Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Friday, November 26, 2010

And another

This Be the Worse

They fuck you up, the chaps you choose
To do your Letters and your Life.
They wait till all that's left of you's
A corpse in which to shove a knife.

How ghoulishly they grub among
Your years for stuff to shame and shock:
The times you didn't hold your tongue,
The times you failed to curb your cock.

To each of those who've processed me
Into their scrap of fame or pelf:
You think in marks for decency
I'd lose to you? Don't kid yourself.

Robert Conquest, Demons Don't, 1999

Tip of the Borthwick hat to the eratosphere...

Realist's version, by Kingsley Amis

Life is mostly grief and labor,
Two things help us through:
Chortling when it hits your neighbor,
Whinging when it's you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Green Loser

Looking at the GL trailer at Yglesias.

The problem is that all US superhero movies take virtually the whole of the first movie to give the origin story. There's this need to spell things out. They forget that in the original Superman comic Siegel and Shuster did it in about ten frames and then got on with the story, which is much preferable.
Contrast Korean movies like The Host, which gave the origin about three minutes and then got on with it. The GL origin should be done with before the opening credits.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


There would seem to be difficulties with the whole world becoming moslem. Take the population as being six-odd billions, the average age 65, then about 103 million people need to make the hadj every year if the entire lot are going to get through in their lifetime (as opposed to something like 3 mill p/a at the moment). That means 103 million people are going to have to circle the kaaba three times. The mosque there is reputed to hold 800,000 in the courtyard, but I'm not clear if that's standing or circling. Say 750,000 at a time. Then you'd have to get them in and out every 40 minutes; not easy. the only way I see it as being possible would be for there to be several levels - and even then that wouldn't make the circling much easier. Perhaps if you had a spiral ramp around the kaaba so the lines didn't have to cross? I'd suspect that even then you'd need a moving pavement. And that doesn't allow for anybody going twice.


A while ago- around 2000 - I was collecting (well, not seriously; just buying them when I came across them cheap) American novels about the coming war with China, just to watch the pressure building up. Now I see my first example of the novels about the new war with the moslems; Prayers for the Assassin, by Robert Ferrigno (2006).

Really, all that one needs to know about the details of the book is that when the back cover quotes the Guardian as saying"I can confidently predict that Prayers for the Assassin will be a resounding success" that is extracted from this;
"Ferrigno can't be bothered to get the basics of nuclear weaponry right, let alone do justice to the implications of his main conceit. He acknowledges as sources six Islamic websites, one book and two articles, and if this was the extent of his research it's hardly surprising that the result is a pile of lamentable clich├ęs and half-imagined characters, strung together in a plot of such hopeless absurdity that it's all but impossible to follow. In this the book compares favourably to that other bestseller, the war on terror, sold so well to the citizens of the United States over the past few years. Given that Ferrigno has taken all the prejudices and idiocies of that narrative and shovelled them between cardboard covers, I can confidently predict that Prayers for the Assassin will be a resounding success."

It's the book's existence, not its merits, that counts. And it's probably significant that I got in in a large print edition, suitable for the prejudices of the elderly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Boing Boing

A good friend - indeed, a great friend - died. The upside was a chance to play the bungy-jumping video in St. Paul's cathedral. The downside - other than the death, of course -- was the discovery that you really can't get a good performance of Shall the circle be unbroken using a cathedral organ.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

US midterms

Well, it's certainly a victory for
* negativism over policy engagement:
the opposition can see that if they monkeywrench everything the people who will be blamed for things not getting done will be the government (the Age has an article this morning saying that Republicans can no longer carp from the sidelines but will have to propose meaningful policies; nonsense)
* short slogans over complicated arguments:
The Tea Party made it on misspelled signs
* enormous spending by rich bastards over normal political funding

And that's certainly going to be the takeaway over her in Australia, to the extent we hadn't already reached that point first.

But America has gone pretty toxic, a consequence of slowly realising in its bones that the American century is over, and the best that the rest of us can look for is that they keep their bombs in their holsters when they're blindly lashing out.

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