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Monday, 9 October 2006

What the Papers Say...

Most of my regular readers (thanks to both of you for checking in btw...) will know my views on the mainstream media (....a cynical world populated by overpaid liars who thanks to mumsy and dadsy's connections have managed to overcome the the fact that they are barely literate and secured themselves a platform from which to distort and mangle the world we all see before us into a barely recognisable hellhole populated by perverts, immigrants and corrupt politicos. And don't get me started on the Daily Mail....) So it will come as some surprise to some of you that I spent most of yesterday scanning the pages of the Observer newspaper. (Well, S. has had the flu, so the usual bout of rowing and acrimony has had to be postponed. Why she insists on making me sit shivering in that bloody boat all weekend, I'll never know....)

So, what's going on in the world then Bobster?? I hear you cry. Well, important world events first; there's a new Scorcese film out with Jack Nicholson in it. Phil French gives it the thumbs up - and he should know. It's got lots of swearing and violence in it - so fans hoping for a return to Kundun territory will be severely disappointed. And a chap called Richard Ford has a book out - last in his The Sportswriter trilogy - that sounds worth a look. Elsewhere in the review section, inspired by the New York Times who voted Toni Morrison's masterpiece Beloved* as the best American book of the last 25 years, they invited a select panel of writers (for which read "a bunch of hacks with little better to do...and Sarah Waters") to select the best British novel of the last quarter century. Fabulous Brit. author J.M. Coetzee (yes, I know he's a voortrekker - I was being ironic) wins out, his apartheid novel Disgrace just nudging my old mucker and literary guru Mardy Amis' Money into the runners up slot. I too was surprised that Tony "Awight?" Parsons' Man and Boy/Apples & Pears/Richard & Judy trilogy had been overlooked by the judges. Literary time moves slowly, but will eventually judge him kindly, no doubt... Oh, and according to the Wimmin's section, we are having less and less sex, apparently. News to Spinny, I'm sure.

Of less import, but making a bigger splash (well, it was on page 2) is Jack Straw and his outrageous assertion that he actually likes to have facial contact with attendees to his MP's surgery for "one to one" meetings. Canny Jack, despite exhibiting a huge degree of cultural sensitivity and having couched his critique of the severest form of veiling in moderate language, surely knew full well that he would ignite a seething debate into this highly emotive issue. Sure enough, in wades lovable catholic mentalist Reeeeeeuiuuuuurrrrrggghhhhhth Kelly to say that Straw is wrong to pick upon Muslim women who, of course, are entitled to wear what the cunting hell they like (I'm paraphrasing here, obviously) so long as they don't have explosives strapped to themselves or are wearing femidoms, stuff like that... She argues, quite sensibly for an Angus Dei** mental, that if you want to pick holes in Islam's treatment of women, you should start with the domestic violence doled out to them and the fact that many young women, veiled or not, aren't allowed to leave their homes to integrate with their dope smoking, binge drinking non-Muslim counterparts at University and College. These poor women are being excluded from being allowed to better themselves (which, in Corporate Blair's Britain is far more important than their standing with Allah, of course it is...) Can of worms duly opened...

I couldn't really give a fuck what women wear if they are choosing to do so themselves. What I do object to is cant. And hypocrisy. The same people who are saying that it's their human right to wear as many layers of clothing as they choose would not extend the same courtesy to women who choose to wear as few (and as scantily revealing, we should hope) as they like. This is the problem - Straw has begun an argument that he can't win. It's unusual for me to quote directly a moderate Muslim cleric, but here I feel I must make an exception. Hasan Yousef Eshkevari was hounded by the Atatollahs of the Iranian Islamic Revolution for expressing his revulsion at the regime's street enforcers who would greet unveiled women with the cry "Ya ru-sari, ya tu-sari!" It roughly translates as "either a headscarf or a head smack..." You pays your money....

So, now you know why I never read the papers...

* a wise choice - if you haven't read it, you'll have to go a long way to find better, more moving and provocative prose.

** I know, I know - it's Agnes really...


Almost forgot:

Wonderful to hear that "Green" Tory/Celebrity Charity Poker Scamster Zac Goldsmith's wife ("or whatever fuck she is"***) is called Scheherazade.

I bet she could tell a tale or two...

*** © Spinal Tap.

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  1. Mmmm interesting. You certainly employed your time a lot better than i did over the weekend. I did bugger all over the weekend apart from watch the TV and sleep (jet lag's a bitch) Anywho I try to steer clear of the papers it's all too depressing and annoying.

  2. I haven't read the Observer review section yet - perhaps now I don't need to. Extremely glad to hear TP (for my bung-hole!) didn't make the top 25 - can't STAND him or his writing unless it's in the NME c.1978

  3. bb - yes that's normally my angle - also, I'm usually recuperating from a hefty buie binge, so reading tends not to be at the top of the list.


    Yes, he's annoying, isn't he?

    Great Pooh -cast by the way. I sincerely hope (and somehow suspect) that it won't be the last. I did one yesterday, but I was pissed. Will have either to severely edit or delete in its entirety.....

    The books list is quite interesting - although it was a bit disheartening to realise I'd only read about 4 of the top 25...

  4. For the first time in ages I didn't read all the Sunday papers and I don't feel the poorer for it.
    As for cultures which require women to put bags over their heads or even worse damage women's self-esteem to such an extent that they put bags over their heads without being told to.....I just don't get it. Maybe someone can explain.

  5. let me be the party pooper! sorry, I don't read newspapers at all..period!! Oh, apart from the odd crossword or two, written not verbal...

  6. I must read 'Beloved' sometime and see how it measures up to my own humble efforts. I think I get the 'provocative''s the 'moving' I have trouble with.

  7. Richard Ford is an excellent writer - always good. I'll be reading it!

  8. 'Beloved' is rather over-rated. I wouldn't put it up there with the greats. Interesting, yes. Great, no. It's a bit too worthy. It's almost like losing the battle isn't it? As soon as you mention certain keywords you know you have to like something. It's like film-makers who make films about certain topics - they have to have 'gravitas' because they are about certain topics. You can't slag them off because...'Oooh's too sensitive. It has gravitas man!'

    Ignore me, I can't explain this very well here.

  9. I very rarely read fiction. However, I intend to change this at the weekend by obtaining a copy of the Observer to see wether Chairman Jordan will have anything else to say about his recent purchase of the freehold (re: Selhurst Park). I'm curious as to what the fellow will say about Ron Noades (I just can't resist reading trash like that).

    Jack Straw is a cunt. He shook hands with Mugabe and he didn't even know it at the time. I suppose 'they' all look the same to you, don't they Jack?