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The Revenge of Winston Smith

Observations on the absurdity of everyday life interspersed with rambling rants against religion · big brother government policies · conservatism · right-wingers and obsessive capitalists · xenophobes, racists, sexists and bigots in general · tabloid journalism · the Daily Mail · self-professed moral guardians..... and much much more!

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The End (?)

Posted by Tim on Monday, April 03, 2006 | Permalink

I'm taking a break from writing this blog. Half hearted posts once a month or so - often to just apologise for the half hearted posts once a month or so - aren't really worth writing.

I think I've just become bored with the "blogsphere" in general. It was once interesting and exciting but it's been diluted over the past couple of years by vast numbers of crap bloggers with an over inflated sense of their own importance.

I still have strong opinions on certain things, but there's not much one guy writing some website can actually do. And anyway, while part of me wants to break down barriers, set people free and make the world a better place, a bigger part of me just wants to sit on the sofa, drink tea and play through old Nintendo games.

I might be back sometime in the future. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the archives (which should give you a good idea of my opinions on most subjects).

--- o 0 o ---

The post that gets the most views - mainly from people typing dodgy things like "sex with kids" into search engines - is this one, where I point out the stupidity of people who think that not giving kids sex education and contraceptive advice will stop them actually doing it. I also give me opinions on the sort of people who complain about teenage single mothers getting benefits (more on that subject here).

The next most viewed post - about ridiculous advertising - is here, which most visitors get to from searching for "Pukka Pies" (more on advertising here).

The post with the most comments is this one, about homeschooling, being different, and my mother in law - who, for various reasons including those detailed in the post - is an evil fucked up bitch. That's Gloria Jean Hardy, the evil fucked up bitch. Incase you missed that: Gloria Jean Hardy. The bitch.

Well, that's it for now. If you're really bored, try going through the monthly archives [now removed!]. Or the blogroll [now removed!], which lists a pretty-much random selection from the many sites I visit on a fairly regular basis (various subjects covered, and not all stuff I agree with).

Totals (not including this) - 66 posts since Friday, May 21, 2004 - 219 comments.

UPDATE 27/10/08 : As part of a general tidy-up (of all my sites) I have removed the less interesting posts as well as the links and other such stuff. The posts that remain are filed by category - links are at the bottom of the page.


Civil partnerships for gay couples

Posted by Tim on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 | Permalink

Civil partnerships for gay couples become legal in the UK today.

It's not relevant to me on a personal level (not being gay and all that) but I like the fact that progress is being made. Ten years ago too many people would have been up in arms over the idea. Twenty years ago, anyone suggesting it would have been ridiculed then ignored as a crank. Before that, I doubt if anyone would have dared to seriously suggest such a thing in the first place.

It's also good to see that many of the of the contributors to the BBC's have your say on the subject seem to be in favour.

The people who are against it fall into three categories:

1. The ones that talk about sin and mythical deities being pissed off and stuff.
Well, not everyone is religious, and even many who are support this. They are civil partnerships anyway, so religion should have nothing to do with it (although even marriage is a legal partnership before anything else).

2. The ones who have a fondness for talking about the "eroding of traditional family values".
I really hate this sort of conservatism. And anyway, it's not as if allowing gay partnerships is going to stop people having heterosexual ones!
"Once you legitimise one type of un-natural partnership soon everyone will want the same rights and people will be marrying their dogs and the human race will die out ... "

3. The people who presumably aren't aware of the expression the bullshit before the but - i.e.
"I'm not homophobic, but ..."

Basically, if you are against these partnerships, you are a bigot. Simple as that.

This BBC News story from Northern Ireland, where it became legal a couple of days ago, is interesting - particularly the bit about the religious protests:
The Reverend Doctor Ian Brown, from the Free Presbyterian Church, was among the more vocal: "The fact of the matter is that God does not endorse this, shall never endorse this and we are standing for the word of God and for the protection of our children."

The protesters' message was reinforced by an advertising trailer with a giant hoarding which read: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted."

Although one wag tried his best to antagonise the crowd with a placard reading: "The earth is flat." [heh heh!]

As the taxi carrying the couple edged its way through the crowd, the jeers from protesters competed with the cheers from supporters.

Jeers? What a bunch of arseholes!



Posted by Tim on Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Permalink

I'm usually undecided in which I hate the most: The Sun or The Mail. They are both right wing rags full of bigoted opinions; The Mail likes to incite moral panic among its middle aged, middle class readers and The Sun is cliché-ridden so that its younger, trendier and more working class readers don't have to put too much effort into reading it.

Today however, the award for the scummiest paper goes to The Sun. Their front page story - under the headline of "TRAITORS" - concerns Blair's defeat by "TREACHEROUS MPs" who "betrayed the British people last night by rejecting new laws to combat terror."

The article continues: "They IGNORED the wishes of the vast majority of Britons and HUMILIATED Tony Blair by inflicting his first Commons defeat. Gutless Tory MPs were joined by up to 47 Labour rebels as they wrecked the PM's bid to hold terror suspects for 90 days without charge."

The Sun have supported Blair all the way with this, pointing out how evil terrorism is and how it must be defeated. Fair enough, but I myself think that the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing is kind of important. The way these journalists are frothing at the mouth seems to imply that they think that all suspects are automatically guilty.

They have even "named and shamed" the MPs who voted against the bill. This strikes me as a little odd - such information is hardly a secret, and these people were the ones in the majority!

Incidentally, it shows how far the Labour party have moved to the right if the Sun - a Thatcher-endorsing paper in the 80s - supports them.

One final point, just in case someone from The Sun reading this: dramatic sforzandi WORK in Beethoven symphonies but are really - fucking - ANNOYING in CRAPPY newspapers.

UPDATE 12/11/2005 - This is well worth a read, especially if you support the whole 90 day thing.


Advertisements suck

Posted by Tim on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 | Permalink

Every now and again someone starts complaining about the TV licence fee and suggests that the BBC should become independent and start showing adverts instead. This always pisses me off to a significant degree because I really, really hate adverts.

Firstly, I don't have such a short attention span that I need a programme I've taken the trouble to watch to be broken up by people trying to sell me stuff I almost definitely don't want (in a supposedly amusing way).

Secondly, I hate anything that deals with stereotypes and clichés. You know the sort of thing - where men always drink lager, watch football, have to be shown by women how to use cleaning products - and where women always do the shopping and cooking and are never annoyed when the dumb man/child/dog makes a mess on her newly washed kitchen floor (This article on the modern rules of advertising gives some good examples).

Thirdly, they are always full of such complete bullshit. Example: the current ad for Kelloggs Corn Flakes. Apparently "studies show that when they eat a breakfast like ours, kids are on average 9% more alert". What studies? And 9% more alert compared with what? Eating another brand of cereal? Eating a cereal not like theirs? Or - more likely (presuming that the figure hasn't just been made up) - 9% more alert that if they hadn't eaten anything?

(no comments)


Fascinating figures

Posted by Tim on Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Permalink

Apparently, the British Royal Family cost the taxpayer just under £37 000 000 last year. This works out as £0.61 from each person. While I am no big fan of the royals, and could probably think of better things to spend £37m on, I suppose I can't really complain about paying 61p a year. Perhaps these figures will give the people who complain about the amount teenage single mothers get in benefits something to think about (see my last post on this).

When I was unemployed some years ago a friend of mine complained that, as the amount of benefit I received was about the same amount as the tax he was paying, he was in effect paying my benefit (he didn't seem to realise that if he was paying my benefit someone else must have been paying his share of all the other stuff tax goes on. He was also being rather a hypocrite as he had lived in my flat for free for several months previously when he himself was out of work).

I was unemployed again recently. I'd guess that the benefits I received - jobseeker's allowance, child tax credits and housing benefit - would have added up to around £12000 over a year (a reasonable amount to live on, provided you don't have any major debts). Using the figures above regarding the royal family, I worked out that this £12000 I would have received would have cost each taxpayer £0.00019783. This means that I would have had to be receiving these benefits for over fifty years for my friend to have given my a penny!

Kind of puts things into perspective, don't you think?


Kids, sex, kid's kids, you pay

Posted by Tim on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Permalink

The story of the three schoolgirl sisters who gave birth aged 12, 14 and 16 has dominated the media over the past few days [BBC News story].

While the comments to the BBC's have your say on the subject are, surprisingly, fairly free of Christians banging on about celibacy (see here) most of the commenters seem to be randomly pointing fingers at people, hoping to find someone to "blame".

So, two simple facts:
1. Kids are going to have sex. Like adults, they are aware that it's kinda nice.
2. Kids don't always do what their parents or teachers tell them to do. They rebel - especially if their parents or teachers are too strict with them.

When it comes to sex, the parents/teachers are fighting a loosing battle against hormones. So, surely schools should be teaching sex education from an early age, giving relationship and contraception advice - and, when necessary, handing out free contraceptives?

Of course, many parents, religious groups, moral guardians etc. would be up in arms if this sort of thing did go on. I recall the shock reactions to a recent news story about ten-year-old girls being given the pill. Ok, I'm not going to say that ten-year-olds should be having sex (or twelve year olds come to that) but surely ten-year-olds taking the pill is better than ten-year-olds getting pregnant?

The thing that annoys me the most however are the people who moan about young mothers being given benefits. On the front page of The Sun for example was the Daily-Mailesqe statement "and guess what ... YOU'RE paying their £31k a year benefit".

So what are we supposed to do - let them starve? It's not as if anybody's tax bill is going to increase to cover these benefits - £31k is a pretty negligible amount. Consider the millions (billions?) that must have been spent on the unpopular Iraq war. Guess what ... YOU PAID!


Sex sells, apparently

Posted by Tim on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | Permalink

Every now and again I see an advertisement for something that is just so ridiculous that I can't quite believe it's real ...

Some time ago I was in my local chippy (fish-and-chip take away to non-Brits) and on the wall was a advert for Pukka Pies. It consisted of a sexy guy with sexy girl sprawled out in a sexy car, with the guy feeding the girl a chip in a supposedly sexy manner. With the chips was one of the afore-mentioned pies, and at the bottom the caption read "socialise with Pukka Pies". I remember having to fight back laughter at the idea that a steak and kidney pie could increase your ability to attract women.

Anyway, yesterday I was looking at a completely unrelated article on Wikipedia and, after following various links bizarrely found myself at the Pukka Pies website. It seems that the makers of these pies have now gone further with their claims of the pulling power of their product. Foreplay? Forget it - just take a Pukka Pie to bed with you!

Pukka Pies

Licking ice-cream off your partner's naked body may be fun. But a red hot lump of dead cow ...?


Our good friends, the Americans

Posted by Tim on Monday, November 08, 2004 | Permalink

I've spent a fair bit of time over the past week looking at right-wing American blogs for their reaction to the U.S. elections. Most of the ones I visit regularly are thankfully free of the smugness I expected (although the slightly patronising "Kerry did the right thing in the end" stuff is a bit irritating).

Looking at the comments to these posts however reveals something rather more unpleasant.

People who oppose Bush are "un-American" - presumably you have to be right-wing to be truly American. It's the American way. I myself, being a Brit, shouldn't even have an opinion on such matters. I obviously hate America, and It's entirely down to jealousy. That's right, I spend all my time looking at the U.S. with envy, mourning the loss of the British Empire while I dunk hot buttered crumpets into my warm beer. I also should be eternally grateful to these commenters - if it wasn't for them I'd be speaking German now (although I'm surprised that so many of these commenters were actually involved in WWII).

This sort of thing does nothing to alter my opinion that America is largely populated by dumb, fat, greedy, money obsessed, right-wing, bigoted, obsessively patriotic (i.e. xeonophobic) gun-toting religious fanatics - and presumably these are the people who voted for Bush.

I don't hate America. It could be a fantastic place - if about half* of the population disappeared.

*51% to be precise.


Annoying, conclusion-jumping, judgemental little turds

Posted by Tim on Friday, November 12, 2004 | Permalink

Jehovah's Witnesses came to my house today while I was at work. I was rather disappointed - I've always enjoyed "discussing" things with these people, and watching their ever increasing difficulty in remaining polite and friendly as I point out that their beliefs are, in fact, complete bullshit.

My wife answered the door - still in her dressing gown - to find the smartly dressed couple smiling and waving a copy of the Watchtower at her (no kids today - they usually drag their poor children around with them, which I feel is a form of child abuse - although that's a topic for another rant). The first thing the woman said to my wife was "Oooh, you're having a baby!" - and then both of them made a very obvious point of looking down to see if she was wearing a wedding ring. Seeing that she wasn't (she had to take it off as her fingers have swollen up) their tone changed dramatically. The man actually shook his head and started walking back up the drive! How nice of them to drop by a strangers house to jump to conclusions and be judgemental. And it's not as if unmarried couples having children is uncommon anyway (we weren't married when we had our first).

Oh, and I don't want to worry anyone, but the world is going to come to an end again soon. Unfortunately they didn't give an exact date this time - presumably to avoid any embarrassment when such a date passes and the world stubbornly continues to exist.


Nudge nudge, wink wink

Posted by Tim on Friday, October 22, 2004 | Permalink

Why is it that whenever you tell a group of people that you/your partner are expecting a baby, at least one person will give you a stupid grin and say something incredibly witty like, "So how did you manage that then?"

Perhaps I should be blunt and tell the next person who asks me (my wife is expecting child #2 in a few weeks) exactly how I (we) managed it (although I would have thought that it would have been obvious). I suppose they are thinking "I know you've had sex!" - but isn't having sex is one of those things that pretty much everyone does anyway?

So, just in case any such person is reading, I would like to publicly confirm that I have, indeed, a number of times actually, had sex.

Haven't you?



Posted by Tim on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 | Permalink

I wasn't initially going to bother writing about this - plenty of people have beaten me to it. But I can't help but be amazed by the effect that something so small and insignificant has had.

I am referring to Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn column in The Guide from last Saturday's Guardian. The final paragraph is what has caused so many right-wing American bloggers (see here for an example) to start foaming at the mouth:
On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Ok, it was in poor taste and not actually very funny (us Brits do have a very dry sense of humour) but surely it must be obvious to anyone with any degree of intelligence that it was only a joke? After reading some of the reactions to the article you'd think that the Guardian had actually put a price on Bush's head!

Someone guy asked me how the British public would feel if an American had asked where John Bellingham was when we needed him (I had to look this up - apparently Mr Bellingham is the only person to have assassinated a British Prime Minister). Frankly, I don't think many Brits would really care. As I pointed out to the afore-mentioned person, we'd probably just shrug it off and think "Tosser!". And then go down the pub.


Eight-month-old girl guns down men in dark glasses with KF7 Soviet

Posted by Tim on Friday, July 30, 2004 | Permalink

New blog added to my links - Mail watch - keeping an eye on the Daily Mail.

The Mail's front page story today, under the headline Ban these evil games:
A high street electronics chain has withdrawn a bloodthirsty video game after it was blamed for the horrific and brutal murder of a 14-year-old boy by a teenage friend.

Warren Leblanc faces life behind bars for repeatedly battering Stefan Pakeerah with a claw hammer and stabbing him to death after luring him to a local park. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to murder at Leicester Crown Court yesterday.

Outside the court, Stefan's parents said Leblanc, of Braunstone Frith, Leicester, had mimicked a game called Manhunt in which the players score points for violent killings.

His mother Giselle claimed her son's "inherently evil" murderer was "obsessed" with the game and called for it to be banned.

So ..... Warren Leblanc was a perfectly well adjusted kid who became a bloodthirsty murderer (killing his best friend in all the world) after playing a video game? Are the writers of the Mail really that stupid? I strongly suspect that they are not - they are just backing up the conservative politicians who make up problems then promise to tackle these problems in the hope of getting votes from gullible people.

I was reminded by James of a previous Mail story about a one-year-old being addicted to playing Goldeneye.  Now, I'm a Nintendo freak. I have played through Goldeneye many times - it's one of the best games ever made. And there is no way a one-year-old could play it. They would not have the slightest idea what was going on, let alone be able to control the action.

The ironic thing is, I have a photo of my daughter, taken in 1998 when she was eight months old, playing Goldeneye! Ok, the photo was set up for a laugh, but it looks like she is really getting into it (N64 controllers seem to fascinate babies) and you can clearly see the game on the TV screen (it's the first level in the Bunker).

I was seriously tempted to post the picture here, but eventually decided it wasn't such a good idea. The wrong person could stumble across it and before long it would be all over the net and the afore-mentioned conservatives would be saying "Look! We told you so!".

By the way, my daughter, now nearly seven, has not become a deranged killer. She does play Banjo-Kazooie a fair bit though, which features a bird living in a backpack worn by a bear, a witch, and a shaman called Mumbo-Jumbo.

Games featuring witchcraft and black magic ... being played by children ... quick, ban it before more kids become crazed psychopathic killers!


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Categories: General issues and opinions, Media issues, Advertising, Homophobia, Patriotism, Religion, Across the pond, Personal