11 July 2009

Daily Chat 11/07/09

Odd day in history. Bloody day in history. In 1804, US Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Four major plane crashes have occured on this date. In 1973, a Brazilian plane crashed at Orly, killing 124 passengers. Ten years later, a plane crashed outside of Cuenca, Ecuador, killing 119. In 1991, a Nigerian charter plane crashed near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing 261 hajjis and in 1995, a Cuban jet crashed, killing all 44 passengers. Also on this day in 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnians, mostly men and children, were killed by Serbian troops near Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Two hundred nine people were killed in a series of bombings in Mumbai in 2006. On a more pleasant note, our literary heritage was greatly enhanced twice on this date by the publication in 1859 of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities and in 1960, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Celebrating birthdays today: Giorgio Armani, Richie Sambora, Suzanne Vega and Craig Charles. It is the first day of the Mongolian sport and cultural festival known as Naadam.


  1. A bloody day indeed.

    Let's hope we can get through this July 11 without any more being spilled, at least here.

  2. Yes this is a depressing one. A Tale of Two Cites is pretty bleak also (to my shame have never read the Harper Lee book).

    Like to see connections between the birthday guys and gals but am stumped here. Craig Charles is the Red Dwarf person isn't he? And Vega is a nice singer but also a bright star - here is Auden on the summer lawn for a nice stanza -

    Out on the lawn I lie in bed,
    Vega conspicuous overhead
    In the windless nights of June,
    As congregated leaves complete
    Their day's activity; my feet
    Point to the rising moon.

  3. Edwin: many/most/all of us here have had our own little tiffs with CiF. You’re in good company on that score.

    You may find it difficult to believe, given the generally warm welcome you’ve received, but sometime we even have our own little tiffs here too. Nothing too serious though, and people here are generally far more willing to make apologies than anyone on or of CiF.

    I was wondering if you’d had a bust-up with the Heresiarch over some obscure piece of religious dogma, but I’m pleased to hear that doesn’t appear to be the case. How are things over that way, BTW? I haven’t visited for a while (wouldn’t want to be accused of two-timing Montana).

  4. Edwin:

    "Like to see connections between the birthday guys and gals but am stumped"

    Here's a clue - they were all born on July 11 ;-)

  5. That Jonathan Myerson really is an odious fuck. Have you read his patronizing bullshit about protest?

  6. @scherfers:

    Yep, read it last night, he's an oleaginous wanker of the first water.

  7. Matt's best mate - he gets an 'Editor's pick' spot complete with half-profile photo of his greasy 1980's mullet. Where's his skunky junkie son these days, I wonder?

  8. scherfig: check the end of the "Not a Test" thread for further discussion of Myerson

  9. Edwin Moore

    I must say I find A Tale of Two Cities to be one of the most magnificently uplifting books I've ever read. Carton's courage and the redemption of what he feels is the failure of his life are incredibly moving. I can never read his final moments giving comfort to the frightened girl in the tumbril, and the epilogue that follows, without welling up.

  10. I've just read the first para of Myerson's piece to my GF, and she reckons it shows that the protestors weren't violent enough.

    She also suggests that Myerson's parents should be asking for a refund on all the money they spent on his education, and that if he wants to make an argument for the introduction of fascism, he could surely do much better.

    I've tried to persuade her to sign up for CiF, but she says if the level of debate is that poor, she really can't be arsed, innit.

  11. staybryte, what about 'Les Miserables'? (The book obviously, not the musical.)

  12. Haven't read (or seen) it I'm afraid scherfig.

  13. andy - oh god no Heresy Corner is a rock, can't imagine falling out with Heresiarch!

    staybrite - yes it is a very moving ending but for me it feels tacked on - a minority view I accept. It is a very great novel.

  14. "Tale of Two Cities" and "Les Miserables" are both cracking reads, great social/historical documents, and speak to what I'd like to think is a universal or at least common human instinct to do the right thing.

    Don't bother sending me tickets for "Les Mis", though. UGH!

  15. Interesting perspective re the ending being tacked on Edwin. Never thought of it like that. Good excuse for a re-read I think.

  16. Oleaginous wanker is such a vivid description! :o)


  17. scherfig: I am gonna bet that his skunkie junkie son will end up to be far greater than the sum of his constituent genetic make-up.

    There is nothing - nothing! - in the world that would ever persuade me to kick my lad out of the house and lock the door on him, no matter how vile or violent he might become. I think that whole Myerson episode was more about them finding a fucking good excuse in front of their middle class pancetta and panini friends as to how such a "nice family" could have a son with "problems" without any of it being their fault.

    Self-obsessed idiots.

  18. Hi staybrite - it's not an original thought of mine, thinking the end of TOTC tacks on a feeling of goodness that the novel denies - I think one of those deeply unfashionable Victorian critics said it first!

    Curious fact: the purge of American Loyalists after the American Revolution was more violent and more widespread than the French revolutionary terror. One historian recently said it was appropriate to speak of an 'American Terror' - who knows, one day the period might have its own TOTC.

  19. yeah, BB, it's rarely that sad wankers like Myerson arouse such visceral anger in me, but on every level the man is a total cunt. First up against the wall.

  20. "Tale of Two Cities" - an Englishman writing about how badly French peasants were treated in the 1770's. (written in 1859)
    "Les Miserables" - a Frenchman writing about how badly French peasants were treated in the 1820's onwards. (written in 1862)

    Hugo's work is vastly superior,imho. There was also an excellent American TV film/miniseries starring Anthony Perkins as Javert and Louis Jordan as Jean Valjean. You should read the book though, staybryte, it's marvellous stuff.

  21. OK scherfig, sounds good, I think I will.

  22. Scherf

    the Myerson boy may be a skunky junkie as you say, but can you blame him with parents like those two. Being off his head must have seemed the only bearable way to cope.

    I hope he's survived and can give two fingers to the pair of them. Like BB I never would and in fact never did chuck my son out, who also went through a druggie phase and was pretty difficult for a while. Although i did once threaten to attack him with his base guitar - it was a real end of tether moment - frightened us both.

  23. elementary_watson11 July, 2009 14:15

    Ah, the seas of salty waters I cried over the ending of "A Tale of Two Cities"! Even Kirk misquoting it in "Wrath of Khan" makes my eyes watery.

    And then someone mentions this other enormous emotional devastating book, that left me a mass of sobbing and crying in the end.

    Now I have to readjust my make-up. *sniff*

  24. Agreed, sheff, my subtext was that I hoped that he was doing fine, now that he's rid of his despicable parents. Irony doesn't always come over perfectly on blogs, but I hope you would agree that 'skunky junkie' is a bit more a 'Myerson' phrase than my my own point of view. After all, we don't want to have to put little smileys all these threads, do we? :o) :o) :o) :o)

  25. Scherf

    Sorry if I misread you. I agree it can be quite difficult to do irony on a blog. I know I've been misread and have misread others - in this case you. I'm not a big fan of emoticons either but I do use them ocassionally I have to say.

    I really don't get the Myersons at all - obviously the father is an utterly stuck up, tight arsed control freak - but what that woman did to her son was completely beyond the pale and my capacity to understand - how cruel can you be - especially to an obviously vulnerable young man who you (allegedly) love.

  26. Sheff - I agree entirely. "Tough love" as it is so laughingly referred-to in the States is more about getting rid of a problem that you have been instrumental in creating instead of facing up to your responsibilities as parents and trying to deal with it.

  27. BB

    Teenage boys can be so fragile - beautiful but also very vulnerable, terrible risk takers - I guess its all that testosterone zapping about and driving them mad.

    My son was a monumental pain a lot of the time from 13 to 16 and really frightened his father and me at times. But we made sure he knew what was what and hung on in there and he got through it in one piece pretty much. Took some hair raising risks with drugs as he told me much later and I'm sure I don't know it all.

    I remember one hilarious occasion when he had a massive fight with his father. They were both on their knees either side of the locked back door screaming at each other through the cat flap which was batting back and forth with the force of it. At the time I didn't know whether to laugh or cry - turned out to be quite a cathartic experience for them both.

  28. My lad, at the ripe old age of 14, sometimes demonstrates a kind of nihilsim that is quite worrying. Nothing matters. Nothing is worth making an effort for (apart from his guitar playing). It is difficult to get him involved in anything much. He has become quite insular, although he does see a couple of friends quite regularly - he has never been one to have loads of friends or to hang out in a group.

    I am expecting all the drugs stuff to rear its head before long. They seem to be able to get hold of them far more easily these days, somehow. I just hope that he doesn't go down the path of class A. I try my best to scare the shit out of him and talk to him about druggie clients I have known so he understands what it will lead to. But his only ambition seems to be to live in a VW Camper and play his guitar.

  29. Sounds familiar BB although my boy was probably more social - out a lot which kept me in a constant state of anxiety. it takes them in different ways. They seem so gangly and uncoordinated, emotionally as well as physically - all knees and elbows and zapping hormones. It does pass, though I agree they certainly push the boat out at times. Nick told me later that he couldn't explain to himself how he felt - never mind to us and felt very beleagured when we quizzed him.

  30. My daughter had a 'difficult' adolescence but it never never entered my head to kick her out!

    On tough love I've always seen it as loving the person but making it clear you disapprove of the behaviour. Kicking a kid out is not love at all its rejection and just about the most damaging thing you can do.

    And that git dares to criticise climate change protesters!

  31. BTH has just made a comment on Myerson's thread.

    Even he's come out against the oleaginous wanker (© SwiftyBoy).

    I'm almost tempted to recommend him...

  32. Actually, on re-reading his comment, I'm not so sure.

    Maybe I'll ask him for clarification.

  33. Evening all
    Where's deano these days? I see he's made some brilliant posts on CiF recently, but I'm missing his tales about Mungo ..

  34. MsChin - Yes - where is he? Deano give us a wave and let us know you're still about. You too stoaty - we miss you.

  35. Agree re: mr stoat, too.

  36. Annetan - I think the key is that, male or female, adolescence is a horrible time of life. I look at my lad who still sucks his thumb when he thinks no-one is looking, yet he is as tall as his father, with a voice that could do film trailers and is just so grown-up in other ways.

    I was an appalling teenager. I was very rebellious against my parents, I spat in the soup, as the french would say, and rejected their morals and their way of life which I saw as betraying their working-class roots (my mum was Hyacinth Bucket if ever there was one). I remember it as being a truly horrible experience, thinking I knew everything about life and yet so bloody naive.

    I think we all want to wrap our kids up in cotton wool to a certain extent and protect them from the nasty old world. And it is all part of the fledging process for them to reject us.

  37. Absolute agreement that kicking your own child out is never acceptable. When I was about 15/16, my mother told me that I would have to move out of their house the day after I graduated from high school unless I went to college. They hadn't issued such a proclamation to my older brother, but he was the golden boy who had his life mapped out by then -- and a lovely, practical map it was; studying industrial engineering.

    I was more inclined to creative pursuits, which drove my intensely practical mother mad. I wanted to study drama. She said absolutely no way was I going to study drama, so at 15/16 I was trying to figure out something that I could do that would interest me but somehow be acceptable to her. To have the threat of being kicked out of their house hanging over my head did two things; it added an element of panic to my decision-making and it confirmed my already strong belief that my parents saw me as an incredible burden they couldn't wait to get rid of. Living your life with the feeling that your own parents don't want you is a feeling I wouldn't wish on anyone.

  38. BB the trouble was that she had depression as well as adolescent angst - not a good combination!

    But yes rejection of the parent is an important part of growing up. The thing to remember is that in the end if you don't reject them back (as opposed to their behaviour), then in the end you can end up getting along quite well.

    My ex wanted me to kick her out! What did he know - she was nearly 17 when he suggested that - he had hardly seen anything of her since she was 11! Needless to say I didn't follow his advice.

  39. Alive and well guys - been busy of late.

    Hope to rejoin the club early next week.

    Oh puberty - what a time for parents. My three got through it eventually with a bit of pushing and pulling. Not a time I would revisit, although compared to some we had it mild.

    Mungo well and still writing the tales for me.

    Regards Deano30

  40. Evenin' all.

    A Tale of Two Cities is my all-time favourite Charles Dickens book, narrowly beating Great Expectations. I think it's the most untypical Dickens book with little of the over-sentimentality that often mars his other works. I find it a very factual book in many ways and Mme Defarge a wonderful female creation.

    Not up to much tonight - been shopping (sales) for Belgium. Bagged three blouses and an Italian leather handbag to die for. In fact another day like today running into the shops from the tipping rain might finish me off.

    Got a stiff week ahead and have to manage two summer parties on top of it. I've known people in Brussels to drop dead from too much socialising, no one ever knows when to stop here.

    Got twelve Russians coming after that. Which reminds me of the old Les Dawson joke. "I went to Russia once but I didn't stay long. Everything ended in -off."

    Kiz if you join up later - the bag is pale pink and dark grey.

    Will be paying flying visits as and when for the next ten days. Have a great weekend all of you.

  41. Montana - it seems to me that some parents see their kids as extensions of themselves and try to force them to do the things they regret not doing.

    Personally I would make sure that all parents were told that the child they were expecting was an individual who may or may not be like either of them and that best you can do do is guide them instill some values and hope for the best.

    In the end she turned out all right has achieved her potential in her own way and is truthful, honest, and loyal. Must have done something right! or maybe it was just luck!

  42. To clarify -

    Puberty - starts with the first drop of hormonal disturbance and ends when you see your first-born and understand that you had something to do with it. And then slowly realise that you will be having a relationship with "it" for the rest of your natural life.

    Would I do it again - you fucking bet I would.


  43. Annetan -- my mother wasn't trying to force me to do something she regretted not doing. She was trying to force me to become a carbon copy of her.

  44. Oh dear thats even worse! My sympathies - you seem to have survived it pretty well though! :-)