Image via Laurel Brown
After all the hype and all the manufactured enthusiasm, there will be some people who will look back at the XXII Olympic Winter Games with a slight sense of disappointment.
The British media, particularly the BBC, will remain in deep depression following the “failure” of the Men`s Curling Team to win gold and in so doing let the nation down by “only” collecting a silver in a rather obscure, minority sport. Only last week we were all expert hydrologists with an encyclopaedic knowledge of floodplain management and coastal defence. This week we are all allowed an opinion on the intricacies of Slope style and Skeleton and the massively popular brushing of the Curl. Next week the BBC`s expert commentary team will enjoy a well earned rest following the gushing and shouting “Oh” fest. It might be best not to dwell on the disappointment being felt by speed skater Elise Christie.
Vladimir Putin has probably got the hump as well. Having had his showcase roundly upstaged by events in Kiev and casting a nervous glance as the Ukrainian people get rid of a corrupt, authoritarian oligarch even in the face of rattling Russian sabres, the Putin games will be remembered for the footage of brave Russian Cossack security men attacking feminist protestors with whips. The “band” Pussy Riot could stage a spectacular PR and marketing coup by inviting Yulia Tymoshenko to join them on stage for a squawk during any forthcoming tour of Russian Orthodox cathedrals. Although not as comprehensive as the complete dismantling of Hitler`s warped bigotry by Jessie Owens in 1936, Putin`s faith in the manly Russian Ice Hockey team took a knock when they didn`t win a medal or even beat USA, a nation where states like Alabama, Utah and Texas have homophobic legislation even more draconian than the Russian Federation. If Vlad is disappointed, consider the hapless opening ceremony technician tasked with pressing the button to make the rings get bigger. I imagine that a gulag in northern Siberia is considerably colder that a Black Sea holiday resort at this time of year. (more…)
Image via sabc.co.za
For the first time since the dawn of creation, God will pull rank and force his way through the crowds to have his photograph taken standing next to the latest arrival in heaven.
The passing of a frail old man in poor health undoubtedly brings profound sorrow it but can hardly have come as a shocking surprise. The understandable outpouring of grief for a life ended after 95 years mistakes the pragmatism of mortality with the relevance of legacy. Those weeping at the departure of the man are missing the point; what Mandela did and what he stood for will live forever and should be embraced with joy.
The media, both “legitimate” and “social”, have reacted with the predictable emotional equivalent of a volley of baton rounds fired into a township. (more…)
Mike Gatting image via cricketweb.net
Cricket aficionados might remember the day back in 1986 when Mike Gatting left bits of his skull on the crease at Sabina Park, Kingston Jamaica. Taking the full force of a ferocious Malcolm Marshall bouncer right between the eyes, insult was added to injury as the ball dropped gently onto the wicket and Gatting was out if not quite down. As the batsman was led away for urgent medical attention, the ball was tossed back to the bowler to continue the onslaught. In abject horror, Marshall dropped the ball as he discovered a piece of bone had embedded itself into the leather. At the time, those with more than a passing knowledge of cricket and neurological surgery suggested that Gatting was lucky not to have died.
He was flown back to the UK for treatment and after just three weeks was astonishingly back at the crease facing the ferocious West Indies pace attack in the third test. He was luckier in that innings; only a quick delivery hitting the handle resulted in a broken thumb and it is difficult to shift from the mind the image of Monty Python`s Black Knight shouting; “come back here and I`ll bite your legs off” . Even given his considerable ability with a bat, this derring-do confirmed Gatting as a national hero. Consider then, the return of Jonathan Trott from Australia. (more…)
Image via japancinema.net
In an adversarial world, any attempt at remaining impartial in even the slightest and most insignificant of disagreements is considered to be a sign of weakness and neutrality in really big bust-ups allows both opponents to shriek of third party bias. There is, however, a great deal of amusement to be gained from sitting on the fence especially when the weasels and the stoats are accusing each other of dishonesty.
Card carrying political types insist that anything other than complete and unconditional support and agreement with whatever nonsense they have managed to formulate is evidence of aggression, sedition, unpatriotic treachery and possible mental illness. They seem to believe that any challenge to what they spout is somehow either dangerous or irrelevant and dismiss legitimate scrutiny with counter accusations of corruption or stupidity. Obsessed with the notion of “I am right and you are wrong” regardless of any actual critique, both left and right display an unshakeable moral certainty in their own opinion, however flawed that opinion might be. In life, in marked contrast to politics, not everything is black and white. (more…)
They came for the foxes and I did nothing
At the end of a bad day of bad news and consequent bad press it is always best to put on a brave face and offer the world a smile and a joke; unless, of course, you happen to be Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson.
As a self-confessed climate change sceptic and advocate of fox hunting, Shropshire`s finest had to admit that he had been out-foxed by badgers. Having to announce what amounts to a failure in killing sufficient brocks and the necessity to extend the killing fields and the killing time must have been difficult in a week when it was confirmed that global warming is caused by humans and not flatulent cattle infected with Bovine TB. With evidence emerging of blood lust yokels exterminating wildlife beyond the pilot cull areas and dead and dying carcasses strewn across the fields of rural England, thank goodness Paterson is not easily taken in by actual scientific research. Turning a blind eye to some of his more thuggish chums in the farming industry who are gassing the sneaky blighters wherever they are found, the Syrian government might be asking Nobel laureate UN chemical weapons investigators to have a quiet word with Owen the Cull. Badgered by an unfriendly press, he informed the nation that the badgers had moved the goalposts.
It is difficult to know where to start with Paterson so I won`t even bother. His disconnection with reality and toe-curling attempts at humour speak for themselves. Instead, it might be more productive to focus on the forgotten victims of this complete shambles; the goalposts and on better comedians that Paterson the Badger Slayer. (more…)