03 September 2009

Daily Chat 03/09/09

The Republic of San Marino was founded on this day in 301. Richard I was crowned at Westminster in 1189. And Sweden changed from driving on the left to driving on the right in 1967. Celebrating birthdays today: Pauline Collins, Al Jardine, Valerie Perrine, Steve Jones, Charlie Sheen and Fearne Cotton. It is the Ghost Festival in the Chinese calendar.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at 10, Downing Street. This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."

    That's Chamberlain by the way folks, not me, so relax, we're not at war with Germany again.

  3. You tease, swifty! I was getting quite excited about living through the blitz spirit and insulting the hun. Bah!

  4. Swifty,
    Sobering stuff, I'ts one of the main reasons we we have the EU. Don't much like them but another European war would be worse.

  5. Ooh, Swifty, you had me all worried there...

    Martillo: re your comment on the lack of filth in my depression strip.
    You're absolutely right but then you've only seen a fraction of my magnum opus which does get saucier later but has, I have to admit, precious little filth.
    My Oscar strip 'Oscar: The Second Coming' has a little gay naughtiness in it but again, nothing one could call pornographic...
    And my 'chilling' strip- the one i'm working on now- wouldn't offend Anita Bryant, mainly because all the action takes place inside a fridge.
    I'd love to do something genuinely erotic rather than pornographic, which is usually boring and clinical.
    I would submit that one of the most erotic sex scenes in cinema is Donald Sutherland shagging Julie Christie in 'Don't Look Now' and the most idiotic and gratuitous use of pornography in film is a scene in Von Trier's 'The Idiots' when an explicit shot of penetration is inserted (ho ho ho) which adds nothing to the movie.
    And there was that film 'Seven Songs'(?) which showed the actors having actual sex which I didn't want to see- I would have felt too embarrassed for them.
    Anyway, reading about sex is the most erotic. Anais Nin writes the best stuff...

  6. @martillo:

    Funny, I was looking forward to joining Dad's Army and digging for victory with Mrs Pike...

    Anyway, not seen much on the news about this memorable day, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.

  7. dan,
    You sold any strips? My agent used to phone me once a year to tell me I hadn't, the thing just died the death eventually. Glad to see you are still trucking. Good work too.

  8. @Dan:

    You know what mate, I'd never looked at your cartoon before. But I've just read the first few, and I've already snorted with laughter twice. "These jeans have shrunk in the wash..." yep, check. "Hang the washing out etc..." yep, check.

    I'm guessing you'll be getting to the "ah fuck it, I can't be arsed, I'll just roll up the dog ends, it's a bit of a walk to the shops, and it looks a bit blowy out" at some point?

  9. That bastard Michael White has stolen my "Gordon Brown is Lord Jim" meme, that I have been carefully cultivating for years. Where is the atributation? Where is my cut? Trevor Baylis would have him locked up.


    It has been raining here for four days solid now. Difficult to see where the canal ends and the road begins. Is the Gordon's scheme to win the next election? Drown us all?

  10. "something genuinely erotic rather than pornographic" Please, don't get me started on that question, Dan. I'm with you on Anaïs Nin, though.

    As I said, I love your strips. The only problem I find is with the blog. I try to get back to where I left it and am told the page doesn't exist. Can't you sell it as an e-book or something? I'd pay for it.

    With you on the digging for victory, swifty, but I'd rather do it with a shovel.

    Seen my coat anywhere?

  11. FrankFisher,
    That happens a lot mate. I've even had some of mine pinched. They comb the threads for stuff.

  12. BTW: What's a 'meme' when it's got its hat on?

  13. Blogs... Yeah, it's a problem. I haven't earned any money from my strips since leaving London and I did a "men behaving badly" strip featuring Major in No 10 just before Tony 'Cunt' Blair gained power. And that was in Punch magazine owned by Al Fayhed- a lad's mag of appalling quality. Then it folded and not a moment too soon.
    So I stick them on the internet- at least they get read that way. It's just that if you asked me what I enjoy doing most I'd say 'making comics'- it's the most fun I know...
    I just have to make some money which is why I'm in Marrakech. Which is also enormous fun.
    Yes, one day they'll all be published as books because they obviously connect with people like you, martillo. I'm trying to describe a very English experience- Americans don't get it at all.
    Anyway, comments like yours really keep me going, martillo- thanks.

  14. Also Colin the stoat and Swifty boy: Thanks for your kind words- they make me very happy.
    The 'depression' strip was originally intended as a serious work on dealing with depression and a sort of therapy for me. Then I decided that humour was paramount and a whiff of didacticism (??) would put people right off.
    And now I'm not depressed at all!
    Mainly down to yoga and buddhist meditation, I think...

  15. It really is very good, Dan, seriously.

    Reminds me in some ways of Jake's Thing by Kingsley Amis - the eponymous protagonist being one of my heroes in an odd way.

  16. dan,
    Sticking stuff on the internet makes one feel better and is sometimes a bit of a spur to produce work. For myself I think that having nowhere to publish writing and still doing it is a bit like scribbling on my own lavatory wall.

    I bet Bea Campbell pinches that.

  17. By the way, martillo, a meme is best explained by example - I remember seeing Richard Dawkins (I think he coined the term in The Selfish Gene) explaining in a Reith Lecture by putting a baseball hat on backwards, and showing the audience of nice kids how wearing your hat like that becomes popular (or "successful" if you're applying the analogy to mutations in biology).

    Some of these memes fly, while others never take wing and just slip quietly out of our consciousness.

  18. Swifty - Thanks for posting Chamberlain's message to the nation, from 1939, as it brought to mind something that's been bugging me for the last few days.

    The History Channel's been plugging its commemoration programming, for the 70th anniversary of the day war broke out, which it's gooing to air on Saturday 05/09/09. Struck me as odd that they should have such a lack of historical awareness as to be two days late.

  19. A bit like 'discourse' then Swifty?
    Glad you went with the humour, Dan. Nothing turns me off more than a didact. I envy the fact that you've kept working on it, dan. I have so many unfinished projects I end up doing nothing on any of them. Ah self-discipline...

  20. @GP01:

    Apparently it's a scheduling thing. They'll get better ratings for it if they show it on the Saturday, rather than today. I know these things...

    And Chamberlain's much misunderstood these days. Many see him merely as the Arch Appeaser, but he had very good reason not to want to be dragged into another bloody war with Germany.

  21. Martillo - more like something that goes viral on the internet.

  22. Actually, I know he was an awful old misogynist but I really liked Kingsley Amis' writing. 'Lucky Jim' is just wonderful.
    I have a feeling I wouldn't like Martin Amis either, but he can't half write well. My favourite is 'Information' which makes me die laughing.
    'Experience' is also brilliant and very humane- a marvellous account of his trouble with teeth...

  23. @martillo:

    And "narrative" and all the other bloody useless terms for stuff which keeps academics nice and busy but which bears precious little relevance for the rest of us.

  24. @dan:

    Nothing wrong with liking Kingsley Amis in my opinion, mate.

    Laugh out loud funny, a lot of it.

  25. Self-discipline???
    Wow, thanks. I often think I have no discipline AT ALL but I suppose I get things done.
    Most frequent comment I get from people: 'I don't know how you have the patience'
    And I believe that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. Nowadays people demand quick fixes...

  26. dan,
    I'ts when they say;
    "I haven't got the patience" like they are a get up and go type and you are some kinda wierdo.

  27. Incidentally, unhinged radfem self-loathing screwball Melissa McEwan is back again, this time opining that apparently we (by which I assume she means teh menz) only dislike nepotism if it's women being, erm, nepotised.

    Brilliant in a batty, who-cares-if-the-evidence-fits-the-case, kind of way.

  28. Swifty; I think your characterisation of MMcE is a little OTT.

    I saw that she had a new piece up, but I haven’t bothered to check it out.

    On a personal level, I have at least some sympathy for someone whose experiences have apparently led them to what I consider a distorted view of the world, but after a while it becomes pointless and tiring to attempt to engage with that sort of thinking.

    Amusing to see that so many of us are confirming BiiWii’s suggestion that we’re on Cif for social-netwanking.

    It’s not just his/her imagination, is it?

  29. This is rather amusing - be sure to go to page 2 for the second-last item!

  30. @andy:

    I hear what you're saying but on balance we may have to agree to disagree. Her outlook isn't normal and it seems to be making her unhappy.

    I do agree with you re. BiiWii's CiF-as-social-networking theory, the ATL action is really just secondary to what goes on below it.

    BTW, you mentioned you'd seen some of the other posters in real life - have I missed out on a drink-up or something?

  31. "Amusing to see that so many of us are confirming BiiWii’s suggestion that we’re on Cif for social-netwanking."

    ...as opposed to the world-improving work of most posters eh, andy?

  32. thauma (or is it trauma from now on?): Nice one.

    I liked the *Good News For Tree Fellers* bit a few more pages on as well.

    That whole paying people to scrap cars thing is complete bollocks, in both economic and environmental terms.

    Swifty: no, I think we pretty much agree.

    I said on her previous thread that her piece suggested to me (from a position of some personal experience) that her outlook is distorted and she might want to consider whether it’s really healthy.

    Although I haven’t read her latest, and don’t intend to, I honestly wonder whether The Guardian is doing her any favours by continuing to publish and therefore encourage her.

    My ref to real life was a joke, and referred only to here. You mean there’s a real life beyond Cif and Untrusted? Now it’s you who’s joking, right?

    martillo: Nah, generally we’re no better, but at least most of us have some self-awareness.

    (By we and us I refer to us on Untrusted, obviously)

  33. Is it just me, or is Comment fucked again?

  34. I agree with you about MM, Andy. My argument is really with cif for putting up so much of that stuff. Wouldn't be so bad if we saw 'the other side' from time to time. I'd welcome the chance to ridicule the odd anti-fem...

  35. @andy:

    Oh I see, OK mate. I was about to get all upset about not being invited to the party...

    Re. MMcE - I see what you're saying.

    Re. CiF - it seems to get worse as the day goes on, or as the amount of sessions you build up on it grows. Probably something to do with excess build up of cookies in the swonnicles or something.

  36. Maybe there should be a party....

  37. Sorry Swifty, that thing about excess build up of cookies in the swonnicals is too technical for me.

    Maybe it's someone's way of telling me I should just switch off my computer for a while and go out to enjoy the sunshine.

    See you all later...

  38. Sunshine?

    I'm living in the wrong bloody place, once again it's pissing it down here.

  39. So, on balance, do you lot think following cif threads is informative? Do you rely on it for expert opinion?
    Most comment here about cif is fairly negative. Is there no other forum offering a higher level of debate?

    Phil Hall, and others, want an online magazine for open debate, because we've all seen behind the veil of Guardian 'free speech', found depressing mediocrity and lazy journalism and think we could better. A gonzo blog, perhaps...
    And I bet half the cif contributors agree.

    Anyway, this is really your cue, Phil, if you're listening...

  40. @dan:

    Do you rely on it for expert opinion?

    Not for the most part - indeed, as a rule (not an inflexible one, admittedly) I tend to a 180 degree about-face when I read most of the expert punditry on there, which usually leads me to take up the exact opposite opinion, as being the saner, and safer, option.

  41. Occasionally the ATL posters have some insights, but I find BTL posters much more informative. ATL are mostly journos whereas there are some people who really are experts in the field under discussion BTL.

  42. elementary_watson03 September, 2009 14:17

    I am still a little baffled why Melissa McEwan is so ridiculed while there are people like Barbara Ellen writing for the guardian, who ridicules the notion that a feminist could be too mean against men, or who can't understand Lessing criticizing a teacher who tells a young boy that he's part of the patriarchy, too.

    My guess is that there are anti-fat sentiments at work here.

  43. I think that a lot of what goes on here on UT is simple work/boredom avoidance. That doesn't make it any less amusing or enjoyable to read.

  44. Re Melissa, her comment on her own blog about the Cif article is good:

    "Those men over there are so testerical.

    Some of the commenters, yes. Although my editor, who's a dude, is a freaking rock star. I mean, he is truly a model of what being a feminist man looks like."

    Now, what male Cif editor could she possibly be talking about?

  45. Thank goodness there's a new, much needed article from CiF America about misogyny. It must be several hours since the last one.

    Its all getting a bit excessive for me.

  46. @elementary:

    I don't like her because of her writing and her opinions, which I think are just rubbish. With anyone you don't know personally, you can only go on what you read, on what clues they give you about themselves. Whether she's carrying a bit of excess poundage or not is irrelevant to me, I'm hardly in a position to comment on that myself, frankly, not being the whippet I used to be.


    Good old CiF America. I've been suckered into reading stuff from there before, thinking WTF!?! for a wee while until I clocked the target audience.

    And I like America and Americans, at least the ones I know, anyway.

  47. Barbara Ellen would be much more at home writing for one of the sleb magazines. They're all she talks about.

  48. "My guess is that there are anti-fat sentiments at work here."

    'You're only saying that 'cos I'm...' seems to be a mainstay of cif contributors, elementary. I think Catherine Bennet gets her share of flack, as does Sandrine ____ and she's fairly attractive, if that isn't too misogynist a statement. CB's stuff comes out on a Sunday and is often missed by a lot of the usual commenters. I don't know, her google research piece just seemed so worthy of ridicule...

  49. elementary_watson03 September, 2009 14:41

    Swifty: I thought it was obvious that my claim being silly (like, say, blaming misogyny when a woman gets annoyance flung her way when she benefits from nepotism is silly) was intentional.


  50. I thought that Elementary_Watson was posting ironically?

    I dislike MM because of her very extreme views which I consider to be rather offensive to the men I know, including my husband and father. It saddens and angers me in equal measure on behalf of my son.

    I don't like Barbara Ellen a great deal more than I do MM, but as she tends to be posted on a Sunday, I rarely comment on her articles, plus, from what I can gather, she can be equally offensive to women, have a look at her 'musings' relating to Fay Weldon from last Sunday's Observer.....

  51. Bah! Got me too, elementary. Well done!

  52. Double bah! Good job elementary, I must be on a hair trigger today or something.

  53. Is it just me, or is Comment fucked again?

    No, the articles recently really have been that crap. Oh ... that's not what you meant.

    Question Of The Day.

    Why do feminists insist on posting a thousand words of utter arse-gravy and then claim to have the predictive powers of Nostradamus when male readers point out that it's utter arse-gravy?

    I mean, if I put a dozen kittens in a plastic bag weighed down with a brick and threw it into a river, should I indignantly exclaim "oh, I just knew someone would say that" when people point out that it's not a very nice thing to do?

    Right, I'm off.

  54. elementary_watson03 September, 2009 14:56

    LordS: That post made me laugh (well, chuckle).

    Although I would like to add that "male readers pointing out that it's utter arse gravy" only proves the point the feminist writer made in the article!

  55. Interestingly, Melissa has this to say:

    "Also: I'm a fat ugly bitch"

    Oh well, if the kaftan fits...

  56. Yes, gets rather repetitive, LordS...

    On that note, Swifty, I enjoyed your posts last week, along the lines of 'MsWoman can't be here at the moment, but she asked me to say, brilliant article (insert name here)!'

  57. I find that the ATL pieces on Cif are useful for providing a topic to debate; although the standard of research, journalism or editorial (can be any combination of any or all of the three) standards tend to be so poor that it is actually such flaws that tend to be discussed more than the issue being raised. I also find it irksome that we will often be presented with multiple pieces, by various contributors that all say the same thing & then have the Mods & editors get shirty when BTL posters complain. With few exceptions, most of the good stuff is BTL.

    To be honest, I've often wondered if GMG got something other than what they expected with Cif, in that they probably thought they were creating a talking shop, where people would come to simply agree with, & pat on the back, ATL opinions & what they actually got was a debating site where, more often than not, BTL posters hold quite different opinions to those ATL?

  58. "Also: I'm a fat ugly bitch"

    I must admit That I have been reading McEwen's Cif articles for quite some time now (and her blog occasionally), and she does sometimes have interesting things to say. But (deletions aside, obviously) I've never ever seen her attacked in this way. On her recent thread there have only been 3 or 4 deletions, and we don't even know why they were deleted. This is probably below average deletion rate for a 'controversial/provocative'
    piece, and many other contributors, both male and female, get a much rougher ride. It strikes me as a typical self-absorbed 'victim reaction' - my piece was trashed, not because it was rubbish (Google search numbers for 'evidence' of misogynism in nepotism, ffs), but because I am a fat, feminist woman. There appears to be no self-awareness or consideration of the outside possibility that her whole premise is nonsense. And the knee-jerk defensive feminist reaction is no more appealing or interesting to me than the usual brain-dead MRA-type suspects that infest every feminist thread.
    A plague on both their houses!

  59. @GP01:

    I've thought that about GMG and CiF before - they've got a tiger by the tail and can't really let go now.

    Doesn't excuse the pisspoor writing, though. Less quantity, higher quality would be an improvement, I think.

  60. "Also: I'm a fat ugly bitch"

    oh dearie me - how about a Comment is Fat Free day?

  61. scherfig - one comment on her previous thread said something like, "her rapist must have been blind". Rightfully deleted.

  62. That's true, thauma and I've seen similar on cath elliot's and Julie Bindel's pieces. But one might get the impression from MM's blog or Bindel's 'Why I hate men' that those are typical comments. They're not, are they?

  63. Martillo - no, they aren't, but a comment like that takes nastiness to new lows. And I can also see why an ATL writer might view other comments with a jaundiced eye after seeing something like that, so it also detracts from rightful rubbishing of an article.

  64. Yeah, unfortunately there'll always be wankers who say that sort of thing. It shouldn't somehow invalidate reasonable criticism of a bad article, though. One or two abusive comments shouldn't just be a blanket defence of absurdity. I hear that one poster even called Tony Blair a cunt once. Can that be true? And if so, does it mean that Tony wasn't talking nonsense after all?

  65. scherfig - shocking! I hope that poster was banned for life.

  66. Swifty: nice pic on WDY..?

    Which one is kiz, and who do you reckon the others are?

    I too thought at first that elementary watson was being serious, perhaps because I don’t really know him/her as well as I do many others here.

    I was going to get all offended, but now I’ll simply point out that, in my opinion, many of those here on Untrusted seem to me to make comments that disagree with both poles of many arguments.

    If one has a general sympathy for feminism, as I do, then it’s very difficult to disagree totally with the idea that many women experience oppression on a more or less daily basis, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept some of the exaggeration and downright disingenuousness that often passes for argument both ATL and BTL.

    In that last MMcE thread, I found myself agreeing with some of the author’s points but disagreeing with most of her conclusions, and also disagreeing with those who I’ll lazily class as ultra-feminists on one side and out-and-out misogynists on the other.

    Sometimes I end up feeling like Howard Devoto...

    Magazine - Shot By Both Sides

  67. @andy:

    Tenniel is a favourite of mine, have to admit.

    Kiz is clearly doing the washing up on the left. Jay is dandling on ultima's knee, while new bug BiiWii is tip-toeing nervously into the kitchen.

  68. Where is this picture? Wherever it is it's been photoshopped, Madam Kizbot has never washed up in her life.............

  69. I'm assuming that the pussy is the sort of guy who gets abused by macho BTL posters for supporting feminism and changing the sprog's nappy (copyright Jessica Reed). But why is it smiling?

  70. Dot: Swifty linked to it on WDY..?

    Here it is

    There are so many possible interpretations.

    I assumed at first that kizbot was the Duchess, and that the person doing the washing up was either Dot, or maybe Colin who was briefly in post as kiz’s butler.

    Jay could still be the baby, but if we’re restricting it to members of the Untrusted clique, as I originally assumed, I don’t quite know who Alice and the Cat would be.

    If we open it to all those on Cif, it’s obvious that BTH is a shoo-in for the biggest pussy...

  71. The cook is Jay, furiously stirring up a mess of trouble.
    The queen is ultima, deadly serious, never amused.
    The squawling infant is imogen, permanently distressed that cif never answer her Emails or keep threads open because she only got time to read them on day 3, and couldn't comment.
    The somewhat bemused young girl is a new poster who can't make head nor tail of anything that's going on.

    And finally, the cat - that smug smile, the rolled eyes, the complacent superiority - it can only be Cif's finest, the head honcho, top editor Mr Matt Seaton. When the shit hits the fan, he disappears, leaving only a self-satisfied grin behind.

  72. thauma: I’ve just read that WP article you linked to.

    No problem with most of McEwan’s views as reported there, and I note that she claims

    *a deep respect for diverse beliefs*

    I wonder if those beliefs she deeply respects are diverse enough to include mine that not all men are misogynistic oppressive bastards.

    scherfig: that’s not the only interpretation, but it’ll be hard to come up with a better one.

    Strictly speaking though, it's the Duchess not the Queen (isn't it?)

  73. True, andy, but if you want to tell ultima that she's only a duchess and not the fem-queen of Cif, then be my guest. Shall I bring grapes and a few magazines when I visit?

  74. scherfig: you’re right again.

    If I suggested that, I’d be Finnished (sorry).

    She never came back on all that stuff we set her up with yesterday, did she? Shame Cif went down when it did.

  75. andy, she popped up on another thread - standard ut procedure. When she gets well-deserved criticism from 'misogynists' and feminists alike, she just runs away and comments somewhere else.

  76. scherfig: I was curious about ultima at some point last night, so I checked her profile and found that she hadn’t returned to Cif at that stage.

    I’ve just checked again, and she came back at 7.30 this morning with a comment on an unrelated thread.

    I don’t doubt that in the past she has simply given up and run away to comment elsewhere, and had Cif not gone down yesterday she might well have done the same, but in this case I think your suggestion is a little disingenuous.

    She’s not obliged to subject herself to our rotten tomatoes, after all.

    (After posting that I’ll have to lie down in a darkened room for a while)

  77. "If I suggested that, I'd be Finnished"

    Deary me oh lore. That was appalling.

    Clever, but appalling :o)

    Evening all, anyhoo.

    I've just been called a xenophobe against white people because I am laughing at all the usual "get rid of asylum seekers" lot bending over backwards to support a white Saffy who has been granted asylum in Canada.

    Yep. That's right. I am racist against white people....
    ....actually, that is not strictly true. I am racist against bigots and morons, no matter what colour they are.

  78. kiz here, saying a quick hi.. havin probs with my laptop an gotta get the freakin thing formatted.. just sneaked on his lordshi's pc to wave...
    *waves at everyone*

  79. KIZ!!!

    *waves back*

    Hope you had a good holiday. Get that lappy sorted, girl!

  80. Hi Kizzie - wondered when you'd duck up.


    Interesting about Chinese Ghost Day. Just up my street. I got an electronic brochure yesterday about spooky happenings in the Castle of Gaasbeek on Halloween. Ghosts and things wandering the candlelit grounds. Might go to that. I like a good fright now and then.

    Plus just booked to see "The Legend of the White Serpent" (based on Hamlet) performed in Antwerp by the Shangai Peking opera troupe. That's for November. Should be exotic if not a challenge.

    I'm partial to oriental theatre - went to see Japanese Kabuki once and found it fascinating and very beautiful.

    Have a good evening all.....

  81. I am a bit post so I won't piss, night.