29 September 2009

Daily Chat 29/09/09

The Office of Addresses and Encounters, the world's first recorded dating service, was opened by one Henry Robinson in Threadneedle Street in 1650.  The Metropolitan Police force was founded in 1829.  The cornerstone for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., was laid in 1907.  The first of what would be seven victims of a mass murder via poison-laced Tylenol capsules was found in Chicago in 1982.  The murders caused a national panic and forever changed the way over the counter medications are packaged in the US.  The National Cathedral was completed in 1990.

Born today:  Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865), Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), Colin Dexter (1930), Silvio Berlusconi (1936), Jean-Luc Ponty (1942), Lech Walesa (1943), Sebastian Coe (1956) and Robert Webb (1972).

It is Michaelmas.


  1. Agnes Poirier is an ignorant cunt.

  2. Well wouldn't use that language but even Auld Donge (bayete, Donge) would have been taken aback by Senga's drivel. She seems to equate a writ for Polanski on the same level as the Iraq war.

    Over at Heresy Corner, Heresiarch has given all the horrible details on the repellent Polanski. The man has to be taken back to face trial.

  3. "It is Michaelmas"

    What the? I thought that was nearer the c word?

    That's confused me, actually hang on, no, ok, got ya, still makes sense, as much as these things do..............

  4. Tell me about it Montana. That last paragraph where she claimed that he was some sort of liberal hero who would not live by America's 'prudish' rules was an absolute fucking disgrace.

  5. All this conference stuff is extremely depressing. This is what we have to look forward to, endless meaningless, dishonest jostling between 3 groups of subhuman faeces. Luckily the Labour Youth movement is going to sort it out tho, Rowenna says.

  6. Sorry, Edwin, but I stand by my language. No fucking tolerance whatsoever for someone who would defend a child rapist on any grounds. Call me cruel, but anyone who would do what he did to a 13 year old girl deserves to be locked away for the rest of his life. In a cockroach and rat-infested cell, if one is available. I don't care how long ago it was. I don't care how old he is now. Sonofabitch should die in prison. That girl will never, ever get over what happened to her. He sentenced her to a life of shame and guilt and anger.

    Is it knee-jerk anti-Americanism or is it really a matter of French attitudes being so much different that they just don't see what the fuss is about a 44 year old man raping a 13 year old girl? I don't know. All I know is that it is repugnant. I wish there were a more vulgar word for her than cunt, frankly.

  7. Oh I understand Montana - just a word I don't want to use myself myself as an insult, but then I am what the egregious Senga would call a prude.

    Otherwise, agree with your sentiments entirely. Heresiarch has read up on all the details - Polanski is a much creepier individual than I thought, and the Hollywood/Senga defence of him as some sort of Petronius cum Robeson figure fills me with horror.

  8. It was good to see her get a complete pasting on the thread, though. I could not believe that when I read it.

    On a happier note, has anyone done the Red Baron joke yet, after the recent blue blooded revelations?

  9. and vot is the red baron joke pliz?

  10. Afternoon people.

    Yep. Normally I have a lot of time for Agnes Poirier. But that article is so wrong in so many ways it just isn't conceivable.

    No surprise that Frederic Mitterrand (nephew of the dead prez) is defending him, though. He was nothing more than a jumped up film critic in the 80s and early 90s when I lived there. I wonder how he struck lucky with the Ministre de la Culture role? (as if we didn't know).

  11. ...erm just that we have a revolutionary aristocrat in our midst. See a coupla days back.

  12. New article up by Anna Shapiro, Untrusted Ones!

  13. Fencewalker

    His Grace hasn't been around for a few days - hope he's ok.

  14. Unbelievable carnage on the Shapiro thread. Posts being deleted without a trace, including the very first one, which therefore couldn't have been deleted in response to anyone else's.

  15. I was never a fan of Safire or his politics but fwiw he did win a Pulitzer, something that it is very unlikely that Matt's wife will achieve. Probably because he could actually write, and didn't wake up in the middle of the night worrying about Obama and having arguments in his head. It's amusing to read Shapiro criticize his 'style' - this is the woman who proudly published this sentence:

    I could hardly bear to see him and Michelle in the Inaugural parade, they looked so exposed, even while I ate up every image.

    Still, it's Mrs Seaton's first Guardian gig in about eight months, so maybe we should 'cut her some slack', she's bound to be a bit rusty.

  16. Didn't know Shapiro was Mrs Seaton, what a cosy little scene cif is. I never read Saphire so can't really comment.

  17. Montana - if he does go to jail it will be a rough rough ride! When I was doing my PGCE we had to do a residential week and one of the guys lecturing was a prison education something or other. Anyway me and a friend were chatting to him one night and he said the paedo's are always getting beaten up and assaulted. The prisons have strong rules about keeping them segregated and safe but you cannot do it all the time and he says that some guards purposefully turn a blind eye.

    I cannot believe a couple of the freaks on the thread now - one of whom is arguing that paedophilia is like homosexuality - you know all sort of misunderstood. Jesus - where do these people come from? I would love him to say that in front of my gay friends - he would not be standing.

    And now Whoopi Gooldberg has come out and said that she doesn't think what he did is 'rape-rape'. The stupid bitch should shut her mouth. Someone made a very good point that when people like her say such dumbass things they ruin all the good stuff that liberals try to fight for in the US and play right into the hands of the far right idiots. Who can now sit back secure in their knowledge that Hollywood liberals are lacking in morals.

    God sorry for the rant but the apologists for this sort of thing just make me so angry. And we had them all over that teacher thread last week saying she should not go to jail and now this!

  18. princessc
    "God sorry for the rant but the apologists for this sort of thing just make me so angry. And we had them all over that teacher thread last week saying she should not go to jail and now this!"

    Rant away, I totally agree with you & everyone else upthread. My blood's been up on a few things over the last few days.

  19. I used to like Whoopi Goldberg. Now I despise her.
    Someone on that thread suggested they publish a list of all the Hollywood Greats who are currently supporting Polanski so we can avoid watching any of their films in the future... would make sense.

  20. She's MrsMattSeaton? Explains a lot. Is this disappearing rather than simply deleting a new thing? I noticed yesterday that Allf posted that cif should 'grow a pair' following up with an embarrassed retraction. When someone suggested he may have taken it back for fear of losing his 'C' and offered him a pair for himself, the post disappeared completely while Ally's stayed.

  21. Hi everyone, I’ve managed to abstain from commenting here for over a week, which I reckon is pretty good going for an obsessive like me. Of course, I’ve dropped in to lurk a couple of times, just to see how you were all doing.


    The recession must even be biting chez Seaton if Anna Shapiro’s been rolled out again, though I think your memory or your calendar is playing up. It’s actually only about three months since her latest, when she got very upset about the fate of the Bronx Zoo.

    It's a jungle out there

    I think you even made a couple of comments there yourself.


    *Didn't know Shapiro was Mrs Seaton*

    Yeah, for some reason they don’t include that in her profile, although if you google her name, as I did when I wondered who this person who couldn’t write and appeared to know very little about conservation and extinction was, it all became clear.

    Unfortunately, that discovery set off a chain of events involving accusations of nepotism which led to me no longer being able to post on Cif under my “real” name...

  22. martillo
    No, I think they've done disappearing posts before - can't think of an example off the top of my head though. No doubt someone here will remember.

  23. Well done, andysays! I managed a few days once.

  24. MsChin, martillo: Hiyaaa!

    I remember some very obvious disappearing posts in the past, including some that weren’t referring to previous ones, as thauma mentions above, though I can’t recall specific examples.

    Nothing sinister though, I’m sure it’s just the straightforward result of The Guardian wanting to make sure they remove unnecessary and superfluous posts so that we don’t have to keep clicking on the “next” button. What else could it be?

  25. princesschipchops - that's Cif for you now. 'Moral relativism' and a welcoming platform for fascists and paedophiles. It's part of why I've opted out.

    Look at recent articles - some of Cif's most reviled and talentless hacks get a chance to 'reposition' themselves - Tanya Gold has a go at the pope, and Joan Smith (and others) get a chance to say that Polanski is a total shit. And, surprise surprise, since most BTL posters would agree with these views, we have the bonus of usually hostile readers saying 'Well, maybe Smith, Gold etc aren't such idiots after all, I agree with that particular article. Isn't Cif wonderful?' And, of course,we have the minority of contrarians BTL who stoke the fire and ratchet up the righteous indignation.

    Well, it's not wonderful to me. It's as cynical and value-free as you can get. Poirier writes something that gets 600 (mostly offended and indignant hits) and that spawns another half-dozen articles and another few thousand hits. Gold gets 600 hits and no doubt, Andrew Brown and others will reply - thousands more hits.

    It's a waste of time, unless you're happy to contribute to the Guardian's 'unique users figures' each month - that sells advertising. Vibrant ethnic salad-bowl, anyone? Only £39.99.

  26. PrincessCC: I started to read that Poirier article, but just couldn’t believe the crap she was coming out with.

    Could only manage the first page (if that) of comments. Words really fail me. Anyone who has sex with a thirteen year old is guilty of rape, because someone of that age is legally incapable of giving consent. End of story.

    Though in Polanski’s case, if what I’ve read recently is correct, it’s far, far worse than that. I won’t go into details, for the sake of those who wish to avoid them. Poirier really is attempting to defend the indefensible, and I can’t imagine what The Guardian thought they were doing publishing what is basically a defence of paedophilia.

    Haven’t read what Whoopi Goldberg is alleged to have said. She may have played a judge in some film (?), but the experience seems to have fooled her into thinking she’s a legal expert.

    Still, if Poirier can excuse Polanski his crimes because some think he’s a cinematic genius, maybe we should cut her some slack as well. These people aren’t living in the same world as the rest of us, are they?

  27. Scherf

    I'll take two of those vibrant salad bowls, please. Not enough vibrancy in my house.

    andysays - welcome back! We missed you! {{{{{hug}}}}}

    I remember disappearing posts too, although usually they disappear entirely if they are in reply to a post that is modded. Haven't noticed them disappearing singly.

  28. andysays

    You're absolutely right. And I think that nice Mr Spector with his genius wall of sound should be pardoned for murdering that woman on his doorstep too. After all, they are celebrities - who are we, the mere little people, to challenge their god-given right to do what the f00k they want to whomever they want? :o)

  29. Hiya Andy!

    Shapiro has got to be one of the most untalented writers ever. This piece was particularly incomprehensible: I had to read most of the sentences several times and still couldn't make head nor tail of half of them.

    Safire was never a favourite columnist of mine but he did have a lovely writing style, even if - to be honest - I couldn't make out exactly what position he was espousing half the time. (Which, to be fair to Shapiro, was part of her point - I think.)

    But they've obviously got the Mods in full attack mode on this, what with completely disappearing (as a verb) posts. Contrary to official policy.

  30. Thanks BB, it’s nice to be the one being welcomed for a change ;-)

  31. I'd been aware that Polanski had been involved in some underage sex scandal and was therefore a fugitive, but now that I've read the details of what he did, and how young she was, I am completely disgusted.

    The problem with Poirier's article is that she is correct to point out that the US is often draconian in its sentencing, puritanical, and has unequal extradition laws with other countries. But this case is NOT the poster child for that cause.

  32. Hi thauma:

    I’d never heard of Safire, and I can’t see that what some (not very good) American writer thinks about the writing of another (apparently significantly better, though it wouldn’t be hard) American writer is of much interest to your average Guardian reader.

    Seems like a case of kicking a man not just when he’s down, but when he’s hardly cold in his grave. Hardly what someone with any “style” would do.

    Didn’t bother to read Tanya Gold on either the Pope or the Queen Mother, and I’m no fan of either, but can’t really see the point of either of those pieces. Hardly ground-breaking iconoclasm, is it?

    Have to agree with scherfig about the Cif game plan, though I’m perfectly happy with my salad bowls. I just have to make sure

    *the Bulgarian cleaner, the Polish au pair, the indispensable Hungarian nanny, the Filipino carer*

    don’t damage them.

  33. Back to Shapiro: when I first commented on the thread, I'd guess my comment was around no. 20 or so. It's now no. 3 with no sign of the previous deletions.

    FFS. I don't remember anything from the disappeared posts except valid criticism of the article. No Tuscan villas, or who-does-she-know type comments.

  34. Andy


    Sounds like you have the same sorts of problems with your staff as I do with mine. My sympathies.

    Safire had a beautiful writing style but rather dodgy political opinions. I'm not a fan, but for an incompetent writer to attack him on style is just OTT.

    Gold's article on the pope was the first one of hers I've ever agreed with.

  35. Hi andy - I don't do hugs this is the best I can think of for a manly handshake

    {{{ >< }}}

    sorry am useless at these!

    The person who did the blog on Safire is Madame Seaton? What a graceless and unintelligent piece - and so is her writing.

  36. Hi scherfig: It’s going OK, thanks.

    I’ve even managed to achieve a few extra things in the past week that I probably wouldn’t have got round to if I was spending so much time here. It’s amazing how many hours there are in a day when you’re not permanently attached to a computer.


    *Safire had a beautiful writing style but rather dodgy political opinions*

    Unlike Shapiro, who has no writing style at all, but, from what little sense we can make of her pieces, has simply wonderful opinions about everything which she can’t wait to share with us all, darling.

    Edwin: Er, thanks, I suppose...


  37. Edwin - that looks like nothing more nor less than a bloke confronted with an uncomfortably emotional situation! Eyes closed shut, worry lines surrounding them....

    Hehe - I'm much the same myself. Run away when people start talking about their feelings - eek!

  38. Couldn't stand Safire, but can't bear the thought of looking at what Mrs. Seaton has to say about him, either. I'm angry with myself for looking at the indefensible Poirier piece, come to that. I think scherfig's got the right idea. Just withdraw from there altogether.

    (Had to burn a personal day to take care of my 'legal issues', so I'm home early.)

  39. Evening all

    Good to see you back, andy!

    I've been fine thanks, sheff. Just tending to the estate the last few days.

    Not much to add on the Shapiro piece except that she's written THREE novels. Wouldn't fancy being her editor.

  40. Hi Montana:

    It’s funny that Cif, which after all brought all of us together, now inspires such mixed feelings (to say the least) in so many of us.

    Withdrawal does seem like the best option at times.

  41. 'Hehe - I'm much the same myself. Run away when people start talking about their feelings - eek!'

    Ach I know - it's really thaumatising!

    I was once hugged at the London Book Fair by a cheery Balkans publisher who had lots of great freebies to give away; later I met another (very macho) publisher friend who said 'Did you meet *****? The bastard felt my arse.'

    He obviously didn't fancy me!

  42. Edwin - 'thaumatising' - ha ha yes, I've been known to sign off as 'traumaturge' once in a while!


    Wouldn't fancy being her editor.

    Indeed! Like cleaning the Augean stables.


    Withdrawal does seem like the best option at times.

    Maybe, but it's not nearly as much fun.

  43. The dog's just given me a bloody good laugh.

    Normally I buy the ginormous bags of dog food which I subsequently use as bin bags. However, last week Sainsbury's had run out of the huge ones, so I had to buy a small one - just slightly bigger than the dog's head.

    Tonight I fed her, emptied the bag and then just chucked it down on the kitchen floor, thereby displaying my fabulous housekeeping skills.

    A few minutes ago, I heard noises from the kitchen indicating that she was at the empty bag. I shouted a stern "leave it!" at her, which is usually efficacious, but still the rustling continued.

    Going to investigate, I discovered that she'd managed to get her head stuck in the bag and was stumbling around looking like some sort of bad Hallowe'en costume.

    Once I'd finished pissing myself laughing, I ran for the camera but unfortunately she'd managed to free herself before I could take the pic.

  44. scherfig

    the incomprehensible in pursuit of the indefensible

    Love it!

    Night all; am knackered.

  45. Hi Hank, good to be back.


    There are times when the “debate” on Cif descends to such lows that all the fun goes out of it, for me at least.

    Lucky we’ve still all got each other :-)

    By the way, I think the changes that Montana’s made recently are both good ideas.

    Getting people to open a google account or similar to post here makes sense, for reasons we’ve all seen. I notice that we seem to have lost a few more-or-less regulars who didn’t have accounts but signed their names anyway. Hope they’re not gone for good.

    Montana: maybe you could change the box at the top to point out that everyone is welcome, but they need to create an account to comment, and perhaps guide them through that. I seem to remember it took me a while to work out just how to do it, but I was able to get advice from those already here. Now new people are kind of on their own.

    And Untrusted, too looks like a good move too. If Cif continues its decline, we’ll have to come up with our own stuff more and more.

    Has anyone got any further ideas for stuff?

    One thing which occurred to me was something to do with depression/mental illness/medication/new policies on Incapacity Benefit. It appears that something which is relevant to quite a few of us, and there’s little chance of Cif coming up with anything in response to the various ideas suggested on WDY..?

  46. thauma LOL @ dog!

    Amdy nice to hear from you!

    Everybody - that Polanski thread was unbelievably sick making! The Graun is really sinking low. Read the account of Polanski's crime on Heresiarch's page - ghastly I hope they throw him into the toughest pen in the US and throw away the key!

    As for whoopi Goldberg - if she really said that I have completely gone off her!

  47. Shame you missed that pic, Thaum

    Hi hank, montana, annetan.

    Edwin - my teenage son is very stiff and formal when he hugs us now; barely touches us. But when he sees one of his friends, male or female, they hug.

    Go figure.

    I think the Balkan publisher was just trying to cop a feel if you ask me....

  48. Whoopi Goldberg showed herself to be a phony bitch a few years ago, when some black athlete (can't remember which one) had done something heinous. She mouthed off about how the guy was only being demonised because he was a 'brutha'. At least now she seems to think that famous white guys should be above the law, too.

  49. andy:
    'One thing which occurred to me was something to do with depression/mental illness/medication/new policies on Incapacity Benefit'

    yes good one andy. I mentioned before that none of my friends did well on antidepressants - some got worse, and the only one who actually got significantly better combined homeopathic remedies with volunteer work.

    It may be worth someone punting that on Cif as well; it's a topic where some useful ideas may well come up. though of course probably not. The only time I got a suggestion picked up was one both myself and someone else put put forward, a blog on Ahmadi beliefs. What Cif came up, with, alas, was a dismal, cringeworthy, patronising piece of guff that read like a 60s Sunday Post piece - 'The Pakis Next Door - Just Like Us?'

    Yuck yuck.

    Off to bed, Heresiarch is good, is he not? I didn't have much of a clue about Polanski's acts before reading his piece.

  50. Hi Anne.


    You can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing, but a whole stream of people, including PrincessCC and myself, have brought up the suggestion of depression etc on WDY..? fairly recently, to no response.

    I even attempted to discuss it with BellaM when she looked in here a while ago, but she didn’t respond. Maybe they’ve filled their quota of concessions to the great unwashed for this month.

    And as you suggest, they may well not do a great job even if they take it up. If we want something done properly, we’ll have to do it ourselves.

    That’s enough for my first night back - I’m off to bed.