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(Brief) random jottings



Radio 4 listeners are apparently complaining that 'Desert Island Discs' has been dumbed down. How do you dumb down a show whose fundamental premise is asking celebrities what songs they would want on a desert island? It's hardly 'Civilisation' is it?


The British team at the Winter Olympics has 52 members. The BBC team at the Winter Olympics has 74. From what I've seen of the coverage, they spend most of their time talking to each other and precious little showing actual, you know, sport.


I didn't watch the Brits (preferring instead to enjoy Manchester United beating A.C. Milan), but it sounds like host Peter Kay was on form. He described Lady Gaga as "New York's answer to Su Polllard", former Spice Girl Mel B as "Yorkshire's answer to Beyonce", described Kasabian as "Leicester's answer to Aswad" and called Robbie Williams "Stoke on Trent's answer to Shakin' Stevens".


Trivia from the Brits: La Roux is the daughter of Trudie Goodwin, who played Sergeant June Ackland in The Bill, while Bat for Lashes is the niece of squash legend Jahangir Khan.


It's good to see that it is once again legal to say that someone who died in sordid circumstances has died in sordid circumstances.


On the radio today was an interview with Ken Taylor, the Conservative leader of Coventry City Council. The council is going to save £700,000 a year by fitting dimmers (controlled by someone in a control room) to all of its street lights at a cost of £125 million. "But it won't cost us anything, because central government is funding it", he said. Head, desk, repeat.


At a motorway services I stopped at today, sales reps were giving out free sweets (bunny-shaped Malteser things). When I was little, accepting sweets off strangers was just about the naughtiest thing a child could do. Those of a certain age will remember "Charlie says...". This made me wonder - at what stage of my life did it become safe for me to accept sweets off strangers?


How on earth has Reader's Digest survived into 2010? It is without doubt the dullest magazine I have ever flicked through. And don't forget I get sent 'Accountancy' and 'Oxford Today'.


Death Awareness is up to 96 members now, almost all of whom I've never met, and most of of whom are not from this country.


Sky News newsreader Kay Burley has got into trouble for failing to realise that what looked like a bruise on the forehead of the American vice-president (yes, they have one, but he keeps out of the way - which is probably for the best as he's the guy that thought that a Neil Kinnock speech was worth plagiarising...) was actually some sort of ash to commemorate a christian festival called 'Ash Wednesday'. The American VP is apparently a devout catholic (just what America needs - yet more devout christians in positions of power...). She then apologised but apparently compounded the error by saying "I’ve said three Hail Marys, everything is going to be fine." Jeez, you can't take the piss out of anyone any more. If you can't take the piss out of christians who walk around with ash on their forehead, who can you take the piss out of?


I must admit that I've never heard of 'Ash Wednesday'. A couple of people I used to work with and who shared a house in Ivybridge once convinced warrior_princess that in their house, every Wednesday was 'Naked Wednesday', but I'm guessing that was a rather less catholic festival.


On a related note, random and I are trying to persuade everyone in the office to wear some item of knitwear on Mondays when they are in the office. Knitwear Mondays. Each week we plan to name a Knitwear Wearer of the Week. Monday's inaugural award went to fox_hunter for the bright pink V-necked jumper she wore without even realising it was Knitwear Monday.


Researchers from Oregon State University estimated that someone in the US who does all the headline 'green' things like buying a Prius, using public transport whenever possible, using energy-saving light bulbs, fitting double-glazing etc, will reduce the amount of CO2 he is responsible for emitting into the atmosphere by just under 500 tonnes. But if that man chooses to have one fewer child than he otherwise would have done, he will reduce it by almost 9,500 tonnes. I'm not planning on having any children, so I reckon that's 19,000 tonnes I have in hand over the average. Now, where did I put my Porsche...


A celebrity chef on the Italian version of 'Ready, Steady, Cook!' has been suspended for recommending cat casserole. It is apparently a local dish in Tuscany...

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
kargicq
Feb. 18th, 2010 07:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't get the cat casserole furore. You don't have to cook it, people! Most of the other furores I hadn't heard about. What's the sordid circumstances reference? - N
(Deleted comment)
philmophlegm
Feb. 18th, 2010 10:06 am (UTC)
Well spotted. Predictably, certain sections of the media whipped themselves into a frenzy and organised a campaign to complain to the Press Complaints Commission when a B-list celebrity's lifestyle was criticised. He died on the sofa while his partner was shagging someone they had met earlier that night in the next room. Pretty sordid if you ask me, but because the B-list celebrity in question was a) a former boyband member (and thus had millions of soppy fans) and b) was of the homosexual persuasion (and thus automatically a saint in many people's eyes), it was apparently abhorrent to point this out.

If this had been a heterosexual celebrity (John Terry, Vernon Kay, Ashley Cole and Tiger Woods spring to mind) engaging in an immoral lifestyle, nobody would bat an eyelid if a newspaper said they were sordid.
kargicq
Feb. 18th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
Actually, what I found offensive about the article was how she said something along the lines of "this sordid death gives the lie to civil partnerships" or something. If a married heterosexual celebrity died in similar circumstances, I think it's highly unlikely the Mail would say "This reveals the institution of marriage for the worthless sham it is."

Still agree with PCC decision though -- shouldn't be illegal to be an offensive twat in the Daily Mail.

Neuromancer
(Deleted comment)
philmophlegm
Feb. 18th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, we are all individuals.
(Deleted comment)
bunn
Feb. 18th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
I agree with this bit:
"Perhaps changing anything wasn't the point. Perhaps by protesting, by announcing we were there at all, that was an achievement in itself."

Being an offensive git should not be illegal, BUT legal is not the same as unchallenged, supported or accepted.

Things are unbalanced if people write foul or untrue things and are unopposed. Given philmophlegm's usual libertarian stance, I suspect what he is objecting to here is the attempted use of law. The idea that every damn thing has to be regulated minutely by laws is a pernicious one.
(Deleted comment)
philmophlegm
Feb. 18th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
"Given philmophlegm's usual libertarian stance, I suspect what he is objecting to here is the attempted use of law."

Not uniquely. My objections are broadly as follows:

1. As you say, the attempted use of a law and a Quango to curtail the free speech right of a journalist to express a non-libellous opinion in the press.

2. The knee-jerk (and all too-common throughout blogs and opinion pieces) reaction that _any_ criticism of a celebrity who happens to be a homosexual is automatically homophobic.

3. The suggestion that taking drugs then buggering a complete stranger while your legally-recognised life partner is asleep on a sofa in the next room is a perfectly normally, moral way to behave, and that anyone who says otherwise is a bigot.

4. The fact that thousands of people made a complaint to said quango without apparently taking the time to properly read the article and truly understand what the journalist was saying.
bunn
Feb. 18th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Well I read it. Apparently I got something different from it than what you got out of it.
philmophlegm
Feb. 18th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
"I am on the record as supporting same-sex marriages."
"Anyone who knows me will vouch that I have never held such poisonous views."
"If he had been a heterosexual member of a boy band, I would have written exactly the same article."
- Jan Moir


Oh yes, she sounds like a real bigoted homophobe to me...
bunn
Feb. 18th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
Forgive my scepticism, but I am not convinced that any of those quotes are motivated by anything other than a desire to keep her job.
bunn
Feb. 18th, 2010 12:37 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'd bat an eyelid if they were DEAD. I'd rather not read about the icky details of celebrities if they are alive, frankly - but if someone dies, I really do think it should be offlimits to print bitchy snide comments about them afterwards. The article didn't just print the facts either, it was an opinion piece not news.

It's not like they are going to come back from the grave and continue, and it's not fair on the families.

I take your point that being loathsome probably should not in itself be illegal though.
kargicq
Feb. 18th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
You're right, that was loathsome too. Journalists! /shudder. But to address Philmo's point, I did think hacks probably would have been just as loathsome about a dead hetero sleb, without giving a monkey's whether that distressed his family; the difference is that because he was gay, Moir was able to add in a whole extra disgusting layer of homophobia too, and I think that made it especially bad.

Glad we agree on the "it's allowed to publish loathsome views" point. Incidentally, did you see Peter Tatchell was loudly protesting about the convictions of those Islamic demonstrators who said rude things about British soldiers? Even though he would be first against the wall if the Islamic revolution came? That's the true "I defend to the death your right to say it" spirit; we don't have enough of that I reckon.

Neuromancer
bunn
Feb. 18th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
Yes I saw that (Peter Tatchell) and was suitably impressed. There's leading by example for you!

I agree that the homophobia was grim, but I did have a suspicion that the foul woman would have picked up on anything at all that she could that was non-standard to her own world view and would have made similarly horrible things up about almost any ethnicity or culture or habit different to her own.

Which is not to say that it wasn't right to complain about it, I did so myself. I think she thought she would get away with it because her target audience would agree with her - and am rather pleased she has learned very much otherwise.
skordh
Feb. 18th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
You have to admire a man who attempts to perform a citizen's arrest on visiting dictators.
philmophlegm
Feb. 18th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
Not just visiting dictators either - hasn't he been to Zimbabwe?

Mind you, he's also the reason most television channels won't play 'Fairytale of New York' at Christmas without censoring it, so he can be a bit of a berk too.

Bizarre piece of Tatchell trivia: the most comments ever submitted to The Guardian website were concerning an article in which Peter Tatchell argued in favour of Cornish independence.
clarienne
Feb. 18th, 2010 11:09 am (UTC)
If you can't take the piss out of christians who walk around with ash on their forehead, who can you take the piss out of? would make an awesome thread title on http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )