It seems that the message has sunk in with the general public that joking about bombs to airport security people, although amusing, is unwise.
The lastest twist on the story, however, features some unfortunate chap joking about bombs with his mate on the plane, and some exceptionally jobsworthy cabin crewpersons overhearing this and reporting it as a Serious Terrorist Incident.
Remember, when you’re on an aeroplane, you are entirely subject to the whims of the humourless minimum-waged morons who provide you what’s laughably referred to as ‘in-flight service’. As with security guards, nightclub bouncers, and other people who have nothing going for them other than the ability to make things rubbish for those with less miserable lives, it’s best not to fuck with them.
Despite appearances to the contrary, I don’t actually know the mind of God. Still, based on the bible, the koran and assorted hadith, I’ve got some idea of what one might reasonably expect a semitic-monotheist-religion-type deity to like and dislike.
Were I God, my biggest dislike would be of people assuming that I’m an idiot. I’m not an idiot: I’m an omniscient God. If I tell you not to do something, and then you come up with a silly semantic distinction which means you think you can get away with it and I won’t notice, then you’re really, really going to piss me off.
Harry Hutton made this point a while ago about Islamic banking. Ophelia at Butterflies & Wheels now has an article on temporary marriages, which touches on similar ground: while extramarital sex is very forbidden in Islam, some Shia believe that it’s perfectly legitimate to get married to a (prostitute/client, depending on which one you are) for two hours, then get divorced once the shagging is over.
Obviously, a religion which outlaws mortgages is bloody stupid and hard to stick to; a religion which imposes draconian punishments on extramarital sex is also bloody stupid and hard to stick to [*]. But God’s told you to do it: either you pay attention to him, you decide he doesn’t exist, or you accept you’re going to go to hell. Cute sophistry really isn’t going to cut it…
Unrelatedly, it’s been a couple of years since I last looked at Michael Kelly’s site, and his new-ish logic puzzles page is excellent. Indeed, #17 is my favourite logic puzzle ever, while #23 runs it a close favourite.
[*] This probably reads more like Islam-bashing than I intended. The same self-serving readings of religious injunctions are, of course, also prevalent among Christians and Jews of all varieties.
There’s an interesting take on the Eason Jordan scandal here. The final comment is the most interesting: broadly, the real scandal is not that Mr Jordan correctly pointed out at Davos that the US Army kills journalists and civilians, nor even that he was made to resign for stating this truth – but that he didn’t state it live on CNN in the first place.
Speaking of murderous behaviour in the Middle East, at least one Blairite insider has reportedly said the UK will join in any wrong-headed Yank plans to invade Iran. I *hope* this is just a Tory smear designed to cut Labour support…
British sort-of-terrorist Saajid Badat pled guilty at the Old Bailey today. He’s apparently part of the same comedically ineffective conspiracy that brought us gibbering madman Richard Reid.
Despite the guilty plea, the prosecution accepts the defence’s claim that Mr Badat never seriously intended to do any shoe-bombing – rather, he agreed to the plot to impress assorted foreign extremists, and then left the bomb in his attic for years instead of going ahead on the planned date. This should significantly reduce his sentence.
Only a terribly cynical person could conclude that the timing and outcome of this court appearance were in any way related to certain other things currently in the news. And it would be *unthinkable* to suggest that Mr Badat might have been offered a favourable plea bargain to ensure that Blair and Clarke’s plans to destroy our liberty got knocked off the front pages by a Dangerous Evil Terrorist.
If I ran a newspaper, it would take all its news from the Reuters and AP wires. I like their house styles and their broadly unbiased coverage (whereas even the Telegraph, the UK’s final bastion of newspaper journalism, has descended into agenda-driven tabloid hell) – and they’re far better resourced than any startup paper could afford to be.
To offset the dry news pages, the comment and analysis section would be a den of inflammatory madness. We’d hire moderates, extremists and jokers from all sides. As well as contributions from professional hacks and The (Great/Irrelevant) And The (Good/Bad), we’d republish articles from crazy right-wing bloggers and left-wing maniacs [*] alike (in both cases, having rigorously copy-edited them to ensure their authors’ intellectual disabilities were reflected only in terms of content rather than style). Nobody should come away from the comment section unoffended or unchallenged.
It’d be fun.
[*] Can’t find any lefties who even come close to the glorious insanity of the minor bloggers on the US right. Would appreciate links if anyone can…
Online magazine (yup, it’s like 1999 all over again) AK13 has an excellent series of 10 Reasons To… articles. Recommended.
(via Blood & Treasure)
"In the end, in this particular case, more good would have been done if 99,999,950 pound coins had been buried at the bottom of a mine shaft and a 50 squid donation sent to feed a starving African child" – Tim Worstall, on the waste of time, effort and space that is the Sudan 1/Worcester sauce scandal.
Nothing substantial today, but a few things that are worthy.
Whimsical puzzle games are most worthy, so here’s the rather excellent, if frustrating Hapland. Similarly sillily, an old-ish Wired article on gross sweets, made relevant by Kraft’s insane axing of its roadkill-shaped candy (Wired story via BoingBoing).
Like the rest of the world, I salute Brian Sedgemore MP for his excellent retirement speech, including "it is a foul calumny that we do today. Not since the Act of Settlement 1701 has Parliament usurped the powers of the judiciary and allowed the Executive to lock up people without trial in times of peace. May the Government be damned for it". Full thing here.
James Wolcott is also a master of smackdownery. If you don’t read him already, you should. Start with this piece – it’s vaguely reminiscent of the recent UK cases of racist fuckjobs trying to smear non-racists as antisemitic.
Finally, if you’re desperate for a meme, here’s one via Jim: grab the nearest book; open the book to page 123; find the fifth sentence; and post the text of the next three sentences on your blog along with these instructions. The original text insists that one must not "dig for that ‘cool’ or ‘intellectual’ book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest" – so consider yourself warned.
Mine is the riveting "To this he added the shaving-scene – which, if it comes from Stow’s Annales (1592) gives a clue to the date of the play. The early title-pages state that the play was performed by Pembroke’s Men (in the City of London, according to the first edition), but in the course of printing his edition Bell altered the title-page to read instead the late Queen’s Majesty’s Servants at the Red Bull. The latter performances wold have been in King James’s reign."
I’m sure you’re dying to know that that was a note by E D Pendry from the Everyman edition of Christopher Marlowe’s Complete Plays and Poems. The second-nearest book on the shelf was The Proud Highway, which would have skated dangerously close to breaching the ‘cool’ instruction above.
Today is Work Your Proper Hours Day in the UK. A laudable initiative, you might think.
However, someone who I know from somewhere has quite a good counterpoint: "Im always late and i always take about an hour and a half for lunch, plus i spend at least 2 hours a day reading stuff on the net. there’s no fucking way you’ll get me to work my proper hours."
Atrios’s tips on blogging are moderately interesting (shorter version: write stuff that’s interesting, don’t spend all your time begging him or Glenn Reynolds for links, don’t expect to make any money).
They’re not interesting enough for me to link under normal circumstances; indeed, I didn’t link to them yesterday. However, I’ve just noticed something weird, and highly relevant to the debate on the alleged right-wing domination of UK blogs.
The odd thing? Marxist blogger Norm Geras just linked to the Atrios piece. No, that’s not the odd thing: one of the UK’s leading left-wing bloggers linking to the US’s leading left-wing blogger is hardly mad crazyness. The odd thing is that Norm discovered it through Bushite loon Instapundit – in other words, he reads Insty but not Atrios.
That’s just weird.