Bits and pieces

Making up a moral panic then using it to justify your bizarre prejudices: here.

New Labour’s horrible, horrible illiberalism explained by a sympathiser: here (a sensible person adds: "this shit about redefining what it means to be British is now just standard political waffle. No-one has made any decent attempt at it. I think that an important part of being British is probably not worrying all the time about what it means to be British")

What we’re fighting for: here. Are the Allied Forces in Iraq as bad as the Resistance [*] yet? If not, what exact criteria should we be using to judge? ‘Killing civilians’ and ‘kidnapping and torturing innocents’ seem to be flawed ones…

[*] Very bad and evil, notwithstanding their Resisting A Bad Bunch Of Occupying Bastards credentials. I suspect they still play a marginally greater role than us in making day-to-day life shit for Iraqis, although they wouldn’t have had the chance but for our Glorious Liberation.

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Curtis Talks Sense

Adam Curtis is probably second only to Jean Charles de Menezes in the ‘person most grossly libelled and smeared by right-wing idiots following the July 7 bombings’ stakes.

To be fair, both behaved rather objectionably: Mr de Menezes had the gall to try and go to work while looking a bit ethnic, while Mr Curtis had the gall to make a TV programme last year that cast doubt on the fairy story of Osama Bin Laden as sinister cult leader plotting to take over the world. He claimed that Al Qaeda was an ideology that motivates sociopathic misfits to set up DIY cells, rather than a coherent organisation with a unified structure or supply chain.

Not only has Mr Curtis’s thesis become generally accepted among people of all ideologies who know anything at all about the War on Terror and its permutations; not only is it backed up by every development in Iraq and Afghanistan; but it’s even directly supported by the July 7 events (among other things, it explains both why the bombs were so rubbish, and why the police failed to catch anyone ahead of the attacks).

Despite – well, because of – being correct, Mr Curtis was immediately smeared by authoritarian tossers post-July-7 as having claimed Al Qaeda and/or terrorism didn’t exist, and therefore having been proven wrong by those events. This is most bizarre behaviour, confirming my long-held belief that people who support the War On Terror (strong, Bombing The Ay-Rabs variant) are all mad.

Anyway. All this is a rather long introduction to an excellent new piece by Adam Curtis on the new dangers facing us, and the stupid knee-jerk reactions that could make them even worse. Guess who’s likely to implement them…?

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Remember the pathetic non-story where Ken Livingstone was accused of antisemitism after telling a nasty piece of work journalist that he shared personality traits with concentration camp guards? It’s back, thanks to an official complaint from the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Send the Board to the gas chambers, that’s what I say (no, not for their ethnicity; for their fatuous whining. And obviously, the people who complain about Bob Geldof saying ‘fuck’ on the telly should be ahead of them in the queue….)

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Emperor’s clothes

I’m normally pro-European integration, and even vaguely (with obvious corruption-related reservations) pro-EU. However, the China clothes row makes me want to abandon all my pro-Europe tendencies and set fire to Peter Mandelson.

Imposing quotas on Chinese textiles makes it harder for Europeans (and disproportionately low-income Europeans, at that) to clothe themselves; it reduces the rate at which Chinese workers are lifted out of poverty; and it does little for European textiles workers either. The Chinese contractors will simply shift medium-term production to Laos, Cambodia, and other even-more-budget-than-China places, which I guess is a good thing in poverty-alleviation terms, but I’ve not yet seen anyone try to justify the quotas that way…

So what kind of an idiot, other than the kind of idiot who owned a Spanish textiles factory, could possibly support the quotas? (that was a rhetorical question, although this thread features an impressive array of such idiots.)

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World ends, hell freezes, etc

The Daily Mail has published an editorial page in which I agree with every article. Well, maybe not the one about Prezza: if he were running the country, he’d merely not achieve anything, rather than achieving a Whole Load Of Badness. But they’ve come out against both police brutality and fucking over the poor, which is nice to know.

Fuck, even Ariel Sharon and the Mail are being less loathsome at the moment than Tony Blair and his minions. This worries me. The end times must be approaching… (via Hell Is Other People).

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Small victories for imbecility

There is a strong and depressing tendency in our society not only for nannying cretins to fuck about with things that are absolutely none of their business, but also for The Powers That Be to pay attention to them.

As an example, I give you Ofcom’s TV adjudications. If you’re sufficiently excised about Bob Geldof saying ‘fuck’ during Live 8 to write a letter of complaint, you’re an idiot. What the hell justification might you have for doing such a thing? The same goes for whoever complained about Celebrity Love Island contestants saying ‘shit’, although perhaps complaining about Celebrity Love Island’s very existence might be justifiable.

However, the main example motivating this post is far less hilarious and more insidious: ladies and gentlemen, I give you Liz Longhurst. Now, Ms Longhurst’s daughter got raped, murdered and raped by a vile bastard who’s now rotting in jail where he eminently belongs. This undeniably sucked a lot, for both of the Ms Longhursts. However, any sympathies that a reasonable person might have had for the elder Ms Longhurst have been thorougly annihilated by her crazed one-woman crusade to ban the shadier types of porn.

She claims her crusade is because the bastard who killed her daughter was driven to do so by online rape and necrophiliac pornography (this isn’t actually true – he admitted to a friend back in the 1980s that he was planning to kill someone, long before Internet porn went beyond ASCII. It’s odd that someone could be so terribly misinformed about their own daughter’s murder, but there you go…).

As a result of this strange misconception, she’s attempting to make the UK ban necrophiliac and rape porn. Well, not just *ban* it – it’s already illegal to sell or host on a UK website under the Obscene Publications Act – but also apply the same rules that currently apply to child pornography, so that people who merely *download* the relevant pixels from foreign websites will be eligible for tracking, arrest, public humiliation, prosecution, losing their jobs and friends, having their house burned down by deranged mobs, suicide, etc.

Why? Well, there’s no actual *evidence* that criminalising people who view violent porn will reduce levels of sexual violence, any more than there’s evidence that criminalising people who view child pornography has reduced levels of child abuse. However, if you oppose such rules then you’re clearly A Rapist And A Necrophile And A Paedo Yourself, Otherwise Why Would You Stick Up For Them? (it’s also called the ‘if you stick up for the smelly kid with no mates then everyone will hate you as well’ argument, reflecting its sophistication and maturity).

Because our government has approximately the backbone of an unusually invertebrate (even by the standards of that species) jellyfish, Ms Longhurst’s crusade appears to have succeeded: the government has hinted that it plans to introduce laws against accessing violent pornography, despite the fact that this is a restriction on free speech with no demonstrable benefits whatsoever. Yay.

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