Kitsch treachery

"The hunt is on for an Indian Army brigadier who allegedly betrayed his country for 20,000 rupees, selling battle plans to bankroll his wife’s passion for preserving fruit and vegetables." – from the Telegraph (so probably made up).

As Anthony says, you have to admire someone willing to betray their country for quite such, well, camp reasons…

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Surprising revelations

Browsing my iTunes has revealed that I own (as in, legitimately paid for) *five* Boo Radleys albums. What was I thinking? Although I do also own seven Nick Cave albums, so maybe that makes up for it.

Also, Cold Case is a surprisingly good piece of television. Having an episode of a CSI-ish murder drama that’s also a Rocky Horror Picture Show homage and that features Barry Bothwick is far cooler than anyone has any right to expect.

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Do you want A Kick In The Balls?

(or female equivalent)? If so, and if you still have your exes’ email addresses, I recommend you sign up for If not, I recommend you don’t.

This may be the worst Internet community idea I’ve yet encountered (and as the erstwhile co-founder of, the Online Exchange for Creative People, I’m more qualified than most to talk about bad Internet community ideas).

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Why the Tory party is doomed

Many sensible people would vote for the Tory party if it stopped Paki-bashing, toned down its Europhobia, and instead focused on cutting taxes and regulation. With someone broadly sane like Oliver Letwin in charge, it would then be in a position to win back Liberal and Blairite voters in posh bits of the country.

Unfortunately, Tory members believe the party should step up the Paki-bashing and the silly ‘yob culture’ rhetoric; not cut taxes; and take a strongly Europhobic foreign policy line. They want David Davis or David Cameron, and they hate Oliver Letwin and Ken Clarke.

Oh well. Maybe one day we’ll have an effective opposition.

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And I said to you, ‘with illustration of means?’

Via Tim, a new silly meme. Pick a song of which you’re a big fan, translate it into German using Babelfish, translate the translation into French, then translate the French back into English. Then see if anyone can guess what the hell your song was…

"It said that it satisfied figment of the speech. And I said to you, ‘with illustration of means?’ And she said, ‘No, figment’, because she could never present herself to arrive to him, however him. When we meet initially, I have play the boy timid and like it me for the first time it have speak, my nose the have start, purge.

"Have estimate the remainder the following day be go we on a voyage of bus to vat and as nobody be come gather well our tariff, have know me that then, this special something can not think me with it, himself stop be and each time if I have put the radio in circuit, somebody be there different to which a song sing more some the both of we him be. It was as its on a fast voyage to precisely funfair the kind that you would like to receive far, because it is furchtsam and that then, at once that you are far from you, the right back top to receive to still want.

"But our love is strange and owes with that equalizes you to me crunchy takes to accept, it started to expire with Mr Potato Head IT was, when me that it acted at house with the parking space with its layer of it the shoulders to which I was carried out, and to which saw together of both of them, thought, until the water of cold bath around me.

"I go think of it in eyes and the curve of its chest confronted and on the point, in whom his bodies met me, on it. I said ‘that I am the single person unleserlichste in the city.’ And she said, ‘Yeah which is, why I can never include/understand these stupid letters which send me to you.’ And then, a day arrive it that it have cut their hair and that I me be stop to like it it."


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Gulag sillyness

Rule of thumb: any article which says something as silly as "Amnesty International was founded in part to serve as a watchdog of Communist human-rights abuse" is a waste of ink/bandwidth. No, it was founded to serve as a watchdog of human-rights abuse. You’re just projecting ‘Communist’ in there because you’re a right-wing American and therefore obsessed with Commies fluoridating your drinking water…

The rest of the article criticises Amnesty for suggesting that Guantanamo Bay is in any way comparable to the Gulag. Apparently, because the prisoners at the former are only 600 in number, aren’t local and aren’t used as slave labour, the other similarities Don’t Exist.

Two particularly quality bits: a) the ‘contrast’ of "Seizure of Gulag prisoners: From apartments, homes, street corners inside the Soviet Union"; "Seizure of Gitmo prisoners: From battlefield sites in Afghanistan in the midst of war". The latter can, of course, be paraphrased as "from apartments, home, street corners inside Afghanistan, where they lived". b) "No one argues that the vast majority of those imprisoned there were al-Qaeda personnel". Now, I *think* he’s incorrectly using "argues" to mean "denies", in which case he’s talking out of his arse. If he’s using it correctly, he’s probably a little closer to the truth (clue: Taliban != AQ)…

Unre(a)d Eric has a rather different take on the article from mine. He seems to think that Amnesty are displaying "stunning naivety" about terrorists while pouring "scorn, cyncism and vitriol" on their own governments. *I’m* guilty of the latter, for sure; Amnesty aren’t (and what’s this about no longer being "willing to criticise all governments on an equal basis"? Amnesty’s reports on China, Burma etc could hardly be described as glowing praise…)

The "naivety" is another story altogether. In Amnesty’s case, it’s not even relevant. Its job is to alert people of human rights abuses, not to assess whether the human rights abuses can be justified in the context of the threat facing the government in question – the latter is rightly left to society to decide in retrospect.

When it comes to actually deciding, unless those who accuse people who get sniffy about internment without trial, torture, murder, etc of ‘naivety’ actually have access to secret files of dozens of almost-successful Al Qaeda plots to destroy us all, they’ve got no grounds for their charges.

On the basis of the evidence publicly available, plus conversations with a few people who know more than that, Islamist terrorism appears highly unlikely to have a significant impact on what happens in the West. My conclusion, therefore, is that the worst thing we can do is undermine our own freedom for fear of the bogeyman. And as the ricin plot saga shows, my view tends to be supported by the unspun evidence…

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