Tag Archives: BBC

The World Is Breaking My Heart Today

15 Nov

I swear if it weren’t for the intense connection I share with one Mister John Humphrys , I don’t even know if I could face the headlines these days. So I’ve decided to respond to recent events with appropriate levels of hyperbole and/or sarcasm.

Of course, there’s more news today re: the BBC scandal. The whole thing is absolutely shocking and disgusting—both the alleged actions of the perpetrators and the alleged inaction of those who seemed to have known. Obviously my heart goes out to the victims, but I also acknowledge the feelings of those who are learning unsavoury details about celebrities they grew up listening to or watching. Thankfully, I’ve never had that experience myself, but I’m sure it must be unpleasant in its own way.

Then I heard more from Mitt Romney (wasn’t he supposed to have gone away now?), who thoughtfully explained that the reason that Obama won the election is because the President was using the government’s money to give gifts to people to lure them to the Democrats’ side.  What gifts were these—tickets to concerts, dinners or cruises? No, says Mittens. It was even more outrageous than that. Obama was giving them health care and education, through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Dream Act (oh my!). Plus he was actually trying to help people get access to the vote. Tell me it ain’t so! And who were these dodgy gift receivers? Latinos. Blacks. Immigrants. Women. Young people. Wait, wait, wait there, fella—you’re trying to tell me that Obama was actually using his government position to try help those people[i]? What the? Now obviously, there is just no reason why the president of any nation should give a shit about women. We can cross them off the list of who matters immediately, no argument there.  And trying to help Latinos, black people and foreigners—that just doesn’t make sense, because those groups don’t include you, do they, Mitt? How can that even be legal? And lastly, young people? Come on now, that’s just going too far. Why should any American be concerned about young people? It’s not like they live in our homes or came out of our bodies or will play any role whatsoever in our futures. Right, Mitt?

Romney, of course, doesn’t believe in “gifts.” Unless you mean money and tax cuts for kajillionaires. But those “gifts” don’t count, do they, because rich, older, white men (like say, Mitt Romney himself) deserve those things ergo they’re not “gifts” at all. Easy peasy!

Speaking of rich assholes, I then read about what’s going on at the Hostess company in the US. Workers there are striking and the head Hostess honchos have said, quit striking by close of the day or we’re liquidating the whole operation. So there. Cue outrage from the American public. Why? Because Hostess makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread. Never eaten a Twinkie? Don’t worry, you will, as they and the cockroaches will be the only things left when you, against all odds, awake to realise you are the only human to survive the nuclear holocaust. Twinkies may taste sweeter, but injecting bleach straight into your veins will pretty much produce the same effect on your body as Twinkies do.[ii] Yet Americans feed them to children. Even my own mother fed one to me once! Yes, it’s true! As for Wonder Bread: in my fifth grade health class, our teacher skipped out one day (the day we were going to discuss menstruation, though I’m sure that was purely coincidental). The substitute the school booked was a youngish man, who, when he took off his suit coat, already had his shirt sleeves rolled up (why that fact stuck with me and what exactly it implies, I do not know).  He silently opened a bag of Wonder Bread, took out one slice, moistened it and slapped it against the blackboard where it stuck. He then announced that the class time would be spent in silent reading (our choice of book). It was. Just as the bell rang an hour later, the sub pointed to the slice—still clinging to the blackboard—and said, “That is what Wonder Bread does inside your body and that is the greatest health lesson I could teach you today.”

So Hostess announces, hey America, you’re going to lose these great chemical-laden delectables unless these selfish strikers get their shit together. And sadly many Americans fall headfirst for it (luckily as their heads are clearly empty, this is less dangerous than it sounds). In fact, one clever Yank tweeted, “Great, now I’ve got to stockpile Twinkies because the world is full of fucktards.” The workers are striking because they are being asked to take an 8% pay cut and lose some healthcare and pension benefits. And apparently that makes them fucktards. Yet a kajillionaire who refuses to pay a little more tax to benefit others, he’s not a fucktard. He’s a good American.

All of this is enough to distress any sensible, clear thinking person, let alone one so elegantly-coiffeured as my good self. I think I shall retire to my chamber to nurse my broken heart and curse the dastards who walk amongst us.


[i] According to the 2010 US Census:

Hispanic or Latino=16.3% of American population
Black or African American=12.6% of the American population
Foreign born=12.9% of American population
Female=50.8% of the American population
Young (ages 18-24)=9.9% of the American population
 

[ii] This is probably a good time to remind you that I am not a scientist.

Big Girls Need Big Diamonds

1 Jun

I have never celebrated sixty years of my reign over a kingdom, and I’m certainly not implying I have. However, I have celebrated six consecutive triumphs as Spelling Bee Champion at Al Herpin School for Exceptional Children (no mean feat, I assure you) so I do know a little bit about marking important milestones appropriately.

So far the Royal Household has been doing a bang up job with the festivities. I have been loving everything so far (top marks for the Yellow Duckmarine ride in Liverpool).

 

Here’s what’s coming up this Central Weekend.

Saturday, 2 June

The Queen is heading to the Epson Derby. Far be it from me to offer Her Majesty any advice (and besides there’s no grey running) so I assume she’ll be calling on the spirit of the Queen Mum before placing any bets.

Sunday, 3 June

I love the concept of the Big Jubilee Lunch, though I confess I won’t be participating (I’m sure she’d understand if she met the twats who live in my neighbourhood). However, I shall be buntifying the house to show my support.

 

I’m slightly less interested in the boat-related activities (The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and the Royal Barge rides) but hey, that’s me.

Monday, 4 June

It’s always lovely to involve music in any celebration, hence the BBC Concert at Buckingham Palace. However my concern can be summarised in two words: Gary and Barlow.

On the other hand, I’m well excited for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons—two thousand and twelve beacons lit around the Commonwealth topped off by the Queen’s lighting the National Beacon. Brilliant idea! I would suggest refilling the Royal Zippo that morning (or having the Olympic mother flame near) just in case. One can never be too prepared.

Tuesday, 5 June

A service at St Paul’s makes sense, as does lunch at Westminster Hall. Of course, there will then be a Carriage Procession because carriages are pretty much synonymous with the grace and elegance of royalty.

Once back at Buckingham Palace, she’ll make a balcony appearance, and there will be a fancypants flypast by the RAF.

Lastly, there will be a feu de joie. I confess I’m a bit disappointed that the celebration is ending on this note: I don’t support violence and am concerned the rifles may frighten the Corgis. But I guess it’s just the done thing in these circumstances. I suppose wrapping up everything with a make-your-own-sundae party at an ice cream parlour (as I did after my sixth spelling bee win) might be seen as a bit of an anti-climax.

I’m glad Lord Mandelson announced an additional bank holiday so that everyone can thoroughly enjoy the extended weekend. However, I wish he had demanded it be a day of service, namely asking citizens to clean up the litter and vomit revelers will have left throughout the streets (yes, I’m looking at you, Camilla). I myself charitably will be hosting a small garden party for local dignitaries where I’ll be giving a talk on highlights from my writing career. It’s just another of the little ways I like to help the less fortunate of my community.

The Queen has always been a very important mentor to me, so it was a struggle to choose just the right gift to send her (in the end, I went with a book token). Even though she’s so busy, she blessed me with a quick thank you card—it’s so lovely to see that, despite her prestige, manners still matter to ER II.

I wish everyone—from the Queen and her family to Piss Stain Charlie, the tramp who lives at our bus depot—a wonderful Diamond Jubilee.

God save our Gracious Queen,
We mean it, man!

Let’s Talk About . . . Freedom of Speech

3 Dec

When I was about aged nine, each Tuesday, I would kiss my parents goodnight, climb under the covers of my bed, and take out the transistor radio secreted in my bedside cabinet. With the earphone in my left ear (in those days, we were satisfied with just the one), I waited patiently for my clock to chime midnight for that heralded the beginning of my favourite radio series—a locally produced lecture series called “Let’s Talk About . . .” There would be a few seconds of theme tune and then the voice of Dr. Langley Crispier, whom I imagined was most certainly greying at the temples in that most distinguished way many scholars do, would say “Let’s Talk About” followed by the most deliciously exciting pause before announcing the topic of that week’s episode. There was no way of knowing in advance what would be discussed. What made the anticipation so palpable was the fact that, after those few seconds of silence, that man could have said anything.

Except, of course, he couldn’t have said anything. He couldn’t have said “Let’s Talk About Barack Obama’s Presidency,” because this was long before Obama even dreamt of such a thing. He couldn’t have said “Let’s Talk About Emetophilia,” because that would have been too disgusting to hear about at that late hour. He couldn’t have said “Let’s Talk the Bomb That Will Be Hitting Our Town in Three Minutes,” because that would have caused total panic. He couldn’t have said “Let’s Talk About the Policy of Adding Poison to the Food Served at Tim’s Cafe,” because that would have been slanderous (and anyway Tim’s Cafe was a major sponsor of the show and the food there was delectable). Despite America’s laws protecting free speech, Dr. Crispier was not totally free to choose the topic for that night’s speech.

This why I feel compelled to punch in the face those who defend the obnoxious shite that is spewed by the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, David Irving and Ann Coulter with the phrase “Well, it’s a free country and we have free speech.” I don’t stoop to violence, of course, but goodness me, I sometimes want to.

The first problem involves the word free, which can mean “without cost.” Do you think Jeremy Clarkson would be willing to post a rebuttal here for free? I’ve a feeling I’d have to provide him with a rather large cheque for the privilege of publishing his “free” speech. But cost does not always refer to dollar signs. Ask a parent whose gay son committed suicide because of bullying or a worker whose rights are abused because his employer is non-union. The old chestnut “You can’t yell Fire! in a movie house” is true because people could get hurt. Words that perpetuate ignorance and hate may be without cost to Jeremy Clarkson, but someone is paying the price for them everyday.

Ultimately this is what is most important about free speech. Freedom works best when it’s coupled with responsibility. The greatest gift that language offers us is its ability to change the world. I so admire those who use that gift wisely.

I am not arguing for changing laws protecting free speech. But with freedom comes responsibility. If an injured fox were lying in my driveway, I technically have the freedom to run over it with my motorcar. Despite this freedom, I would not because it would be cruel, stupid and messy. It would not be the right thing to do.

But Jeremy Clarkson would run over the fox. And then the BBC would pay him thousands of pounds to talk about it on a television show. And if people were offended, the Sun newspaper would accuse them of wanting censorship.

And that makes me want to vomit (and not in a sexy way).

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