The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Infernal Affairs

It seems that the Deity has a staff shortage on His hands, as many who would otherwise flock to the priesthood are choosing to marry rather than to burn with spiritual ardour. For its own part the management is opposed to any relaxation of the celibacy vow, regarding it as a "gift to the church" in return for the privilege of membership: what might be called a sacrificial cock. Unfortunately, even the rods of present staff are not always comfortably deployed; although the Vatican's compassionate heart is doubtless greatly gladdened at the number of priests who, while guilty of rape, sexual abuse and breaking the vow of celibacy, nevertheless retain sufficient strength of spirit to avoid the greater sin of contraception. It is unknown how many fathers have gone forth and multiplied, although one support group for those born the wrong side of the cassock has some fifty thousand users; and as far back as 2017 the Vatican drafted guidelines whose fundamental principle is, as one would expect, the "protection of the child" and certainly not the protection of the Church. Indeed, so selfless is the Church where its own remaining reputation is concerned that the guidelines cannot be made public, in case an unprotected child should suffer.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Cogs Grind Slow and Squeakily

Never let it be said that the Stupid Party is not a broad church: it has room even for David Gauke who, after an entire career spent in an organisation famous for its endless, foam-flecked howling in favour of more and harsher sentences for everyone except tax dodgers, mass murderers and the better class of sex offender, has suddenly noticed that more prison does not necessarily mean less crime. Specifically, the ineffectiveness of short custodial sentences has obtruded itself upon the Gauke consciousness; presumably because, in a system where teachers and landlords are used as border police, it will soon be found cheaper and easier to place offenders under house arrest and order their families to supervise them, on pain of becoming part of the homelessness boom. Still, even a tentatively and no doubt opportunistically non-custodial Conservative is a rare enough breed, and the Minister for Profitable Incarceration is to be congratulated on his timely intuition. It is certainly Britain's misfortune not to have benefited from government by David Gauke's party during the past eight years, rather than by whoever starved the courts of funds, kicked legal aid to pieces, vandalised the probation service and believed that the best way to rehabilitate offenders was to let the brilliant Chris Graybeing deprive them of books.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: I Bicuspid lxiv-lxxvii

But when asked for a parable, the Father of Teeth said: "Did I ever tell you how I once slew a dragon? It was a most voracious and destructive creature, eating virgins by the score and hoarding enough treasure to ensure that the various banking firms with which it did business were too big to fail. Many brave warriors went up against it, but spears and arrows could not penetrate its scaly hide, and the one knight who thought to bring a howitzer was defeated when the dragon breathed fire which set off the ammunition prematurely and blew him to smithereens. I myself succeeded in slaying the dragon only by clinging to its ghastly neck, from which the loose skin dangled in wattles as loose and flabby as the reasoning of priests, and chewing off its scales one by one. The dragon was in flight at the time, and the masticated scales fell down through the atmosphere, shrieking like bombs, and wherever one of them landed a new dragon was born. I understand the banks are still arguing over how to the estate might most profitably be distributed among so many immature and inarticulate heirs. Whoever has teeth to chew, let them chew it over."

But those who had asked for the parable were discontented, and muttered among themselves that the Father of Teeth had failed to explain how he gained access to the dragon's ghastly neck, or who had commissioned him to slay the dreadful creature in the first place, or where the dragon could have been flying on business so urgent that it had failed to notice the scrawny old man digging his vicious gums into its hide. There were even a few who whispered that the Father of Teeth might have been less than scrupulously literal in relating his adventure; but these were hastily trampled flat by the multitude and their pulped remains stamped into the earth where, as a warning to the sceptical, the clay continues red to this day.

"Fools!" the Father of Teeth upbraided the survivors. "You are like readers who ignore the words and see only the spaces between. Your unrelenting attention to what is not in the story distracts you from what is there. The chosen few, however, will observe that one must beware of parables, for each one may spawn further and yet further parables of a far less interpretable nature."

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Lordly Legalisms

Although the resident psychic at Britain's leading liberal newspaper has proclaimed peace in Yemen as Jeremy C Hunt's single most important priority after wrecking Britain's economy, it seems that certain unconstructive elements in the House of Donors remain unconvinced as to the Government's good intentions. The Lords committee on international relations has concluded that Britain is breaking the law by licensing arms sales to the head-chopping House of Saud, despite all British-sold weapons being clearly marked to the effect that they are not to be used in defiance of British values and despite assurances from the Saudis themselves, who really ought to know, that the weapons are being utilised in the finest and most honourable tradition of British peacekeeping. Once the little matters of Brexit and wog-bombing by Islamic fundamentalist proxy have been settled to the satisfaction of Jeremy C Hunt, no doubt Her Majesty's Government will learn all the usual lessons and draw the usual conclusions about the inefficiency and lack of democratic accountability in the House of Donors, and about the necessity for immediate and radical reform via further inundations of appropriately experienced and qualified sycophants.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Responsible Adults Speak Out

The dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK has responded to some uppity behaviour in the juvenile wing with her usual acuity, extruding a spokesbeing to condemn the shelf-stackers of tomorrow for their unconstructive attitude. Everybody wants young people to be engaged so we can build a brighter future for all who have the appropriate financial and racial qualifications, but the engagement must be constructive and not interfere with management decisions. "It is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for," clunked the spokesbeing, whose party colleagues believe that educational policy is best entrusted to the likes of Toby Young. The Minister for Fracking and Fuel Poverty took a more conciliatory line, but still wagged the finger because the probable end of civilisation is no excuse for leaving homework undone. In the meantime, if young people are worried about the climate there is always the jabbering homunculus and sometime Bible signatory Michael Gove to get behind.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Practically an Immigrant

As a nominally Christian bedlam with a famously pious warder, it is only natural that the United Kingdom should have no particular interest in the reclamation of sinners. Accordingly, the expressed wish of Shamina Begum, who left the country as a schoolgirl four years ago to join the Fighting Sons of Blair in Syria, has been greeted by the security minister with finger-wagging sanctimony. "Actions have consequences," sermonised Ben Wallace, a colleague of Graybeing the Unsacked, Rudd the Rapidly Returned and Fox the Defence Ministry Werritty-warmer. Doubtless with an equally straight face, Wallace demonstrated the expectable level of compassionate insight into the mind of a groomed fifteen-year-old: "People know what they're getting into;" and then had a bit of a blather about investigations, interviews and prosecutions, probably because the Government has just passed a new anti-terrorist law and is simply itching to take it out for a trial run. For her own part, Begum is in the last stage of her third pregnancy, having lost two other children to disease and starvation, and seems to believe that Britain might have some sort of interest in ensuring that the child, though presumably a citizen of nowhere, is not made to pay for the mother's derelictions. Evidently there has been some small communications breakdown in the Middle Eastern terrorist community when it comes to Britain's recent achievements in detention, deportation and child poverty.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Uncivilised Tribes

British values are once again under attack from the unregenerate racists of the Stalinist left, who are seeking to undermine the reputation of both Army and Empire. To the apparent surprise of some, it has emerged that African troops in the Second World War received lower pay than the forces of civilisation, and were sometimes even subjected to corporal punishment, which was illegal at the time except between consenting Sandhursters. Naturally, the forces of political correctness are demanding apologies, acknowledgements and even financial compensation from the Government. This is certainly not the kind of thing that could have occurred during those sensible days when the non-extremists were in charge, and fighting tooth and nail to keep Asian veterans out of the country in case their arrival should spur the more patriotic elements of the great British public to do something immoderate at the ballot-box.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Aux Armes, Citoyens de Nulle Part

One of the most fiendish of the beastly Euro-wogs has issued a comprehensive insult to Enlightenment values by implying that leading figures of the French Revolution are comparable to the sniggering twerps of Brexit. The idea that Alexander Boris de Pfuffup Johnson has anything in common with Georges Jacques Danton may be the saving of the French government should it come to the attention of the yellow-bellied besiegers. On the other hand, there may be something to recommend the comparison between Jacob Rees-Mogg and Maximilien Robespierre: although the latter opposed slavery while the former is presumably in favour, Robespierre did manage to botch his own suicide like a plucky runner-up on the Upper-Class Twit of the Year Show. That said, comparing the jabbering homunculus Michael Gove to Jacques Pierre Brissot may be the greatest outrage of all. Much to his discredit, Brissot founded an abolitionist group called the Society of the Friends of the Blacks; while Gove remains a member in good standing of the Windrush-deporting administration which would be unlikely to take on such a title without some risk of terminological inexactitude. In all three cases, of course, the comparison founders on the total lack of evidence for any of the French revolutionaries becoming more intelligent after their heads were cut off.

Me at Poetry24:
Historical Controls

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Mysterious Setback

In yet another example of that maddeningly enigmatic process whereby services somehow become less efficient the more they are kicked to bits, hospital admissions for problems relating to addiction are increasing despite the Government's efficiency savings on alcohol and drug treatment and despite the Elysian vistas opened up by the hostile environment, Universal Credit and Brexit. As happy chance will have it, the burden of responsibility for drug and alcohol services, and especially for their failures and inadequacies, belongs to local authorities; so Westminster merely extruded a spokesbeing which had a bit of a burble about all children deserving a safe and happy place to call home. The spokesbeing omitted mention of such undeserving exceptions as the offspring of scroungers and shirkers and children with one or more queue-jumping Euro-wog parents; but the free and cantankerous media took their usual civilised attitude, and no discernible moral panic has thus far materialised.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: Incisors xxi-xli

On his way there, the Father of Teeth dropped in upon a life emporium where a child's sickness was being compassionately prolonged. So loud and persistent were the patient's screams that she was confined to a box in order to spare her family distress; and so effective was the insulation that very little distress was visible on the family's faces. Indeed, the face of the child's younger brother was home to a positive smirk.

"Life is precious, is it not," said the Father of Teeth to the father of the child; "you spent all of three minutes engendering that one, and the salary of several years bringing it to its present state. It would certainly be a shame to waste the investment." But the father of the child said nothing, and stared at the Father of Teeth as though the latter had said something tactless.

"Life is precious, is it not," said the Father of Teeth to the mother of the child; "you put up with the attentions of that boor for a full three minutes, and then spent forty weeks of increasing discomfort and inconvenience before the result could be painfully and effortfully expelled. Then the feeding and the weaning, with no reward on the horizon save the hormonal apocalypse to come; it would certainly be a waste should all turn out in vain." But the mother of the child said nothing, and gazed at the Father of Teeth as though he had been talking nonsense.

"Life is precious, is it not," said the Father of Teeth to the child's elder brother; but the child's elder brother backed away from the grin of dreadful gums, and would not be tickled nor engage in repartee. However, the younger brother nodded enthusiastically, and answered the grin of the Father of Teeth with a gap-toothed grin of his own.

"Life," said the younger brother to the Father of Teeth, pointing gleefully at the quivering box from which an increasing if muffled volume of screams was leaking, "is precious because it bites."