Feb 2007

Catching up Two

Ummmm, first I’d like to pose a quick question of style, dear patient reader. Do you think it’s better for a blogger to write three or four short posts, each about a specific topic or news item or whatever; OR, one longer piece incorporating all? Y’see, my natural tendency is to write vaguely chatty meandering posts that take in a few issues… sometimes giving them their own sub-heading, sometimes just allowing them to run into one another and do their own thing. It’s how I think… probably has something to do with spending the 90s trying to be both a philosopher and an industrial engineer. And I’ve noticed that I’m very much in the minority on this approach to blogging. Most go down the several shorter posts road. While that clearly makes a blog easier to reference and arguably more useful as a source of information (as far as a blog can be), it’s just not the way I write.

All the same, if a huge majority of my readership (say… three or more) felt that shorter, punchier posts might make this a groovier place, then I’d certainly give it some consideration.

Which doesn’t mean I’d change my style of course. A part of me would indeed consider it, but there’s also a part of me that would think, “oh, who gives a rat’s arse what they think?” And I’m not entirely sure which part of me would win that battle.

All of which is a characteristically verbose introduction to another, ooh look! a collection of links and a paragraph about why each of them is noteworthy post. Dig.

First up is Steve Bell’s most recent “Dr. John” Reid cartoon. What I find both chilling and very funny (don’t you love art that inspires wildly conflicting emotions?) is the fact that the cartoon merely depicts Reid along with a caption that accurately sums up his position on freedom of speech. It’s phrased wickedly, of course, but it’s basically no more than a bald statement of fact. Lovely.

Then we have the news that a US Air Force pilot has been demoted / forced to resign because she posed naked for Playboy. Of course, anyone who knows me will immediately realise that I’m only drawing attention to this story because it allows me to quote Apocalypse Now in context… not that you really need a justification for quoting The Now whether in or out of context. All the same, who can read that story and not hear the voice of Kurtz…

We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!

Can you think of anything more ridiculous than an organisation that trains its members to more effectively murder people, getting squeamish when one of them flashes a bit of flesh?

But I wouldn’t want to think all the best stuff is happening in the mainstream media. Cos it ain’t. You never ever get lines like, “It illustates more eloquently than my analysis ever could just how utterly fucking deluded Mr Bond is.” in the mainstream media. And the world is a poorer place because of it. Read Merrick’s short but sweet piece over at Bristling Badger; have faith in the market.

Meanwhile, on the ever-readable journal of David Byrne is one of the best bits of writing I’ve read online for quite a while; Free Will, Part 2: Support Our Troops. I have to wonder though… is he dropping by and nicking my ideas…

Is there such a thing as a psychology of nations, of people? Do nations get neurotic? Crazy? Sad and angry? Bitter and resentful? Proud and arrogant? I think maybe they do.

Oi David! That’s my Masters Thesis… back off mate! Or at least wait until I’ve been accepted onto the course.

Although I’m no longer a Londoner, some my friends are. I still take a great interest in the goings-on of London, and still have a bit of a soft spot for Ken Livingstone despite his conversion from Red to Reddish-Purple. Without a doubt, one of the best things Ken did was to start the process of forcing car owners to pay for some of the damage they do. For this reason, reports of the Congestion Charge being a failure should be vigorously exposed as the blatant lies they are whenever they appear. For more on this, head over to Pigdogfucker and read Lies, damn lies, and the Congestion Charge.

And in brief…

  • On Everday Apocalypticism over at Smokewriting… “the sense of having participated in an apocalypse which one failed to notice”. What a splendid turn of phrase. Rochenko’s post tackles some of the the same themes that David W. Kidner explores in Nature & Psyche: Radical Environmentalism and the Politics of Subjectivity (I imagine. I only started reading Kidner’s book today having been delayed by a pressing need to re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four).
  • At Random Speak, L has discovered one of the most startling statues I’ve seen in a long time in Another Post on Odd Art. It’s difficult to believe the sculptor didn’t know exactly what he was doing.
  • Via Perfect I discovered this long but excellent essay by Jonathan Lethem; The Ecstasy of Influence. Well worth a read for anyone interested in the creative process and how it relates to the expropriation, rearrangement, remixing and fusion of pre-existing ideas. The first novel I wrote contained two chapters which were entirely composed of cut-up and rearranged Jorge Luis Borges stories… done the old-fashioned way too, enlarged in a photocopier and physically cut up and pasted onto card… none of yer fancy software solutions. So Lethem is very much preaching to the choir with me, but a fascinating piece nonetheless.
  • Justin at Chicken Yoghurt has this to say in his latest post… “This blog is now taking a break. I don’t know how long that break will be but hopefully it won’t be a permanent one.” This is sad news indeed and displeases me enormously. No doubt the chap has his reasons. But it’s still bad news and his voice will be missed. There’s a whole Serious To-Do going on in the UK political blog scene right now with threats of legal action being made left, right and centre. Well, mostly ‘right’ actually. I’ve avoided the subject but may well weigh-in with a suitably inappropriate comment or two in the near future that’ll offend absolutely everyone involved and see me vilified and attacked with sharp lawyers.

Posted in: Opinion