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Sheen’s case is an extreme example of how the media peddle a toxic materialistic ideology. The (nearly all rightwing) media in America, and in this country too, have been only too happy to sell papers or broadcasting space by reporting his disturbance. But these stories only sell because people in the UK and US have become addicted to the media’s continuous recycling of materialist values. There is now no doubt that the kind of person who seeks celebrity is more likely to have a pre-existing potential for narcissistic, self-aggrandising behaviour. This was proved by a recent study of 200 US celebrities, while a 2006 study showed that, as a whole, Americans are six times more narcissistic than they were 50 years ago.

via Are the media fuelling Charlie Sheen’s breakdown? | Comment is free | The Observer.


A new report by our political correspondent Piers Fletcher-Dervish:

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There has been much to-do over the last few days in the media regarding the well-known Hollywood personality Charlie Sheen taking part in an interview on the controversial radio show hosted by Alex Jones; America’s loudest and angriest political commentator.

Of course if you run ‘Charlie Sheen Alex Jones’ through popular search engines you won’t find much that isn’t utterly derogatory of both men, since Google decided to alter the codes for its engine to display those sites which have donated money above small operations which operate without large financial backing.

As part and parcel of the Hollywood machine, all this is seen by those larger media operations as ‘entertainment’ rather than valid political debate.  Many articles covering the interview made an issue of Mr. Sheen’s struggle with addiction, and he even spoke about this himself pretty openly during the discussion claiming to be 100% clean and working out every day.  And good for him, I say – addiction is an enormous problem in our world and can seem like an impossible barrier to those facing ‘going clean,’ let alone trying to kick a habit under the media spotlights.

Mr. Sheen was speaking on Alex Jones’ show as a follow-up to a letter and a video message comprising 20 questions over the 9/11 incident he’d addressed to Barack Obama, representing ‘the families of the victims of September 11th and millions of…fellow Americans.’  After a great deal of time Mr. Obama did in fact grant Mr. Sheen an audience to ask his questions.  Charlie Sheen presented the President with substantial evidence that the story Obama has put forward not only differs from the majority of the 9/11 investigatory commission but is wildly inaccurate and in places simply untrue.

Mr. Sheen issued the President with this rebuttal over the air:

“How much faith can I possibly have in you to run this entire country when 20 questions from a high-school dropout sitcom actor appear to be too much to handle for you and your staff?  Sorry, but you, sir, are obviously a coward in a cheap suit…as if it’s rocket science – this is not.  Quit hiding, it’s embarrassing, dude.”

This may seem like a hasty and somewhat angry comment to make to the president of the USA – often referred to as the most powerful man in the world – but if we read through the minutes of their meeting on the 8th September, 2009, we see that not a single comment or question put to the president was answered sufficiently and they have remained unanswered in the two years since then.  And let’s be fair, Mr. Obama did have a letter in advance, and if he didn’t have time to read through that he could have tuned in to the video message.  Even his small-talk was disparate and self-contradictory:

Charlie Sheen – Sir, in the very near future we will be experiencing our first 9/11 anniversary with you as Commander in Chief.

Barack Obama – Yes. A very solemn day for our Nation. A day of reflection and yet a day of historical consciousness as well.

But a few moments after saying the words “historical consciousness” Barack said:

“…we as a people and as a country need to move forward. It is obviously in our best interest as a democratic society to focus our efforts and our resources on the future of this great nation…we must move forward…”

He went on to refer to the sinking of the Lusitania, the First World War and the Gulf of Tonkin incident as “ancient history” – which they aren’t.  The word ‘ancient’ refers to the period of history before the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD.  The First World War is well within the realms of 20th century history.

Mr. Obama was also unwilling to reply to the remark:

“You promised to abolish the Patriot Act and then voted to re-authorize it. You pledged to end warrantless wire tapping against the American people and now energetically defend it. You decried the practice of rendition and now continue it. You promised over and over again on the campaign trail, that you would end the practice of indefinite detention and instead, you have expanded it to permanent detention of “detainees” without trial. This far exceeds the outrages of the former administration.”

Faced with these points Obama squirmed and said:

“…my staff and I authorized this interview based on your request to discuss 9/11 and deliver some additional information you’re convinced I’d not previously reviewed. Call me crazy, but it appears as though you’ve blindly wandered off topic.”

Sheen ignored the split infinitive and reminded him that these examples “are a direct result of 9/11.” to which the reply came:

“And I’m telling you that we must move forward, we must endure through these dangerous and politically challenging years ahead.”

And after such a lively exchange Charlie cut to the chase and asked his questions:

“Okay, first; On the FBI’s most wanted list Osama Bin Laden is not charged with the crimes of 9/11. When I called the FBI to ask them why this was the case, they replied: “There’s not enough evidence to link Bin Laden to the crime scene,” I later discovered he had never even been indicted by the Department of Justice.

Number 2; FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, was dismissed and gagged by the Department of Justice after she revealed that the government had foreknowledge of plans to attack American cities using planes as bombs as early as April 2001. In July of ‘09, Mrs. Edmonds broke the Federal gag order and went public to reveal that Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were all working for and with the C.I.A. up until the day of 9/11.

Number 3; The following is a quote from Mayor Giuliani during an interview on 9/11 with Peter Jennings for ABC News. “I went down to the scene and we set up headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the Police Commissioner, the Fire Commissioner, the Head of Emergency Management, and we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was going to collapse. And it did collapse before we could actually get out of the building, so we were trapped in the building for 10, 15 minutes, and finally found an exit and got out, walked north, and took a lot of people with us.”

WHO TOLD HIM THIS??? To this day, the answer to this question remains unanswered, completely ignored and emphatically DENIED by Mayor Giuliani on several public occasions.

Number 4; In April 2004, USA Today reported, “In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defence Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.” One of the targets was the World Trade Center.

Number 5; On September 12th 2007, CNN’s ‘Anderson Cooper 360, reported that the mysterious “white plane” spotted and videotaped by multiple media outlets, flying in restricted airspace over the White House shortly before 10am on the morning of 9/11, was in fact the Air Force’s E-4B, a specially modified Boeing 747 with a communications pod behind the cockpit; otherwise known as “The Doomsday Plane”?

Though fully aware of the event, the 9/11 Commission did not deem the appearance of the military plane to be of any interest and did not include it in the final 9/11 Commission report.

Number 6; Three F-16s assigned to Andrews Air Force Base, ten miles from Washington, DC, are conducting training exercises in North Carolina 207 miles away as the first plane crashes into the World Trade Center.  Even at significantly less than their top speed of 1500 mph, they could still have defended the skies over Washington well before 9am, more than 37 minutes before Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, however, they did not return until after 9:55am.

Andrews AFB had no armed fighters on alert and ready to take off on the morning of 9/11.

Number 7; WTC Building 7. Watch the video of its collapse.

Number 8; Flight 93 is fourth plane to crash on 9/11 at 10:03am. V.P. Cheney only gives shoot down order at 10:10-10:20am and this is not communicated to NORAD until 28 minutes after Flight 93 has crashed.

Fuelling further suspicion on this front is the fact that three months before the attacks of 9/11, Dick Cheney usurped control of NORAD, and therefore he, and no one else on planet Earth, had the power to call for military sorties on the hijacked airliners on 9/11. He did not exercise that power. Three months after 9/11, he relinquished command of NORAD and returned it to military operation.

Number 9; Scores of main stream news outlets reported that the F.B.I. conducted an investigation of at least FIVE of the 9/11 hijackers being trained at U.S. military flight schools. Those investigations are now sealed and need to be declassified.

Number 10; In 2004, New York fire-fighters Mike Bellone and Nicholas DeMasi went public to say they had found the black boxes at the World Trade Center, but were told to keep their mouths shut by FBI agents. Nicholas DeMasi said that he escorted federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle in October 2001 and helped them locate the devices, a story backed up by rescue volunteer Mike Bellone.

As the Philadelphia Daily News reported at the time, “Their story raises the question of whether there was some type of cover-up at Ground Zero.”

Number 11 – Hundreds of eye witnesses including first responders, fire captains, news reporters, and police, all described multiple explosions in both towers before and during the collapse.

Number 12; An astounding video uncovered from the archives shows BBC News correspondent Jane Standley reporting on the collapse of WTC Building 7 over twenty minutes before it fell at 5:20pm on the afternoon of 9/11. Tapes from earlier BBC broadcasts show news anchors discussing the collapse of WTC 7 a full 26 minutes in advance. The BBC at first claimed that their tapes from 9/11 had been “lost” before admitting that they made the “error” of reporting the collapse of WTC 7 before it happened without adequately explaining how they could have obtained advance knowledge of the event.

In addition, over an hour before the collapse of WTC 7, at 4:10pm, CNN’s Aaron Brown reported that the building “has either collapsed, or is collapsing.”

Number 13; Solicitor General Ted Olson’s claim that his wife Barbara Olsen called him twice from Flight 77, describing hijackers with box cutters, was a central plank of the official 9/11 story.

However, the credibility of the story was completely undermined after Olsen kept changing his story about whether his wife used her cell phone or the airplane phone. The technology to enable cell phone calls from high-altitude airline flights was not created until 2004. American Airlines confirmed that Flight 77 was a Boeing 757 and that this plane did not have airplane phones on board.

According to the FBI, Barbara Olsen attempted to call her husband only once and the call failed to connect, therefore Olsen must have been lying when he claimed he had spoken to his wife from Flight 77.

Number 14; The size of a Boeing 757 is approximately 125ft in width and yet images of the impact zone at the Pentagon supposedly caused by the crash merely show a hole no more than 16ft in diameter. The engines of the 757 would have punctured a hole bigger than this, never mind the whole plane. Images before the partial collapse of the impact zone show little real impact damage and a sparse debris field completely inconsistent with the crash of a large jetliner, especially when contrasted with other images showing airplane crashes into buildings.

Number 15; What is the meaning behind the following quote attributed to Dick Cheney which came to light during the 9/11 Commission hearings? The passage is taken from testimony given by then Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta.

During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, “The plane is 50 miles out.” “The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to “the plane is 10 miles out,” the young man also said to the Vice President, “Do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?”

As the plane was not shot down, in addition to the fact that armed fighter jets were nowhere near the plane and the Pentagon defensive system was not activated, are we to take it that the orders were to let the plane find its target?

Number 16; In May 2003, the Miami Herald reported how the Bush administration was refusing to release a 900-page congressional report on 9/11 because it wanted to “avoid enshrining embarrassing details in the report,” particularly regarding pre-9/11 warnings as well as the fact that the hijackers were trained at U.S. flight schools.

Number 17; Top Pentagon officials cancelled their scheduled flights for September 11th on September 10th. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, following a security warning, cancelled a flight into New York that was scheduled for the morning of 9/11.

Number 18; The technology to enable cell phone calls from high-altitude airline flights was not created until 2004, and even by that point it was only in the trial phase. Calls from cell phones which formed an integral part of the official government version of events were technologically impossible at the time.

Number 19: On April 29, 2004, President Bush and V.P. Cheney would only meet with the commission under specific clandestine conditions. They insisted on testifying together and not under oath. They also demanded that their testimony be treated as a matter of “state secret.” To date, nothing they spoke of that day exists in the public domain.

And finally Mr. President – Number 20; A few days after the attack, several newspapers as well as the FBI reported that a paper passport had been found in the ruins of the WTC. In August 2004, CNN reported that 9/11 hijacker Ziad Jarrah’s visa was found in the remains of Flight 93 which went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

At least a third of the WTC victim’s bodies were vaporized and many of the victims of the Pentagon incident were burned beyond recognition. And yet visas and paper passports which identify the perpetrators and back up the official version of events miraculously survive explosions and fires that we are told melted steel buildings.

(The senior aide appears again beside the President whispering in his ear. He then quickly moves off).

President Barack Obama – Well Charlie I can’t say this hasn’t been interesting. As I said earlier you’ve showed up today focused and organized. Regardless how I feel about the material you’ve presented, I must commend your dedication and zeal. However, our time here is up.”

So each and every question asked – and they’re some enormous questions – went totally and utterly unanswered.

Are we to believe that they were such insane questions that they didn’t deserve an answer, or that the president simply didn’t know, or that he didn’t want to answer on the grounds that his testimony may serve to incriminate him, or perhaps that he didn’t hear the questions?

Or are we to draw the conclusion that President Barack Obama was on the same team as Bush Jr. and his removed cousin Dick Cheney?

At one point Charlie Sheen mentioned the Project for a New American Century, he begins:

“To quote from the document sir…”

But the president interrupted him with a word-for-word, precise quote:

“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbour.”

Obama left the room saying:

“I am on the right side of history.”

But history will be looking for the answers to these questions.

As a matter of basic, human manners: to refuse to answer questions put to you in person, face-to-face, is quite rude.  I know if I ask somebody a question I expect either an answer or a damn good reason for not giving that answer.

I do not like politicians who squirm.  When Rhodri Morgan of the Welsh Assembly Government was asked about his opinions on the second Iraq war he replied that he couldn’t comment as he was not in office at the time – I see that as showing great disrespect to the people of Iraq, and as tantamount to condoning the invasion which cost thousands of lives, thousands upon thousands of pounds of our money and saw Tony Blair (and others) rack up a list of war-crimes including the use of illegal weapons on civilian populations (to add to his already copious portfolio of crimes against humanity which he acquired previous to invading Iraq – remember Yugoslavia?  Serbia?  1999?)  When Obama squirms on 9/11 I can’t help but see him as just another heartless, suited beaurocrat.

I also don’t like the smell of nepotism, and what’s worst of all – the cherry on top – is that it seems, from his response to these well reasoned and heavily evidenced questions, that he was at the very least complicit in the manufacturing of a false Pearl Harbour event on September 11th 2001.  An event which has been used as justification for war, torture and the deletion of human rights and personal freedoms for innocent people all over the world.

There is even a scheme being rolled out in the USA, soon to be coming to an event near you, called Future Attribute Screening Technology; which can detect via remote measurements of your skin, eyes and brainwave patterns any ‘hostile or violent intent.’  The exact details of the triggers used by this machine to detect such intent are not in the public domain; however, Wegner’s Ironic Process Theory states that if a person is asked not to think of a thing, that one thing will become fixated involuntarily in the subject’s mind.  Not to mention what may happen if that person is being told not to think aggressive thoughts under the threat of violence.

Charlie Sheen’s had problems, granted.  But then, who hasn’t?  He put some questions to his President, and got no answers.  Why?  Could it possibly be that Barack Obama, America’s wonder-boy, is just as corrupt and self-serving as Blair, Bush and his removed cousin Cheney?

This high-school dropout sitcom actor has put everything on the line to ask some rational, reasonable questions of his elected officials.  If you ask me that shows a very high degree of testicular fortitude.  If the people in charge of our world are, indeed, mass-murdering liars they wouldn’t be averse to having Mr. Sheen ‘disappeared,’ and he knows that very well.

And if the leaders of our planet aren’t hostile, mass-murdering, lying, self-serving, nepotistic, heartless criminals then he has nothing to fear – they will respectfully answer all his questions in full and without hesitation…

Go, Charlie Sheen, go.

While you still can – before they come to shut you up.

–          Piers Fletcher-Dervish, political correspondent.  27th February, 2011.


via The Rumpus:

“If we are true to ourselves as dramatists, we will cheat and lie and pile one fraud upon the next, given that with every scene, we make fictional characters say and do things that were never said and done. And yet, if we are respectful of the historical reality of post-Katrina New Orleans,  there are facts that must be referenced accurately as well. Some things, you just don’t make up.”

David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme, discusses the use of fiction in search of truth.

(via The Book Bench)

“This Is A Nice Way Of Saying We Have Lied.” – The Rumpus.net.


LSD molecule

National Geographic’s ‘Explorer’ series are examining the myths and effects of LSD:

LSDs inventor Albert Hofmann called it “medicine for the soul.” The Beatles wrote songs about it. Secret military mind control experiments exploited its hallucinogenic powers. Outlawed in 1966, LSD became a street drug and developed a reputation as the dangerous toy of the counterculture, capable of inspiring either moments of genius, or a descent into madness. Now science is taking a fresh look at LSD, including the first human trials in over 35 years. Using enhanced brain imaging, non-hallucinogenic versions of the drug and information from an underground network of test subjects who suffer from an agonizing condition for which there is no cure, researchers are finding that this “trippy” drug could become the pharmaceutical of the future. Can it enhance our brain power, expand our creativity and cure disease? To find out, Explorer puts LSD under the microscope.

Right Where You Are Sitting Now! – Subculture, Counterculture, Alternative, Occult, Underground Music | National Geographic puts LSD under the microscope.

Also, someone posted a link to this article from the guardian in the comments:

“The working hypothesis is that if psilocybin or LSD can occasion these experiences of great personal meaning and spiritual significance … then it would allow [patients with terminal illnesses] hopefully to face their own demise completely differently – to restructure some of the psychological angst that so often occurs concurrently with severe disease,” said Griffiths. So by expanding their consciousness during a session on the drug, the patient is able to comprehend their thoughts and feelings from a new perspective. This can lead to a release of negative emotions that leaves them in a much more positive state of mind.

Twelve patients with terminal cancer have already helped Grob to test this idea and, although the research is not yet published, anecdotal reports from some subjects are encouraging. Pamela Sakuda (see below) was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer in December 2002. Her husband, Norbert Litzinger, said the psilocybin treatment transformed her outlook.

“Pamela had lost hope. She wasn’t able to make plans for the future. She wasn’t able to engage the day as if she had a future left,” he said. Her “epiphany” during the treatment was the realisation that her fear about the disease was destroying the remaining time she had left, he said.

Mark Frost Interview


An interview with the guy behind Twin Peaks.  No, not that guy, the other guy!

Groundbreaking television is these days taken for granted, but when the Twin Peaks pilot first aired to US audiences on April 8, 1990, it single-handedly brought a halt to a decade defined in television terms by the likes of Dynasty and Dallas. The pervasive darkness that lay behind David Lynch and Mark Frost’s bucolic Washington logging town – in the sinister hearts of its superficially wholesome characters, as well as the supernatural forces at work in its ancient woods – was something audiences were entirely unprepared for, and which held their imaginations hostage over the course of two seasons, the second of which is finally being released in the UK on DVD later this month.

20 years on, writer and co-producer Mark Frost tells LWLies the compelling story behind Twin Peaks – from its inception as an idea to its arrested development at the hands of ABC, and its improbable success as a cultural phenomenon that resonates to this day.

Mark Frost Interview ‹ Little White Lies – Independent Film Magazine.


If you can’t move your face, and film acting is alot about the face, then are you still acting?

Maybe all politicians should use botox to mask all emotion. Just a thought.

How Plastic Surgery Has Caused Acting to Be More Stilted, Stylized, and Masklike — New York Magazine.

I can’t remember where I found this link and I can’t be arsed to go looking. Sorry guys.

fiddling whilst the dollhouse burns


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Spoiler Alert!!!:::: Uh, go watch dollhouse, make sure you watch epitaph one before epitaph two, then come back, k?

I finally got around to watching the last two episodes of Dollhouse. It is, for me, a crying shame that the show got fucked around like it did. So much potential. It left me thirsty for answers which i kinda already knew but Dammit! I wanted a bit of closure! Sometimes I just think Whedon should end his doomed star-cross’d love affair with TV and just write novels.

So here’s an interview with Joss Whedon wherein he talks about dollhouse, its demise, the coming television apochalypse and his directing stint on Glee. Plus, you know, a bunch of other stuff.

The Dawkins delusion


update: stupid typos, making me look like i didn’t like what i was doing, or that my arguement had been diminshed. fixed now.

See what I did there? With the headline? Aren’t i clever!

*ahem*

I have a tendancy to to hang out on IRC. Call it an aspect of my social self. Call it a blight upon my being. Call it what you will. For me, one of the best things about IRC, apart for the social aspect and it’s blighting effect upon your soul, are the arguements and debates that can flair up. I love a good arguement, I does. Maybe it’s an element of the male archetype, or perhaps simply part of my personality, but I can get terribly gleeful when one breaks out. Hell, I can walk in on one and throw myself into it with joyous abandon, safe in the knowledge that even if I don’t have all the facts needed, or even some of them, my razor sharp tongue will see me through. Especially if the target in question is being a dick, a racist, a mysogenist, or a racist mysogenistic dick. The most cruel and witty things just pop into my head begging for release through my fingers. I don’t know where they come from, I really don’t, but dagnabbit if I do like them!

Of course, it’s not all fun and games and flamewars. Sometimes there are serious discussions. This is good too; an opportunity to learn something, to be sent off on a google-fueled research mission. The aquisition of knowledge; Oh baby, does it gets me all hot and bothered!

It is one of these serious discussions that I would like to open with. In this case it was on Richard Dawkins. The individual in question was stating emphatically that Dawkins cannot put a foot wrong. He is a scientist without reproach. His books are amazing and really should be read.

Now, I haven’t read dawkins. It’s not something i’m proud of. I want to read The Selfish Gene and all the rest but I just haven’t gotten around to it. This fact though did not diminish my retort but one iota.

My retort was this; Dawkins may be a great scientist and his books may indeed belong on some universal list of required reading. I simply do not know enough either way. What i do know is the way Dawkins is representing himself in the media these days. As some kind of Atheist Superstar, a spokesperson for atheists everywhere. A preacher, if you will.

Well, it ain’t science, is it? It’s rhetoric.

Dawkins has set up his public image as an Atheist analogue of the Christian fire-and-brimstone preacher. He is moving away from science, into the media-sphere. Ever since his book ‘The God Delusion’ it is almost as if he has become a caricature. Why has he done this? Is he bored of being a scientist? Is it because there is more money in being a media-spokesperson for atheism than there is in doing research and writing books? I don’t know. But the crux of my arguement was this: I respect dawkins, and i want to respect him. I want to read his books, i want to grok his perspective. Sometimes though, the way he goes on tv flapping his arms stating emphatically that religion is bullshit and only idiots believe in it, it’s hard to take him seriously.

It’s not that his message is not valid. I was an atheist for a long time, organised religions are mainly control mechanisms and crutches for the weak of will. When he first came out as Richard Dawkins: Valiant Naysayer of Religion I appluaded his efforts. I thought it was great, I thought it was funny, I thought it was about fucking time. Now though. Now I’m starting to think he needs to reign it in a little. Still keep at it but, you know, maybe it’s time to be a scientist again instead of a representation of a scientist or worse, just a caricature of an Atheist.

Anyway, just an opinion. All written to be a leadin for this post from Heresy corner wherein a media circus involving Dawkins, Howard Jacobson, American Preachers, atheism, christianity, islam and Haiti plays out to the tune of the The Heresiarch’s thoughtful analysis. A piece which is damn hard to excerpt with any kind of clarity. Just follow the link at the bottom and read the whole damn thing. Interesting comments too. Probably. I haven’t read them. I should be working on my novel as we speak. Damn internet. Stupid blog.

*snip*

Last Sunday, Howard Jacobson fronted a Channel 4 documentary about the Biblical account of Creation. The basic thrust of his argument, scarcely original, was that while it isn’t in any sense literally true the story that opens Genesis is rich with poetic and metaphorical significance, that it grounds us in a sense of overarching narrative, teaching us our place in the universe – not as it really is, but as we as human beings experience it. It isn’t true, but it contains truth.

This was reasonable as far as it went: Jacobson is a creative writer, after all, not a scientist. But it was marred, for me at least, by an intemperate attack on Richard Dawkins for his supposed atheist fundamentalism and lack of imagination. In an accompanying article for the Mail on Sunday, Jacobson wrote, apropos Dawkins, that “a man who is closed-minded in the name of science no more has right on his side than the man who is closed-minded in the name of God.” He criticised the evolutionist’s “extraordinary ignorance” of religious history and thought, adding, “Not only does he comprehend nothing of what it is to have a religious imagination, he actually revels in his own incomprehension, as though not to believe whatever isn’t scientifically provable, or not to understand any person who doesn’t feel as you feel, is a virtue.”

I found this assault on a caricature of Dawkins not just gratuitous and irritating, but ironic, given that Jacobson was accusing Dawkins of attacking a caricature of religion. He told a story about an atheist and a rabbi: the rabbi tells the atheist, “That God you don’t believe in, I don’t belive in Him either.” Likewise, I don’t believe in Jacobson’s Dawkins, any more than I believe in Karen Armstrong’s or Terry Eagleton’s Aunt Sally versions of the prof. The author of the Selfish Gene, the author of Unweaving the Rainbow, even the author of The God Delusion, is more subtle than that. It was a lazy pop at an easy target, I thought, cheap and unnecessary, undermining the more interesting things that Jacobson had to say.

And then I read a remarkably stupid article in The Times, purportedly written by Richard Dawkins. Except that it appeared to have been written by Jacobson’s Dawkins, not by mine.

via Heresy Corner

Charlie Brooker: A man of the times


Charlie Brooker has been providing scathing and satirical insights into the twisted machinations (oh, how I love that word) of the media since, well, whenever he started doing it. Below, see him lay into television news with, um, scathing and satirical insight.


( via 23narchy in the uk. )

Several dozen moons ago my friend Matt would often clue me into the latest of Mr Brooker’s brilliant Guardian column Screenburn, in which he takes a rusty hacksaw to the banality of television and dismembers it’s corpse with disturbing glee. You can find an archive of the column here.

Below, an excerpt from his latest piece where he goes to town on vapid and soul-destroying ITV dating show ‘Take Me Out’, something which I was planning to do myself, offering a poor facisimile of his writing style, after accidently catching the opening credits and first 30 seconds. Thank fuck I don’t have to now, because it would of actually involved having to watch it.

Anticipation is everything. If someone tells you to close your eyes and open your mouth while they feed you a slice of the most delicious chocolate gateau you’ll ever encounter, only to spoon a pawful of dead mashed mouldering cat on to your tongue, chances are you’ll vomit. You’d vomit anyway, of course, but the contrast between what you were expecting and what you actually got would make you spew hard enough to bring up your own kidneys.

This also works in reverse. Over the past few weeks, several people have emailed imploring me to watch Take Me Out (Sat, 8pm, ITV1), ITV’s new Saturday night dating show. They described it using the sort of damning language usually reserved for war crime tribunals at the Hague. I rubbed my hands together, like a sadist approaching a car crash, settled in to my sofa and watched an episode. And you know what? It’s not bad.

Okay, it is bad, obviously, but only if you compare it to something worthy or suave or less shrieky. On its own terms, as a raucous chunk of meaningless idiocy, it succeeds.

( read the rest of that column here )

But Brooker is no mere columnist, oh no, for surely that would be a waste of his talents. He created the brilliant zombie/big brother parody/horror/drama (the reality show, not the orwellian concept of surveillance society) Dead Set, which was screened over 5 consequitive nights on E4 in the UK. I actually tuned in eagerly for every single part, which is a rare occurance indeed. He only wrote the first episode though.

He’s also worked quite extensively with another british satirical genius Chris Morris, co-writing the absolutely hilarious satire of London media-type assholes, Nathan Barley. The show featured alot of the Mighty Boosh/IT crowd bunch and was no only insanely quotable, piss-yourself funny and largely ignored, It also managed to ring disturbingly true, as if this was what these people are like in their vapid cocoon of popular-culture and fad fed idiocracy. For weeks after seeing it on DVD I had nightmares that I would become one of these people. I still fear that I will wake up one day and, finding this to be true, ride my miniscooter screaming under a double-decker bus.

A click from episode 5 of deadset:

And the only two clips from nathan barley that I could find that hadn’t had embedding disabled by request. It’s worth a trip to youtube to check out the other stuff though. There are whole episodes to be seen in bite sized parts.



*snip*

When asked about the importance of Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg said “I had a sense in Saving Private Ryan that I was establishing a template based on the experiences of the veterans that were communicated to me, and the very few surviving photographs by the great wartime photographer Robert Capa. I combined those to make a 24 frames-per-second representation of terror and chaos. Although we’ve done the same with The Pacific, it does have a different “look” to it than Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers.” Hanks went on to explain that, “After that HBO blip at the beginning, this was our story to tell with our own pacing.” They began talking about this project in earnest when they both worked on The Terminal, so this has been six years in the making.

via Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg Return to WWII for The Pacific – Film School Rejects.

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