Archive for May, 2004

Tebbit says that gays make you fat?

28 May 2004

Much has been said about Norman Tebbit saying rising obesity is due to more equality for homosexuals. Allegedly. But what he actually said was:

“Families now so seldom eat together. They don’t prepare meals properly. Wives are pressured into thinking they ought to go to work instead of looking after children. And it is the breakdown of family that is at the root of it.

[...]

“We not only have an epidemic of obesity, we have a huge problem of Aids and the Government’s attitude is to do all it can to promote buggery. Maybe those two are somewhat intimately connected.”

Now, what two things are intimately connected? Gay sex and obesity, or gay sex and AIDS? The former interpretation is just absurd, so absurd I don’t think he could have meant it. The latter is far more sinister, and I believe this was the message he was trying to get across. If he did mean it that way, then Tebbitt is trying to spread the ignorant view that AIDS is merely a “gay plague” despite the rapidly climbing infection rates amongst heterosexuals.

So the press have got it wrong, probably, though quite neatly, their misinterpretation has meant the far more poisonous meaning behind it has not been properly aired. And Tebbit’s been made to look like a fool. So not all that bad then.


Slip of the tongue

27 May 2004

Was it me, or did Kirsty Wark on Newsnight just refer to the US Attorney General as “John Gashcroft”? Has she been looking at this (NSFW) too much?

Update: Have just re-watched the archived web version and she also calls him “Richard” rather than “John”. Doh!

Further Update: And she called the Home Secretary “David Spunkett”. Was the autocue operator having a laugh?


Explanatory notes for the previous entry

27 May 2004

In case you were wondering what I was banging on about: In the same way the physical presence and qualities of the lighter Roosevelt carried, when he was, er, assassinated in a fictional parallel universe where the Nazis won WW2, are totally irrelevant to its authenticity, the physical presence of contemporary art bears no relation to its value. So when that artwork has been incinerated, it doesn’t matter. Emin’s tent or the Chapmans’ vision of Hell may be destroyed, but who cares? They were, are and always will be conceptual. No need to mourn them, no need to recreate them, as their artistic form was only proven in the ideas (in compsci terms, metadata) surrounding them, their physical form (the raw data) is irrelevant. I find it amusing that everyone is wailing and gnashing of teeth so much over their destruction – really, why bother? The art hasn’t gone. Charles Saatchi’s insurers should refuse to pay out, as there has been no actual destruction of the art. In fact he shouldn’t have wasted his money on insuring the physical goods in the first place, he should have just insured the metadata related to them.

(There’s an idea. Coming soon – metadata insurance! That outweighs the value of the data it’s describing! It will happen)


Giggling while art burns

27 May 2004

Getting up, he hurried into his study, returned at once with two cigarette lighters which he set down on the coffee table. ‘Look at these. Look the same, don’t they? Well, listen. One has historicity in it.’ He grinned at her. ‘Pick them up. Go ahead. One’s worth, oh, maybe forty or fifty thousand dollars on the collectors’ market.’

The girl gingerly picked up the two lighters and examined them.

‘Don’t you feel it?’ he kidded her. ‘The historicity?’

She said, ‘what is “historicity”?’

‘When a thing has history in it. Listen. One of those two Zippo Lighters was in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pocket when he was assassinated. And one wasn’t. One has historicity, a hell of a lot of it. And one has nothing. Can you feel it? You can’t. You can’t tell which is which. There is no “mystical plasmic presence”, no “aura” around it.’

‘Gee,’ the girl said, awed. ‘Is that really true? That he had one of those on him that day?’

‘Sure. And I know which it is. You see my point. It’s all a big racket.’

[...]

‘I don’t believe either of those two lighters belonged to Franklin Roosevelt,’ the girl said.

‘That’s my point! I’d have to prove it to you with some sort of document. A paper of authenticity. And so it’s all a fake, a mass delusion. The paper proves its worth, not the object itself!’

‘Show me the paper.’


Office etiquette

26 May 2004

If you have dry, flaky skin (as I do at the moment), it is generally not a polite thing to start rubbing it off into the air in front of your workmates going “Oooh, it’s snowing!” and giggling, as I was just doing, before coming to my senses.

(I blame the coffee and the hours of tedious debugging I’m having to do at the moment…)


I hate Ctrl+W

26 May 2004

Spurred on by a bout of insomnia and this bloody good album, I spent best part of an hour last night writing a long blog entry, then as I was reading back through the damn thing I hit Ctrl+W by accident, which killed the tab with all my hard work in it. Aaargh. Why did they put the quit shortcut key in a place where you can easily hit it? Someone should invent some sort of Mozilla/Firefox extension that either disables Ctrl+W or (better still) checks to see if you’ve been writing in a textarea and asks you if you’re sure you wanted to quit. Would save lots of frustration.

Will rewrite the entry (in a way, it’s a blessing as it was starting to ramble, I have a chance to rethink it and cut out the cruft) when I have an free moment or two.


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