Dec

6

By nightowl

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Categories: WTF

What was that thing about beggars and choosers again?

A French charity is collecting material donations for the migrants in Calais. Their list of urgently needed items includes unlocked mobile phones and their chargers and clothes and shoes in men’s sizes. I think that says a lot…

If you look at the complete list in French, they even specify boxers – not briefs – and trainers – preferably black. They are not interested in toys or children’s clothing as they have “too many”. There’s also a small list of women’s items but it hasn’t been translated into English (unlike the men’s items) so clearly isn’t a priority.

So my question is: where do the Guardian find those children and families who are supposedly living rough in Calais and whose pictures they keep taking to illustrate their many articles?

Oh, and apparently some Lycamobile Sim cards and fire extinguishers would be welcome too. You know, the kind of thing you just have lying around.

Meanwhile, the food list includes smoked paprika, olive oil, fresh chillies, honey, Cayenne pepper (in addition to regular pepper), tahini and Indian saffron (!!!). These are some seriously well-fed migrants. Will Jay Rayner be reviewing the Calais Canteen, I wonder?

Donation suggestion (but don’t forget to cover up the word ‘Christmas’ on the pudding label)

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”?

Nov

11

By nightowl

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Categories: WTF

Fear is not an option

I just received some promotional mail from Littlewoods and I am speechless. This is 2017 and look at the ugly, 80’s-style crap they’re still selling:

True Lies Mom Style is real!

Jun

30

By nightowl

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Do you hear the people sigh?

Today is the 155th anniversary of the publication of Les Misérables, my favourite French novel ever. Champagne!

Looks like ladettes are a thing in France too

Now, it’s nice of the Independent to write a little article about Victor Hugo but a bit of research and accuracy would have helped.

Born in 1802, three-years after Napoleon seized power, he was already famous as a poet, artist and novelist by the time he was 30 and he had had time to study law.

A fierce critic of Napoleon, Hugo fled France after the 1851 coup d’etat that brought Bonaparte to power.

Is it me or do they make it sound like it’s the same Napoléon seizing power twice within a fifty-year period? Is the Independent even aware there were two? (well, technically three).

The one in the second quote is of course Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, Napoléon I’s nephew who became the second Emperor of the French. The first Napoléon was long dead by then.

They both liked their horsey rides though

After spells in Belgium and Jersey he settled in the smaller Channel Island of Guernsey, where the writer would live for the next 15 years.

It proved to be one of the most productive periods of his life, as Hugo penned his two most celebrated volumes of poetry and most of Les Miserables – which he began in the 1845 but did not complete until 1862.

It means arguably the most famous work of French literature was actually written in Britain.

Guernsey is not part of Britain, in fact it’s not even in the UK. It’s a Crown Dependency.

[Albanian accent] Good luck.[/Albanian accent]

I suppose I should count my blessings: at least the article doesn’t say Les Mis is set during the French Revolution (yes, I have read this. More than once).

Apr

24

By nightowl

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Gotta love champagne socialists

I am very amused by this picture in Le Parisien of distraught Mélenchon voters, one of whom is carrying a Hédiard carrier bag (famous Parisian luxury food store, a bit like Fortnum & Mason’s).

Shopping therapy is a thing

Mar

30

By nightowl

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Hermione is the new black

Here is the indeniable proof that all that guff about black Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was in fact a large quantity of agenda-driven bullshit.

Reminder:

JKR2

A cast change has just been announced. Behold the new Hermione Granger, Rakie Ayola:

Back Row (left to right) James Howard (Draco Malfoy), Emma Lowndes (Ginny Potter), Jamie Glover (Harry Potter).
Front Row (left to right) Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley), Rakie Ayola (Hermione Granger), Helen Aluko (Rose Granger-Weasley), Theo Ancient (Albus Potter), Samuel Blenkin (Scorpius Malfoy). Photography by Manuel Harlan.

So, for the second year in a row, the best actress they could find just happens to be black (and her daughter must therefore be black as well). Meanwhile, the best actors for all the other parts just happen to be white – again. Do the production people actually take us for complete idiots?

I do wish Rowling had been honest about her intentions. If she had just said: “Look, I didn’t think about it at the time but I actually regret the lack of diversity in the Trio; it makes more sense to me that at least one of them isn’t white and Hermione is the perfect candidate. It brings balance to the Force to the story and quite frankly, anything that can empower black girls is a good thing”, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of fans would have accepted this and understood her reasoning. Instead she lied through her teeth because she couldn’t bring herself to own her decision.

I have a feeling this is the main reason for the backlash, not racism as she was so keen to proclaim; people know when they’re having the wool pulled over their eyes. Rowling was far, far too defensive about it even to fans who only wanted to calmly explain how they felt (see the tweet above). Her complete refusal to admit that this huge change after all these years (and all these films) suddenly turned everything upside-down and greatly affected how fans related to the character was incredibly off-putting.

I’m sure the official narrative for casting another black actress is “continuity”. Hahaha. Maybe Rachel Dolezal should have played Hermione in the films!

Mar

29

By nightowl

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Is it me?

That weird bust of Cristiano Ronaldo

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.

Feb

11

By nightowl

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Frozen

New IKEA opens in Los Angeles and people queue like their life depends on it

The funny bit:

8:18 a.m. You’re still drinking your first cup of coffee, but hundreds of folks are braving foggy conditions and sub 60-degree temperatures to be the first to experience the new Ikea.

“Sub-60-degree temperatures”… 60°F equals 15°C. Bless their hearts.