22 September 2009

Daily Chat 22/09/09

The last eight executions of the Salem Witch Trials took place in 1692.  Des Moines, Iowa, was incorporated as a city in 1851.  Queen Victoria became the longest-reigning monarch in British history in 1896 and ITV broadcast live for the first time in 1955.

Born today:  Anne of Cleves (1515-1557), Michael Faraday (1791-1867), Ségolène Royal (1953), Nick Cave (1957), Billie Piper (1982) and Tom Felton (1987).

It is Independence Day in Bulgaria and Mali.  It is also the first day of autumn or, as we like to call it here in America, fall.


  1. the photo looks like a real estate brochure,,possibly a composite with a model of a proposed new building inserted,, the brick building on the far left is a clone of one i worked on in an architectural modelshop,,

  2. That looks like a big glass of wine on the left - maybe I'm hallucinating!

    In 1696, four years after the last Salem burnings, six people were burned in Paisley for witchcraft - another victim committed suicide before execution. The Salem trials are justly remembered, whereas the Paisley trials have slipped from Scottish history.

  3. The last 'official' witch-burning in Denmark was 1693. Between 1540 and then, they reckon to have burnt about 1000.
    King Christian IV was a keen witch-hunter, and apparently got the taste for it on a journey to Scotland in 1549 with his sister Anne who was to marry James VI. They couldn't make Scotland because of storms and ended up in Norway. Christian believed this was due to witchcraft, and thereafter acted accordingly. Apart from his taste for witch-burning, he was quite a remarkable king.

  4. The last execution in Scotland was 1729, poor Janet Horne. Westminster banned execution for witchcraft in 1736 to the great frustration of the Church of Scotland was very annoyed.

    Scotland was bad for witchburning, and Jamie the Saxt made matters a lot worse. I'd no knowledge of the Danish persecutions, Scherfig that is very interesting.

  5. I suppose it was only a matter of time - Tanya Gold writes a piece praising Liz Jones. The journalistic equivalent of 'Alien vs Terminator.'

    Apparently though, Ms Jones 'puts her readers first', bless her, so Tanya's got a way to go yet.

  6. Tanya Gold writes a piece praising Liz Jones

    The result, no doubt, of the pair of them having a tear filled, Chardonnay fueled 'nobody understands me' evening in a Fleet Street wine bar.

    I predict the appearance of a reciprocal article some time in the reasonably near future.

  7. Perhaps the Daily Mail could do an E-mail exchange between the two of them, like the Graun did with Burchill and Bindel. That was a classic, and well worth reading again.

    a brilliant lesbian rabbi!

  8. I remember reading that and wondering how two adult women with careers in journalism could manage to sound like such a pair of school-kids, and much worse have it published presumably because they mistakenly thought it'd make them sound cool.

    Who is the lezzer rabbi indeed!

    Mind your own freakin' business is the only sane answer to that one.

  9. Grrr! Those cowardly cif bastards have closed down the waddya where BTH defends lesbian paedophilia. No fucking shame.

  10. Well, not closed down but shunted aside.

  11. I'm not surprised it has been shunted aside, tbh. Given the position that BTH is taking on that thread it might well have developed into the kind of thread that would have attracted that awful paedophile apologist chap who was posting a few weeks back. Ugh.

    BTH misses the point completely. Were the woman not a school teacher, the chances are she would not have been charged, and would have been given a caution or similar. But what we are talking about here is someone in a position of trust abusing that trust.

    Secondly, the fact that the 15 year old girl wanted and consented to the relationship is, unfortunately, neither here nor there; under the law she is not in a position to be fully consenting, expecially when an older person is involved.

    I hope there will be an appropriate thread on CiF so that we can comment properly.

  12. You made me do it. You made me get a Google account *sigh*

    First of all, although I'm a bit late, I want to say goodbye to all those people far more sensible than me who decided to spend less time in online life and more in real life.

    Second of all, a paedophile apologist chap? Thank god I missed him, that sounds awful. Did he write anything that survived moderation?

    OTOH, I hope BTH's statutory rape apologia will find itself deleted by the mods ...

  13. watson

    The paedophile chappy was soundly whacked by the mods, thankfully. He was really quite vile.

  14. OTOH, I hope BTH's statutory rape apologia will find itself deleted by the mods ...

    I hope not. I hope it remains there for everyone to see. Totally wrong-headed though it all is, to be honest I don't see anything that really warrants deletion.

  15. But BTH's comments stand. What exactly goes on in this head of his, if he isn't actually trolling?

  16. Ick, I actually kinda agree with BTH. Given the couple are still together and the teacher has lost her job and registration, I don't see that this prosecution was particularily in the public interest. Losing a career is a good deterrent, the principle of consent in British law is an unholy mess, and now there's a jail space full that would be better used on someone causing actual harm.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. There had to be a prosecution, Phazer. As BB says, were this not a pupil/teacher thing it would probably have only been a caution. But it was and not to prosecute would have send out so many wrong messages it would be hard to know where to start.

    Thoroughly agree with your last sentence though. I see no good reason for actually jailing the woman.

    I have some small sympathy with BTH's statutory rape apologia, as the age of consent differs from country to country quite considerably and I've previously defended Peter Tatchell (not that he needs it) from accusations of paedophilia for his suggestions that the age of consent be lowered in the UK.

    But that's as far as my sympathy goes. The law is what it is and BTH has neither the wisdom, nor the consistency of Peter Tatchell to make any coherent argument for changing it. In fact I suspect if the teacher were male, he would have been calling for the restoration of the death penalty.

  19. BB - the argument about double jeopardy springs to mind.

    She properly lost her job and registration as a teacher - but then a substantial custodial sentence as well?

    Her brief should have argued that she was misguidedly following the example of the Her Majesty's sometime Chief Inspector of Schools, Chris Woodhed but he was better at the maths and he waited till his pupil was 16.

    To be fair I forget the exact details - she may have even finished in the sixth form (well at least how it was argued when the story broke.) by the time he moved his grubby little mind into hers. I don't feel I have to be fair given Woodheads Thatcherite credentials...

    The "Educating Rita" love story is for my money one of the more intriguing of yarns. (Plainly no question of a child involved there).

  20. Maybe so on the prosecution. It's a horrible moral grey.

    My concern about the prosecution was more on the matter of the sexual offenders register, which has always struck me as fundamentally broken conflagating as it does abusive paedophiles commiting horrible crimes with people doing stuff to bikes within their own home.

  21. ThePhazer

    I agree with you on the Sex Offender's Register. It is a sledgehammer to crack a nut, given the different offences that require registration.

    Linky here...

    But you can see she falls fairly and squarely under s. 7

  22. Yes, the Sex Offenders Register does seem to cover rather a lot of ground doesn't it.

    But it's difficult to argue against this one though, even if ten years on it seems a bit hard. The girl was underage and therefore legally unable to give consent, and the teacher knew this. You need to draw a line somewhere and this is where the line has been drawn.

  23. 3p4

    "the photo looks like a real estate brochure,,possibly a composite with ..."

    Your comment brought to mind the silly story about Birmingham City council which circulated here in the UK a while back and which you may have missed out in Canada.

    Story is that the civic fathers of Birmingham the UK's proud second city (down Edwin down that was second city of the Empire that you have in mind) decided that something must be done to enhance the image and attractiveness of Birmingham as a desirable International destination.

    So meetings were called, held, and minuted, large numbers of them in fact. And finally after much deliberation, consideration, whipping and voting etc it was decided to publish a glossy brochure extolling the virtues of said city and it's vibrant cultural scene.

    A leading and specialist PR company was approached and commissioned to produce the goods. Many thousands of very glossy and classy brochures and posters were printed at a cost of many thousands of pounds.

    All well good - and the organisation for the dissemination of the message of Birmingham's rebirth and the brochures proclaiming it were dispatched all around the world in flash.

    Sometime later a writer of a letter to the local newspaper, an old Brummie, enquired as to where exactly in his city the leading photographs had been taken.

    As he put it, he had been born and bred in the place and knew his city inside out but as to the location and content of the photograph he knew not.

    Amid much laughter UK readers of newspapers later learned the pictures used were actually of Birmingham USA. Of course you may already have known the story but if not I hope it made you smile. ;-)

  24. I didn't know that story, Deano. And yes it did make me smile :o)

  25. deano - I take it you've seen the great Bailm film 'Telly Savalas Looks at Birmingham'


    Has been known to reduce strong men and women to tears!

  26. When I did the Open University in the late 70s one of the War and Society TV programmes featured a WWII documentary aimed at American troops in Britain, showing them how to behave with Brits. The scenes were narrated by Dan Duryea. One showed a black and a white GI on a train chatting to a white woman who is delighted to learn the black soldier is from Birmingham, as she is from the English Birmingham, and she invites them both to come to her house.

    Then DD comes on and says something like 'Fellas don't get angry if English women invite blacks to their houses'.

    It's believed now that black servicemen's experiences in Britain formed part of the momentum that led to the civil rights movement. The US censors worriedly noted that black troops wrote letters home expressing their delight at being treated like ordinary human beings by the English.

  27. The Telly Savalas thing is always worth seeing.
    There was a similar thing a year or so ago - a Canadian tourism board used a picture of the Northumbrian coast. (Unfortunately, not a bit with a castle in it; that would have made it perfect)

  28. It's believed now that black servicemen's experiences in Britain formed part of the momentum that led to the civil rights movement

    Be nice if someone reminded some of the Guardian commentators of this.

    Nobody would pretend the UK was a racial paradise, but WWII took place while many US states still had the old Jim Crow laws on their books and it showed black servicemen that things not only could be different, but in some places actually were already.

  29. Hahahahah!

    I did a really serious comment for the Tony Blair thread.

    Unfortunately, I was silly enough to preface it with "Paging Mr Reilly...Mr Jay Reilly called to the thread..."

    Needless to say it has not made its way out of premod - all the posts are premodded on there - and onto the comments.

    Ah well. It was worth it anyway.

    Jay - do you realise you have obliged the Graun to premod all articles by Blair? That alone is one hell of an achievement! :o)

  30. Quite right LordS.
    We've touched on this before here - there was a similar phenomenon in the 60s when black musicians found themselves allowed into proper hotels and everything, and people carried *their* bags. I think it's Wilson Pickett and others saying it on the Stax documentary, but there's other examples.
    Same goes for France, both in the War and in the music connection.

  31. The Scottish tourist industry has produced some great doctored stuff recently - a Polish woman was featured as a 'Bonny Highland Lass', and a celebration of 'Autumn in Scotland' had a child chucking red leaves about - made of plastic alas!

    The prize goes to the Scottish Homecoming poster in which, as an afterthought, a young Asian guy (reading Burns) was photoshopped in over a white guy, thus arousing the wrath of our old pal Sunny Hundai -


  32. I saw a good one last week, where Holiday Inn was carrying out an advertising campaign, along the lines of, "See the World's Wonders", complete with a photo of the Giza Pyramids at sunset (taken from the only viewpoint where you can't see them as being right on the outskirts of Cairo).

    Funny thing is, in all the 20+ years I've been visiting Cairo, I've never been able to find one of their hotels in the city.

  33. Wonderful stuff, Edwin.

    I can imagine the conversation ... "oh, just Photoshop in some foreigners. Don't go overboard, one Asian bloke will be enough".

  34. I think the whole board must take the credit for the Blair premod situation, BB, I was but one of many peppering the board with filth. Without even counting the disappeared comments, i think 54 out of 87 comments were deleted before they closed it down. Magnificent.

  35. One thing that always makes me smile, and fills me with encouragement about racial integration in the UK is when, what at first sight appear to be to be young, foreigners open their mouths and speak:

    with an impeccable Brum/Glaswegian/Bradford or Geordie/ twang. I just think it's great.

    Reminds me of the late Charlie Williams (The black Comedian (from the old telly show "The Comedians" ) and sometime Yorkshire coal miner and Doncaster Rover famed footballer, whose obituary I recently came across by accident.

    Charlie always won mates with his ".. its only when I get out of pit bath that you can tell me apart from the rest - when we go in we are all the same.." sort of routine.

    The minute he opened his mouth you knew that he belonged in South Yorkshire. He and most of his neighbours knew it too.

  36. There was a similar thing a year or so ago - a Canadian tourism board used a picture of the Northumbrian coast."""""""

    this year it was the reverse,, alberta photos were used to show scotland

    appear to be to be young, foreigners open their mouths and speak:
    with an impeccable Brum/Glaswegian/Bradford or Geordie/ twang. I just think it's great.""""""

    yeah i am always tickled by that,,cockney chinese
    is such a double take gob smack,,having been away from england for 35 years its was almost hallucenogenic the first time i heard a black glaswegian,,

  37. Evening campers

    I've attempted a comment on the Blair thread but it hasn't appeared yet. Can't help noticing from the Monbiot thread that Somali pirates appear to be doing more for their environment than he ever did for ours.

  38. BB - your post is up on the Blair piece.

  39. Hey sheff!


    And there is a lot to be said for the Somali pirates too. Johann Hari did a piece about it a good 6-9 months ago that put the whole problem into a different perspective. They are just sick to death of western boats dumping toxic waste on their coastline and killing all the fish.

  40. Re the black experience in the US vs. Europe: I may not be completely accurate in my facts here, but as I recall, black jazz musicians in the US were not allowed in white clubs or somesuchlike. A few of them moved to France, where there was a jazz craze on, and they were treated like the stars they were.

    It's been some years since I saw it, but I believe the great film Bird, about Charlie Parker, addresses this issue.

    Haven't been on Cif at all today; you say there's a Blair piece? Nah: feeling sick enough already. Reckon I'll skip it.

  41. Came home early due to an odd allergic reaction/asthma attack that I couldn't get under control at school. Better now.

    I've read about black soldiers returning 'home' to the US on leave or after injuries, having to endure the humiliation of German POWs being treated better here than they were. One that I specifically recall was a soldier who had to sit in a 'colored only' waiting room in the RR station in Sacramento, California, with no amenities or lavatory. There were glass doors between him and the adjoining café, through which he could see German POWs sitting at tables with their American guards, eating and chatting with those guards.

  42. Thauma: Quite a few Jazz and soul musicians made their home in France pre- and post-war. France has long had a pretty healthy black music scene (African and Caribbean as well as American). Ironically, as well, there were several who found a more free working environment in post-war Germany.

  43. Did anyone see Ally's post on the "Anglicanism: More M&S than Aldi?" thread? Fucking brilliant!!!!


    These are not loaves and fishes.

    These are fresh Italian Buccellato di Napoli, lightly toasted and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, served alongside line-caught Tweed trout, delicately steamed and aromatised with a spray of balsamic vinegar.

    These are not just loaves and fishes. These are M&S loaves and fishes."

  44. Hi all
    I had a bit of a shock when I dropped in this evening - what on earth was all that about on the WDYWTTA thread? The law of the land on sexual offences was changed following extensive consultation with individuals and organisations. The debate on the age of consent is done, the line was drawn. End of.

    Can't face the Blair thread .. well, maybe I'll take a mosey over there now. I could do with a good laugh!

  45. On second thoughts, BB, I'll go with your recommendation for the fish course!

  46. Or then again, maybe it's back to Waddya ..

  47. Ally F's comment has been made the centrepiece of Heresiarch's blog this very evening.

  48. And well deserved it is too, Fencewalker.

    I read it out to my husband in the M&S voice and he was creased up with laughter too. Brilliant.

  49. BB
    Not just brilliant ..
    That was M&S brilliant.

  50. Montana: You're probably aware of the Tuskegee Airmen in WW2. I think I'm right in saying that no bomber they were escorting was lost to fighters, and the bomber crews would often specifically request them as escorts - and many expressed surprise on finding out they were black, a fact which wasn't widely trumpeted at the front.

  51. Fencewalker: Yes. The Tuskegee Airmen, the Navajo Code Talkers, the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (the latter two made up of Japanese-American soldiers) were among the most courageous in the war. Makes the treatment that those men and received by the country that they served so valiantly a rather obscene piece of irony. As a matter of fact, the 442nd was the most decorated unit it US military history. And all the while, their loved ones sat in concentration camps back home because ignorant white people were afraid they weren't loyal enough to their country.