Sunday 29 November 2009

Suri Cruise: A perfectly wholesome obsession

Do you enjoy looking at pictures of three year old girls on the internet?

Do you find yourself pouring over what they're wearing (gosh! heels again, how grown up!), searching for clues as to where they might go to school when they're older, their favourite foods, and what they do for fun?

Is rating the 'cuteness' of 3 year olds and comparing them to other tots your idea of a good night in?

Are you comfortable using words like 'precocious', 'cuddly', 'traffic stopping', 'cute', 'impeccable' and 'beauty' to describe other peoples' children, and do you delight in signs of grown-up behaviour like wearing nail varnish, styling their hair like their mother, sipping coffee, and working out? Is describing the 'thick dark hair and wide eyes' of a 2 year old acceptable to you?

Do you watch very young children from afar and wish they were your own, to the extent that you find yourself condemning the parenting of perfect strangers and making snide remarks about their appearance? You'd take such better care of the little ones yourself, wouldn't you? It's only natural to question the childhood of other people's kids. Twice. If only you could say, 'Hey! Don't put her in heels, she'd look ultra-cute wearing these instead!' That's perfectly acceptable, not-at-all-creepy, totally unintrusive, healthy behaviour isn't it?

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, don't fret that others might label you 'disturbingly strange', or worry that newspapers with a history of tacitly supporting vigilantism against paedophiles might shun you and describe you as sick. You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the ever liberal, inclusive, understanding and compassionate Daily Mail will cater for your every whim, helpfully stalking, photographing, and writing about toddlers for you! A lot!

Who wouldn't want to read about Suri Cruise's 'bare legs' or how 'She was happy stroking the silky trim on [her] hooded coat' or her 'pretty pink dress', and who wouldn't hope, like Mail reporter Charlotte Spratt does, that 'Suri will find her own feet with fashion and can then advise her mother not to wear a black bra with a sheer white T-shirt'? Who couldn't resist all of that?

They may hate homosexuals, immigrants, women, and foreign people, but rest assured you're on safe ground with the Mail if you have an appetite for long-distance candid photographs of very young children. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

Sunday 22 November 2009

Westminster skeptics: A godless hive of drink soaked liberal empiricists

Exclusive dispatch from our undercover skeptic, D-Notice

A gaggle of self-styled “Skeptics” – known more commonly as computer nerds, loners, sci-fi fans, and, worst of all, bloggers – have been spotted leaving the dark confines of their parents' basements and venturing into the dark nest of expense-fiddling politicians - Westminster.

In an outrageous attempt to offend decent public opinion, these pasty-faced, lank-and-greasy-haired denizens of the interwebs have the audacity to meet in public places, claiming to discuss topics of political interest (or, more likely, hacking into internet sites in order to download music illegally, argue over who is the best Star Trek captain and binge on Guinness and pork scratchings).

They brazenly claim that public policies should be based on so-called “facts” and “evidence”, instead of appealing to tabloid newspapers, which as anyone knows is the correct way to run the country. The miscreants have covered supposed issues in media such as libel laws – which no up-standing newspaper has a problem with – and, shockingly, claim “evidence-based policy” is preferable to “policy-based evidence”.

So desperate are the "skeptics" to gain public attention that they resorted last week to inviting the quite rightly recently-sacked and publicly-disgraced government advisor Prof. David “Appropriate name” Nutt and the wooly-minded Lib Dem MP Dr. Evan "Not a real doctor" Harris, who openly describes himself as a fan of homosexual, atheist, asylum-seeking, vivisectionist lifestyles. Harris sits on the pointless House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

Shamefully, if not suprisingly, the skeptics have been given the mainstream media attention they crave so cynically by the BBC.

When will these geeks stop? What will they do next? We'll continue to monitor their booze sodden, ill-conceived gatherings, in the hope that by understanding their activities we might protect the nation's children against their pernicious brand of empirical skepticism.

Remember, whatever the liberal intelligentsia might say: ignorance is strength. It's the tabloid way.

See also: Westminster Skeptics in the Pub: Evidence-Based Policy or Policy-Based Evidence? at Lay Science
David Nutt and Evan Harris at #sitp Westminster by Dave Cole
and Westminster Skeptics on that "Twitter"

Thursday 19 November 2009

Poles Apart: Go and see it, say experts

Openly thespian blogger and comment paladin Daniel "Hoffman" Gill is bringing his new acting perfomance show to the frighteningly multicultural streets of London next week.

'Poles Apart' tells the story of Hoggman-Fill and his man-friend Mark's admirable crusade to reverse the ceaseless influx of Polish immigrants to British shores by emigrating to the heart of darkness itself, Warsaw.

Say the pair of ne'er-do-wells:

Officially 600,000 Polish people have come to Britain to seek work since 2004. Two British lads (Dan & Mark) are reversing the trend and trying to get work in Warsaw. Poles Apart is their story.

This unique show about a 2000 mile adventure from the U.K to Poland following the journey thousands of Polish people have made over the last 70 years. Poles Apart is the story of two nations who have fought together, worked together and now live together.

A local man said: 'It's about time somebody stood up for something and made a stand against things. It's gone too far. Perhaps this show will make everything alright again, like how it was in the 17th Century and that. I stand with Dan and Mark in their stand against wrongness.'

The play is said to contain several (presumably positive) references to The Daily Mail, and a musical number by an eye-patched, mandolin-plucking Nick Griffin entitled 'I'm not racist but...'

There follows a videographic mini-documentary of the making of Poles Apart:

The show is on at The Lowry in Manchester on the 26th November at 7:45pm and the RichMix theatre in London on Friday the 27th and Saturday 28th November at 7:30pm.

A recent study found that buying tickets to Poles Apart prevented swine flu and the MMR jab in up to a certain percentage of cases.

See you there!

Saturday 14 November 2009

Exclusive: Offspring Of "Respectable" Parent Act Their Age On Facebook

A super sticky Sun special from the Evil Flea

The Sun has learned through something called the "Bristols Network" today that a grown adult related to another grown adult who used to advise the Government on their drugs policy, has had some photos taken of him and put on social-devilry site Facebook, in which he looks like he might be STONED or perhaps just a bit tired and acting silly, smoking what we think is maybe a SPLIFF but could equally be a tobacco roll-up cigarette.

Professor Nutt's son Steve, 24, also made some bad jokes about terrorism, on more than one occasion, probably because he's paranoid from all the crack he smokes.

His sister, who is also related to the grown-up who used to advise the Government on drugs, also courts controversy on her account, appearing to be drinking VODKA whilst under the age of 18.

This definitely PROVES that her father was wrong when he said that he was more worried about his children drinking alcohol than taking drugs.

Meanwhile Professor Nutt's eldest son, Johnny, 26, is seen in photos WITHOUT ANY CLOTHES ON in snowy Sweden.

The Sun's own Katie, 24, from Durham had this to say: "It's wrong to put nude pictures on Facebook - the privacy options just don't make good business sense." (To see MORE of Katie, turn to page 3 now!)

Steve Nutt, when asked about the Facebook pictures, had the gall to accuse the Sun of paying one of his friends to give us the photos. [Ed: how did he find out?]

Saturday 7 November 2009

Science disproved by seagull

A special sciencey dispatch from Eoinin McAlpine of the Mobar Gazette

God-hating scientists and the BBC say it's one of the most expensive and technologically complex machines in the world, but that didn't prevent the Large Thingy Collider from being dismantled entirely by a seagull.

The £4.4 billion 'Satan Machine' overheated after the seagull, possibly sent by Jesus Himself, dropped a piece of bread into a high voltage installation which was probably diverting taxpayer funds from something more meaningful.

The problem was noticed by interweb boffins who were monitoring LTC data online, presumably taking only a brief respite from their usual pestering of hardworking journalists via confusing web hate-site Twitter.

Hilariously, it's not the first setback for the anti-God machine. After being switched on last year in an effort to eradicate family values, it broke down within days due to a leak of helium, which is understood to be the party drug currently en vogue with Kids These Days.

The LTC attempts to hasten the spreading of immorality by firing family values campaigners into each other at almost the speed of light. This creates a vacuum, which is filled almost instantly by hardcore pornography, crack cocaine and massive amounts of gayness.

The device's experiments are expected to bring about the end of the world as soon as the problem of divine intervention can be solved.

Unwilling as usual to accept the existence of God, the series of technical glitches the LTC has suffered has resulted in some members of the notoriously carnivorous scientific community speculating the machine is being sabotaged - by itself. Dr Miles Dyson mumbled something about the LTC being self-aware, adding that its obvious mechanical depression and fondness for self-harm was pretty much the only thing saving humanity from total and utter destruction.

Some physicists have said that time-travelling particles from the future could be damaging the machine in an attempt to thwart any further experiments. Crazy old Dr Emmett Brown warned of possible disruptions to the space-time continuum and insisted that people keep their speed below 88mph.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

A.N. Wilson: These proud titans of truth will destroy us all

Appropriately named Professor David Nutt, who was chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, was finally sacked last week for saying things the the Government - and more importantly, the Daily Mail - did not agree with. He hissed that alcohol and tobacco were more dangerous than the murderous devil weed cannabis, and that riding ponies was more of a risk to your health than stuffing your face with ecstasy and washing it down with Vodka.

What Nutt wanted to do was to dictate "evidence" based "research" to the Government, blinding them with "facts" too distasteful to be true. His pernicious brand of empiricism threatened to undermine the common sense belief that drugs are bad mkay and was rightly crushed. But even more frighteningly, his dogmatic adherance to the religion of science betrays society's increasing dependence on reality rather than blind faith. You know who else abandoned morality for science? A.N. Wilson knows.

Also see 'He blinded me with science' by Dave Cross.

Thanks to
Sam Eaton and Bruce for the pics and James O'Malley for the audio (if you're using a reader you may have to click through to access the player).

Monday 2 November 2009

The decline and fall of the commentariat

Lezard: So you don't like something you don't understand? Fascinating.

Anyone - even the verbose literary critics of the most troubled newspapers that prop up one of the country's most antiquated professions - can see how inane "Twitter" is. Eurgh! I am unable to even utter the foul beast's name without spraying my page with bilious condemnation. Twit. Ter. Twitter twits, twats, and twunts. Too many "T"s make a tit. Stupid, terrible, tragic, pathetic Twitter. See the theme? I do. I'm a literary critic. Alliteration. The basest of rhetorical devices, esteemed only by the most inconsequential poets, banal linguistic noise whose only function is to trip up prose and stifle comment. Authorial madness. The essence of hate. Twitter.

Heavens! That it has come to this. Plato, Aristotle, Homer and Ovid never tweeted. Keats may have admired the nightingale's tune but he never imitated it's nonsensical warblings. It's the accessability I abhor; every two-bit pyjama wearing basement writer can write, publish, and bore the world with their incessant blogging, tweeting, tumbling and posterous-ing, while literature lays dying in the gutter. With this accessability you may wonder why I haven't signed up myself, just to see what it's like before writing an excrutiating 500 words of high-browed pretension on the subject. Why? Why haven't I? Why do I refuse to dip my toe into the torrent of background noise, egotistical rantings, pointless ravings, and probably psychologically damaging profanity pouring forth from the denizens of the web?

Because I'm a WRITE-OR, that's why! Why should I deign to read what I imagine is a slew of ill-informed nonsense and egomaniacal ejaculations when I myself write all that needs to be read? Common people may not write and expect to be read. That is the privilege of the few, to bestow upon the many. This is true insight. Just because everyone wrote exactly the same thing 12 months ago doesn't make it any less brilliant.

And with that, adieu, twats!

Cohen: Beware the bleating of the marginalised journalist.

People have always whined. God knows I do an awful lot, but that's alright because I'm paid to. In the good old days, a large tract separated the amateur whiner from the whinee. The outraged housewife from Tunbridge Wells was forced to pen a formal letter of complaint, and by the very process of writing, consider her objection to whatever triviality it was that ignited her wrath. Then she would sit and wait as her scribbled missive winged its way to its target, then wait some more for a dismissive response. This is how moaning should be: a futile excercise in being ignored.

But now spontaneous groups of angry individuals coagulate with alarming ferocity on the interwebs, enabled by Facebook and Twitter. Mass protests flare up from nowhere as offense spreads at the speed of light through angry networks of geeks taken aback by a bigoted article in the Daily Mail, or a light-hearted quip with racial undertones aired on a BBC show nobody watches. Jan Moir's sneering heterosexist slurry of hate attracted 22,000 complaints after it went viral on Twitter. But does nobody see the hypocrisy in campaigning for free speech while simultaneously criticising an article you don't approve of?

Of course, freedom of speech includes the freedom to disagree with what others say. So in the case of Jan Moir it's ok. But is it ok when people are disagreeing with something like Andrew Neil's supposed racist biscuit remark? No, of course not, because I don't think Neil meant it in a racist way. Andrew's script, and the offending hobknob joke, was written by a lady with a black husband so it can't be racist. Therefore, to express an opinion contrary to my own, that a seemingly questionable remark is questionable, even though, actually, it probably isn't (by my own measure anyway), is surely an affront to free speech.

Ok, wait. I'm losing track of what I was trying to say. Freedom of speech=good, obviously...but criticising journalists is, that's not right, er...ah yes, use Twitter to criticise, that's ok, but don't do it when the thing you're criticising isn't objectionable by my standards, mobs, yes, don't join mobs. Right. So, clearly, Twitter is a great medium through which to express shock or disapproval, but if a large body of other Twitterers also express that same disapproval, it's a mob and you mustn't join in. Mobs are bad, m'kay?

What it boils down to is that I, as a columnist, am uncomfortable in the face of large scale criticism. Jan Moir wrote some repugnant drivel, sure, but what if it was me? The whole point of columnists is to write opinionated, agenda-driven unverifiable polemic. That's freedom of speech! But when the tide turns, and all the little internet people rise up against us in baying mobs to point and laugh and condemn what we say, it's just not on.

For centuries, polemicists have enjoyed the right to offend and misrepresent with impunity. The age of the angry non-professional writer empowered by social media to spread word of inaccuracy and rally others to their cause threatens to bring that to an inglorious end. What will we be left with? A vacuum of opinion. Well, not a vacuum exactly, because all the Twitterers will have their own opinions. We'll be left with an imbalance between the superiority of highly-paid writers to make readers agree, and the previously silent majority who read and disagree, but don't get paid to twitter their thoughts. So, yeah, the many shrill voices will swamp the few. Surely that's not free speech? Does that make sense? Have I made any sense whatsoever? I think it probably does, and the likelihood is that I have. Crikey, that's a long paragraph. Nobody is going to tweet this. Ack. Well, at least it's better than that tiresome Lezard chap. I'm Orwell, and he's Byron. No-one likes Byron anymore. My head's hurting a bit now, so it's time to sum up with a concise and highly quotable last line.

Give me a minute.


Got it.

This assault on the exclusive and God-given right of journalists to free speech must end.

Also see: Jon Henley - Twitter is a danger to free speech, yada yada yada for 2,000 words