Thursday, April 28, 2005


Right then, you miserable lot...and yes, János, that does include attention. I warned you against blog-dropping and yet you wouldn't let it lie, would you? You just had to ask me why I was so adamant in my opposition to 'political correctness' and express a degree of wonderment as to why one so apparently socialist as myself could pitch my philosophical tent in a camp long occupied and annexed by the rabid right.

Well, dear hearts. The problem is exactly that which PC was originally intended to solve. A purely linguistic one. A question of definition. An altogether admirable attempt to deconnotate language, it was...I'm sorry? Ah, I see. Okay then, listen up.

What are words but linguistic currency? In the same way that my use of a banknote relieves me of the burden of having to carry around equivalent quantities of gold upon my person, so does my use of the word, say...potato, remove the necessity for me to actually dig one out of the ground whenever I wish to refer to one.

Just as banknotes require a common understanding between the parties involved in any exchange thereof as to their actual worth, so it is with words.

It is our good fortune that in the case of a large number of words, usually those referring to physical objects, there is limited scope for misunderstanding. But even if I referred to a table for example, whether I were talking about a figure in a book or an item of furniture would only be determinable from the context and not solely from my use of the word itself. But at least the word 'table' would not usually have any connotations. In other words, the thing to which it refers is not an abstraction and mutual understanding of the word is, to a large extent, independent of individual interpretation.

But, to take an example which, given that it is election time in the UK, must be on every politician's lips right now...let's look at a particular favourite of mine, family values.

The phrase itself is meaningless. Its use relies solely upon connotation. I assume the candidate would quite like me to understand it to refer to the qualities inherent in family life. Incest? Fratricide? Spite? Jealousy? Spousal abuse? You begin to see the problem?

Now, where a certain exactitude of language is required, in law for example or say, local government regulations, the less connotational language, the fewer the opportunities for misinterpretation. And it was at local government level that the use of non-connotational language was originally promoted and became known as politically correct. Okay, it may have produced such monstrosities as, "co-habitating in an ongoing familial situation", but it was, at least, an honest attempt to honestly label something and I was, and am I suppose, all for it.

Now, words also have power. "In the beginning was the word..." At about the same time as the above deconnotation was taking place, it was realised that the very words we use to describe something could affect our perception of the things described. If it was desirable to somehow change attitudes towards a thing, then a good place to start to raise awareness was with the words used to refer to it. Thuswise the phrases 'visually challenged' and 'hearing impaired' impinged upon the national consciousness. A problem? Not at all. Would today's (albeit inadequate) improvements with regard to wheelchair access have come about without the raised awareness brought about by the debate over the terminology? Maybe, but I'm not convinced.

So, you say, what's the problem? So far you appear to be standing four square behind the PC brigade. What gives?

Well, the fact that the deconnotated language lent itself rather well to parody and ridicule and that the neutral labels provided a wonderful opportunity for the politically amoral to appeal to the base sensibilities of those who had trouble referring to a spade as an earth moving implement is what. The Tories siezed the moment and rather cleverly succeeded in associating PC language with the, shall we say, radical fringes of the Labour Party of the time. To approve of PC was seen as allying oneself to a political viewpoint. The fact that this interpretation was also accepted by socialists led to the term 'politically correct' becoming a synonym for 'acceptable to the loony socialist fringe'. Opposition to it was presented as an appeal to common sense and this allowed, and still allows, bears of little brain to justify their prejudices behind a cover of non-PCism. It allows people to prefix racist invective with the phrase, "I know it's terribly non-PC to say so but..." which somehow makes that which follows acceptable to those bears of little brain as it implies that the speaker is using his good old British common sense and not giving in to the PC/Socialist Worker/All Men Are Rapists/Newt Fanciers brigade.

Racism is racism. Prejudices are exactly that. Uninformed through ignorance and, therefore, fear. The perception of these should not be distorted by the opportunity to describe them as non-PC. On balance, I would rather sacrifice this new revised definition of PC than accept racism and prejudice as common sense.

This however, is only one reason for my current stance against PC. A reaction against the politically right of centre. My other objection provides a rather nice balance in that it is against those left of wing. All the above can be viewed as being PC according to the current definition. What follows cannot and it is this simple fact that informs my second objection.

The left view PC as an acceptable mode of language use but have also extended it to include modes of thought. Certain viewpoints are correct and PC and others are deemed not.

For example, ranting against and linguistically abusing Chavs would not be seen immediately as being non-PC. Were I to use the same language when referring to the black underclass however, I would be traduced as racist, probably fascist and definitely non-PC. I can, with relative impunity, refer to the Welsh, Lancastrians or Norvicensians (?) as sheep shaggers, to residents of the Southern States as 12 toed in-breds and to the English as being a race of sexually repressed, anally retentive imperialists and yet the merest suggestion that I viewed radical feminists as man-hating, rug-munching, bull dyke sociopaths would, no doubt, result in my being black-balled by all the clubs and associations which incorporate PC into their logo operandi.

Now, I am not suggesting that that all the above paragraph is true but PC would have it that I cannot speak as I find should what I find be non PC but the result is that truth is being filtered through a screen of PC. We may rant against the fascist nature of our so-called free press but would even the Daily Mail publish the fact that blacks consistently underperform at school or publish the prison population of the UK along racial lines and explain just how that relates to the racial distribution among the population as a whole?

Whoa! Hold your horses, you right thinking individuals. I know all the arguments. Institutional racism in the schools. The chances of a black being stopped and searched against those of a white. The odds of a custodial sentence being handed down by a white judge onto a black as opposed to a white for the identical crime. And yet there is a truth here that the PC would have us ignore. And it is this. That the races do not mix. Look around you at your social circle. Honestly. Impartially. Objectively. Tell me what you see. Black on black. White on white.

Blacks consistently underperform on the SAT tests. Why? Again, I know all the arguments. “Why should blacks be interested in the European history taught in our schools?” A good question but is not physics independent of race? Or mathematics? Biology? Why is it that almost everything in my home was invented by a white, mostly European male? And yet the PC would have us believe that a black can integrate into our white world if only we would be sufficiently understanding. Just how patronising is that?

And why is it, if the SAT tests are so racist, that whites are consistently outperformed by Asian students?

For me it’s a question of values. I am a white male. I value academic achievement. It is part of my culture. It was expected of me and I was capable of it. Black policemen continuously demonstrate that they are better at dealing with people than their white counterparts. Just how much jazz can you listen to on a consistent basis that is played by white musicians? How much of our modern music is based on our white culture and just how much of the technology that enables me to write this little bloglet is as a result of the work of Asian programmers?

I have no answers. I am bereft of a solution. One thing I am sure of is that PC will not provide it. Theories must match our experience. One can attempt to shoe-horn life into a PC world view just as one can attempt to prove the essential flatness of the world upon which we all live. Both are doomed to failure. The only other thing of which I am sure is that the green ink brigade is going to have a field day with this one.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Due to my puta getting its sorry ass wiped today, I have lost the entire contents of my address book. Should any of you be desirous of receiving electronic communications from my sorry self in the near or distant, you are advised to e-mail me at the earliest opportunity. This post will probably self destruct in three tenths of a second.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


"...and we'll have reaction from around the world to this historic election." CNN 23:12 CET. Oh my belt and braces. Historic, already. Tit. And that hot on the heels of, "...and watching the chimney with us this afternoon is..."

Well, they can have my historic reaction from this historic part of the historic world. As far as I'm concerned, there's only one thing worse than a dead pope...oh my. More dots. I think I might make so bold as to trust anybody familiar with my historic prejudices or even those stumbling across this blog for the first historic time to fill in the historic gap for their no doubt historic selves but, should you need more thinking time, please avail yourselves of these dits -------.

Fully ditted out? Good. Then I'll proceed. It would seem that some goodly, if not godly, number of cardinals clad in several and numerous layers of what appears to be voluminous and not inexpensive cloth have chosen an even more expensively upholstered and bejewelled article to be the spiritual leader of the poor and downtrodden masses of the favellas. And the bugger's German. I can only hope his first trip abroad doesn't take in Belgium. Oooops. Do you think I got away with that? Genuflect...2...3...4, confess...2...3...4, breed...2...3...4. No chance of that one slipping through the net though, is there? Good. I can keep old JP II company on the spit. Benedict the how many? Should have called himself Innocent 10 to the power what have you and come clean. "Hey, guys. It's all been one big joke. We've been having you on for two and a bit millennia. April fool."

There is a sound akin to that of 3 and a half million flies unzipping. It is a tear in the space time continuum and we flash to sub-Saharan Africa where the Messiah, for it is he, is doing his loaves and fishes bit with five 3-packs of Durex extra strength and a small jar of spermicidal lube.

ZZIIIIIIIIPPPPPPP...and we're on the embankment where he's transforming the comestibles into something eminently more drinkable and collecting and rolling up unsold copies of the Big Issue, extending Blair's fundamental orifice for the use of. ZZIIIIIIIIPPPPPPP...and it's off to Rio where he's handing out the Kalashnikovs. Christ. Have things really come to such a pass that even he has given up on the 'Thou shalt not kill'? ZZIIIIIIIIPPPPPPP...into the papal apartments where he removes the business end of the papal staff from the bloody and by now distended papal anus crying, "That was not the point. This is the point." and reinserts it, sharp end first. ZZIIIIIIIIPPPPPPP...the White House, where he will be busy for quite some time.

I'm fucking fed up. I reckon there ain't no such thing as a bad religion, unless of course you count Zooastrianism and even that might possibly turn out to be okay should ever I be arsed actually to find out something about it, but there sure as hell ain't any good Churches. You will, it is my fervent hope, notice the use of the capital there. There's a church on the hill of West Keal that I find extremely edifying and the vicar thereof, a most personable gentleman. But that's just it, I guess. You can find individual members of any religious organisation to be spiritual and devoted, but the organisation itself exists solely to promote itself and to extend its power.

Maybe it's the repressed Anglican in me but for sheer cant and hypocrisy, the Catholic Church remains unequalled throughout historic history. How any organisation, historic or otherwise, supposedly concerned with the spiritual welfare of humanity can remain so aloof from and ignorant of the human condition is something I will forever fail to quite successfully grasp. Do you remember the furore engendered amongst all Christian Churches (one of the very few occasions when they have ever been able to present a united front to just about anything) by Martin Scorcese's 'Last Temptation of Christ'? As I understood it, the item under advisement and which caused theological eruptions in their undergarments was a scene in which Christ was depicted fantasising about just what it might be like to roger the bejazus out of Mary Magdalene. Phone lines were jammed all over talk show land apparently. Now, notwithstanding the fact that 99% of all callers to radio shows could automatically be committed under section whatever of the Mental Health Act (and face it, when did any of us, you know...US...the rational, right thinking, none-pence short of a shilling us ever call in to a radio programme to express our satisfaction at anything broadcast over the wireless telegraphy or portrayed by the wonders of cinematography?), their arguments, if such they can be termed, were bobbins of the highest order.

Now please correct me if I'm wrong but, as I understand it, Christians would have it that God sent his only begotten son down to Earth to fully experience the human condition. No longer could we rant and rail and bewail the fact that he, aloof and on high in his God-dom, just didn't understand quite what it was like to be human. Well, I reckon he must have failed in his remit if he neglected to investigate exactly what it was about the female genitalia that informed 95% of the waking hour thoughts and 99% of the motivation of any heterosexual adolescent or adult male. Bit of an oversight, wouldn't you say? That the other 5 and 1% respectively are taken up with thoughts of football, fast cars, motorcycles and devising new and improved ways of killing the fuck out of each other is a design feature that even the most radical church has yet to even partially explain. I think I should perhaps make it clear at this point that Roger B is a genetic aberration. A spot mutation. A quantum leap into homo (really, honest, quite the veritas) sapiens. Only with regard to the 5 and 1% though. The rest, I stick with, adhere to and even, stand by.

It is also part of the human condition, our hard wiring if you like, and as evinced by this rant, to hate what we do not understand. And quite how a celibate priesthood can ever hope to understand women is quite beyond the capacity of my thinking organ (not always my cock, dear hearts) to wrap itself around. Religion seeks to control and, as the male body is to them uncontrollable, it seeks to impose its will on that of the female. Their fertility is the will of god, their role to produce more souls to glorify His name. And all this bollocks about the rhythm method and withdrawal. Let me see if I've got this right...condoms are satanic and just another form of is for procreation purposes only, except for those days where there is no discernible rise in body temperature...spilling one's seed on the ground is a sin but using it to fill up one's partner's navel cavity is okay...fuck off.

What is it with me? The older I get, the more liberal I become. In the sense of individual freedom and responsibility that is. Quite how I can hope to balance that against the following soi-disant reactionary viewpoints and possible subjects of future drunken blogs, I have nary a clue. But for your perusal, I present, quite unlike a Scary Thursday vote-O for I promise wholeheartedly to ignore any individual requests, especially from those of my students who hope to gain special favour by dropping the content of my blogs into English conversation classes and excepting those from Jess of course but she will always be a special case and someone for whom it will always be my especial pleasure to bend over backwards (and forwards and sideways come to that), these randomly selected opinions.

Gays and females in the military. No.

Gay marriage. No.

Feminism. No.

Parent teacher associations. No.

Political correctness. It depends, but on the whole, no.

Identity cards. Fuck the fuckity fuck right off.

Goodnight, sweet readers, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Now, I'm not an ethical shopper. Far from it. Some of my best friends are E numbers but this, on a bottle of ASDA baby bath, caught my eye.

ASDA is against testing on animals and funds research into alternatives.

And in the meantime, the rabbits get it, okay?

Sunday, April 10, 2005


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I would refer the honourable member to the question in the previous post.

Oral examination excerpts.

Candidate 1.

Part 1.

"Can you recommend an English text book?"

"Yes. I bought one yesterday from the local book store. It has a CD ROM and..."

Part 2.

"And where can tourists go in the evening in your area?"

"Well, they can go to the cinema. It has Dolby Surround..."

Part 3.

"And what about the physical environment of your workplace?"

"Well, it should have air conditioning..."

Candidates 2 - 21.

"...bought...yesterday...local book store...CD ROM...Dolby Surround...air conditioning..."

Candidate 18.

"And what about the physical environment of your workplace?"

"Well, it should have effective heating."

"And what about the hot summer days?"

Bloody air conditioning, maybe? Sheesh!

With reference to the previous post. I've just walked past Idris who is in supine position on the sofa watching a video. I was carrying a bottle of Stella.

"Are you going to get pissed?"


Apologies to Zed for the exclamation marks but, 'kinell!

The role of questions in relationships. Discuss.

It's a culture thing. Don't believe me? Two scenarios might suffice.

One. I drove Idris to t'dentist's t'other day. Drove past. No parking space anywhere. Continued on about 50 yards, turned right into a side street, swiftly turned it round and pulled in to the side of the road. Idris turns to me and asks, "Do you want me to get out here?"

Two. Idris heads off with Froggy for nursery school in the morning, leaving me with a shopping list just in case I have time to make it to the cash and carry inbetween marking scripts and work in the late afternoon. I finished marking about an hour before work so I grabbed the list, pell melled it out of the house, zoomed round Interfruct in record speed, loaded everything into the car and just made work on time. I was home before the girls as they were at a concert. Idris walks in, glances into the conversatory and observes, "You didn't take the empties back then?"

Now, I would not wish to prejudice your reactions in any way whatsoever by immediately limning my own in too impatient a manner, so I would ask you just to take a short moment of your no doubt valuable time and consider how you might have interpreted these two interrogatory utterances; let's call them, for the sake of simplicity, one and two.

Was it...


1. A simple request for information as to my preference for her next course of action.
2. A simple comment on an observed situation?

Or was it...


1. A thinly veiled criticism of my inability to find anywhere nearer.
2. Accentuating the negative aspects of my overall shopping performance?

If you answered A, then you are no doubt female and/or Hungarian. B and you are male and/or English.

I don't know. Cross-cultural co-habitation, eh? Two trains on two divergent tracks heading for a collision.

Another question for you. Do you think that Michael Howard's attempt to focus on immigration is the first sign of electile dysfunction in an aging leader of the opposition?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Well, I did promise you photos.

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Heroes' Square from the end of Andrássy Avenue.

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Apparently, the guy in pole position was the head honcho.

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Rather apocalyptic, I know but in this case there were seven horsemen. The leaders of the original seven tribes of the Magyars.

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Impressive looking bugger, isn't he?

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If that's a staff of office, it certainly looks multi-purpose.

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On the way back to the office stands this, one of my favourite buildings ever. Blends right in, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, April 03, 2005


I've always wanted to write that ever since coming across a bar of the same name in either Peru or Ibiza, I forget which and I suppose I ought to be grateful to old JP for providing me with the opportunity.

I shall never forget the day he died. It was when United only managed to scrape a 0-0 draw away at Reading.

Oh, well.

Well, a good guide apparently. I had been to Budapest before of course, but I'd never been with anyone who had experience of living there and so tended to gravitate towards the more touristy places and always came away feeling faintly disappointed with the place. That my guide was Australian and therefore refreshingly un-English was a bonus. That his idea of a good night out in Pest proved to be uncannily identical to my own, that the stimulants we indulged in either counteracted or enhanced the effect of the ones before at just the right moment and to exactly the right degree and also that the music in all three places we visited seemed to have been chosen with me in mind led to one of those evenings where everything that happens does so at precisely the moment it was meant to and at the time at which you needed it to happen. The steady click, click, click of things falling into place became a flow and I went whither it would lead. A perfect evening. Thanks, Allen. For knowing what I needed even if I didn't.

So, please allow me to recommend Castro's for a spot of sustenance and several cool libations before heading for Szoda for some of the most esoteric and funky music I have heard in Hungary and where one might just be invited to partake of a restorative toke or two prior to tootling off to Simpla Kert where, had we been more up for it, we could have set events in motion which would have resulted in the taxi-fare being split four ways instead of two.

Oh, and thanks also for this...


She (Swedish accent): I'm sure your friend likes me but he thinks I'm too young, doesn't he?
He: Maybe.
She: Oh, please tell him not to worry. I practise every day.