Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived
A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?
Update: seemingly not
Update: Oh yeah!
Monday, July 23, 2007
I have written part Four of the "Freakonomics" review. Entitled "Freakiology", it deals with the somewhat patronising and self-contradictory relationship that Freakonomics has with sociology.
However, this post is being held for ransom. It won't appear on the blog unless a clear half-dozen of my regular readers write to their MPs in support of the political asylum for Iraqi translators campaign. I am prepared to take your word for it, but get your finger out. NB that the target of six letters is subject to upward and downward revision as I don't really know what the readership of this blog is. Yes, sending the form letter counts, but it would be better to write your own. Letters to media contacts also count, and if the same reader writes to an MP and a media outlet I will count that as two letters.
By the way, in a display of the horrific intellectual dishonesty which is my trademark, I didn't mention on CT (because it might have made the campaign less popular) something which I think the slightly more grown up D^2D audience can probably cope with. Which is to say, that if we do have a blanket amnesty, we're quite likely to be letting in at least a couple of dozen of actual terrorists - the fact that the ranks of Army interpreters contain a fair few double agents of the insurgency is well known, and then there's the families to consider. So in other words, this humanitarian gesture could end up with us importing another 7/7. On the other hand a) it just seems so fucking unseemly for us to be worrying about the possibility of a single domestic terrorist attack when there are 655,000 plus Iraqis dead in this civil war we've unleashed and b) I bet I travel on the Tube more than you do. Not to mention Rachel North agrees with the campaign, so if she can handle the risk so can we.
this item posted by the management 7/23/2007 03:58:00 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Poetry Corner, part 3
Yes, I did just buy the collected works of Roger McGough, do you have a problem with that?
"It is not as though there are not more accurate descriptions available to politicians and reporters: to say 'suspected terrorist' or 'terrorism suspect', or even the headline-friendly 'terror suspect' does not carry the same prejudicial charge. But 'terrorist suspect' sounds sexier, more arresting; it gets the buzzword 'terrorist' into the mind first. It may look difficult to pronounce quickly, until you realise you don't have to pronounce the 't' in the middle but can elide it into a long hiss of disapproval: 'terrorisssssssuspect'. Furthermore it has, out of any of the alternatives, the most musically satisfying rhythm, as you trip through the troika of 'terrorist' and land with two satisfying hammer-blows on 'suspect'. In a lighter mood, you could even sing it to the tune of 'Eleanor Rigby'".
- Steven Poole, "Unspeak", p149
. Terrorist suspect
Ahhhhhhhhhhh look at all the lovely Unspeak
yahhhhhh, wontcha doublethink and Newspeak?
Active denial, exclusion wall, Friends of the Earth
Homeland security, turning point, tipping point, truce
Questioned by experts
Kosova, Kosovo, tax relief, right to exist
Pro-choice, Enlightenment Values, disgusting regime
only some percentage
oh, collateral damage
reform and realign
yahhhhh, check out all the lovely Unspeak
aaaaaaaaaaaaahhh, won't you stick it in yer thinktank?
Aaaaah look at all the lovely Unspeak
this item posted by the management 7/12/2007 03:02:00 AM
A brief note on "Shorter"
I have mentioned this once or twice, but this is the official statement; the blog concept "Shorter" is public domain. There is no need to credit me. I am grateful and pleased for the links (which are basically the only backlinks this blog gets nowadays), but there is no obligation at all - I'm slightly embarrassed that people might think I was insisting it or declaring copyright or something. The BusyBusyBusy blog did a lot more with the concept than I ever did.
this item posted by the management 7/12/2007 01:31:00 AM
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Me versus Martin Bright
Maybe it's the old civil servant in me, but I bloody hate it when people mess around with the Chatham House rules. Whatever one thinks about Inayat Bunglawala, it's a pure and simple discourtesy to whoever organised the meeting.
Labels: prissy wowserism
this item posted by the management 7/10/2007 06:07:00 AM
Monday, July 09, 2007
Feel the Fusion!
I have bought the "Trio of Doom" album. It is legendarily awful (although the bloke at blogcritics seems to like it, I tend to take the fact that the trio immediately broke up amid atrocious recriminations and the tracks haven't been released for 27 years as probably informative). It was only 8 quid though and I am a big John McLaughlin fan. JMcL's liner notes are really quite hilarious in the extent to which he comments on what lovely people his bandmates were and how the "Havana Jams" US State Department cultural exchange project was a thoroughly worthwhile diplomatic initiative, while clearly unable to bring himself to write a word about the actual music. Even the jazz hack's jazz hack, Bill Milkowski, who can always be relied on for 500 words of nostalgic hagiography of the "importance" of any jazz recording, no matter how terrible, is slightly qualified in his enthusiasm. I'll listen to it his evening and tell you how I got on.
While rooting around for links, I found this bit by Pat Metheny on the subject of Kenny G. I won't tell you whether he's for or against.
Update: it is ... pretty bad. There is a genuinely excellent Tony Williams drum solo to begin the record, but this can't justify a whole album on its own. The live tracks are as appalling as they are renowned to be; Pastorius really does play in a different key to the rest of the band, and there's not much in the way of mixing that can be done to compensate for this. JMcL's guitar playing is fantastic throughout though, at times sounding weirdly reminiscent of 90s indie also-rans The House Of Love. On the whole I'm glad I bought it.
Labels: and to think some people question my taste for Mick Hucknall
this item posted by the management 7/09/2007 05:52:00 AM
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Once an idiot, always an idiot is the way to bet
also residing in the "when I get a minute" file, Messrs Ed Husain, Hasan Butt, and all the other born-again ex-terrorisses and providers of "edgy" Islamonazi conspiracy theories to the commentariat. My general theme is going to be that while the path from "sensible analyst of current affairs who is entirely worth listening to" to "self-aggrandising ideological halfwit" is a well-trodden one, those taking the opposite path are very few and far between. Hasan Butt, in particular, was such an obvious Walter Mitty and gobshite in 2005 that I find it very unlikely indeed that he has become a modern Cato now that he appears to have crossed over to our side.
Can any readers come up with counterexamples? I am beginning to think that "moron" is an absorbing state, and I am describing an actual null set here. Maybe Winston Churchill?
this item posted by the management 7/04/2007 07:07:00 AM
I clearly need to develop a scorecard for this sort of thing ...
"old Africa hand" - 3 cliche points
"Swiss bank accounts" - 5 cliche points.
on the other hand, he does at least avoid the use of a definite article before the country names Yemen, Congo, Sudan or Lebanon, and he doesn't witter about "tribal politics", so it could be worse. More to come (particularly on the IMO wildly asinine doctrine of "natural resource curse"), I hope.
this item posted by the management 7/04/2007 06:36:00 AM