Friday, 12 August 2011

Thou shalt be forgiven for looting Debenhams

It is rather refreshing to recognise that it’s not only Islamic extremists who are willing to annihilate our country’s infrastructure.

Our loveable friends up in London are currently pillaging their own capital city, and, I suppose, it makes al-Qaeda – as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – look rather indifferent and unenthusiastic about applying themselves.

I understand the incentives of the two scenarios do vary: Al-Qaeda will only receive 72 virgins in heaven. The Cockneys, however, are able to acquire a Blu Ray player, Rolex watch and five iPads!

So there’s my fun little introduction based upon one of the funniest of the world’s religions.

I’ll now move on to another equally fabricated and unnecessary arrangement of falsehoods – Christianity – and relate it to these current events.

A fuzzy photograph of one of our tediously senseless citizens rioting in London was enough to show a large crucifix sticking to her sweaty, pallid, insalubrious upper-chest area.

Now, although I’m not a Christian, I certainly do appreciate that her behaviour is not something that Jesus would particularly approve of. What I’m quite confused about in this instance is the concept of forgiveness.

The Bible clearly states that, if this scumbag repents to Jesus, all her sins will be forgiven.
What an abhorrent doctrine.

As she was looting shops and smashing windows, this foul woman knew precisely that what she was doing was wrong. Consequently, she should not be forgiven. She may spend the rest of her life trying to win people back, but these actions should always count against her. These actions should be unforgivable.

The concept of responsibility is almost entirely based upon knowing that you will be judged by your actions – in knowing that there will be repercussions. By allowing this lowlife to be forgiven after she mutters a few meaningless words completely repudiates this responsibility. She’ll be living with a clear mind, safe in the knowledge that God – the only entity that matters in the great scheme of things – will give her a free lift to heaven.

If the core message of The Bible was even vaguely moral, Jesus would be giving the sermon of the mount saying, “Fuck off, you cunt. You knew what you were doing. Say goodbye to heaven. Wanker.”

The woman would be whimpering in fear at the thought of hell. She would be unable to sleep due to her impending state of eternal torture.

This would certainly be a far more efficient way of establishing a moral structure to a culture.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Cocks

It’s clearly becoming ever rarer for me to pluck up the courage to type a vaguely comprehensible array of sentences onto this forgotten corner of the Internet. Furthermore, I don’t pretend to imagine that I have a plethora of adoring fans displaying withdrawal symptoms whenever I fail to publish anything for more than two weeks.

Nevertheless, the fact that you’ve decided to spend a fraction of your ultimately futile life reading this demonstrates that there clearly is at least one person willing to hear my thoughts. Whether I can classify you as a ‘fan’ is, I suppose, less certain.

Today’s bible reading takes the form of two parts:
  1.  A short digression about Noel Gallagher.
  2. A juicy, throbbing thought of the day about erections.

Noel Gallagher last week announced the release of his new song The Death of You and MeDespite the best attempts of his record label, the world over (and, above all else, the YouTube ‘comments’ section, which is primarily restricted to vigorous computer masturbators) is zealously comparing it to the songs that Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye have already churned out.

I feel it is a pitiable, futile but nonetheless necessary act to add my opinion, of which I’m sure you’re riveted to read about.

All I can say is: “What did you expect?”

Noel’s song is infinitely better than any of Liam’s, and, by sticking to what he did best in Oasis, he hasn’t left his fans disillusioned.

Liam, on the other hand, is quite simply a moron who will probably soon be found rampaging around a Norwegian island with a machine gun.

I suppose this article is merely a sort of unprofessional press release to remind you to buy Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, available on Amazon, iTunes and any other good high street store from 17th October 2011.

I said I would climax with a little piece about erections. It’s more a thought regarding people who still adhere to the primitive argument of ‘intelligent design’ in the universe.

Why, if we’re designed, don’t we get erections on demand? Does the designer really enjoy witnessing the embarrassment of half the world’s population, whilst simultaneously revelling in the disappointment of the other half?

Has this article been a big flop?

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Come on. Grow up.

Christopher Hitchens once described George Bush as, “unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.”

It seems to me that Hitchens is being far too narrow in his condemnation. Virtually every time I keep an eye of what goes on over the Atlantic, I become increasingly confident to extend this description to the vast majority of Republicans (and, by default, all Tea Party members, who have somehow achieved the unachievable of becoming substantially more abhorrent than the Republicans).

The White House today released further proof of the Barack Obama’s place of birth, and the President himself then made a disheartened plea for the Americans to grow up and stop being so pathetic.

Only two days ago, Obama was accused of being, “a terrible student”, and the question, “How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" was posed. The President was then asked to, “show his records,” – in a request that sounds oddly familiar and will undoubtedly end in further right-wing embarrassment.

Of course, every country possesses utter morons who constantly spew out nonsense based on no evidence. But these remarks, dripping with slimy racism at every turn, were not actually uttered by a semi-conscious, illiterate oaf drunkenly mumbling allegations from a ditch. They were made by Donald Trump, the potential future President.

Trump will certainly say that he’s not a racist, but he is. There is no way getting around it. His constant requests for Obama to produce proof of identity are shamefully reminiscent of the days of Jim Crow and the supposition that African Americans somehow have less right to their place in society. Under the surface of Trump's recent comments is the implicit suggestion that Obama must have something to hide, and the bigoted undertones of all his stomach-turning opinions are both nauseating and baffling. Have such unfounded accusations ever been levelled at any other President? Has any previous President been essentially blackmailed into publicising very private information? This right-wing pressure upon Obama to publish details of his background wretchedly echoes the first half of the twentieth century in America.

It is as if the Trump thinks, “How can a black person go to two Ivy League universities? He must be a bad student. There must be something fishy going on. He needs to produce documents.” Does this foul man even comprehend the concept of ‘shame’?

I would get bored in attempting to compile a list of the number of anti-gay, anti-science, smug, ignorant, nauseatingly senseless fools to hold a position within the Republican Party. Trump is, of course, just one more. However, what he says does rub off on the American people. It is genuinely scary that somebody like this thinks he can run for President. This is a deep-rooted problem within America. If anybody like Trump or Palin, O’Donnell or Bachmann attempted to gain power in Britain, they would be metaphorically whipped and crucified like their hero Jesus Christ.

What the hell is going on? How can people even consider voting for such lowlife?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Spirit and Destiny

Two of the most poisonous – and needless to say pointless – words in the English dictionary are the words ‘spirit’ and ‘destiny’. Any uttering of these dire arrangements of letters reveals the speaker to be an individual who really does not give any thought to the meaning of a word before speaking it.
What the hell do these stupid words actually mean?

Fine, I recognise that ‘destiny’ refers to a predetermined course of events. But what use is that explanation? Is there any method by which we can establish whether an incident was predetermined? I’m not talking about the laws of physics predicting the behaviour of particles. I’m talking about people who say it was ‘destiny’ that you and your wife happened to meet. Because what you really mean is that it was very unlikely. Yes it was. Overwhelmingly unlikely. So state that and comprehend your good fortune that an array of incidents played out in the way they did. But it wasn’t predetermined, for goodness sake.

In just a brief selection of parallel universes (if they exist…) you will never have even seen your wife. But who cares? It’s not like you’ll be upset, thinking, “I wish events played out like they did in that other universe.” You wouldn’t even know of this person’s existence. You may well have married someone far better.

I often wonder how my life would’ve turned out if I had gone to a different school when I was younger. I look back at all the decisive branching points that my life has taken, and I realise that if even one of those events conspired differently, I wouldn’t be here. But that doesn’t mean it was ‘destiny’ for me to be at Durham. It’s just unlikely.

So, ‘destiny’ means ‘the odds of this vaguely favourable event occurring are unimaginably low’. So, for future reference, use this definition please. Don’t use such an inanely worthless word. It only reflects badly on you.

The word ‘spirit’, however, is infinitely more futile and annoying. Although ‘destiny’ is a pointless word, at least it had a clear – albeit illogical – definition. ‘Spirit’, to me, is the equivalent of apathetically articulating the sound ‘bluhhhh’, then expecting that to be an explanation for something (and also, inexplicably, demanding to be taken seriously whilst doing it). The word removes the desire for any sort of accurate statements to be used.

In the context of our personal identity, there is never a moment when ‘spirit’ is more appropriate a word than, say, ‘consciousness’ (apart from when talking about unfounded, untestable and downright bizarre ideas such as an afterlife). I know we have a strong sense of self-awareness, and this certainly gives off an illusion of being something more than an inconceivable collection of enzymatic reactions and electrical impulses. But the word ‘spirit’ explains absolutely nothing. It’s a nothing word for people who are satisfied with inadequate answers to the state of the world around us.

The English language is astonishingly rich and malleable. The immeasurable selection of words and sentence arrangements available makes writing one of the most soothing and satisfying practices that one can undertake. So can we end using pointless words? Not only are the words pointless, but their usage also reflects badly upon you. Unless, of course, you’re using them mockingly.  

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Live Ford Super Sexist Sunday

Andy Gray, Richard Keys, sexism in football blah blah blah.

I’m sure you don’t want to read about them any more and I don’t intend to drag this tedious affair on any longer (apart from linking you to some other classic Keys moments, here and here).

However, I do want to say something regarding the idea of prejudice.  We have to remember that something is only racist, sexist, ageist or heightist if the respective issues are independent of the job that someone does.

If somebody is old and this leads them to do their job less adequately than they would as a youngster, it should not be taboo to remove them from the job. If viewers of a TV programme are more responsive to a 30-year-old than a 54-year-old, then age does get in the way with the profits that the TV company could be making.

Equally, if I applied to work as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant, they should have the right to reject me because I am not Chinese. If they employed me, it may make the place feel less authentic, potentially leading to a loss of earnings. Therefore, my skin would affect the welfare of the company and so they can reject me on those grounds.

If a business tends to employ people over 6ft 2inches, this is not necessarily heightist. A colossal robust man is probably more likely to dominate an alpha-male environment more successfully than a 5ft 5 weed. He is therefore more likely to close a deal and so his height does affect the profit a company makes.

The Abercrombie shop in London – possibly the most shamelessly vile place on earth – should be able to pick their assistants based on looks, because the type of individuals that enter that hellhole are responsive to pretty people. It therefore affects how much money the company makes.

My point is this: just because the individuals of a company are skewed towards a particular demographic, it does not mean there is necessarily anything suspicious or prejudicial about their selection policy. People seem extremely eager to jump on a bandwagon just to be seen as politically correct, but we need to think about issues before charging headfirst with accusations of “[insert taboo subject here]ism.”

The fact that our country is one of the most accepting nations on earth is something we should genuinely feel truly proud of. But we also have to remain thoughtful and not become mindless sheep. As for Gray and Keys, their comments were sexist because the fact that linesman (er… lineslady) Sian Massey was female did not impact upon doing her job.

I dedicate this post to Kate Walsh, after watching her on The Big Questions this morning. God, she’s annoying. Just like every fucking bitch in the world.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The merging of two brilliant - yet quite distinct - arts

A clear recent trend has been emerging within the last couple of years. The job titles of ‘comedian’, ‘scientist’ and ‘entertainer’ are no longer necessarily distinct from one another, with all three meeting together inside a rather succulent melting pot of shamelessly nerdy satire. Countless comedians and scientists suddenly appear to be best buddies, performing on stage in an ambitious quest to promote their message in very light-hearted, science-based shows. It appears to be a mutualistically rewarding relationship, whilst the astronomical ticket sales illustrate the enormous audience out there for their slightly quacky, dry comedy.

The two leaders of this march are undoubtedly Brian Cox and Robin Ince. Cox – who gained a PhD in particle Physics and now works at CERN – and Ince – a stand-up comedian – have been the brains behind a series of shows, such as Radio 4’s Infinate Monkey Cage (available on iTunes as a free podcast) and the epic eight-night festive show Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. In the next few months, they are embarking upon an additional run of live shows, called Uncaged Monkeys.

It is evident from their qualifications that we wouldn't naturally group these two people together, yet the popularising of science through humour – and the evolving nature of comedy to become more sophisticated – has led to a significant (p < 0.05) trend where these two great arts are becoming united. (Hopefully you spotted a joke there; don’t worry if not).

Comedians such as Ince, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Ricky Gervais, Ben Miller, Dara O’Briain and David Mitchell are jumping on the bandwagon, whilst scientists such as Cox, Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh, Jim al-Khalili and many others are doing so as well. Why is this?

Firstly, I think it has a lot to do with Robin Ince’s creation of Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People. These stage events (which can easily be enjoyed by religious people, by the way) involve several comedians/ scientists performing ten-minute pieces, in a spectacular mass exaltation of science and the universe, at a time of the year when the godless don’t really join in the exaltation of Jesus. Scientists become more light-hearted so as to appeal to a mass audience, whilst comedians tailor their pieces to the ‘science’ end of the spectrum.

The shows are extremely popular, and so they’ll naturally milk it for all it’s worth and maintain a winning formula. But this doesn’t explain why they’re popular, and I think I’ve worked this out.

There are so many people out there who really bloody love science. However, general society doesn’t seem to feel the same way. So there’s a slight incompatibility between these feelings and the desire to live a normal life and not repel potential mating partners. I find this rather frustrating and I’m led to think that this major part of me must be kept under wraps because it is just a bit too nerdy for civil society. It seems like thousands of people also feel this way, and the platform that Ince and co. have provided allows us to satirise this to the maximum. We’re laughing at ourselves in many ways, slightly ashamed that we find Robin Ince’s impressions of Carl Sagan so amusing. The society at large wouldn’t accept such humour and this creates an underground network where people can say, “I HAVE WATCHED THE WHOLE COSMOS SERIES FIVE TIMES. I KNOW MOST PEOPLE FIND THAT SLIGHTLY ODD BUT I LOVE IT.”

Thankfully, there seems to be a major group of people who all feel the same way, and therefore there is a niche for these Celebriscientists to tap into. Furthermore, being a comedian isn’t easy. You have to be intelligent, with a thirst for learning and an eye for irony. They are forced to think about things and so I don’t think it’s a major coincidence that comedians do appreciate science, because I’m convinced that any thinking person inevitably will.

So, considering the audiences of the two fields are probably quite similar, it’s not actually hugely surprising this form of entertainment has emerged. It even appears, dare I say it, rather intelligently designed.