Thursday, 22 December 2016

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

 









Hope you're all making the most of the last day or two of Saturnalia but saving a libation for Sol Invictus on the 25th.

May Marduk tame all but your entertaining monsters.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

It's the End of the World. Again.

Yes indeedy doody, the end of the world... at least according to one A. Chakrabortty writing in the Guardian on Friday.

Tim Worstall restricts himself to pointing out that Wolfgang Streeck, the subject of the piece, is an (economic) sociologist, not - as claimed -  a (political) economist.

But I think it is much shittier than that. AC is visiting a Caravaggio exhibition with WS on the morning of Trump's election, indeed an apocalyptic moment as any wag and many a Hillarista will tell you, if they haven't already

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:52

Apparently
You don’t merely look at a Caravaggio; you square up to one
and
At a scene of cardsharps he [WS] exclaims, “Feel the decadence! The threat of violence!” He notes how many paintings date from just before the thirty years’ war: “They’re full of the anticipation that the world is about to fall apart.”
Caravaggio started his apprenticeship in 1584 and died in 1610, so in fact all of his paintings inevitably date from between 34 and 8 years before the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in 1618. He was an Italian working in Italy. How his work might relate to events in Hungary, Bohemia, Saxony &c eight years after his death is a mystery to me.

I might note that the world did not fall apart in 1618, observe that WS and AC are not art historians or any sort of historians at all, and suggest that AC furthermore appears bereft of anything resembling common sense or honesty.

Unkind?
This summer, Britons mutinied against their government, their experts and the EU – and consigned themselves to a poorer, angrier future. Such frenzies of collective self-harm were explained by Streeck in the [book you're all crying out to read]
Mutinied! Against their Government (who were unanimous in their opposition to any referendum on EU membership or the possibility of Brexit)! Their experts (who are always and undisputedly right)! And against.........................omfg...................... the EU!

I am not a Guardian reader, having no appreciation of the art of the post-truth, post-fact, post-reality newspaper hack. I doubt, on this showing, the mental capacity of those who are and do.






Sunday, 16 October 2016

In the Courts

Serious as the point is, this from the Secret Barrister

We now know that the principal nature of this fresh evidence was as follows:
  1. A man, O, gave evidence that, two weeks after 29 May 2011, he had been out drinking with X, and had engaged in consensual sexual intercourse, during which she instructed him to penetrate her vaginally from behind, shouting, “Fuck me harder”. 
  2. A second man, S, gave evidence that, on 28 May 2011, X had engaged him in a night of drunken sexual activity, in which she adopted the same sexual position and used words, “Go harder”.
Evans’ case at trial was that X had acted in the same way on the 29 May 2011, encouraging him to penetrate her “doggy style” and using the words “fuck me harder”. This, it was argued, demonstrated that she was consenting, and also supported the reasonableness of his belief that she was consenting.

reminded me of Cocklecarrot's chaotic cases with the twelve red-bearded dwarves.

Nothing like a good hearty laugh to chase the clouds away, eh chums?

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Brexit: the Narratives Roll On

The electorate are conservative, as any fule kno. The majority keep voting for the status quo until the existing dispensation is very obviously broken.

So the first Thatcher administration of 1979 eventually dies under John Major in 1997. Blair's creation fails when the voters are asked to endorse Gordon Brown in 2010. The Lib Dems lose the 2015 election but the Conservatives keep going.

That 52% of a high turnout rejected the status quo and the EU on Thursday 23rd June, and with placid political and economic conditions prevailing, is a remarkable thing; a thing almost unremarked in the aftermath.

Instead there is a tidal wave of "divided Britain" sewage from the reactionaries, seeking to explain the outcome in spurious characterisations always disparaging of the Leave vote (have education / haven't; have money / haven't; young and bright / senile coffin-dodger; enlightened überbeing / racist troglodyte; etc).






To half the electorate, the EU appeared so defective even in calm weather that they turned against it.

Kindly explain that, o pundits.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Brussels Broadcasting Corporation: Towards a New Narrative

The referendum was ostensibly about membership of the European Union. But voters took it to be asking a different question: what kind of country do you want Britain to be? 

Yesterday seemed to offer a fork in the road: one path (Remain) promised it would lead to a modern world of opportunity based on interdependence; the other (Leave) was advertised as a route to an independent land that would respect tradition and heritage.

Which path people took depended on the prism through which they saw the world.
 
Thus Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor, this morning.

Only ostensibly about membership, you note: hoi polloi are far too cretinous, bless 'em, to understand that the EU Referendum was really about membership of the EU.

We Leave voters have turned our backs on the modern world of opportunity! a world of 28 countries in which we have chosen sullen isolation. Oh, the Bright (and Modern) Young Things who tried to take us there!

And I was thinking there were around 190 countries in the world. But only a hidebound dull-witted old fogey like m'self would work under such a retrograde delusion.


The BBC is getting its Narrative nicely polished up: the chattering classes are invited to Deplore.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

And As For That L. Calpurnius Piso...

 
 L. Sergius Catalina, and not L. Calpurnius Piso at all, by Maccari.
 
Crime, vice and corruption in the last age of the Republic are embodied in types as perfect of their kind as are the civic and moral paragons of early days; which is fitting, for the evil and the good are both the fabrication of skilled literary artists. Catalina is the perfect monster - murder and debauchery of every degree. Clodius inherited his policy and his character; and Clodia committed incest with her brother and poisoned her husband. The enormities of P. Vatinius ranged from human sacrifices to the wearing of a black toga at a banquet. Piso and Gabinius were a brace of vultures, rapacious and obscene. Piso to public view seemed all eyebrows and antique gravity. What dissimulation, what inner turpitude and nameless orgies within four walls! As domestic chaplain and preceptor in vice, Piso hired an Epicurean philosopher, and, corrupting the corrupt, compelled him to write indecent verses. This at Rome; in his province lust was matched with cruelty. Virgins of the best families at Byzantium cast themselves down wells to escape the vile proconsul; and the blameless chieftains of Balkan tribes, loyal allies of the Roman People, were foully done to death. Piso's colleague Gabinius curled his hair, gave exhibitions of dancing at fashionable dinner-parties and brutally impeded the lawful occupations of important Roman financiers in Syria. Marcus Antonius was not merely a ruffian and a gladiator, a drunkard and a debauchee - he was effeminate and a coward. Instead of fighting at Caesar's side in Spain, he lurked at Rome. How different was gallant young Dolabella! The supreme enormity - Antonius, by demonstrating affection towards his own wife, made a mock of Roman decorum and decency.

R Syme, The Roman Revolution (1939) p149 (1982 edn)

 Black toga at a banquet, chap being lovey to his wife! Whatever is the world coming to?

The whole chapter "Political Catchwords" is a tour de force.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Ever Grander Grandiosity

 








A grand statement from Donald Duck Tusk (Polish, Poland):

"As a historian I fear Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety," he told the German newspaper Bild.

Must be an extremely shit historian then.

Oh, I forgot, Polish. Wouldn't know a "political civilisation" if you shunted one up his fundament.

"Free country"?
"Democracy"?

Nope.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Mistakes For Dummies


Stephen Gethins (SNP, North East Fife): What’s the Prime Minister’s worst mistake in his time in office?

David Cameron (Con, Witney): The time to reflect on your mistakes is when you’re close to the end of your time in office, so that doesn’t apply!

PMQs 5th June

Malapropos, then, to reflect on your mistakes while you're making or shortly after you've made them. Orrrrr before you make them.

So's you can just plough on with making those mistakes.

.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Nobody Here But Us Chickens


Bill Gates seems to have fallen for the Chicken Fallacy.

They lay eggs for food and sale; they make more chickens to lay more eggs and make more chickens; if they need feeding at all the feed is cheap; they don't stray so no maintenance effort required: what can possibly go wrong?

So for the longest time chicken farming has been the lazy man's easy road to self-sufficiency. Failed chicken farmers of note include Betty MacDonald (author of the bestselling The Egg and I - at least she did find a way of turning chickens into cash)  and Heinrich Himmler.

Day trading, Bill, that's the modern way to get your meathooks into the money. You're just a few mouseclicks away from the mountains of moolah. Work as little as you like, make as much as you want. Infallible, as my handy guide "Day Trade Your Way to Plenty: the Secrets Wall Street Doesn't Want You to Know" ($75.50, few copies left so order now) explains.