Saturday, October 23, 2004

False Evidence Appearing Real: FEAR

More FEAR from the Mayo Clinic
posted by Irdial , 8:44 PM Þ 
posted by Alison , 6:22 PM Þ 

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed
Like many other mindless monkeys, my wife and I are completely addicted to the television show "Lost". This is an important event because I don't think I've been addicted to a network show for a long time.

Basically, a plane crashes and the survivors are stranded on a remote island where strange things happen. Groovy.

I was talking with a friend and I decided to make a CD "soundtrack" for the show. All songs that were about the basic emotions and story points on the show. What I've put together works pretty well, I think. You start in the plane, get stranded, encounter monsters, misunderstood people, violence and finally lose all hope.

It's an uplifting disc, really.

The only thing I was missing was an attempted message to the outside world. A message that would go unheard. Nothing really worked that well. So, I enlisted the help of the Conet Project, which is a haunting recording of short wave numbers stations filled with oblique phrases, static, strange noises and other wonderfully musical, aural treats.

But it wasn't enough. There was no melody. So I took the Belle & Sebastian song "Freak" from their Storytelling soundtrack and overlayed pieces of the Conet Project. All done and said I mixed together about five different Conet pieces that I felt were frightening, haunting and desperate. I enjoyed playing around with the stereo channels in the opening bit. My intention was to give a sense that a message was being lost. To close out the CD with a complete sense of hopelessness wrapped inside an attempt at hope.

I think it works. I kind of like it. I used the most cliched piece of Conet in the middle because I figured it would be easily recognizable to my intended audience and they might hang around throughout the song, until the end, so that they would get the final effect I was going for. So, don't hold it against me that I used it. Okay? I'm fragile. Be gentle.

Anyway, here's the track list. Copies are available upon request, of course. I'm also including the song I mashed together for download. God knows how many people could sue me over it. However, I'm sure both of my loyal readers, who are probably both related to me, won't turn me in.

1. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
2. Beach Boys - Sail Plane Song
3. Pavement - Hit The Plane Down
4. Wondermints - Porpoise Song
5. Joe Henry - Ohio Air Show Plane Crash
6. Death Cab For Cutie - President Of What
7. The Kinks - I'm on an Island
8. Rasputina - Thimble Island
9. Radio 4 - Start A Fire
10. AGK - Neon Dog
11. Aimee Mann - Real Bad News
12. The Roswells - Monsters from the Id
13. Les Savy Fav - Tragic Monsters
14. Wilco - Misunderstood
15. Jim White - Static On The Radio
16. Wilco - Be Not So Fearful
17. Destroyer - It's Gonna Take an Airplane
18. Great Lakes - Become the Ship
19. Tom Waits - Lost In The Harbour
20. Golden Smog - Please Tell My Brother
21. Joe Purdy - Wash Away
22. The Conet Project/Belle & Sebastian - Call For Help (Gary Mix) (2.5 MB)


The ripples spread outward; this is the TV programme responsible. Fascinating.
posted by Irdial , 4:28 PM Þ 

Heard this chap on the radio yesterday. Interesting site. Not sure how it applies outside the UK though.
posted by captain davros , 2:14 PM Þ 
posted by chriszanf , 1:05 PM Þ 

'Big brother forever'

German TV bosses are planning a new Big Brother – one which could be a lifelong experience for its contestants.

TV viewers in Germany are already watching a year-long version of the reality show, which is set to finish in March.

Now Endemol, the makers of Big Brother, is seeking to introduce an even longer, and more surreal, format.

It is thought the show could start next year, with the contestants living in a purpose-built town[...]

Now if we believe it when Endemol said that BB was supposed to be a 'warning' about modern surveillance culture do you understand what the format of this new show is trying to say about state/civilian relations?
posted by meau meau , 11:31 AM Þ 
Friday, October 22, 2004

I was kind of excited about this when I saw it. I love the functionality:

Imagination Cubed

Until I read the Terms of Use:

5. You acknowledge that the Drawings created on the site will be the property of GE, and you agree that all copyrights and other intellectual propoerty rights in the drawings are assigned to GE. GE will have rights of such ownership, including the perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote these Drawings in any medium. You waive all rights of publicity and privacy with respect to such Drawings. ... etc etc etc


I am still excited about this, so much fun. And the teaching capabilities are endless. Just bummed about the legalise, it's sad that it has to be so controlled.
posted by mary13 , 10:45 PM Þ 

Also: Pay for Play [both via MeFi]
posted by Ken , 9:03 PM Þ 
posted by Ken , 8:56 PM Þ 

Padre Antonio Soler (1729-1783) was one of those remarkable historical figures whom we of the twentieth century might find almost unbelievable when regarding what we would call the "output" of his career. In his life he produced: more than 200 sonatas for harpsichord, 6 quintets for string quartet and organ, and 6 concertos for the rare combination of two organs. In addition there were: 9 masses, 25 church hymns, 5 requiems, 60 psalms, 13 Magnificats, 21 pieces for the service of burial, 5 motets, 12 Benedicamus, and 132 villancicos. This is only a partial list - there are many more known works, as well as a controversial treatise on harmony (the Llave de la Modulacion, or "Key to Modulation") and, strangely enough, a mathematically adept treatise on currency exchange rates.

From his title you have already deduced that he was a monk (a Hieronymite, to be exact) [...]

A long day indeed it was for the Hieronymite monks, beginning with office hours at 5AM and progressing through a series of masses, lessons, recitations of the Stations of the Cross, and finishing at midnight with maitines. In light of this heavy schedule, it is remarkable that he managed to compose so many musical works. As if all of these duties and musical endeavors were not enough to occupy his waking hours, he also found time to invent a tuning box that he called an afinador or templante, which used plucked strings to divide the 9:8 tuning ratio into 20 equal parts. So one might, with some degree of legitimacy, state that this innovative monastic was one of the earliest microtonalists. [...]

Blogdialians, see Blogmail for an example.

posted by Alun , 5:07 PM Þ 

From DKS List

A list of antiquated colors from the 1970 edition of the late Ralph Mayer's 700 page plus opus "The Artist's Handbook Of Materials And Techniques", (third edition, the first edition being 1940):

ASPHALTUM. Not a true pigment color. A
blackish-brown solution of asphalt in oil or turpentine. At one period
it was extensively used as a glazing color. Dries badly, causes
wrinkling, and cracking, and develops almost every fault of oil colors,
particularly if mixed with other oils and colors. Used for scumbling and
decorative work to stimulate age, but not for permanent painting. (But
extremely well deployed by Julian Schnabel to affix broken plates to
canvass in the early 1980s, or maybe that was roofing tar?)

BONE BLACK. Made by charring bones. It should not be used in fresco or
for mortar or cement coloring, as it causes efflorescence. Probably
dates from Roman times. Not permanent.


MUMMY. Bone ash and asphaltum, obtained by grinding up Egyptian mummies.
Not permanent. Its use was suddenly discontinued in the 19th century
when its grisly composition became generally known to artists.

PLUMBAGO. Graphite.

Plumbago (graphite) is not antiquated or obsolete in any way (I just
like the way it sounds) In fact it is the very ground on which the noted
the New York painter Ena Swansea works.

In fact "Ertude in Plumbago" is how I would describe some of her finest

CAPUT MORTUUM (Death's head?) Obsolete name for a very bluish or read
oxide of iron.

DUTCH PINK. A fugitive yellow Lake made from thornberries; never
intended to be used for permanent painting.

ESHEL. A variety of smalt. (Don't ask.)

GALLSTONE. A variety of Dutch Pink, said to obeyed been made from
oxgall; more often it was yellow light compared from quercitron.

GAMBOGE. A native yellow gum from Thailand. Transparent. Not a true
pigment color. Not reliably permanent. In use from medieval times to the
19th century. Superseded by cobalt yellow for a permanent painting.

INDIAN YELLOW. An obsolete lake of euxanthic acid made in India by
heating the urine of cows fed on mango leaves. It was a fairly bright,
transparent yellow of average tinctorial power, non-poisonous, and was
approved by most 19th century investigators as a permanent pigment.
Because few of the Indian yellows were genuine and many of the
semi-permanent aniline colors were sold under this name, it had,
however, and fallen into disrepute. The color as long history in India.
It seems to have appeared in England about the beginning of the 19th
century as a material of unknown origin, and it's curious method of
production did not become known in until the 80's. (1880's) Although its
chemical composition was known before that, the pigment was never been
reproduced or synthesized on a commercial scale. (I wonder why?)

MAUVE. A fugitive synthetic organic lake pigment. A variety of brilliant
mauve pigments is made in two types, reddish and bluish.

MINERAL TURBITH. Turbith mineral (whatever that is?)

MAGENTA. A fugitive lake made from one of the earliest synthetic dyes,
named for the site of a battle in Italy in 1859. Also the standard color
name for deep violet red.

SOLFERINO. A fugitive red-mauve lake made from magenta and, like it,
named for the site of a battle in Italy in 1859.

(As far as I'm concerned you can go wrong with any battle related
Italian items from 1859?)

LAKES. For the uninitiated - lakes are pigments which have been made by
precipitating or fixing a dye upon an inert pigment or lake base. The
process may be compared to that of dying cloth and a high degree of
skill is required to produce good results. (If you say so?)
posted by Josh Carr , 2:31 PM Þ 

Esther Venrooy is teh r0x0rz.

27.11.2004:KRIKRI 2004
Tinnenpot, Gent, Belgium

The much anticipated third edition of the KRIKRI festival. Breaking the borders between speech, music, poetry and sound. More info at
04.12.2004:Klara in het Paleis
Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels, Belgium

Solo performance with new material and new visuals. At 18:00h and 20:00h
posted by Irdial , 2:14 PM Þ 

posted by chriszanf , 1:48 AM Þ 
Thursday, October 21, 2004

The power of nightmares

did you see it yesterday?

The Power of Nightmares
Wed 20 Oct, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 60mins

Baby It's Cold Outside

In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams weren't true, neither are these nightmares.

This series shows dramatically how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. It is a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the security services and the international media. At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neoconservatives and the radical Islamists. Both were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. These two groups have changed the world but not in the way either intended. Together they created today's nightmare vision of an organised terror network. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. Those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.

The rise of the Politics of Fear begins in 1949 with two men whose radical ideas would inspire the attack of 9/11 and influence the neoconservative movement that dominates Washington. Both these men believed that modern liberal freedoms were eroding the bonds that held society together. The two movements they inspired set out, in their different ways, to rescue their societies from this decay. But in an age of growing disillusion with politics, the neoconservatives turned to fear in order to pursue their vision. They would create a hidden network of evil run by the Soviet Union that only they could see. The Islamists were faced by the refusal of the masses to follow their dream and began to turn to terror to force the people to 'see the truth'.

posted by Irdial , 9:07 PM Þ 

posted by Josh Carr , 3:39 PM Þ 

Doubts over passport face scans BBQ (until the New Year)

Serious doubts are being raised about a new secure identity system being incorporated into new UK passports from the end of 2005.

Biometric facial recognition will be brought in as part of an international agreement to target terror and fraud.
But trials suggest the technology has a 10% failure rate, the BBC has learned.

This will be taken by certain people to push further for other biometrics to be included but these will be similarly lacking


Professor Angela Sasse of University College London - who has made a study of biometrics, said she was very doubtful whether facial scans were a practical security measure yet.

Facial scans will never be a 'security measure' being impossible as it is to determine from a passport photo a person's motivations

The UK Home Office said information stored on a passport would be very different to biometrics being considered for national ID cards that Home Secretary David Blunkett is keen to see introduced.

An out and out lie - New passports (& driving licenses) are planned to be used as NIR ID documents and are planned to contain the same biometric information as plain ID cards


"This technology is not foolproof. No country is looking just to depend on the biometrics technology. They are relying on all the other things that are used."

Need we add to this statement? Read it again slo-o-o-wly. Other things no doubt refers to the profiling they will use thanks to the NIR database entries and updates, de facto race & socioeconomic profiling by covert methods delivered to the FBI on a silver platter before you even know you've something to appeal against
posted by meau meau , 3:36 PM Þ 
posted by meau meau , 1:56 PM Þ 

I don't mean to keel you...

Zut alors, je suis un troll!

Yup I was talking mainly about music, but other media were even worse - TV current affairs started to *copy* Chris Morris rather than learn from his lessons, actually to think of it I blame Jools Holland. Maybe.


From my seat on the Omnibus I'm talking to a man on a Penny Farthing about the Third Programme and the awful pea-soupers we have been enduring lately ...
posted by meau meau , 9:43 AM Þ 
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

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posted by Irdial , 11:41 PM Þ 

With all due respect (so no keeling please) I did say popular and I don't mean to keel you but I do think what I listed count as popular, even TCP. Now you might be meaning pop-music culture...I don't know so I'm surmising that (so please explain if you are not), but to pick up that particular ball and run if something stands out as being sore for me about the 90's it was that there was so much interesting technology being developed out there, and so much music ignored it or did daft things with it. This inability to "know what to do" meant that what we knew as pop in days of yore was no longer happening. It got stuck in the mud sometime around Grunge and that was it; it sat howling away, being obnoxious and seeking attention, but getting fatter and going nowhere. What upset me was that no cliche was too awful not to be recycled in the 90's, and watching artists who should have known better like REM and U2 fall in alongside it was unbelievably annoying. So annoying in fact that I ended up getting my kicks elsewhere and eventually stopped regarding pop-music as the leading edge in that which we call "popular".

Putting on an Oasis CD was never going to tell me I was living in 1997 (and thankfully I don't own any) but surfing the web did, and the more I think about it the more I realise that there was a shitload of innovation going on in the 90's that passed me by whilst I took it for granted, and, being a disappointed music-head, I should have switched my excitement/futurist/consumer g-spot over to these "other things" long ago.

I mean, if the indie/rock and fashion axis (and that means mass-media, marketing, management, musical-instruments and merchandising - wow, dig those m's, I'm on a roll here) were in control of bicycles in the 90's, we'd be riding some aged-looking sit-up-and-beg-cum-chopper-racing mongrel instead of the utterly delicious carbon-fibre full suspension disc-braked air-slicing wheelz available today. If they'd had a say in our computers we'd all be sitting at VT-52s, if they'd styled our cars we'd be back driving some Vauxhall Viva-cum-Austin Marina chimera, and if they'd got near telecoms it would have been trimphones at best if we were lucky. From somewhere in about August 1991 much of the music began to resemble the teasmaid and computers in Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

Mein gott, it's taken me too long to realise that *things* in the 90's changed the way we live, it's just that music couldn't/didn't want to keep up and...faaark...popular in music was no longer a sign of things being innovative or exciting. Hell, even I couldn't keep up - someone has probably blogged something similar to this already.

When I look back at my 90s I'm moderately satisfied but my list would meet a stony faced response on the clapham omnibus

Meau Meau, this is Blogdial. Show me a poster on this board though whose list *wouldn't* meet a stony face. By george *my* list doesn't even belong on the Clapham omnibus - it's 2004! I don't even have one, but if I did my list would be zeros and ones and belong everywhere and nowhere, baby.
posted by captain davros , 9:42 PM Þ 

The Lucas County Democratic Headquarters was burglarized overnight, and three computers, including the party's main system, were stolen.

The computers contained highly sensitive information, including the party's financial information, names and personal phone numbers of hundreds of party members, candidates, and volunteers.

Question is, are the GOP involved in this? Another Watergate?


WHATCOM COUNTY - The FBI wants to know who checked out a book from a small library about Osama Bin Laden. But the library isn't giving out names, saying the government has no business knowing what their patrons read......

The FBI still has the bin Laden book.

Librarians point out, it's overdue.
posted by chriszanf , 8:33 PM Þ 

"if you want to get laid, go to college.
if you want to learn something, go to a library"

- Frank Zappa

And here is a funny one for book-nerds

posted by Alison , 11:38 AM Þ 

The Conet Project

These ... are all cultural to me.

With all due respect (so no keeling please) I did say popular. We're talking about the strange transition from REM to Nirvana to Radiohead to Blur to Westlife to The Spice Girls with those arch pretenders Oasis providing a monotonal growl underneath, the near-total dea(r)th ov the 'indie' scene by the end of the decade.

The decade attitude died. But, Whatever.

When I look back at my 90s I'm moderately satisfied but my list would meet a stony faced response on the clapham omnibus
posted by meau meau , 9:41 AM Þ 
Tuesday, October 19, 2004

All the President's Bulges
posted by telle goode , 9:31 PM Þ 

I don't think it's surprising that some Americans are so angry about outsiders trying to influence who is in power in their country. However, if this is how they react to a few emails, just think how they would feel if someone invaded their country and then decided who was in power. What if a friend or someone in their family was killed, they would probably turn into homicidal, gun weilding maniacs or should I say terrorists? Those Americans who dislike outsiders interfering in their business should look at what their government has been doing in other countries for far too long. Who do you think created the terrorists in the first place? Come on America if you want to be the world leader, then lead by example, clean up your own act rather than bullying the rest of the world into submission or eventually terrorism. [...]

I'm so sorry about the clearly ignorant responses you received from some American voters in your Operation Clark County effort. Personally, I thought it to be a marvelous idea, and with you, hoped for the best.

My family history in this country goes back to the Early 1700's. Many times, I look around this country and ask, "What the hell happened?" I respect my English and French heritage and find myself frequently looking to "the homeland" for ideas of how to live.

America and many Americans, are SO VERY immature, politically, socially and educationally. It is oft times, embarrassing on the world scene.

Please, be certain that you don't think we are all such neanderthals.

Jenny M [...]

Reading all of this bile and adolescent hatred coming from my fellow Americans is actually making me feel sick. I am a dual citizen of the US/UK, and have lived in the UK for ten years. This spring I am returning to live in the US, together with my British husband and two young sons, and reading this all makes me wonder if we've made the right decision. (like I was saying!!!! ./a) Thank god it's to Madison, Wisconsin, which has a long history of being tolerant, and (dare I say the 'l' word?) liberal.
The Guardian was indeed silly to take on this campaign, and as a writer in Seattle said, it showed a serious lack of understanding of the US electorate. They hate being told what to do, especially by foreigners. They've also misjudged the general anger and jingoism of the Bush supporter (what they have to be so angry about I don't know - as they 'won' and their leader has managed to do all the destructive things he's planned for years to do). My parents and myself all voted for Bush last time, and all of us are voting Kerry this time. Even my dad, who is usually very much against the Democratic agenda, and prefers Indepedents in most cases. We all recognise the arrogance, the fiscal disaster and appalling warmongering of this man and his cabinet.

I myself signed up to write in this campaign but decided against it. In the end, though the world has so much to lose if Bush gets back in, it's none of their business.

Many of my British friends have told me they don't discuss who they're going to vote for with their partners, let alone strangers. Maybe that's not true for hyper-political types in journalism. I do fear that, in the end, this will only do irreprable damage to the Kerry campaign. My family, the US, and the world has so much to lose if Bush gets back in again.


The voting campaign has gone ballistic; it is the top two links at Blogdex. Everyone is buzzing about it. A complete sucess, and most excellent. Mission Accomplished!
posted by Irdial , 9:17 PM Þ 

Solidarity Statements are a total waste of time. They are just like demonstrating; they put all the enemies into an easy to harvest place / shit list for later surveillance / processing.

This 20th century thinking is why the Indymedia servers got taken away in the first place; they are bilssfully unaware that they are playing with the most dangerous people on this planet. They havent even got the common sense to move all of their stuff to an isp like Xs4all which has a history of not knuckling under to flimsy demands from the state. They havent got the sense to have a panic button that overwrites their drives with 00000s or encrypts the volumes in case a writ is served. All of thesse things are doable, cost nothing and could have prevented this violation from taking place. Welcome to the real world Indymedia, and a soon to be welcome to the idiots who put themselvs on that useless list.
posted by Irdial , 9:00 PM Þ 

Hirst's "Pharmacy" in record sale
Tue 19 October, 2004 10:29

LONDON (Reuters) - British artist Damien Hirst -- known for using dead animals in his works -- has sold the contents of his iconic London restaurant "Pharmacy" for 11.1 million pounds on a record-breaking night for the artist.

More than 160 items from the restaurant, which combined food with modern art in London's trendy Notting Hill, went under the hammer at Sotheby's late on Monday, more than doubling its estimates of about 4 million pounds.

A giant medicine cabinet called The Fragile Truth sold for 1.24 million pounds -- a record for a Hirst work -- while another cabinet titled The Sleep of Reason went for 1.1 million pounds, both way above top estimates of 600,000 pounds.

"Suddenly my restaurant venture seems to be a success," said Hirst in a statement.

Skeletons, apothecary jars and aspirin-shaped bar stools from the once ultra-hip eatery were other lots, while even simple items such as ash trays sold for more than 10 times Sotheby's pre-sale estimates.

Two Martini glasses, estimated at just 50-70 pounds were sold for 4,800 pounds.

"Tonight's sensational results are the culmination of months of hard work and the vindication of Damien's enduring appeal," said Oliver Barker, Senior Director of Sotheby's Contemporary Art department.

Pharmacy opened in 1997, looking so much like a chemist's shop from the outside that some unwary shoppers were walking in with prescriptions. It shut last year.

Hirst won Britain's top modern art award, the Turner Prize, in 1995 for "Mother and Child, Divided," which featured an adult cow and a baby calf, each split in half, pickled in formaldehyde and displayed in glass tanks. [...]


I ate there once, and only once; the wallpaper was silver, with many many different pills printed on it. I had grilled salmon, which was as unadventurous as the interior was fantastic.

posted by Irdial , 8:20 PM Þ 

I was going to say about the web (email and the internet were created long before the 90s, but they became available to the masses then, and hence relevant) and also computer games, 3D computer gaming, Doom, Quake, Half Life, Playstation. And films too, Clerks is the only one I can think of right now but I bet there are a lot more. A few of Douglas Coupland's books could probably stand the test of time too.

But you're right, there wasn't a lot musically that stands on it's own two feet now. Take DHR for example.
posted by alex_tea , 8:19 PM Þ 

NOTHING OF ANY LASTING SIGNIFCANCE was created in 90s popular culture

Hmmm, well I was going to say Jungle/DnB but you rightly posted that later on. I generally was disappointed by the 90's but I would add (in no particular order)

The Internet
Digital Cameras
Mobile Phones/SMS
Minidiscs/CD burning
The Conet Project

These (and many others which I can't afford to stay dialled up on to post given the snail-like Blogger process) are all cultural to me.

The possibility of a 90's revival seems awful to me. It was bad enough that so much of the 90's was the 70's anyway. As Mike Watt got Eddie Vedder to sing "The Kids of Today Should Defend Themselves Against The 70''s not Reality, it's just Someone Else's Sentimentality" (I don't know why I capitalised those time to correct them).
posted by captain davros , 6:55 PM Þ 
posted by Ken , 6:47 PM Þ 

Declarationin Support of the Indymedia Network and Against the Seizure of its Servers
Sign the Indymedia Solidarity Statement
posted by telle goode , 5:42 PM Þ 
posted by Ken , 4:57 PM Þ 

Why didn't that article mention DPNJs stewardship of Qinetiq? It's probably the most interesting position she holds at this moment in time. On my wanderings I've noticed a few Ex-Andersen/accenture type people at the BBC so we shall still keep our eyes peeled.

Reuters gets it right:

Embattled BBC governor Neville-Jones resigns
Tue 19 October, 2004 14:52

LONDON (Reuters) - Dame Pauline Neville-Jones is to stand down early from the BBC Board of Governors, less than two months after former BBC Director General Greg Dyke demanded her resignation in his autobiography.

Dyke and BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies were forced to resign earlier this year after a judge lambasted the BBC for its coverage of the lead-up to the Iraq war, which resulted in a heated dispute with Prime Minster Tony Blair's government.

In his recently published autobiography, Dyke called on Neville-Jones -- a former chief of the Joint Intelligence Committee -- and five other governors who voted him out to resign for bowing to "political pressure" from Downing Street.

According to Dyke's book, Neville-Jones took a central role in the dispute over evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, criticising the reporting of the BBC's Andrew Gilligan and questioning the expertise of weapons expert David Kelly. Kelly committed suicide after he was revealed as Gilligan's confidential source.

Neville-Jones was also criticised earlier this month [!!!-mm] for serving on the BBC board while also chairing a firm with military contracts in Iraq, QinetiQ.

QinetiQ, jointly owned by the Ministry of Defence and U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group, bought two military contractors in September that supply U.S. troops in Iraq.

The BBC said on Tuesday Neville-Jones was leaving the board of governors a year early "to enable her successor to be appointed in advance of the final phase of Charter renewal decisions later next year." Parliament is currently reviewing the BBC's governing charter.

Neville-Jones' resignation will take effect on December 31. The Department for Culture, Media & Sport is responsible for naming her replacement.
posted by meau meau , 4:13 PM Þ 

i'm alive.... i can't seem to hide it... got people calling out my name and everything...
posted by Alun , 4:02 PM Þ 
posted by chriszanf , 3:21 PM Þ 

Dyke's 'posh lady' quits BBC

Jason Deans, broadcasting editor
Tuesday October 19, 2004

Dame Pauline Neville-Jones
Dame Pauline Neville-Jones
Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, one of the "posh ladies" on the BBC board of governors former director general Greg Dyke blamed for getting him fired, is quitting her job at the corporation a year before the end of her contract.

The former diplomat and head of the joint intelligence committee, who clashed with Mr Dyke and former BBC chairman Gavyn Davies about the corporation's strategy during last year's Iraq dossier row with the government, is to step down from the board of governors at the end of this year.

Dame Pauline said she was leaving the BBC 12 months before the end of her current term as a governor because otherwise it would mean retiring "at what will be a crucial period of discussions and decisions" about BBC charter renewal at the end of 2005.

"As the BBC approaches the final phase of decisions about its future, it will be important for those involved to be established in post and ready to take responsibility for implementation of the outcome," she said.

"I therefore believe the BBC would be better served to have a new international governor in place well in advance of December 2005 to provide continuity throughout the final phase of the charter renewal process."

The BBC chairman, Michael Grade, praised Dame Pauline's contribution to the corporation during her seven years as a governor.

"The BBC has benefited from Pauline's vast intellect and deep wisdom on a whole range of important issues, including governance, the BBC's independence and ensuring the BBC provides value for money to licence payers," he said.

Mr Grade also praised her for championing the cause of the World Service.

Despite these achievements, however, Dame Pauline's time at the BBC is likely to be remembered mainly for her controversial role during the Iraq dossier affair.

Posh lady who 'led revolt' against Dyke

In his recently published biography, Inside Story, Mr Dyke accused Dame Pauline and fellow governor Sarah Hogg - who left the BBC earlier this year - for heading the boardroom revolt that led to his departure from the corporation following publication of the Hutton report in January.

However, the suspicion that she has left under pressure will linger, given Mr Grade's determination to separate the governors from BBC management.

Mr Dyke, who advised Mr Grade to reform the governors, initially got on well with Dame Pauline but felt that she betrayed him in the 24 hours following the publication of the Hutton report, claiming she gave him her support but when the crunch came she withdrew it.

Mr Dyke said he never trusted Dame Pauline because she was "incredibly ambitious". He nicknamed her and Ms Hogg the "posh ladies".

He claimed the board behaved like "rabbits caught in car headlights" and called for the departure of the governors who voted against him.

"I hope the six current governors who voted against me - Dermot Gleeson, Merfyn Jones, Fabian Monds, Pauline Neville-Jones, Robert Smith and Ranjit Sondhi - will realise they bowed to pressure from a political thug called Alastair Campbell. They got it seriously wrong and they should accept that. They should resign. The BBC deserves better," Mr Dyke wrote in Inside Story.

She told Gavyn Davies he was wrong

However, others will remember Dame Pauline for her rigour and independence from management.

She was one of the only governors to tell Mr Davies he had got it wrong when he rushed out a statement last July following an emergency governors' meeting giving support to Andrew Gilligan.

In no uncertain terms she told him he was wrong to have produced a statement and said the governors should have launched an investigation into Mr Campbell's complaint before acting. Some believe had the governors followed her instincts the Hutton inquiry would never have been necessary.

BBC documents released to the Hutton inquiry revealed that Dame Pauline urged Mr Davies for "a full review" of "the question of systematic bias on war coverage", ahead of the July 6 board meeting.

But Mr Davies said a review "could greatly damage the BBC" and would allow Mr Campbell to "drive a wedge between governors and the executive [of the BBC]".

However, Dame Pauline stood her ground and insisted the BBC needed to demonstrate its independence from management.

"We are in a tight corner and the best route forward is certainly not obvious... [we] have somehow to maintain the confidence of management while not looking its patsy to the outside world," she wrote in an email to Mr Davies.

In the days before the July 6 meeting, Dame Pauline argued against a "kneejerk reaction" to Mr Campbell's allegations of bias and instead urged a considered approach, even though it may have caused the governors to alter their previous backing of the BBC's coverage.

Dame Pauline joined the BBC board of governors in January 1998. She later applied unsuccessfully for the vice-chairmanship, losing out to Lord Richard Ryder, and chairman's job, which went to Mr Davies.

Before joining the corporation, Dame Pauline spent 33 years in the diplomatic service, becoming one of its most senior female diplomats, including three years as political director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and five years on secondment in Brussels. She was leader of the British delegation at the Dayton peace conference on Bosnia in 1995.

Born in 1939, Dame Pauline entered the diplomatic service in 1963, aged 24, and remained until 1996, when she quit, accusing it of sexism after being snubbed for the job of ambassador to France.

From 1996 to 2000, she worked as managing director of NatWest markets. [...],14173,1330967,00.html

Well I never!

My HTMLized links to governor names obviously.

posted by Irdial , 2:56 PM Þ 

Fire in a fireworks factory: what it looks like:

posted by Irdial , 1:26 PM Þ,39024711,39125057,00.htm

Devil's Advocate: Does the UK need ID cards?

October 19 2004

by Martin Brampton

Or is there some greater goal here?

Whether or not you believe in the benefits of ID cards, the campaign for
them in the UK may well be a cover-up for deeper seated agendas such as a
national database - and a redefinition of all public sector services, says
Martin Brampton.

UK Home Secretary David Blunkett figures in this year's Agenda
Setters poll because of his advocacy for schemes such as ID cards for all. A
question worth asking is whether the ID card is driving the need for a
database of all citizens, or vice versa.

Usually, the assumption is that ID cards are justified and that to make them
practical, a huge database has to be built. IT people then run around
thinking about the practical issues. Ian Watmore, recently appointed head of
the new e-government unit, thinks there should be an end to information silo
culture in government.

Is the ID card justified? If the construction of a huge national database is
required solely to support ID cards, then there is certainly a very large
cost at stake. There are also considerable concerns about personal privacy
and community relations.

The cited benefits are tenuous. The favourite justification for almost any
government scheme nowadays is that it combats terrorism. Yet the recent
bombing in Madrid that caused serious loss of life was actually carried out
by Spanish citizens, who had perfectly genuine Spanish ID cards.

Other justifications include cutting fraud and crime. What is ignored is
that ID cards create a whole new business for organised crime through the
sale of forged cards. In countries where cards are in use, this has
happened, sometimes on a massive scale. Only the most sophisticated, and
therefore costly, cards would be proof against forgery.

Indeed in countries that have ID cards, nobody has ever offered proof that
the cited benefits can be realised. And there are proven drawbacks, with
minority ethnic groups being required to produce ID card disproportionately
often. Without proven benefits, what can be the justification for the cards?

Now suppose the real goal is the database and the ID cards merely a
political ploy to justify the cost of a huge IT project that would never be
accepted on its own merits. Then we would need to ask about the real reasons
for building an all-embracing database of personal information. Is a desire
to eliminate a silo culture an end in itself or is there another political
goal behind the enthusiasm?

For comparison, we can look at the rules as they are applied to commercial
businesses by the information commissioner, who has been severely critical
of government plans. To some degree the individual is protected by the
fragmented nature of the business sector. The data protection rules then
restrict each business, requiring it to gather only information that is
needed for its immediate business and demanding that it ask permission.

In the past, government has been somewhat similar, in that each part of
government has kept its own records and the records have related only to the
relevant aspect of the individual's life. So the NHS has records on just
about everybody but the information has been confined to strictly
health-related matters and has mostly been kept confidential. Achieving this
has led to considerable complexities as the NHS attempts to share data with
outside organisations that have a legitimate interest in health matters.

But if government policy is reflected by Watmore's statements, it seems a
new view is prevalent. No longer is the public sector to be seen as a bundle
of services and enterprises, each of which exists to provide some public
good. Instead, the public sector is to be seen on the model of a
conglomerate, with Watmore as group CIO.

The consequences of such a view have implications far beyond the confines of
mere IT efficiency. It is one thing to suggest that different arms of
government should avoid inconsistency and undue overlap. It is quite another
to see the public sector as a monolith. Without far more genuine public
accountability than is presently available, it risks creating a system where
huge power is concentrated in the hands of an unresponsive executive.

Does government need to have extensive information on every individual? Or
is the citizen entitled to live independently of government, revealing only
what information is needed in particular circumstances? That is the real
question, even if government is reluctant to ask it.


The last lines are the only flaw in this piece; the government doesn't want to ask that question, obviously, and each citizen is "entitled to live independently of government revealing only what they choose in any particular circumstance". There. Much better.

Otherwise, a breath of fresh air on a Tuesday morning!
posted by Irdial , 11:47 AM Þ 

Wow! You can now edit out false submissions from AudioScrobbler.


(90s: I forgot about jungle music mindstorm and the d&b which got me dancing because I was too out of place for 4/4)
posted by meau meau , 11:35 AM Þ 

You just never know what is going to happen in the next 15 or so years do you? In fact what DO YOU think is going to happen in the next 15 years that will make us all feel old and freaked?

At some point someone is going to try and figure out how to market a 90s revival. Let's see; riot grrls in ghost dresses and guys in lumberjack shirts listening to abstract techno except it won't be. More like 'girl power' 60s revival t-shirts and lamers doing $(whatever club music - and I can't for the life of me think what it could be - that was popular around 96-98) with names like 'DJ ;-b'.

That's my best scenario for a revival because NOTHING OF ANY LASTING SIGNIFCANCE was created in 90s popular culture, and that's what's going to make a revival very, very freaky.


Someone's put a pdf in A'b'Ts blogdial gmail account.
posted by meau meau , 9:44 AM Þ 

Bad teeth in rock!

"Now all his teeth look the same, like miniature babies tombstones in a gloomy churchyard."
posted by alex_tea , 12:01 AM Þ 
Monday, October 18, 2004

What might save us, me and you, is that the Russians love their children too...

This morning, as I tried to clean away the mould from a rather nasty corner of my kitchen, I was suddenly struck by the pertinence of @'s post about how only people die in wars, not nationalities...

..when we speak of human beings, there are only men and women on this earth, not "Iraqi men" and "american men", that when people die, there are not "1000 dead and 12 americans" but 1012 people dead...

...and one of good old Sting's couplets popped into my mind - "we share the same biology, regardless of ideology", from his mid '80's choon "Russians".

It reminded me that on Saturday as I was travelling on a train how amazing it was that in the seats in front of me were sat a young Russian couple. When "Russians" first came out if I'd been in a similar situation I'd have been shiteing myself and convinced they were spies (amongst other things of course I'd have only been 14). But I hope you know what I mean - back in '85 and before "Russians" were "those people" from "over there" who were "communists" and "not the same". It seemed hard to imagine some future time when we'd share Europe with them under capitalism's terms and not those of communism. Moreover, at least we know the Russians *did* love their children, and also made sure they spoke really good English as well since later on when I'd disembarked and was walking out of a shop near the station the same couple passed me and the man was talking on his mobile in perfect English.

You just never know what is going to happen in the next 15 or so years do you? In fact what DO YOU think is going to happen in the next 15 years that will make us all feel old and freaked? Posted by Hello
posted by captain davros , 8:11 PM Þ 

posted by Ken , 5:14 PM Þ 

More to the point, since when was America renowned for it's gastronomy? Next thing they'll be calling the French bad lovers, the German's unscientific and the Spanish un-passionate [not quite yet-mm].
posted by meau meau , 3:33 PM Þ 

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
posted by Irdial , 2:31 PM Þ 


They may have blingtatstic teeth but with all the coffee the US consumes there must be a whole pile of disgusting breath, and we shalln't mention the F word.

Of course all american woman look exactly like this after they've spent $3SUVs on botox, collagen, lipo, nipping, tucking, electrolysis, tanning, exfoliating,moisturising, de-celluliting, facial exercise, hair coloring, lip dying, teeth bleaching and filing, nose job, cheek implants, eyebrow implants, hair straightening, highlights, conditioned, airbrushed and finally digitised:

And it's not enough - you will have to buy more beauty if you are going to escape damnation and pass St Peter's station.
posted by meau meau , 1:35 PM Þ 

More to the point, since when was America renowned for it's gastronomy? Next thing they'll be calling the French bad lovers, the German's unscientific and the Spanish un-passionate.
posted by alex_tea , 1:30 PM Þ 

I blame The Simpsons.

Why do Americans think British teeth are so bad? And what if they are? What does it matter that people in the UK have natural choppers instead of catalogue designer ones? That the British are capable, in general, of accepting the way they look without resorting to wipespread cosmetic orthodontics is a Good Thing.

I have a gap between my front teeth which could have been easily fixed, but then I would not be me. I've lived with this gap, been teased, been proud, grown to love it in it's own special way. It is part of the genetic history of my father's family. An orthodontist I worked with told me he could "fix" it for me in under 6 months. My question was "Why?"

The perfect smile has nothing to do with teeth.
posted by Alun , 1:16 PM Þ 

I've been torn between wondering whether the Us government's request for UK troops to replace their US counterparts in Baghdad is to reduce the number of pre-election casualties or a dick waving exercise in Faluja. Even worse is it going to be a post-election defeat lash out by Bush to assert his debased authority?
posted by meau meau , 10:46 AM Þ 

read this story from the propaganda warrior's domain (inceidentally BBQ R4 has mentioned the terrorists' 'propaganda war' twice over the weekend wrt decapitation videos - which is no doubt handy for DPNJ to justify her biased behaviour)

& weep

The new UK head of e-Government, who takes up his post in September, Ian Watmore, is Accenture's UK Managing Director with overall responsibility for the work of 7000-plus Accenture professionals in this country.

He joined Accenture in 1980, became a Partner in 1990 and was elected UK Managing Director in 2000.

Throughout his career, Ian has worked on the largest engagements Accenture has anywhere in the world. These mostly involve large scale IT projects and transformational outsourcing contracts designed to help companies change and achieve their high performance goals.

He has worked in both the public and private sectors, mainly in the UK and Ireland but with spells in South Africa, New Zealand, United States and mainland Europe. For example, he worked on the implementation of the South African Electoral Commission plan for the 1999 General Election which elected President Mbeki, and has just commenced the leadership role for Accenture’s two major contracts to computerise the NHS. And, since 2002, he has led Accenture’s transformational outsourcing contract with Sainsbury’s one of the largest IT programmes ever undertaken in the UK.

Ian is a past President of the Management Consultants Association, Chairs the IT Industry Board of e-Skills UK (the Sector Skills Council for IT and Telecommunications) and represents Accenture on various external bodies such as the Council for Industry and Higher Education and Business in the Community. In a personal capacity he is on the Board of the English Institute for Sport, a Lottery funded institute focused on serving high performance athletes in preparation for Olympic and other major sporting events.

In December 2003, Accenture was awarded a £934 million contract to help the National Health Service (NHS) improve healthcare for patients in Eastern England. The contract runs to 2013, and followed Accenture’s recent win of a similar contract for North East England. “This win will deepen our relationship with NHS and expand our commitment to helping them provide the best possible service to people in local communities,” said Ian Watmore, at the time.

To get an insight into Ian Watmore's ideas, read on...
If you want an insight into his philosophies, you can read Ian’s thoughts on the UK business climate, and the challenges and opportunities on your journey to high performance, read: From ‘Survive’ to ‘Thrive’: The Challenges and Opportunities for UK Businesses on their Journey to High Performance.

Except of course he didn't join Accenture he joined Andersen Consulting but that doesn't look so good does it?
posted by meau meau , 9:49 AM Þ 

I laughed my ass off reading those responses - "circle the wagons boys and break out the toothpaste! dont fire untile (yes of course, "untile") you see the wihi...ummm...just kill em all!"

And lest we forget, we have been here before...more politely:

Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions. If you want to save the world, begin with your own worthless corner of it.
Texas, USA

For the record, the UK needs to sever its dog-like ties with the US Government. All US bases in the UK should be shuttered, and their staff sent home. People in the UK have been trying to achieve this for decades. And are still trying.

The British have many problems that they need to fix. They know this.

And that is the difference.
posted by Irdial , 9:40 AM Þ 

A few tips about writing to Clark County:

  • Be courteous.. . .
  • Don't make any assumptions ...
  • Explain why you think they should pay the slightest bit of attention....

American responses now available here.

Have you not noticed that Americans don't give two shits what Europeans think of us? Each email someone gets from some arrogant Brit telling us why to NOT vote for George Bush is going to backfire, you stupid, yellow-toothed pansies ... I don't give a rat's ass if our election is going to have an effect on your worthless little life. I really don't. If you want to have a meaningful election in your crappy little island full of shitty food and yellow teeth, then maybe you should try not to sell your sovereignty out to Brussels and Berlin, dipshit. Oh, yeah - and brush your goddamned teeth, you filthy animals.
Wading River, NY

Strangely, not one response addresses the basic premise behind the Guardian's proposal; that the US election directly affects people other than Mr/Ms Wading River who don't happen to live in the US and who don't happen to have any direct influence on whether the US bombs their nation or not.

Not one admission that the US may, under some circumstances, act from selfish motives to detrimental effect on a third party who has no chance of preventing the US from doing anything it likes.

Not a care in the world. Only in the good old US of A.

Some Outdoormen to Consider Backing Kerry

Monday October 18, 2004 7:16 AM

AP Photo DCSW101


Associated Press Writer

DENVER (AP) - Bob Elderkin's vote would appear to be a sure bet for President Bush on Nov. 2. He is a hunter, part of a conservative-leaning group of outdoorsmen that is 38 million strong and avidly supports gun rights.

But after backing Bush in 2000, Elderkin and some like-minded outdoorsmen say the Republican won't get their vote again because of his environmental policies.

``I can't vote for Bush knowing what it's going to be like the next four years,'' said Elderkin, a retired Bureau of Land Management employee in western Colorado where natural-gas drilling is booming. ``With John Kerry, it's an unknown. As far as Bush goes, it's going to be `Katie, bar the door.'''

posted by Alun , 8:49 AM Þ 
Sunday, October 17, 2004

With the neocons halfway up his arse, Tone decides he might has well let them all the way in.
Blair bends over, grips his ankles and grins. It's time to make him squeal like a pig.

Radar at RAF Fylingdales
RAF Fylingdales is being upgraded with new technology
American interceptor missiles are to be stationed on British soil after Tony Blair agreed a secret deal with the United States, it has been reported.

The Independent on Sunday says Downing Street has agreed in principle to a Pentagon request to base missiles at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire.

posted by Alun , 10:27 AM Þ 

Today was the official arrival of winter for my climate. We got an absolute dump of snow today, and it's still coming down. It was snowing when I went to bed last night, it's STILL snowing now.
So, those of you in more temperate climes, be thankful. You could be in God Damned Alberta. Sort-of-cold damp England is really a BLESSING.
Every year I find myself hating winter more and more. I grew up in northern Alberta... you think I would be "used to it" or even "liking it," but no. Snow, snow everywhere. Why do I even live here?
posted by Barrie , 3:06 AM Þ 

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

I keep watching this download of The Daily Show's Jon Stewart on Crossfire. I've watched it five times now, and the more I watch it the more surreal and weird it gets. I know Jon Stewart is every straight feminist's boyfriend, and admittedly I am no exception, but the implications of the Crossfire segment were so incredibly bizarre that it blew away any celebrity crush factor I may have had going on - and you'll have to take my word for it, but for me that's really saying something.

Stewart's purpose in going on Crossfire was to tell the hosts why he disliked their program. Crossfire, he said, was "painful to watch" because it was theatre masquerading as debate, using any number of dishonest arguments to support their candidate of choice. It was not that he didn't believe that Bush's people or Kerry's people, (or, for that matter, the hosts themselves) did not believe their candidate was the best person for the presidency. Rather, it was that the arguments they used to support their candidate or discredit the opposition were disingenuous.

Okay, so, that isn't a surprise to anyone who has ever seen Crossfire.

What was astonishing to me was Tucker Carlson's insistance on rebutting Stewart's charges with "Yeah? Well, what about you? Look at the questions you asked John Kerry when he was on your show! You're a partisan suck-up, too!"

Over and over, Stewart kept pointing out that he was a stand-up comic, not a political journalist, and that there should not be any comparison between what he does and what Crossfire was purporting to do. And Carlson kept on ignoring him and insisting that Stewart admit that he was also a "partison hack". I can't believe I was watching someone who claimed to be a legitimate political analyst treat a comedian as if their jobs were equal, while simultaneously insisting that what he was doing was legitimate political news.

By about the third viewing, I was shouting out loud at the monitor, "Jesus God, how can you not see what you're saying?!"

Watching Carlson simultaneously purport that

1.) Crossfire is a legitimate news program, and

2.) Crossfire is not obligated to have higher standards than a comedy show whose headlines are virtually identical to the news report on Saturday Night Live

said more about the shape of American news media than anything I have seen so far.

Most of the people who are passing around the link are cheering Jon on, and rightfully so, I suppose, but it's kind of freaking me out, to be honest.

I think I'm going to start watching BBC news from now on.

Sorry I didn't have any stories about porn or potty training today. [...]

When people in that shrouded nation, submerged in perpetual night get exposed to a sliver of light caused by someone with a sharp knife it... blinds them.

The rest...
posted by Irdial , 2:59 AM Þ 

An American scapegoat in London

In Britain, America-bashing is so bad that I fear for my safety

Carol Gould
Saturday October 16, 2004
The Guardian

Something remarkable has been happening to me in the past 19 days. Wherever I go, no one launches abuse at me. When I open my mouth to speak, I am received with civility and the occasional "Have a good one". I am not attacked or intimidated. Where have I been visiting for the past two and a half weeks? Philadelphia. And where do I live? London.

Here is a scenario from my adopted hometown: a month ago, I was travelling on a double-decker bus. A well-dressed woman boarded with her son, respectable in his school uniform. Ahead of her was an elderly American woman, who said, "I beg your pardon, I didn't mean to bang into you." This prompted a tirade from the Englishwoman - let's call her Lady E. "I rejoice every time I hear of another American soldier dying! You people are destroying the world".

The American - let's call her Mrs A - fought back: "I personally am not destroying the world." This only provoked Lady E more, and she screamed into the American's face: "I wish every one of you would leave this country and not set foot in it ever again." Mrs A began crying. "Thank you for ruining my trip." Lady E lunged at the American and began to shake her. I jumped up and shouted for the driver to stop and for her to leave the woman alone, prompting Lady E to come over and grab me. "Another bloody American! You are scum." Thankfully, the woman next to me pushed her away. I left the bus. Mrs A sat sobbing.

Did I imagine this? No. Was the Englishwoman a crazy? No.

I don't like what is happening in Britain, and am dismayed at the level at which anti-Americanism has peaked in recent months. Does anyone say "George Bush" or "Donald Rumsfeld" or "Dick Cheney" when they fly into these tirades? No. In fact, the visceral, in-your-face America-hatred goes back long before the days of the Bush regime.

When Bill Clinton was president, I attended a human-rights conference at my local synagogue in St John's Wood. During the tea break, I asked a man at one of the booths for a leaflet. He heard my accent and launched into a red-faced screeching session about the evils of American empire and of the "nazism" and "fascism" promulgated by the US. A black man came over and began shouting about America having "invented slavery" and a delicate elderly lady joined the fray to bellow about the Zionists running America and the "genocides" perpetrated by Americans since the days of William Penn. I wondered why I had ventured out on a Sunday to be with like-minded people concerned about human rights, only to be reduced to a gibbering jelly as an ugly, strident crowd grew around me. [...],3604,1328663,00.html

If this was a plea for sympathy, It has with absolute certainty fallen on the deaf ears of Guardian readers everywhere.

This revolting person is a perfect example of why everyone "hates americans", or at least, a certain kind of unrepentant, strident, loud speaking american.

You will no doubt note if you RTFA, how this person engages in that most disgusting of practices, the boxing and arbitrary grouping of people. She does it as second nature, as if its perfectly accepable, and so should be as acceptable to you as it is to her. She says that a "black man"came over to her and began shouting at her; I'm sure the Guardian allowed her to write this as an instance of "give em enough rope" - just what on earth IS a "black man"?! Having lived here for so long, and proudly trumpeting it in the piece, has she no idea at all that describing a human being in this way is at best bad taste? You can take the man out of america but you cant take the american out of the man.

It is the hundreds of small subtle backwardnesses like these that mount like sand in an hourglass when you speak to these people which creates a creeping feeling of nausea and distaste, that "oh no not again" feeling, that "what's going to come out of her mouth next" apprehension. This sensation, combined with their universal, concrete posture of unrepentant, stridency, that Niagroid arrogance which makes any decent person recoil, and causes even the usually well mannered and gentle Englishwoman, as described above, go ballistic is what we are talking about.

The writer is "dismayed at the level of anti-americanism" she is encountering in the UK. She has lived in the UK, but obviously none of the greatness, the spirit of this country has touched her in the slightest way; the damp cold has not penetrated her skin and entered her bones - she doesn't drink tea.

If she did, if even the smallest part of Britishness had touched her soul, she could not have written this awful piece of whining nonsense, for she would understand why her country is now "the skunk of the world". The real question is, how can she have lived for so long in the UK and not understood a thing about the British?. You can take the man out of america, but you cannot take the america out of the man.

Perhaps she spent all her time in a coven of americans isolated from the people of this island, which she claims to have adopted but of which she knows nothing. Either that, or she suffers from Autism, a clinical absence of the ability to empathize with other human beings - that is the only way that she could fail to understand the hatred directed at her countrymen after living here for so long.

There have been a few of these "nobody loves us" essays floating around in the past year, the best written by expatriate americans whining about their "mistreatment" at the hands of the German, French and British citizenry. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if W is re-elected, you can expect not only more of the same but more of the same at a higher intensity than ever before. If Kerry is elected and does not reverse the policies that have caused your problems, then you can expect the same treatment as before.

And you will deserve every bit of it.

Each time you read one of these essays, these essayists say that they enter into an argument with some "local" about the suicidal foreign policy of their country. The question we have to ask is, what on earth are you arguing about? As for the writer of this essay, surely she, who "ventured out on a Sunday to be with like-minded people concerned about human rights" should be on the same side as the people who attack her, if not then she is against human rights just like her evil government is, the one that she supports by arguing for it when people take her to task over its insane policies.

Everyone knows that there are many americans who are ashamed and disgusted by the behavior of their lawless, immoral and murdering government. If you are arguing with people who are on that side, then you can only be one of the enemy, otherwise, you would understand that when we speak of human beings, there are only men and women on this earth, not "Iraqi men" and "american men", that when people die, there are not "1000 dead and 12 americans" but 1012 people dead.

The subtle distinctions. These are what separate americans like the writer of this essay from the moral people. Great Britain is not her "beloved adopted country". Its just a place to live for her. She has no connection with this place; when she leaves here, she will not shed a tear, unlike the americans who have lived here and who actually loved and embraced this country.

I personally know a family that has lived in the UK for many years, brought up their children here and who never suffered the attacks that these tiresome expatriate americans suffer. This is because the damp has reached their bones. The mother of this family weptwhen they left these shores, devastated that she was leaving this most civilized of places and very fearful of returning to a country they once called home, but which now, having lived outside of it with open pores and open eyes, seems to be a land that exports only disruption and hate. Then there is the inevitable brainwashing her childeren will suffer. But I digress.

These people, the quiet, intelligent americans are the only hope of that beleaguered land. Essayists like the one featured in this piece are a large part of the problem, and of course, they don't believe or understand why that is so, which is part of what makes them so utterly revolting.
posted by Irdial , 1:23 AM Þ 

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