The Curmudgeon


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Our Saviours

Even for the most thrusting executive, there are few things more inconvenient for the career than the extinction of the purchasing species. Accordingly, and only a little more than a quarter of a century after it might have done some good, a few of the world's owners have decided that the destruction of the Amazon ought perhaps to be slowed for the time being rather than accelerated further. An American clothing corporation has suspended purchases of Brazilian leather until the fuss dies down, and a number of financial companies have issued polite murmurs of discontent. No doubt the Bolsonaro government will simply proclaim that the foreign colonialists are using underhand methods to undermine competition from brave little Brazil; which is, of course, one of many sound patriotic reasons why the Johnson junta is panting for a deal with the wildfire entrepreneurs.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Warts and All

A minister in the Irish government has thought better of comparing the Johnson junta to the government of Oliver Cromwell. Michael D'Arcy referred to the Imperial Haystack's suspension of Parliament as "perhaps the most anti-democratic decision" since the Protectorate, though others might nominate James II and VII's prorogation of Parliament in order to set himself up as a tin-pot Louis XIV. Cromwell's crimes in Ireland during his anti-Catholic crusade have understandably made him a reviled figure there to this day; but comparing him to Boris Johnson is going a bit far. The Popish antichrist aside, Cromwell's régime was rather tolerant, and the man himself was neither corrupt nor insincere. D'Arcy soon deleted the comment, evidently less because of the offence against Old Noll's memory than because the Irish government has better things to do than comment on the latest pie-fight in the Westminster wendy-house.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Provincials Must Simply Dry Up

As Britain continues to bask in the latest glorious symptoms of the continuing climate-driven catastrophe, northern proles continue to use water as if there were no tomorrow. A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research indicates that demand could exceed supply in a decade and a half "unless households and businesses reduce their water use," because the only other way to do it would be for the water companies to repair their pipes now and then. Besides wiping out a quarter-century of moisture profiteering tradition and re-instituting the Stalinist era of anti-business repression so magnificently terminated through the Osbornomic miracle, such a course of action might well require a reduction in shareholder dividends and bungs for the boardroom, and would therefore run counter to the prevailing religious orthodoxy. Fortunately the problem affects only northerners, who thanks to the shale-frackers' antics will very likely be using less water anyway.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Nightcap of Inverness Porter

Returning for a moment to the world of serious things, Marks and Spencer have been forced to change the name of a martini drink because of its astounding implication that there might be some sort of link between alcohol and sexual activity. The idea that the British, of all people, might need the help of intoxicating liquors to shed their inhibitions before standing-to, or to conquer the inevitable mutual repulsion of long-time cohabitees, is of course bizarre in the extreme and entirely inadmissible. It remains to be seen whether the nation's new, teetotal culture of love will continue to permit quick ones or stiff ones, to say nothing of purple-faced screams at chucking-out time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Beef Circle-Jerky

Predictably enough, the G7 countries have responded to the burning of the Amazon by playing blithely into the hands of the arson-happy Brazilian cowboys. A derisory waiter's tip, equivalent to the cost of one low-budget Hollywood film, was voted through and has duly been sniggered off. Bolsonaro's chief of staff landed several effective barbs, notably about the French president's inability to prevent fires in Paris; and, the legacy of colonialism being the Third World fascist's Treaty of Versailles, he also prodded happily at the paternalism button. Macron mentioned Europe's imports of soya but made no suggestion as to why Brazil should stop exporting it; the Trumpster and his head-tribble did a bit of posturing; and the leader of the world-leading, world-bestriding Recrudescent Imperium of Westminster, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands was busy with more important matters.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Strictly Speaking

Amid the silver seas of British cod
Beneath the passport blueness of the skies
From which stout Churchill watches next to God
And chlorinated poutry freely flies -
To roam these sunny uplands and be fit
We must dispense with any moral flab,
And this is why our values now permit
We leave the club and don't pay up the tab.
There was a time when bllking was an act
Confined to bounders, cads and dirty dogs;
It's patriotic now, because in fact
The club we're leaving's just a lot of wogs.

Spiffy Whistler

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: Roots i-xiii

When the First Tooth emerged from the Primordial Gum-stuff, said the Father of Teeth inaccurately, it was alone and innocent, with nothing to chew or grind against. For millennia of millennia it remained content with its lot, putting down its roots and allowing its enamel to shine serenely forth in the name of the Creator's glory. I was there myself of course, sporting and blowing amid the red soup of the Primordial Gum-stuff, and the shine of the First Tooth's enamel was indeed a most edifying sight. There was no decay in the universe then, because the Creator had not thought decay necessary for an infinity of creatures all dedicated to praising Himself; so the gleam of the First Tooth's enamel was splendid and truly flawless, and could be seen at a distance of light-years, where a number of dentition-free civilisations wiped each other out in order to solve the enigma once and for all and for the glory of the Creator, of whose nature their understanding was accurate as far as it went, but necessarily partial.

But even the Primordial Gum-stuff is not infinite, said the Father of Teeth simplistically, and sooner or later (or both, according to some theories) I wallowed my way into the environs of the First Tooth and, while executing a particularly elaborate backward somersault, accidentally dented my skull on one of its roots. The impact was massive and the pain abominable, rippling through the Primordial Gum-stuff so that even the Creator noticed and, rather than simply healing the First Tooth and letting everything get back to normal, decided to sit back and see what might happen. Naturally, before many more millennia had elapsed the First Tooth was pregnant with a huge abscess, and turned yellow all over, and then brown, and finally it went black and expired in dreadful agonies, which the Creator blamed upon its failure at summoning up sufficient concentration to continue praising Him adequately.

For its own part the abscess grew ever fatter, and spread itself ever further through the Primordial Gum-stuff, which became unpleasantly thick and malodorous and not at all a suitable environment for me to play in, said the Father of Teeth, since I was, after all, considerably younger at the time. I tried to reason with the abscess and persuade it towards a life of modesty and self-denial, but it just blurped at me and went on expanding. At last and inevitably it burst with an orgasmic shriek, splattering forth its essence to the furthest reaches of the universe; and the Creator resolved always in future to bring forth more than one tooth at a time and to arrange them in neat rows, so that if one fell into corruption there would always be others within convenient reach.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ration Your Hot Flushes

Menopausal women are getting a teaser trailer for the epic of entrepreneurial stoicism which will soon engulf the rest of us in its passport-blue folds. There is a shortage of hormone replacement patches, thanks to a supply problem which Her Majesty's Government will no doubt welcome thanks to its origins with the Heathen Chinee rather than with the doings of Chris Graybeing or Jeremy Chunt. Despite our great nation's famous proclivity for doing more with less, it appears that the reduction in available HRT patches has resulted in there being fewer HRT patches to go round: a mathematical conundrum which has caused concern in high-street pharmacies and baffled the boffins at the Royal College of Obstetricians. The Department of Health and Saleable Care claims to be working on it, although for some reason this does not seem to have visibly cheered anyone up.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Beyond Appeasement

Although mere experts have greeted Bolsonaro's policy of turning the Amazon into savannah with their usual un-entrepreneurial pessimism, Her Majesty's Government remains as hot, inflamed and open as ever for a money-grubbing schmooze with ecocide. Being a business itself, Britain's leading liberal newspaper treats with due discretion the Recrudescent Imperium's latest contribution to the general meltdown; but it does manage to report that the aptly-surnamed Conor Burns has been grinning and gladhanding in Brasilia and praising the government's quasi-Brexitannic "legitimate ambitions to bring prosperity to its people."

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Britannia's Bouncer

True Britons and non-traitors everywhere will grieve at the departure from the Ministry for Wog Control of a prominent accomplice in Tumbledown Tessie's hostile environment policy. The director of the Passport Office and UK Visas and Immigration is making himself scarce in order to spend more time with his directorships. Both of his departments have been persecuted for their dedication to making Britain great again, and the visa office has even been criticised over its outsourcing to Dubai, which has brought a nine-fold increase in profits from the insidious activities of visa-seeking foreigners. The hired thug's departure is so deeply felt at the Ministry that it may well serve one day as another excuse for the state of the Government's Brexit planning.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Find Your Proper Place

The best army in the world (for those who came in late, that would be the British one) continues be short of volunteers, and continues to rely on child soldiers to make up the numbers. Although the Ministry for Wog-Bombing has no particular interest in the social background of its cannon-fodder, the Child Rights International Network has found that nearly thirty per cent of those who enlisted last year were not old enough to vote. Not even the most primitive and ruthless of our allies in the North Atlantic Bear-Baiting Club allows direct enlistment into the US Army at the age of sixteen. The best army in the world times its recruitment campaigns for the announcement of GCSE results and carefully targets the more expendable income brackets with advertisements offering the chance to make friends, play with exciting toys, and by no means be bullied to suicide at a training barracks or maimed for life in the interests of fossil fuel shareholders. Nevertheless, more than half of the army's infantry regiments are at least one-fifth below strength, and in some units the deficit is as much as forty per cent. If we are to fight the beastly Euro-wogs and their collaborators effectively, surely National Service for those who fail the eleven-plus cannot be far away.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Our Nation's Pride

Although many EU citizens remain at large to pursue their nefarious agenda, bogus asylum seekers (viz. asylum seekers, according to the religious orthodoxy that has prevailed at least since the earthly ministry of the Blessed Tony) are a different kettle of rust. Foiled job-stealers and their health-tourist spawn are warehoused in overcrowded rooms where they can enjoy the close company of their fellow cockroaches, and at a profit too. Naturally, the Ministry for Wog Control is more than happy to throw taxpayers' money at slum landlords for the maintenance of these salubrious conditions; and so concerned is Her Majesty's Government for the culprits' welfare that it employs all of nine officials to monitor the conditions of more than thirteen thousand bed spaces. Patriotic believers in British justice and fair play will be proud to note that the treatment of at least some felonious foreigners retains the morally necessary aspect of punishment.

Monday, August 19, 2019

British Delight

Having taken back control of a great British industry by flogging it off to a foreign firm, Her Majesty's Government has naturally done its best to ensure a stable and secure working environment in which its grateful beneficiaries may grow and thrive and grow their inevitable thrivingness. A major factor in this master-stroke of political economy is of course the approaching apocalypse of Britain's independence from the quasi-Mongolian hordes of the Brusso-Strasbourgian axis; and the new owners of British Steel are already looking for ways to mitigate the dubious if epoch-making blessings of that great British event. So far only sixty-four jobs are at risk from these precautions, and even those are only in the north; so nobody who matters will be much affected. Besides, British Steel's prospective new owners are a military pension fund with a record of corruption, disrespect for labour rights and ties to the Turkish armed forces, whose last attempt at a coup d'état took place all of three years ago. For Her Majesty's Government, doing business with such people is not only a privilege but a pleasure.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: I Canines xvii-xxxix

When the Father of Teeth sojourned among the Hittites, on the other hand, he was witness to a great battle which left the field strewn with corpses both living and dead. The foot-soldiers of the victorious Hittites strutted among them, hacking the left hand off each; and at the behest of the Hittite king the Father of Teeth joined in the happy work, gnawing at bony wrists but respectfully refraining from ingestion of the whole appendage, though he did sneakily swallow an occasional finger. By evening each corner of the field of victory was glorified by a great pile of severed hands; and the following morning the hands in each pile would be carefully counted and itemised by the king's own accountants, thus ensuring the accuracy of the casualty figures when immortalised on the great stone stelae.

"I hear," said the Father of Teeth, "that anyone whose body is incomplete must enter the world of the dead as a maimed soul, and suffer throughout eternity the affliction of his flesh."
"That is so," said the Hittite king, who was a stickler for tradition. "It is to be regretted, no doubt; but enemies are enemies, and statistics are statistics."
"Your chivalry in taking only the left hands is to be commended," said the Father of Teeth, "but does your Majesty really consider it prudent to sacrifice only those to the gods of numerical infotainment? It is decreed that shields can be borne on the forearm and that most men are right-handed; hence your slain enemies will await you in the world of the dead with their left arms still able to bear a shield and their sword-hands still intact."

So the Hittite king ordered the Father of Teeth to go out onto the field of victory and bite off all the right hands of the enemy dead as well; but to take care and eat them all, so as to keep pristine the statistics for the great stone stelae. The Father of Teeth obeyed; and when the Hittite king died his enemies were waiting for him, grinning and waving their stumps from which the bone splinters glinted like bloody fangs.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Doctrinal Fallout

The defence minister of India's Hindu nationalist government has celebrated the country's status as a nuclear power by implying that the present policy of not striking first with weapons of mass destruction may be about to undergo a Narendran modification. India developed its capacity for justifiable genocide twenty years ago in order to deter what it claimed was a threat from the Heathen Chinee; nevertheless, and despite the subcontinent's long and enviable heritage of British imperial values, Pakistan was somehow prompted to develop its own nuclear weapons in order to deter the threat from India. The re-definition of deterrence as "striking first if we should happen to feel like it" has precedent among the similarly primitive Christian nationalists who run the United States; fortunately we are all aware, because the pious and the patriots never tire of telling us so, that the two great peacekeepers in human affairs are religion and nuclear weapons.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Earth-Shattering Logic

Having recently got through one symptom of climate change (the hottest July day in recorded history) and with another on the way (a month's rain in one day, at least for a few expendables), it's natural that Her Majesty's Government should be concerned about the fossil fuel industry. Shale fracking has caused earthquakes without producing any gas, but fortunately only in Lancashire; which doubtless explains why the ever-gormless Andrea Leadsom regards the methane-pumping pseudo-industry as yet another great British opportunity, to rank with such great opportunities as Brexit, the Osbornomic Miracle and the Apocalypse of John Bolton. As one would expect from so brilliant a source, the reasoning is as solid and self-evident as the walls of a padded cell. Since no gas has been produced, it is obvious to Her Majesty's Government that the frackers are too tightly regulated; specifically, that they are too restricted in the magnitude of earthquake they are allowed to cause.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Trusted Chums

Well, here's a thing: mere experts have investigated the conduct of Her Majesty's Government's favourite Islamic fundamentalist head-choppers and have concluded that, as regards the ongoing rampage in Yemen, the moderate reformers of the House of Saud have taken a rather moderate and reforming attitude to the truth. Evidence compiled by a Yemeni human rights group contradicts the assertions of the Saudis, even though the Saudis were investigating themselves and therefore had better access to the facts. This is certainly a conundrum, especially as the assertions of the Saudis have formed the basis of Britain's thriving arms trade with the head-choppers. Thanks to British values and all that, weapons exports cannot be licensed except for legitimate wog-bombing; fortunately, the idea that the Saudis might have said the thing that is not is unlikely to cause too much bother, because Her Majesty's Government has neither the time nor the inclination to bother with such minor and unprofitable questions as what may or may not be true.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Virtue in Excess

By refreshing contrast to the raucous rah-rah that inevitably greets each anniversary of Britain's various victories over beastly foreigners, the bicentennial of Her Majesty's Government's massacre of its own citizens at St Peter's Field has been missed altogether. Manchester city council has spent a million pounds on a pile of tiddlywinks to commemorate the festival of law and order, but has sneaked it into the pubic eye three days early and without a formal opening ceremony. The monument's design has brought complaints from disabled people who will be unable to march themselves to the top of the pile and then march down again, wherein apparently all the purpose and joy of the thing resides. "The council has acknowledged that the innovative and imaginative interpretation of the design brief," proclaimed the council's executive member for culture, "with a greater emphasis on interaction than originally envisaged for a public artwork, meant that not enough consideration was initially given to accessible design issues." There is nothing like an emphasis on interaction for distracting one from the needs of fellow citizens. Fortunately, councillors are already working to purge themselves from their damaging overabundance of imaginative innovativity.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Small but Dangerous

Our most Britannic Government, true servants of Her Madge,
Who staunchly bear upon their brows the plucky British badge;
Elected representatives of all that makes us great,
Those leaders of the world and punchers well above our weight;
The occupants for ever, as is only fit and meet,
Of one United Nations Baddie-Bombing Council seat;
Those Ministers and Secretaries, Statespersons and Spads,
Protecting all of Albion from criminals and cads,
Purveying prophylaxis from the terrorist disease,
And soaking all the planet in the Freedom of the Seas -
They cannot be persuaded, and will never be prepared
To bring some British children home, because they are too scared.

Minnie Brownlow

Monday, August 12, 2019

Trampling the Allotments of the Mighty

For all their trendy sentiments about respecting the rights of others, the Stalinist ideologues at the top of today's Labour party have always had one helpless minority firmly in their firing-squad sights. Decades of racist persecution have culminated in yesterday's culturally-insensitive threat, on the very eve of the holiest day in the calendar, to institute a Great Purge against wealthy landowners. Particular refinements of torture are no doubt plotted for the most vulnerable group of all: those who like to drain or burn an occasional moor in order to have specially-fattened birds driven within convenient distance of a shotgun. In these times, of course, one expects nothing better from the Left; but yesterday will have been a day of profound disillusionment for those who trusted and believed that the Labour tent was broad enough for a wide range of sexual proclivities.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: II Pulp lxxiii-xcvii

Soon, however, the Father of Teeth came upon a town where every third or fourth citizen was shaved bald with a scar circumventing the cranium. In many cases the top of the skull was set somewhat loose, and rattled temptingly as the citizens shambled. Being hungry, the Father of Teeth pounced upon the nearest citizen, sank his claws into the scalp, and found to his gratification that the cranium hinged back with hardly a squeak, exposing the squiggly and quivering grey jelly. The Father of Teeth had just inserted his most intellectual dentures and was about to commence a most fulfilling feast of knowledge when a passing personage stopped and demanded that he account for his conduct.

"I am merely a hungry traveller," said the Father of Teeth. "I have journeyed long and hard to reach this bailiwick of yours, and wish only to refresh myself before moving on. I trust I have violated no significant dietary ordinances?"
"Not yet," said the personage; "but it is not customary among our people to seize random citizens on the street and make free with their cranial contents and their cerebral succulence, when an equally pious effect may be obtained by simply visiting the nearest House of Intellectual Purification."
"And where, pray, might one find the nearest House of Intellectual Purification?" inquired the Father of Teeth.
"It lies just across the street," said the personage; "in fact, I myself happen to be bound there at this very moment, and would be honoured to accompany you, if you would have the goodness to release this law-abiding citizen and allow him to go about his legitimate business."

So the Father of Teeth closed the citizen's cranium over the glistening squiggles, and with muttering stomach followed the personage into an imposing pile on the opposite side of the street. Just inside the entrance he was courteously accosted by a polite gentleman in robes very similar to those sported by the Father of Teeth's new acquaintance. The polite gentleman informed him that, owing to necessary expenses, it was customary to pay a consultation fee, which was revered throughout the land for its miraculous reasonability.

As soon as the personage had traded some of the Father of Teeth's gold fillings for legitimate coin of the realm, at a remarkably reasonable rate of exchange, he led the Father of Teeth through several intimidating portals, and beneath the benevolent gaze of numerous robed and reverend gentlemen, to a high-ceilinged circular chamber. At its centre was a stone pedestal, and on the pedestal was a huge head, with its eyes towards the door; it blinked and grinned at the Father of Teeth, and emitted a long unmelodious moan to which the personage responded with a reverent genuflection.

"Behold," he said, "the Purified Intellect." Approaching the pedestal, the Father of Teeth saw that the head's cranium had been completely removed, and that the exposed jelly pulsed with the same intricate squiggles as that of the citizen whose brief and none too nourishing acquaintance he had made in the street.

"We take off the top of the skull," the personage explained, "and engrave the holy scriptures directly onto the cerebral surface. In cases of particularly deep understanding, we remove the entire head and construct a House of Intellectual Purification to shelter it."

The Father of Teeth scooped out several grey gobbets of scripture and chewed and gulped them down with the delicacy of a connoisseur, while the personage involuntarily echoed the head's unmelodious moan.
"Bland," pronounced the Father of Teeth at last.
"Bland?" repeated the personage indignantly.
"Decidedly flavourless," said the Father of Teeth, picking the stringy neurons from his gums with a terrifying thumbnail. "I notice, however," he continued, "that you yourself, and indeed all those who wear robes after the fashion which you affect, are free from the marks and tonsure of cranial surgery. Does this mean you have not undergone the honour of cerebral inscription?"
"Indeed," said the personage, "members of the clergy are exempt from the process, having proven by their vocation the ability to maintain purity of doctrine without artificial aid."
"I hope it improves the flavour," said the Father of Teeth, advancing upon him.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Two Studies in Militant Self-Pity

The thirty-fifth birthday of John Milius' Red Dawn may lead to some overdue reassessments; it is to be hoped that a few will be less superficial than the one by Ed Power in the Independent. Red Dawn is not gung-ho, it is not simplistic, and its vision is not black and white. The Russians have a perfectly rational motive for taking over America (their harvest has failed catastrophically), and aside from one villainously-bearded KGB cackler, the invaders are presented realistically, as fed-up sex-starved squaddies. A trouble-shooter who is eventually brought in to solve the teenage guerrilla problem is even shown to share the heroes' hunting-and-fighting values. A downed pilot brings bleak news of Europe's collapse (Britain fights on, though this time without the benefits of Lend-Lease) and observes that there may be good reasons for not fighting: "maybe they thought twice in a century was enough." Most significantly in terms of Milius' frontier philosophy, and entirely unnoticed by the Independent's Red Dawn correspondent, the invaders include a sympathetically characterised Latin American commander who comes to see the whole business as a corrupting Faustian bargain which takes rebels and turns them into cops.

An interesting contrast might be made with Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter, released seven years earlier to vast acclaim. The enemy in The Deer Hunter are the Vietnamese: North Vietnamese, who are jabbering fanatics in black pyjamas who force American boys to play Russian roulette, and South Vietnamese, who are Frenchified decadents in white suits who get off on watching American boys play Russian roulette. The Deer Hunter must be one of the very few films about Vietnam combat trauma in which no combat is shown, or even much implied: the invaders are martyred solely by the obsessive Oriental addiction to dangerous sports. It must also be one of the very few war films whose most exciting scene (really very good) is a forty-minute pre-trauma wedding party. Although The Deer Hunter is spectacularly shot, brilliantly cast and nicely acted, it deserves Red Dawn's reputation for simple-minded stoicism far more than does Red Dawn itself. Cimino's film ends, apparently in all solemnity, with a calamitous rendition of "God Bless America;" Milius' film ends on a monument to the dead, and doesn't even tell us how, or whether, the war eventually ended.

Friday, August 09, 2019

We Welcome Scientists Who Know Their Place

Britain is to remove immigration restrictions on scientists who are either based at respectable institutions or who have won prizes. The Imperial Haystack dropped a few names and ordered today's brainy chaps to be proud of following in their footsteps, although at least one foreigner with a funny name has already raised quibbles about whether the promised ivory towers will be able to withstand next winter's likely food riots. At least one post-doctoral researcher has already left the country because the Ministry for Wog Control treated her two-year-old like something under the Dubs Amendment; but such isolated and unfortunate incidents are of course forced upon us by Euro-wog red tape. It is certainly encouraging that the science industry can now spread its wings to the full and enter into its natural Britishness; not least because we will need all the top boffins we can get in order to implement our visionary future technologies for securing the Irish border.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Pluck, Gumption and Very Few Experts

Britain's leading liberal newspaper reports, with apparently a straight face, that Britain's brave boys and staunch servicepersons are about to toddle off to Mali and show the lesser breeds a thing or two about keeping the peace. The British military has few people with any experience of the region; and despite British journalism's obsessive concern with its duties as a dead-cat thrower for the Conservative Party, the conflict has "little or no visibility among the British public." There is a vigorous weapons trade in the region, particularly since Libya's leading gangster Colonel Gaddafi died in 2011, apparently without reference to any peacekeeping missions that might have been raining high explosives on Libya at the time. Weapons, as we know, can be dangerous when they fall into the wrong hands, and according to some experts they may even have the potential to contribute to regional instability.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

India has decided to join the general sanity by revoking the special status which Kashmir has held for sixty-five years and announcing plans to carve up the territory. There is a state-wide communications blackout, and Pakistan has reacted much as one would expect, sending the Indian ambassador packing and expressing concern lest the Modi government should wish to resurrect the good old days of the Gujarat riots. (Although the word Muslim appears in the report by Britain's leading liberal newspaper, the term Hindu nationalist is, impartially enough, nowhere to be seen.) Still, the occurrence of these uncomfortable events during the anniversary week of the glorious victories at Hiroshima and Nagasaki should remind us to take comfort in the fact that both Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons. It was, of course, the presence of Anglo-American weapons of mass destruction which kept the peace in Europe throughout the Cold War; and the claimants of Kashmir have no need to deal with either the beastly machinations of Brussels or the notorious Soviet urge to march into Whitehall.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Technological Solutions

British values are being energetically promoted in Myanmar which, being a former region of the Raj, obviously learned them from the best. The army is taking an encouragingly no-nonsense approach to solving the country's Muslim population, including some doubtless firm but fair measures two years ago in which some tens of thousands were permanently prevented from dressing as letter-boxes and setting up no-go areas. A further seven hundred thousand were inconsiderate enough to become refugees, but they only got as far as Bangladesh so the borders and jobs of Albion remained inviolate. At least one enterprising British business has been aiding the crusade for law and order by selling GPS products to the Myanmar military; and although all British products sold to assertive régimes are marked for democratic use only, foreigners tend by their very nature to be a little weak in the face of temptation. As one would expect, the bureaucratic meddlers of the United Nations human rights council have been blundering around finding, of all things, facts, and have inevitably taken their usual business-unfriendly attitude.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Robust Lines for Inappropriate Things

Since all the Conservative leadership candidates pledged to hold an inquiry into the party's long and squalid record of Muslim-baiting, it should come as no surprise that the new party chair has made haste to renege on the pledge. Part of the problem seems to be that the Conservative Party's command of the English language is inadequate to a proper definition of Islamophobia, since the concept is not encompassed either by the dictionary of Samuel Johnson or the dicktion of Boris Johnson. An independent inquiry may one day be held, but in the interests of national unity it will most likely be restricted to a bit of tut-tutting over racism in general, accompanied by some pious finger-wagging on the need for certain leftist firebrands to show more understanding of the coloureds, with perhaps an exhortation to the mad mullahs and Windrush piccaninnies to evolve a sense of humour.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: II Caries xxvii-xliii

Later, as the Father of Teeth was strolling in the seventeenth level, which is among the darkest and mustiest of all the seventeen levels of the seventeenth hell among all the forty-nine true hells, he came upon a soul which mourned and cried: "Alas!"

"Why do you mourn?" asked the Father of Teeth, who found most of the forty-nine hells quite congenial because very few of the denizens ever tried to cheer him up.
"Alas," said the oppressed spirit, "what greater Hell than this, to discover that even Hell isn't all it's cracked up to be?" And the soul rent its shroud, which promptly healed up again.
"Not all of the brochures are accurate, that's a fact," said the Father of Teeth. "Is there any aspect in particular that disappoints you?"
"Alas," lamented the soul, "when I arrived in this place, in accordance with my just and awful sentence for spiritual blindness during my days of meat, I found everything dark as pitch, so that I could not see my hand in front of my face, nor gauge the direction of my endless wanderings; and I expected that matters would remain so for all eternity. But lately," and it held up its pallid hand within an inch of its pallid nose, and slowly rotated its wrist, "lately I find that I can see again. Is this a blob I see before me? My eyes are getting used to the dark, and I am adapting to my eternal punishment!"

So the Father of Teeth put in his most incandescent dentures and let fly a grin which lit up the seventeenth level of the seventeenth true hell of all the forty-nine like a lightning-strike inside a broom cupboard, and the musty air of the seventeenth level was aflash with shrieking dust, and the landscape stood forth in dazzling, leprous yellow. The soul's eyes brought forth tears, which came immediately to boiling-point, the ectoplasmic eyeballs were poached in their spiritual sockets, and the humours turned to steam that burst from the pupils in a hissing spray and scalded the spirit's fingers.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Kaiser Phil

Given the axiomatic truth that Europe is All About Us, it's surprising that the latest act of ingratitude by the beastly Belgians has been greeted with so few Eyjafjallajökulls of moral indignation. Belgium, it will be recalled, was the first victim of Prussian expansionism in the First World War, and many were the proto-Johnsonian stories of skewered nuns and cannibalised schoolchildren in the free and cantankerous British press. Not from any sordid materialistic motivation did Englishmen flock to the trenches, but solely in order to save little Belgium from the imperialistic depredations of the German Empire, whose ambitions at that time had reached depths of megalomaniacal depravity exceeded only by those of modern Brussels, Adolf Hitler and Jeremy Corbyn. Doubtless in tribute to our plucky little servicemen, and not at all from any fear of being strung by their necks from a bridge in Bruges, in 1920 the Belgian royal family emulated some migrants in London and expunged all trace of German heritage from its arms and title, which the present king has had the temerity to restore. Even the motto, which means unity makes strength, has been translated into Dutch and German, thereby making it dangerously susceptible to being ripped from its context and taken as referring to something other than the United Kingdom. Does no-one respect the lessons of history?

Friday, August 02, 2019

The Passion of the Christ

Mel Gibson 2004

Though its fidelity to the Gospels is somewhat compromised, notably with the omission of the blood-curse at Matthew 27 xxv, Mel Gibson's comic-book rendition of his Saviour's trial and execution remains just as interesting an oddity as the films he has directed since. It has neither the headlong drive of Apocalypto nor the emotional power of Hacksaw Ridge, but it's brutally direct, handsomely shot and its use of Aramaic and Latin dialogue serves to mitigate the less convincing touches.

Jesus has a few flashbacks to His ministry and His domestic life as a carpenter; and while nothing in The Passion quite equals the testicle-gulping buffooneries of Apocalypto, a comic scene about a dining-room innovation showcases the subtleties of the Gibson sense of humour.

There are also hints of the Father's own, scarcely less astringent, taste in practical jokes. At an early stage in the beating one of Jesus' eyes is blackened by a haemorrhage: a metaphor of the narrowed focus and flattened perspectives necessary to the coming church of Rome. During the crucifixion one of the thieves laughs at Jesus and is apparently (the sequence is coyly edited) punished by having his own eye plucked out: a metaphor of God's forgiveness which hardly needs belabouring. After the betrayal, having been used up in heaven's machinations and then thrown to Satan like an old bone, Judas hangs himself with a rope taken from a dead and decayed beast of burden, provided by God as a final insult.

Otherwise, the film's focus is relentless: Jesus is betrayed, suffers under Pontius Pilate, is crucified, dies and is buried, and rises again. The scourging is carried out at considerable length, by sniggering dentitionally-challenged thugs armed with instruments worthy of the Christ's later friends in the Inquisition; and there is much wailing among the womenfolk. Some critics objected to the near-total omission of Jesus' preaching, although precisely the same approach is taken by St Paul and by the formulators of the Apostolic Creed.

While the common soldiers epitomise Rome's moral decline and fall, the aristocracy has more compassion. Pilate's wife is refined and charitable; Pilate himself is the best-drawn and most humanly sympathetic character, and Jesus demonstrates His heavenly family's political acumen in seeking an alliance with Rome, exonerating the governor of guilt by reminding him that he is, after all, only obeying orders.

The final scene in the tomb is admirably concise, and the final image is of the Christ's hand: once an instrument of healing and power, now mutilated and seen through.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Discretion is the Better Part of Retaining Your Chauffeured Limousine

Since the Ministry of Justice has nothing more urgent to worry about than the potential discomfiture of the rich and famous, the latest Secretary of State for Profitable Incarceration has suggested that nice people accused of certain crimes might benefit from being kept anonymous, at least until they are formally charged. The Minister stressed that such protection would apply only if the accused had a reputation to protect, since in such matters neither the great witch-hunting public nor the free and cantankerous Press can be relied upon to distinguish fact from news. However, a substantial risk would of course arise for abuse of the law by mere plebs, in the nefarious interest of preventing themselves being splashed across the front pages and spattered with whatever journalistic ordure the warriors for truth cared to splurge. Such a law, in other words, might well end up introducing the Stalinist provisions of Leveson 2 by the back door. No wonder the Murdoch team at Downing Street has been quick to slap the upstart down, and to obtain a full, spontaneous and unqualified public retraction of anything he might inadvertently have said.