Tag Archives: politics

Friday Photo Blogging: 42 days?

Slippery Slope

No, Mr Brown. You are a weasel, a fearmonger, a small man in a big man’s expensive suit, and – like your predecessor, and many others – a panderer to corporate interests and waning governments with imperial ambitions which mirror that collapsed edifice which Daily Mail readers still feel should stretch around the globe by dint of nothing more than divine grace, stiff upper lips and unbridled paranoid bigotry based in a fundamental fear of otherness.

No one in the world ever has nor ever will do as much to curtail the freedoms I was fortunate enough to born with, Mr Brown, as you and others of your ilk. You wield fear like a whip, but you turn it on those you claim you are elected to serve.

What have you ever suffered or lost through the choices made by others on your behalf, Mr Brown? What have you given up to defend what you believe? What do you really know of fear, beyond the thought of losing the privilege you have amassed? Evidently not enough; as it has always been, the people will reap what the suits have sown. I hope that one day we will all turn around and feed it to you until you choke.

“Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and a tyrant and I declare him my enemy.” – Proudhon

We now return you to what passes for regular programming on this channel.

Writing about music

Another slowish week, but that’s not at all unwelcome. Festival season means the PRs are all tied up promoting things I’m not yet a big enough wheel to be of assistance with*. I can deal with that.

Album of the week

Not a great deal to choose from, really, so The Offspring take the crown easily with their eighth album Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace.

Writing about books

The Love & Sex With Robots piece is all but finished; last few paragraphs and a brisk polish, and that badboy should be ready to roll out of the warehouse, so to speak.

I’m about a fifth of the way into Schmidt’s The Coming Convergence; it should be a swift read, because I seem to be a lot more technoliterate than the reader it is designed for (so I can skip a lot of the passages telling me stuff I already know).


The new Futurismic bloggers are settling in nicely, and by the end of this evening I should have fixed over 380 dead incoming links that got broken when the old Moveable Type installation collapsed on us – which I hope will boost our PageRank and SERPS somewhat, and bring with it a boost in passing traffic.

The other good news is it seems the Project Wonderful ad slots are starting to mature nicely, in that advertisers are recognising their worth and bidding competitively on them. I’m hoping for more growth in this area over the next six months – especially if the dead link fixin’ mentioned above has some effect.


The tweaking of websites and the publicising of publishers continues at a steady pace; nothing substantial to show off yet, but there’ll be solid results by the close of business this month.

Books and magazines seen

Farah Mendlesohn - Rhetorics Of FantasyIt’s a lit-crit double whammy this week!

First off we have my long-awaited copy of Farah Mendlesohn’s Rhetorics Of Fantasy – courtesy the author herself at last weekend’s AGM meet-up – which I have been looking forward to reading since hearing the framework of its taxonomy explained by Brian Stableford at last year’s Masterclass – bloody hell, a year ago.

Secondly I have my second review job for Foundation, namely The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed (eds. Laurence Davis and Peter Stillman) – which, as far as Amazon is concerned, has been out in the States since 2005. So either it’s getting a relaunch on this side of the pond, or Foundation‘s reviews department makes me look like a paragon of organisation and productivity**.

The Utopian Politics of Ursula Le Guin's The DispossessedI couldn’t resist it, basically, though I wonder if maybe I haven’t bitten off a little more than I can chew – I’m even less qualified to talk politics than I am lit-crit***.

But Ms Le Guin’s blurb praises the book as not just a good and valuable examination of her famous novel, but refreshingly jargon-free, so maybe I’ll be OK. One thing’s for sure, there’s gonna be plenty of food for thought in there.

Aside from those two heavy-hitters, some fantasy titles from Orbit are all for which we have to thank the deities of the postbox this week.


So, on the surface of it – and by any metric of meaningful use beyond the confines of my own emotional landscape – it’s been a pretty good week, if not as productive as I’d have liked.

However, things haven’t been entirely peachy; I shan’t go into details (because this isn’t LJ or MySpace) but I’ve been an emotional wreck for no clearly discernible reason, and have consequently been shitty to people who didn’t deserve it – so there’s a nice nugget of guilt for me to chew over the weekend. Mmm, tasty guilt.

Couple that with a growing panic about next weekend’s impending Masterclass (for which I’ve still yet to read anything from the reading list that I hadn’t read before receiving it), and a certain degree of riding herd on my new bloggers at Futurismic****, and it’s obvious with hindsight why I’ve been sleeping badly and unable to concentrate on anything. Hence nearly being assassinated by a blind taxi driver while cycling to the day job this morning tipped me into a state verging on hysteria.

Thankfully my line manager is a good person, and listened to me gibber for a bit before recommending I use some of my vast backlog of annual leave allowance and take some extra time off next week. End result: I’m working a two day week from Monday, giving me two clear days to attack the Masterclass material while clearing down all my other work; then I return to work the following Tuesday. Signing the leave sheet was such a tension-release that I almost wept. I suspect I’ve been letting things get on top of me a little.

But hey, it’s the weekend! And there are few ills that The Friday Curry doesn’t at least provide the illusion of healing. After which I may go and listen to hideously loud rock music in a side-street pub, if I haven’t already fallen asleep. Enjoy your weekends, folks – hasta luego.

[ * Read as – no free festival passes for me this year. Meh. ]

[ ** Under-qualified like a toddler with dentist’s tools, then. ]

[ *** Only kidding, Andy. 🙂 ]

[ **** No discredit to them, by the way, they’re doing great; it’s just one of those jobs that eats waaaay more time than you ever expect it to before you start. ]

The politics of despair – a ‘face-meets-desk’ post

All things considered, I’ve been pretty cheerful of late – a situation I’ve worked hard to maintain, primarily through the sensible avoidance of political news of all types.

But sometimes you just can’t avoid the worst of it … and so now I’m off to the kitchen to make a pint of espresso which I can inject into my eyeballs to hopefully ameliorate the clangorous echoes of anthropogenic FAIL.


Well, I was prepared to put the election of this racist over-privileged buffoon down to the innately British habit of supporting the person least suitable for the post, no matter how nonsensical their ascension to said post would be.

But then this morning someone Twittered me a link to a news story about Americans holding prayer meetings at gas stations. So that God will help to lower the prices, you see.

And then I read about politicians – ostensibly on the same side of the political divide – not only discrediting one another simply because they want the big chair at the head of the table (and if I can’t have it nor can you, so nyaaah), but also quite deliberately undermining any remaining semblance of public respect for education and experience (and, seemingly, basic common sense) by playing the Everyman card.

Good grief.

The funny bit is that people regularly tell me that anarchism is an untenable political philosophy because it would invite greed, self-interest and mob-rule stupidity to take the wheel. In which case I’m not entirely sure, at this precise moment of time, what we have to lose.

Now, where’s my coffee? I worry that I’m slowly turning into Warren Ellis …

Things you really should know …

if you have upgraded (or are about to upgrade) to WordPress 2.5. To be fair, most of this should be obvious to anyone accustomed to learning software by getting their hands dirty, or who has been using WordPress for more than a few months – almost everything is still there, but it has been shuffled around and prettified somewhat.

While it does explain how to squash some of the media uploader bugs (hint – the Bad Behaviour plugin), it doesn’t explain why the new image insertion protocols are so weirdly different. Yeah, that’s me – all stuck in my ways. Gimme back my automatically-created thumbnails, you bastards – The Dreaded Press requires them!


if you’re going to talk about the Middle East.

The title is “What Every American Should Know About The Middle East“, but I can’t think of a huge number of Brits who couldn’t do with taking the three minutes it will take to have some completely misfounded notions defused.

Of course, as with all such things, the people who most need to read it are the ones who won’t or can’t.


In which someone else throws my OMGbleakdarkfuture trigger

I am, by nature, a cynical man. A pessimist, even – especially when it comes to matters environmental. Some might even say overly negative. I’ve certainly shown evidence of depressive traits.

But even I feel like Happy Bozo The Happy Petrochemicals Clown by comparison to Peter Watts:

“There was never a time when things could be turned around with such petty gestures. You want to effect real change? You’ve got to address the root of the problem: human psychology. We evolved in the moment, we evolved to recognize imminent and proximate threats: pestilence, predators, an alpha male coming at us with murder in his eyes. The site of a rotting corpse or a deformed child makes us squirm; the toothy smile of a great white freezes our blood. But we never evolved to internalize graphs and columns of statistics. They may be real; they just don’t feel that way.”

That’s the most cheery paragraph. And just to preempt any possible confusion, I’m linking to that post because I think he’s utterly right.

A brief message from the Ministry Of Truth

Everyone thinks they have a novel in them. This storytelling urge apparently runs all the way into the Ministry of Defence, who’ve decided to rewrite a certain rather gory tale with no forseeable ending that’s set in the Middle East. After all, the truth – when unpalatable – is best covered up. Especially when the children might hear it.

Perhaps some children, encouraged by their parents or just simply contrarian by nature, will refute this fictionalisation of a massive financially-motivated war crime by any other name. At which point they will doubtless have their DNA sampled for a database that is just waiting to be hacked open like a decades-old pomegranate, under suspicion of having the potential to become a life-long offender – which, once stigmatised as such, they are most certainly more likely to become.

Sneaky little free-thinking scum-bags – they will be easily spotted, as they’ll be the ones who refuse to swear allegiance to a puppet monarchy.

[ The next person who tells me I should be more proud to be British is going to receive all the swearing that I just redacted from this post before publishing it, and then some.

The next person to blame the ills of the country on im’grunts or tur’rists will spend the next two days in casualty having my boot surgically removed from their arse. ]