From a post on the correlation between studying engineering and becoming a violent extremist, commenter Tom Bach:
Hitler was notoriously lazy and profoundly ignorant; in large measure because he never studied anything and read less. He enjoyed rambling monologues filled with made up facts.
It sounds as if Hitler had been born a few decades later he might now have a show on Fox News.
Rupert Murdoch to the FTC:
Technology makes it cheap and easy to distribute news for anyone with Internet access, but producing journalism is expensive.
True. Phones don’t just illegally tap themselves, and making police investigations magically disappear is also an expensive business…
However, his implied public service argument falls down on an obvious point: none of the expensive reporting the soon-to-be-paywalled News of the World does is of any benefit whatsoever to anyone. So a footballer’s dad is willing to buy some Bolivian marching powder, or a vicar shagged a tart; see my rock of indifference the size of the Ritz.
On the other hand, the reporting that the non-paywalled New York Times did into the NotW’s crooked ways, and super-dodgy relationship with the Metropolitan Police, is well worth anyone’s money. Funny the way that tends to work…
There are, obviously, strong historical connections between Australia and the UK. These have created cultural similarities – probably more and closer than most Australians would be willing to admit. The two countries are diverging as time passes, but Australia’s still culturally closer to the UK than anywhere else I’ve visited outside of the British Isles.
However, it still strikes me as very strange, bordering on lunacy, for a US reviewer to take an Australian book by an Australian writer set in Australia about Australian suburban life, and use it to hang the conclusion:
The Slap’s the work of the moment for a nation that I met more at the pubs and picnic tables of England than in any other book I’ve read. It’s the book of the great muttering resistance of England, a dark-witted, vote-nay group who could rival the American Tea Party for influence if they could only agree on a bar at which to meet.
Read the whole thing, if you’re also in the market for bemused American reflections on how Cheryl Cole sounds like Dick Van Dyke (this may explain his difficulty in telling Brits and Aussies apart), and how Londoners are violent, Friends-obsessed drunks who sound like Liam Gallagher making a cameo in Trainspotting. Alternatively, don’t.
The Awl, which is still excellent, has a poem purportedly in the style of Philip Larkin on the UK cuts crowdsourcing farce:
An Elegy For England
We sold the swans for meat and all the toffs came ’round to feast
Big Ben went to a very wealthy sultan from the East
The price we put on Stonehenge didn’t make Boone Pickens blanch:
He bought the lot and now it sits on some West Texas ranch
We made the Queen redundant and we put the corgis down
We shopped her jewels to Beckham’s wife, who also bought the crown
The London Eye, the London Bridge, the Angel of the North
Have all been shipped to Tokyo, as will the Tate henceforth
Most prisoners went to China, where they perished in a quake
The rest were leased Down Under, as a gift for old time’s sake
We melted down the Dome and used the leftovers for scrap
We tried to sell Lloyd Webber but, well, who would buy that crap?
We hawked the best of what we were and went on with our lives
And look at us, we’re now bereft: there’s nothing left but knives
Update: @anattendantlord on Twitter points out that the poem isn’t actually very Larkin stylistically – the rhyming and scansion are too simplistic, even though the subject matter and sentiment are right. I agree, and reckon that maybe Chesterton’s a better fit; he reckons Kipling. Somewhere between the two. This probably reflects the Awl’s limited poetry skills, rather than a deliberate attempt to channel earlier, more populist poets and label their work as Larkin-esque…
On a fairly standard CiF article about the death penalty (the Americans are planning to execute a woman who was involved in a plot to kill her husband, but who was demonstrably too stupid to have led it; everyone sane disapproves; everyone evil and vindictive approves strongly), the standard liberal joke question came up:
i’ve never understood how someone can be pro-life and in favour of the dealth penalty.
Obviously, lots of right-wing idiots came up with failed answers. But a liberal commenter called LinearBandKeramik (no relation) actually came up with an excellent one:
Pro-life individuals are not primarily opposed to abortions because of a concern for the unborn child. It is more about maintaining a social structure in which women’s independence is circumscribed by their ability to give birth. If the choice to give birth or not isn’t fully under the individual control of the women concerned then it allows others (other women, men, the church etc.) to have greater power over them. In other words they’re not really pro-life, they’re pro-control.
Such individuals simultaneous support for the death penalty flows partly from a lack of compassion and also from a belief that violence should be the remedial option of first resort, regardless of the problem.
Pretty much 100% on, there.