Things I thought

Saturday 12 October 2013

Heart Of Dacreness

Maybe I've become jaded in my exceedingly late twenties, but it seems like it's been a long time since there's been something genuinely, skin-tinglingly wacky enough to make me want to blog about it. Paul Dacre, Daily Mail editor and the man for whom the phrase "bilge-breathed fuckweazel" might well have been coined, can today add breaking that streak to his long list of highly questionable achievements.

For those of you who've yet to have this moonful of lunacy crash into your Saturday, let me recap: Mr. Dacre's taken time out of his busy schedule of generalised fist waiving to pen a rather spectacular missive, published within both the Guardian and his own organ, on how terribly beastly everyone's being just because he called someone's dead dad an evil traitor. The irony inherent in Dacre whining about the press treating him and his paper unfairly wafts through the piece like a pyramid of elephants in an elephant shaped room covered in elephant motif wallpaper on elephant and castle roundabout, but to dwell too heavily on that would be to miss the subtler tones present in Dacre's bullshit chardonnay. To really appreciate the heady mix of angry nonsense he's offered us it's important to savour each paragraph, swill it around our pallets and, perhaps most importantly, spit it out again.

"Out in the real world, it was a pretty serious week for news." 

Begins Dacre's explanation for why he spent 6,000 news words explaining how wrong someone's dead dad was.

"In contrast, the phoney world of Twitter, the London chatterati and left-wing media was gripped 10 days ago by collective hysteria as it became obsessed round-the-clock by one story – a five-word headline on page 16 in the Daily Mail."

Dacre actually starts on quite solid ground, making an argument oft heard on Twitter but more rarely from Daily Mail editors - that Mail stories aren't real news stories and it's absurd that people devote time to this volcano of piss-ink when there are both dragons to slay and puppies to play with.

"Leading the charge, inevitably, was the Mail's bĂȘte noir, the BBC. Fair-minded readers will decide themselves whether the hundreds of hours of airtime it devoted to that headline reveal a disturbing lack of journalistic proportionality and impartiality"

Maths minded readers can also decide whether it's likely the BBC devoted hundreds of hours of airtime to a story that only broke some 240 hours ago. If it helps, I couldn't detect any overt references to the story in The Great British Bake Off.

"The genesis of [our fucking reprehensible hatchet job] lay in Ed Miliband's conference speech."

This, at least, I suspect to be true. Having spent the summer in the vanguard of a right wing press that successfully chipped Labour's poll lead down from double figures to a dead heat, only to see those numbers shoot back up faster than an electricity bill must have left Dacre and his yobs shitting out their own bollocks. That the bounce seemed to come from Miliband paying some (admittedly mealy-mouthed and unlikely) lip service to socialism must've had them varnishing those same bollocks and attempting to fashion them into morningstars.

"Nowhere did the Mail suggest that Ralph Miliband was evil"

Again, I'm happy to take Dacre at his word here. He wasn't saying Ralph Miliband was evil with the "evil legacy" headline. He was just saying the things he'd produced in his life - his books, his thoughts, his son - were evil. Totally different. 

"Ralph Miliband was, as a Marxist, committed to smashing the institutions that make Britain distinctively British..."

Institutions such as, according to Dacre previously in the article, "the royal family, church and army" institutions which those of you in the advanced class will have noticed aren't distinctively anything except nasty. The royal family only makes Britain special in the same way that an oncologist might gravely tell you that yours is a special case, whilst saying you think Britain's distinctive because it has a church and army suggests you last ventured abroad when most of it was still unmapped.

"...and, with them, the liberties and democracy those institutions have fostered."

Again, not to labour a fairly obvious point - that Paul Dacre is wrong - but these institutions he claims were the standard bearers of freedom are still the same ones he referred to earlier, the ones chiefly concerned with ruling, lying to and shooting people. 

"Yes, we accept that he cherished this country's traditions of tolerance and freedom – while, in a troubling paradox typical of the left, detesting the very institutions and political system that made those traditions possible."

It's probably worth noting that, at the time Ralph Miliband arrived in this country, universal suffrage had been a proud British tradition for almost 12 years.

"Despite this we acceded to Mr Miliband's demand – and by golly, he did demand – that we publish his 1,000-word article defending his father."

Paul Dacre's article is 1,864 words long.

It's at around this point that Dacre ascends from mere finger-jabbing-at-a-waiter rage to foam-mouthed-conspiracy-theorist rage,  and starts spouting the kind of rhetoric you might hear from a wide-eyed woods-dwelling divorcee trying to convince you his ex-wife was behind 9/11. 

"it became clear that this was no longer a story about an article on Mr Miliband's Marxist father but a full-scale war by the BBC and the left against the paper that is their most vocal critic"

He fumes, inviting the reader to take the red pill with him and find out just how deep this rabbit hole goes. Who else, beside the British Bastards Company, is out to get you pray tell?

"Alastair Campbell."

Of course! Hasn't he been involved in some other dodgy dealings?

"[the] man who helped drive Dr David Kelly to his death, was behind the dodgy Iraq war dossier and has done more to poison the well of public discourse than anyone in Britain"

It's worth noting that, though it happily (and IMHO correctly) fingers Alastair Campbell (don't let that mental image linger) for Kelly's suicide here, the Mail has regularly published articles questioning whether Kelly was murdered. It must be frustrating that they can't blame Alastair Campbell, the BBC and Iraqi super-assassins all at once.

"my worry is that there was a more disturbing agenda to last week's events."

More disturbing than the combined armies of the left, commanded by the prince of political darkness himself, waging war on the poor little Daily Mail? Really?

"Is it fanciful to believe that his real purpose in triggering last week's row – so assiduously supported by the liberal media which sneers at the popular press – was an attempt to neutralise Associated, the Mail's publishers and one of Britain's most robustly independent and successful newspaper groups."

It might not be entirely fanciful, but when all your enemy needs to do to villify you is link to your webpage, it might be worth considering the possibility that you actually are a villain.

"Let it be said loud and clear that the Mail, unlike News International, did NOT hack people's phones or pay the police for stories. I have sworn that on oath."

Again, I trust Dacre on this. Why pay for bribes and expensive hacking equipment when you can just make stories up?

"No, our crime is more heinous than that.
It is that the Mail constantly dares to stand up to the liberal-left consensus that dominates so many areas of British life and instead represents the views of the ordinary people"
It's worth reminding readers at this point that Paul Dacre is cross because a lot of people didn't like an article he published and they asked him if he'd think about not doing things like that again.

Dacre then proceeds to witter on for literally 20 paragraphs about how the glorious Mail is the one true defender of the working class, who the left secretly hate for not reading the Guardian enough, and have single-handedly brought pedophiles, Stephen Lawrence's killers and MRSA to justice while bravely holding off threats to our freedom as diverse as the IRA and plastic bags. The whole thing has the air of an old man at a bus stop drunkenly barking "and another thing!" long after his fellow loiterers have scuttled off to find alternative modes of transport. He goes on to suggest that Ed Miliband not liking his dead dad being slandered is somehow payback for the fact they didn't give Tony Blair favourable coverage, and that the utter disgust with which people have reacted to the Mail's behaviour this week is proof that we shouldn't regulate newspapers. He finishes off by claiming that, as only "several hundred" complaints have been received, the British public are clearly on his side. I strongly suspect he typed the entire thing by bashing his semi-erect cock repeatedly into the keyboard while weeping tears of impotent rage.

Dacre does have time for a friendly PS aimed at the paper kind enough to carry his feeble teenage rant. To wit:

"This week the head of MI5... effectively accused the Guardian of aiding terrorism by publishing stolen secret security files... Again, I ask fair readers, what is worse: to criticise the views of a Marxist thinker, whose ideology is anathema to most and who had huge influence on the man who could one day control our security forces … or to put British lives at risk by helping terrorists?"

Leaving aside the fact Dacre was just moments ago singing his own praises for being the last remaining bastion of free speech amidst a press universally supine to government dictats, signing off an article in someone else's newspaper by accusing them of helping terrorists smacks of coming round for tea and shitting in the kettle.

Right, thank fuck that's over. I'm going to go and scrub my eyes. Peace out.

Sunday 3 February 2013

An Open Letter To Chris Grayling

Dear Mr. Grayling, Thank you for reading this letter. As one of Britain's premiere fuckwits I realise that you must be very busy. Just working out how to get out of bed and put your trousers on without kicking yourself repeatedly in the head must take hours, and that's before you've even started fucking up whichever department Cameron's deemed expendable enough to put you in charge of this week. That said, I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to explain a few details regarding the prison reforms you shat out during an interview with the Mail on Sunday today. I recognise that as you were speaking to the Mail you may have legitimately believed that nobody with a key stage 3 comprehension level or higher would ever read the bilious bilge you let dripple from your slackened maw. Sadly for the rest of us, your imaginative musings regarding the state of British prisons (as well as the revelations the joy you take in attacking people smaller and weaker than yourself) were reprinted in numerous respectable newspapers and the Guardian meaning many more people than originally intended, including my self, have now had the misfortune of reading them. While most of your reforms – for example restricting prisoners' access to Sky TV – are the equivalent of promising to finally rid the nation of unicorns, one measure did catch my eye. To aid you in your valiant effort to fight crime you've promised to end the “growing practice” of gay couples sharing cells – a form of “domestic life” which you say is unacceptable in prison. It is towards this towering totem of Tory toss that I'd like to direct my enquiries.

First of all, at what point in a relationship would the proposed ban on gay couples sharing a cell/prison kick in? Would they need to have had “the talk” regarding what they meant to each other, or could they just be a couple of guys having fun without worrying where it was all going? Does the ban apply just to couples or fuckbuddies too? Will there be an exception for people who love shagging but secretly hate each other?

 By the way, is it just gay prisoners' sex lives that bother you, or is it the idea of them having “domestic” arrangements at all? Because if it's the latter, I've got some bad news: when you're less than 6 feet from someone for 23 hours a day, shit gets pretty domestic whether or not you decide to smoosh your erogenous zones together. In my experience most prisoners live the lives of elderly couples – nattering endlessly about TV and the weather, doing chores together and never having sex. With this in mind will you seek to break up straight prisoners who are just good friends?

Speaking of which, are straight prisoners allowed to fuck? As many of your colleagues will fiercely attest, fucking other men doesn't make you gay, so I smell a loophole.

On the subject of holes, would rimming count, or does your definition of gay sex only include penetration? What if my cell mate and I just decided to toss each other off? Just once? Twice? Three wanks and you're out?

As a former prisoner of Wandsworth, one of your government's shittiest penal establishments, I can confidently say that sucking another man's cock in order to get moved (which otherwise would have taken months or years) would have been a win-win situation. How will you stop wily bisexuals like me jumping the queue for the best prisons? On that note, how are you going to know who's in a relationship, who isn't, and who's faking? Will prison guards have to watch the actual act of coitus (again, a bonus as far as I'm concerned) or will you just move people from cell to cell and prison to prison based on whether they “seem like poofs”?

Considering the rise of polyamorous relationships, how will you ensure that you don't break up a gay couple only to inadvertently reaccomadate them with someone they're already dating? If everyone in the prison system enters a polyamorous relationship with each other, will 97,000 new one-person prisons need to be built?

As I know you'd never just parp out a half-arsed policy fart to appease the fuckbrained gobshites who read the Mail on Sunday (and have been deserting your party in droves lately), I'm sure you've already thought long and hard about all these issues, along with the obvious human rights implications of treating gay prisoners differently to other inmates. What concerns me most, though, is whether you've considered the personal cost. Despite the fevered fantasies of you and your Tory brethren, prison is not a paradise for gay people. In fact, the only openly LGBTQ person I encountered there was the subject of homophobic bullying and threats from prisoners and guards alike*. Many LGBTQ people – in couples or not – may choose to live with other gay prisoners simply because it's safer. So, Mr. Grayling, my last question is this: when the first inmate dies from this policy, either through violence or suicide, what will you tell their family?


Jonnie Marbles

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Policing Fanguage

A new and insidious practice has been gripping the public sphere lately: telling decent, well-meaning lefty writers like me not to leave boxes full of poisonous snakes lying around unmarked. The modish, cliquey trend for writing patronising warnings on containers of deliberately mislaid, highly deadly exotic reptiles probably grew out of the burgeoning third wave not-getting-bitten-by-snakes movement. While I certainly respect everyone's right to not get bitten by snakes, I am not personally going to facilitate this in any way, however easy it would be. Having been eaten by snakes myself, I personally feel the best way to combat the fear of snakes (and build up a good degree of resistance to their venom) is to fill your house and every public space with snakes. I admit that this approach is not for everyone, but I've decided to make everyone else do it my way anyway. The most damaging part of snake labelling, for me, is how it shuts down free speech by making me write two words when I sort of can't be bothered. Those three or four seconds I spend writing WARNING: SNAKES on a box before flimsily duct taping it shut leaving it under the pews of a local church or in the middle of a supermarket aisle are seconds I could have spent not writing anything at all. At the end of the day, isn't that what free speech is all about? Not saying things? At the end of the day, if you're one of the 99.8% of the population that's highly allergic to cobra venom or who can't fight their way out of a python's oesophagus, perhaps going outside isn't for you? You have to expect that, in the public arena, you're going to encounter one or two or several dozen dangerous snakes and it's not fair on the rest of us to expect us to warn you. At the very least, if you do die, don't complain about it. It shuts down debate. I mean, it doesn't shut it down in such a way that I say or do things differently, or start properly labelling reptiles, but it shuts it down in that I feel kind of bad that I keep endangering strangers' lives by leaving snakes lying around. Which, when you get down to it, is what's really important. FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT SNAKES AND WHY I KEEP THROWING THEM AT YOU CANNOT BE FOUND HERE: