The Curmudgeon

YOU'LL COME FOR THE CURSES. YOU'LL STAY FOR THE MUDGEONRY.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Name Czech

In April the government of the Czech Republic approved the name Czechia as a one-word name for the country, and a mere five months later the British government's Permanent Committee on Geographical Names has magnanimously ratified the decision. There was apparently some concern that the more factually immune English-speakers might confuse the country with Chechnya, or that historians with a Gove-Johnson degree of sophistication might get it mixed up with the Cheka, or perhaps with a pattern of squares. There were also worries that the name fails to represent Moravia and Silesia, which admittedly could be difficult to squeeze into a single word, at least if it were intended to be susceptible of pronunciation. One name that does not seem to have been considered is Bohemia, which presumably has unpleasant Austro-imperial associations, besides the more relaxed connotations that would have made it an encouraging signal of decadence in a continent of hard-working families.

Friday, September 23, 2016

More Kinks in the Learning Curve

Mere experts are an intransigent lot: pedantically myopic in their obsessive attention to factual occurrences on the present planet, and apparently immune to the moral and spiritual wonders of the far superior world inhabited by Her Majesty's Government. A study by the Education Policy Institute demonstrates once more why mere experts remain unworthy of that alternate world, no matter how much they attempt to undermine its beguiling narrowness, its disciplined, disc-like non-sphericality and the mediaeval charm of its social order. Grammar schools, the study states, do not improve overall standards but rather retard them, and do not help children from disadvantaged backgrounds but rather hinder them; hence the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK and her minions have been saying the thing that is not and making claims based on "nostalgia and anecdote". The experts recommend that the Government abandon its policy, as it will lead to increased social divisions and fewer chances for the non-wealthy: a situation which no imaginable administration of loud-mouthed half-wits and hard-right ideological freaks could possibly wish to see.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Murca Joins the Grown-Ups

Pleasingly enough in these arguably post-imperial times, the campaign for leadership of the free world and the state of Ohio has moved a little closer to the luminous standards of reasonable debate which are routinely achieved here on the democratic mainland. The Trumpster has been bellowing about refugees being a vector for the disease of terrorism, and in support of his claim he has proclaimed that the country has lost control of its borders, that the New York bomber (he hasn't been tried yet, but Trumpster justice is as swift and summary as anything Mad Tessie May could desire) should have been caught in the womb, and that the opposition plans to bring in vast numbers of refugees and spend upon their welfare as large a figure as can be extracted at short notice from the admittedly capacious Trumpster toches. The Trumpster has also proclaimed that refugees not only cause terrorism but also lower quality of life generally, in accordance with the generally accepted religious orthodoxy which proclaims that wages tend to be depressed by migrants and not by tax-dodging corporate fatboys. Our own political masters will no doubt be greatly encouraged to observe the Trumpster and his hydrophobic head-tribble both coming over so mainstream all of a sudden.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Historic Allegations are the New Welfare Claim Forms

Britannia should be dashed proud of having armed forces full of people who do a dangerous job for money and thus do not in the least resemble miners, aid workers or prostitutes, according to Mad Tessie's latest moral eructation. The dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK was lecturing reporters in New York about allegations of murder, abuse and torture having been carried out by the soldiers of Albion during the late crusade in Iraq. Although the Conservative Party does not believe all Iraqis are liars, any more than it believes all immigrants are parasites or all poor people shirkers - or any more than it once believed all single mothers were scroungers, or all gay men were corrupters of children, or all wogs were niggers - the fact remains that some people are abusing the system; which in this case means exactly what that particular fact always means in the Conservative Party, namely that it's time to put the boot into someone. Mad Tessie has vowed to kick out the "industry of vexatious allegations" which, among other things, wants the Ministry of Wog-Bombing to come clean about its orders to the troops on the ground regarding acceptable methods of interrogation. As always, Her Majesty's Government will allow its soldiers' reputations to be tarnished only as a very last resort, viz. when the only foreseeable alternative is the likely exposure of some non-fighting, non-dying, slightly overweight men in suits to the inconvenience of public scrutiny.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Political Science

In a feast of learning to rival Professor Michael Gove's ground-mucking lectures on mathematics, mere experts have once again been set to rights by the inspired blathering of a Conservative turncoat. The parliamentary expenses claimant for the Farage Falange has turned his master's degree in British Imperial History to good use by overturning some misconceptions about the workings of the tides; which, for reasons doubtless having to do with political correctness, militant feminism and the depredations of unreconstructed fuzzy-wuzzies, most scientists seem to think are influenced mainly by the moon. Unfortunately for them, mere scientists rely for their knowledge on the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica of Isaac Newton, which is written in foreign; whereas the distinguished Professor Carswell has the practical common sense that comes with a constituency by the seaside. The parliamentary expenses claimant for the Farage Falange has, after all, spent his career at Westminster, not in some strange, otherworldly, publicly-subsidised bubble of collective self-regard. Hence, the distinguished Professor Carswell recently, and not at all sycophantically, rated his support for the Falange's new leader at 110 per cent; while Newton, among his many other errors, most likely believed that the percentage of a whole could not exceed a hundred.

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Other Speech is the Nasty One

The dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK seems to think it a good idea to lecture the General Assembly of the United Nations on the perils of migration. Not because she sees the Thames foaming with much blood, or at least not yet; but because she is deeply concerned about the welfare of the migrants, who like many dusky limited-income types are incapable of judging their own interests rationally. It is because so many migrants insist on migrating and subjecting themselves to exploitation and danger, rather than staying at home to be subjected to starvation and wog-bombing, that the beleaguered West has reached its present sorry state. Mass population movements reduce resources and popular support for refugees, however much governments and the scumbag press may try to instil a more enlightened public attitude. The best thing the migrants can do is simply to stop migrating and hope to be liberated by British-made bombs rather than liquidated by foreigner-made ones; or, failing that, they should confine themselves to countries like Lebanon and Jordan, which are more used to having them and where they are unlikely to affect anyone's holiday. In short, the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK appears somehow to have confused the international dignitaries at the General Assembly of the United Nations with the race-baiting rabble of a Conservative Party conference. It remains to be seen how flattered the greasy wogs at the General Assembly will feel by the comparison.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Eye in the Sky

Gavin Hood 2015

In Gavin Hood's rather perfunctory alternate-world fantasy, a terrorist cell is discovered preparing a suicide bombing in a house in Kenya. Thanks to a flying robot beetle, the identities of the culprits are established beyond reasonable doubt, and they are all very high on the counter-terrorism wanted list. A drone strike seems to be called for, but is subjected to a Kafkaesque series of delays, partly because the British government is more worried about breaching international law than about displeasing the Americans, and partly because the drone operators have been zooming around a bit in their copious free time, and have seen some potential collateral damage playing with a hula hoop.

The credibility of these motivations is not helped by the fact that every single character on view is a walking cliché: from the no-nonsense colonel who has been tracking one of the terrorists for the past six years, to the straight-talking general impatient at political red tape, to the new junior minister who apparently has risen through the Westminster establishment on moral qualms, to the dead-eyed American flunkey spouting euphemistic jargon, to the obsessively arse-covering and in one case literally squeaky-buttocked minions of the British wog-bombing establishment, to the Good Africans, to the Bad Africans, to the humble military personnel who must do their emotionally taxing duty and then walk away with a tear in their eye at the price of sending the bad guys to Kingdom Come. Despite BAFTA-bait casting and acting, none of these characters approaches the complexity of the dialogue delivery ordnance in a Tarantino film.

Plot mechanics are efficient enough, but Eye in the Sky has all the depth and uncompromising realism of a newspaper report; and not necessarily the kind of report which, in another surreal touch, the film's politicians worry might lose them a by-election or two. That might well explain this eminently forgettable film's glittering reviews from the journalistic class, which tends to inhabit that same alternate reality: the one where terrorist bombings have no social or political background but where the regrettable errors of wealthy white people must always be indulged to the last nuance, and where the emotional indigestion of the wog-bombers is at least as valid and newsworthy as the sufferings of the bombed.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Break Out the Ginger Beer

It's pleasant to note that a crass attempt by the publishers of Enid Blyton's work to anonymise her for the juniors of the Dan Brown generation has ended in a well-deserved flop. Blyton's books have been perceived as racist and sexist for some time, but it is just possible that children who read them may also read other material which displays a more enlightened attitude, much as readers of the Jew-baiting toady William Shakespeare occasionally find it within themselves to drag their ideas out of the sixteenth century. Equally, the presence of outmoded customs, attitudes and language in a story may sometimes lead the youthful reader to ask questions, consult a dictionary and perhaps even think a bit. Nevertheless, however hideous it may be for children to discover that people did not always think or speak the way they do now, apparently that discovery is less traumatic than seeing their favourite stories undergo a personality amputation.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Justice at Last

After a mere thirteen years or so, the Ministry for Wog-Bombing has proclaimed itself "extremely sorry" over the drowning of an Iraqi teenager who was forced into a Basra canal by four brave young chaps doing a wonderful job in difficult circumstances. The boy was arrested "on suspicion of looting" and subjected to a certain amount of manly due process before being taken to the canal in an armoured vehicle along with three other malefactors. They were all forced to enter the water, presumably in the absence of equipment for the more sophisticated aquatic techniques favoured by MI5 and its American chums; and the boy got into difficulties and drowned while his liberators stood by and marvelled at his ingratitude. The soldiers were tried and acquitted of manslaughter in 2006; but the Ministry for Wog-Bombing has apparently just discovered that, despite the freedomisers' lack of interest in post-liberation planning (except for grabbing the oil ministry and purging everyone who knew anything about running the country), the Iraqis had been so careless as to allow Basra to descend into a state of chaos. There are "grave concerns" about the soldiers' training and the adequacy of the resources available to them; but it remains as yet unclear how many decades it will take the Ministry of Wog-Bombing to recommend appropriate action against the rather wealthy men who placed Britain's heroes in such a regrettable situation.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

More Dim Than Devious

It is, of course, the kind of innocent minor mistake anyone could have made. As a member of the Commons public accounts committee, a Conservative junior minister was so possessed with righteous passion over the need to control loan sharks that he leaked a draft report to the biggest loan shark in the country and asked for its opinion. He used his private email address in case some underlings gained access to his parliamentary emails and used them for nefarious purposes. The story was "further complicated", though doubtless quite innocently, by the fact that the junior minister had helped arrange for the loan shark to provide £30,000 in sponsorship to the local football club, and that after the wholly innocent email exchange the chairman of the club made some highly innocent donations totalling about the same to the junior minister's constituency party. Although he had leaked the report to the loan shark and solicited the loan shark's view, the junior minister did not believe that the views emailed him from the loan shark's employees were the views of the loan shark; which doubtless is why the junior minister did not actively seek to ensure that the views shaped the report. He has apologised to his fellow MPs for failing to follow standard procedure in protecting corporate chums from public scrutiny, and may yet receive a two-day suspension despite the mitigating circumstance of his belonging to the Not Particularly Bright Party.