Notepad on Life

April 5, 2015

And the difference between this and grave-robbing is…?

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 1:43 pm

Gratified as I was to note how many people still hold this country’s history dear, when Richard III’s remains were re-interred at Leicester Cathedral last month, it didn’t take long for contemporary thought to add a disturbing footnote.

The most charitable thing I can say about Prof. Francis Thackeray, from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, is that he appears to be a little giddy with the excitement of the moment. Now that Richard III has unexpectedly returned to the forefront of modern British consciousness, he suggests, wouldn’t it be grand if we could do likewise with another of our famous names; William Shakespeare?

Not by opening a museum dedicated to him or brushing up his plays with a modern twist and sending them out on tour. Oh no: Mr Thackeray would have us dig up his coffin and remove the lid.

“‘Given the extraordinary success of the study of the skeleton of Richard III, we recognise the potential of undertaking forensic analyses of the Bard,’ he said.

“Prof Thackeray believes analysis of his bones could reveal new information about how the playwright lived, what he ate and drank, whether rumours are that he smoked cannabis are to be believed, The Times reports.

“However, he acknowledged that the epitaph on Shakespeare’s grave might prove to be a stumbling block.

“The Bard is said to have lived in fear of exhumation and had an unusual obsession with burial and the mistreatment of corpses.”

Apparently, thank heaven, objections have already been raised to this notion.

.”..sceptics include Stuart Hampton-Reeves, the head of the British Shakespeare Association, who questioned the value of the proposed investigation.

“‘None of the big questions — how he worked, how he put the plays together, what it was like to be at a performance — are going to be solved by examining the bones. It would produce a lot of publicity, and not much research,’ he said.”

Despite the different opinions, you may notice a rather odd similarity. Neither man even hints at the considerations of morality or common decency that would persuade many of us not to touch this idea with a 10-foot pole. It is as if that aspect hadn’t even occurred to them.

Would Thackeray talk so glibly about the mortal remains of someone buried in 1985 or 1999, I wonder? Especially were it someone he knew. What year would represent his cut-off date, beyond which people cease to be people and become artefacts, fair game for ghouls in lab coats? I give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he actually has a cut-off date.

No doubt there are fine lines to be drawn between Man’s investigate spirit and respect for the dead but it would be comforting if people presumably not lacking in grey matter actually acknowledged that fact. The past may be a foreign country but its natives were flesh and blood human beings. They had a sense of right and wrong and no doubt a hope that the phrase ‘rest in peace’ would mean exactly that.

Give it another four hundred years and we shall have all emigrated to that land ourselves. Should our own coffins cross paths with archaeological endeavour, we can only hope the guys holding the trowels are a little more nuanced than Prof Thackeray seems to be.

November 1, 2014

After a chicken**** week for the Left, a plea for grown-up politics

Filed under: politics — - @ 10:10 am
Tags: , , , ,

If this is ‘progressive’, you can keep it.

A representative of the President of the United States of America denounces another head of state as “chickenshit” in a public forum (we must admire Team Obama’s consistency, if nothing else) and now a Labour front-bencher this side of the Pond rolls up in the Houses of Parliament wearing a T-shirt that bears the legend This is what a feminist looks like, amid a ridiculous spat over whether the Prime Minister should have worn one for the benefit of the cameras.

Labour, too, has ‘form’ when it comes to dress wholly inappropriate to the occasion. When your outlook on life is of the liberal, anything-goes variety, I suppose it’s inevitable that you see the word ‘standards’ as referring simply to a pile of London newspapers.

When it comes to the tiresome collision between gesture politics and social media, on the other hand, is it too much to ask that supposed grown-ups move beyond it?

“Wear my T-shirt or me and my mates will slag you off on Twitter”. It’s rare that I praise the Prime Minister but his refusal to join in with this tosh is commendable. The man has a country to run, for goodness sake. Judge him by his policies and the execution thereof if you’re concerned about his attitude to women, not by the wearing of some silly T-shirt.

What have things come to when, whatever your hopes as to which party wins the White House or Number Ten next time around, they take second place to prayers that it will consist of adults with a firm grip on the word ‘statesmanlike’ and what it entails?

October 28, 2014

Michael Fallon commits modern politics’ greatest crime – listening to the public

Filed under: politics — - @ 1:46 pm
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You always know when a politician has come dangerously close to telling it like it is. He’s backtracking like crazy within 24 hours.

In touch with the mood of his people? Then he should damn well keep it to himself…

I wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t something so predictable about those who objected to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s weekend comments that the UK is in danger of being swamped by immigration. The Liberal Democrats would object to anything these days, such is their desperation to show that they still have a pulse, while Labour understandably won’t brook any swipe at the people who form the lion’s share of their vote.

Throw in the usual nicey-nicey knee-jerk brigade, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose promising start to his tenure is fast becoming a distant memory, and Fallon’s best reaction would have been to ignore the lot of them.

But no, in any clash between the mood of the so-called elite and that of the Great Unwashed, the former must prevail and so yet again we see one of our leaders on the back foot for the dreadful faux pas of giving public opinion a voice.

Because here’s how it is: this country IS being swamped by immigration, as even those of us who believe in immigration – as long as it is planned and implemented by people with a backbone and half a brain – can see with our own eyes.

I was at church on Sunday. Part of the service was the christening of a Lithuanian baby and part of the order of service was read in both English and Lithuanian. Fifteen years ago, I would have thought it a delightful touch, just as I would the occasional sound of foreign voices in my town or a shop that specialised in eastern European food and drink. Nowadays, though, all I could think on Sunday morning was “thin end of the wedge”.

This change in outlook occurs not because some inner Nazi has simply been waiting for any old excuse to show itself, but because I see what is going on around me, as do millions of people in Britain. An immigration free-for-all that is neither thought-out nor managed and that generates its own ugliness. You put a people in fear of losing their country’s identity and social tension is inevitable.

How many times must this be spelt out? It’s not about race, it’s about numbers.

October 21, 2014

Movie credits could use a spoiler alert

Filed under: Cinema,sex — - @ 9:10 am
Tags: ,
Sasha Grey Accepting the AVN Award For Best Or...

Cultural apocalypse: they have awards for this kind of thing… (Photo: Wikipedia)

I’ve grumbled before about the surfeit of useless information once closing credits roll up the big screen.

Believe it or not, my evening’s enjoyment is not enhanced one iota by knowing whom the unit accountants or standby plasterers were.

Having sat through Gone Girl at the weekend, however, I believe there is one item of small print that really should go into more detail. The age certificate at the start.

‘Adult language and sex themes’ doesn’t help me make a fully informed decision, you see. What I really needed Saturday night was something like this:

“Contains two scenes of oral sex. The first one not so bad, because you can focus furiously on your popcorn and act like that’s the only reason you’re there in the first place. The second, however, comes late, when the popcorn is long gone and you have nowhere to hide, leaving you to squirm uncomfortably in a room full of complete strangers.”

I don’t say I’d have walked out and demanded my money back. I could have at least braced myself, however.

October 16, 2014

Peter Hitchens on what design tells us about ourselves

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 1:36 pm
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You thought the spartan, minimalist look was just a trend? Maybe not…

“I am fascinated by the assumption in so much modern design that people no longer know how to behave – the public loos of my youth were ornate affairs of porcelain, glass, brass and wood, now they are increasingly Spartan, armour-plated, unbreakable and unadorned. It’s the same trend that has led many pubs to serve drinks in plastic containers rather than glasses…

“We cannot be trusted to behave in a civilised fashion, so we must have our hands kept away from dangerous materials, we cannot be allowed to have breakable or delicate facilities in public places…” – Peter Hitchens, Mail Online

September 18, 2014

Where madness crashes into sanity – Mark Levin and stinkin’ San Diego cabs

Filed under: Radio — - @ 6:20 am
Tags: , ,
Round about the 1hr 46m 20sec mark of this broadcast, the Ranter’s Ranter Mark Levin picks up on a story from San Diego, in which the city fathers have ordered cab drivers to attend to their personal hygiene with greater vigilance, after a swathe of complaints about smelly taxis.

Surprise, surprise; some drivers have tried to turn this into a racial prejudice issue. Mr Levin proceeds to – as I believe Americans put it – ‘rip them a new one’…

This man is my hero.

September 9, 2014

Referendum threat? Hell, even our unwritten constitution is up for grabs…

Filed under: politics,Royals,Uncategorized — - @ 10:57 pm
Tags: ,

So let me get this straight: Prince Charles voices concerns on any aspect of British society and is routinely slapped down by pompous Westminster windbags, who insist on strict observance of the British tradition that the Royal Family stays out of politics.

A referendum on Scottish independence threatens the powerbase of our political parties, on the other hand, and suddenly the Queen speaking out in support of the Union, “could make all the difference”, in the eyes of those same grandees.

Number One – that politicians believe the populace can be so easily swayed in opinions that they have had months to come to, shows yet again how little they really think of us.

Number Two – I can’t think of a better way for the Monarchy to assure its survival for at least another 50 years, than if a letter from the Palace to Parliament – “Her Majesty asks me to inform you that this proposal may be placed where the sun doesn’t shine” – were somehow leaked to the media.

September 6, 2014

One size does NOT fit all, business people: use your brain…

Filed under: business,Travel — - @ 12:11 pm
Tags: ,
Just had an accommodation confirmation email from Booking.com This is what happens when you run your business to a strict template, divorced from human touches like common sense and proportionality:

“It’s time to get excited about your trip to Motherwell!”

Really? I’m tempted to book a room in Chernobyl just to see if this lunacy gets any worse.

And before any Motherwellians grumble, I would have laughed just as much had the reference been to my own home town, which is neither Malibu, Sydney, nor Gstaad.

September 2, 2014

A message to politicians everywhere

Filed under: politics — - @ 6:12 am

“A lot of [Republicans] who are running are just like the Democrats. They put the finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing.

“Stop worrying so much about what the press is going to say about you…if those people aren’t saying bad things about you, you probably aren’t doing anything.”Ben Carson

August 27, 2014

Rotherham child abuse scandal – we’ll never tame the culprits until we crucify their accomplice

Filed under: Kids,Law and order — - @ 11:09 pm
Tags:

If you believe that the measure of a country is how it tends for its most vulnerable members, then you may consider yourself tragically spoilt for choice when trying to identify the money quote in yesterday’s appalling revelations concerning Rotherham’s betrayal of its children.

  • “Around 1,400 children were sexually exploited in one town over a 16-year period”
  • “…in more than a third of these cases the youngsters were already known to agencies”
  • “…children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone”
  • “They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated”
  • “…girls as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.”
  • “…no council officers will face disciplinary action”

Allow me, however, to suggest this as the successful candidate:

 ‘The report said: “By far the majority of perpetrators were described as ‘Asian’ by victims.”

But, she said, councillors seemed to think is [sic] was a one-off problem which they hoped would go away and “several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist”.

She said: “Others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”‘

I don’t know where the authorities are when it comes to bringing the perpetrators of these wicked deeds to justice but I do know that we have their chief accomplice in custody for questioning.

Almost one and a half thousand children violated and with heaven knows how many of them, there is a case to answer that political correctness ran interference for the culprit, with harsh reality playing second fiddle to a party line that decrees not even child-rape trumps racism on a scale of improper conduct.

If this is true, how many Britons would honestly be surprised? This kind of rigid, terrified group-think has begun to typify our nation the way that cricket once did.

At the risk of going all Thomas Jefferson, I think it is high time we declared some truths of our own to be self-evident.

That telling the truth is not hate speech.

That reality is not to be tucked away in the shadows for fear of upsetting someone’s la-la land narrative, but is to be brought out into the brightest light and assessed and acted upon in a way that is right, objective, and grown-up.

That when a child is in imminent danger of being sexually traumatised, leftist niceties rank some way below the price of eggs on a list of related priorities.

And that if you really want to further racial cohesion, you might like to placate a whole lot of British Sikhs and Hindus by spelling out precisely what you mean by ‘Asian’. I understand it’s something of a bugbear.

It’s a long road back for Rotherham but if yesterday’s events finally see the cult of PC take its first tentative steps in a long walk off a short plank, some good may yet come of this wretched tale.

Last week, I read how a compatriot of mine may have sawn the head off an American journalist, and I thought it would be a long time before I felt so embarrassed to be British.

Turns out it was seven days.

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