Date Archives June 2007

“The Muslims are breeding”

It’s sad that there’s a site called “Islamophobia Watch.” Not, as its critics would argue, because there’s no such thing as Islamophobia and it’s all just political correctness gone mad, but because it shows that every day, several times a day, someone makes some flagrantly ignorant, racist attack on Muslims. And these attacks are published not in the fringe newsletters of right-wing nuts, but in mainstream newspapers and magazines. So it’s very sad that this site has to exist, but I’m glad that someone is drawing attention to this stuff…. Read More

Heal Thyself

If, like me, you’re a meat-eater, you NEED to watch the video over at The Heathlander. Personally I love a bacon sandwich. But I am becoming more and more incapable of reconciling that with the way animals are treated. I need to be morally consistent in my life, but so often I fail when it comes down to it. I’ve cut back massively, I only buy organic meat, but I’m becoming convinced that it’s not enough. Watching a video like that certainly pushes me closer to all-out vegetarianism.

Reading Chomsky

When I first started reading Noam Chomsky’s work it was with a large amount of, dare I say it, shock and awe. Every few sentences I went scurrying off to the copious footnotes, unable to believe that the US really sponsored THAT coup or financed THAT dictator or attempted THAT assassination. Now the facts are more familiar to me, but still I usually get something new from his work, or at least new weaponry for an old idea. His piece in the June issue of Monthly Review, for example, produced… Read More

Who’s your audience?

I love watching Chris Rock. He’s one of the few stand-up comedians who is pretty much guaranteed to make me laugh every time I watch him. However, watching Chris Rock videos on YouTube recently proved to be a very different experience from renting Chris Rock videos from Blockbuster. On YouTube, you get to see exactly what people are interested in. And that brings up important questions of who the audience is, and why exactly they are laughing. For example, you see that by far the most popular Chris Rock video,… Read More

The crime of compassion

Sometimes I think I have become so cynical that I am no longer capable of feeling true outrage. I have come to expect fascism, brutality and heartlessness from my elected leaders as a matter of course. But every now and then, something comes along that makes my jaw hit the floor once again. Today was one such time, and the jaw-dropper for me was learning, courtesy of the excellent SchNews bulletin, that distributing food to the homeless is now illegal in some US cities. SchNews focuses on the case of… Read More

The waters are rising…….

Something strange is happening here. I lived in Britain for about 20 years and never heard much about flooding. There were occasional floods of low-lying areas, but mostly floods, like all other natural disasters, were something that happened in other countries. But for the past five years or so, it seems as if every time I go on the BBC website I see a story about severe flooding somewhere in Britain. Today it’s Boscastle, a village I used to visit as a child on summer holidays to Cornwall and which… Read More

Children as possessions

I was on the bus the other day when a young mother came on with a child in a pushchair. The child must have been 4 or 5 – he was almost bursting out of the chair, and his knees were up round his chin. And he was screaming his head off. Loud, piercing screams. Now I should say right now as a disclaimer: I don’t have a lot of time for children. Some of the time they’re cute, but mostly they irritate me. I know, I’m alienating my audience,… Read More

Payback

Many people in Britain have been wondering for the last few years exactly what we get out of the “special relationship” with the United States. We go along with Afghanistan, we go along with Iraq, we go along with anything. We send our soldiers off to die in counterproductive wars and make our cities into targets. And we keep waiting for the moment when we get something out of being a “No. 1 ally” in the war on terror, other than a few good photo opps for Tony in front… Read More

Which group are you in?

I am belatedly getting around to writing about an excellent post over on Colonise This! It really got me thinking, not so much because it challenged my current perspective but because it helped to clarify it. It’s about how we choose to respond to a world of horrendous injustice, and Genie X proposes five broad categories of coping mechanism. Go read it and let me know what group you’re in. Here’s my take: I started out in Group B, deciding that in a world ruled by money a sensible strategy… Read More