Dec

2

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

It’s a huge shit sandwich and we’re all gonna have to take a bite

This Guardian article on the history of the sandwich industry in the UK is very interesting, but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the journalist happily peddling the unexamined official narrative on Brexit making everyone bankrupt in the foreseeable future, from factory owners to the NHS (Britain Relies On Immigrants™).

In the main production hall, which had a red floor and a thrumming air supply – keeping the temperature a steady 10C – a couple of hundred workers lined seven conveyor belts. Chahar took me to the middle of the room, where around a dozen women were making one of Adelie’s newest lines, a chicken tikka and onion bhaji sandwich, which is popular among students. The belt was going at about 33 sandwiches a minute, so the woman at each stage – arranging the 40g of chicken, dolloping and spreading out the bhaji paste, sprinkling on 3g of coriander – got less than two seconds before they went past.

Standing at a conveyor belt in 10 degrees Celsius, repeatedly putting stuff on a new slice of bread every 1½ seconds. In other words, living the dream.

I thought it sounded familiar…

Over the years, Chahar has tried to get unemployed British people to join his sandwich lines. “They come here. They do half day. They never come back,” he told me. (Adelie has also made similar, largely unsuccessful attempts with ex-convicts.) The work is too cold, and too repetitive. Pay at the Wembley factory starts at £7.50 an hour. As a result, most sandwich factories have relied on immigrant labour for at least a decade

Well, my good man, I’m not sure how to put it to you but if the only people who are prepared to do a particular job are poor immigrants desperate for money… maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with the job.

In order to make things perfectly clear, this a worker’s typical day:

Sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich
sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich – 30 mn lunch break –
sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich
sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich – go home.

All day. Every day. Standing still in the cold. For £7.50 an hour.

Can anybody tell me what’s wrong with this picture? Anybody? Anybody at all?

I see dead pickles

For Chahar, who dreams of introducing the sandwich to Algeria, it is a baffling situation. “The British people needs to get into this job. It is the sandwich,” he said. “They should be proud.”

The man is delusional. How is doing a mind-numbing job for peanuts something to be proud of? Of course the Brits never come back! Why on earth would they agree to work in Third World conditions in their own country? I don’t see the journalist resigning from the Guardian on the spot and demanding a hairnet and a pair of white wellies!

Miss! He’s crushing my lettuce!

“Brexit has fucked everything up,” one chief executive, whose firm relies heavily on eastern European labour, told me. “On the day after the vote, on that Friday, people are walking up to me and saying, ‘Do I go home now?’ These are the people who dug us out of a hole when the indigenous population failed.”

Yeah but no. The indigenous population didn’t fail, it’s just not interested in being exploited and undercut by Eastern Europeans. This has nothing to do with laziness, just common sense.

Try paying a living wage, Mr Chief Executive, and watch the Brits come back in their droves. And by living wage, I mean a salary which allows people to have a decent lifestyle in the UK, not just sleep on a mattress in a house shared with 20 other guys, eat tinned food and send all your money back to Hungary.

It’s so simple, and yet it just never occurs to them. Huh.

Nov

24

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

Kayaking down my river in Egypt

Here we have a kayaktivist (no, me neither) protesting against globalisation, supertankers and pipeline extensions…

… in his plastic kayak. Yep.

By the way, could there be anything more hipsterish than “a collective of kayaktivists in Vancouver”?

Mar

15

By nightowl

2 Comments

Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

If you’re easily guilt-tripped by a self-righteous journalist, what does that say about you?

The infamous Nannygate

I personally thought the woman was a maid or an au pair, not even a nanny (I expect nannies to behave more professionally). Apparently this makes me a horrible racist, even though her skin colour had nothing to do with it.

So, to those who assumed that Kim was the nanny, it’s worth thinking about what kind of woman you might have expected Kelly to be married to.

Quite frankly, I did not think about that for one single solitary second. He could be married to Cthulhu for all I care.

Robert… draw me like one of your French girls

Did people assume that the Asian woman in his home was the nanny because she seems to behave in a subservient way? She seems scared, flustered, her posture is low to the ground and she doesn’t make eye contact or speak.

Well, her body language is extremely strange for a wife. Why make such a production of taking the children out of the room, skidding sideways through the door in a state of total panic like a cartoon character, and looking for all the world as if she was about to lose her job and be given a hundred lashes? Why crawl on the floor like some deranged Uriah Heep, even if she was worried about being seen on camera? She would have been twice as quick and much less of a disturbance had she just walked normally into the room, picked up the girl, pushed the baby out and closed the door after her. Instead we got an undignified, attention-grabbing display.

She was also surprisingly and unnecessarily rough with the children, as if she was dragging them out of the way of a speeding train. Look at her pull the little girl by the arm, making her fall over! The whole thing looked ridiculous and out of proportion with the gravity of the incident.

She did WHAT?

The interesting thing is, more people might have assumed she was the wife had she been white, but then the obligatory online debate would have been “Is she a victim of domestic abuse?” Because what kind of wife is that scared of disturbing her husband? Yes, he was being interviewed on live television but shit happens when you work from home and have small children. It was his own fault for not locking his study door anyway.

Or is it that she can’t possibly be the heroine because Asian women are routinely depicted as secondary figures in the media, if they are visible at all.

Heroine? What is this, a comic? She was not even supposed to be in the room at all!

This article is trying so hard to make people feel bad for having normal human thoughts, it is rather pathetic. Let’s consider the source, shall we?

From the author’s profile page:

Vera Chok is an actor, writer and performance-maker. She investigates sex , shame, race and connection

Ah. We are dealing with a professional.

“Sex, shame, race and connection”. Let me guess… what she does is find – or create – connections between sex, race and shame. It’s so easy when you know how; these people all function in the same way. This is how their thought process goes:

*watches video*
“hahaha that poor nanny”
“wait, why did I think she was the nanny and not the wife?”
“eek! it’s because of her skin colour, isn’t it”
“what is wrong with me? I know I’m not a racist”
“oh dear, I’m mortified… I can’t believe I just fell right into a trap I spend my life trying to avoid”
“well look at that, plenty of other people thought the non-white woman was a nanny as well, and I bet they didn’t even stop to wonder why”
“this obviously means they’re unconsciously racist”
“I have to enlighten them, it will make me feel better about myself into the bargain”

Cue patronising lecture festooned with interesting assumptions about how complete strangers perceive race and why they are wrong.

One of these things is not like the others

Regarding her point about the representation of Asian women in fiction, I do remember seeing Asian women – in This Life and Torchwood in particular – who were just part of the gang and did not have any special Asian superpowers or weaknesses. I have only seen one of the shows she refers to – Elementary – but she is so dreadfully wrong about Lucy Liu’s character that I cannot trust anything else she says.

3) Asian woman facilitates hero’s mission by being good at maths, science or computers (episode one of Black Mirror; Lucy Liu in Elementary);

Complete rubbish. Joan Watson (played by Lucy Liu) is not “good at maths, science or computers”. She is a former surgeon, which makes her very knowledgeable about medicine, pathology and anatomy. This often comes in handy in her job as a detective – if anything, she facilitates her own mission. When she or Sherlock need help with science or IT stuff, they turn to one of their expert acquaintances.

Me help you long time

Also, Liu is not some second banana who gets wheeled out when the script calls for a bit of skirt, she’s the co-star. Watson started out as Sherlock’s assistant but was soon promoted to equal partner. Sherlock actually makes this point on a regular basis to anyone who questions her presence.

Vera Chok seriously distorts the facts to fit her own narrative here. And to think she goes on about unconscious bias!

Also ask yourself what goes through your mind when you see an interracial couple on the street. Do you wonder about their lives together in a way you wouldn’t question a couple of the same skin colour?

Someone is seriously projecting. Does she picture them naked in bed too? Is she 12?

On screen, which interracial couplings are you more likely to see and therefore think of as normal (white man with sexy black/Latino/Asian woman), and what disturbs you (black/Asian man with white woman)?

Several issues here:

1. She is telling people what to think!

2. Actually, black man with white woman is the most common interracial pairing, on screen and in real life. Why does she think it’s less normal than any of the others?

3. As for what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘disturbing’, I’m afraid she’s projecting again. Hasn’t it occurred to her that not all her readers are white with white partners, and are therefore unlikely to be disturbed by their own situation – or that of their friends? What makes her think she’s the font of all race knowledge?

4. I am also offended that the white woman is not described as sexy, just like the others! This is discrimination!

Anyway, speaking of projecting… at least the author of the French cartoon below realised his mistake before he started haranguing the ‘racist white old biddies who probably vote for Marine Le Pen’.

And look at that! The family have now become celebrities, are giving interviews and will hold a press conference!

How ridiculously predictable.

Jan

21

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

How the Guardian reports on animal cruelty

Guardian hack draws short straw and has to write article about non-story. Yawn.

Could this writer care less about the fate of the goldfish? It’s described as a “creature” meanwhile, much is made of the fact that the two fuckwits are “friends” who “face jail” over a “dare”.

Someone can relate to their drunk antics and thinks society is overreacting, methinks.

Karma’s a bitch

Now if it was suddenly revealed that Donald Trump had swallowed a live fish when he was young and stupid… oh my. Impeach him, he’s a sadist!

Jan

21

By nightowl

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Categories: Miscellaneous, The Grauniad strikes again

The age of (gas) enlightenment

Gaslighting has suddenly become the new buzzword and is the topic of a Guardian article. Gaslighting is a particularly insidious form of emotional abuse that typically expresses itself thus:

“I never said that!”
“That never happened!”
“You’re imagining it!”
“It’s all in your head!”
“You’re making things up!”
“You’re going crazy!”

You get the idea. The point is to make you doubt your own senses and question your grasp on reality. It can happen to anyone and can be inflicted by anyone, but of course the Guardian immediately makes the leap to men mind controlling women (or, you know, robots who look like women).

Westworld is excellent, by the way

The article, which does not miss the opportunity to shoehorn Donald Trump in (a prerequisite in every single one of their pieces these days),

For example, if you have to say “not all Mexicans are rapists”, you’ve already lost.

sadly neglects to mention one glaring example of real-life gaslighting a lot of the mainstream media are trying to push on the world: that child rapist Roman Polanski, who has been on the run from the American justice system for forty years, is a poor persecuted victim.

Note the carefully neutral tone of that article, by the same newspaper who could not condemn Trump more strongly for his pussy-grabbing comment and is happily reporting on women’s marches futilely opposing his presidency.

Polanski is suddenly back in the public eye as the President of the upcoming Césars film awards ceremony in France, which means every friend, ally and defender he has among the French Establishment (and that’s pretty much all of them) is out there spouting the official narrative.

The philosopher Alain Finkelkraut is steaming: “She was not a child! She was a teenager who posed naked for Vogue Homme!”

The director Costa-Gavras said last September: “This is no rape, did you see the pictures? She looked 25”.

This video shows what Samantha Geimer, the victim, looked like at the time of he rape. Clue: not 25.

Polanski was also 43 at the time. To a teenager, that’s like being 100 and about as sexually interesting as a piano. Also, who was the responsible adult here?

The infamous photo shoot – three words: dirty old man

She was also plied with alcohol and drugs before being raped and sodomised (see link under picture). I’m not sure why that’s OK, according to Polanski’s little mates, as long as the girl looks old enough. I can’t help but think any man who thinks Polanski did nothing wrong is just a little bit envious that he wasn’t so lucky.

Speaking of lucky, no rapist rapes just once, especially when his highly organised method (bringing booze and drugs to a photo shoot where he was alone with a 13-year-old model) tends to indicate that this was probably not his first attempt. What else has rich, famous and powerful Polanski got away with in his life? I shudder to think.

L’Express, a respectable (or so I thought) French magazine, even says, in an article written by its male deputy editor: “Feminists against Polanski, you are fighting the wrong battle”.

Gaslighting and mansplaining! Lucky us!

Then we have the “Leave him alone, it happened years ago!” brigade. OK then, could we also stop jailing for war crimes men in their nineties who worked in concentration camps but never killed anyone?

No? What do you mean, “that’s different”?

I left the best for last: Meryl Streep the Trump-slayer, who it turns out is also a proud Polanski supporter. But of course.

Everyone in the film industry knows which way their bread is buttered and whose arse to lick, and their shameless display of solidarity shows it all too clearly.

And don’t even get me started on the untouchable (in more ways than one) Woody Allen…

Sep

26

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

Better at guilt than Catholics

Guardian journalist has psychological meltdown after buying his first house

As is often the case with Guardian articles, I had to read it twice to make extra sure it wasn’t a spoof. Making an important financial decision without engaging your brain is one thing, but why on earth would you then tell the world about it? Is this some sort of deranged humblebrag?

Now, if you'd bought this one I'd understand

Now, if you’d bought this one I’d understand

There is something deeply wrong with this man’s thinking process (if I can call it that):

Ten minutes. It took 10 minutes to decide that this house was good enough to make me want to spend the rest of my life in debt to a bank.

Consider the possibility that you should perhaps not be allowed out unsupervised.

It isn’t even my house. It belongs to a bank, and I’m going to spend the next three decades buying it back from them half a per cent at a time.

Did you genuinely not realise this beforehand?

I’m a freelance journalist in the year 2016, so, realistically, I only have four months left before work dries up and I’m replaced by a Facebook Live video of a toddler balancing on a log.

And yet, the “belonging to a bank” bit still did not resonate with you?

repossession-cartoon

If the oven explodes or the fridge goes kaput or sludge starts seeping out of the plugholes, you just call your landlord and someone will come and fix it for free. Now, though, that’s on me.

No way! How is this kind of very important information not made public? We are kept in the dark, it’s outrageous!

And there’s a fishpond, too. An entire fishpond that I didn’t clock during my sole cursory glance about the place, that seems to have been put there specifically to endanger my child. I mean, Jesus Christ. I’m an idiot. That’s the only explanation for this.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Worst of all, buying a house makes me feel like a traitor. It feels as though I’ve let down all my generation-rent friends, as if someone drew a line in the sand and I deliberately chose the side of Kirstie Allsop. I feel as if I have become part of the 1%, and I should ride about inside my boxy, broken-down new home on a pony like the shrieking Fauntleroy I apparently am.

Could you please stop with the self-flagellation? If you’re feeling so guilty, why not donate the house to one of your “generation-rent friends”? I’m sure they, unlike you, will be very happy and sleep soundly at night.

House prices increased much faster than my ability to sensibly save for a deposit. Getting it together was like trying to chase a moving train. But now I have caught up with it, and jumped on board, and discovered that all the other passengers are nitwits. This cannot possibly end well.

No no no, you are in fact the only nitwit here. I assure you the rest of us do know what we’re doing, so kindly do not insult us. If grown-up life is too much for you, I suggest you move into sheltered housing for vulnerable adults. Sell that house and you can easily afford it.

Is it safe?

Ahhh, that’s more like it

Jan

11

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

I feel excluded when people think of me – feel my pain!

Dolce & Gabbana designs hijab range – this is supposedly offensive to Muslim women

The Guardian is killing me… I don’t even have the energy to comment on the utterly moronic piece above. Talk about a professional victim.

Dec

27

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

I’m a racist

That’s right. I am not happy with Hermione Granger being played by a black actress in the upcoming play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part I and II (move over Shakespeare), and in this day and age that makes me a racist. Oh no.

Right-On Rowling is of course gushing, but then again just imagine what she would have had to put up with from the media and (shudder) Twitter trolls had she expressed anything less than wild enthusiasm… luckily she knows which way her bread is buttered.

She is also being her own revisionist:

Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified.

Whatever you say, Jo. Never mind the fact that Hermione regularly blushes pink or turns white with fright in the books, eh?

She is also never described as having frizzy hair. Bushy, yes. Frizzy, no.

As for her being played by the unmistakingly Caucasian Emma Watson in all eight films, this is apparently irrelevant as it’s officially Not Jo’s Fault:

twitter_rowling

And yet she was very vocal about nipping things in the bud when she wasn’t happy with them, like when Chris Columbus wanted some Hogwarts pupils to be American or when the Half-Blood Prince script had Dumbledore reminiscing about a pretty woman he used to know (“No! He’s gay!!” JK apparently shrieked). The line was cut.

Not so powerless when it suited her, it seems…

We're so over this.

This never happened. Do you hear?

Meanwhile, having correctly identified a gift that will keep on giving for ever or at least until the play opens, every randomly non-white Guardian writer (no need to be black, any other ethnicity will do) has now been tasked with inflicting their uninformed – it’s perfectly clear that none of them is a Harry Potter fan – opinion on the rest of us, insulting anyone who disagrees with the Official Party Line into the bargain:

Can Hermione be black? What a stupid question

Uh, thanks.

The Guardian, by constantly repeating the mantra “white by default”, keeps trying to brainwash us all into thinking this is a bad thing – in a country where nearly 90% of the population is white. Sorry, I meant hideously white.

Like this.

Illustration

This made me hyperventilate:

In the Prisoner of Azkaban, she is described as “very brown”.

She is described – by Harry who hasn’t seen her for two months – as very brown BECAUSE SHE JUST CAME BACK FROM HER SUMMER HOLIDAY!

If she were indeed black, would he suddenly notice that fact after knowing her for two years?

More silly quotes:

The default assumption of whiteness is so strong and unspoken, it’s a hard habit to kick.

And it needs kicking why? If an author wants us to know a character isn’t white, they’re free to use their words after all.

Hi, I'm Parvati Patil and this is my twin sister, Padma.

Hi, I’m Parvati Patil and this is my twin sister, Padma

The same is true of our heteronormative culture, which is why JK Rowling had to spell it out to us that Dumbledore is gay.

She did not spell it out, she mentioned it in passing during an interview. “Our heteronormative culture” is not to blame either. It just so happens that Dumbledore’s sexuality is so utterly irrelevant to the storyline that no one had even speculated about it. He’s over 100 years old, for a start!

If it hadn’t been for that little script issue I mentioned earlier, it would never even have come out (har har).

dumbledore_gay

Hermione is in a Muggle-born minority

Minority? Says who? This is entirely made up by the writer. If anything, the pure-bloods are an endangered minority in the Potterverse. The Muggle-born and half-bloods are doing just fine.

She is also an activist who understands and will stand up for the oppressed, whether people, giants or Hippogriffs, and who campaigns for an end to the enslavement of elves.

This is quite laughable. She’s a clueless activist who actually understands nothing about the causes she is fighting for. Her campaign to free house-elves is a dismal failure, because she is so convinced of being right that she fails to appreciate that the house-elves do not want to be freed (the Hogwarts house-elves even kick her out of the kitchens for going on about salaries and holidays) and that Dobby is an anomaly – who is already free anyway and wants nothing to do with her as he clearly thinks she’s bonkers.

Amusingly, this actually screams “leftie white middle-class guilt” to me… her parents must be Guardian readers.

Or not.

Or not

Hermione was given a rare, literary name for pretentious reasons:

It’s a name from Shakespeare. It’s in ‘A Winter’s Tale’. Um … although my Hermione bears very little relation to *that* Hermione, but it just seemed the sort of name that a pair of professional dentists, who liked to prove how clever they were … do you know what I mean … gave their daughter a nice, unusual name that no-one could pronounce! I mean, parents do that!

(It’s actually a name from Greek mythology, Shakespeare just borrowed it)

She enjoyed a comfortable, rather privileged upbringing: her parents are dentists who go to the theatre in the West End, who like skiing and camping holidays, who take her to France… I simply do not expect a book character with this kind of background to be black. It is of course possible, but not very probable.

Guardian articles on this topic, as well as being tediously predictable, are also getting stupider by the day: “Muggles gonna hate” is the latest headline!

Seriously. It is becoming increasingly hard to tell the Guardian apart from the Onion.

And here we go again with the “white as default” obsession:

If race isn’t specifically assigned as black or Asian, then it’s assumed to be white. White people make up less than a third of the planet’s population but because of the way society is structured, it can sometimes seem as if the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny are assumed to be white too.

The planet’s population, uh? How about we look at the population of the UK, where Hermione was born and grew up? 3% black people in 2011. Three per cent.

And suddenly it’s a very different story!

Yup.

Hello again

If we can let actual non-white historical figures like Jesus, Cleopatra and Gandhi switch races

Cleopatra, along with the rest of the Ptolemaic dynasty, was actually Macedonian Greek and not Egyptian – but never mind.

If the lord of the jungle (Tarzan) and the king of hip-hop (Eminem) can be white

Oh dear… Tarzan is the son of an English lord and lady, who is orphaned as an infant and raised by apes. How on earth can he not be white?

Politically correct Tarzan

Politically correct Tarzan

So, just because I do not agree with this gigantic, author-approved retcon, I am now officially a racist. I’m not overly bothered though.

Sorry, what was that? Am I now going to boycott the play and sell my hideously expensive stalls ticket on eBay? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous.

From my cold, dead hands.

From my cold, dead hands

Oct

25

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

Tattoo. Like Audrey, only not spelt the same

If you’re an English speaker, anyway. I’m torturing myself with this title to be honest.

Anyway, back to the point: Documentary on clueless people who keep getting uglier and uglier tattoos

“Matt also has “cunt” tattooed on his shoulder. Abracadabra boss Dave shakes his head. “We wouldn’t do that,” he says. Well, you say that, Dave, but looking at your website here, I see there’s a photo of you tattooing a picture of Gordon Ramsay on to someone’s leg. I can’t really see the difference, to be honest.”

So that’s the Guardian officially calling Gordon Ramsay a cunt. This is probably because what Gordon Ramsay does (running restaurants and fronting cookery programmes, just so we’re clear) is far, far worse than stabbing teenagers to death at Victoria Station, and that’s why he fully deserves the epithet. Unlike others who “might have gone on to university” if they hadn’t become murderous bastards before taking their A-Levels that dastardly justice system hadn’t decided to interfere.

Gordon Ramsay

And those aren’t from Argos either

Also, he’s white (what an arse, really), which probably forces tattoo artists up and down the country to overshade his picture otherwise he’d be “invisible”. That’s right, getting tattoos of white people if you’re white yourself is apparently surprisingly difficult. No race issue is ever left unturned by the Guardian, is it? Of course, the reviewer wouldn’t even dream of joking about, say, Will.i.am getting an invisible tattoo of Martin Luther King or even black people being invisible in the dark. Because that would be beyond the pale. But this

“Anyway, Matt’s having a picture of his baby daughter over the C-word. She’s white but Dave’s doing her black, presumably because otherwise she’d be invisible. I can see that it’s difficult, portraying skin on skin, and you have to do it a few shades darker to show up. That’s why this other white fellow Carl has a picture of a black Miley Cyrus on his leg, I guess. Interesting.”

somewhow isn’t. Interesting indeed.

Oct

20

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

Nice try

Homeless families aren’t happy living in B&Bs

Poor old Guardian. The article started so well, with sad stories of people, all with children in tow (non-parents don’t matter in the media), being forced to share one damp, tiny room in a grotty hostel with unpleasant, sometimes violent, neighbours, all because they can’t afford decent accommodation anymore – they got evicted when housing benefit caps were introduced by the evil coalition.

Then the journalist shot herself in the foot by telling us where the people in question used to live:

1. In a £500 a week (!!) two-bedroom flat in St John’s Wood, entirely paid for by housing benefit. Person doesn’t work due to arthritis.

2. In a flat in Hammersmith, partly paid for by housing benefit. Person works part-time.

3. In a flat in Maida Vale. No info on who paid the rent but person is a carer – not usually a fantastically-paid job.

4. In a shared flat somewhere in Central London. We are told person cannot afford to rent nearby – how did she manage before? Surely there is more than one flatshare in the area.

Apart from the fact that these locations are all very expensive, with Hammersmith being a bit further away and less extortionate than the rest, all the people interviewed keep complaining about having to leave the neighbourhood where they have their roots / GP / job / kids’s school / friends / etc.

Well, I’m sorry but tough titties. Are they not aware that everyone is in the same boat? I lived in Fulham for five years and loved every minute of it. Yet when my circumstances changed and I could no longer afford the rent, I left, broken-hearted, for the unexplored wilds of Zone 4. I am now in Zone 6 (here be dragons) and whinge about it on a regular basis. I’ve had to change jobs as the commute was not realistically doable any longer. Still, I never expected the state to keep me in the style to which I’d become accustomed. So why do they? And why is the journalist enabling them? (stupid question, I know)

My dear Guardian soft-hearted milksop, it’s very simple: nobody has a God-given right to live in central London at everyone else’s expense. And when they ask

“I’ve had the same GP for 20 years, the same hospital. All my daughter’s friends are here. Are we meant to change all these things?”

the answer is :”Yes. Yes, you are. It would be miles better than the grotty B&B in my opinion, but suit yourself.”

Fulham Broadway

Waaaah! Oh dear, here I go again

The journalist even had the nerve to pre-empt her readers’ legitimate indignation:

“Housing is an emotive subject because most people are struggling to pay rent, or a mortgage, making life-altering decisions about where to live based on how much they can afford to spend – so making the case for the state to be subsidising large chunks of rent for other people to live in London does not instantly elicit sympathy. If you’re in any doubt about this, just glance below to read the comments that inevitably follow pieces on this theme.”

Is that passive-aggressive or what?

On top of that, the people featured appear remarkably helpess and incapable of doing anything for themselves:

“Rana and her mother have responded by no longer using the communal kitchen. Instead they buy food from KFC and McDonald’s.”

That can’t be cheap or healthy (expecially for a child). I’d rather buy bread and stuff and make sandwiches and salads in my room. You don’t need a kitchen to prepare simple food; I once camped for three months with no facilities whatsoever, only a little portable gas stove to heat water. I didn’t crave cooked food once.

“The family don’t cook, because all their saucepans are in council storage […]. They too are surviving on takeaways – junk food and sandwiches.”

“She is not allowed to use the kitchen after 10pm, which means she can’t do any cooking when she gets back late from work, so has taken to eating McDonald’s on the bus on the way home.”

See above. It’s like for these people there’s absolutely no middle ground between home-cooked hot food and takeaways. I’m confused.

“The family stay inside a lot, because they don’t know the area; there is no garden, and they don’t know where the nearest park is.”

Are you kidding me? How about going for a walk one day so they, y’know, find out? There are no snipers in the street, I assure you!

Having said all this, here is my submission for the 2012 Rip-Off Britain Award:

“The family don’t cook, because all their saucepans are in council storage (along with their winter clothes) and it costs £45 every time they access it to get something out.”

Fucking outrageous. If Big Yellow tried to pull this one they’d be out of business within a week. You have to hand it to councils, they could certainly teach the Mafia a thing or two about extortion.

Jul

27

By nightowl

1 Comment

Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

Islands in the stream, that is what we are…

School colour-codes pupils by ability – Guardian worries about segregation

First of all, I am amused at the picture: it just so happens that the boy in the purple tie (which tells us he’s in the ‘gifted and talented’ stream) is black, whereas the other two (average and thicko streams) are white. I don’t believe for one second that this state of affairs was engineered by the Guardian photographer for subliminal propaganda reasons. Nope, I don’t. Nuh-huh.

Second, can I take this opportunity to point out how much I HATE the American-invented label giftedandtalented.

HATE.

“But Murphy says that without setting, the school wouldn’t have survived. He says that he has heard of other schools using different colour uniforms to mark different “houses”

Duh, everyone has! It’s a well-known fact that Gryffindors wear red, Slytherins…

Ahem.

“Courtney cites famous research conducted by American teacher Jane Elliott in the 60s, in which blue-eyed children did better and began bullying brown-eyed children after being told that they were superior.”

What’s that got to do with streaming in schools? I didn’t realise having blue eyes depended on academic results. Just how stupid are these people? As for the bullying issue, maybe that’s why children in different streams are kept separate from each other, genius.

Anyway, ‘scientists’ in the Sixties and Seventies breastfed chimpanzees and believed introducing children to sex was pedagogic. Who gives a shit about their experiments.

I personally have no problem with streaming in schools (even though this particular example  sounds a bit more extreme than most); quite frankly I would have loved to have experienced it. It doesn’t exist in France (it’s elitist! It’s against equality! Horror of horrors!) so for my entire school career I had every single lesson with my whole class (on average 30 people).

It certainly didn’t make for the best learning environment. I was very good at languages and was therefore bored out of my mind as the teachers repeated the same old information a million times. I was abysmally crap at maths and physics and was therefore bored out of my mind as I rarely understood what was going on – even after having the same old information repeated a million times. Talk about a lose-lose situation.

But what’s more important here? Politics and ideologies or allowing pupils to reach their full potential? Do I really want to know the answer? Hmmm.

And then I read the first sentence of the first comment, and now I want to kill.

“Nice to see apartheid is alive and well in the UK education system.”

Nice to see Guardian readers are easily as stupid and blinkered as the Daily Mail readers they despise so much.

And since I’m on a (maki) roll, here’s another Guardian article for your enjoyment:

Sushi is yummy. Discuss

That’s right, I managed to find something to rant about in a article on sushi. You’ll see.

You might have noticed that China is quite trendy at the moment. Everyone is talking about it, inspired by it and going there on holiday. Well, not so long ago, it was Japan that was the red-hot destination and source of all things cultural, from manga to food. Hence the unstoppable rise of sushi. But poor old Japan has since suffered a few setbacks and been replaced in the hearts of the western world by its ancient enemy. That must have hurt.

It cannot be a coincidence that the remake of The Karate Kid is now set in China, with the kid in question learning kung fu from Mr Han. Mr Miyagi and his boring old karate are so 20 years ago…

We still love sushi of course but it seems to have become acceptable to sneer at all things Japanese, in the Guardian at least:

“Japanese sushi restaurants are sexist to an extent that would appal most westerners.”

Actually, most of us already know that Japan is, generally speaking, an extremely patriarchal society. Don’t go all bandwagon-jumping feminist on us now.

“The traditional ones discourage single women from dining in them altogether.”

Oops, too late. Anyway, single Japanese women are discouraged from getting too independent in all sorts of ways. I think sushi restaurants are the least of their worries. Things are slowly changing however.

“And an idiotic belief persists that women have warmer hands than men and thus might somehow the spoil fish by handling it.”

The Japanese do have many weird beliefs but then so do we. Isn’t the word “idiotic” a bit strong and, let’s say the word, judgmental for the Guardian? Huh?

“But so much [sushi-eating] etiquette, as with codes of wine drinking and matching, is based on an inferiority complex and designed to exclude. It’s best skimmed, selected from and mostly discarded.”

WTF Guardian? Is this how you respect other cultures and traditions? Bet you wouldn’t say that about an African custom you didn’t understand! Bet you wouldn’t say that about the burqa. Go on, I dare you.

“So began the infamous annihilation of this fish [tuna] and the shameful reluctance of the Japanese to stem its destruction.”

Yup, because we in the West don’t overfish at all, ever. I suggest you have a word with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He writes for the Guardian too, you know.

Apr

19

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

Give a bluebell a bad name…

The Guardian is truly shameless. Every gardener knows the native English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is being threatened by an invasive, much more robust variety known as the Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica). As I strongly suspect the bluebells in my garden to be hybrids (also a bad thing), I was looking at pics on Google Images when I came across this old Guardian article.

Notice anything strange? How about this bit:

“Bluebells by the shed but are they good British or bad French? Anyone know?”

Suddenly the bad Spanish bluebell (hispanica, right?) has become French. Subtle, isn’t it?

I can even spot a Parisian at the back

Apr

2

By nightowl

No Comments

Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

Nobody does double standards like the Left

Two articles have recently appeared in the Guardian, both so loaded with anti-French propaganda my jaw hit the floor. Everyone is always very quick to criticise the Daily Mail every time it publishes a xenophobic story (and to be fair, it usually deserves it) but it amazes me just how much the Guardian gets away with.

First, this: Poor French women have it hard in a macho country

I cannot comment on things like the pay gap as I have almost no experience of the French workplace but this article is stuffed with inaccuracies and wild generalisations.

“The women seem bedevilled by standards that are either unattainable (to be a perfect size eight) or demeaning in themselves (to be restrained, demure, moderate in all things, poised; a host of qualities that all mean “quiet”).”

I think the problem here is that the journalist is making the classic mistake of confusing ‘upper middle class neurotic Parisienne’ with ‘average French woman’. It happens a lot in the English-speaking press so I’ll let it go.

“Female representation in politics is appalling, due to very inflexible rules about the pool from which the political class is drawn. All politicians come from the highly competitive set of graduate schools Les Grandes Ecoles (apart from Nicolas Sarkozy) which, until recently, had only a smattering of women, and none at all in Polytechnique (it is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence: women are now allowed in)”.

Female representation in politics may be appalling but it’s got nothing to do with where they studied. There are lots of female students in Grandes Ecoles (anyone can get in so long as they’re Hermione-style brainy in order to pass the entrance exam, and can afford the fees as all these places are private) and girls have been allowed in the (hugely prestigious and incredibly hard to get into) Ecole Polytechnique since… *googles*… 1972!! This lack of research deserves a spanking.

OK, maybe only 16% of students are women but a) it’s a military academy, which appeals to a certain type of person and b) the uniform doesn’t really help, does it?

“When there is a high-profile female face in politics, it is indicative of some force other than equality. At the local elections last week the two big winners were the Socialists, whose leader is Martine Aubry (daughter of Jacques Delors), and the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen (daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen)”.

Now, I’m not going to deny nepotism is big in France (although any journalist from a country where Chloe Madeley is considered a celebrity should perhaps refrain from commenting) but how about mentioning all the French female politicians who came from a perfectly anonymous background? Ségolène Royal, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Dominique Voynet, Christine Lagarde, Rachida Dati… there are many more. Where is that “force other than equality” now?

And now, brace yourselves for an absolute gem. I read it twice, looking for a clue that the interviewee was joking. Nope, she wasn’t.

“Thomasine Jammot, a cross-cultural trainer (who teaches travelling business people how they might overcome cultural misinterpretation, on their own or someone else’s part) [says] “There are many things you can’t do, as a woman, in France. You can’t be coarse or vulgar…”

Er, why would you want to be coarse and vulgar in the first place?

Oh, and by the way: yes you can. Maybe not in upper middle class Paris, but go and live in a working class area of northern France and you’ll find happiness there.

Yes, the French have chavs too

“…or drink too much, or smoke in the street. I would never help myself to wine.” “How would you get more wine?” I ask, baffled. “At the end of an evening, I might shake my glass at my husband. But no, I would never touch the bottle.”

What?! I think she has been touching the wine bottle, and many other bottles too!

I have my doubts on this woman’s Frenchness anyway. NOBODY, but NOBODY is called Thomasine in France. She may very well be a Brit married to a posh Frenchman and unaware that “Paris n’est pas la France”. That or her name was changed by the journalist (but then why pick such a weird name by French standards?).

“Your appearance will change everything, even for an interview for a job. In France you employ anyone you like. If the interviewer thinks that you’re too fat or ugly: dommage for you!”

How can you prove this doesn’t happen in the UK? All they have to say is “We don’t think you’ll fit in with the existing team”, and Bob’s their uncle.

“The pressure comes from society itself, not only from men but women. I am still a bad example to talk about it. I spend my life to look after my garden more than me. As a result, I never found a husband.”

This from Nicole Fiévet, 63. So she started looking for a husband in the Sixties. Very relevant to today’s France, isn’t it?

And now we’re about to find out what this article is really about: how racist France is!

“In 2002 it was made illegal to “passively solicit”. Mainstream feminists – politicians, unionists, various figures who had grouped together in 1996 under the title CNDF – supported the law; as prostitution constituted violence against women it obviously should be outlawed.

Activists countered that this denied prostitutes even the patchy safety of a busy street. They said, furthermore, that this was tacit racism, as these prostitutes tended to be from eastern Europe or Africa, and many were deported following the clampdown (even though there was a caveat offering clemency to any woman who named her trafficker; none ever did).”

There we go, it’s racist to ban street prostitution because the prostitutes aren’t white and French!

“in 2004 the ban on the veil came up, on the same grounds, that it represented a violence against women. Again, establishment feminists put up no opposition as, in the end, it is pretty sexist, to have your dress code determined by the sexual paranoia of your menfolk.

But this, again, had a terrible punitive effect on the women it purported to protect – in this case, girls were denied education if they continued to wear a veil.”

They were not denied education, they were either suspended or expelled from their state schools as they were deliberately flouting the law. Their parents were perfectly free to enrol them in private schools (which are not very expensive in France) just like the parents of kids who got expelled for any other disciplinary reason.

“In April, a new ban on the niqab, passed last September, will come into force. Would this have happened in a country where it was less routine, less state-sponsored, to judge a woman on her appearance? I think not, but it’s hard to prove.”

This is actually quite rude. She makes it sound like France is banning the veil because French men need to see women’s faces so they can judge them on their appearance! Where does that leave those other European countries that have already taken similar measures, not to mention Turkey?

A picture paints a thousand words...

See also this bizarre piece: French ‘sex object’ women are discouraged from breastfeeding

Here we go again with the crazy generalisations. To think my sister in Paris happily breastfed her two children for as long as she wanted, without ever having the slightest clue that she was being a dangerous revolutionary. Thank God for British journalists, eh?

And then we have this rather pointless offering which, despite being quite short, manages to contradict itself so often it looks like a printed weathervane:
The French are dirty – No they’re not – Yes they are – No they’re not – Yes they are – No more than the Brits anyway – Oi! You take that back – Yeah? Make me – I’m warning you – Whatever –

Er, sorry about that. Childish stuff is rather contagious.