Tag Archives: rants

A Rant At The World On December 1st 2011

I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve tried to be calm and rational and reasoned over the last few blog entries. But I can’t do it anymore the more news that emerges from, well, everywhere just keeps chipping away at my calm. I mean, seriously, how can the world be in such a mess? Don’t get me wrong, I know the place is run by psychopaths and naked emperors but you’d think they’d at least be competent. Instead they just continue to flush the civic and economic life of the western democracies down the metaphorical toilet. The Emperor has no clothes, but instead of parading around in all his nakedness, he’s actually managed to put on a pair of Y-fronts so he looks even more ridiculous and foolish.

That’s the thing though, these people are Teflon-coated; they can say and do the most stupid things and not only stay out of jail but get rewarded for it. Crash the world economy? Here, have a six digit bonus and don’t think about the human cost of your actions…

What am I saying? They don’t give a damn about the human cost of their actions.

The whole state of affairs gets progressively more ridiculous. Jeremy Clarkson, who is admittedly entertaining on Top Gear said that yesterday’s public sector strikers should have been executed in front of their families. Obviously a joke, but the fact that he writes for the Murdoch-owned, Tory-worshipping Sun leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I mean, I wouldn’t suggest that people who tacitly support hacking the voicemails of murdered schoolgirls should be executed, but you’ll forgive me if I struggle to overcome the enraged contempt in which I hold their actions.

And besides, Clarkson is friends with David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks. That’s the Axis of the Banality of Evil right there.

(Great way of diverting attention from the issues behind the strikes though, Jezza. I’m sure your mates will thank you for it.)

And Nick Clegg and his fraud of a party have chained themselves with words of support for Conservative spending cuts beyond the next election, so that’s another excuse for millionaire ideologues to lecture the rest of us about living in the real world as the money in our wallets gets worth less and less as they destroy our libraries and schools and health services. But no, apparently the biggest threat to the civic life of our nation is a bunch of people camping outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, or a bunch of public sector workers going on strike for a day.

Of course, that’s just tabloid media coverage, and as one of their number seems to think that everyone who wants privacy is a paedophile, I think we should ignore their contemptible hostility and hysterical scapegoating until they go away. Unfortunately they won’t, because football scores, racism, naked breasts and gossip about minor celebrities are this country’s equivalent of crack cocaine and we just keep feeding the dealers, regardless of the amoral chaos they leave behind.

It’s as bad over in America and it’s going to get worse. Next year the world – yes, the world, because US politics tends to have an effect on which civilians we end up bombing – is going to get dragged into a presidential election that will decide who gets to be the most powerful corporate bootlick on the planet. So far, the choices are about 700 potential Republican party candidates engaged in a competition to show which one of them is least capable of being trusted with nuclear launch codes, and Obama.

Ahh yes, Obama. Domestically, I’m sure he’s achieved more than he’s given credit for. Internationally? Just another politician. In some ways worse, because he swept into power on a wave of hope, and now the Egyptian military are using his silence over US treatment of Occupy Wall Street to murder their own citizens. Sure, Obama could say “Our police haven’t killed anyone yet!”, but that last three letter word is laced with grim inevitability.

Oh, and in his quest to raise money for his campaign (note to his staff, tweets about how much money you’ve raised sit uncomfortably next to tweets reporting police brutality in New York and Oakland), Obama yesterday said that the US has “no ally more important than Israel.” Which may be true, but it probably comes as news to France and Australia, to whom he said the same thing.

(Yes, I know “no stronger ally” can mean that the US just has a lot of joint-best-friends, but they’re still just weasel words used for the sake of expediency, just another example of empty flattery churned out by a bunch of speechwriters who are apparently using Word’s find-and-replace function. Realpolitik? Probably, but it’s why no-one trusts each other anymore. Still, he might say it to North Korea by mistake, that’d be fun.)

And while we all know the Special Relationship is an embarrassing Cold War joke, it probably comes as news to all the British troops who’ve died as a result of those damned crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s before we talk about the tens of thousands Afghanis and Iraqis who’ve died. That’s a hell of a lot of collateral damage considering we were only really interested in getting Saddam and Osama. Well, you got them. Well done. When do we invade Iran? Because we’re all expecting it, with bitter, empty laughs.

Still, maybe a good war will distract people from the next inevitable collapse of the global economy. Heck, maybe it can help the economy – after all we sell weapons and tear gas to all those oppressive regimes.

That’s the thing. People are dying because of all this. Their lives are being ruined. And the sad thing is that we all bear some responsibility for this – we voted for them, bought their tabloids, purchased their trinkets. The conspiracy theorists are right, we’re ruled by the Illuminati. The tragic thing is, it happened by mistake. Great. That’s the biggest sick joke of all.

Right, rant over.

For now.

But only because Morrisey’s come on the radio and I have to go.

PS. Now the British Government want chemotherapy patients to undergo “fit-for-work” tests. Here’s a clue – they’re undergoing treatment for cancer, it’s possible they might struggle a bit. There’s a petition against this here.

PPS. And now the Independent has published a story of how lobbyists at Bell Pottinger brag about how easy it is to get access to people like the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. Not that we didn’t all know this, but it’s good to see it in black and white where it might make someone squirm…

This is the UK in 2011

This is the UK in 2011.

We riot on the streets of London, ostensibly to protest police brutally, but partly so we can loot HMV and nick some DVDs.

We hack the mobile phones of the families of murdered children.

We know this is wrong, but we still support Murdoch because the Sun has good football coverage and Sky has the rights to all the good American shows.

We go on holiday, even when the city we’re supposed to govern from erupts into violence.

We consider libraries expendable. We then moan that the workforce isn’t clever enough.

We have government, media and police colluding with each other to further their agendas, either through corruption or stupidity.

We then wonder why no-one respects authority any more.

We still think it’s a necessary evil to shoot or blow up people in another part of the UK.

We handed over the media to Murdoch, music to Cowell and our high streets to giant supermarket chains.

We then complain that they all suck.

We blame The Other for an alleged increase in crime.

We therefore support groups who hate The Other.

We then watch these groups commit crime, which should be ironic, but maybe it’s okay when white skinheads do it.

We know it must be 2011, because we’ve all got mobiles and Twitter, but we still act like it’s the darkest depths of the 80’s.

We used to make stuff, but then we realised it was easier to ship it all to places with less bothersome labour laws.

We don’t like jokes about foreigners or disabled people (unless they’re ‘ironic’, in which case they’re hilarious).

We want to make redundant those people who we once trusted to provide services that add value to our communities.

We then listen as millionaires brand this as a way of making poorer communities better.

We watch in horror as the Stock Markets fall.

We then embrace our inner materialist and say money is all that matters.

We’ve been ranked 33rd in Europe for home broadband speed, 6th in Europe for drug deaths and highest in Europe for teenage pregnancy.

We then moan about Europeans because apparently they don’t know what they’re talking about.

This is the UK in 2011.

We really need to look at ourselves.

OCD Post – 16 July 2010

Is it wrong to blog purely because you don’t want to spoil an unbroken run of posts, and you can’t really summon up the enthusiasm to rant about how there were no pork sandwiches and no prawns in Dudley today? Not that I actually wanted to buy any but my friends did, and I suspect it’s something to do with the EDL march that’s taking place tomorrow, and frankly it’s just another reason to hate extremists.

In all fairness, I was going to post something halfway sensible today, following yesterday’s witterings about British folklore and Sudge‘s subsequent suggestion of doing something about Arthurian myths. But that subject’s just too big to tackle without much resarch, so that’ll have to wait ’till the weekend.

In the meantime, here’s the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre doing Star Wars. Obviously.

Plot holes and characters with no common sense (warning – may become a rant)

So I’m watching The Big Bang Theory last night, and it did the typical sitcom thing of not proposing a sensible answer to a problem. And for some reason it bugged me.

Yes, I know. Sitcoms are based on the assumption that the characters have no common sense. That’s what makes them funny. But last night it jumped out at me, and I’m someone who’s never been great at spotting plot holes.

I mean, it’s not like they couldn’t have made the suggestion and dismissed it – one of the characters is invited to Geneva to see the Large Hadron Collider. It coincides with Valentine’s Day, so he decides to take his girlfriend. However, his friend’s lifelong ambition is to visit the LHC, so cue hilarious consequences (although nowhere near as hilarious as when they’re giving out Christmas presents). Everyone ends up falling out with each other, while I’m shouting at the TV "Buy an extra ticket!" Okay, it’s nowhere near an ideal solution, given the characters, but no-one suggested it, even for it to be dismissed. And it annoyed me.

Of course, this isn’t the first time this has happened. I hate it when, say, Superman or Spider-Man go through hours of emo wibbling because they can’t tell the woman they love about their secret identity, even though everyone knows that keeping it secret only leads to more trouble in the end, and besides, what sort of relationship is based on constant dishonesty anyway? Plus the fact it’s boring. Not romantic – boring.

Then again, some of these things would kill a franchise dead. Take the Batman mythos. Sudge is going to tear me apart on this, but the series is set in the USA, which has the fifth highest number of executions in the world. It’s also set in Gotham City, which is known for being corrupt and messed up. And yet no-one has found a way round the Joker’s insanity defence? None of the dodgier police officers have accidentally seen him ‘trip down some stairs, repeatedly’? Okay, it’s basically the plot of Kingdom Come, which ended badly for the heroes, but, y’know… I hate the Joker. At least as a character who keeps cropping up to commit yet another atrocity. Go get him, corrupt Gotham cops!

And then Jurassic Park – WHY DID YOU CLONE CARNIVORES?! We’re not talking lions here! We’re talking a FULL GROWN T-REX! One man took down your security system AND HALF THE VISITORS GET EATEN!!! You were after the money, weren’t you? Oh, you could have been happy with revolutionising science and simply cloning that big dinosaur with the long neck that used to be called a Brontosaurus but they change the name every week, but nooooo, you had to try and go for the big guns and clone a big-ass predator that, in the event of a powercut, will eat everyone. Admittedly, that’s not a plot hole, that’s one of the philosophical points of the book/film, but all the same, they not only clone T-Rex, but to make things even more exciting they put a bunch of velociraptors in there! Here’s an idea, why didn’t you just machine gun all the visitors as soon as they got through the turnstyles?! IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN QUICKER!!!

Ahem.

And then there are shows where, if they had some basic HR pactices, like you and I probably have in our own workplaces, the plots would never happen. 24 wouldn’t have got to season 2 if CTU actually bothered to vet its staff for a) moles or traitors, and b) loonies, but the worst of this, for me, is seen in the Star Wars prequels. Anakin has a premonition that the woman he loves is going to die. Instead of actually doing something about this, instead of accepting your duty of care to one of your team, he’s basically just told to go away and forget it. "Meh," they say, "These things happen, Jedi don’t do emotion." And because the Jedi suck, Anakin turns to the Dark Side, goes crazy, becomes Darth Vader and starts blowing up planets. Well done Yoda. Everyone thought you were cool in Empire, but basically you could do with doing an NVQ4 in Management, because frankly… huh.

Sometimes this sort of thinking doesn’t help. I’m not convinced that Terminator 2 can actually work within its own model of time travel, but I don’t want that to be true – I like to think they change the future and save the world and that Terminator 3 never happens (because it’s stupid). And if one of you could insert a dig at The Matrix here it would help, because I’m tired and I can’t be bothered.

And then we get silly. Avatar – the planet is basically a giant network, and the trees are the interface. There’s a major catastrophe when the Evil Military-Industrial Complex ™ destroy the giant tree that is the centre of the planet’s civilisation, and it’s all sad and tragic.

And now all I can think is – bonsai. I don’t know if I came up with that, or if I heard it somewhere and it stuck, but… Bonsai.

I suspect James Cameron didn’t want me thinking bonsai.

I may need professional help.

Stroppy Comic Book Reviews – 30 January 2010

Maybe it’s because it’s winter, cold and damp and dark. Maybe it’s because 2010 is turning into a long year and we’re still only in January. Maybe it’s because I’m reading The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter and Russell and Ben are making me look more closely at this sort of thing. Whatever it is, I’m calling down the thunder on some stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a comic nerd, but, y’know, sometimes you just need to vent…

Supergirl #49
Well, we COULD have done a powerful, emotional storyline that powerfully impacts the characters and says something heartfelt and true about loss, and illness, and mourning, and what we do when we come to the limits of our powers… Or we could just undermine all that with a twist that’s just going to bring back a concept from 1965. That’s just SUPER! I wouldn’t care if the books were actually aimed at kids, but it’s obvious from the use of blood that they’re not, so here we are again in comic book world, not doing something that might actually mean something, but instead stealing our own lunch money. And we keep lapping it up. Sometimes I think I should just stick my own hand in a blender, it’d be cheaper and there’d be less gore.

Also, Supergirl seems to have forgotten that Superman exists.

Superman #696
Look at that. Issue 696. That’s good going. Especially as I feel like this particular story-arc has been going for more than 696 issues. Characters run around, stuff gets blowed up, the plot advances like the Italian army… I swear, we’ve been through shorter ice ages than this.

Also, you’d really think that the characters would remember that Superman exists and may just be interested in what’s going on. Or maybe he’s busy over in Smallville, still failing to fly at the age of 47.

World’s Finest #4
In which the characters in the Superman line of books remember that Superman actually exists. It’s about time. Is he recalled to Earth to look after his mother in her time of loss (taking over that role from his pet dog), to be reunited with his adopted son who was MIA, to help his best friend through a terminal illness, to find out what happened to one of his best friends who disappeared, to track down the person who put another of his best friends in a coma, or to help his wife through the death of her sister and the return of the father she thought was dead?

No. He needs to stop a giant robot.

Sigh.

Justice Society of America #35
Love the characters. Love, love, love the characters. Which is why it’s so upsetting and distracting when their dialogue spontaneously makes your ears bleed.

The Flash: Blackest Night #2
JSA: Blackest Night #2

Well, I’ve been converted. Truly, I renounce my heresy. Lo, I once believed that Blackest Night was a DC Universe storyline that started sometime during the Paleolithic Era and consisted of its core title, the Green Lantern books, and crossovers with most other DC titles. Heck, maybe even every other piece of literature ever written. I particularly enjoyed Sense and Sensibility: Blackest Night, CSI: Blackest Night, and The Confessions of St. Augustine: Blackest Night. But, brothers, sisters, I was WRONG. Everyone kept telling me this was the greatest comicbook storyline ever written until finally I saw the LIGHT!!! At first I wasn’t convinced by the idea of zombies tearing out people’s hearts, because I was blind to it’s originality and the heartfelt character moments that arise from seeing the heroes have to confront the corrupted, reanimated corpses of their loved ones. Fortunately, there have now been approximately 7459 of these heartfelt moments, and I’m convinced.

Oh, you may doubt, brothers and sisters. You may scoff. But I held an issue of Blackest Night against my wrist and the next day my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was GONE. I pity those who aren’t reading this epic. The Captain of the Titanic never read Blackest Night, look what happened there. The guy who piloted the Hidenburg was going to pick up his copy from his local comic shop, but he didn’t – things ended badly. I firmly believe that, if only scientists weren’t so rigid and blinkered, we would find a solution to anthropogenic global warming in the pages of Blackest Night.

You know who’d want to ban Blackest Night? Hitler, that’s who!

…….

I may need a new hobby.