28 February 2009

Martillo's Weekend on Cif

Hey Everybody - hadn't checked the gmail for a few days.  Martillo's been busy, but he did manage this much of a Cif diary for us:

My Weekend on CIF – Martillo

Friday 20th February: Get home after a fairly indifferent pizza and a fair few drinks. Check out The Guardian to see if there’s anything worth reading. Not much, as far as I’m concerned: in fact there’s only this article by Melissa McEwan in which she says something about women having a hard time of it in the USA. Not much of an analysis, I know, but Allyf found it equally hard to come to grips with:

“Really? Is that it? Am I missing something? WTF?”.

The highlight for me is Monkeyfish’s inspired (partly by alcohol, I suspect) review of female comedy on cif. I have to disagree with him a little because I think there are a few funny women there. In the end I am left disappointed: the general consensus seems already to have been summed up by Allyf, so what is there to argue about? The last post I notice is a bid from Montana to write dreck for cif, since she feels the standards aren’t too demanding. “True, that”, I mutter on my way to bed.

Saturday 21st February: I actually have a lot to do today, so mustn’t even look at Cif. I last until the first cup of coffee and cigarette. Well, it’s not as if I can do anything else with both hands thus occupied. Apart from operate a mouse, that is. At first sight, there’s nothing to interest me. Marina Hyde is there of course, but her ‘It’s very fucking generous of you to do charitable works, I’m sure, but how about paying your taxes?’ thread looks pretty thin on controversy. I mean it’s obvious, they should, shouldn’t they? There’s not even an early comment insulting her, so I can’t leap to her defence. Hankscorpio is full of praise, unless there’s some hidden sarcasm I’m too tired to see, and apart from Mrdismal’s Taxation is theft cry from the heart, there’s nothing much going on.

I’m just about to turn off my PC when I see this. It’s made for me: first of all it has the word ‘idiot’ in the title; guaranteed controversy. Secondly, it’s about Slumdog Millionaire, one of the very few films I’ve seen at the cinema in the last year. Thirdly, and most importantly, the summary hints at a simplistic ‘this film is about that’ analysis that really gets up my nose. Click…

I’ll confess straight away: I more or less skim the piece the first time and am not disappointed: “The subtext is clear…” I hate that expression; the idea that there’s a kind of secret agenda the informed critic can discover at a glance while the rest of us are left moronically ingesting the propaganda, like geese at the gavage . I clench my teeth as I imagine the writer peering superciliously over a pair of expensive rimless glasses and I cut and paste the expression and make my first post of the day. I suppose it’s a bit cheeky to highlight one of my own comments, but I have my reasons. I am rather pleased with it, but I’m also interested in proving BillPlasterer’s theory of most recommended posts (I wish I could link to this, but if there’s a secret path through Cif’s ‘search system’ I have yet to find it). Bill says, more or less, that the most recommended comment on any given thread is likely to be one of the first posts and to express an unsophisticated, populist position. QED.

Now excuse me, but shouldn’t my early leadership of the most recommended table give me some rights? I know it’s not my thread, but couldn’t we spend at least a little time discussing this ‘subtext’ question? It appears not. Monkeyfish responds, but the whole thing degenerates into ‘Whose fault is it that India is such a mess (if it can be said to be so)?’ And some of the hijackers don’t have any recommends at all!

Sunday 22nd February: my favourite day on Cif. I’m looking, in particular, for 3 writers. First Catherine Bennett because she writes extremely well, is funny and could start an argument in, well, somewhere you wouldn’t expect to find an argument. Secondly there’s Victoria Cohen. Apart from the fact that I really enjoy her style, there’s something about her threads which calls out to the gallant gentleman within me. Just about every article is followed by at least one of the following comments: a) ‘The world is going to hell and you’re writing about this? I think I must accidentally have logged onto The Daily Mail/Heat…’ b) You can’t write, you’re not funny and you’re only here because of your Dad’. Grrr. Finally, there’s relative newcomer David Mitchell. Again, because he writes well and is funny.

OK, let’s see. The first thing that catches my eye is this. Readers’ Editor Stephen Pritchard? News to me, is this the most temporary job since ‘Tottenham Manager’? And how did he get to be our editor? I don’t recall interviewing him for the position, do you? Anyway, he’s writing about a question of style, a fascinating subject for me, especially since the sub’s summary includes an annoying ‘typo’. I used to correct them every time, but they change it on the quiet and don’t even bother to thank you for your trouble, making your helpful comment look somewhat bizarre. Today it’s names: what is the correct form of address for those who come to the attention of the media? Victim; politician; witness; villain: Ms Smith; John Smith; Smith; Sally? And even when we’ve decided, should familiarity lead to a lessening of formality? There are some fairly good points made, though none I particularly feel like highlighting. There seems to be an attempt to start a sub-thread on corporal punishment. I respond to a post by Bitterweed. When I look back, someone has recommended it. My paranoia takes over: what if people think I recommended myself? Click. Yet everybody knows you get 2 goes: one before and one after registering, so now I’ll have to log off and slip myself an unregistered one…

OK, back again. Let’s concentrate on what I came here for. Ms Bennett: I’m a little disappointed, to be frank. It’s a great opening paragraph and this section is Ms Bennett, Catherine, if I may, at her best:

On the other hand, headlines such as "Testosterone to blame" inevitably associate all men, hormonally, with a financial crisis which is coming to be considered as much a form of gendered, antisocial behaviour as starting wars or stealing rare birds' eggs.”

but she fails to receive even one whole-hearted howl of outrage. MartininEurope speaks for the thus far absent ‘sisters’ who are being tipped to launch themselves furiously at Bennett, but apart from a little bonding session with NemesistheWarlock around the subject of who has drunk most, there is little support for his entirely reasonable point. Most of the other posters appear to share the sentiment ‘at last; a sensible article on Cif!’ Come on girls, where are you? I’ll check back this afternoon.

Time for Vicky. I don’t think I’m going to comment here, since the twin themes appear to be death and Jade Goody. I don’t like to dwell upon the former and the latter tends to get you into trouble with other posters: I don’t hate her enough for some and I don’t hate the middle-classes (whose fault she really is) enough for others. Still, it’s clearly up to her usual standards and is worth a look if you’re not put off by the subject matter. Only one poster has lived up to my expectations and I’m not going to get into another argument with him/her this week.

OK, Davy boy, what do you have for me. Oh no! Not bloody Twitter yet again! I bet there’ll be at least one person making the ‘Don’t you mean Twatter?’ joke. There are 2. Again, it’s well-written and there are a couple of good jokes but this is not for me.

Meanwhile, there’s one I’ve been avoiding. It’s about the funding of Rape Crisis Centres. Some of my friends have been involved in this and it’s a depressing subject. I don’t want to read any comments claiming that all/most/a very large number of rapes are invented. I especially don’t want to read the ‘with a face like that, why should you be worried?’ comment.

In fact it makes a fairly encouraging read. A well- written article is followed by a largely sympathetic group of commenters. There are, of course, some exceptions, some of whom object to taxpayers having to pay for the centres at all, others wanting them to be open to men and still others who think they’re a good idea but don’t like the women who run them. These lead to various debates, conducted, largely, in a polite manner. One poster tells a strange story of how an innocent shoulder rub involving consenting adults leads to the masseur becoming an official sex offender. Hmmm. I think this too will be worth a visit later.

Time to start cooking, dear diary. I’ll have a last look later.

25 February 2009

The Mods Must Be Crazy

Dunno how many of you have noticed the Jenefer Lowe thread about Cornish being a living language.  It has produced some richly ironic modding.  Olching posted a comment in Cornish which was modded.  I then posted a comment that was 90% English but contained the following:
So, would I be modded if I posted a comment saying, 'Montana of vy. Pyu os ta?' I mean, I could understand that, if I posted 'Kernow kensa' or 'Onen hag oll', they might think I was trying to start something, but I would never do that.
Now, the Cornish in this translates to 'I'm Montana. Who are you?' 'Cornwall first' and 'One and all' Apparently any Cornish at all in a thread about Cornish being a living language is just not on.

19 February 2009

Time for a new post?

I thought I'd go ahead and start a new post to put more recent comments back up towards the top of the page.  (All that scrolling gets hard on an index finger)  However, you are all going to want to look at those last few comments under the first post - AllyF & scherfig had some really cogent points regarding the nature of this blog.  Now, I've been meaning to ask if anyone else saw the title for a piece on the Vatican's recent statement that men and women sin differently?  I went to Cif (I think on Tuesday?) very briefly at work to make a specific comment on something else, saw the title and thought I'll read that in a moment - sounds like it ought to generate some really interesting/fun comments.  When I saw it, it said that the article had been posted "1 min ago".  Well, I made the necessary comment & when I returned to the Cif main page - there was no trace of the article about the Vatican's sin statement.  Did they post it and then think, "Oh, crap, that's gonna stir some pots!" and take it down again, right away?  I mean, we're talking 5 minutes, tops.

15 February 2009

A place for Ciffers to keep things going

Martillo could probably do a better job of this, but I thought I'd create a place for Ciffers to keep alive threads that have been cruelly cut short by the Guardian mods.  Cluing each other in on what it was we've said that mods have deleted is acceptable, too.  

On a purely selfish level, I'm hoping this will alleviate some of my time zone frustrations.  I'm new to this blogging stuff, so the more technically savvy will have to exercise some patience with me as I learn how to take care of this thing.