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The Nazi Princes - Set Them All Free!

Prince Harry goes to a fancy dress party in Nazi uniform. Huge media fuss. A nation in crisis.
Ut-nay ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray, if you know what I mean. The biggest break the British people could therefore give to the Royal Family in general would be to set them free.
Ever since September 1st 1997 it's been obvious that the British Royal Family are much much too attractive and lucrative to the mass media. Why the Brits? Why not the Dutch or Danish or the other cyclo-stocracies? The papparazi don't chase them around the quaint cobbled streets and open air cafes of the continent. Why? What's the difference?
The only one I can think of is the fact that for some bizarre reason, we still allow our royals real political power. Or seem to. Take that perception away, plus the massive unearned privileges, reduce them to the rank of human beings and you'd be amazed how soon they would lose their fascination.
They would gain a whole new perspective on the world, and be able to function as thinking human beings instead of being forced to live in a quasi-moralistic, phoney-historical puppet show. They are not people, merely a cast. And they're not even very good at this theatrical role, if this appalling wardobe choice is anything to go by.
If there's one thing you expect from an efficient aristocracy, it's taste. The innate ability not to offend anyone. They're meant to be the masters. So much for another myth. Remember, we only know about this at all because of the market value of photographs of the Ginge Regent swanking about in jackboots. His Toffo-buddies would never have rushed to Canary Wharf without a decent bit of bunce at the end of it.
It's time the Windsors were Tebbitted: let them Get on Their Bikes. They'll be much happier, and useful.


Powell Vs Brown – The Future?

Gordon Brown says we need a Marshall Plan for the developing world. Colin Powell says no way. Is this the basic transatlantic political agenda for the next five years? Are we finally getting down to the global nitty-gritty?
Brown has obviously waited long enough. And feels that if he is to be PM, he has to assert himself as his own man. And taking the high moral ground on Third World debt and wholesale reconstruction is the way to win over his party. After Indonesia, it may well be the way to international prestige too. Riding the wave, as it were...
And Blair wouldn’t say no to having a Gallant Heir riding to the rescue of the world. With his old mentor apparently adding the odd magisterial touch of elder statesmanship, naturally.
So everything would work out fine at home, except for our gum-chewing chums. They don’t like the idea. But Europe and the U.N. do. And Brown likes the idea of Europe. So whether we vote to become a Euro-state or not, we seem to be looking more to the east. Whatever happens in Iraq… And a lot could happen in Iraq.
It's cynical, but to get an idea of who the future political players will be and where the divides will come, we probably have to start looking at who's having a 'good' Tsunami, and who isn't.
Brown and Powell are contradicting each other. Let's start there.

Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad [boardwalk]

Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Tom S - 40th post - 22 Dec 2004 11:41
BBC News website this morning:
An advert for a contraceptive pill has been withdrawn after Catholics and other groups complained to the advertising watchdog. The poster for morning-after pill Levonelle One Step used the phrase "immaculate contraception".
Seems like an excellent slogan for an advert. But, of course, the extremists manipulate The Advertising Standards Authority to defend their superstitions, myths and supernatural nonsense. It seems that they had only 179 complaints on which to base this censorship. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 501st post - 22 Dec 2004 12:29
So the next thing will obviously be demonstrations outside churches to prevent them spreading their Stone Age fairy tales.
Except it won't. Because people who don't believe in god are always more tolerant and British than those who do. Especially when those who do are stranded by the tide of education and medical advances and begin to realise their days are numbered as a political force, and lash out in their own defence.
These advances convince everyone who's ever benefited from them that death means a stain in a graveyard, not eternal life and judgement.
We are prepared to accept that some people are not able to advance beyond the emotional level of nine year olds because they have NOT fully benefited from improvements in education and medicine. That is a great shame for them and all society. But we don't BLAME them for their ignorance or their childhood traumas.
There seems to be an element of co-ordination going on in the complaints we have seen lately against advertising hoardings. And the less advertising the better says I. So I suggest that the next time you see one of the Neo-Nuremberg FaithFests advertised in 48 sheet 4 colour near to a school or hospital you make a severe complaint to the ASA about children's minds being poisoned by this - well, poison.
Complain to the local council about the badly-spelt propaganda splurging across the front of your local church: 'WITHOUT JESUS YOU ARE NOTHING' I remember seeing a few months ago. That's offensive and very dangerous to young minds.
If they want a fight, fine. But they must understand that they shouldn't trust opinion polls. Trust the attendances on the Boxing Day sales. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1658th post - 22 Dec 2004 12:48
A fine example of secular tolerance - not. Just a fascist rant. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 509th post - 22 Dec 2004 13:51
The only facists in this debate are those who want to constrict human thought to the agenda of prehistory.
Who are willing to destroy freedom of expression in the name of a greater wisdom which only they hold the key to.
Who are now feeling more threatened than ever before, especially at Xmas, which is the ultimate slap in the face to believing Christians. Or so you'd think.
The logical reaction from the majority of non-believers would be to retaliate in kind. My point was that non-believers are above that.
If you call that fascism, you have no concept of political realities and absolutely no regard for the things which actually rescue this society from pure barbarism.
If destroying language and the freedom to associate ideas doesn't make you angry, then it is already too late to save you. You are lost to whatever mystical brain-death ideology you have been predominantly exposed to. Fascism was always good at that. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1665th post - 22 Dec 2004 14:00
Well that touched a nerve. Good.
You appear to object to people making their thoughts and feelings public simple becuase they happen to have a religious basis. Some people found the advert offensive. They expressed those feelings of offence through legitimate channels.
Why do you want to muzzle them?
And then you go on about how the religious 'unter-menschen' are corrupting the minds of our young people. Heard that one before somewhere. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 516th post - 22 Dec 2004 14:35
Muzzle who? No, I want to stop you destroying the culture of this country. Simple as that. Of dragging us back to your Slavery.
I want to prevent your attempt to restore a system of values incompatible with democracy and freedom of expression and human dignity. Any problems with that? What happened today was ‘muzzling’. Very muzzling.
Religion is a primitive branch of philosophy, harmless in its way, and you are free to express it any way you like. Just don't complain when you are criticised or the icons you have enforced on the rest of us become part of the culture and therefore fair game for any media purpose. Don't complain - forgive. Your reaction to worldy criticism merely exposes your insecurity in your expressed beliefs. It is a wordly reaction.
You're trying too hard. Just have faith, and all this will seem meaningless. God, by definition, is invulnerable to the attentions of the advertising industry. I hope. Why am I saying this? I sound more like a priest than you do.
And don't moan when the church is criticised for subjecting children to the concept that Eternal Torture can only be avoided by LOVING the Being capable of inflicting the torture. That the capacity to inflict pain is a prerequiaite of respect and love. Love = Fear.
Great formula for a healthy democratic society. That message alone is surely responsible for hundreds of generations of degenerates and weirdos. The very criminals that religions then condemn to hell. In one end out the other. A self-feeding conveyor belt of sinners and converts.
Sickness incarnate. And one tolerated at the tax-payers expense no less. Organisations which might have been designed as Drug-money Laundering Operations are allowed to do their daily cash deals without any adequate scrutiny, and to poison young minds in the process AND to make lots of money from doing so.
Nazism inherited most of its basic techniques (the Leader who must be feared and loved at the same time) from its religious predecessors. The only difference was that their commandents began with Shou Shalt Not, whereas the C20 totalitarians began theirs with 'Thou Shalt'.
The trouble is, Thou Shalt Not Offend means Thou Shalt Shut Up or We Shalt Throw Bricks Through Thy Theatre's Windows'. Or if thou makest any wordplay which offendeth, the heinous article shall be removed from sight and destroyed.
THAT is fascism.
Now if you want to extoll the virtues of your faith, go ahead. No-one's objecting. But stay out of things you don't understand, like modern democratic societies in which people want to have a life while they ARE alive. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1670th post - 22 Dec 2004 15:39
"No, I want to stop you destroying the culture of this country. Simple as that. Of dragging us back to your Slavery.
I want to prevent your attempt to restore a system of values incompatible with democracy and freedom of expression and human dignity. Any problems with that? "
Scaremongering which Mr Goebbels would have been proud of. Keep it up - no doubt like minded people will help your campaign to rid the country (my country as well, BTW) of these evil subversives.
In fact, you have no evidence of any attempt by any of the people involved to do anything of the sort. I, and all the catholics I know, are committed democrats and champions of free speech - which includes the freedom to make our views known.
In this case, as it happens, the advertisers were not made to remove the advert - they did so voluntarily when they realised that many people did find it offensive. Some people, believe it or not, prefer not to gratuitously offend others (present company excepted clearly).
Live your life however you want to live it - just don't go around dumping on others and getting all 'holier than thou' when they object.
"If destroying language and the freedom to associate ideas doesn't make you angry"
We are talking about a drug comapny advert, BTW. Now there are some real friends of fascism. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 519th post - 22 Dec 2004 16:07
That would be the Goebbels who was the mate of the Catholic Hierachy in the 30s.
That would be the brand of freedom of speech peddled by the Inquisition.
The brand of free speech which bans the dissemination of information about contraception among the people who need it most.
The brand of free speech which opposed elementary truths about the nature of the universe and the facts about the force of gravity itself.
As a true believer in an omniscient and omnipotent Being, you have no need to make your opinions known. And because of Faith, your beliefs are above intellectual dissection. So why should anything anyone says about your beliefs be of any consequenceto you? What difference can the desolate wailings of a few lost souls have on your confidence in a glorious eternity of peace and celestial love? None.
But quite a lot apparently. So the only conclusion is that you are NOT a believer. You are a product of your time like the rest of us. Your adoption of a religion as a basis for your identity is either a perverse choice made out of an inability to come to terms with the realities of the time, which are pretty terrible, I admit. Or a cultural accident. Probably the result of the childhood indoctrination already mentioned (Tomorrow Belongs to You).
It is obviously not working as a source of spiritual comfort. I personally doubt if it ever has.
As for evidence. The campaigns against advertising ARE a step backwards because they do place taboos of thought on everyone. If advertisers can't get away with it, how can the rest of us. And as for the creative writer, his days are numbered. Any taboo will instantly clog up the creative flow.
How do I know if I am about to stray into forbidden territory? I don't. So play it safe and be a hack instead. Tell lies, at least I'll know where I am. It's like telling a jazz musician 'You are forbidden to play Bflat and Csharp. Everything else is OK.'
That is censorship and the end of all freedom, not just of artistic expression.
But then, true believers don't need freedom. All your decisions are already taken for you and your only expression should be to the glory of god, so why do you need to express yourSELF? You don't have a SELF - only a soul. And that's god's property anyway.
What on earth would you do with freedom? It would be like giving a Ferrarri to a parrot. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1675th post - 22 Dec 2004 16:15
Go ahead. Ignore the issues and carrying on spouting your ludicrous parodies. Defend those nice drug companies to the hilt, those poor persecuted advertising copy writers. Push the drugs, promote the baby-milk, obese children? no problem - its freedom of speech.
Each post simply confirms your irrational hatred and complete ignorance of what I do and do not believe. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 521st post - 22 Dec 2004 16:30
It may be hatred but it is rational.
And I'm completely informed about the Catholic Church's position on condom use in Africa by wives of men who are HIV positive, thank you.
And of the bloody history of the Catholic Church. There isn't room on a hundred Boards for that appalling lists of obscenities to be spelled out for your education.
Your tactic of trying to confuse a defence of freedom of speech with a defence of multi-national corporations that bleed the strength from the most unfortunate members of society is very fitting, given the historic global role of the Catholic church. Despicable, but fitting.
I will repeat the point for your benefit.
If Advertising agencies with their massed ranks of lawyers and friends in political high places can't get away with a simple pun on a common English expression, then no-one is safe.
Especially not children, the damaging of whom as early as possible has probably, by it's own standards, been the single greatest achievement of the Roman Church.
'Give me the child and I will give you the man.' [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1667th post - 22 Dec 2004 17:23
I'm afraid if you think that drug companies should be able to offend catholics with impunity because 'freedom of speech' is inviolable, then rationally you should allow them to offend however and whomsoever they wish. No boundaries.
The history of mankind and its institutions, including the church, is indeed bloody. But also irrelevant to this debate which is about what catholics in this country are, or are not, doing now . And they are not attempting to subvert the culture of this country - they are part of it and have as much right as anyone else to contribute to and influence its future.
So now we are all child-abusers - heard that one before as well. You can excuse almost anything if its directed at child abusers, can't you? [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 522nd post - 22 Dec 2004 19:17
The question is not who should be allowed to offend whom but why you are offended in the first place.
Everything you say convinces me that your faith is very shaky indeed if it is challenged by an infantile pun. The moral, ethical and epistemological control centre of all reality throughout time and it's threatened by an advertising jingle??
And if something as trivial as that can stir other insecure catholics into political action, then what will you do when, say, an abortion clinic is opened next to a church? Why should you have a right to prevent a vital service like that simply because of physical proximity?
If you want to be part of society, then your beliefs either have to be compatible with it or you accept that your private mystical beliefs should stay within your faith community. That shouldn't bother you because you are sure that you are right and that ultimately you will be proved right, on the day of judgement, and then what silly asses we shall all look.
Bombing abortion advice centres is not compatible.
Poisoning children's minds is not compatible.
Sanctioning the massacre of trade unionists in Spain is incompatible.
And claiming copyright and reproduction rights on the phrase 'immaculate conception' is also incompatible.
You do not own it. And your propietorial attitude merely emphasises your further insecurity in your faith. If someone else uses the term, they steal a bit of your religion from you? Please.
You have the same rights as everyone else as people, but your religion has no right to special treatment. How would we ever cater for the entire range of crackpot sects if we were to give you all equal deference?
Especially in those parts of London where every other ex pub is now some cockamamie temple or other. The use of almost any imagery would become almost impossible.
Worse than that, there is then the real risk, perhaps for the first time, of a genuine popular reaction against religion. Which I do NOT relish.
The Sikhs in Birmingham are beginning to realise the mistake of being a spiritual organisation trying to meddle in politics. Catholics and the C of E types think that because they've been around longer in this country than Muslims that they can get away with it. Tony Blair obviously thinks the same. But the people value their freedom from religious interference. They won't have their culture constrained by mystical entities. They will play ball with you and treat you politely as long as you keep your religion off the streets.
In other words, for as long as you behave as if you believe. Whether you do or not is a matter of supreme indifference to most people, as long as you behave as if you do.
You don't, and neither does anyone else who sees insults and blasphemy on every cornflake packet. You 'want to be part of the culture and contribute' but you don't want any of your terminology used by the host society in ways you do not approve of?
Either you're part of society or you're not.
Yachting Clubs are part of society. When I use or misuse the term 'sailing close to the wind' do I have to get approval from the Isle Of Wight?
How about the term 'Christmas'? Aren't you mortally offended to see it splurged over every concievable tawdry nick-nack you can imagine in your worst nightmares? Erotic Christmas Split Crotch Panties for that SPECIAL Madonna!!
Christmas Special Offer on Flavoured Condoms!!!
Why aren't you complaining about that?
I'll tell you. Because the birth control issue is still one which you think you can squeeze some political juice out of.
To let a contraception campaign get away with use of the holy words Immaculate Conception would have trumped what remains of your marketing strategy on that issue. Simple as that.
Objecting to the gross abuse of the term 'Christmas', of course, would be impossible. So pick on something smaller..
Take my advice, don't mess with commercial Christmas. There wouldn't be a nun in Nantes or a candle in Kilkenny.. Because, after all, you ARE part of the grubby materialistic world we all live in. Most of us are prepared to admit it, that's all. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1676th post - 23 Dec 2004 09:33
I personally am not 'mortally offended' by the particular advertisement in question. However, I will defend the right of anyone who is offended by an advertisement to object to it.
I personally am not against contraception so I'm afraid you are shooting at a target that isn't there. Like I said, you are profoundly ignorant of what I do and do not believe.
I don't know where you saw the panties ad but presumably not on a billboard or a TV ad. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 527th post - 23 Dec 2004 11:24
I'm afraid you are NOT in favour of contraception.
Or, as I thought, you are a typical, C21st religious cherry-picker, who feels comfortable with a religious identity but who doesn't for one minute accept the supremacy of the church over your own individuality.
This is religion as a lifestyle. Nothing more.
I said that everything you say belies your proclamations of faith. And then you go and say that you defy the spiritual authority for that faith.
How do you expect me to take you seriously as a Person of Faith?
It's at times like this you begin to almost admire the principles of the Taliban.
They would not allow one of their holiest celebrations to be besmirched by commercial exploitation. You would. But then, as children they lived through some of the most obscenely bloody times of the C20. Saw their relatives and friends butchered by successive bands of murderers in a devastated country without adequate education or basic civic infrastructure.
Now I'm assuming you don't have those excuses for blind religious faith. If so then your relative comfort enables you to adopt your doctrine of Religion-Lite and fit it into your typical Western schedule. But this is not true belief, this is recreational religion, one step removed from the career conversions once so popular in Elizabethan and Stuart England and in Hollywood now.
One expression of this fraternal e-faith is the adoption of a 60's civil rights mindset which, spiced with just a hint of good ol' corporate US litigancy, provides a temporal campaign to motivate the flock and give them a reason for Believing which shows results NOW. Not when you're dead. A dramatic struggle to give a sense of identity with the martyrs of the faith and a feeling that it is possible to make a contribution to the defence of the faith and its advancement... Evangelism, if you like.
But if you were to truly believe in the cosmic entities of Catholicism, that they were real and ever present and eternal, you would find that you would not need to descend to this level to maintain the morale of the flock.
Faith is the key. Ask the Pope or anyone. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1680th post - 23 Dec 2004 12:01
We were discussing an advert yet you continue your polemic. As you continue to reveal, you know nothing of what I believe and it is, in any case, not relevant to the question. I frankly do not give a damn whether you take my faith seriously or not.
I have not descended to any level - I have simply defended the rights of certain people to express their opinions and have them heard. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 529th post - 23 Dec 2004 12:50
With true faith you don't need 'rights'. That is the point. Again I have to get theological with you.
And anyway, you are guaranteed all the civil rights you need, those which protect your right to practise your religion.
All religions have that basic right, as long as they do not offend any greater social restriction. Sacrificing babies might be one. Or hampering the general freedom of the real community to express its feelings and go about its business within those same parameters.
And I'm afraid that satire, lampoon, ridicule and even honest abuse are an inevitable and creative part of that culture. Our culture. And accomodating the fickle sensitivities of each generation of each faith is not something it is designed to do. You're thinking of the culture of Stalinist Russia.
Organising lobby groups to censor a simple pun out of existence crosses the line and advances the political power of an organisation which should have nothing to do with politics. Ever. For its own good.
If this new Religious Rearguard have their way there will be a rationalist backlash. What would there be to prevent me buying advertising space to specifically highlight the crippling, pernicious effects of religion on the growing mind. Why should I allow any religious advertising near schools in my area?
By seeking a higher profile for your faith, possibly with a view to attracting more tithe revenue, possibly not, you are opening a can of worms. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1681st post - 23 Dec 2004 13:04
If you don't like religious advertising near schools, fine. You can write to the ASA as much as anyone else can. If you can convince them that it offends a reasonable number of people, you can get it removed.
Your 'pun' can still be used in books, films, plays, conversations, TV shows etcetera - anywhere where people can choose whether or not they see or hear it.
Our society, through its democratically elected government, decided it was going to put limitations on what material advertisers can use. If you don't like it, campaign for a change in the law but do stop whining when other members of society exercise their legal rights. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 532nd post - 23 Dec 2004 14:48
So you'd be happy to see a sitcom called 'The Immaculate Contraception' about the ups and downs of a disfunctional family of disaffected catholics wrestling with the absurdities of church doctrine in the face of the real world, aired after 'Songs Of Praise' on a Sunday night?
Or the tragic story of an inmate of a 1930's Convent School impregnated by a visiting curate and faced with institutionalised hostility to her plight?
Because if your campaign stops with advertising that would be one thing - if impossible to apply consistently across the board to all peculiarities of belief - but I get the distinct feeling that this is the edge of a slippery slope. Religious groups in this country are emboldened by the triumph of Bush's election, and mean to have some of the same.
This is a totally irreligious, material impulse and threatens both their own faith and the tolerance of the long-suffering British public. As is the need of the catholics you mention to 'exercise their legal rights' in this case.
What threat did the words pose to the Holy Roman Catholic Church? None.
What it did threaten was the self-image of those whose belief is not secure enough to sustain the random vagiaries of a secular culture.
So it had to go.
So what's next? Can we please have a list of words and phrases which the church agrees may be displayed in public?
It would save everyone connected to the print media a lot of time and expense. After all, how do we know which remote corner of the Vatican pantheon is going to be desecrated by some unnecessarily clever, but apparently harmless slogan or piece of publicity copy.
A catalogue of banned images would also be useful for graphic artists. Theatre poster designers, for instance could waste huge amounts of time and effort producing a stunning image for a particular play, only to find that on displaying it on sites all over London that it transgresses some catholic taboo know only to the initiated.
So a list of what we may or may not display, please.
C.C. to Rome, Mecca, Jerusalem, Tibet, Seattle. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. David Mottram - 1687th post - 23 Dec 2004 15:03
I believe the second of your ideas for a TV programme has already been done.
I have still had no answer from you on one simple question, despite all your verbose bluster. Do you recognise the need for any limits on what advertisers do?
Did you attack the RSPCA for objecting to a WKD advert? [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Religious Extremists Stop Pill Ad. Little Richardjohn - 533rd post - 23 Dec 2004 15:29
After saying that the less advertising the better all round, I certainly believe that PEOPLE should be respected in advertising. But ideologies? Why? They can stand up for themselves.
Or, like Christianity, turn the other cheek.
Insulting images of women or children or racial groups should be barred because they pose an actual threat to likely welfare of real people.
A religion is a collection of ideas, not a human being of flesh and blood. And therefore its theoretical sensitivities deserve less coddling, if any.
If the image had been a humiliating or degrading picture of identifiably catholic people being depicted as worthy of persecution or disenfranchisement because of their religion, as appeared in the Ulster of the Carson era, then I would cheerfully light the fires myself. The nazi depictions of Jews as rats obviously also spring to mind.
In this case, we are talking about the appropriation of an obcure theological term to publicise a method of breaching catholic doctrine. A particular piece of doctrine (the contraception encyclical) which just happens to provide the Vatican with its last real hold on the loyalties of the poorest people in the world. The people who it needs to KEEP poor and desperate in order to survive as the oldest global corporation. [reply] [Complain about this post]

180 seconds of what? [boardwalk]

The three minutes silence today is a sneak preview of death. It lets us all be ghosts together to get a tiny taste of what it's like to be one of the thousands who died. It's a chance to share a tiny slice of a massive global mystery. Who wouldn't you want to be part of that?
The Sneering Right, led by ex London Standard editor Max Power, apparently. Who claim that these 180 seconds dishonour our Glorious War Dead.
Those unemployed 15 year old boys tricked into throwing their lives away to defend the luxuries and privileges of those who made them unemployed in the first place. Very honourable. Very glorious.
There is a seething resentment that current events are again taking precedence over the British cultural pantheon. That real deaths are moving people more than the propaganda deaths of history. That the Martyrdoms used to reinforce the notion of a stable, permanent establishment are becoming more and more of a formality in the face of a world which is obviously not learning the lessons of the Martyrs – unless that lesson is: Carry On Killing.
Martyr ideologies seem to need replenishment. Whether it’s the catholic church, the Aztecs, I.R.A. or Hamas. Each generation has to feel that it too can contribute. So the killing has to go on.
At least this morning’s silence will be carrying a different message.

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Joe Jones - 579th post - 5 Jan 2005 12:36
Unfortunately, I went to fill up with petrol this morning and the place was plastered with notices that said "Please observe the three minute silence at mid-day today - Please not that we will not be serving during the period of silence" ... And many, if not most, of the stores I've been into today have had similar notices ...
Even though I might not agree with it, I can understand that a government may make a call for such a commemoration; but I resent being pressured into it by the putative pious who wish to force their own opinions onto others as a way of grasping "a little brief power" to make their lives seem less futile ...
It's the same 'peer' (ha!) pressure that Labourites and trades unionists used to employ in the 1970s, who would then claim that a 'free vote' was 'proof' that they had the backing of the majority. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Little Richardjohn - 568th post - 5 Jan 2005 12:50
I get it. Acknowledging the instant deaths of 130,000 people is the slippery slope to the Gulag Archipelago. 180 lousy seconds out of your entire life is too much to ask.
Slide your right hand under your shirt. On the left. The brick still swinging? [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Joe Jones - 581st post - 5 Jan 2005 13:02
You just don't get it, it seems ...
I don't object to people commemorating whatever they want in whatever manner they want (within obvious reason) - I do , however, object vehemently to the enforced expression of an emotion I might not even feel ... No one ever forces me to observe a two-minute silence on November 11, and no petrol station I've ever visited has ever insisted that I do, nor that it will not serve me for the two minutes after 11.00. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Little Richardjohn - 569th post - 5 Jan 2005 13:11
So you object to the annual cenetaph silence.
And who's enforcing anything. Did we pass a law? Do what you like. Blow party-poppers and klaxons if you want. Just don't expect much sympathy from normal people.
This is a deep seated resentment indeed. And I get it perfectly.
And you want everyone at your beck and call 24 hours a day.
"Hey you! Never mind taking 3 whole minutes out to acknowledge a massive human tragedy. Give me my Doritos NOW!!"
Beyond Belief.
[reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death geejaybee - 93rd post - 5 Jan 2005 13:24
Little Richardjohn - "Beyond Belief."
No what's beyond belief is your sanctimonious preaching that collective demonstrations of sympathy have a higher moral value to it. It is little more than self-indulgent emotional masturbation. People die in their thousands every week through individual smaller accidents, and their loved ones have the same degree of grief as those suffering in this tragedy with no corresponding outpouring of sympathy.
To compare a public demonstration of sympathy for the accidental deaths of some thousands within the last 2 weeks with the public remembrance and acknowledgement of the deaths of millions who actively and deliberately put their lives at risk is simplistic and specious.
PS If you need the ceremony of 3 mins silence to bolster your sympathetic quotient you are the one who should look closer at himself. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Little Richardjohn - 572nd post - 5 Jan 2005 13:44
So there is no role for collective grief or respect in your view.
There is a Tsunami Sized death toll every week in the Third World. If we were to react proportionately to all the horrors of the world we would go mad. We've known that since Hiroshima and Auschwitz. It doesn't stop us feeling. And when enough people feel this way, it is entirely proper and human that this form of recognition should take place.
This isn't about 'letting the grieiving fit the loss' this was a chance to be a part of something bigger than the individual. To feel part of something. Which is a very instructive experience, and not at all self-indulgent. It is being open to influence.
The bitterness of the opposition to this idea is very bewildering. It seems to come from a resentment that we are paying any attention to foreigners. Very bizarre.
No-one would condemn you for not taking part in this brief moment. But your railing against it lays you open to all sorts of criticism.
And try letting off party poppers outside Parliament or your local pub on Armistice Day. See what you get.
OK, keep your grief to yourself. But the majority of the people who are able to feel the poetry of the traditional collective silence should be allowed their instinctive act of respect without your sneering.
The dreaded word is spirituality. The spirituality of knowing that you are part of a greater event. Like singing the national anthem, if you like. The knowledge that other people feel the same way you do. And therefore that in the end, people are not all that different. That their needs and yours are pretty much the same.
That is a very democratic sentiment. Its ample busom in contrast with the ragged, withered Thatcherite dugs of your sterile individualism.
Personal grief at the loss of a relative is not the same as paying a silent tribute to the victims of an event like the Tsunami. It's not the same kind of emotion. The ARE different kinds.... And they demand different responses. This is one of the few times when the form of the response was 'demand-led' (god help me). The people wanted it. If the government hadn't co-ordinated something similar, they would have got into trouble.
There was a similar response to the victims of Aberfan, if I remember. And that was a much more preventable disaster than this. The fact that there is no-one to blame makes it even more important that people are able to take part in some ceremony which does not involve MONEY or taking sides in some way.
Silence is the perfect vehicle for private contemplation. It's your loss that you didn't try it.
The fact that you would poison that moment for people is worrying. Congratulations. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Geoff Frost - 131st post - 5 Jan 2005 15:48
Thanks for the congratulations, I will treasure them during my mawkish moments of silence when I dwell upon all the sorrows of the earth. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Little Richardjohn - 581st post - 5 Jan 2005 16:06
'In the silence of your lonely room' How does the rest of the song go?
Here is a genuine cultural moment. With no real political or class issues to stop you taking part. And you turn your back on it because... Why?
What IS your problem? That other people are obviously able to feel and express emotions which you can't?
Sorry to get personal. But you're asking for it and you do serve to illustrate the emotional bankruptcy which has always been the flat tyre on the sleek British roadster.
The fact is that someone incapable of understanding the sincerity of today's observance is probably incapable of dwelling upon the sorrows of anyone but themselves. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Geoff Frost - 132nd post - 5 Jan 2005 16:47
"Sorry to get personal. But you're asking for it..."
Oh my dear Little Richardjohn you can be as personal as you like. I love it when you talk dirty. Just keep making me laugh, that's all I ask. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: A Sneak Preview of Death Little Richardjohn - 585th post - 6 Jan 2005 11:42
Laughing at what exactly?
At the sympathy others can feel and show?
There is no such thing as collective grief you say. What about collective joy? Is that verboten too? Or are collective experiences confined to tribal expressions of hate and triumphalism as in football matches? What a wonderful world.
Only someone hopelessly stranded from any sense of community could say that collective emotion is an impossibility.
Go to a play or gig or circus. That's a collective experience.
You know you're making this all up. Why the resentment at others taking three minutes out to think about one issue in their own way? It probably confirmed some people's resolve to actually put their hands in their pockets. And so it wasn't some futile token gesture as some pieces of flint would claim.
You would have to be dead to not believe the sincerity of those observing yesterday's silence.
So back to the workhouse, Mr Bumble. And if those brats demand more gruel, do what you gotta do.

re: 180 seconds homage to rumour - 105th post - 5 Jan 2005 17:17
If compassion is real it is complete, felt for all things and only once; the rest is just shallow public display. If compassion is real it changes outlook and behaviour; standing around for 3 minutes but remaining unchanged means nothing. This is why these shallow traditions must come to an end. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: 180 seconds Little Richardjohn - 595th post - 7 Jan 2005 13:42
But they won't go away. And not because they're imposed by some overweening government. If people weren't sincere about the Tsunami Silence, they wouldn't have observed it.
This wasn't a shallow display. People virtually stopped in their tracks. There were people weeping at bus stops. Huge sections of the most metropolitan city in the world ground instantly to a halt with the blessing of big business.
That could never have happened by imposition or if people were outraging their true feelings. The British people would have felt stupid. They and their employers would have simply refused to have anything to do with it.
And it could never happen without the sense of collective grief, which some people deny.
There are times, Dunkirk, famously, when the vast majority of people feel the same way. To deny this is to deny the history of mankind and everything which we've achieved. The Beatnik Philosophy of cosmic isolation doesn't work in he face of real sorrow or joy or resolve in action.
Anyway, there's a huge hole in that pose which is that the Silence IS an individual act. Everyone shouting the same slogan - or burning the same witch, that's a collective emotion to be feared. 1984, the Two Minutes Hate. An act of mass silence is neither collective nor individual.
One is alone, but doing the same thing as everyone else without communicating with them. But - at the same time thinking your own thoughts about the same thing everyone else is, and knowing they are doing pretty much the same ..
It's a very unique situation for human beings to find themselves in and quite capable of changing your outlook and behaviour. It's called contemplation. It's the non-sexual equivalent to eyes meeting across a crowded room. Like watching TV, only for real.
Anyway by the time the Silence was observed, people had already 'changed their outlook and behaviour' by donating millions of pounds. They didn't wait to be told. And they didn't need to be encouraged to take part in the silence. In fact they were the driving force - any government not reflecting that mass feeling would have had a bad week in the press.
And if you object to expressions of collective grief, what about Aberfan? There was an event which went through the nation's heart like hot needle. How do you avoid being part of that? One key reason for en event like this is simply to show you that IT ISN'T JUST YOU WHO FEELS THIS WAY. To serve as a record of moments of collective grief and to remind people that the wider community is still capable of feeling the same emotions as you. By doing that they provide a valuable service, and do alter people's lives. By reinforcing, or resurrecting, some sense of community.
Sometimes they are not credible, sure. There have been times when they are used for political purposes. Royal deaths, for instance. When they are used to demand or reinforce a subservience from the observer. The Cenotaph Service comes very near to being a glorification of war, and is certainly not as credible now as it was forty years ago. But this was different.
And what about collective expressions of joy? What about theatre? About feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself and that your humanity is not that different from other people's. That people are more similar than they are different.
It is the sheer democracy of that concept which bothers people like Margaret Thatcher, who didn't believe in society while manipulating it shamelessly for ten years. [reply] [Complain about this post]


Slackness is Slavery

Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 164th post - 30 Sep 2004 11:18 BBC Today Boards
(ref to M.O.B.O. Awards homophobic lyrics scandal)

Jamaican homophobia is undoubtedly a hangover from its days as a very nasty slave plantation.
In this particular market, the fertility of the male slave was part of his value. The slavemasters' religion came along and gave the task of policing sexuality to the slaves themselves.
Homophobia became engrained in the culture, and the result is the slackness of the lyrics currently under attack at M.O.B.O.
Jamaican homophobia is therefore pandering to Slavemaster values, and is a huge stain on those who perpetuate it. They act tough, but they are nothing but poodles of The Man. And the sooner they realise it, the sooner they will earn a true identity, not one manufactured by the music industry to make money and prevent artists from having any real influence.
The solution to this problem is not to ban it, but to shame it out of existence. It doesn't work with politicians, but it does work with commercial artists.

re: Slackness is Slavery rog ink - 2622nd post - 1 Oct 2004 09:30
Nonsense, LR
That same 'slavemaster' religion brought us the gospel music of Southern USA. Musicians from the gospel background seem to have advanced their lot much more than those of the Hiphop culture. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 174th post - 1 Oct 2004 12:11

In Jamaica - repeat - in Jamaica what book do they quote to justify their persecution of homosexuality?
Who introduced them to that book?
Are you saying that fertility was not an factor in a slave's value?
The situation in say, New Orleans was very different from that in Jamaica.
Jamaica was basically a concentration camp. Because there was only a skeletal white middle class to service and entertain, the requirements of a slave worker were even more functional than usual. They were units of production and had to justify their owners' investment. Homosexuality compromised this investment. The church reinforced that monetary ethos, and at the same time alienated the homosexual slave from his or her own community. This would mean that they would be more likely to be discovered and sold on as quickly as possible.
I suggest that's how the figures would add up, from a business point of view. If we were farmers talking about cattle, we would be weighing the same pros and cons.
Whether gospel singers have 'advanced' is very arguable. What do you mean by advanced? I have a friend who sings in a male voice choir, repeating the same C19 repertoire year after year. He sincerely believes that the C20 was a complete waste of time.
What is your explanation for the rabid homophobia of a significant portion of Jamaican culture? [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Slackness is Slavery rog ink - 2621st post - 1 Oct 2004 16:38
You are either making a lot of assumptions, LR, or you really do know your stuff, in which case it be best if I cut and run... :o]
I see no reason why slavemaster would be interested in the fertility of their slaves. As you say, they were units of production. Why would the boss want another mouth to feed for 12-14 years?
If anything if I were the slaveowner I might even encourage any non-child-bearing practices. Plantation owners were first and foremost business people. But I guess they believed in the old Marxist maxim that religion was the opiate of the masses - something to keep their charges occupied on the one day of rest.

My point about Gospel is that the Southern church gave its members a positive, peaceful outlook, and during and after segregation it tried to inspire them.
Instead of the peaceful protest encouraged during the civil rights era, we have the worship of guns, violence and decadence from today's Black music, be it from Compton or Kingston. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 179th post - 1 Oct 2004 17:26
Some of today's black music - Some. Before we both get in trouble.
A slaveowner values fertility in the same way that a farmer does in his herd. The extra mouths more than pay for themselves in extra profit, otherwise there wouldn't be any point in being a farmer in the first place.
There was no moral imperative on slaveowners to see to the welfare of any children, merely an economic one. If they didn't get enough to eat they died - and 'helped decrease the surplus population.' If they managed to survive childhood, they were more likely to be strong, profitable stock.
Another reason for 'breeding' replacement slaves rather than just buy in new stock is that the family unit, however tenuous, has a calming effect upon any community. Like religion, as you say, it makes them rather bear those ills they have than fly to others they know not of... As it were.
It's a proposition. An attempt to explain a phenomenon by observation and by using what we know of how the cultural process worked in the economic environment of the time.
'Jamaican homophobia is undoubtedly a hangover from slavery...' Then I try to justify this..
'In this particular market, the fertility of the male slave was part of his value.' - I don't think this is much of an assumption.
'The slavemasters' religion came along .. the task of policing sexuality to the slaves themselves.' The evidence for this is the fact that it survives to this day in the persecution of homosexuals in Jamaica, and in the fact that the churches there, and elsewhere, perpetuate the hate.
'Homophobia became engrained in the culture,' That's just a truism. 'and the result is the slackness of the lyrics currently under attack at M.O.B.O.' If not from the culture, then from where?
'Jamaican homophobia is therefore pandering to Slavemaster values,' This is my personal construction, I could have just called them hypocrites and be done with it.
'the sooner they realise it, the sooner they will earn a true identity, not one manufactured by the music industry to make money and prevent artists from having any real influence.' Yeah well, you can pick that one apart if you like, but no one has so far. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Slackness is Slavery Blinkersoff - 11th post - 30 Sep 2004 12:29
Little Richardjohn,
Nothing to do with slavery or "Slavemaster values". Homophobia is rife in Africa & Muslim countries too.

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 165th post - 30 Sep 2004 13:58
Homophobia has many mansions. It isn't a single definable condition like bubonic plague or gout. It has a cultural context.
I was specifically talking about the form it takes in Jamaica.
What is to blame for it in other cultures is another discussion.

re: Slackness is Slavery Blinkersoff - 15th post - 30 Sep 2004 14:19
Little Richardjohn,
Except you seem to forget that Jamaicans came to Jamaica as a result of the slave trade from Africa, bringing with them their cultural prejudices. Unfortunately, by using such phrases as "just a pussy of The Man" is reenforcing the accompanying racism.

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 1st post - 30 Sep 2004 14:39
You have absolutely no idea what their cultural prejudices were. Are there records or accounts of attitudes of pre-slavery African culture? I seem to remember that there are cases where, as in native American culture and Flamenco Gypsy culture, and Britain in the 21st century, gay men, in particular, were a highly valued social assett.
A skulking spineless jackal who merely does his master's bidding in return for extra dogmeat IS a 'pussy of The Man', whatever the social and or racial context.
Either way, to be exposed as one is death to the image of any aspiring tough guy. Use of the term is not racist in any way. If you'd said sexist... But you didn't.
In fact, saying that black people are inherently homophobic is, well, racist.

re: Slackness is Slavery Blinkersoff - 19th post - 30 Sep 2004 15:07
Little Richardjohn,
"You have absolutely no idea what their cultural prejudices were."
And by the same token, neither do you, but you are perfectly prepared to ignore that & assume that they were not homophobic until they made to be by their masters, when there is no Black culture today that isn't homophobic.
"In fact, saying that black people are inherently homophobic is, well racist."
In fact, that's not what I said. I never said anything about Black people being inherently homophobic. I said that they brought with them "their cultural prejudices". Just as you are saying that "The slavemasters' religion came along and gave the task of policing sexuality to the slaves themselves." But then are you saying that at least a proportion of the slavemasters were Black?

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 169th post - 30 Sep 2004 15:24
The difference is, I'm not claiming to know what their prejudices were. You are. You say that black people brought their homophobic prejudices with them from Africa without having any evidence. That is being inherently racist. Cough up.
You are 'pre' - 'judging' those people and the burden of proof is on you.
I am saying that the slavemaster's religion supported the values of the slavemaster. Is that so difficult to grasp?
Look, if you want to turn this into a debate about how black people are racist and therefore it's OK for you to be racist too, then say so and stop mucking about.

re: Slackness is Slavery Blinkersoff - 20th post - 30 Sep 2004 16:03
Little Richardjohn,
I never said that Black people as a race brought their homophobic prejudices with them. However, it seems you wish to interpret it not as a cultural, but as a racial comment. You equally have no evidence that they didn't. That they arrived as clean slates. However, you wish the burden of proof to be on me, but to have no burden yourself. Not that fair is it?
"I am saying that the slavemaster's religion supported the values of the slavemaster. Is that so difficult to grasp?"
No you are not saying that at all & implying that I'm stupid doesn't change that. What you are saying is that the slavemasters' religion made their slaves homophobic.
"You are 'pre' - 'judging' those people and the burden of proof is on you."
And you're not pre-judging the slavemasters? You've also avoided my question about what proportion of the slavemasters were Black.
"Look, if you want to turn this into a debate about how black people are racist and therefore it's OK for you to be racist too, then say so and stop mucking about. We can all read between the lines."
I've never said anything about how Black people are racist. What I did say was that by using a, in my opinion, racist remark, to shame homophobic Jamaicans rather than banning their homophobic songs & actions & hitting them in their bank balances, you're trying to solve one wrong by using another. If you're happy with doing that, then that's up to you, I am not.
You might think that you can read between the lines, but what you are doing is writing your own words.

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 170th post - 1 Oct 2004 11:15

'Jamaicans came to Jamaica as a result of the slave trade from Africa, bringing with them their cultural prejudices.' What does that mean?
' I said that they brought with them "their cultural prejudices".' So what does THAT mean?
Now we have 'I never said that Black people as a race brought their homophobic prejudices with them. '
You sound pretty sure of yourself, so now we'll all hear your explanation for Jamaican homophobia.
If you please.

re: Slackness is Slavery Lexi Brooks-Binzer - 312th post - 30 Sep 2004 14:26
Very likely to be true, and a very intelligent posting! But how do you explain it in artists such as Eminem, who is obviously white, and is not therefore descended from slaves?
Perhaps this culture of homophobia has overlapped into all MOBO, e.g. hiphop, RnB, etc? (this, incidentally, makes your point doubly ironic; the very art form used to "fight the Man" is tainted by the values of those they believe they are fighting.)

If I did not enjoy hiphop so much for the rhyming (in some cases, falling little short of poetic), I might be inclined to stop buying all records in a protest :-)


re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 168th post - 30 Sep 2004 15:13
Eminem obviously white? You tell me.
He may not be descended from slaves or inherit the problems that slavery caused to black people, but he knows what sells records.
And he is still a prey to the attitudes that Slavery imposed on American culture in general.
One of these is power-worship. It is healthier to stay on the side of The Man than cause trouble.
So when a musical form like rap emerges out of a genuine sense of outrage and the frustrated need to be heard, it has to have a target to aim against.
In a just world, this would exclusively be the system and the politicians which brought about the sense of grievance in the first place. Against the music industry itself.
But as the system seems to be invulnerable, they have to look tough by picking on an easy target. Someone weaker than themselves. Add the necessity to be outrageous for its own sake, then promoting genocide is great press copy.
It is a sign of despair - that nothing can ever be changed for the better, That is worst aspect of the dreary death-worship which the music industry makes so much money from.
I know there are progressive, genuine artists, they are not the problem. The problem is that black music has insulated itself from the issues that underlie its existence, and the problems that its history have caused. And who's laughing? Everyone who wants black people to be nothing but minstrels playing at the birthday party on the plantation lawn.

re: Slackness is Slavery Misty the Cat - 524th post - 30 Sep 2004 15:42
Who are these, "everyone who wants black people to be nothing but minstrels playing at the birthday party on the plantation lawn". I rather think it might be people like you?
That being said, anyone who can observe that "black music has insulated itself from the issues that underlie its existence" has lost me.

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 171st post - 1 Oct 2004 11:20
The people who are laughing at the fact that that black music has insulated itself from the issues that underlie its existence, in this case by parroting the anti-human bigotries of a religion that was imposed on them by their owners.
You have to explain everything to some people.

re: Slackness is Slavery Misty the Cat - 527th post - 1 Oct 2004 13:21
I would imagine the vast majority of people in this country don't have the slightest interest in so-called "black music" - or even know what it is.
Oh - and it's not really OK - you seem to be a somewhat aggressive (and arrogant) person who has produced some theory which they think tip-top and is able to point the finger of blame at someone else - and then expect everyone to say how splendid it is.

You are merely either talking to yourself or a select group who I assume to be as bitter as yourself?

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 178th post - 1 Oct 2004 14:44
If the theory is that precarious, destroy it.
I'm talking to you, obviously. But I'm not blaming you, so why should you worry?
Who's bitter? Like the 'vast majority of people in this country' I hate he murder of human beings because of their sexuality (in the context of this arguent) and despise those who excuse it. Don't you? That's a very healthy instinct, I believe.
You remember The Beatles? That's how much people in this country care.

re: Slackness is Slavery Blinkersoff - 22nd post - 30 Sep 2004 16:46
Misty the Cat,
I'm afraid that, IMO, anyone who makes such crass remarks as "everyone who wants black people to be nothing but minstrels playing at the birthday party on the plantation lawn" is not interested in debate, but just having people agree with their opinions.

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 172nd post - 1 Oct 2004 11:24
And what, exactly, are your opinions on this. What's your explanation? What are you bringing to the party?

re: Slackness is Slavery Blinkersoff - 31st post - 1 Oct 2004 11:39
Little Richardjohn,
You're the one who wants a party, I want a discussion. Enjoy your party.

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 175th post - 1 Oct 2004 12:15
So let's get this straight.
You don't have an alternative explanation?

re: Slackness is Slavery Blinkersoff - 41st post - 1 Oct 2004 13:42
Little Richardjohn,
I have already given my alternative explanation, that homophobia was brought to Jamaica by the slaves in their own culture. We've all been waiting with baited breath for you to offer any form of proof of your opinion that the slaves were clean slates who had homophobia forced into them & also an answer to my question about how many slavemasters were not white. That you keep avoiding this answer means that we can take it that the answer is 'none'.
So your statements, "Jamaican homophobia is undoubtedly a hangover from its days as a very nasty slave plantation." & "Homophobia became engrained in the culture, and the result is the slackness of the lyrics currently under attack at M.O.B.O." is just another of the 'all the problems of the Black man are the White man's fault' excuses. I actually find your use of the word "slackness" highly offensive. The lyrics are not slack at all, they are nasty, offensive & if they were said about Black people, then I doubt very much if anyone would be suggesting that we just "shame" them.
So lets' get this straight, do you want to discuss this or do you want to make crass remarks in an attempt to "shame" me into accepting your theory?

re: Slackness is Slavery Little Richardjohn - 176th post - 1 Oct 2004 14:34
'It came from Africa' is not an explanation because you refuse to make a case for it. It came from the moon is just as plausible. Furthermore, it assumes an endemic homophobia in the range of cultures that were plundered for manpower.
That may or may not have been the case, but you refuse to tell us how you know, while at the same time ignoring the effects of slavery. You might as well ignore the cultural influence of The Holocaust or the Cold War.
My claim is based on the fact that in Jamaica the bible is used to justify persecution. In fact it is the main argument. Every Sunday you might hear preachers in evangelical churches railing against the sin of Sodom and wishing hellfire on its transgressors.
Also the fact that a fertile slave was more valuable than an infertile one.
That is the only evidence I can think of for the origins of the phenomenon. You have more?
I must say AGAIN that I never claimed they were 'clean slates', merely that the religion that was used to control them also justified the persecution of homosexuality, and that there were good economic reasons for this (fertility).
You seem to want to deny that slavery had any effects. You don't seem to believe that environment and economic forces have any effect on culture. Then what does?
'How many slaveowners were non white?' I have absolutely no idea. It makes no difference, the products of slave labour went to enrich the economies of the white Industrial world. And the church was one of the chief methods of controlling the slave workforce.
The money definitely didn't go to Africa, if that's what you're suggesting.
And yes, a lot of slaves were sold in Africa by Africans. Which is where I think you're heading next. So? What's that got to do with anything? Other than it being a poor dog-eared old argument wheeled out again and again to assuage middle class guilt and to try to lay the blame for Slavery at the door of its victims.

The Pennies Dropping

Gordon Brown talking about a new Marshall Plan for the developing world. Bush and Clinton touring the disaster sites TOGETHER. Colin Powell and JEB BUSH doing the same. The IMF and the World Bank issuing statements of almost open support.

Now no-one wants to carp. And the reality is that there is no alternative for these guys other than to put this one over big. When the news broke on Boxing Day, the console of the White House press office must have lit up like a panto set. OPPORTUNITY OF THE CENTURY ALERT.
In your face Osama. Would the 'Great Satan' do this? Or This?
The sub-editors of the world are ready with the headline: GREAT NEW DAWN FOR WORLD, says Bush. And who is he to let them down?

If this is the way it has to happen, then fair enough. But can it happen? Is a new Marshall Plan enough? Didn't that rather depend on there still being a Third World for its beneficiaries to exploit? Who will the new beneficiaries exploit? How will a new Marshall Plan succeed in the same economic system that created the Third World?

So the question for the kleptocrats is, how far are you willing to go?


Paedophobic Britain [boardwalk]

THIS COUNTRY HATES CHILDREN Little Richardjohn - 51st post - 1 Sep 2004 17:54

Standards of behaviour, rates of crime, and levels of drug abuse will keep on getting worse until this country decides to spend some money ensuring that kids are not forced to play in the streets.
Simple as that.
We treat kids like Precious Little Angels when we want them to be status symbols, but when they want to be themselves, we treat them like animals. We kick them out into the streets amongst the cars and drug-dealers and then expect them to be Little Lord Fauntleroys.
It is this country's attitude to children that stinks, not the attitudes of the kids themselves. There was a period of five years when my local council's budget on Youth spending was actually zero - zilch. With the result that most kids are completely bored out of their skulls and can't wait to be old enough to be smashed out of their skulls.
It is absolutely no use saying :'Well, I blame the parents.' Parents have no control over their children after the age of fourteen or so - that's the point of being 14 - you are nearly an adult and the less you do what they tell you, the more of an adult you are.
Besides, MacDonalds and the Music Industry have more control over children's attitudes than parents ever do. 'Discipline' is another chimera, another cop-out to avoid spending any money on proper youth facilities which would keep adolescents stimulated and amused. Which would allow them to socialize in a neutral environment which they felt they were in control of in some way and which gave then a greater sense of belonging to a wider community.
What community to kids belong to now? If it isn't dripping with Bling and driving a Porsche they don't want to know. And is it any wonder?
Thanks again Maggie Thatcher, hope the boy gets what he deserves.


update 15/2/07
"UNICEF report ranks well-being of British, U.S. children last in industrialized world"

Tell us something we didn't know.

But at least it's now official. We hate children most. We are officially the most paedophobic industrialised country.

And is it any wonder? The sole purpose of everything else in our godforsaken consumerist orgy is to bring as much gratification to those who can afford it as possible, so why shouldn't children serve the same purpose? They have become another product, a toy designed to enhance the social standing of the owners and make them feel good about themselves.

They do not represent the future, or even human beings in their own right. If they did, we would treat them as human beings. Our society would see that by wasting the social instincts of the next generation of decision makers, we are committing social suicide. But instead we bow to the needs of our cars and the Property Market by cleansing our streets of children, whenever they appear to be enjoying themselves, or merely being children.

From an early stage, if they are to learn to socialise and feel part of their communities, children need some kind of space, however primitive and improvised, they can call their own. Where they are NOT confined and bossed about at every turn, where they get the chance to negotiate their own rules. The technical term for this process is 'Play'.

The destruction of communities and the unprecedented consumer spending boom of the last ten years has bulldozed away Play, replacing it with television. There was simply no money in it...

Unless we blame British parents en masse. There is that excuse, I suppose. It seems that catching the ferry from Calais infects every parent with a virus which numbs the sense of nurture in human beings. Shouldn't we try to come up with a vaccine of some kind? Until then, all british parents should be put in prison, perhaps. It's the only way!

So What is Wales?

Dai Dragon. Old Castle Road. Llanelli 2007.
dai dragon - Photo Hosted at Buzznet
Welsh culture is one of many casualty cultures, a bit like bits of the ex Soviet Union or even Northern Ireland. Any national identifying culture it may have had was finally destroyed by industrialisation in the C19, and with it the language.
Wales is rightly now trying to reconstruct the language, and with it the culture. But can it work this way round?
In a living language, words regularly come from below and from common usage. But in Welsh, new words almost always appear in print before anyone utters them. The absence of new Welsh slang from the dictionaries is an indicator of this. In Wales, almost anything new arrives via English, and we then make a pathetic attempt to make it our own by coming up with some daft literal translation. 'Crematorium' becomes 'the place where you get burnt' - more or less. For this and many other cringe-making examples, see any road sign in Wales.
The result is that many people who speak Welsh, even as a first language, do not have the vocabulary to discuss genuinely subtle distinctions in an argument. My 65 year old brother - an educated, highly literate Welsh speaker from birth and a militant welsh chauvinist who has sung for the best male voice choir in Wales for forty years - recently admitted to me that there are conversations he could have in English, but not in Welsh. At a certain level of complexity, he just had to use English. This shocked me, and convinced me that if he couldn't have a genuinely free conversation in Welsh, then very few others can. There must be just a handful of dusty academics in an attic in Aberystwyth or Machynlleth who can have a decent conversation in Welsh. And there they are, synthesizing the language as we speak, like an ad agency in a Harry Potter movie.
But a language is important to maintaining an identity, so something has to be done. So the synthesis of new Welsh is a life support system which is vital until the cultural heart starts beating again, and we’re stuck with it. Until the Great Redeemer comes.
Which brings us to the key factor of Welsh culture, The Messiah. King Arthur was our man as little children:
“Arthur awake, don’t sleep for long. Come back, oh come back to your land!.” as our entire generation used to sing at the tops of our voices in our little village schools: “Arthur Deffro! Paid a cysgu'n hir!” However, in the real world, successive bouts of economic depression sent alternate generations seeking for something universal, but with local flavour. Revivalist Christianity fitted the bill perfectly.
The last major example of this, led by the charismatic Evan Roberts in 1904, engulfed the entire industrialized belt and beyond. It created the culture of music and Romantic devotion and misty-eyed longing which has become the Welsh trademark. The thing called ‘hiraeth’. Part blues, part weltschmerz, part schmaltz, part rusting steam engine.
Its message of an individual relationship with a God who understood your suffering and who guaranteed your salvation through music and a Wordsworthian oneness with nature worked like a charm on a generation which had seen its beautiful landscapes carbonized and mutilated, and who spent their lives either underground or servicing the hellish furnaces of the steel mills. We were the Israelites in an industrial Egypt or Babylon. That was the impression we were given at school, even in the early 1960s. And one day, just you wait and see…
Of all the non-conformist sects, the Baptists held a special appeal. In a country of rivers, how could it fail? Some of its appeal must have lay in a sense of reclamation of nature from the scarring, charring industrialization of the Railway Age. Of using the waters to cleanse the soul rather than cool the furnace and temper the steel and wash the coal.

DSCF0769 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet
Adulam baptismal pool. Afon Lleidi. Felinfoel. Carmarthenshire.

Either way, religion was taken very seriously, even that late, and historically was undoubtedly a strong communal working class bond. Those who attended the much grander and over-adorned Anglican churches tended to be either English speakers, those in ‘trade’, isolated farmers, or those who serviced the domestic needs of the ‘county’.
The Welsh industrial working class would have said they were ‘chapel’. And even if they didn’t attend, they still knew the hymns from school. And what glorious anthems they were. Stadium rockers every one. ‘Oh Iesu Mawr!’ ('Llef') ‘Mi Glywaf Dyner Lais’ ‘Calon Lan’ and the rest. All soaring musical expressions of communal defiance and hope, whatever the lyrics.
The sound of a full Welsh chapel in full voice is like no other sound on earth, and part of the credit must accidentally go to the architects of the buildings themselves. Architecture which produced an acoustic which must have fed into the composition process at some stage.
So the chapel stood in for the theatre. As there was no popular indigenous Welsh Theatre at the time, to speak of. And everyone was allowed to perform. If you were very good, you got to solo. As in the best tradition of the American Southern Baptists. The other black people who used the call-and-response choral form and relished those big fat rousing chords that dripped with loss and promise. Amazing Grace, the seminal hymn of romantic individualism, is dear to all Baptists. And for all I know could be a key stone in the foundation of early Blues.
That black culture went on to become what it is today while Welsh culture stayed more or less where it was in 1904, give or take the odd micro-wave, is the mystery. A culture does not rely on either its own language or favourable circumstances to make an impression on the world, it seems.
But a community in trouble, like the Wales of its formative period, the 1930’s, does establish its own forms of self-defence. Enter the trade unions and the labour movement.
It could be said that the ultimate political expression of Welsh politics is the NHS. Aneurin Bevan the True Redeemer – betrayed of course, by those nearest to him – but still the man who left one of the greatest legacies in history.
That is Bevan’s place in the Welsh pantheon. But whatever his achievements, he is still only a hero. And a culture that relies on heroes to define its identity is, again, in trouble.
The heroes today are the entertainers. Sportsmen and musicians. Can this class be trusted to carry the burden of the Welsh identity? Does any nation have an identity any longer? Look at England if you want a real identity crisis.
At least we never had an Empire to lose. That must have really hurt.


Super Fairy Rules the Pixies


LONDON: 3 May 2000

In the final analysis, it was all just so British.
First the genteel horticultural festivities, then the rituals of MacTrashing and CopFronting to allow the local ploughboys to let off steam, and then the timely appearance of Super Fairy, the decorated handmaiden of the ritual Spring riot, who resolves all feuds and brings peace and accomodation to the community.
That was Mayday 2000. Less a global Anarchist uprising than a rural village fete circa 1887. As in all ritual festivals, the powers of stability were reinvoked, and all parties came away with their prejudices intact.
This was a depressing day, except perhaps for one person: the superheroine in the pink tutu, who completely fulfilled her destiny on a grand scale. Whenever the 360 degree standoff in Trafalgar Square became too rumbunctious, her sequinned pink attenae would twitch to the message "This looks like a job for SuperFairy" and in a flash she would appear between the lines of blue and black. Then, with a swivel of her bellybutton and a whisk of her pink feather duster, all was peace and love.
The sinister hooded pixie hordes could no more bring themselves to roughouse A Lady than could Wilfred Hyde White. Very laudable, very British.
The lesson of Trafalgar Square 2000 was that 3000 fearless anarchists were kept in check by one scantily clad show-off. Without her they might well have broken the thin cordon which kept them illegally imprisoned for a bladder-straining four hours. This was a total humiliation and everyone knew it, especially the police.
If the battle against global corporatism is to succeed, it has to be driven by a commitment to ideals which can be shared, and which cannot be deflected by a single mother in fancy dress. Anarchism, if this was what we saw on May Day, obviously does not match up to the challenge.

The Real Countryside Alliance [boardwalk]

'Why were the police so violent...?' MB debate. Re: mass demontrations and attempts to invade parliament by Countryside Alliance. 18/9/04

re: Police Thuggery Little Richardjohn - 97th post - 19 Sep 2004 18:03
As a photographer who saw most of the major demonstrations in London from 1974 - 2001, and judging from the extensive and lingering Sky footage, I can safely say that the police were no more violent yesterday than they usually are when faced with a hostile crowd.
If the OC asks for the crowd to clear, and they refuse or even advance on police lines, the police have full authority to use necessary force to maintain public order. Where's your problem with that, Daily Mail?

The problems usually arise when, as in a venue like Trafalgar Square, when the police routinely and stupidly cordon off the entire demonstration, tell them to MOVE and people have nowhere to go. This was not the case yesterday. In addition, this was Parliament under siege.... And to allow a seething mob of five thousand up to the doors was simply not on.

It's a good job the million anti war protestors showed more respect for parliament than this bunch of thugs, otherwise Tony Blair would be retraining for the priesthood as we speak and we wouldn't be at war.

Interesting how the people we are always told are undermining the British way of life by not wanting to kill people are more democratic and downright BRITISH than those who wrap themselves in the flag and scream how they and only they are the saviours of the British heritage because they like killing foxes. These rednecks are the real enemy within, as we shall see when they start clogging up the motorways with their tractors and people die in road-blocked ambulances.

Incedentally, the Poll Tax analogy is totally false. For a start, the levels of preparation were minimal. Most of the weaponry in '90 came in the shape of local street furniture and paving. On Wednesday, there were thunderflashes for instance. They don't sell those on Westmister Bridge. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: Police Thuggery Bornyesterday - 402nd post - 20 Sep 2004 09:36
A bunch of thugs,the enemy within?...i think you will find the majority were hard working decent law abiding citizens, a few obviously may have spoiled things but the question arises why they have indeed been pushed to such lengths in the very first place.
The quicker our gov't realises and listens to us just for one split second then the better.

Until then thugs and rednecks whatever you may wish to call them will continue to show their feeling.

We all know who the real enemy within are,sorry i will not be blinkered by this sad state of affairs and neither will many other onlookers.

Kind regards.

re: Police Thuggery Little Richardjohn - 98th post - 20 Sep 2004 11:40
I think you will find that the vast majority of people on most demonstrations are decent law-abiding.. etc etc.
It doesn't stop them being labelled thugs by the Daily Mail, and it doesn't stop the police behaving as the police always do, which is to thump everything within reach if they feel threatened, and often if they don't.

The reason I say that the C.A. are the enemy within (apart from it again being Mailspeak for anyone opposing war and promoting change) is because of their innate hostility to any notion of progress or collective responsibility. A hostility to the very idea of society. If it was left to this political faction, our society would not exist. From the abolition of slavery through votes for women to the NHS, these are the constant opponents of progress. The sturdy English Yeomen of yore who refuse to be pushed around by a 'Westminster elite' - namely the democratically elected government. They were the ones who attacked parliament, not the million strong anti-war demonstrators, who could easily have brought down this government if they'd thought of it, or maybe had less respect for the institution in general.

A million people on the streets can bring down any government in the world. But in a democratic society (if this is a democratic society), to do that is undemocratic. Therefore, those who choose to do it are an enemy of the system. Whether their reasons for doing so are 'right' or 'wrong' is a matter for individual assessment. And the only statistics we have to make an assessment in this case are the repeated opinion polls which show a stable 2/3rds majority in favour of a ban, and the re-election with an increased majority of a government which everyone knew was committed to a ban. I think that makes this one a no-brainer.

Defining a thug is more difficult, I admit, but it is the argot of the tabloids, which is why I used it, so you should ask them to define it for you.

Perhaps 'Blackshirts' would have been a more apt term for what we're talking about here. Or rural rednecks - for such a thing does exist in this country, only we don't like to talk about it. Even when someone like Fred West brings it forcefully to our attention.

Let's call them a gang of young men who have been deluded into thinking that they are being persecuted by a mysterious conspiracy of alien forces, but who are actually being manipulated by a few vested interests into putting their brawn on the front line of a false dispute. They have nothing to gain from their actions. So maybe they enjoy it. A lot of the people I've seen mixing it at demos over the years seemed to be having a whale of a time, unless they were on the receiving end, and that includes the police. People who enjoy being violent as long as they are hurting someone and not being hurt themselves. This makes them thugs, in my book. And if the decent law abiders are cheering them on, it makes them thugs too.

A ban on fox-hunting would open up huge commercial opportunities for OPEN drag hunting. Anyone who could ride a horse would in theory be able and willing to take part in what is one of the most exhilerating days out anyone could hope to enjoy, and one which is denied to thousands because 1. They don't own a horse, and 2. They don't enjoy killing things for the sake of it. So the idea that a ban would inevitably destroy the rural economy is garbage. MORE people would ride to hounds than ever, and this is the clue to the hostility. The countryside would, if it got its act together, be 'swamped' with townies and lower class oiks parading about as if they owned the place. Awful people. And for the people who run the hunts, this would never do, in spite of the rewards to the general rural population.

You would find that some of the larger landowners would reveal themselves as the Dogs in the Manger they are when they banned drag hunts from their land. Simply out of spite.

This in spite of the fact that their hunts have been trampling over and ruining the gardens and smallholdings of the rural working class for generations.

As to why they feel the way they do. I think you can look to the last knockings of British rural feudalism to answer that one. There is still a rigid power structure in the country. A system of unofficial patronage and boycott in which all sorts of transactions are on an informal nod and a wink basis. And if you are the one doing the nodding, you play ball or get in trouble, or at least end up without the seasonal work you depend on, or the loan of the tractor you were promised, or the deal to build that extension goes to your rival in the next village. And feudalism is, as you know, the kissing cousin of fascism, which has a long and venerable history of depending upon the decent middle class for support.

I don't carry any torch for Tony Blair, and any way he chooses to destroy himself is OK by me, but we should be under no illusions about the nasty political tendencies at work here.

Update. Feb 08. You read it here first.

Hunting Ban Sparks Rural Boom

re: British Identity [boardwalk]

re: British Identity Little Richardjohn - 86th post - 13 Sep 2004 10:34

This is more specifically about England, but applies across 'GB'.
The price we paid for being the guinea pigs of the Industrial revolution was the eradication of our ethnic culture and identity. We're almost unique in this. Nearly every other state managed to retain some basic cultural infrastructure, even our nearest neighbours and those who we just beat to the industrial tape.

So now, almost the only time when most of the people of the country feel part of the same thing - which is a rough definition of 'Identity' to be going on with - is when England play football. And even that is in reality just another way of selling Satellite dishes.

What a state of affairs to be in. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: British Identity kid a - 35th post - 13 Sep 2004 10:46
What a lot of grumpy disillusioned people you are! Britain is now a far better country than it used to be. It is different, for sure, but not many would agree with the pessimistic and defeatist attitudes you have. This country is vibrant, creative, tolerant and has lots of good things going for it - what a pity you can't see it. Sure it has problems, but everywhere has. Try looking on the bright side for once, you miserabilists, and be glad that the ever changing history of this country, and its diverse inhabitants, is evolving positively. And don't blame the BBC for that. Stop reading the Daily Mail, get out and engage with people, you will find it is not what you think.

re: British Identity Little Richardjohn - 88th post - 13 Sep 2004 11:28
Identity is not about success or failure, as Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair would have you believe, and many of the things we nicked or had imposed upon us from outside are great and are all we can call our identity.
But it's not a single identity, probably hasn't ever been and maybe never should, but nevertheless, the question was about the British identity - a collective idea.
So is it possible for Britain to have a collective notion of itself in the same way that France does?
I don't think so, and every time a conscious effort is made to stir up such a thing, it's invariably because of some dreary sporting palaver, or some toff dying. And the result is the most mindless, maudlin, lickspittle exhibition of hysterical mass toadying and hero-worship you could expect to see outside North Korea.
But the opportunities for merchandising - now that we are good at.
If you wanted a demonstration of how deeply the English sense of identity goes, you might have counted the number of St George cross flags hanging from windows the day after England were dumped from Euro 04. No prizes.
Our defining characteristic is the worship of power. 'No Time for LOSERS 'cos we are the champions of the WORLD' as the grand old neo-fascist hymn goes. It should be our national anthem.

re: British Identity P.D.Burnett - 309th post - 13 Sep 2004 11:36
Fashionable nihilist aka: Little Richardjohn:
Simple question: do you believe in a society in which kids are fit to be brought up in?
Or are we resigned to the Little Richardjohn eternity of nothingness.
Make a start for change right now. Why not believe in progress? It's far better than your social sargasso sea. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: British Identity Little Richardjohn - 90th post - 13 Sep 2004 12:14
Yes it is a simple question, so long as we both have the same idea of 'fit'. So what's your definition of a fitting society?
Do you choose to buy into the Rupert Murdoch plastic Britain, with its hankering after a mythical land of chirpy cockneys who loved their old mums but were hardworking and hard as nails with it, or try to understand how we might save the things we love from the ravages of the market place?
And that includes our young people more than anything.
OK, you talk about children, how much more tax would you be prepared to pay to be spent on youth provision? On ways of making young people feel part of the society they live in? At your last local government election, did you vote for the party promising to spend the most on teenagers?
Alright,it's an academic question, because there won't have been any parties offering to spend ANY money in that direction. But if there was one, would you have been prepared to put your money where your mouth is?

Which brings me to the other defining characteristic of the British, the inability to understand that things have to be paid for. That Nurses and Teachers don't grow on trees. But we'll no doubt come to that later. [reply] [Complain about this post]

re: British Identity P.D.Burnett - 313th post - 13 Sep 2004 13:18
I also object to the sort of society portrayed by Rupert Murdoch. It's packaged up and manipulated. Above all, I want a moral society; not one based on religious edicts or based on shallow 'values' like human rights.
Agree with last don't get something for nothing, whether its nurses and teachers or rights.

re: British Identity Little Richardjohn - 91st post - 13 Sep 2004 13:39
I don't understand the dichotomy you insist upon between morals and rights.
How can you have one without the other?
I believe that it's morally wrong for you to steal my lawnmower, so I have a right to expect some retribution when you do, and the right to be protected from all lawnmower thieves.
For every moral standard, there is an implicit right to be protected from the consequences of others failing to maintain it. Otherwise, what on earth is the point?
So the universal abhorrence of torture leads to the U.N.'s Human Rights policy. The Victorian acknowledgement that stuffing little boys up chimneys was morally wrong, as well as bad for business, led to legislation to give those boys the right to an education. blah blah Slavery ... blah blah N.H.S.....
The 'Rights' you dismiss so easily are the direct result of morals. Without them, morals would be simply a branch of philosophy.
The point is, who decides what is moral?
And to drag us back to the issue, I object to the British moral code and its subsequent national identity being determined by big business for the purposes of making money. That is not nihilism as I understand it.

re: British Identity P.D.Burnett - 316th post - 13 Sep 2004 13:57
You seem to think that 'morals' is is a sub-branch of 'rights', rather than the other way around.

Human Rights have been discussed for a few centuries now and are the secular response to the vacuum left when you trash religion. They are no more than ink on pieces of paper regardless of the willingness of liberals to die for them. I reject religious ethics, but to substitute with such thin gruel as 'rights' just won't do. This is my reference to 'nihilism'; for me 'rights' barely overlaps with ethics. It's too vacuous.

re: British Identity Little Richardjohn - 92nd post - 13 Sep 2004 17:35
No I don't, I did explain. Really.
Rights are the implementation of morals. How can your morals exist without being made flesh in the form of an agreed code of prohibition. Laws.
You just seem to want to exist beautifully. How does that get the baby washed? And the centuries over which we've discussed them have seen the end of dozens of barbaric hangovers from the days when people believed in god. Blah blah Slavery blah blah.
This 'thin gruel' changed millions of people's lives for the better, yours included, probably, unless that is you're from an aristocratic family which can trace its lineage - and income - back to The Civil War at least. So to say they are merely 'ink on pieces of paper' is a bit offensive, actually. The right to vote, the right to free education, health care, justice - all thin gruel. So how would you give your brand of ethics a social form. What sort of society would it be, structurally. In other words, what would be its IDENTITY?