Monday, 20 January 2020

British Intelligence



As I feared, there is no time left to me to maintain this weblog just at the moment. I do, however, maintain the one over at British Intelligence so, if you are understandably starved of my prose style and infinite jocularity, thither must ye wend. Bloody good magazine too. See you there.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

NATURE ABHORS A VACCUM - FROM THE VAULTS


Not sure when this dates from. Obviously some time during Gordon Brown's bumbling, stumbling stewardship of the once-great UK...



A couple of years ago, Matthew Parris wrote a piece for The Times which, had I been a cartoon character or a silent movie actor, would have made me rub my eyes vigorously, shake my head and perform a huge comic double-take, eyes on stalks included.

I have little time for him generally, but I thought Parris was genuinely incisive. The surprise lay in why the MSM in general weren’t chorusing his opinion then and continuing to do so now on a daily basis. He was writing about the emptiness of modern political discourse, the fact that 'our politics has become a race towards the perfect vacuum'. He compared the three main parties' election logos and finds them equally vapid. The Lib Dems' logos repeated the mantra 'change that works for you' in all four of its main manifesto points. Parris notes this:



'Yes - you've spotted it. An uber-slogan: "Change that works for you". As opposed to change that doesn't.'



Of course, ‘hope and change’ was the jingle accompanying Barack Obama during his successful campaign, of which more later.

Douglas Murray made a similar point to Parris in Standpoint at around the same time. Try reversing a politician's aspirational statement and see if it makes no sense. 'We are against choice', for example. If so, there was no point in making the statement.

However, Parris failed, as far as I could see, to make a more obvious connection. The phenomenon of political vacuity did not spring fully formed from the head of the last general election. It was always there, and was perfected under Blairite Labour, the first truly media-based chapter of the governmental class.

To say anything of meaning or import is to risk one of the political deadly sins; the gaffe. ‘Gaffes’ are often statements which purport to make a definite point or state a truth. Because government – both the nominal governing party and the opposition - cannot abide this type of straightforwardness, and will distance itself from any straight talking, the gaffe is of interest only insofar as it may lead to electoral damage.



Partly as an offshoot of this draining of meaning from political language, the soundbite is what now passes for political discourse. The image men, PR wonks, media mavens and quasi-advertising gurus who advise the political class will school them in the art of the soundbite like a tennis coach will work on a forehand smash. Some of them are unintentionally informative, and some are unintentionally funny. My favourite was undoubtedly Gordon Brown’s post-Obama geographical amnesia.

I don’t know if you heard Brown before and after Obama arrived on his space-ship to save the planet. Before the rapture, Brown’s defence of his role in the UK recession ran more or less as follows:



“I think it is right to do whatever it is I have just done, and we are putting into place measures, which are the right measures, to combat the global recession, which started in America.”



After the Miracle, Brown’s backroom team had obviously got through to that most curious of men. This is exactly what I heard him say on the radio two days after Obama’s incarnation in the world of men:



“I think this is right considering the global recession which started, uh, somewhere else.”



And so now the only interesting thing about what politicians say is these little moments of sub-text. The MSM, however, still treat the pronouncements of the political class as though they were of import, as though they informed the populace in any way about the real world, the one that same class seeks to hide with its language lite.

This is where weblogs come in. The exposure of vapid political language may not be sexy in the eyes of newspaper editors, but as long as bloggers keep letting the political elites and their courtiers know that we know they are not saying anything, there is always a chance that, one day, they may finally begin treating us as adults rather than credulous children.

Friday, 10 January 2020

MENTAL HEALTH ACTS - FROM THE VAULTS


Why are you not at this site?



As you are all well aware, Traumaville is currently blasts from the past, and I would have to date this as October 2010. Weblogs are priceless things to keep up as they act as diaries, a record of your past selves as you attempt to stand on the shoulders of those selves and reach higher. I remember, as though it were yesterday, the rage I felt watching the dreadful mummer's play which is about to unfold in a London Post Office. When you are done, get over to British Intelligence, or it will be bed with no tea for you all!



A visit to the Post Office to stand in a serpentine queue and spend a little time as a spectator of dysfunction, all of it human [and thus avoidable], although in different ways. The first thing you notice about modern Post Offices – always a little haven of clockwork order when I was a kid – is how many things don’t work properly. The digital clock and calendar on the wall read 16:04 [I was there quite early in the morning] and October 16 [this was yesterday]. The LCD indicator directing the eager customer to their particular window read: PLEASE WAIT. You know the drill; A number comes up in the window, and a woman’s synthetic and disembodied voice says; ‘Window 6 please’ or whatever. The first time I was in this particular branch, I was watching this very indicator when I became aware of a woman behind the glass waving me over to her. ‘NEXT please!’ I walked over, a little puzzled. ‘I was waiting,’ I explained with a smile, ‘for your indicator.’ ‘Oh, that,’ she said amusedly. ‘That doesn’t work.’

It reminded me of standing at a bus stop once in Southall. The digital board that many bus stops have now told me my bus was 12 minutes away. I realised that gave me time to visit some shop or other and was about to do so when my bus hoved into view. On boarding, I said to the driver, good naturedly, ‘You’re a bit early.’ He replied, ‘Eh?’ ‘You’re a bit early. The board says you’re not due for 11 minutes.’ He looked at me as though, perhaps, I was a flat-earther. ‘Don’t want to take any notice of those.’ And so now they mean nothing, can mean nothing, to me.

Back in the PO, there was some rather more poignant action beginning, as I became aware of a woman who could only be described as a bag-lady. She had all the accoutrements: bags – as you might expect – two or three coats variously belted, ratty, grey hair, a lined, weathered, desperately sad face and carrier bags swaddling her swollen feet. She was in a conversation, of a sort, with one of the Post Office assistants, and she was clearly upset. The girl was explaining that it was impossible to do what the old lady had requested – which seemed to be telephoning the PO bank in Glasgow – and the old lady was bemoaning the fact that it was so easy to do just that ‘in the old days’.

She was compos mentis; there was none of that excursion into other-worldly discourse which so often marks out the mentally ill, and she knew the details of her account. But, said the assistant, the ‘Glasgow team’ didn’t have a number that they could be called on. Now, I’ve heard that type of piss before. I had a bank once one of whose employees told me that I had to contact them by phone rather than by email, as I had suggested, as they didn’t have email. Stroll on. Who the fuck do these people think the rest of us are? Do they think we came down the dustpipe? God forbid that the bank’s employees should use their email accounts for something other than organising their weekends. By the way, Nat West. You never did email me. And have you got your twelve hundred quid? No you fucking haven’t.

Finally, the old lady said; ‘Couldn’t you please try to call? Just please try.’ It was so plaintive. It was dreadful. This woman was at the bottom. You couldn’t sink much lower and not be in the hospital en route to the bone orchard. The girl said, ‘Okay. I’ll try’. She walked back into the sanctum sanctorum behind the serving cubicles, giving one of her co-workers a rolling-eye look as if to say; We’ve got a right one here.

And I though; aaah! The milk of human kindness. It never really went away, we just mislaid it at the back of the great fridge of humanity. It was there all along, hidden behind the yoghurt of human error and the cottage cheese of human frailty.

No I didn’t. I thought; You stupid, witless, fudge-brained little twat. If you could try all along, why not do it at the other end of that pathetic conversation? Why not take a little extra time to try to sort out the problem for this wretched creature – a problem which sounded childishly uncomplicated – instead of acting like Our Lady of Bureaucracy? Redistribution of assistance is of far more worth than redistribution of wealth.

The second woman who intruded into my currently rather solipsistic existence walked over to me in the pub – in which I was resident after work - and asked if it was okay to sit around the table I was perched at. There was plenty of room, but I appreciate politeness. She was waiting for someone, she explained. Then she said that she was going to get a drink. Then she asked if I could watch her bag. Then she asked if the copy of Standpoint on the table was mine. Then she asked if she could read it. Then she asked if I wanted to read her copy of The Economist. Then she told me that she was meeting her fiancĂ© and another friend. Then she told me that she was a writer who had written journalism, mostly on mental health. Then she asked me whether Standpoint was any good. Then she asked me which feature I’d recommend. Then she suggested I tear the cover off her copy of The Economist and give it to her – as she wanted to buy the magazine again and wanted to remember what it was called – and she would do the same with my copy of Standpoint.

Now, I am currently treating all strange women – with the best will in the world, ladies – as though they are heavily armed, but I seriously suspected that this woman really was. The flurry of questions above just didn’t stop. We had a sort of conversation, but it was like talking to someone who was trying to win Just a Minute.

I recommended a very moving piece in Standpoint by Lionel Shriver about her brother, who is in mortal danger due to his obesity. Ms Shriver’s novel We Need To Talk About Kevin [which I haven’t read] touches, I believe, on problems of mental health. As do we all, from time to time.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

COCKSUCKER BLUES - A LETTER TO MY ALMA MATER


The face of higher education


As mentioned, I am nose to the grindstone attempting to carve out copy for the excellent new magazine British Intelligence – have I mentioned this sparkling new jewel in the diadem of dissident online political and cultural writing? I forget - I am having something of a clear out of the attic. This is a letter I wrote to my old university, Sussex, at which I read for a BA in Philosophy with Literature, and MA in Philosophy, and a PhD in the same subject. I think the letter was written around 2012. It is self-explanatory, and refers to the clown you see pictured, who is not only still employed by my alma mater, but won 60 grand in compensation for, quite frankly, being a cocksucker…



Mark Gullick PhD (Sussex)


cc: Luke Cooper; Geordie Greig [Editor, London Evening Standard]




Dear Mr Cooper,

Having seen your photograph on the front page of the London Evening Standard of November 11, I felt moved to write to you personally. I gather that you are a lecturer at the University of Sussex, my own alma mater, as our American cousins would say. I read philosophy there, and I’m looking at my diploma now, with its heraldic emblems and motto; Be Still and Know.
Be still, of course, was scarcely the modus operandi of the students present at the demonstration in London held the day before the publication of your image in our capital’s most prominent newspaper. Some violent, near-murderous, action took place that day, and you lay claim to pivotal involvement in the disturbances. What, then, of the other element of Sussex’s motto? What of knowledge? What do we know? What, as Kant asked, can we know?
I’m looking at your picture now. I’ve cut it from the Standard with a scalpel which I keep for the express purpose of removing newspaper photographs which interest me. It is an irksome task to remove pictures from the inferior paper used by newspaper publishers, and a scalpel is the only tool suitable for this job of excision.
You are unexceptional looking, resembling, as you do, a gurning, pinging clubber emerging from some dimbo club after a banging night out. You have good teeth and I imagine that the bat-like image on your forehead is some sort of temporary tattoo and not an unfortunate birthmark. Your hair, however, is thinning at an unfortunate rate for a 26-year-old man. As James Fox’s character, Chas, remarks to Mick Jagger’s character, Turner, in Donald Cammell’s iconic 1970s British movie, Performance:

Comical little geezer. You’ll look funny when you’re 50.”

I note that you teach International Relations, always a Mickey Mouse degree even when I was at Sussex. Philosophy, of course, is a proper discipline. Even its etymology leads to a love of wisdom. Be still and know. International Relations, these days, is reducible to an almanac of minority fetishism, and you will find yourself increasingly an apologist for ideological failure. Eventually, your students will find you out.
I imagine you have always voted Labour, the bill for whose profligate brand of Socialism has led, unbeknown to you, to your recent jamboree.
In case you assume I’m a Tory, my own core beliefs concerning UK politics have remained unchanged; Tories make me laugh, Socialists make me sick.
International Relations. Hmm. I picture you attending dinner parties with Palestinian friends, and using phrases such as ‘the Zionist entity’ and ‘illegal occupation’. Am I getting warm? Tell me truly, Luke. May I call you Luke? You have a saint’s name, as do I.
But I should let you speak. You are quoted in the Standard as saying:

The reason we attacked Tory HQ is we want to send [sic] a really strong message to this government that we are not going to let higher education be brutalised. There was a lot of anger.”

There always is. Children display anger when they are thwarted by adults in pursuance of their tiny concerns. Higher education, it saddens me to write, has already been brutalised by you and your ilk. You have certainly shamed a fine university, my own.
You look so cocksure, so proud, in your photograph. You were probably a pretty little boy. You should hang your head in shame.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Gullick PhD

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

KEEP THINKING, BUTCH: FROM THE VAULT

As my time is increasingly taken up with writing for the new magazine British Intelligence, so too Traumaville becomes sadly neglected, broken shutters flapping in the wind, feral dogs eating nameless things in the unkempt streets, and a general air of desolation and dereliction about the place. But I appreciate that you, my people, need me, and so it is that I will be dipping into an old blog of mine called Keep Thinking, Butch, a line taken from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as Sundance says to Cassidy, "Keep thinking, Butch. That's what you're good at".
Using my unique carbon-dating procedure, this seems to be from Christmas 2010, and deals with the subject of Christmas television...

In the two great dystopian novels of the last century, Brave New World and 1984, there is a tool of control. Huxley, himself an aficionado of narcotics, uses soma, the drug consumed by the populace which induces a malleable feeling of well-being. Orwell uses the television, imagining a goggle box that watches the watcher. Both are prescient in all but intent. That is to say, although a combination of drugs and TV does indeed keep much of the population of at least the UK in a state of semi-stupefaction, it can’t credibly be claimed that the government manipulates these sedatives as a coercive stratagem. However, it is more than a suspicion that certain ministers and courtiers must privately rejoice that the herd is so willingly corralled without requiring too much in the way of the shepherd’s attention.

Drink and drugs need not detain us here, and in any case I would have to make a declaration of interest. I only stopped being a regular cannabis user nine months ago, and can’t help but note that I have spent my most successful nine months of the last decade since. Quod erat demonstatum, I think. As for drink, I will always wrestle with excess. Recently, a combination of resolve and influenza has capped my intake to tolerable levels, but I have been down the road of alcoholism on more than one occasion.

Television, on the other hand, is not a narcotic of which I partake. Of course, like the passive smoker, you can’t avoid television just by not watching it. It’s in the newspapers – all the newspapers - every day, splashed across the giant advertising hoardings that infest the city, and present in the conversation of many of the people you meet, particularly in the workplace. Over Christmas, as is often the case, I watched a lot of television and, as Wittgenstein believed that the state of modern philosophy could be gauged by looking at the state of mathematics, what did the world of the idiot box tell me about the state we’re in? Let’s have a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.

With the good, some of the programmes were DVDs but were originally TV series. Outnumbered was hilarious, if you know it. I gather the kids are not scripted, and the whole thing had a fantastic air of spontaneity. I’d watch a series of that any time.

Wild China is a three-part series about wildlife in the country which is supposed to be about to inherit America’s mantle. It was made by the BBC and, if there were only one reason to want to live another hundred years, it would be to see the stunned looks on corporation faces when China’s idea of human rights, gender difference and race relations is in the box seat. The third part was about Tibet, and there was no mention of the fractious relations between that country and China, probably a requirement for production. The series, though, was captivating, utterly compelling and serenely beautiful . Nature documentaries always were my favourite TV, even as a kid, and the camera work is nothing less than art of the very highest quality.

Doctor Who was great, as much fun as it was when I used to watch mad Patrick Troughton playing the flute in his tartan trousers or Jon Pertwee camping it up in his flounced shirt. It was entertaining silliness, which was just what this doctor ordered.

The bad I suppose I avoided, but advertising still walks away with the laurels. Does advertising even work? Has anyone ever ascertained whether it pays for itself or whether it is just a sort of public sector within the private sector? Apparently, they have now perfected adverts that defeat even the fast forward button, keeping images in front of the hapless consumer for longer. As I have said, how much would products cost if the advertising budget was subtracted from the production overheads?

But it was the ugly that fascinated me most. My mother is a bit of a soap opera junkie who, like actual junkies, realises that her drug of choice does her no good at all. Now, I’m not a snob where soaps are concerned. I once saw the very first Coronation Street – no, not on its first transmission, you cheeky beggars – and it was extraordinary, like a fly-on-the-wall documentary directed by Samuel Beckett. A girlfriend of mine at what the young people now believe to be called ‘uni’ was doing a term paper called The Morphology of the Soap Opera or some such twaddle, and I used to watch Brookside with great regularity. It was good, Ricky Tomlinson and his wife and believable plots and scousers that didn’t automatically irritate you. Even Coronation Street in recent years raised the occasional laugh, such as a character asking of an elderly relative of whom he was less than enamoured whether she shouldn’t be ‘knitting under a guillotine somewhere.’ Eastenders was always rubbish, and I particularly enjoyed the wholly synthetic empathy everyone had for each other, always wanting to talk about the tiniest problem, and the fact that no one supported West Ham or said ‘fuck’. But it was relatively inoffensive rubbish and as I always say, every life needs a little trash.

Trash, yes. Toxic, scabrous unpleasantness, perhaps not. Every moment of the two episodes of Eastenders I sat through over the Christmas weekend made me feel depressed and slightly angry. It’s not just the endless murders, adulteries and deceptions, the egregious tide of dysfunction. There is not a redeeming character. These psychological voodoo dollies are not representative of any world I’ve ever lived in, and I’ve been down the dark end of the street. I would rather a child of mine watched hardcore pornography than sat through ten minutes of this bile.

So, that is your television review for the year. I think I’ll creep back into my tiny library, if that’s okay with everyone.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

A HAPPY AND INTELLIGENT NEW YEAR



It does exactly what it says on the logo



Well, here it is. 2020. A pleasingly symmetrical number which certainly does not describe my eyesight. As Jim Morrison so sagely noted in Roadhouse Blues, the future’s uncertain, but one thing can be said with a certain amount of confidence; it will be no ordinary year.

Violence is simmering across the globe, the iron grip of Leftism in the West is beginning to weaken, and the elites are starting to feel the power of real people, as opposed to the quasi-autistic gauleiters who until now have decided our fates for us.

Incipit British Intelligence. This, as mentioned in previous episodes, is a new online magazine for those who say nay to the dumbed-down, clickbait, BBC drama, tasteless, Marvel franchise, vulgar carnival of noise that Western culture has become, or rather been turned into by dark and malevolent agencies.

Created by a trio of like-minded dissident refuseniks, of which I am one, British Intelligence aims to do what Lord Reith intended the BBC to do all those years ago; educate, inform, and entertain. It is shamelessly high of brow, unapologetically intellectual, and bloody funny. If you find us to be snobbish, superior and snooty, then, to quote Freddie Mercury, I thank you all.

British Intelligence will be a rolling publication rather than running issue by issue, and our aim is to provide a tonic for you to ward off the mainstream media, the television, Hollywood, and all the other viruses that creep into your mind without your knowing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are here.

www.british-intelligence.co.uk

Monday, 30 December 2019

THE BITTER TEARS OF THE LEFT



Leftists! Avoid this man! He has a sense of humour.




Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you are probably Left-wing. A theme of 2019 among my favourite US YouTubers has been the bitter tears of the Left when confronted with the continuing presence in the Oval Office of the Trumposaurus. Rachel Maddow, mannish and dull anchor with MSNBC (I think) actually did cry when contemplating Trump’s heartless treatment of illegal immigrants. It was hilarious.

Greg Gutfeld (not strictly speaking a YouTuber, granted), Mark Dice and Gavin McInnes have all thematised the tendency of the Left and their comfort-blanket media to get all teary-eyed and wobbly-lipped when it comes to Orange Man, and in particular his rhetoric. Boy, are they upset.

Kathy Griffin, surely actionable under the US version of the Trades Description Act for describing herself as a ‘comedienne’, can hold up a mocked-up severed head of Donald Trump, and the Left smile and nod and say this is acceptable political commentary. The Donald himself calls shithole countries shithole countries, and the same Leftist hordes run screaming through the streets tearing out their hair. Well, except for Don Lemon and Brian Stelter, who don’t have any hair.

Remember Obama’s attempts at humour? Dry and suave and fundamentally unfunny. Mark Dice has produced a collection of Trump’s best moments from 2019, and something should be obvious to anyone with a mature, developed sense of humour; this guy is a scream. He’s a laugh riot. The way he treats the press makes Don Rickles look like Billy Graham. He does impressions. He tells reporters to shut up. You keep expecting him to juggle or play a comic song on the ukulele.

The Left represent a humourless future they would like to impose on all of us. As I myself write in a new magazine called British Intelligence, which will be exfoliating your brain from January 1 (shameless plug), the Left run everything in the UK, and they are working away like little weevils to police your thoughts and deeds and speech. And, believe me, humour is one of their primary targets. The future as envisioned by the Left is a joyless, bleak, hidebound landscape, where stand-up comedians have five-minute slots in which they say ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, and ‘Trump’ a lot, while the audience respond with non-triggering jazz hands and whatever Leftists want to replace laughter with.

I believe that the more genuine the humour, the more advanced the language, and thus the more advanced and mature the society. But this is not the aim of the Left. As Rahul Gupta writes concerning language in the first edition of British Intelligence – coming to an internet near you in just two days (another shameless plug) – human evolution may well be entropic, tending towards decay and dissolution rather than progress and refinement. Can the West really compare itself to the Greeks, the Romans, the Babylonians? Only in the sense that we can compare Jay-Z with J S Bach.

As for the media response to Trump, heavens to Betsy, they really do have their cami-knickers in a knot. Greg Gutfeld, currently my favourite TV pundit with his Fox News show, and his assembled crew of merry pranksters, constantly produces collages of talking head news anchors from CNN and MSNBC. Boy, are they sad-sacks. The solemnity with which they speak makes them resemble a particularly dour Quaker meeting.

And, just as depressives have their own private language, reciting concepts that are moving in slow circular procession around their troubled minds, so too the Left have their buzzwords of doom and gloom. The word of 2019 was, of course, impeachment. Democrats parrot it like one of those dollies little girls used to have, the ones with a string to pull and which said various babyish, tinny phrases. The Democrats, however, have just the one word, and it comes stuttering out like one of those dollies, one with advanced Tourette’s.

But, like alcoholics who can’t see how much harm that next chain of drinks is going to do to them, they cannot leave alone the idea of impeachment. It was hilarious to see Pelosi, Nadler, Waters the dunce, Schiff and the rest of the gang standing solemnly on what was supposed to be impeachment day, like a dysfunctional family at a funeral in the rain, and know that it is their own electoral graves they are digging, and the won’t stop with the shovels. Imagine that crew at a party.

The Left don’t do humour because they can’t. I’ve met Leftists. They are not funny. They are snarky and snide, sarcastic and sardonic, but not funny. Humour is spontaneous and joyful, and these people are about as funny as being hit in the face by a playground swing. This explains why they have such a hard-on for Islam. As Mr. Music and Entertainment himself, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, famously said, there are no jokes in Islam.

For the rest of us, of course, this is the most mirth-inducing time to be alive in decades. If Boris Johnson is as canny an operator as he seems to be, he will take a leaf out of Trump’s book and make with the abrasive humour. It makes the press respect you and it strengthens your base. His lengthy quotation of the Iliad in the original Ancient Greek was a start, but he needs to start needling the Left. They will react predictably and the British people will continue their journey of discovery concerning just how joyless the Left are.

This piece may be considered as a prequel to a feature of mine due to appear in a new magazine, British Intelligence. Did I mention that? It will be open to the public from January 1, and we hope to see you there. If you are a Leftist pall-bearer – and I doubt you would be here if you are – I should avoid it as you would avoid a UKIP rally. There is humour in it.