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Kultcha

Beauty tips of the rich and twattish…

Harry Styles swears by a sheep placenta face pack. Harry Styles is the “big-un” of the particularly execrable boy band called No Direction or summat. They are fucking awesomely bad but he has 14 year old girls across the globe melting their knickers like some sort of worldwide gusset Chernobyl. This is Harry Styles…

Harry Styles does this at GBP350 a go “treatment” every 6 weeks in order to retain his “youthful good looks”. Harry Styles is 21.

God help us all. Or send a flood from the firmament or do something.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, if Styles wants to make a complete Bellendius Maximus on his own dime then so what? And if loads of teenage girls want to scream at him and hurl their radioactive knickers at him then that is the libertarian way. Live and let live but it is a sad indictment of the mentality of modern popular culture that he can be one of the biggest stars on this planet.

Apparently he cites Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley and The Beatles as influences…

Apparently he is a Labour supporter… Well, he would be. One is a Millibland and the other is in a Milliband.

Well, fuckadoodledoo!

It is all enough to make St Francis of Assisi himself vomit himself empty with inchoate rage. Into a font

I mean we used to have pop stars that were “unconventional” but they were cool (and had good songs, well sung). Styles is about as rebellious or interesting as a sheep’s afterbirth (obviously unless Heston had done something to it with liquid NO2 with it). Pathetic little scrote what he is.

It’s a bit like Apple or Google etc trying to claim to be “edgy” and “cool” and “anti-establishment” when they are the establishment. They don’t see it anymore. Neither do so many of us.

We are truly on a Journey to the Placenta of the Earth. I call it “The Enblandingment”.

And no, that is not because I am nearly twice the Stylster’s age.

PS. The above link also has the beauty “secrets” of Thomasina Cruise and Gynnie Paltry and others. I can’t be bothered to fisk. Oh and some tart who gets facials with her own centrifuged blood. Do I need to add this all tends to happen in the Bear Republic? I thought not. They’ll be selling fragments of the one true Jobs liver next.

It ain’t just Islam…

This is arguably one of the more bizarre stories I have read. Ever.

A small Jewish ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has found itself in the spotlight after digitally removing Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel from a photo of this week’s Paris march.

World leaders had linked arms to march in Paris against terrorism after Islamic extremists killed 17 people. At the march, Merkel stood in the front row between the French president, François Hollande, and Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

But readers of the Hamevaser newspaper’s Monday edition didn’t know, as she had been digitally removed, leaving Abbas standing next to Hollande. Israeli media joked it was meant to bring Abbas closer to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu, who was standing nearby.

And why? Why? because of XX-phobia. Seriously. They also took-out the EU foreign affairs supremo and the Mayor of Paris.

Within the insular ultra-Orthodox community, pictures of women are rarely shown, due to modesty concerns. In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox vandals frequently deface buses and billboards with advertising deemed to be immodest.

Now if Chancellor Merkel had been strutting her stuff in a sling-shot bikini and heels and nowt else then OK but this is the original photo…

Now I’m no fashionista but that is a modestly dressed woman. And she is also the German Chancellor so she ought to be there. God knows what Abbas was doing there but France and Germany are best buddies these days (thanks for small mercis – I mean we don’t want to go through all of that yet again).

Binyamin Lipkin, editor of Hamevaser, said the newspaper is a family publication that must be suitable for all audiences, including young children.

“The eight-year-old can’t see what I don’t want him to see,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television station. “True, a picture of Angela Merkel should not ruin the child, but if I draw a line, I have to put it there from the bottom all the way to the top.”

He also said he did not want to tarnish the memories of the people killed in the attacks.

“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” he said.

I am lost. There is no way anyone could take that image as sexually provocative (I assume that was this loon’s point). I mean it ain’t Miley Cyrus. And in terms of the “family paper” schtick don’t families tend to have female members? Call me old-fashioned but I female relatives. I don’t think that unusual. And what the flying hellskis is the desecration stuff about? These people weren’t martyrs. They were just unlucky by and large. Could have been me, could have been you. This site has republished the Motoons of Doom. And in what way Chancellor Merkel takes away from the loss is beyond me. Also one of the dead was a female French cop. If anyone was a martyr she was dying in the line and all.

But this is only sort of about sexism. I mean it is but there is more. The massacre was about freedom of the press and an Israeli paper chooses to Photoshop inconvenient truths like the sex of the German Chancellor out. OK, fine print what you want but don’t doctor photos and then go on about martyrs for press freedom.

Or is it just plain sexism and they object to a female heading a major nation? Is it that simple? Get over it. We did with Maggie when I was a little kid.

What century are these folk in? I mean really? Moshe Dayan fought for this?

PS. And as someone from a culturally Christian background the idea that an image of a woman is a desecration is just weird.

Happy Festivus Everybody!

Happy Festivus

Lo! and behold! For ’tis that time of year again, when those who have shared the misery of the year can be thankful that it is nearly over and gather around the “Festivus Pole” to share our “Festivus Miracles“; listen agape to our beloved host with his “Airing of Grievances” and finally look on in awe and wonder at the “Feats of Strength”.

 

* – Festivus

The Gazza Strip.

Apparently Twitter users have been confusing the drunkard former England footballer Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne with Gaza the place.

Maybe it is just me and I, like Gazza am from Gateshead, not Gaza but this tickles me.

Fans of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, popularly known as ‘Gazza’, were left confused and fearing for his future as a Free Gaza campaign took off online.

Tweets with the hashtag #freegaza have been trending on Twitter in response to the violence in the Middle East, with users using their posts to urge Israeli forces to stop their assault on the Gaza Strip. The conflict, which started on July 8, has led to the deaths of more than 1,200 people.

But followers of the troubled player, who has become known for his battles with alcohol and drugs, mistakenly thought that he had been arrested and that the campaign was in support of his freedom.

And…

Pignorance has no end.

Sometimes they say it better than me…

From Jihad Watch. This is good.

Chloe Valdary concludes this terrific piece by saying, “It is of course your prerogative to continue to utilize platitudes for your cause. You are entirely within your rights to chant words like ‘equality’ ‘justice’ and ‘freedom fighter.’ You can keep using those words for as long as you like. But I do not think you know what they mean.” Indeed. Or maybe they know full well what they mean, and want to confuse and manipulate people into no longer being sure, so they can more easily claim them for themselves.

“To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman,” by Chloe Valdary, Tablet, July 28, 2014 (thanks to Linda):

The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.

• If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation — you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”

• If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”

• If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate — you do not get to claim that you are some Apollonian advocate of human virtue. You are not.

• If your activities include grieving over the woefully incompetent performance by Hamas rocketeers and the subsequent millions of Jewish souls who are still alive — whose children were not murdered by their rockets; whose limbs were not torn from them; and whose disembowelment did not come into fruition — you do not get to claim that you stand for justice. You profess to be irreproachable. You are categorically not.

• If your idea of a righteous cause entails targeting and intimidating Jewish students on campus, arrogating their history of exile-and-return and fashioning it in your own likeness you do not get to claim that you do so in the name of civil liberty and freedom of expression.

• You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.

• You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, travelling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews — and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities — and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.

• You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.

• You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist….

She shoots. She scores. That is serious back of the net.

Yes, there is an “Anus” in the Phillipines…

… and it is not that far from a “Bollock”.

And there is much more gold to be mined. I realised I was in the wrong job when my solar-system dynamics lecturer (he’s on the telly sometimes) Carl Murray used the phrase, “Semilatus rectum” and I was the only one to laugh. I blame Viz. And my Gran who had a turn of phrase that would shock you younglings (easily the worst line uttered by Ewan McGregor – evah).

H/T davidthompson.

Some observations of foreign types in crowds

There was some strange behaviour outside my hotel this evening, instead of the usual languid European-style pavement restaurant with a few, mainly elderly residents enjoying their café under an iridescent evening sun as a few blonde haired goddesses drift by aimlessly on bicycles, there was a massed throng of unruly teens and drunken men filling the square in front of my hotel.

I presumed that it was some form of political protest as they were uniformly dressed alike, but apparently not, it was in fact an opportunity to get utterly paralytic on Heineken served in plastic cups while watching a giant TV screen erected at the end of the not-so-very-grand place. I initially presumed they were there to watch the local version of “America’s Next One Hit Wonder” or whatever it is called in The Land of Clogs.

(more…)

Boko Haram.

Well Nigeria is a right mess is it not? Now I’m not going to retread all the usual arguments as to the whys and the wherefores and such. I will just point out one thing. When I temped I had a Nigerian colleague. He was a decent enough lad which is why he lived in the NE of England and not Nigeria. He had just become pig-sick of the epic incompetence and corruption. He told me quite a lot about it. It sounded ghastly. Now what has this to do with the kidnap of over 200 kids to be enslaved? Actually quite a lot. I would like to think this wouldn’t happen in Britain and that is because we are not hopelessly corrupt.

The Chinese have a saying (don’t they always) that a fish rots from the head down. Now bad things, sometimes very bad things happen everywhere but to kidnap an entire school is something else and as far as I can tell it indicates something deeply rotten in the body-politic of Nigeria. OK, it is perhaps a leap from a bit of brown envelopes full of notes changing hands under the table to outright slave-raiding but is it really? Now I’m not generally convinced of “slippery slope” arguments but… If a polity has no essential moral core or the rule of law then… maybe such depravity can get going.

Note my colleague and his brother felt the need to move continents to get away from the drip, drip, drip of continual petty criminality, bribery and epic corruption. It sort of erodes your moral. I suspect this is why the Nigerian government has done nothing and why that Boko Haram bloke can look so chipper. He knows the Nigerian government is powerless to prevent his depravities and in a sense that is part of the same spectrum which means you can’t get a phone installed without a back-hander.

The Pope may also have a tendency towards Catholicism…

…and we all know about ursine silvan defecatary habits…

This staggering gem from the NYT/Daily Mail. I recall when the fun and games started in the ‘stan. There was a twinkly old bar steward “massing” with a fucking hatchet on the Af/Pak border and ranting to the BBC about killing Americans. Above him were the contrails of a B-52. He was (self) impo(r)tently waving his little mashie at the bomber. And he was ponying up from Pakistan’s “restive” tribal areas. Or Hell on Fucking Earth as is better known.

Anyone who sincerely believes the Pakistani government has been our best buds through this farrago which has cost something like 3,000 NATO lives, God knows how many Afghans and you may have noticed how well we’re doing in the Paralympics of late… Well they are demented.

It comes down to this. The USA has had an alliance with Pakistan for many years. In their early wars against India, Pakistan flew largely F-86s, and the Indians got chummy with the Soviets and flew MiGs (they also had some Hawker Hunters and the Pakistanis got some Supermarine Attackers which were truly dreadful but that would detract from the narrative). The Indians still are chummy with the Russians on aerospace which is why the Su-34 has a microwave oven and a proper toilet. It was specced-up and partially designed by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) primarily for India. A great strike fighter (with a microwave!) but they should have fitted (along with the toilet) variable geometry inlets for the engines to get the speed past Mach 2. Because under successive US Admins there has been a bizarre “Game of Thrones” in the spheres of interference and Pakistan landed in the US one and India in the Soviet one for whatever reason. But genuine friends? Seriously?

We know, or ought to know, who our real friends are. The first British DFC awarded to a female pilot came from her (and her crew) flying through an unbelievable shit-storm of fire into a fort (yes a fort!) to rescue a critically wounded Dane, twice – shot down first time around. Now my people stood (with fuck-off axes) against them Scandy sorts but the Battle of Stamford Bridge* was like nigh on a thousand years ago. Since then we’ve made-up and bought Lego and are genuine mates – real allies. This is not blood – though I am Nordic/Celtic ancestry. I have long blonde-ish hair right now and look like I’m about to lead the Éored down the right flank. Good. I like it as does my wife. I am not being racist. Indeed I’m suggesting I am of immigrant blood and blood matters nothing. What matters is culture and if not it’s exact convergence but the mutual understandability. That makes for genuine friendship and not the sub “Game of Thrones” we have with Pakistan and the Afghans. I mean Dear God we liberated Afghanistan so they could impose a law legalising marital rape! When we stormed the beaches of Normandy did we expect to set-up such societies? I have been to France and Germany and they ain’t like that. I haven’t been to Japan or The Republic of Korea (though I have put enough moollah their way) but I have been to the Korean War memorial in DC. That is a memorial to 50-odd thousand soldiers who died to ensure half the peninsula didn’t get over-run by the vilest regime on the planet.

And it isn’t blood, or culture or even religion (I found Turkey very friendly). Well, maybe it is culture. The culture of not being an arsehole. I am sure many Afghans manage it but not the Khazi of Kabul. Though a man not without sin there can be a need for an Atatürk (as we had a need for a Cromwell). Sometimes you need a hard bastard to pull you out of the soup.

Or maybe not. It’s not very libertarian is it? But Turkey would be a complete shit-hole without Mustafa Kemal (insert obvious joke). Mind, the current Turkish PM seems hell-bent on a return to the fucking dark ages.

Or maybe not. The great social changes I have seen in my lifetime have been of the slowly, slowly monkey catching variety. Sometimes you need society to simply change and the biggest change I have seen is probably gay rights. There has been a phenomenal change in that since I was at secondary school.

But fundamentally you don’t choose your friends – your genuine allies – they choose you or you just get on. There is a reason every year the Norwegians ship us a ginormous Christmas Tree for Trafalgar Square. There is a reason Hamid Khazai ships us fuck all (apart from heroin on the sly) – an Eid prezzie would be nice. It isn’t blood or treasure or religion. We simply get on with Norway and we don’t with ‘stan (because they are cunts, largely). That in a sense is what this war is about. Or isn’t. It is an attempt at “nation building”, in shit-holes. I saw on the telly a couple of years back a US Army Cpt taking tea with tribal elders. He was an engineer and wanted to build a bridge employing local labour so they could go to town and get jobs but all the lads had gone off Talibaning. The US officer was very obviously pissed-off. I don’t blame him. He couldn’t say anything, alas. But there was a definite look about him that said, “Well, if that’s their attitude then fuck ‘em”. Of course he offered to build a bridge and not offer the chance to “marry” pre-pubescent girls so he was buggered from the start.

These are not allies in the sense of friends. The French might be founder members of the “Awkward Squad” but I reckon we can vaguely trust ‘em. We can certainly trust some other Europeans and the USA and some of the Commonwealth. We have friends, genuine friends and that is very different from having “alliances”.

I know people I would stand with (if it came to it) to the last gasp and I know they would stand with me but realpolitricks never works in the long term.

I know this post has rambled and I hope it is taken in the right sense. This is not a rant contra Islam and it is not a paean to Nordicology. I am just saying that if you want a genuine friendship which is the utter prerequisite for a real alliance you have to get on rather than manufacture it. And a country that harbours public enemy #1 within a brisk walk of its premier military academy for years is not a friend and should not therefore be regarded as an ally. It is both a strategic and some level a moral failure.

*Some enormous Viking held the bridge with a giant axe until a sneaky Saxon went underneath and skewered the IKEA merchant with a spear up the fundament.

Barque to the Future…

This is USS Zumwalt…

Just launched at a cost of umpty billions. Now I know aeroplanes and bugger all about ships but does that not look rather similar to a US Civil War ironclad to you? Like this…

The Zumwalt class is designed to have the radar sig of a fishing smack. I guess you might get much the same from the CSS Albermarle not, obviously, that it was an issue at the time. It is possible (and the USN has been ickling on about railguns for some time and a planning sea trials in 2016 which is when the Zumwalt is due to enter service. So clearly looks may deceive and it might look the same but be bigger on the inside so to speak.)

So… It’s kinda odd but for completely different reasons the naval architects have gone back to the future. Either that or the Confederacy had some unknown naval genius beavering away and designing a low radar-return ship almost a century before radar.

But, and this is a biggy for me. Now it might sound nit-picking but how the heck is that a destroyer? It displaces 15,000 tons, it is 610ft long. That is a cruiser at least. Surely. Is this some bizarre ruse to get the funding past Congress? Because the Zumwalt class is essentially designed as a 1-1 replacement for the Iowa class battleships.

That is a broadside from an Iowa class (Actually BB61 USS Iowa). Those are 16″ guns. Who needs railguns when you can hurl a shell the mass of a VW for a couple of dozen miles. I’d be much more impressed by railguns on the Zumwalt if it was nuclear powered and therefore had practically unlimited electricity. Hell’s teeth I’d be going for a fully nuclear navy! No need for oilers and fill ‘er up every 25 years! You’d buy a car that did that. Especially if it had a railgun. It has to be noted though that we won the Cold War partly (thank you Ronnie!) with recommissioned Iowa class battleships and the off-key caterwauling of skanty-clad songstresses. I dunno which scared the Kremlin most. But they are very big guns indeed and Cher is wearing very little indeed. That was the ’80s and that is how we won. Hard and soft pressure. Ronnie and MTV – an unstoppable alliance.

I mean can you imagine how dull communism must have been?

Yeah, and inevitably here’s the video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G4O5AMSevc

Yeah, I liked the ’80s. We seemed to be going somewhere and that dear reader is a guilty pleasure from the era. But that’s one hell of a ship whatever you think of Cher.

And if we had another Ronnie then Vlad would be hiding under a table in the Kremlin with stained trews. And if we could take out Comrade Kim and the Ayatollahs and dear old Bob and… I can dream. But that video speaks to me of serious belief in our moral, social, military and economic might. We believed it then. That is why I liked the ’80s.

PS. The Iowa class were designed to be Panamax. They had 18″ wiggle room so never again complain about parking in TESCO.

PPS. This has been edited by moi. This fecking Toshiba is at the very end of the tether.

The Miller’s Tail…

So Maria Miller, Sec State for Culture has fallen on her sword (for I am slain iDave!) due to her diddling expenses.

What the flying fuck do we have such a position for, apart from some croney of iDave diddling expenses, obviously?

Have you been to the National Gallery (it’s free by the way – and my favourite art gallery in the World*). Did Turner need a Department of Culture to paint his piccies? Did Francis Bacon? I recently saw some of his in Amsterdam recently**. Did Tolkien need one to write Britain’s favourite books? Did Elgar? Did the Beatles? The Stones? Does Adele? Do you or me? God help us Shakespeare managed to make it without the state!

Culture is simply what we do. In a sense it is what we are. We just do it. From posting video of a cat doing something amusing on Youtube to the Elgar violin concerto we just do it. In this case “we” is Kyung-wha Chung. She is my fave fiddler ever -do listen to the rest – it’s great***. And I have a weakness for the violin concerto. And that is her with the LSO conducted by Solti. Neither are Brits but Elgar was. And in a real sense that kind of sums up “culture” for me in the sense that here we have a piece of music played by a Korean/American with the orchestra conducted by a Hungarian/mainly American with an honorary British knighthood. What I mean is Elgar has “stretch”. All true culture has. Elgar is quintessentially English and not from a rich background (at one point he was employed to conduct an orchestra in the local lunatic asylum) but that his music can reach from Seoul to Budapest to Chicago and touch people enough to play it that well says something.

I have been to a folk festival (for my sins). It was curious. Apart from getting Brahms und Liszt (it was a stag do) it struck me how parochial (and in extreme cases nationalistic – not in a good way****). True culture is in a sense beyond borders. God help me I am English but I can’t stand the Tory club Little-Englander with his G&T any more than I can stick the “shop local, think global” lot with faux tribal tattoos. I was going to get one if I’d completed my PhD – my equation. Alas for me and an inker this did not come to pass. Folk is shite anyway. But what I was really trying to say is… I once came across in Georgia (USA – not entering the Putindoom) a fellow who expressed surprise at my mere existence. He declared a desire (and he was well adult) not only to never leave the USA (for there be dragons elsewhere ) but to never leave the state of Georgia. I’d just done a 2,500 mile road trip round the SE USA. I guess I just like globalization and that Huge Furnished Shitting-Stall can get his locally-sourced onions off behind his organic arras.

Anyway, that is getting seriously off the point (if there ever was one*****). This I like. (Aside – there is a shop in central Amsterdam that sells Brit stuff called “Arkwrights”).

Yes there was. Culture. It is universal and natural. It should be allowed to just happen but it is intrinsically global (and that scares people). Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against “local colour” but our culture is increasingly self generating and global. That does not mean it is less diverse. Gods no! You can get decent sushi in Manchester******. If that means the Eccles cake is heading the way of the sauropods then so be it. Mind, in Porthmadog you can get excellent fish and chips (but fuck all else). And they all speak Welsh! But that is not my point. You expect good fish of whatever sort in a fishing port. And good chips anywhere (apart from Amsterdam).

Culture happens. It can be global. It can be local. It can be both. Concentrating on the local is absurd in the age of jet planes and youtube in my eyes. The more it goes global the better I think. I have God knows how many channels off my Sky dish. I can watch a Nigerian soap opera if I want – I don’t because they are piss-poor but… Why do we need a culture secretary at all? Why when we have Easyjet? Why when we have the internet? Why when within walking distance I have have Chinese, Italian,Spanish and Indian take-aways/restaurants? Why have a culture secretary?

*I’ve been to quite a few of the greats.
**See, I’m not uncultured. I could have gone to the ‘Dam and spent my time bombed out of my box sucking dope from bongs shaped like penises. I went to the maritime museum, the Jewish history museum and… Mind the food over there ain’t great. I did eat kangaroo mind (a first for me) but it was bloody awful. Having said that it might be just due to the Dutch tendency to serve Flintsonian portions and bugger the quality. And chips with everything.
***But not as great.
****Not that that was anything like that.
*****There wasn’t really.
******My brother would disagree because he’s lived for several years in Japan.

Was it worth it?

We go to war for reasons. For resources, for land, for the hell of it. Sometimes for the very survival of civilization.

The last is the only one I fully back. Now Saddam was vile bastard beyond all possible redemption. Am I sad that he isn’t walking this goodly Earth? No. But…

Iraq (twinned with Iran and Irate) is planning to allow 8 year old girls to get married and also to abolish marital rape.

Nigh on 5000 US personnel have died* for the great task of enabling the freedom of preverts in Iraq to shag girls who haven’t had their first menstrual period. Eight year old girls want to play with dollies** and Lego and stuff. In my country (and the US and all the others) if you have sex with an eight year old girl you go to jail. You get put in the Sir Jimmy Saville Memorial Wing for a very long time. Rightly so.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a pacifist. If my land was under threat you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming from the seat of a Typhoon fighter. And, well everywhere I go I visit war memorials. I know my family members have killed and died so basically I can mooch around Europe without a rifle and bayonet. Now that was an appalling cost but it achieved something worthwhile. The legalisation of rape and kiddie-fiddling is not such a cause. It is not one for me or any right thinking person to get their boots on for.

And what right-minded person wants to have sex with a girl that age anyway? Utter sick bastards. They require treatment. I prescribe two spoons and a rusty farming implement. I mean if you don’t and can’t regard the man or woman you have sex with as an equal with absolute agency then what is the point?

We have enabled utter barbarism at the cost of billions of dollars and thousands of lives either wiped out or maimed.

Or to misquote from the end speech at the end of the movie “300″, “We haven’t – at enormous financial, material and human cost singularly failed to ‘rescue a World from mysticism and tyranny’”.

*And a load of Brits and others and God knows how many wounded. And I have recently been watching Prince Harry taking a team of wounded soldiers across the Antarctic. Good on the fella but the wounds are tragic. On folks so young. It is heartbreaking.

**There is a very specific reason I mention this. Aisha was 8 when married to the middle-aged Muhammed.

The Egg Dance

I’ve recently got back from Amsterdam. Now I suppose it is moderately unusual to collapse into giggles in the Rijksmuseum’s section on Dutch 12th-17th Century art but I managed it. This is a detail from the picture that made me laugh…

That is a detail from The Egg Dance by Pieter Aertsen.

What made me laugh though was the caption next to it…

At right, in this brothel, a young man does an egg dance to the music of a bagpiper. While dancing, he had to roll an egg within a chalk circle – without it breaking – and to cover it with a wooden bowl. This ‘pointless’ amusement, along with the dissolute behaviour of the other figures, served as a moral warning against debauchery.

Emphasis mine. I just loved the phrase “This ‘pointless’ amusement”. Sums up life really. Less, seriously though, this was painted in 1552 and I guess you had to make your own amusement back then. The Rijksmuseum does also boast a large collection of impedimenta for drinking games. An inventive (if drunken) lot those renaissance Dutch.

In fact it stuck in my mind so much that upon my return I googled (I think the term is so ubiquitous as to have lost the capital like “hoover” has) the picture. I found this.

Now one of the first things I wondered was why the Rijksmuseum was so sure it was a brothel. To me (and my wife) it just looked like a fairly chaotic party in a home…

At the back of the room an old man is playing the bagpipes. Because of its shape, the instrument often symbolised the male genitalia. In the window is a jug containing a leek, a vegetable of the onion family. A sixteenth-century viewer would immediately have realised that the scene was a room in a brothel. Onions were supposed to be a stimulant. All around lie onion flowers, leek leaves and mussels, which were supposed to have the same quality. It was also thought to be true of eggs, the theme of the painting.

OK, the bagpipes I kinda got already. That’s a bit of a classic (cf Hieronymous Bosch)…

… Or indeed this. It is amazing how, across culture, time and geography, symbolism can be both steady yet sometimes obscure like the leek. Though that might explain the perennial appeal of Sir Tom Jones (or why, as I type, the Welsh are giving the Scots a hammering at the Rugby). This evening I shall be in the peculiar situation of cheering on France). Anyway back to my point.

From the same source (I almost hit “sauce” – hmm…)…

Pieter Aertsen has given this piquant scene a moral message that appears to reflect his own moral reservations. A joker is depicted on one of the wooden boards on the table, left, and on the other a goat jumping. These are cards in a Tarot set. In the sixteenth century everyone would have understood that these symbolised drunkenness and lust. The reel above the fireplace on the right is a sign of folly: in fact ‘reeling’ is still used today to describe a person swaying or staggering from the effects of alcohol.

The Egg Dance is one of the earliest paintings of a peasant scene. The elongated form suggests it was designed to be hung above a fireplace. This kind of genre painting was popular among the burghers of the cities. The moralistic message was often an excuse to paint a piquant scene. Aertsen was also commissioned to paint large religious works for churches. However, many of these were destroyed during the Iconoclast fury.

Emphasis mine. There is something almost reassuring about the continuity of this moral hypocrisy. We see it in modern times with the Islamosphere and the idea that a normally dressed woman is a hussy. And elsewhere.

“…the American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs” and she shows all this and does not hide it.”

- Sayyid Qutb (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood who are currently sexually assaulting “inappropriately hijabed” women and girls in Egypt” describing a Methodist tea-dance in Colorado in 1950.

Qutb apparently died a virgin having failed to find a woman “pure” enough for him. It would be farcical but for the Hell that has followed in his wake.

Or what about the most sanctimonious of businesses – the Co-op and it’s “Crystal Methodist”? The Co-op sells “ethical water” (whatever that might be) and it’s ordained Methodist preacher bank boss was using crystal meth, crack cocaine, ketamine and rent boys. Oh, and the bank had a “black hole” of over GBP1.5bn.

My favouritist newspaper in all the World is of course the Daily Mail which routinely in it’s “News” section includes scare stories about the sexualization of girls and women being driven into eating disorders by being “forced” by the media into looking like models and starlets right next to the “Femail” column (how cute) which is supposed to be about women’s issues (yeah, right). It includes stuff like this all the time.

So, to tie this all together… I’m not sure how but in some sense (and there are different variations but the basic tune is always the same) “elites”* of all descriptions will always find some sort of justification to indulge in the sins they would deny the plebs or… Well, something along those lines. Qutb is an outlier but there is still the same infernal moral arrogance of “I can see this for I am pure but you can’t”. It is the same as the burghers of Amsterdam all those years ago titillating themselves whilst feeling (or pretending to feel) morally superior to the lower orders.

Apparently there are things in the dungeon of the British Library that are so vile they can only be accessed in the presence of a couple of trustees of the British Library and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I bet Prince Philip has had a gleg…

*A term in political discourse I hate because when I was a lad “elite” meant the SAS and such. And not just gits.

Iconoclastic.

Over the last week or so there has been a frankly demented outcry over some prospective Lib Dem (yeah, I know) tweeting an image from the rather tame Jesus and Mo online comic. Apparently over 20,000 signed a petition and there have been the predictable death threats. Always with the death threats..

Meanwhile…

In Saudi Arabia this has been happening.

Under Saudi rule, it has been estimated that since 1985 about 95% of Mecca’s historic buildings, most over a thousand years old, have been demolished.

Historic sites of religious importance which have been destroyed by the Saudis include five of the renowned “Seven Mosques” initially built by Muhammad’s daughter and four of his “greatest Companions”: Masjid Abu Bakr, Masjid Salman al-Farsi, Masjid Umar ibn al-Khattab, Masjid Sayyida Fatima bint Rasulullah and Masjid Ali ibn Abu Talib.

It has been reported that there now are fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca that date back to the time of Muhammad. Other buildings that have been destroyed include the house of Khadijah, the wife of Muhammad, demolished to make way for public lavatories; the house of Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s companion, now the site of the local Hilton hotel; the house of Muhammad’s grandson Ali-Oraid and the Mosque of abu-Qubais, now the location of the King’s palace in Mecca; Muhammad’s birthplace, demolished to make way for a library; and the Ottoman-era Ajyad Fortress, demolished for construction of the Abraj Al Bait Towers.

[Emphasis mine]

Now, note the Braj Al Bait Towers. Here is a picture of the monstrosity which looks like something Stalin might have thought of after watching Tim Burton’s Batman. Here it is.

Lovely isn’t it? It of course houses a five star hotel and a twenty(!) storey shopping mall. A small note of interest is that the prime contractors were the Saudi binLaden Group. A more significant note of interest is that if you look right at the bottom that is the Masjid al-Haram – the Great Mosque and the site of the Kaaba and the global focus of Islam. Amazing. Apparently this vandalism of history is much the same in Medina and I suppose elsewhere. Can you even begin to imagine such whole scale destruction of Christian heritage*? Oh, we’ve had our moments (the puritans, Luftwaffe, RAF and Red Army spring to mind as do post WWII civil planners). But really this is on a different scale all together. Can you even begin to imagine the likes of an agnostic like moi deciding to build a fucking ASDA on the site of St. Cuthbert’s Tomb in Durham Cathedral? No you can’t because I wouldn’t. And dear Gods! I would not stand alone.

You know I would not let it happen. And I have a tyre iron. I found it in the shed. I find useful things in sheds.

Anyway… There is a thread to this. It is shirk. This is the Islamic concept of idolatory… So no saints, no shrines, nothing but the Kaaba overshadowed by the third tallest building on the planet. That is the Saudi excuse. They are salafists which means they are gits. What of the other Muslims? The ones who don’t feel like this? Where are they? They can go mental over a pizzeria in Gaza but this is their foundation destroyed by the House of Saud, the self-proclaimed “Guardians” of Islam. And let’s talk turkey here. Is this really shirk? Or is it not just money? You looked at the cost of the Hajj recently? In a five star hotel? I can’t believe we give them the time of day let alone sell them Eurofighter Tiffies. I wouldn’t trust them with a box of matches.

No, I’m seriously pissed off. At some level heritage comes with a cost. The cost is looking after it and not building a khazi there. Ultimately I guess this is self-defeating. How can a culture stand if it, in a cavalier manner, demolishes it’s ancient built environment? And indeed does so because of a single (though growing) strand of fundamentalism. Most of the planet’s 1+ billion Muslims would regard this as pillage. I agree. It is time to stand. It is time for all to stand. Actually it is past it really but we can but try.

Just a final point. Following the 1967 war the Israeli’s captured East Jerusalem. They considered dynamiting the Dome of the Rock – the third holiest site in Islam – where Muhammed entered Heaven. They did not do this. The Saudis have done much worse. The Saudis have wrecked more Islamic stuff than Israel ever did or could. Why then do the Jews get the stick for it? Why not Saudi?

I think we know why. The Saudis have a magic cheque book and are knee-deep in petrol.

*It goes without saying that pre-Islamic sites, both extant and archaeological have been destroyed.

Cooking with Nick Griffin

Yes, you heard it right. For my next trick I suspect it’ll have to be kite-surfing with the Dalai Lama.

Anyway, Nick Griffin, the now bankrupt leader of the BNP is presenting cookery shows on Youtube. I suppose it’s a bit like de-snagging LANs with Hitler. Or something. “Goering, you never told me this network was installed by a Herr Cohen!!!”. I digress and must move on because I have a 9am building a tokamak with Ant & Dec.

Anyway, here is the new Nigella in all his shambolic glory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8_HThEYP2o&noredirect=1

Well, there are things to note. I can cook and a beef casserole is one of my “signature dishes”. OK, I’m not exactly Michel Roux Jr (who is a perfidious frog, obviously – despite being a UK citizen – and my Mum fancies him!) and Mr Griffin cooked this veritable feast upon an Aga which is of course Swedish and we don’t want those Scandies coming over here with their affordable, but unfathomable furniture and their raping and pillaging of Lindisfarne (Northumberland folk-rock *shudder*) and all that. I once saw a doc about a plumber of Pakistani origin who fixed Agas. He was making a mint out of deranged cougars in Surrey who thought the path to enlightenment required the boiler from the Great Eastern chugging away in their kitchen. Anyway this guy who was doing well (and fair play) branded himself as “The Aga Khan”. It amused me.

Please watch the whole thing if you can. It is long but hilarious in parts. Some of it didn’t exactly amuse me though such as Nicky wearing a “Help for Heroes” shirt. I wonder what the Gurkhas or the many other Commonwealth troops in our armed forces think of that? Or what women make of it or how anyone who isn’t a total moron takes his advice on the need to remove the foil from a stock cube? Well the last one is funny. As are some similar “Top Tips”…

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