Friday, October 31, 2008

American capitalists pray to false idol for the recession to end. Um, guys? You may want to knock that shit off before Iehova notices. He takes a dim view of that kind of thing and he has got Charlton Heston and several infinite cans of kick-ass at his disposal. [via just about everywhere]

(Separate note to any Evangelical Christians reading: Look! Look! This proves Capitalism is ungodly! Back to a barter system of twigs and berries quickly, before the Lord let's forth His wrath! Go hide and pray in the middle of America and NEVER BOTHER ANYONE EVER AGAIN! Don't waste time arguing, I think I can hear Daddy's Footsteps! Run for the hills!)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Serious Fantastication: acclaimed novelist China Miéville in interview with Steve Haynes. An interesting interview about his work and the state of the fantastical nation.

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One of the funniest things about the U.S. election at the moment is all these Republicans who, having given up on McCain and Skippy Ewebecha, are now trying to persuade the American public that they have to at least vote some Republicans back into Government because it would be terrible for the country if Democrats controlled all branches. And I'm sure we all remember how, back in 2001-2, when the GOP went on telly and said "We've decided that it's not a good idea for democracy if the Republicans control all branches of Government so a load of us are going to step down and not contest our seats so as to even things up a bit".

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Spot the difference.


I'm curious as to whether this happens often and I just don't normally notice.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Apparently the BBC are currently running a Celeb Strictly Come Dancing, which just shows you how little attention I pay to Saturday Night Telly if there's no Doctor Who on. Apparently most of the black contestants have been voted off week after week despite performing better (what this judgement is based on isn't explained, so is possibly just an imaginary score in the journo's head used to justify the story) than white contestants who have continued on.

So, it's the public votes that decide who gets kicked off the show. So why does the News of the World act as though it's the BBC's fault and encourage it's readers to contact the BBC to complain that the show is racist? They point out that the black contestants have often done well with the show judges, so surely it's the Great British Public that are at fault here, not Aunty?

Oh wait, News of the World... The Sun... News International... Rupert Murdoch... hates the BBC... silly me, now it all makes perfect sense. Next up, how the BBC caused our rubbish summer.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Richard Dawkins to write book to prove that atheists can miss the point almost as badly as the religiousi.

The prominent atheist is stepping down from his post at Oxford University to write a book aimed at youngsters in which he will warn them against believing in "anti-scientific" fairytales.

Prof Hawkins
(SIC) said: "The book I write next year will be a children's book on how to think about the world, science thinking contrasted with mythical thinking.

"I haven't read Harry Potter, I have read Pullman who is the other leading children's author that one might mention and I love his books. I don't know what to think about magic and fairy tales."

Prof Dawkins said he wanted to look at the effects of "bringing children up to believe in spells and wizards".

"I think it is anti-scientific – whether that has a pernicious effect, I don't know," he added.

I said 'almost' because at least he's not suggesting we ban the books or burn them, but otherwise this is the same objection that the Fundies make, albeit they have their wiggle room in that when one of their side does magic it's called a miracle and so therefore it's okay. But how come the His Dark Materials series, with their magic, dimension crossing, harrowing of hell and absolving god of responsibility for the shitness of creation gets a pass? Don't misunderstand me, it's a great series but is Dawkins suggesting that it's miracles are okay because it's been embraced as an Atheistic text? I've had no luck trying to find the press statement this report is created from on Dawkins website so the Telegraph's use of a Harry Potter photo seems to be irrelevant as Dawkins says he hasn't read them.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, 'TH 2058', Turbine Hall Installation, Tate Modern

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, 'TH 2058', Turbine Hall Installation, Tate Modern
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
Tate Modern's Turbine Hall is a bugger to design an exhibition for, more often than not the artists have failed faced with the space. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is added to the list of miserable failures with a collection of several dozen blue or yellow bunk-bed frames and a radio that, when I listened to it, seemed to be tuned to Stereolab FM, your station for 24-hour edgy Frenchpop.

What possibly marks Gonzalez-Foerster below the other artists is that at least they created their own work for it, rather than pinching the creations of other people. I really tried to look at this as applying the same process to art as one does to remixing music but Louise Bourgeois's Spider was already pretty big, and here in person recently too. It smacks of a desperation to fill the space, which 'Maman' and 'Flamingo' do, but Gonzalez-Foerster's own work doesn't begin to address the void it has to fill.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Not-so-Social Networking

I've joined Facebook. Most of my friends seem to be migrating over there now so I followed behind in order to keep track of them.

From just a few hours spent looking at it, it seems an odd place. For a social network it seems designed to stop people having conversations. I always found the LJ commenting system rather clumsy and, at least until they gave us the ability to see where we'd commented recently, difficult to sustain a conversation with the start thread dropping ever further down the pile, but compared to the commenting system on Facebook it's positively state-of-the-art. Just looking at the 12 pages of discussion in the Facebook Group about Julie Bindel's transphobia is a monumental effort to navigate, what with only a few posts per page and no way to link conversations together so that everyone has to shout to one another about which post they're replying to. If Facebook is a social network then it's the social network of a very busy pub where you can't do much more than make occasional eye contact with other people and have to restrict yourself to shouting incredibly terse comments between one another. Blogger is ideal for egomaniacs like me in that it allows me to expound my thoughts at any length and restricts your interference to the comments box underneath, Facebook removes the need for me to say anything and just allows us to all stand around, wave at one another and feel smug.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stonewall, the organisation that does so much for gays and lesbians but not so much for bisexuals, is having a party, complete with trinkets. At the moment, up for 'journalist of the year' is Julie Bindel. Yes, that Julie Bindel. She's not won anything, yet, she's just up for the award. The fact that Stonewall, who let's not forget, even if they pointedly don't campaign for transsexuals rights must by the law of averages have transsexuals amongst their gay, lesbian and bisexual community, are willing to offer the possibility of a nod towards La Bindel has annoyed people. People with blogs and emails.

At the moment, emailing Stonewall at just gets you something that they've been cut'n'pasting a lot over the last few days:

Thank you for your email.

Julie Bindel was shortlisted for a Stonewall award in recognition of her journalism during the last 12 months which often brings a lesbian perspective into the mainstream press.

The awards nominating panel are not endorsing everything she has ever written. A nomination in any category does not mean that the awards panel agree with all of someone’s opinions. Stonewall recognises that some people may disagree with shortlisted nominees.

Boy, does that make me feel included. I've just emailed them back to see if they know any other songs. To be honest, I'm not expecting anything here, they don't include trannies and they've pretty much whitewashed them from their version of history and they do pretty much nothing for bisexuals, who they do claim to be a voice for, but as the prospect of a Tory Government returning comes ever closer it might be nice if we can kick Stonewall into some sort of shape before we get there.

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Fat Monologue.[via Shapely Prose]

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Because supposedly liberals have been so nasty about that lovely Sarah Palin (NSFW). My entire arse. [via Washington Scandal, via Pandagon.] But then, are some Republicans okay with their casual racism, or is this some sort of humour that doesn't translate over the Atlantic?

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It was just the other day I was wondering if Asian Dub Foundation were still going. I never bought any of their albums in the 90s, they were a bit too fierce and brown for a Britpop kid like myself, not that I was racist you understand, I did like Echobelly after all.

Anyway, the new album, 'Punkara' is out and sounds great. Some tracks have been put on other blogs, but my favourite track has got to be the incredibly funny and dancetastic Asian Dub Foundation Versus Dame Iggy of Pop- "No Fun".

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Fake iPods and iPhones turning up in Russia. The surprising thing would be if this was only happening in Russia. [via You Thought We Wouldn't Notice, a great site for finding examples of copytheft.]

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

I despair for my chosen profession, I really do. My professional association, CILIP., the one that sounds like a speech impediment rather than the supposed organisation for librarians in the UK, has looked at the deprofessionalisation of the job in the UK, that increasingly employers in the public sector are not requiring staff at quite high levels not to have any experience, knowledge or even interest in libraries to work there, and decided their bold and innovative reaction to this is to hassle their members more to give them more time and money by being involved in Continual Professional Development and Re-accreditation. This is presumably so I feel good about myself when I've lost my job and the Government forces me to sweep roads in order to get the dole, while the library I currently work in is run by some fourteen-year-old who was able to text 'B∞kz' to the Council Job-Line.

It doesn't do much for my confidence when we get unrestricted bum-gravy like this from Andy Burnham.

"The popular public image of libraries as solemn and sombre places, patrolled by fearsome and formidable staff is decades out of date, but is nonetheless taken for granted by too many people,"...

People would be able to chat, drink coffee and watch videos in English libraries under a new government proposal, The Independent has learnt. Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for Culture, will today launch a consultation on changing the face of libraries which he believes are out of touch.

Under the proposals, libraries could install coffee franchises, book shops and film centres. Noise bans will also be reviewed. Mr Burnham will tell the Public Library Authorities conference in Liverpool that libraries must "look beyond the bookcase and not sleepwalk into the era of the e-book".

Maybe it's bad copy on the Independent's part, but if there are any legal restrictions on talking, drinking or any other behaviour in public libraries currently they are rarely enforced. There are already libraries with coffee franchises and libraries in proximity to book shops and cinemas. Telling us to 'look beyond the bookcase' betrays an ignorance of what the profession has been doing in partnership with Burnham's own government for the last ten years, let alone wider trends.

And who is he planning on starting a consultation with? Library managers who are busy doing real work? Library users? Or maybe he plans to take a leaf out of the Home Office's book? Just as a lot of Government crime policy is driven by the Daily Mail readers who don't experience crime but are always afraid of it, maybe he'll ask people who have no idea about what libraries actually offer for what they want libraries to be. New Labour consultations never achieve anything. We need public education that we are here, and perhaps if the Government can find money to bail out bankers from their own cock-ups they can find a bit more loose change so that services that actually help the public don't have to cut jobs and close branches that would be a help too. We already do what most people who never use a library actually want us to do already, we could do with being able to tell people that we do it.

Not that I expect anyone who sups at high tables to say that today. Libraries are in the middle of their Five Year Plan so we're probably on course to start the purges of the people holding back the grand vision of the future. I'll see you before the firing squad.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tunes of the Weekend

dan le sac versus Scroobius Pip.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

The life of Ayn Rand in cartoon form.

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Sarah Palin has dashed to her tame TV station to complain about how mean Katie Couric was to her. Much as each interview she does demonstrates yet another area of life on which she has no knowledge or intellectual curiosity so here she expresses anger that Couric actually asked questions to try and elicit some evidence that Palin ever thinks or what McCain is standing for rather than just standing back and letting her have a go at Obama. To be honest, if she's wanting to go and claim that Obama has crazy mad spending plans after eight years of Shrubya it's probably best for the Republican party that those sorts of claims are restricted to GOP-TV where rampant lying is standard. It is worth remembering that the McCain campaign approached Couric believing her toothless interviewing style was best suited to introducing Palin to the country. To paint Couric as Jeremy Paxman is silly but hey, all politics is 99% farce so it'll probably work.

Talking of farce, Peter Mandelson is back in UK politics. When you've been in power for over a decade it's difficult to find new faces for Cabinet posts but it seems a desperate choice for Gordon Brown to make, maybe he hopes to have some luck by having someone in Cabinet less popular with the British public than him, and a strange choice for Mandelson to accept, what with the imminence of Labour's exile to the Opposition benches, you'd have thought that he'd wait until after that to then come back and start the fight back, much like he did with Blair and Brown in the Eighties.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

There are a couple of letters in the Indy about the bollocks of an article Deborah Orr wrote at the weekend. It's a start.

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"You don't have to use facts, use threats!"

And now, some music!

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