Pathetic Fallaci

A half-crazed Italian writer called Oriana Fallaci hates the Muslims (“Terrorists, thieves, rapists. Ex-convicts, prostitutes, beggars. Drug-dealers, contagiously ill”). This is unsurprising: a lot of half-crazed people hate the Muslims. Also unsurprisingly, she’s left Italy to move to the US, where hating the Muslims is more-or-less a national sport.

Her favourite meme – one which has been picked up by a great many half-crazed right-wingers – is the one about Muslim immigrants being a gigantic fifth column who are planning to turn the West into a Sharia state run for their own devious ends.

I live in a Muslim area; if Ms Fallaci is right then I’m extremely envious of my neighbours’ energy . I barely manage to combine work and a social life; they manage to work hard, raise families, do a lot of community/charity work, *and* plot for world domination. Where do they find the time? Maybe it’s the non-drinking…

It’s ironic that most of the people who believe this kind of conspiracy bollocks are fanatically pro-Israeli, to the extent that they view criticism of Israel as antisemitic. Because if you look at it dispassionately, it sounds like a much older and much more discredited meme about a different poor, immigrant ethnic group plotting to take over the world.

Indeed, Ms Fallaci has a Protocols of the Elders of Zion-esque quote to support her argument. She says, “in 1974, former Algerian President Houari Boumedienne said in a speech at the U.N.: “One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere to go to the northern hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”

Mysteriously, this quote has never been reported in the news (no hits on Factiva or Lexis-Nexis, whether in English or in French), it appears on the Internet only sourced to Ms Fallaci on weblogs, and it is not in the UN’s archive. I guess this *could* mean that the liberal dhimmi conspiracy has surpressed coverage of the Muslims’ true plans… however, Occam’s razor would have another explanation, based on Ms Fallaci making shit up.

Islam isn’t very sensible, being a religion, and it goes without saying that Muslim terrorists are nasty fuckers who should be locked up for a very long time. But if forced to choose, I’d rather be on the side of the minority group with silly-ish views, than on the side of lying pogromists. How long before we have rumours about Muslims killing Christian babies to mix their blood with pitta bread?

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The UK’s Department of Work and Pensions has disciplined 227 of its employees and sacked 16 for browsing porn during office hours. Liberal Democrat spokesman Steve Webb thinks this is too lenient: he says the civil servants involved are “assisting filth and paedophiles”.

Indeed, one of the relevant civil servants has been convicted for possessing child pornography; another two are under police investigation for the same charge. But while these three may well be paedophiles and have clearly been assisting the filth in their enquiries, it seems a bit much to tar the other 224 with the same brush.

Yes, the main point of this post was to make a rubbish ‘filth’ pun. But more seriously, I thought the Lib Dems were supposed to be in favour of pornography and teenage sex? If that’s actually just a lie spread by conservatives, who am I going to vote for next time round…?

Hmm. I’m not so good at being serious. Having another go, the Lib Dems are surely actually supposed to be in favour of worker’s rights and people’s rights in general. The DWP people who downloaded illegal porn have been sacked and are now off to jail; on what possible liberal grounds can Mr Webb claim that the ones who downloaded legal porn should lose their jobs?

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Not an original thought

If you believe it’s reasonable to fight a war, which is expensive in life and money, on the off-chance that the person you’re fighting might eventually otherwise have done horrible things to you – how can you avoid applying the same thinking to cutting energy consumption on the off-chance that horrible climate change nastyness might happen?

The evidence for man-made global warming isn’t yet conclusive, but it’s at least as convincing than the evidence for Saddam Hussein posing an imminent threat. And driving a Mini instead of an SUV seems like a smaller sacrifice to make than mass slaughter and carnage…

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You were wrong, Cabinet Sanchez

Sorry, Richard Herring – Stephen Frank’s Spamusment made me laugh out loud more than you. Silly cartoons based on spam subject lines; what more could you possible want? Well, related t-shirts, obviously.

(the picture links to the site…)

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Stark differences

If you’re a middle-class American voter, you should probably be aware that your president has just imposed the largest middle-class pay cut in history, by slashing semi-skilled employees and junior managers’ right to paid overtime. Yup, that’s the same president whose tax cuts also imposed the largest pay rise in history for the extremely rich…

Tony Blair can be distasteful, but I think people on the British centre and left sometimes forget the genuine improvements in social equality and poverty reduction that have been made since 1997 (the number of people sleeping on the streets of London is down to double figures, just as a random example). Albeit quietly, Labour is working – it’s pulling off the balancing act between market-led economic growth and egalitarian intervention with greater success than any British government in the last 50 years. Meanwhile, the Bush administration leadership is turning the USA into a banana republic.

Clearly, if you want to preserve a capitalist democracy, you should put the socialists in charge…

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The Hume & Herring

If I had a pub, I’d call it the Hume and Herring. Sadly, I don’t – but I do have Facts and Information. Specifically, that David Hume died 228 years ago today, and that Richard Herring has a blog.

One of the two was the first modern thinker to recognise that you can’t derive any empirical facts about the universe from first principles, and instead ought to focus more on what you feel is probably going to be the case, thereby inventing nearly all of contemporary philosophy and economics.

The other one is the only laugh-out-loud funny UK blog I’ve visited (except for my own, and that tends to involve me to laughing out loud in a manic and evil way rather than in an amused way). Bloody professional comedians, moving in on the blog-world and spoiling it for everyone else…

More Herring here; more Hume here. Advanced students may even be able to gather which one is which.

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Men’s rights activists are stupid, throw rocks at them

When I was in the US, I spotted a couple of girls wearing ‘boys are stupid, throw rocks at them’ t-shirts. As a registered emasculated feminist dupe and gender traitor, a fan of t-shirts featuring silly cartoons, and *especially* a fan of girls who wear t-shirts featuring silly cartoons, I was most impressed.

(mild digression – the best purveyors of t-shirts featuring silly cartoons in the world ever are Kukuxumusu. Their t-shirts are excellent, and wearing one is approximately the best way to impress me [1]. The ‘boys are stupid’ shirt still ranks below Kukuxumusu on the t-shirt scale).

Anyway, on idly typing ‘boys are stupid, throw rocks at them’ into Google, I discovered that not everyone shares my view on the excellence of said shirts. The Canadian Children’s Rights Council, which seems to hover oddly on the boundary between humourless PC and deranged men’s rights activism, takes a particularly dim view, claiming that the shirts are a hate crime. Apparently, various other North Americans have stirred up similar local frenzies; it would probably be an error to assume that they were *all* paid shills for the t-shirt’s designer.

I’m not going to get into the details of why the protesters are stupid and deserve to have rocks thrown at them… although the facts that a male designer is working for a male-owned company to sell the t-shirts through chiefly male-owned shops, and that men in the relevant demographic tend to think that the t-shirts are cool, might provide some indication.

Just one thought for them: if you really do want to preserve traditional notions of masculinity (using the religious/conservative definition of ‘traditional notions of masculinity’) from the femininazi onslaught, perhaps the best way to achieve this doesn’t involve, erm, whining like a sissy that ‘it’s not FAIR and shouldn’t be ALLOWED’.

Update: I suspect that the US’ answer to Peter Cuthbertson, Ryan Thompson, would disagree with me here.

[1] Barring obvious exceptions, such as being Hunter S Thompson, Keira Knightley or the devil himself, or giving me a Gmail account. NB these aren’t necessarily all at exactly equal levels of impressive-ness.

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Discussion point

“If you can’t do it in bed, in a pub or on the Internet, it’s not worth doing”. Do you agree? [25 marks]

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Harsh but fair

From the New York Times: “when Concetta McGrath, 76, a widow in Staten Island, sold the home she had shared with her husband for over 50 years, she took $90,000 of the proceeds and put it into the stock market. It was 2001 and she hoped that the gains generated by the investment would bolster her monthly Social Security benefits of $800.”

The reader may be able to guess what comes next… yup, Ms McGrath ends up with 1/3 the money she started off with, after investing in a portfolio of technology and banking stocks, and now fears she’ll run out of money before she dies. The NYT uses her story as the basis for a piece about lack of stock market recovery.

The lack of stock market recovery is an issue worth noting, but blaming it for Ms McGrath’s tribulations is balls. If you can’t afford to lose money, you shouldn’t put it in the fucking stock market – stick it in a 4.5% deposit account. And if a financial advisor tells you otherwise (or, for that matter, comes near you), then throw rocks at him.

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Abuse of power

As a reward for providing you all with such excellent insight, analysis, commentary, humour, ranting, idiocy, and pictures of cute fluffy animals, I feel I deserve a Gmail account. Can anyone oblige?

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