In an infinite, expanding and increasingly bizarre universe where strangeness and what once passed for normality have become blurred, the prospect of George Clooney forming a ZZ Top tribute band to perform at the inauguration of a racist con man as the President of the United States would, astonishingly, not be considered as much of a surprise.
The days when presidential indiscretions were quietly ignored are long gone and the American people have decided, with a little helpful persuasion from a former KGB gangster who is now a presidential gangster, that a shameless sexual predator who uses his fame to molest women is the right man for the job. It would seem that the cruel mockery of a journalist with disabilities is acceptable and that a deeply disturbing attitude towards his own daughter is, in some way, normal and that overt racism encouraging hatred is somehow appropriate in the second decade of the 21st century. When a president elect claims that he will be the greatest president ever created by God and gives responsibility for a massive arsenal of lethal weaponry to a character who likes to be known as “mad dog” and when that same president elect is happy to be endorsed by the KKK, then it might be time to start stocking up tinned foods, candles and toilet paper. (more…)
Unless you are considering a purchase of, say, car insurance, an aubergine, a refrigerator, a holiday or a selection of racy under garments, arbitrary comparison can sometimes be futile. Obviously a soft aubergine should be avoided as should a refrigerator that keeps things warm and a vacation to the Sahara should not be taken if one is heat averse. Similarly, in a northern European maritime temperate climate, nothing beats a pair of Damart Long Johns when the central heating is on the blink.
Comparing inanimate objects might be of some value but comparing subjective taste and preference can be a futile exercise especially when asked to name a favourite. It might be possible to make a binary choice between Judi Dench and Meryl Streep, the Beatles or the Stones, Oasis or Blur or (for younger viewers) Ed Sheeran or Jack Garratt but to prefer one to the other imposes an artificial hierarchy. Shakespeare is not necessarily “better” than Christopher Marlowe; Rod Hull and Emu are not necessarily funnier than Bernie Clifton and his comedy ostrich and Lobster Thermidor served with a chilled 2005 Coche-DuryCorton-Charlemagne Grande Cru does not necessarily taste nicer than egg and chips accompanied by a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. (more…)
There are and will be many eloquent eulogies, obituaries and retrospectives of those who breathed their last during 2016 and although some might find the deification of dead celebrities somewhat mawkish, this years` harvest of notable souls has been almost relentless. It is statistically unlikely that 2016 has seen a spike in the demise of the not so rich and rich and famous but it does feel like a lot of the good ones have fallen off the perch and gone beyond and too many of the bad ones are still alive and kicking. (more…)
Silly Abbey Road
Of all the government departments labouring away in the dark recesses of Whitehall, none is more expert at artifice, trickery and prestidigitation than the secretive Ministry of Magic. Employing sleight of hand and illusion, its job is to conjure up enough distraction to deceive a gullible public into thinking that everything is going to be alright and that government is kind and is not stealing money from tax payers.
The latest piece of trickery is to announce a complete non-story via the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that an oath of allegiance to “British values” might be introduced. Elected officials, including MPs and local authority councillors, civil servants, council workers, teachers and employees of the NHS and BBC will be expected to verbally pledge their loyalty to the crown. Smoke and mirrors are again being cleverly deployed to shift attention away from the ludicrous farce and ongoing train wreck that is our government`s stance on leaving the European Union. (more…)
The chances of Fidel Castro living to the ripe old age of 90 seemed rather slim given that the most powerful nation on earth has devoted considerable energy, resources and the best part of 60 years attempting to secure his removal and death.
However, the wily old dictator and tyrant managed to avoid the exploding cigars and the foot powder intended to make his beard fall out and escaped the best efforts of the CIA unlike Salvador Allende, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and possibly John F Kennedy. The botched Bay of Pigs invasion was batted away and the Cuban missile crisis saw the Soviet nukes publicly removed from Cuba and the American nukes secretly removed from Turkey. Castro outlived a long line of American presidents, a shorter line of Soviet and Russian leaders and an entire cast of South American pantomime villains from Pinochet to Chavez.
His detractors quite rightly talk of the disappeared, firing squads, a complete absence of democratic accountability and nostalgically yearn for the days when the Cuban people were basically serfs to a family of gangsters. His admirers point to full employment rights and fair pay, quality universal health care and free and comprehensive education. It might be best to ask the serfs which family of gangsters they prefer but do not mention the disappeared in Guantanamo Bay. (more…)