Sunday, 30 October 2011

Gilad Shalit blowback

A member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Khaled bin Tawal, has just promised $1 million to anyone who captures an Israeli soldier, so that he or she may be traded for more Palestinian prisoners. So that 1000 to 1 prisoner trade for poor Galid Shalit earlier this month is, as many predicted, being taken as a sign of chronic weakness by Israel's hostile neighbours. I only hope the Israelis prove them wrong - they've certainly done it before.

All right-thinking people can only feel sorry for Israel, surrounded as it is by such sharks. Those in the West, and there are so many, who dance around trying to excuse the despicable behaviour of the Arabs and their virulent, genocidal anti-semitism, need to wake up to the reality of the Arab mindset. This Saudi prince is showing the contempt for Israel which the vast majority in the region share. No country can negotiate with such opponents and Israel should just stop trying.

Music for London 2012 opening ceremony

I know it's not new. But since there have been rumours of a 2-man Beatles performance (please no) it doesn't sound like "new" is a requirement for the Olympic ceremony directors at LOCOG. And OK Elbow aren't global in the way Bowie or George Michael or the bloody Spice Girls are global.

But they sound big. The sound they make is big and grand. They're big and grand enough for the Olympic fucking Games.

"Throw those curtains wide" has always struck me as an incredibly strong, cynicism-busting lyric. And it strikes me as rather British to sing about something banal like your curtains and somehow make them epic.

Someone hurry up and show Danny Boyle this video.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Herman Cain Ad - Crazy but good

OK Cain's grin at the end is a little bit disconcerting:

But I quite like the smoking. I liked the um, realness. I'm going with the idea that the Cain campaign is slightly taking the piss here, which is only to be encouraged. Still don't know what I think about Cain, but I like that he thinks America needs to lighten up. Or is it "light up"? (Sorry)

Americans loved Reagan for his humour. I think a lot Londoners voted for Boris because he's funny. (I mean what was the other reason? Oh yeah, he wasn't Ken).

Anyway, if you're looking for weird grins on politicians, nobody beats Our Gordon:

Marjane Satrapi on Tunisian vote

Hats off to the French leftwing bible Liberation for inviting Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis to comment on the victory of the Islamic Ennahda party in Sunday's first free election in Tunisia. It was the movie of her graphic novel on the plight of an exile from Khomeini's Iran which so upset the "more radical" elements of the Islamist movement when it was screened on Tunisian TV before the vote.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On Whirling

Just started my course on the Ottoman Empire, and interested to read that the dervish houses that were built adjacent to many mosques across Anatolia were quickly seen as a potential breeding ground of subservive thought by the infant Ottoman state. Here's the excellent Peter Owen Jones visiting a dervish house in Syria a few years back, where they are still viewed with the same suspicion. History, eh? It's for hardened fatalists only.

More on Sufism to come. View the entire Middle East episode of Owen Jones's Around the World in 80 Faiths here.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Guardian is sometimes magnificent

A lot of the time the Guardian makes me grind my teeth, bang my fists on the wall in despair, and throw up in my mouth. It's often happy to be a mouthpiece for the worst kind of narcissistic leftwing bullshitters anywhere in the solar system. It carries revolting articles by moral relativists who loathe America and excuse murderous shits like the Iranian mullahs. Its editor is an intolerably smug man with a silly schoolboy haircut who makes me wretch when I see him on my TV.

But having said that, its comprehensive coverage of the Tunisian elections coming up on Monday is just excellent.