14 May 2009

No bang, no whimper: just a stifled yawn

I would like to thank MontanaWildhack for letting me post this here.

It is always relatively easy to maintain a point of view, a position or a perspective. Mostly, all you have to do is ignore or dismiss anything which contradicts what you think and just stick rigidly and thoughtlessly to what is in your own head. When Mrs Thatcher trundled out her friend Tina ("there is no alternative"), it was not because there were no other options but simply because she had closed her mind to anything which did not comply with her decision.

Occasionally, the accumulation of events conspire to send you signals and make you wonder, as The Speaker, Michael Martin, must be doing, whether you have made a blunder and need to change course, perhaps, or simply get the hell out of here.

This slow and sedate, if slightly wobbly and crunching, movement and re-alignment of the celestial bodies which control our lives and signal portents of disasters started with the Damian McBride affair or scanadal or Smeargate or Dolly Gets Slaughtered or whatever it was called. Guido Fawkes was given or acquired the damaging and eventually damning details of how McBride, the figurative monkey at the top of the New Labour propaganda tree, was going to poison the bananas of the New Tory brand republic and feed them to the world. He was going to lie and pretend that he was leaking shameful secrets to a new blog, TheRedRag.

Except that he was found out and, slipping on the banana skins of his own devising, lost his job and dragged down Derek Draper and the whole trembling little pile of wreckage which had once been New Labour's edifice of credibility.

Of course, at around this time, plenty of other things were happening. Jacqui Smith's husband, Richard Timney, hired out a couple of porno films and sent the bill to the taxpayer, illustrating that if you are an MP or anyone connected with a politician, you never have to pay for anything, because the workers always foot the bill. We also had a funny little disjointed series in The Guardian, along with throwaway comments in regular articles about how local and national newspapers were collapsing all over the world and it was, it seemed, the fault of the internet and crummy, crappy bloggers who were mugging the punters of the Murdoch and MSM established business model.

However, these were things that happen all the time. When did we ever think that politicians were honest and did not have their sticky fingers in the till up to the elbow? When did we ever  imagine that newspapers clasped the trusty sword of truth, rather than the swag-bag of loot?

Then we had the case of the CiF Six or whatever name this cause celebre went under. Various people had been banned from commenting at CiF and we were outraged. Effectively, we took over a thread which was supposed to be about what we wanted to see on CiF and turned it into a discussion about how we thought the place should be run.

Well, almost.

What actually happened was that a number of people raised points and issues and concerns about the way CiF is run and Matt Seaton and Georgina Henry threw a few generally sneering and condescending words into the mix and eventually proved who was boss.

This process of discourse between the powerless and those in control, the supplicants and Lord and Lady Bountiful, the common herd of groundlings and the actors strutting and declaiming on the stage above eventually seemed to define the scope and spheres of influence between the chatterati and the glitterati, the movers and shakers and the mere commentators, the Hollywood Dream Factory and the backstreet quickie porn-flick peddler.

It was very much them and us and, in my opinion, the "us" lost. However, more of that in a moment.

We then move on to the big events of the day. Not a big event if you are starving in Africa or being rounded up to be shot in some tin-pot, banana republic dictatorship, of course, but a big event within the roughly drawn closed circles or enclosures or corrals or three-ring circuses which we inhabit. The Telegraph unleashed upon an unsuspecting world the Saga of the MPs' Expenses Scandal.

We were all agog. Nothing had prepared us or equipped us to mentally deal with the notion that politicians were other than upright and honest unremitting toilers on our collective behalf at the coalface of probity and decency.

Yeah, except that we all knew this all along and all we ever lacked were the details of who stole exactly how much of our money to filch and fritter away on what particular fripperies.

We had, after all, been saying this ad nauseam on CiF for years. Had nobody been listening?

Unfortunately, here is the point.

We had been confusing the process of making a noise with the result of being heard. We thought that the two went hand in hand. Like babbling toddlers, we thought that our parents were listening. It never crossed our minds that they had simply tuned us out and were enjoying their own daydreams and fantasies in which we played no part.

The hubbub below the line at CiF had done nothing to break the news of the McBride affair. Guido Fawkes had done that and although it produced a dramatic outcome, the readership of this famous blog at order-order.com actually has a pitifully small readership. Politics, it seems, is not something in which there is any real mainstream interest. It is a minor spectator sport in which all the usual suspects just mill around to create the illusion of a crowd.

The puff-piece by Tony Blair which sparked the debate about commenters being banned was written by someone who has demonstrated that he thinks he is far closer to the proximity of God than he is to the ordinary huddled masses of the world. You can be sure he did not even know what was going on below the line. The people there were simply too small for him to notice. The Guardian had, of course, colluded in the historic and current process of the established media clinging and huddling together with the established figures of power. Nothing had changed above the line.

The Telegraph had shown, in a similar way to the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 London summit and the video evidence handed to The Guardian, that big stories are still fed, inevitably and quite resonably, to those media which have the money, the power and the readership to do something useful with them.

So, what is the use of blogging and commenting to an enclosed clique; to those who are, to paraphrase MrPikeBishop aka Frank Fisher, our imaginary friends; to preach to a congregation of the converted from a flimsy pulpit which looks like it has been made by the local infants' school-children from old carboard boxes and daubed with streaked, thin paint?

At the moment, I do not think there is one.

Plenty of people come and go at CiF under evolving aliases and varying degrees of effective disguise. Perhaps they feel like famous spies on undercover forays into enemy territory, overseen and tracked by those even more shadowy figures in the know, but invisible to the lookouts at CiF Towers.

Is it like that or is it more like the whipped dog returning with downcast eyes and a shiver to the heel of its master?

If you just want a bit of backchat and banter, the low-level caress of occasional adulation or a snapping, snarling dog-fight with no blood, but just the tiny clatter of your keyboard, CiF is probably the place to be. 

Just don't pretend it will change anything.

As an illustration of this, just ponder for a bit whether you think the current MPs' expenses scandal will really change politics dramatically and fundamentally for any amount of time.

Will we, after the next election, get newly-minted, shining, contrite and principled politicians? Will the election clear out the wrigglers and fiddlers or will they all just whistle with their hands in their pockets for a while, as they walk past the till, but make plans to rob the safe in a few years' time?

Even the series in The Telegraph will very soon be yesterday's news. By the time the election comes round, most people will have forgotten that this was any more than the pub landlord shoving a couple of extra quid onto your receipt for lunch.

So, what is the point of writing at all? Even if The Guardian stuffed your pockets with seventy quid to write above the line and there was a sudden flurry of comments to show that you were being heard, does it make any difference, other than a bit of mutual back-slapping and the indistinct, fuzzy glow you feel when you get your credit card out as you sprawl drunk in front of the telly and give something to charity and pretend that you have just saved Africa.

From my point of view, I do not think there is any likely or probable outcome worth the effort. Perhaps we like to pretend that we are all different kinds of Michael Knight or Jack Bauer: one man (or, of course, woman) who can make a difference. Even collectively, we do not seem to manage it.

All these efforts seem to be little more than stumbling ego trips in which we have our eyes on imaginary splendid achievements, but end up flat on our faces with grazed knees and a shiny, clinging mixture of snot and saliva smeared across our faces.

So, I do not think I will be returning to CiF, under my current alter ego or any other ploy or subterfuge. I cannot see the point.

This is Atomboy signing off and signing out.

Go back and enjoy the party.


  1. Fuck me I'll get the Leonard Cohen out...

    But seriously, Atom's right. It's just pissing in the wind. Same as writing to the papers, which is what I did occasionally before the internets...

  2. Yep, agreed Atomboy and Bitterweed, and I won't be going back.

    Although I reached my decision from a slightly different angle. I was getting sick of the shite quality on offer and the determined efforts of the CiF editorial team to stir up controversy and set fingers furiously typing with every article they gave a green light too.

    In a way, I think CiF is a victim of its own success. It set the bar once, and now finds itself in the awkward position of having to generate more and more controversy just to keep up.

    It has also become a the destination of choice for those who enjoy having a good shout at each other. No give, no take, everyone arrives with opinions firmly entrenched, whereupon they proceed to lob hand grenades over the parapet at the opposite side with no thought for debate or resoned argument.

    There is virtually no part of the site which is untouched by this tendency. You even get flame wars breaking out when the slightly unworldly Charlotte Higgins bemoans the lack of Latin teaching in our modern state system, fer Chrissakes.

  3. commanderkeen14 May, 2009 13:35

    Don't be so cynical, I like to think of all these above the line writers having once or twice read the comments and being so horrified they vow never to do so again. Nevertheless it has created a little demon of self doubt and misery gnawing away in the back of their mind, slowly absorbing their soul and shitting out little black chunks of credibility with every new column they write.
    They know the end is near, they know the internet has leveled the playing field, they know their readers think they are idiots. They seek the sanctuary of their media friends, but each of them plays host to that little demon, the fine wines, the food, and even the cocaine can't starve that demon. Visions of declining newspaper profits, star columnists having their wages cut, the B list looking for new employment. But where to go? What skills do they have? Who do they know? Their friends are in the same situation, their employers dying, that third home is Tuscany is on the market. The abyss has opened up and they are falling in.

  4. @thecommander:

    "it has created a little demon of self doubt and misery gnawing away in the back of their mind"

    If only! Then we'd have no more Bindel, Gold, Freedman (x2), Milne, Bunglawala, Bidisha, Toynbee, Bunting, White... These people just seem to be quite incapable of seeing themselves as others see them.

  5. I imagine that if ATL writers bother to read BTL comments, their reaction is simply that the plebs are just too stupid to understand their brilliance and insight. It doesn't shake their self-belief one iota. It certainly doesn't stop them producing the same garbage one week later. And pocketing their cheque, confident that their chums will say 'jolly good piece' anyway. If they had any real self-awareness or were capable of feeling shame, they would give up now.

    But they don't have to because we're still the mugs. Or some are. There will undoubtably, over time, be fewer and fewer punters BTL prepared to swallow all the shit. I don't know how long it will take, but Cif's decline is already evident, and the death-rattle will come eventually.

  6. "Don't be so cynical, I like to think of all these above the line writers having once or twice read the comments and being so horrified they vow never to do so again."

    All very true. They must read it sometimes, maybe only the first page before they recoil. Though i suspect someone like Blair or Bolton wouldnt bother, they would have no interest at all.

  7. SwiftyBoy, they write opinion pieces. You think they are wrong, they think they are right; just as you think you are right and they think you are wrong.

    Yet some if not all of them have changed opinions and interpretations over time (Inayat, for me, being the prime example). Being in disagreement with an opinion (former) doesn't mean that the other person must therefore change their opinion.

    Atomboy, thanks for your post. I fear you aimed too high. I never posted at CiF to change anything; nor anywhere else. For me it has always just been about exchanging ideas and (perhaps more in line with CommanderKeen) reciprocal moments of pause and reflection.

  8. Atomboy - Tsar Bomba

    My friend - when the Nazi's and/or their ilk come in the night we, we the unfortunate few of disturbed or disquieted conscience, need a way to recognise each the other.

    If we are indeed to burn we should burn in the company of those for whom we have regard. It really is anti-social to burn alone!

    A conscience in a dark place is the only thing that can illuminate the way out. If we do not share our consciences each with the other we may never know wheter in truth we possessed one at all. Be assured at the end it may be dark and we shall all need whatever we can find to light our way.

    As the Friends (Quakers) oft say "I am called upon to speak............"

    What those gathered and hear is a matter for them and their consciences.

    When I hear a Quaker say "I am called upon to speak........" - What I hear is "I am ....I have a conscience .....from which..........and to which .......I speak...............if I speak to a void so be it............speak I will...........for I am called to account by my conscience (or maker what ever that means to you personally)"

    Any Quaker is at liberty (since I am not one but regard them highly) to contradict or refine and enhance what I sense their position to be.

    Pissing in the wind we may be but since it is possible to sail into the wind I have to hope that whilst pissing I will find a way to keep it off my legs without turning my back to the wind.

    My glass is half full and given that I have already drunk more than my fair share it would be churlish and unfair to leave the party before it ends. I really ought to try to contribute something as well as taking - even if its only an occasional flat or off key fart.

    I confess to a genetic disorder - the more the bastards kick me the more I want to fight back.

    Regards ( I have not before read (or consciously recognized it)your work I found it interesting and hope I continue to "hear" what you have to say and recognize you as the speaker)

  9. @olching:

    I certainly hear what you're saying, you're quite right that these are opinion pieces and that the writers above, and the commenters below, the line have every right to express their opinions and are not required by law to change their minds when presented with a counterargument...

    However (bet you didn't see that coming), I can't surely be the only one who finds it remarkable that the opinions of those chosen to write the pieces tend towards the, erm, controversial side, time and time again?

    Maybe that just sell newspapers (or the internet equivalent of them), eh?

    Incidentally, what you say about Inayat B is interesting, and well observed. I still don't rate him as a writer, and he can't resist the obligatory dig at the deeply entrenched anti-Muslim sentiment he manages to unearth everywhere, but I've also noticed his drift towards a slightly more MOR version of his previously held convictions and his ever more frequent admission that not everything about Islam is great, all the time.

  10. commanderkeen14 May, 2009 14:44

    olching, you've changed my mind on a few things, or at least made me think harder!

    Actually that's what most annoying about ATLers, the constant repetition of discredited arguments. Ideas are there to be challenged not dictated to an audience of arfing seals clapping their witless appreciation.

    And Inayat, annoys me to hell, but his opinions do seem to change and I suppose that is evidence of some sort of open mind.

  11. Arguing with others, wether they be above or below the line, make you think carefully about your own views and even change them them sometimes. Even if your views don't change you learn to argue for them better and increase your understanding.

    If Cif has done anything for me its crystalised my views about feminism and how it relates to socialism. The sort of feminism expressed on Cif ATL is dangerous extremist nonsense and only benefits the adherents and not women as a whole and certainly not men. It has absolutely nothing to do with socialism.

    Sometimes an opinion you disagree with strongly can do that.

    Arguments BTL can have a similar effect - Do you remember that argument I had with you Jay? I think we both changed a bit after that!

    Thats cIF at its best but it rarely happens now, many of those posters, the ones to have fruitful arguments with or the ones whose opinions often annoy but make you think and crystalise your thoughts, have been banned.

    Talking to people and helping them to change their view of the world is how the socialist parties and the trade unions began. They created great change in society. Most of us live in a country where medical help is there when we need it with no worries about the bill.

    People will take action and things will change - if enough of us WILL IT!

    "Rise like lions after slumber
    In unvanquishable number
    Shake the chains to eath like dew
    which in sleep has fallen on you

    Ye are many! They are few!"

    PB Shelley - from "The Mask of Anarchy"

  12. 3potato4dropinbucket14 May, 2009 15:17

    whatever one takes from cif it is carried in your head not the atl pen,,

    once again from the top

    even though we spoke with one voice we would all hear with different ears,,

    personally i cant stand iniyat and i really like
    seth freedman who has changed a great deal in below the line persona over the last couple of years,, and that change has been an occasional talking point in his threads,,

    participation is my intention when posting on cif
    and the only thing i expect to change by reading and commenting is my own mind,,and it certainly has given my a great deal of value in that regard

  13. "Arguments BTL can have a similar effect - Do you remember that argument I had with you Jay? I think we both changed a bit after that!"

    I do indeed remember it, for all its wrongs CIF still has some cracking debates, they are just rarer now. My views on a few things have changed a lot due to CIF, quite a large number of things actually, but particularly feminism.

  14. @ Atomboy

    I do so hope that nice Mr HankScorpio is not banned over on that sometimes silly CIF.

    If he is I hope he comes back in as a member of coop/collective and joins me. I have reserved "room101.HS" especially for him. (I have no doubt that I may be told to piss off by him - if not by you)

    It would be better still if he were joined by

    room101.AtB and....................

    room101.bb and room101.Bw and room101.kiz and room101.an42 and room101.MwH and room101.JR and room101.SB and room101.3p4 and all of their many many friends and neighbours.

    If you have a badge - wear it tossers.

  15. room101.d30x14 May, 2009 17:08

    @ room101.d30

    Oh thats an interesting idea room101.d30 then if you wanted to say something you thought might be deleted you could always log on under an alias such as room101.d30x

  16. @ room101.d30x

    Your not suggesting that they amend their old CIF profiles to start saying that they are friends with their room101 counterparts are you?

    What that nicce/nasty Mr HankScorpio should have really indicated that he had some friends??

    Shudder the shit - still I suppose if had have indicated that he at least knew room101.HS we would be having less trouble now - wouldn't we.

    That nice Mr Atomboy and his many mates and admirers/friends/neighbours might need to think his/their position too.

    (Not a bad idea 118 I mean room101.d30x)

    I really must dash of to local coop cos I'm still starving
    14 May, 2009 17:20

  17. Hi atomboy - I've already e-mailed a response but, to reiterate, thanks for your efforts and sorry I didn't get involved a bit more.

    I think olching's right in suggesting that you were a little unrealistic in your expectations. There's a fine post by PatDavers on Milne's blog today which sort of sums up your position and others, ie that the Left have got frustrated at the deaf ear turned to them by the public and have thrown their hand in and said "sod the lot of you, enjoy the fascist state you're sleepwalking into".

    I think there's a lot of truth in what Pat has said. It sounds to me like you started up your blogsite in a fever of enthusiasm, hoping that you could provide a focal point for the growing disillusionment attendant on the economic crisis. That was a worthy ambition but sadly you've realised that the blogosphere is a bubble inhabited by a tiny minority interested in politics and generally talking to each other, preaching to the choir.

    I'll check your new blog and hope that you re-post the above comment as your final bow on CiF.

    All the best, and hope things work out for you.


  18. Atomboy

    Nice piece - I posted a couple of bits on the new blog as you know. Are you going to keep it going?

  19. Atomboy, as Hank says, it would be a superb last comment on CiF.

  20. room101.d30x14 May, 2009 18:56

    @ room101.d30x

    Did you notice what it was that that nice Mr Atomboy was saying up above when he said:

    “When Mrs Thatcher trundled out her friend Tina ("there is no alternative"), it was not because there were no other options but simply because she had closed her mind to anything which did not comply with her decision.”

    He was so right you know.


    Do you think that is what he meant to say but was too polite to say so? I do and I hope that he might think again about his own observation and where it leaves him and others who will undoubtedly follow and fall into the same difficulties even if he decides to retire from the field.

    It is precisely because TINA was such a flatulent cow that some people worked out where to stand when she blew off and the shit hit the fan.

    When I’ve taken my dogs for a walk and put me tea on I’ll write again and let you know my thoughts

  21. this is a very interesting idea

  22. Hank

    Thanks for the email and post above.

    I am not sure that I have ever experienced a "fever of enthusiasm" about anything, but I suppose I thought that it was something worth doing, but wonder whether that is the case now.

    It is not altogether abandoned, as there is the facility to keep it going at:


    The main thing to change is that I do not think it merits the time on my part to maintain it as a "proper" website - hence the shift to the free and probably quite adequate blogspot, as in this place.

    My apologies for changing the setup and location of the site more often than some people change their socks.

    Yes, I do think that political commenting has a tendency to be a waste of time because:

    1. Those actually in the process of politics do not listen but just keep playing the sytem to get away with what they can and they do hold actual power. They do what they want until they come unstuck.

    2. Nobody else can be bothered as long as they have their baubles, drink, drugs and porn and various gradations of hectic lifestyles and imitation celebrity personae.

    3. The small cluster of commentators in the middle just mutter and mumble to themselves and are ignored by the others on either side.

    Maybe I am just getting old and cynical and jaded.


    Please see the email and the above note to Hank.


    Thanks. I had not intended to bother posting anything there, but I will give it some thought.

    Not sure where it could appropriaely go, however.

  23. @ room101.3p

    Will be back later in the evening after taking my dogs for a walk and sorting me tea


  24. room101.d30x14 May, 2009 19:30

    @ room101.d30

    Give room 101.3p my regards too.

  25. Perhaps you don't think anyone's listening, Atomboy, and perhaps you're right. But if you ain't saying it at all then nobody's going to even get the chance to.

    If CiF isn't working for you any more then by all means stop. If you're not enjoying it then it makes no sense to continue.

    I intend to continue.

    It doesn't matter that much to me if nobody is listening because it'll just make me shout louder.

    It's true that I was thinking of junking it in a while back. Partly because of all the bans but also because my father was having a triple bypass so things got a bit weird for a while.

    But that was then and this is now.

  26. dropinbucket14 May, 2009 19:34

    I intend to continue.

    your a fixture,, ,,,, ,, m'Lord

  27. Atomboy - stick it on Seumas Milne's thread, been an interesting debate on there, then stick it on whatever's the busiest tomorrow.

    Keep in touch, and keep the fires burning. Don't let the bastards grind you down (-;

  28. No, don't disappear altogether, atomboy. You are one of the sane voices on CiF. They are so few and far between these days.

  29. Aw shucks Hank!

    ..I know I've been nasty about the left from time to time but I'll admit that if there is any such thing as "progress" then it depends on a sort of dialogue between the forces of radicalism and conservatism and I'd be rather dismayed to see the "decent left", who by and large are well-meaning folk, give up the struggle and go out of business...

    As for having ones views changed by blogging in general and CiF in particular, I have to say that I came onto Cif for a bit of knockabout with the left but my position has altered somewhat - I'm a bit less of neo-liberal individualist and a bit more of a collectivist one-nation sort now.

    My views on religion have changed too, in a quite unexpected way.


  30. Atomboy

    Cracking post. And...I know you're right but cif is still a step up on shouting at the telly or ranting down the pub. That way lies embittered old age in a bedsit stinking of cat piss or a burst mouth and "you're barred".

    So just to be on the safe side, I do all three. I completely accept your reasoning and, fuck knows, I share your frustration with cif and blogging in general but I'll certainly miss you if you go.

  31. V interesting piece & thread here.

    I don't imagine that the politicos whose witterings are posted on Cif actually read the comments - but I bet their aides do. The aides may filter out the abuse, but will probably provide a report of the general tone of response. Because I suspect that the reason that these scumbags - er, politicians - post on Cif is to test the waters with a Guardian readership.

    The ATL posts that are syndicated from another source - Bolton's etc. - probably have no chance of the comments' being read.

    I also suspect that the govt's aides will read reaction to pieces by ATL writers like Polly, Seumas, and so on.

    The posts by non-Graun employees are there, obviously, to generate traffic by controversy.

    Me, I like Simon Jenkins and George Monbiot. Not because I agree with them, necessarily (depends on topic), but because they both write beautifully. And I always read Hugh Muir's diary - he's a gem of English dry humour.

    Deano - your post ^^^ is very Stendhalesque!

    Annetan42 - I too have had my opinion of feminism changed by reading Cif. I'm now almost ashamed to admit to being a feminist. That's certainly not my idea of feminism - which is better described as equalism.

  32. Have you found God then, Pat?

    "I know I've been nasty about the left from time to time..."

    Not really. A bit sneering maybe, but you're one of the more interesting right-wingers. At least there's something in what you say to engage with. As is obvious from the fact that you've conceded that your views have changed since engaging on Cif.

    As far as "progress" is concerned, I shouldn't have to remind you that right-wingers are not interested in "progress" in a social sense. It's all about control, retention of entrenched privileges, conserving what they've got. The clue's in the name, Pat.

    @monkeyfish - I was aspiring to the embittered old age in a bedsit stinking of cat piss. We all need a dream after all. But dear old Bludger got run over the other week.

    I blame Jeremy Clarkson.

  33. The reason reasonable people should continue posting on sites like Cif is not in order to be heard by others, or to change others' minds, or to drive or effect actual change, but to ensure that their own mind DOESN'T quietly change without their permission.

    If you don't persist in shouting "Bollocks, nothing's going to get that stain out!" or "And she had to be naked to sell hand cream why?" at the telly, you are in danger of subconsciously accepting the message it's spouting.

    Cif, etc., provides (or, once provided, or, in a perfect, uncensored world, would provide) a means of defence of your subconscious against propaganda.

    Wherever you go Atomboy, you can't afford not to rant in public about many, many things. Shouting at the telly is the height of sanity.

    (And that's why ABSOLUTE freedom of expression of your opinion is SO important.)

  34. Hank - d'you know, I like Jeremy Clarkson. It's not that I agree with his opinions very often, but I admire someone who's willing to put up two fingers against this intrusive government.

    Also he is very funny. His articles in Sunday Times sometimes have me rolling. He did a lovely one on rugby once where he confessed that he didn't understand half the rules of the game but was enamoured by the way that the referees dish out all sorts of helpful advice during the course of the game: "Reds, hands out!" etc.

    He's a lot like some of the Cif posters - designed to generate controversy and pull in ratings. I suspect he doesn't really believe half the stuff he spouts. In fact, I remember reading an interview where his wife accidentally divulged that he's manic on the recycling front around the house.

  35. billp - that's why I don't have a telly.

  36. I don't whether it's better not to have a telly at all, or to have one and shout at it often. Given that advertising and propaganda and bollocks are ubiquitous and inescapable, I'd have to guess the latter is best.

  37. Shouting at a billboard, or a stuck, posted, or plastered bill is pointless. But, you all probably knew that by now.

  38. thauma, feminism on Cif - our Somali chum Halgeel84 had a tilt at BTH on the prison thread. I thought she put it quite well:

    'The fact you consider complications of gender by race, immigration, class and other forms of marginalities as off topic speaks volume. I cannot be bothered with this and similar kinds of really outdated forms of feminism. They do not teach this way of talking about feminism in Canada. This way of speaking about gender is a First wave feminism, It is Eurocentric and it enacts its own forms of silencing, suppression. It is self-serving and it is divisive.'

    She can be a bit odd sometimes, but she nailed that one. Maybe Canada is the way forward :0)

  39. I reckon better not to have one. Don't get that anger.

    When I do see ads or mindless television (when down pub, eg) I am flabbergasted by the banality of evil.

    Although the odd ad is good. Most are evil though.

  40. @thaumaturge - he's got a shit haircut, a column in the Sun and was probably driving the car which did for my cat.

    So fuck him.

    Also he shouts a lot, and claims to be a victimised minority, even though, as a white upper middle class Englishman, he's won the lottery of history.

    And I'm convinced he still has posting rights on CiF as Len Firewood while HankScorpio's banned.

  41. Once, I decided to avoid ALL news. I read no papers, I watched no telly news, and there was no internet to speak of at the time. I was living in a country where there was little discussion of global events.

    This was prompted by a disgust at being constantly played and fed bad news, and was sparked by the Yugoslavian bollocks kicking off.

    The upshot was that I missed the entire Yugo thing, and I still really don't know anything about any of that.

    I wonder what it would be like to NEVER have received any media news?

  42. scherfig - yes. Halgeel goes a bit off the walls sometimes but she always serves to remind that we are all really fucking lucky to be living in the west. Especially if we are middle-class or better.

    Canada is a very civilised place (not counting the weather) but dreadfully boring. No, not dreadfully: slightly.

  43. thaumaturge: don’t forget the evil of banality.

    “Boredom is always Counter-revolutionary”

  44. No thaumaturge, shouting at the telly in anger defeats the purpose. They want you to receive the message in an emotional state (which is why the programmes attempt to create an emotional crescendo just before the ads). You have to calmly and collectedly sarcas the thing to death.

    I think the "good" adverts are slipped in to try to make you lower your guard for the naked ladies and "wouldn't you be cool if..." ones.

  45. *Slightly* boring is probably about as boring as it could get.

  46. How free would you be, if you could honestly say "Who is JFK?"

    {Cue murmurings among the good machines walking around the column in the other direction.}

  47. Hank - acknowledge the haircut, didn't know he wrote for the (ugh) Sun, and if he did for your cat then he's off my list.

    Yes, the evil of banality - except I can't find Canadians evil. In their quiet way, they get on with being, well, not evil.

    billp - well, I'd guess they're just aiming for a different market. But you are certainly right about American telly - it's all created to showcase the advertising. Not so bad here. Although I am speaking from a position of almost total ignorance.

  48. And I wonder why people use the saying "Ignorance is bliss" as some kind of veiled insult. What's wrong with being blissful?

  49. "Hank - acknowledge the haircut, didn't know he wrote for the (ugh) Sun, and if he did for your cat then he's off my list."

    He probably didn't write for the Sun for Hank's cat. Probably just for Hank alone. Anyway, the cat's denying he ever took the Sun.

  50. ...except on top of the wall on summer mornings.

  51. What would a person lose by deciding to avoid ALL media news, and conversation about that news, forever?

  52. Suppose he went further and had another person email him "the news" every day, in the form of made-up, wonderful news of global peace and plenty? What would happen to that guy's brain? Would his demeanour change? Would it matter that he was living in a state of delusion? Isn't he doing so now?

  53. 'What would a person lose by deciding to avoid ALL media news, and conversation about that news, forever?'

    Dunno bill, let's try it. You start.

  54. Okay, but you all have to pitch in by continuing to rabbit on about the minutae of your individual lives.

  55. Which anonymous are you, anyway? Really, it's getting like a Chav's kindergarten in here.

  56. "all about control, retention of entrenched privileges, conserving what they've got. The clue's in the name, Pat."

    No, Hank, it's about "conserving" what is good in the world, in the knowledge that whatever it is has been ground out of history at huge cost from such unpromising raw materials as the human race, and that it would be madness to put it all at risk for the sake of some bag-of-the-fag-packet jottings of some theorist or other. It's not an ideology, it's a disposition, and you don't have to be rich or powerful to share it - just a little bit smug...

  57. @ MontanaWild Hack

    Thank you for providing a great site which attracts some very interesting, erudite and passionate people and those assorted but non the less interesting eccentricS and lots of very interesting topics/comments

    I’m fairly new around here so you don’t know me – but I know you a little bit because I take time to read what you have to say. I know you are a teacher with sprog and desire to come to the UK. I know that you have antecedents in the Cornwall area and that you have some special interest in Leicestershire – of course it is entirely possible that I confused what I read overtime and the facts I attribute to you belong t another. Bye the Bye that is not important either way.

    I know that there are a number of readers and commentators here who will be very sorry if we have to loose the views of folk like HankScorpio/Jay/Atomboy and numerous others who have or may in the near future be gone.

    There is of course a sense in which the position in which they find themselves was entirely predictable – if not for them personally then certainly for the next generation of developing posters with something to say.

    There is also the need to find and develop a defensive strategy for the many very fine posters who have not yet been banned but in the fullness of time may well share the fate of others.

    Only a fool or very short-sighted person could fail to see that the recent debacle is designed to intimidate and cowe – to which I am duty bound to say to the CIF mod who may be reading this – up yours.

    (Or to show that I am an educated person who can speak in two tongues or an alternative language – Fuck off).

    Montana we may be able to do little to prevent those who wish to leave but we can try and I hope Atomboy and HankScorpio etc will not do so and we can encourage others that the same misfortune is not automatic for them

    If they have any morality about them they will at least stay around to contribute history and experience – these things count for a lot in any battle to minimise the hassle in future and for a younger and perhaps less experienced generation.

    ( I too was a teacher but I specialised in teaching the awkward squad so I too have some experiences to throw in the pot)






    I am of course aware that an approach which requires the cooperation of those who might like to carry a knuckle duster, albeit within in Louis Vitton? bag, with others more comfortable in wearing soft slippers when dancing or kicking is no easy task

    But what I would respectfully ask Montana is if you would be kind enough to open a new thread with the name ROOM101 so that those with an interest in developing these ideas can put them on a thread without disturbing the peace of anyone who does not wish to join in a discussion of how to make CIF more user friendly.

    For those of a nervous .or market orientated disposition – we should all remember that the clever Scot - Adam Smith amongst many other things also said:

    Folk of the same trade seldom do but come together but that the conversation turns to how best to ( here you can take your choice from two words rig/serve) the market.

    For my part I think he said rig the market but if you think he said serve the market I have no quarrel – what I have mind might just do both?

    If we can have a ROOM101THREAD its contents can serve as an archive so that those following in future can learn from our mistakes (not that I intend to make that many) and develop their own experience.

    PLEASE DO NOTE THAT EVEN THE MOST DIVERSE OF MOBS CAN ALL SHOP HAPPILY AND BENEFIT FROM THE COOP – (Kizbot can still have a pink/purple badge if she wants and you Montana can display the USAblue which I always see as UKred etc)

    It is obvious that those who come here need an easy way to identify each other and to be identified by - that might found the starting point

    Kind Regards room101.d30

  58. thaumaturge: I didn’t intend to suggest Canadians are evil. My grandfather is Canadian, as it happens (more on that another time. Maybe).

    I think our posts may have crossed. Mine was in response to yours @ 21.19.

    Glad to see you’re still up; punch line approaching.

  59. Obvious posting error there for room100.d30 above read room101.d30

  60. One thing I believe is that no human society can function that doesn't have a clearly-defined hierarchical structure. We need a top, various levels, and a bottom. That makes me think we need a king or other "dictator" to rule us, and that "democracy" is utter bollocks. I only really want absolute freedom of expression to protect me from democracy.

  61. room101.d30x14 May, 2009 22:09

    @ MontanaWildHack

    Please can I second my alt ego room101.d30

    Regard room101.d30x

  62. @ HankScorpio

    And I'm convinced he still has posting rights on CiF as Len Firewood while HankScorpio's banned."

    That final Hank are you banned? If so I'm sorry to hear it.

  63. @ billp

    Ain't forgot I owe you a reply from this am - may not be tonight but will sort it

    Left a note confirming intent on the daily thread earlier.

  64. andysays - still up (just) and reloading yr thread to see the punch line.


    "What would a person lose by deciding to avoid ALL media news, and conversation about that news, forever?"

    Lots, unless perhaps he or she is living in a seriously remote area. If this was aimed at me, I don't avoid the news - I'm a political junkie, FFS, and spend every spare hour reading newspapers and surfing news sites - I just avoid television, which I think is insidiously evil.

  65. If you were a duke, say, would you need absolute freedom of expression? Or would it go without saying that you either had it or didn't have it, depending on who you were addressing and what you wished to express, and that you'd only ever have to fight for it all at a horizontal duke level.

    Isn't the frustrating thing that some of the demos appear to be more equal than others?

    Wouldn't life be a lot easier if we all had a place and knew that place?

    What good can come of all this aspiring to a better place? Surely, most aspirants are destined to fail?

  66. Andysays - no sign of punch line at this time - must go to bed now cos I have a major work event tomo. :-(

    Will try to slide in time tomorrow to look.

    'Night all.

  67. deano30, take your time. We'll continue that discussion whenever you are ready.

    thaumaturge, I wasn't aiming it at anyone. I don't see how a person has anything to lose by being unware of what's going on in the world, outside his/her immediate circle.

    I've never understood why, for example, people need to know what's happening in Africa, or why they care about what they're told is happening there. For all I really know, there are no people living in Africa now. If it was reported to me that they'd all died, I can't see that affecting me in the slightest. I don't know anyone who lives there.

    So, why is it being reported to me that another bus fell off a cliff in Kashmir and all aboard were drowned in the river below? What am I supposed to do with that information? HAve an emotional reaction? Why does the media want me to have emotional reations? In order to the more readily buy soap?

    If you entered (I'm not having you slip) a coma, and remained in it for 3 years, do you suppose the world would still turn?

  68. thaumaturge: punch line now up; thought I'd lost it for a minute.

  69. which I think is insidiously evil.

    an arena for appropriate arrogance,, i damm well know its evil,,overtly,,covertly and pervertly,,

    good night

  70. What is the lowest level of society in a real monarchy you would accept in exchange for losing democracy?

    What comparative level has democracy granted you?


  71. Well, Demos has a response to the Russell thread on women in the boardroom, which you can't respond to as it's not open for posts.
    Meanwhile over on the prison thread, the 'debate' has turned to prostate cancer ...

    Halgeel is absolutely right, current (or even post 1980s) feminist critical thinking is non existent on CiF. It leaves no space for people who don't hold extremist views - it's silencing and divisive, as Halgeel says, but also makes us UK feminists look a bunch of outdated idiots to other women around the world. But then again, I don't suppose Ciffers would enjoy a bit of Butler on performativity any more than I would.
    Do we have any ecofeminists out there? I could well do with a change of perspective.

  72. There are no feminists. What there are, are Would-be Family Destroyers (the institution, not the individual examples), and Apologists for being selfish and not fulfilling their biological role, properly or at all.

    The former hold sway on Cif.

  73. Shucks, billp, you could have offered your thoughts on gender performativity ...

  74. mschin - you could Email montana if you wanted to post a piece for discussion - there are feminists here. Although, certain posters don't seem to have any desire to discuss the stated topic, as witnessed by many of the nonsensical non-responses here to atomboy's article above.

  75. I don't know what gender perfomativity means. Does it have anything to do with the correct use of pronouns?

  76. Ah ah ah, scherfig! Somebody once suggested we have some rules and guidelines with respect to specific topic articles and was told to shut it. The way I see it, there are no rules and guidlines. Anything goes. Including taking the thread off topic.

  77. Thanks, scherfig, I think I'd like to give it a go when I have time.
    Apparently there's summat good on question time, plus Ally has just posted on the prison thread & I can't keep up wiv it all! Back soon ...

  78. I might do an article on Meism. In it, I'll explain why I want society to revolve around my personal preferences (my choices), while I still fully benefit from living in said society, and expect that society to continue unscathed.

    I think I'll call it How To Argue Your Deluded Case For Taking A Free Societal Ride.

  79. How was it swallowing that, scherfig?

    Now, repeat after me (in crazed Colin Clive voice)...

    It's alive! It's moving! It's alive! Oh, it's alive! It's alive! It's alive! It's alive!

  80. Now, now, scherfig, remember the Untrusted's motto: Be pleasant!

  81. I'm beginning to think scherfig is a woman. What with all the emotional outbursts.

  82. Billp, without wanting to be too harsh (because I think you have problems and desires which go well beyond a friendly chat on the web), but you're not really welcome here.

    Of course you know this and thrive on this, and of course you've noticed that people are staying away from this thread since you've arrived. It's a free blog, but it's important to know that you're not welcome.

    What you do with that information is entirely up to you (it is a free blog, but free doesn't mean welcoming).

  83. What happened to scherfig's post of 23:07? Do some people have the ability to remove all traces of a post they made? good job I saved it for posterity, and I quote...

    scherfig said...

    Anything goes. Absolutely right, bill - you're a fucking idiot though, aren't you? I guess that's fulfilling your biological role - you are a woman, right?
    14 May, 2009 23:07

    I wonder why he/she decided to remove it completely (instead of just binning it like wot we 'as to do)?

  84. @ anybody with a spare min???????

    Anybody know if Hank was finally and irrevocably banned to day??

  85. I guess scherfig broke some promise not to respond to me.

    Olching: "Billp, without wanting to be too harsh (because I think you have problems and desires which go well beyond a friendly chat on the web), but you're not really welcome here."

    {billp bursts into tears, runs upstairs and slams bedroom door behind him, after shouting that Olching is "Just beastly!"}

    "It's a free blog, but it's important to know that you're not welcome."

    Who exactly is usually in the official welcoming committee?

    "What you do with that information is entirely up to you (it is a free blog, but free doesn't mean welcoming)."

    I may not be welcome, but I'm not deaf.

  86. By the way Olching, even though this is an open forum, you're not welcome here.

    See how idiotic that sounds?

  87. If you can't be friendly and welcoming, I suggest you go away, and leave this forum to those of us who are.

  88. @ anybody with a spare min???????

    Anybody know if Hank was finally and irrevocably banned to day?

  89. Ok guys and gals - this place has got a bit out of hand today. I've done my bit to ignore bill the last few days and his paranoid rantings about how I've been orchestrating a campaign against him. Not true. I just ignore the nonce.

    But I'm not in the least bit impressed with the 101 shit that's been going on today. I'm not convinced it's bill doing it.

    Whether it's bill or not, I'm not fucking having this HS.101 shit. I'm recommending that the regulars all walk away from this site, leave the idiots to wibble amongst themselves, and let the grown ups talk in peace over at the phonebooth.

    Some might call it censorship. Others might call it a mercy killing.

    We can set up another site like this for members only quite easily. We don't need the fuckwits like bill and well, whoever it is today who should be old enough to know better, to shit on their own doorstep.

    Doesn't matter how old I get, I never fail to be amazed by how fucking queer folk might be.

    Jeez, what is the point?

    Seeya, billp and whoever303p4 xx

  90. Does it really make any difference, deano30? He was banned under another username while waiting for the decision. How long do you suppose he would have lasted back as HankScorpio?

    A bad seed by any other name, and all that.

  91. Hank: "We can set up another site like this for members only quite easily."

    Hank's alterlife hits a new low as he bans himself from a forum. I'm guesing the parole board's decision wasn't well received.

    "Whether it's bill or not, I'm not fucking having this HS.101 shit." said the diminutive king, furiously stamping his little foot.

  92. "We don't need the fuckwits like bill..."

    What exactly did I do that was so bad?

    I made some reasonable suggestions. I stopped making them when I was roundly absued for having had the audacity to make any.

    I was ignored. I went out of my way not to engage with those who were obviously ignoring my posts.

    I accepted the "no rules, no guidelines, anything goes" consensus, and played along.

    I contributed conversation starters when the threads looked like petering out (e.g., when the cricket had stopped for tea).

    So, what is my crime? Surviving better than you? My dear friends, that was inevitable. Right was always on my side.

  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. @ billp

    "A bad seed by any other name, and all that."

    Never saw it like that myself - some seeds do well in an acid soil others prefer a more alkaline one.

    If the guy don't want to respond to my quite civil enquiry posted twice it is matter for him. If he leaves I shall be sorry.

  95. Hey bill, sweetie, you're obviously not the brightest but, even so, is English your first language?

    Let's do this anyway - ""alterlife" - do you mean "afterlife"?

    "..bans himself from a forum.." Well, not quite, sweetcheeks, the forum followed me and left you sucking your dick. For a change.

    ""..said the diminutive king, furiously stamping his little foot" - Yup, loved that one, little bill. How many weeks is it you've been lifting your little pink skirts and scweaming for attention?

    As the grown ups said earlier, we're moving on, it's a mercy killing, it's frankly a little sad to see you embarrassing yourself day in day out on here seeking attention.

    Best of luck, bill, try to keep yourself sane and if you do happen to beat your sad old missus to death, don't forget that little nonces like yourself will always be seen as credible "self-defence" "victims" xx

  96. I am happy to second the sentiment expressed by deano30.

    It is easy to get confused here and to conclude that people often don't really read or wonder what it is that others are trying to say.

  97. ....like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

    Please consider building the next one on a solid rock foundation of free speech.

  98. "Hey bill, sweetie, you're obviously not the brightest but, even so, is English your first language? Let's do this anyway - ""alterlife" - do you mean "afterlife"? "

    No, I meant 'alterlife', as in what an alter ego lives.

    "'..bans himself from a forum..' Well, not quite, sweetcheeks, the forum followed me..."

    Ran away, you mean. To hide in a closet.

    "How many weeks is it you've been lifting your little pink skirts and scweaming for attention?"

    One and a half. ever since you said I couldn't have it. Does it really bother you that much that I got it?

    "As the grown ups said earlier, we're moving on, it's a mercy killing, it's frankly a little sad to see you embarrassing yourself day in day out on here seeking attention."

    As far as I heard, YOU'RE the only one who said he was moving on. Perhaps some will follow you into your cottonwool closet. Have fun avoiding each others' toes in there.

    "Best of luck, bill, try to keep yourself sane and if you do happen to beat your sad old missus to death, don't forget that little nonces like yourself will always be seen as credible "self-defence" "victims" xx"

    That longing appears to have a place in your acidic heart, rather than mine. I hope you never indulge it.

    Tattie bye now, HankScorpio, tattie bye.

  99. @ HankScorpio

    Sadly it's bewitching hour and I must be away the sleep - If you are to disappear into your phonebox (it was pretty predictable that that might/would happen one day) I wish you all the very best.

    When you are on form you are one of the finest posters I have read. I shall miss your take on events.

    When you are cross you are very very cross.

    Very Best W Deano30

  100. So, roll call. Who we got left here? And how do we get access to the beds and Scotch and control panel and stuff, now that the pigs have gone the way of Farmer Jones?

  101. bill believes he should live a life of voluntary poverty and ascetic self-discipline. Although, he probably doesn't. He's never had an original thought in his life. He regurgitates half-baked pseudo-philosophy that he's stolen from someone else (he knows who). He believes that makes him superior, and so he can't allow himself to recognize that he is regarded by others as a joke. He protects himself from scorn by lashing out at everybody, and convinces himself that he is taken seriously. He's a sad, lonely, inadequate, little person who cannot bear living in the vacuum that he creates for himself. And by his own behaviour he yet again excludes himself from the contact he craves. So, he'll move on somewhere else, and he'll be rejected again, and he'll blame everybody else again, and he'll try to feel superior again, but it just gets harder and harder. And then eventually he will be gone from this world. And nobody will miss him.

  102. Evening Montana. Will get in touch as sherfig suggested, if you've no objection.

  103. Yeah Bill, just go away. signed billp

  104. @deano30 - well, you're not a bad judge, but you seem to have been led astray today and it's quite pitiful to see in a grown man tbh.

    @billp - there's a new thread dedicated to you. I'm an oold-fashioned lefty to be honest, I think all this shit about giving a platform to wankers is a crock, so would have silenced you long since but I do like the idea of a tribute thread to you. Sure you will too, but it's your dying swan act on here.

  105. Anonymous, I asked "What about my love life? Will I ever meet Mr Right?" There's no way I'm paying for that answer.

  106. This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. This comment has been removed by the author.

  108. Billp's a sociopath who knows that we know he's a sociopath. It's a bit like The Talented Mr Ripley just without the talent. For sure, it gives him some kind of sexual-power trip (I wouldn't be at all surprised to find he wanks while writing and reading these very letters and words).

    Sociopaths are deceptive and it's noticeable that those who haven't been exposed to his weasely slime are often drawn in for a while. That's what sociopaths do.

  109. mschin - please do get in touch, via my profile here. Thanks!

  110. @ HankScorpio

    I've spent a lifetime avoiding growing up - I fear no mans pity nor his anger either.

    Best Regards.

  111. montana - Thank you I will, probably tomorrow when i'm more awake!