’s plausible bunker-behavior and there’s near-comedic OTT and would Downfall have become the internet meme it is if it weren’t more toward the latter?

      I don’t think they’ll produce a decent Hitler flick, over here, until they allow themselves to confess to a few foundational aspects of the culture. It was just last year, in fact, that German public officials were making disingenuous comments about “Muslims” and the “failure of multi-culturalism” that were eerily, and alarmingly, familiar.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 14, 2011 6:22 PM

      Now I get your meaning. Thanks :)
      Interesting that your objections seem to be toward the other pole from the criticism EdT mentions.
      The public: ‘Too normal!’
      St A: ‘Too maniacal!’

      Stones from the River by Ursula […somebody] went strongly along your same premise I believe.
      Hegi, Ursula Hegi.
      (I see that this novel somewhat embarrassingly became an Oprah selection.)

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 14, 2011 6:23 PM

      … I well know what staunch Teutonic deluded rectitude looks like, but happily in real life I’ve never seen it pushed to a psychotic break.

    • July 14, 2011 10:06 PM

      There’s a sort of National Autism I often suspect is genetic. Empathy comes in on a very weak signal here… that’s part of it. I always say that Americans can be crazy in a thousand ways but Germans are crazy in one (but that one way is a bundle of effects that needs a proper, hyphenated, thirty-letter term). You’re lots more likely to be finished off by a serial-killer in the US… but you’re also lots more likely to have pleasant neighbors.

      Have I mentioned the time I was in a hurry to meet a flight into Schönefeld airport? There’s a tunnel between the S-Bahn station and the terminal, with white foot-prints painted helpfully up the median of the tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, the foot-prints do a hard right-angle to the left. A German business-type went dashing ahead of me, shouting into his mobile-phone, running right on top of those foot-prints… and when he came to the left-turn at the end of the tunnel, instead of doing it in a curve (as would be natural), he actually slowed down a bit so he could do it in a right-angle.

      Yep.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 15, 2011 12:22 PM

      ‘Unempatischrechtsklugheit’ vielleicht?

      As soon as I read ‘right-angle’ I anticipated the rest of your anecdote.

      I remember the first long rural ride in the car with my(now not then)husband. He didn’t stay in his lane on sharp bends, but hugged the inside curve; yes, only when there was no oncoming traffic. It would never have occurred to me to do that. He still has the rather charming habit of concurrently raising his arm to brace against me listing into his lap.

    • July 15, 2011 4:13 PM

      Ziemlich, Hic. Aber, try: ‘Unsympathischbundeshypochondriemässig Rechteckigkontrollverlustangstklugheit’ instead.

    • July 15, 2011 4:47 PM

      (Ooops… I see I dropped the “angst” that should have gone in after “kontrollverlust”) [Fixed-Ed.]

    • July 15, 2011 4:54 PM

      “Unsympathischbundeshypochondriemässig Rechteckigkontrollverlustklugheit’

      That’s easy for you to say Steven

    • July 15, 2011 6:08 PM

      It’s the German version of “Wassup?”, ET.

  26. hic8ubique permalink
    July 14, 2011 1:53 PM

    I have a question for you EdT, you being one who suffers the JJones blog politely…
    Looking at the image of the Salvator Mundi, I can’t fathom why the right eye would be painted as if it’s floating away.
    The first thing that struck me was the incoherence of the eyes, and it’s more than strabismus; the whole placement is awry. For a painting done with such exquisite precision, and in which an orb of all things is such a prominent feature, why would this be intentionally done? To make us stare into absented eyes?
    Totally perplexes and vexes me.
    Mishari? Anyone?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jul/12/leonardo-portrait-of-christ-salvator-mundi#zoomed-picture

    • July 14, 2011 2:59 PM

      I may be raving, Hic, but if you move to the left or right as opposed to looking at it head-on, the eyes give the impression of following you. A nod to SM’s omniscience?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 14, 2011 6:25 PM

      I don’t get that effect, Re, but when I maximise the image as much as I can, I do see that the right eye appears to be damaged, so that certainly contributes to the weirdness.
      They don’t even seem to be looking at me, so following would be quite a feat ;)

    • July 14, 2011 7:42 PM

      Ah it’s been a day… maybe the Lord was speaking to me… “go home Reine and drink lots of wine”. Be it done unto me according to his word.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 14, 2011 8:37 PM

      Ahh-men.

  27. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 14, 2011 7:30 PM

    hic I find Da Vinci’s painted humans all rather strange to be honest. Impeccably realised but they don’t appear to be observed from life. This one is rather odd in that the head appears to be behind a super-fine mesh and almost in a different time-zone to the hands.

    His drawings of deluges and hair on the other hand are rather extraordinary.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 14, 2011 8:38 PM

      Yes, there’s a composite feel to the figure, but the orb really is splendid.

      Here’s a curious way to play with the problem…
      I covered a section from just above the lower eyelids to the forehead, and got a much more plausible impression of a face with its eyes closed.
      Do you see that? In contrast, the floating up eyes look even weirder.

      Maybe I’m being disturbed by a cobbling of portrait and icon.

  28. hic8ubique permalink
    July 14, 2011 8:47 PM

    And whilst I’m littering the blog with more than my fair share of column inches…
    I’d be gratified if one Melton Mowbray would drop in and give us a life-sign.

    Vicar! If you are in the vicinity, please give a halloo and let us know what’s become of you, and what’s on your mind.
    Are you having such uproarious sea-side times with HLM that you’ve forsaken your old friends?

  29. Harold Campanologist permalink
    July 15, 2011 2:23 PM

    Please accept my apologies for neglecting my duties as a blog-host. I’ve been frantically busy for the last couple of weeks, zipping between London and Paris (where I am now), sorting out the family move (which I think I mentioned a few months ago: I voted for Barcelona but I was outvoted by my wife). Now I know how those spinning-plates-on-sticks fellows feel.

  30. mishari permalink*
    July 15, 2011 2:26 PM

    Whoops…sorry…it’s me.

    • July 15, 2011 6:12 PM

      (hope you got the email explaining the cockup with the address I gave you, M; still waiting for our tenant to Easy-Jet his way back…)

  31. mishari permalink*
    July 15, 2011 6:21 PM

    Steven, forgive my not replying sooner but I just saw that. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve not posted the stuff to you, Ed, Reine and MM. The envelopes are sitting on my desk at home and I’ll ring and get one of the boys to post them first thing in the morning. Do you still want them sent to that address?… because I can have him re-envelop and re-address yours if it’ll reach you more quickly. Let me know.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      July 15, 2011 6:52 PM

      When’s the big move Mishari?

      If I’d had the money I would have moved to France years ago but I never had the money and the WRAS took off ( relatively speaking ) in ways we never expected so it came to nothing.

      We were in Nantes at the end of May – I really like that part of France. Not too many English voices in evidence ( unlike further South-West where you can hear them whinnying in cafe’s like herds of horses ) and lush countryside.

    • July 15, 2011 7:34 PM

      M: I’d better send you the other address… but please don’t go to any trouble (or compel anyone near and dear to)! Give me a few hours (we are approaching the synchronized precision-events called “bedtime” over here) to send the better info…

  32. mishari permalink*
    July 15, 2011 7:30 PM

    The end of July/beginning of August, Ed. Paris is dead for most of August, which suits us just fine. I’ll still be spending half my time in London and the move is really more for the children; Cameron’s Britain is too sordid for words–the usual Tory spectacle of private affluence and public squalor. We’d rather the children spent these important years elsewhere (not that Sarko and his gang are any less squalid but they’ll get the elbow next year).

    BTW, because I needed to use 2 DVDs for Game of Thrones there was quite a lot of extra space on DVD 2 so I added 2 films to yours and Reines: The Way Back and Limitless, both of which I enjoyed.

  33. mishari permalink*
    July 15, 2011 7:45 PM

    It’s no trouble at all, Steven. I’d rather send it to the address where it’ll reach you the soonest, seeing as how I’ve delayed for so long. Just let me have the new address before tomorrow AM and you should get it within 3 or 4 days (I can’t imagine the post to Berlin takes any longer than that and I remember sending ‘Blood Meridian’ to ExitB when he was in Berlin and it got there pretty fast)…

  34. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 15, 2011 7:48 PM

    Michael Gove is THE weird kid at school isn’t he ? and I speak as an ex- weird kid at school, at least for the first 2 years until my spirit got broken and I learnt to run with the pack temporarily until I left at the first opportunity possible.

    Gove despite his lashings of self-regard is the supreme example of things dumbing down – not that education secretaries were ever much cop. Unfortunately he’s got the power to put his weird divisive ideas into practice.

    re: the DVD’s most kind.

  35. hic8ubique permalink
    July 15, 2011 8:31 PM

    Salve Compost Mentis, EdT :)

    A sound concession, Mishari; as we know…
    ‘If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’
    Will you still make your usual summer trek to the Cat Mountains? Of course you must. What would become of all that olive oil?

    Speaking of important years, our Infant Phenom moves up to another first-rate school in September (grade 9), and the levitating relief we all feel at this development is an indication of just how fraught the past year’s anticipation/apprehension has been.

    If I may horn in on the editorial fiddling, how about: ‘Prada shades and Gucci bag’?
    Specs seems to me a bit… too practical for the purpose?

  36. mishari permalink*
    July 15, 2011 9:00 PM

    Actually, hic, in a pleasing example of synchronicity, I was thinking the same thing myself re: ‘shades’…let’s see what Reine thinks…I’m happy to hear that your IP got into the school you wanted: it’s always a worry.

    We will, of course, make time for a visit to Cat Mts…part of the reason I’m spending a lot of time here in Paris is to make the transition as fuss-free as possible so that we can, more or less, drop off our bags and in short order, jump on a Spain-bound train and still have a few weeks before the children have to start school.

    • July 15, 2011 11:16 PM

      “Shades” it is. I’m obliged to ye although I don’t feel the “poem” deserves such close attention. Just a joke really arising from an email exchange with Hic. I am going to a brocante market on Sunday to sell my wares. I’ve taken a stall before; it’s a bit of craic and combines a clearout with making a few quid. My sister is here – she is ruthlessly piling all my stuff in the “to go” heap. She laughed her head off (again) at the lace which I bought for a ridiculous sum five years ago with a view to making some kind of wedding garment out of it. “You’ll be lucky to get a fiver for it” she said cruelly. I am only parting with one of my tapestries and the second, a Venetian scene (of sentimental value) now adorns the wall of the spare room and makes it look even tinier. Fuck it, I like it.

      Mishari, thanks in advance for… I thought I had had my lot. So busy haven’t yet got around to the last lot but most grateful.

  37. mishari permalink*
    July 16, 2011 12:29 AM

    I promised you Game of Thrones but the series hadn’t ended at that point; it has now so it’s on its way to you.

    Just had a quick look at Poem of The Week and I see that the reliably monocular Parisa is re-writing history, as usual. Last year, when I took issue with one of her rancid Zionist talking-points, she accused me of ‘hating Jews’.

    At the time, I didn’t think such an imbecilic and putrid comment deserved a reasoned reply, so I didn’t bother to dignify her remark by pointing out that my wife is Jewish. Why reason with a fanatic? But I thought I could save everyone a lot of time by providing you with the all-purpose Parisa-‘Why Israel Is Fab’-comment. I think it covers all of her usual blather-by-rote:

    1. Israel didn’t do it.

    2.I know you think Israel did it but they aren’t admitting anything.

    3. Actually, maybe Israel did do something but not what they’re are accused of doing.

    4. Ok, they did it but it wasn’t that bad (“dropping phosphorous bombs on children is purely defensive”).

    5. Well, maybe it was pretty bad but it was justified or necessary. (They only kill terrorists, or suspected terrorists, or people who might know a terrorist…”)

    6. What they did was really quite restrained, when you consider how powerful they really are. I mean, they could have done something even worse.

    7. Besides, what they did was technically legal under some interpretations of international law (or at least as Zionist lawyers interpret the law as it applies to Israel.)

    8. Don’t forget: the other side is much worse. In fact, they’re evil. Honest.

    9. Plus, the Arabs started it.

    10. And remember: Israel are the good guys. They’re are not morally equivalent to the bad guys no matter what they did. Only morally obtuse, misguided critics could fail to see this fundamental distinction between Them and Israel.

    11. The results may have been imperfect, but Israel’s intentions were noble. (“Invading Lebanon may have resulted in thousands of dead and wounded, but they meant well.”)

    12. Israel has to do things like this to maintain their credibility. You don’t want to encourage those bad guys, do you?

    13. Especially because the only language the Arabs understand is force.

    14. In fact, it was imperative to teach the Arabs a lesson. For the umpteenth time.

    15. If Israel hadn’t done this to them they would undoubtedly have done something even worse to Israel. Well, maybe not. But who could take that chance?

    16. In fact, no responsible government could have acted otherwise in the face of such provocation.

    17. Plus, Israel had no choice. What Israel did may have been awful, but all other policy options had failed and/or nothing else would have worked.

    18. It’s a tough world out there and Serious People understand that sometimes you have to do these things. Only ignorant idealists, terrorist sympathizers, craven appeasers and/or treasonous liberals, anti-semites and self-hating Jews would question Israel’s actions.

    19. In fact, whatever Israel did will be worth it eventually, and someday the rest of the world will thank them.

    20. Israelis are the victims of a double-standard. Other states do the same things (or worse) and nobody complains about them. What Israel did was therefore permissible.

    21. And if you keep criticizing Israel, they’ll get really upset and might do something really crazy. You don’t want that, do you?

    Repeat when neccesary…for all the good it’ll do.

    The real problem was outlined by Andrew Sullivan last year, after the attack on a Turkish vessel carrying aid to Gaza:

    A country permanently occupying and colonizing a neighboring region, and treating its original inhabitants as dangerous interlopers, is the victim. An elite commando unit attacking a ship carrying toys and wheelchairs in the hours before dawn are those we should feel pity for.

    A country with 150 nuclear warheads and the strongest military in its region, the victor in every conventional war it has always fought, is somehow also always fighting for its very existence. A country backed by the sole superpower, supplied with aid by huge majorities in the US Congress, is facing extinction.

    Self-defense requires not civilly disabling and inspecting the cargo of an unarmed ship but raiding it at dawn and killing nine and injuring dozens. Basic human revulsion at a military that can kill over a thousand people – including scores of women and children in a trapped, impoverished enclave – can only be a function of anti-Semitism.

    A territory that is being systematically populated with Israelis in illegal settlements in contravention of the Geneva Conventions is merely a “buffer zone”. You need to colonize buffer zones?

    Invasion and occupation of neighboring countries is “forward defense”. And asking that a two-state solution be moved forward by freezing illegal settlement construction and allowing a blockade that, while interdicting arms, doesn’t seek to kill civilians and restrict the import of basic necessities is to deprive a country with 150 nuclear warheads of any legitimate form of self-defense.

    This is a form of derangement, or of such a passionate commitment to a foreign country that any and all normal moral rules or even basic fairness are jettisoned.

    And you will notice one thing as well: no regret whatsoever for the loss of human life, just as the hideous murder of so many civilians in the Gaza war had to be the responsibility of the victims, not the attackers. There is no sense of the human here; just the tribe.

    Something has been wrong here for a very long time, and now it is inescapable.

    Until the discourse is rescued from the victims of Israel Derangement Syndrome, Israel and America will slowly be drawn into wars they cannot ultimately win, lose every other ally they ever had, and embolden and fortify the very Islamist forces we are seeking to defuse and defeat. —The Atlantic, June 2010

    Parisa, Dershowitz, Palin and their ilk are the worst enemies that Israel has.

  38. mishari permalink*
    July 16, 2011 1:22 AM

    China to Release More of Its Pork Stockpile

    With the price of pig meat up 38 percent, China is about to open the floodgates of its national pork reserve.– The NYT, today

    National pork reserve? Seriously?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 16, 2011 2:35 PM

      This move is obviously a threat to the very existence of Israel.

  39. mishari permalink*
    July 16, 2011 2:50 AM

    Bachman For President…because we could all use a laugh.

  40. mishari permalink*
    July 16, 2011 2:55 AM

    Best Commie Pinko Tyrant evah

  41. mishari permalink*
    July 16, 2011 3:49 AM

    Alternately comical/depressing piece by Alexander Cockburn on NATO’s Libyan debacle.

    Cameron should count his blessings that all this News Corp crap has diverted attention from his asinine leap-before-you-look war-mongering.

  42. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 16, 2011 9:03 AM

    Cameron’s advisors obviously told him he needed a Falkland Isles moment to boost the Coalition’s rapidly sagging reputation.

    He’s fallen into exactly the same traps as Blair did with Iraq – thinking it will all be over in a week, that the whole world will cheer and that Libya won’t be completely destabilised by foreign intervention.

  43. mishari permalink*
    July 16, 2011 4:40 PM

    In an attempt to answer the question: “Can women really have a G-spot orgasm?”, Northwestern University Psychology professor John Michael Bailey demonstrated a sex toy he called a “fucksaw”, which was essentially a phallus attached to a reciprocating saw.

    In a presentation ot over 100 students, a female non-student was brought to orgasm by Chicago tour guide Ken Melvoin-Berg, who was operating the fucksaw.

    Inevitably, word of the fucksaw demonstration spread beyond the walls of the classroom, and beyond the Northwestern University Campus.

    According to one attendee, students were warned several times during the lecture that things were about to get intense. As the fucksaw demo was part of an optional lecture, it was technically permissible.

    Students and faculty are defending Bailey, who has a history of pushing the envelope in his classes and research.

    Prof. Bailey addressed his regularly-scheduled lecture class regarding the incident, but it was not to apologize: “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but watching naked people on stage doing pleasurable things will never hurt you.”

    In the face of media controversy over the incident (inevitably dubbed ‘Fucksaw Gate’), Northwestern University president Morton Schapiro said he was “troubled and disappointed” by the fucksaw demonstration during Bailey’s lecture.

    Prof. Bailey was unrepentant. “If I were ruler of the world, I would say that people should be free to observe these things,” he said. “But I am not ruler of the world.” — Daily Northwestern, 1. 3. 2011

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 16, 2011 5:08 PM

      Very nice. Now I want to make a device out of a modified bear-trap and call it ‘DickJaws’ and employ a bus driver to blithely demonstrate it on that man Bailey before an audience of a hundred students. Because people should be free to observe these things.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 16, 2011 5:56 PM

      Apologising for that outburst, Gentlemen… It should be sufficient to take a bog-standard toilet roll, call it a ‘FuckWad’ and stuff it in his mouth.

  44. July 18, 2011 9:49 AM

    Hope yesterday went well EdT and that the weather was more clement for you than it was here… were there any unions/reunions?

    All the mini vignettes yesterday p.m.; Ed performing; Reine doing a Del Boy down the market; Rebekah being arrested; Hic sticking toilet roll into a a voodoo doll’s mouth ;)…

  45. July 18, 2011 10:53 AM

    Extremely wet all day Reine compounded by an hour long traffic jam on the M1 at 10 o’clock with another closure of a motorway near home so we didn’t make it back til 1.30 a.m.

    I don’t know why I’m typing this at 10.45 a.m other than we had to unload the van ASAP in order to dry stuff out this morning.

    All part of the joys of performing outside – 1 show had to be abandoned half way through due to a biblical downpour and the other was a bit of a joy to do so result!

    No sign of the PH brigade but if I wasn’t contracted to be there it was not a day that I’d choose to be outdoors. Plus we didn’t perform at our allotted hours.

  46. ExitB permalink
    July 18, 2011 11:34 AM

    Sorry I didn’t make it yesterday Ed. After a brief stroll onto Clapham Common with my mum and getting hammered with rain then mocked with blue skies, then rain, etc. decided against the long trip north-east.

    And I think the Captain may have inadvertently imprisoned himself behind walls of Old-English (the language not the cider) filled boxes somewhere in Stoke Newington.

  47. July 18, 2011 11:48 AM

    It was indeed a foul day XB. Like the SFX for the Noah’s Ark story which will be added onto the green screen version that the actors ( Seth Rogen as Noah! Sarah Gilbert as Mrs. Noah! Mike McShane as the Groundhog! Hank Azaria as the Unicorn! with Colin Farrell as a drug-addled womaniser! )did in the studio .

  48. July 18, 2011 12:07 PM

    That’s a pity Ed – I hope the joy outweighed or at least balanced the downpour. I would be a nervous wreck if I had to depend on the vagaries of climate – as it is the vagaries of politicians leave me less than stable.

    Hello ExitB.

    In spite of the naysaying sister, I sold my lace and tapestry at the market and am now an expert on all matters tin toy grace à the dealer who had the stall beside mine.

  49. July 18, 2011 12:48 PM

    It’s all part of the “fun” Reine. I think in situations like that the instability of the weather can add to the vividness of the show for those watching.

    But it does involve hanging around looking at cloud patterns and trying to work out if we can fit a 35 minute long show in between showers.

    We failed dismally first time round even though huge claps of thunder and lightning flashes added some unexpected drama. You get that slight drop of temperature before the heavens open and you know the game is up.

    Second time round it was fine.

  50. Captain Ned permalink
    July 18, 2011 4:35 PM

    Over the past five years, Israel’s military has detained more than 800 Palestinian youths and children for pelting Israeli soldiers with rocks, and has interrogated and jailed many of them, a human rights group said in a report…

    In one case, B’Tselem cited the case of an eight-year-old who was seized in the West Bank in February.

    Soldiers released the boy after realising he was not the child they were after: they wanted his nine-year-old brother. They then handcuffed the nine-year-old, blindfolded him and took him to a detention centre where he was interrogated and held for five hours, according to the report. He was released after it was determined that he was a minor.

    I suppose they must have spent those five hours making extra sure he wasn’t a fiendish terrorist dwarf disguised a nine-year-old boy. Palestinians cunning is no match for the vigilance of the Israeli authorities.

    Sorry I couldn’t make it to your show, Ed, but that was the day I left London. I am currently back in Wales for a little while before I head off to Buenos Aires in the autumn, where I’ll be teaching English. My recent absence from this blog has been due to the punishing workload
    of my teaching course, and then the fuss and bother of organizing the move and leaving party.

    I hope the weather will be more clement at your next show. I don’t suppose you’re planning a South American tour any time soon, are you? I’m sure Jeremy Hunt’s largesse will stretch to paying for the tickets.

  51. July 18, 2011 5:06 PM

    Hey C.Ned, I am heading to Wales for a long weekend with some girl friends on Friday week… any must sees or hidden gems? One of our number spends time there every summer with family and we are heading across to meet her and then road tripping from Betwys-y-Coed to Abergavenny via Shrewsbury. Mostly the agenda will consist of wine and laughter but if there is anywhere you would recommend especially, would love to hear it.

    Buenos Aires…you far flinging types make a girl feel very pedestrian.

    • Captain Ned permalink
      July 19, 2011 7:20 PM

      Brecon is a lovely town, Reine, with a small but attractive cathedral and a very decent local museum (although one installation, of some very shabby-looking models representing a court scene, complete with a voice-over track featuring The Archers’ Joe Grundy, is unintentionally hilarious). If you’re looking for somewhere good to eat, I’ve heard that the Nantyffin Cider Mill Inn is excellent. As for Abergavenny itself, I’ve not been there, but I understand that the church contains some fine monuments. Enjoy your trip.

    • July 19, 2011 8:28 PM

      Many thanks Ned. Watch out for three Irish maids (I use the term very loosely) from school guffawing loudly….and bon voyage yourself.

  52. July 18, 2011 5:14 PM

    …and apols for my misspelling.

  53. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 18, 2011 5:24 PM

    Sorry not to meet up again Captain but sounds like you’re making a good move. I’ve heard really good things about Buenos Aires so hope it all runs smoothly. There’s a Jorge Luis Borges institute there which sounds like it puts on interesting stuff.

    I enjoyed all the Rupert Murdoch posters with a sticker saying “What a Jeremy Hunt” across his mouth that have popped up all over London.

    re: an Argentinian tour. If only! Australia may well be our next serious international jaunt in January but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  54. mishari permalink*
    July 19, 2011 7:56 AM

    “We often get things wrong; that is one of the strengths of British policing” — Sir Hugh Orde on the Today program, today

    Isn’t that rather like a surgeon saying ‘…we often cut off the wrong leg; that is one of the strengths of British medicine’?

    I’m sure that you’ll enjoy BA, Ned. I’ve never made it that far south but I’ve known a lot of people who’ve lived in BA and loved it. I did the TEFL course years ago. Like an idiot, I did the 30-day crash course; Jesus, what a nightmare that was. The workload was staggering and seemed to increase exponentially.

    It was an exhausting experience and the attrition rate would have put the fear of God into a combat-infantry battalion: out of an initial class of 15, only 7 of us actually finished the course. Useful qualification to have, though, especially for travel purposes. The world is your oyster, son…unless you’re allergic to shellfish, in which case, erm…

  55. July 19, 2011 9:22 AM

    It’s also rather like saying ” We often kill soldiers on our own side, so oftn we had to borrow the term “friendly fire” from the Americans ( who kill far more than we do )to dress up the incompetence. That is one of the strengths of the British army”.

  56. mishari permalink*
    July 19, 2011 9:34 AM

    “We often crash our aircraft: that is one of the strengths of British Airways.”

    “We often plummet to our deaths: that is one of the strengths of British parachutists.”

    “We often drown: that is one of the strengths of British swimmers.”

    “We often give people food poisoning: that is one of the strengths of British cuisine.”

    Anyone who thinks that Ed Milibland and Labour are going to save us from the Tories needs their head examined.

    Check the attendance list at a party held by Elisabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud a day before the Milly Dowler story broke. According to the Mail on Sunday:

    As a jazz band played in the landscaped gardens of the £6 million property, Mr Freud, who was wearing leather trousers, greeted guests, including Education Secretary Michael Gove and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. They drank champagne in the company of former Labour Cabinet Ministers Peter Mandelson, David Miliband, James Purnell and Douglas Alexander.

    Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron’s shaven-headed policy guru, who was there with his forceful wife, Google communications chief Rachel Whetstone, was seen ‘laughing giddily’ across the political divide with Lord Mandelson and Mr Miliband.

    …”laughing giddily” across “the political divide”? Don’t make me fucking laugh. There’s no goddamned divide: there are just the neoliberal glove-puppets of international capital and banker’s poodles– Labour, Tory and LibDem.

    Ed Miliband is another Blairite chump and banker’s patsy (he’s been talking recently of appointing neoliberal spiv par excellence, the vile James Purnell, as his chief of staff). He’s chanced on a stick to beat his opponents with but to suggest that Milibland is some sort of antidote to the Tories is laughable. The fact that most of the old Blairites are still in place tells you all you need to know about this bleating, adenoidal doofus.

    Leather trousers, Mandelson and Gove…Christ, what a world…is it too early for a drink?

  57. ExitB permalink
    July 19, 2011 10:23 AM

    Ridiculous biblical allusions aside, it’s amusing to read Toynbee describing Ed Miliband as a “David slinging stones at the Goliaths who overshadow democracy”. Bet his brother enjoyed reading that.

  58. July 19, 2011 10:50 AM

    I bet Gordon Brown was wishing the story had been called Gordon and Goliath. He would have a point alliteratively.

    Milliband’s face when Cameron was flannelling through PMQ’s last week was rather good too – like someone whose involuntary bowel muscles have just let him down at the wrong moment.

    I think he’s done quite well over this but it’s whether he’ll distance himself from Labour’s recent past that will be the decider i.e unlikely.

  59. mishari permalink*
    July 19, 2011 11:09 AM

    It’s worse than that, Ed. Milibland needs to distance himself from his own present: Cameron hired an ex-News Int jackal as an advisor; the Met hired an ex-News Int jackal as an advisor and Ed Milibland hired…an ex-News Int jackal, Tom Baldwin, as a media advisor.

    It’s easy being on the right side of this debate now but where was Milibland over the last 15 years? Attending Murdoch’s parties and sucking it up, that’s where.

  60. July 19, 2011 11:43 AM

    It just emphasises the ridiculous power of NI over these people doesn’t it? To deal with them you have to hire one of their old employees. It makes sense on the surface I suppose but does nothing to stem the power.

    Let’s hope at the least Murdoch’s power is severely diminished. Reading the Sun headlines is rather an amusing game these days. “Crisis Wot Crisis?”

    I liked Marina Hyde’s pithy summation ” We are all in the gutter looking up Britney Spears’ skirt” although I take issue with the journalistic “we”.

  61. mishari permalink*
    July 19, 2011 3:05 PM

    Watching Rupert Murdoch’s performance before the Select Committee reminds me of an old Seinfeld episode, the one where Jerry catches his Uncle Leo shoplifting. Uncle Leo says: “What are they gonna do? I’ll just say ‘I’m an old man…where am I?…who are you people?'”

    I did enjoy the sight of the pneumatic Wendy Deng Murdoch sitting at Rupe’s shoulder, tossing her hair this way and that, clearly on the edge of her seat and ready to throw herself backwards when Rupert’s prostate explodes. As Dame Edna said: ‘So, Wendy Deng, what first attracted you to 80 year-old billionaire Rupert Murdoch?”

    • July 19, 2011 8:25 PM

      I thought Wendy might cut his hand off if he didn’t stop banging the table.

      “humbling” day, Rupert, if I may correct you…

      I am no body language expert but a certain lady was doing an awful lot of blinking.

      I have a feeling my Hansard colleagues had a more fun day than I had.

  62. July 19, 2011 5:49 PM

    Murdoch’s questioning appears to have turned into slapstick. Is ( ahem) Jonnie Marbles a NI stooge trying to deflect media coverage away from the real meat of the matter or is he an attention-seeking pillock?

    We occasionally let interlopers deflect attention away from getting at the truth by the use of silent comedy slapstick. That is one of the strengths of British parliamentary enquiries.

  63. Captain Ned permalink
    July 19, 2011 7:12 PM

    Apart from the shaving-foam malarkey, my favourite moment came when His Rupertian Eminence was grilled about the alleged Thurlbeck blackmail incident, of which (apparently) he had no knowledge. When he was informed that it was a civil, rather than a criminal, case, he shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly as if to say: ‘Well, what did you pygmies expect? That I, Rupert Murdoch, would stoop to acquaint myself with a goddamn civil case? Don’t you know who I am?’

    ‘We often let the likes of Alastair Campbell, David Davis and David Aaronovitch appear as pundits on our shows (not to mention employ Brillo Pad as the host), and allow their repulsiveness to tempt our viewers to change the channel. That is one of the strengths of the BBC’s political coverage.’

  64. Edward Taylor permalink
    July 19, 2011 8:35 PM

    ” We have 3 pollitical parties who used to be different but who all now follow the same divisive economic model to such a degree it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell them apart. That is one of the strengths of British democracy”.

  65. mishari permalink*
    July 19, 2011 10:41 PM

    High points of The Muppetdoch Show:

    1. James Murdoch trying to be a cute hoor with his ‘…I think that’s a very important question and I very much want to answer it…’, whereupon he’d go into US-style management-jargon/fractured syntax overdrive as he busily failed to answer the question.

    2. Some bald, reptilian Geordie MP who turned servility into an art form with his ‘…I wonder if you could paint us a picture of a typical week at The News of The World…’. This was the doddering old fool who called Murdoch ‘Mister Rupert’. Read his weekly column in next weeks soaraway Sun.

    3. The world-famous gerontophile Wendy Deng going into Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-mode as she protected her investment from a shaving-foam pie.

    Those MPs, with the exceptions of Watson and Farrelly, were fucking useless but the Murdochs were even more useless. The sheer amount of stuff they didn’t know–who was responsible for such-and-such, who authorised payments for this-or-that, who knew what and when etc etc–made the Murdochs look like a pair of putzs.

    I mean, I know they were coached, but were they instructed to look like inept buffoons who don’t know how their business runs?

    Furthermore, when Rupert gave us his mawkish ‘..me dad exposed the bludgers who cocked-up Gallipoli, mate…’ I couldn’t believe that not a single MP thought to point out that it’s a long fucking way from exposing Gallipoli to exposing Cheryl Cole’s knickers. As for Rupert’s drooling hymn to his father, the truth is rather different. So many missed open-goals, mate…strewth.

  66. July 19, 2011 11:47 PM

    I watched The Hour, new series on BBC2, for some reprieve from Muppetdoch. Not 100% sure about it but it’s shaping up to being quite good. The main character is a bit annoying but he might be a grower. Strikes me it might be up MM’s (“hello”) street, for one.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      July 20, 2011 9:09 AM

      Saw a bit of it Reine – I thought it was mainly a chance for the men and women to wear 50’s fashions.

      I couldn’t really work out what date it was supposed to be set in. The cutting edge journalism set against bland propping up the establishment fodder were extremely contemporary concerns as was the language they used but at times it looked like London was in the middle of a black-out waiting for the Luftwaffe to fly overhead and the fashions were Mad Men-like.

      I thought it might turn into something likeThe Singing Detective but it didn’t. For me at least.

    • July 20, 2011 11:24 AM

      I’m hoping it might pick up EdT. Mad Men has left a gaping chasm in terms of programmes that unite the family. So far, it’s not a patch on it in terms of script or fashion but, hey, I will persevere for another week or two if only to gaze at Dominic West. Yes, I got The Singing Detective vibe too; would not have been surprised to see Gambon in his trenchcoat and hat popping in for a martini.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 20, 2011 11:26 PM

      I notice Romola Garai is in it.
      I like her. She’s capable of good things, so I’ll keep an eye out for it here.

    • July 21, 2011 8:28 AM

      I like her too Hic. Great name, all those lovely vowels and Italian connotations. She’s very easy on the eye too, that kind of careless (or couldn’t care less) beauty only the very beautiful can carry off. I’m not bitter.

      You will be the fourth pillar on the tour of Wales and I will send a full report.

  67. hic8ubique permalink
    July 20, 2011 12:46 AM

    ‘…protected her investment…’ !ha ha ha! spirited girl, jeopardising her Chanel manicure like that.

    Murdoch Jr. gave an excruciatingly hamstrung performance of important and transparent and and and and and squirmingly urgent conveyance of evading the question at hand,
    but Rebekah was stellar was she not? She seemed to emerge as the teflon scourge of paedophiles, the calmly undaunted challenger of groping faffing third-rate questioners.

    Glad you had a successful outing on Sunday, Re. I was going to suggest ebay since your sister was so derisive, but how could the browsing public resist your ebullient charisma?
    Wish I were to be among your jolly Cymraeg cohort.

    Those of us shifting abode in 2011 seem to be nearly neck and neck with the abiders at home. So far, I’m sticking… it’s so hot I’m even sticking to this chair.
    Buenos Aires is purported to be a bastion of sophistication, Cap’n.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 20, 2011 12:50 AM

      That’s Cymru isn’t it? You won’t actually be speaking the language, as I clearly can’t either.

      Have you heard of the ‘Paris Syndrome’, Mishari?
      I thought it was a joke, but no…

  68. mishari permalink*
    July 20, 2011 1:12 AM

    hic, according to wiki:

    Paris Syndrome is characterized by a number of psychiatric symptoms such as acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution (perceptions of being a victim of prejudice, aggression, or hostility from others), derealization, depersonalization, anxiety, and also psychosomatic manifestations such as dizziness, tachycardia, sweating, etc

    …sounds like a windy way of saying ‘hangover’.

    Apparently, it’s confined to Japanese tourists who get to Paris and go into meltdown when they discover that Modigliani, Picasso and Braque aren’t hanging around the cafes of Montmartre, trading their latest daubs for drinks; Josephine Baker isn’t high-stepping at Le Moulin Rouge, covered in bananas; Erik Satie isn’t tickling the ivories at Le Chat Noir; Hemingway isn’t punching waiters at La Coupole and Miles Davis isn’t playing in a Montparnasse cellar.

    I understand their disappointment. That ubiquitous fathead Bernard-Henri Lévy is no substitute.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 20, 2011 2:09 AM

      Levy is new to me, but he looks shockingly like my husband, though older, darker, and with better eyebrows.

      more wiki entertainment…
      ‘Lévy was embarrassed when he used, as a central point of his refutation of Kant, the writings of French “philosopher” Jean-Baptiste Botul.[23] Botul’s writings are actually well-known spoofs, and Botul himself is the fictional creation of a French living journalist and philosopher, Frédéric Pagès, as is easily guessed from his thought-system being botulism.’

      In my first year at university, I heartily refuted a spoof Freudian criticism of Winnie-the-Pooh.
      I’ve never confessed that until just now.

  69. Des permalink
    July 20, 2011 10:29 AM

    Geoffrey Robertson (QC) gave the most accurate summation of proceedings I thought, on the BBC, exposing Murdoch’s strategy of acting daft, and slated the useless MP’s, except one, who landed a killer blow when he asked a question that forced them to admit the legal costs of the man who hacked into Dowler’s voicemail, were still being paid by NI. Robertson was withering in his dismissal of the performances by Murdochs.

    The BBC stuff isn’t online, but this is an Australian TV station getting his response on the day’s events.

  70. July 20, 2011 12:17 PM

    Simon Jenkins attempted to try and put all this in perspective here

    http://gu.com/p/3vkdz

    A pretty poor article but this comment “Well, I never! A rat swimming towards a sinking ship!” from davidabsalom is priceless.

  71. mishari permalink*
    July 20, 2011 1:17 PM

    Jenkins is a living example of the mediocrity who rises without a trace. In the late 90s, he was appointed (by that equally weightless mediocrity Blair, naturally) to the Millennium Dome Commission.

    Jenkins proceeded to churn out vituperative piece after vituperative piece for the Evening Standard, attacking those who thought the Dome was an expensive and useless joke.

    How foolish we would look in years to come, said Jenkins; how short-sighted; generations to come would delight in the glories of the Dome etc etc.

    Of course, Jenkins was laughably wrong and Londoners like me were right. The Dome was a £1 billion disaster.

    Blair rewarded him with a knighthood for his services to arse-licking; I was rewarded with a tax-hike. Same old shit, different day.

    Someone pointed out that Rupert was doing a very creditable imitation of Uncle Junior in The Sopranos (except Uncle J. wasn’t faking it).

    McDonald’s makes 2012 Olympics pledge to create the biggest and busiest Big Mac diner

    Fast-food firm plans to break its record and build the world’s largest McDonald’s at the Games site in Stratford, east London — The Grauniad, today

    I believe this is what the English call ‘irony’…

  72. July 20, 2011 7:43 PM

  73. MeltonMowbray permalink
    July 21, 2011 12:43 PM

    The Bitter Tears Of Margaret Thatcher
    28th November 1990

    In that stifled modified screech
    she said farewell, the fallen star,
    and snapping shut those lupine teeth
    she tottered to the waiting car.

    The scalding tears burst from her eyes
    and hissed on the chilly tarmac,
    we saw the toxic drops incise
    a scorching sequence, black on black.

    A tart vapour, harsh and noxious,
    mounted from the dolorous stain,
    absorbed by clouds of roiling nimbus
    it falls on us as acid rain.

  74. July 21, 2011 3:09 PM

    Hello MM, great poem. Particularly like the “lupine teeth”. I love an old outbreak of scalding tears myself, very cathartic.

  75. MeltonMowbray permalink
    July 21, 2011 11:22 PM

    Infamy, Infamy

    He should have known: there were signs and portents,
    an old toad seen squatting in the Senate,
    unseasonable rain, the Grecian events,
    a Harpy born on the Beckhamii estate.

    Cameronus Caesar saw nothing amiss;
    during the sacrifice at Thatcho’s Arch
    Great Rupiter told him he could dismiss
    the seer’s warning about the TUC march.

    They were waiting for him at the Capitol,
    milling and whispering on the concourse:
    Caesar noticed a smell of alcohol,
    but LibDemii are often on the sauce.

    Vincus Cabla, Govus Twattus, others
    he couldn’t quite seem to put a name to,
    whatever, they were all a band of brothers,
    determined to see the Recovery through.

    Ave! said Cameronus, lovely day!
    and tried to catch Consul Osbornus’ eye,
    but the pasty patrician edged away,
    and Caesar stood dumbfounded. What’s up, guys?

    They fell on him then, hacking away en masse,
    and he buckled in the bloody melee.
    As their leader prepared the coup de grace
    Caesar saw his cold dead eyes. Et tu, Clegge?

  76. hic8ubique permalink
    July 22, 2011 6:44 PM

    Graceless

    Melton Mowbray fell downstairs
    kettled over unawares
    heading where he’d hid his stash
    distracted muttering balderdash

    landed in the apple crib
    banged his bean and cracked a rib.
    In a fog of thick concuss
    he forgot the likes of us.

    Deaf to rumblings neath the floor
    someone locked the cellar door.
    Now it seems MM’s reprieved,
    but I for one am slightly peeved.

    Two corkers there, you old scoundrel. You had us worried.

  77. July 22, 2011 7:04 PM

    That is an excellent poem but who is this Melton Mowbray of whom you speak?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      July 22, 2011 8:09 PM

      All I can tell you I could write on the palm of my hand; however, this much I believe…
      [scribbles on hand: ‘He has shaved for this appearance.’]

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