28 October 2011

Black is white, according to the Guardian. Well, orange is purple at least.

Let me start by saying that my frustration with the "Occupy" London protestors is that if they put their energy and idealism into promoting practical ideas to reform the cronyist brand of capitalism that abetted the economic crisis, rather than throwing a temper tantrum against the vaguely identified system as a whole, or obscure structures of local governance (talk about going from one extreme to the other), then we might get somewhere.

I am all for protesting about this sort of thing - but performance art (as Hopi has put it) isn't protesting.

"Occupy" are not helped in their detachment from reality by the cheerleading of the likes of The Guardian. Maybe I'm going a little mad or blind (or at least colour blind) but can someone explain this to me?:


The Guardian website heads this up with a claim that it proves that thermal imaging photography doesn't work when someone's in a tent and so all those pictures of purply-blue tents taken late at night do not mean that everyone's popped home for a shower, hot meal and to catch up with TOWIE, rather than comitting themselves whole-heartedly to the New Jerusalem.

Butbutbutbutbutbut....the tent turns orange doesn't it? Doesn't it? The activist pops inside for five seconds and the tent starts glowing orange, no? And as soon as she leaves, it stops, yes?  

It's like something out of Orwell. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. And orange is purple. Or maybe they should have captioned it with "All tents ARE purply but some are more purply than others".

And one other thing. Well done Anti-Capitalist Hero Woman on getting hold of some state-of-the-art technology, quickly and cheaply. I wonder what sort of socio-economic system might allow us all to do that?

What? Oh.

UPDATE: And yes, I agree, the original thermal photograph probably didn't prove very much about tent occupation as it was taken at 11 pm-ish when probably hardly anyone had gone beddy-byes. But its "Occupiers" themselves who have been quite open about the optional nature of the overnight stages of this adventure in urban camping.

The importance of punctuation

From Tuesday's London Evening Standard:

"Carey Mulligan collects an award for best supporting actress wearing a black Bottega Veneta dress with a spaghetti strap neckline".

I've no doubt that she deserves it, but the specificity of the award does rather undermine its value, no?

20 October 2011

How to make that perfect #bbcqt audience contribution.

The two-screen viewing trend (one eye on the box, one on Twitter) has reignited my enthusiasm for BBC Question Time. Although reading the #bbcqt stream can sometimes make you feel like a Georgian voyeur taking in the spectacle at Bedlam, the ability to express an immediate 140-character thought or two on proceedings rather helps relieve the urge to throw something hard and angular at the TV screen.

Maybe one day I'll even apply to be in the audience. You can sign-up online.

But there's no official guidance on how to ask a question or make a comment from the studio floor. As always, I'm here to help:

1. Affect mock outrage over the issue under discussion, preferably in a way that suggests you have lost all sense of proportion.

Tip: use the formulation (how dare/can [panellist] say/claim [opinion expressed]) + (when [large number] of [interest group] are [emotion/sufferance]).
Example: "How dare the minister claim that not every senior citizen needs a free bus pass while hundreds of thousands of pensioners are still angrily awaiting a hip replacement?"

2. Make an ideological non-sequitur.

Tip: if you're Pretend Left, then feel free to use "neo-con" and "neo-liberal" interchangeably (don't worry about the distinction) to describe anything that suggests a market solution; if you're right-leaning, then "Soviet" is a good catch-all for anything that might require the State taking an interest.
Example: "And if the government was really serious about helping people reduce roadworks in their communities then it shouldn't have imposed Soviet style targets on local councils, should it?"

3. Throw in a dubious personal anecdote.

Tip: make sure that the subjects are just far enough removed from you for you to plausibly deny any further knowledge if questioned.
Example: "My son's girlfriend was made redundant [while her boss was paid a massive bonus] / [when the Health & Safety shut down her office].

4. Confuse the rest of the audience.

Tip: put a left-wing thing at the start of the comment, then make a sharp right and throw in something out of that morning's Daily Mail letters page. Employ the other three techniques above, and you have what I like to think of as the Question Time Money Shot.
Example: "How can an MP that wants to take us back to the days of Thatcherism just sit there and criticise the millions, like the parents of the kids I teach, who rely on benefits to avoid starvation and who want to work but can't...because all the jobs have been taken by immigrants?"

If all goes well, it should inspire one of those weird half-cheer/half-boo rumbles that sounds like everyone simultaneously throwing up in their mouth a little bit.