Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Getting it into proportion

This, you might think, is ipso facto a hate crime. Not so in the eyes of the law. And since it is not, it is perfectly reasonable that it should be only one-sixth as awful as this.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Not alone

Has any expression been coined for the opposite of "going viral"? I mean, where something is studiously ignored as a prelude to a determined forgetting that there was ever anything to ignore.

Whatever it is called, that is what happened to the trial of the Derby Three. Comment is Free? No comment. Daily Telegraph blogs? Nothing. Harry's Place. scourge of homophobes? Nada. And so on. It got so little prominence on the news pages that possibly some of the commentariat never knew about it - but dammit, if I could manage to spot it...

A few pages into a Google search I came across an interesting comment posted on a Muslim news site (can't find it now, unfortunately), criticizing the Three on two not entirely compatible grounds. The first was that the they had taken too little account of the mercy of God - for which sentiment may the writer be richly blessed. The second, not quite so reassuring, was, in effect, that it was impolitic for British Muslims to frighten the horses.

And that was all. Now, however, I've come across this piece by "an insomniac Scots Calvinist", who earns a place of honour on a sort-of-Scots Piskie-turned-Catholic's blogroll. This is the gist of it:-

If someone hands you an offensive leaflet calling for the death penalty for homosexuals and you find it repellent do what grown ups do with election material from the Lib Dems, put it in the bin.
Precisely - problem solved with significantly less trouble than if a wannabe punk band is chanting obscenities in front of the altar in the church where you are trying to pray (and our friend has some thoughts on that affair in his latest post).

And there's lots more well worth a read. So there are two of us united in the belief that speech in the UK ought to be freer than in Putin's Russia (where, by the way, the much maligned Orthodox Church has actually done the Christian thing and called for clemency for Pussy Riot - Ben Summerskill please note). Who will join us?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The BBC's way with words

At least 48 people have been killed in ethnic clashes in south-eastern Kenya, police say.
The clashes in Tana River district, Coast Province, took place late on Tuesday between the Orma and Pokomo groups, the region's police chief said.

Most of the dead were women and children, many of whom were hacked to death with machetes, he said.

The clash is the worst single incident since violence rocked the country after disputed polls four years ago.

Regional deputy police chief Joseph Kitur told AFP news agency that those killed were either hacked to death or burned alive when their huts were set alight.
If only those women and children would stop clashing. They're as bad as Egyptian Christians.

Is "massacre" reserved for the actions of colonialists?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells speaks out

Those Swedish rape laws, eh? Political correctness gone mad, if you ask me.

Droit de seigneur: alive and well and living in the celebrocrat Left. Cf. Roman Polanski's apologists.

What GG says would not be unreasonable in itself were it not transparently special pleading for his crony. Say what you like about the Catholic abuse scandal, but the Church hasn't reacted by demanding that the age of consent be lowered.

The fault line between the man-hating Left and the Neocon/Zionist-hating Left is laid bare, and it's not hard to guess which faction is in the ascendent. History teaches that hatred is most profitably directed at minorities.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Pussy Riot and the Derby Three

Very mixed feelings about Pussy Riot. I admire the thumbing of the nose at Putin, but not the calculated act of blasphemy aimed at the Orthodox faithful. And I'm nauseated at seeing them become pin-up girls for all the people who hit the panic button the moment some poor bloody infantryman in Afghanistan innocently throws a used Koran on the bonfire.

And lest there be any smugness among Brits regarding freedom of speech, allow me to remind you of the diligently forgotten case of the Derby Three. Seven years, possibly, for profaning a cathedral, two years for distributing leaflets that blaspheme against secular orthodoxy. Are we that much freer than the Russkies?

Update: so they've got two years, precisely the same as Ihjaz Ali got for "stirring up hatred" with his anti-gay leaflets. My question is answered.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What's in a name?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a jobbing journalist at a loss for a topic now the Olympics are over must be in want of the annual baby names survey. This year your licence fee has helped fund a truly outstanding specimen...
But parents choosing a name for aspirational reasons need to think about how it will go down in the playground, says Scarlet Brady, editor of the modern parenting magazine Gurgle.
"You can wrap up all your hopes and dreams in a name but have to be careful that you don't put all of that on your child's shoulders."
How a name rolls off the tongue is an often overlooked reason for why names have changed. Today's more tolerant society seems to prefer "softer sounds" like Charlie and Maisie over harsher sounding names like Reginald and Gertrude.
The Reverend Rosie Harper, vicar of Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, says parents look for different qualities in boys' and girls' names.
Parents still like Bible names for boys - there are five in the top 12 - Thomas, James, Joshua, Jacob and Samuel. But the highest-placed girl's Biblical name is Hannah at number 41.
"The Biblical names for boys are macho warrior blokes. They all have gravitas. Whereas what's chosen for girls tends to be Victorian names linked to image. They're not empowering, they're pretty names like Isabel and Olivia."
The disappearance of Mary is part of this trend. It is perhaps too associated with Catholicism and the Virgin Mary for many parents in England and Wales.
There's some wonderful cognitive dissonance here. We are a "more tolerant society"... but be careful not to give your sprog too outlandish a name, lest he/she be given hell in the playground. And we draw the line at tolerating Catholicism, it seems.

But let me draw your attention especially to the Reverend Rosie Harper and her contention that "[t]he Biblical names for boys are macho warrior blokes". Hmmm. By my reckoning we have one patriarch (whose machismo was of a more procreative than martial character, apart from his wrestling bout with the angel), one prophet, two entirely non-violent Apostles and just one authentic macho warrior bloke. A score of 20% would suggest that Ms Harper might usefully spend a little more time with her Bible.

It might, among other things, help her out with one or two "empowering" names for girls. There are plenty of Judiths in my pre-feminist generation, a fact which doesn't altogether square with her thesis, but there can be little hope of the name returning to favour within the next 50 years. Nevertheless, there is still scope for her to promote empowerment of a no less radical kind. Jael Harper has a certain ring to it. A somewhat chavvy ring, admittedly (and let's face it, the Book of Judges contains pretty chavvy stuff), but surely that will not deter such a determinedly trendy and right-on vicar.

Seriously though, what a perfect vignette of what Andrew Marr has acknowledged to be the BBC's "cultural liberal bias". A candyfloss piece needs filling out with a quote from a vicar. Who gets the call? A Home Counties feminist whose time at theological college seems to have taught her more about empowerment than about the contents of the Bible.

Or am I being unfair to the BBC? Is Ms Harper by now an entirely typical specimen of the Anglican clergy?