A couple of years ago, cunning entrepreneurs discovered two legal loopholes in the UK. Because of concerns about rural bespoilment, it’s illegal to erect advertising hoardings in roadside or railside fields; and because of concerns about people enjoying themeselves, it’s illegal to sell hallucinogens.
Said cunning entrepreneurs noticed that respectively, it was legal to stick disused lorry trailers in roadside fields with adverts on the side, and that it was legal to sell magic mushrooms as long as they were fresh. Long car or train journeys rapidly began to feature a great deal of ugly lorry-based advertising; head shops and silly places such as Camden High Street rapidly began to feature a wide range of psychoactive fungi.
One of these developments was an entirely harmless development with no negative consequences and many fun ones. The other indisputably made the countryside look uglier, while its positive aspects were tenuous at best. Guess (well, probably you know already) which one the government passed new laws to prohibit, and which one it was happy to tolerate…
Still, at least we’re not as fucking mentalist as the Indonesians.
Blah serious questions about the religion blah can it coexist with civilised society blah serious questions to community leaders blah can we trust these people… oh, wait.
I’m busy. Flann O’Brien isn’t, and is funnier than me. The fact that he’s dead is but a minor detail:
"Consider the average day of the average man who is averagely educated… He is barely downstairs when he has thrown open (with what is surely the pathetic abandon of the person who knows he is lost) that grey tablet of lies, his newspaper. He assimilates his literary narcotic in silence, giving 5% of his attention to the business of eating. His wife has ruined her sight from trying for years to read the same paper from the other side of the table and he must therefore leave it behind him as he departs for his work.
"Our subject is nervous on his way, his movements are undecided; he is momentarily parted from his drug. Notice how advertisements he has been looking at for 20 years are frenziedly scrutinised, the books and papers of neighbours on the bus are carefully scanned, the bus ticket is perused with interest, a fearful attempt is made to read what is printed on the tab of a glove held in the hand of a clergyman two seats up. Clocks are read and resented.
"At last the office is reached. Hurrah! Thousands of documents – books, papers, letters, calendars, diaries, threats to sue, bailiffs’ writs. Writing, typescript, PRINT! An orgy of myopic indulgence! Consider the countless millions who sit all day in offices throughout the world endlessly reading each others’ writings. Ink-wells falling and falling in level as words are extracted from them by the hundred thousand! Tape-machines, typewriters, printing-presses wearing out their metal hearts to feed this notorious lust for unspoken words!"
Now go and read his books.
First Robin, now Mo. It’s almost as if God were finishing off all the likeable people who disagreed with his man Tony. Sadly, this leaves Michael Howard and Norman Tebbit alive indefinitely.
Speaking of Norman Tebbit, what the fuck was that disgusting old bigot doing being interviewed respectfully on the Today programme this morning? What, are they going to give soft-soap interviews to the reanimated corpses of Enoch Powell and John Tyndall next week?
Please can someone explain the difference between "I was proven right" and "my hunch… turned out to be vindicated"?
The Guardian has its flaws; however, I always like reading Polly Toynbee.
"In an average primary class of 30 children, only 14 will go on to take A-levels and only one will score three A grades – hardly inflationary. But if this little elite is determined to identify its pecking order even more precisely, let them have their A*s, their extra difficult additional papers or a precise breakdown of their marks, if they want. But frankly it doesn’t matter to the country or to anyone else. The science of correctly handicapping top racehorses or pricing footballers is probably of wider interest. This is a phoney controversy, of concern only in the offices of the Spectator, Times and Telegraph, where well-paid parents worry if the vast sums they spend on their children’s schooling will buy an Oxbridge place or not."
It would probably have been more honest had she added her own employer to the list of institutions above, but otherwise spot on.
We have a new favourite liar. See also here, here and here.
For once in my life, I’m not terribly pleased to be proven right. Is it still Officially Unpatriotic to criticise the police…?
Since I’ve already managed to horribly offend nearly all my left-wing readers, I thought I’d continue in a similar vein. Ariel Sharon is risking his political position to fight for what’s good and right against racists and bigots. This earns him respect, notwithstanding his past as a war criminal.
Tangentially-relatedly, my perenially unsuccessful flatmate went speed-dating last week. One of the women he met said "my name’s Sharon, S-H-A-R-O-N". He replied, "like the Israeli Prime Minister, you mean? But I bet you’re not a war criminal." The date didn’t go uphill from there…
SBBS is a broadly satirical, polemical website. That means I say things which aren’t necessarily my literal views, but are extreme exaggerations of them, in order to provoke debate and general amusement. When this concerns airline labour disputes:
1) It makes absolutely no sense for an airline to own its own kitchens;
2) Nobody could deny that BA and Gate Gourmet both have rubbish, overpaid management;
3) £12k for a basic catering job is both well-above-average and entirely-livable-on (having had to live on £12k in full-time jobs before, yay for Aldi and Argos…)
4) While I’m loath to admit that British management are competent in general, the suggestion that we have proportionately few world-class companies is laughable;
5) I’m all for trade unionists and workers in general (whether they’re aviators or investment bankers) compelling their employers to pay them high wages by limiting the supply of labour, but don’t view doing so as a Morally Good Thing.
That is all.