01 October 2009

Daily Chat 01/10/09

In 331 BC, Alexander the Great defeated Darius III at the Battle of Guagamela.  News of the World began enriching the world of British journalism in 1943.  Congress established Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks in 1890.  The Shinkansen bullet trains began service between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964 and Denmark became the first country to allow civil partnerships for homosexual couples in 1989.

Born today:  Jimmy Carter (1924), Julie Andrews (1935) and Tim O'Brien (1946).  If you've never heard of Tim O'Brien -- he is the author of one of my favourite books, The Things They Carried, about the Viet Nam War.  It is brilliant.

It is Independence Day in Tuvalu, Nigeria and Cyprus.


  1. The News of the World first came out a century earlier Montana, in 1843!

    It was a much different paper then of course. I have a copy of Aveling's The Student's Darwin inscribed by Aveling to the critic Neville Lynn; after Aveling's death in 1898, Lynn pasted in the News of the World obit - the obit has a delicate reference to Aveling's 'association' with Eleanor Marx and her death a few months previously, a delicacy unimaginable in the modern NOW.

  2. Best Vietnam book I ever read was Fields Of Fire by a chap called James Webb. I loved that book when I was younger. Michael Herr and Philip Caputo are pretty good, too.

    John Laurence's The Cat from Hué isn't bad either, though it suffers a bit from "desperately seeking Pulitzer" syndrome, everything feels a bit too carefully "crafted" to make it a seamless read, you're always aware of the author polishing his sentences, which gets in the way of the story a tad.

  3. Morning everyone!

    An otherwise relished day out of court to relax catch up on stuff has been marred by me waking up looking like Quasimodo, with one eye all swollen and irritated. Bah.

    Doc has given me eye drops which I can only use if it goes sticky and yellow as it may be conjunctivitis but it may not. Fat lot of good that is for now.

    Never mind. I will console myself by being particularly bad-tempered on CiF threads today. :o)

  4. BB - Oh poor you, had conjunctivitus a few weeks ago! Hope its not that!

    Take care and get well soon.

  5. That sounds like a plan, BB, I like a bit of angry ciffing, very therapeutic...

  6. Where is the photo from, at the top?

  7. I'd hazzard a guess at it being Yellowstone National Park Jay (probably turn out to be Yosimite though).

  8. Dammit, Edwin, haven't you ever heard of a typo? They're always in chronological order, so yes, that was meant to be 1843.

  9. it's the yosemite falls

    BTW, on vietnam books, also try Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

    Hey, CiF today, Brooke Shields - how mad is ImogenBlack?

  10. I dunno Frank. I am in two minds about this issue, which is why I haven't posted on it yet. On the one hand, what right do the police have to protect what they perceive to be "public morals" on the basis of allegedly reading a "Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells" article in the Daily Hate-Mail?

    On the other hand, given that Brooke Shields has tried to prevent the use of this photo; given that she was only 10 when she posed for it; given that the original was published in Playboy (!); given that her mother consented to it at a time when arguably Brooke was unable to give an informed consent, I can't see that it is right to use it in the first place, "Art" or not.

    And yes it does glorify the sexualisation of pre-pubescent children, imo, which is wrong.

    So no, I don't think ImogenBlack is mad. She is merely expressing her views which are not outside the bounds of the reasonable.

  11. Ach don't shout at me Montana - I used to make a living catching typos and was lucky to get promoted before anyone noticed I wasn't actually very good at it.

    Best Vietnam book: The Quiet American.

  12. You see, you've made me think about it properly now, instead of thinking "oooh, don't like this subject - next!" and I can actually comment on it now - so I have. :o)

  13. Hmm Burnout - problems with that - first, Shields doesn't own the image. If we go down the route of allowing people to own images of themselves, we get into a terrible mess. I think that's a red herring. Second, I haven't seen the image, but just because it was published in Playboy doesn't mean it's porn - in fact, I'd think Playboy, even in the 70s, would have thought pretty bloody long and hard about publishing something even slightly suggestive. Third, and I'm puzzled that I haven't read anyone else asking this - this is apparantly a photo *of* a photo, not sure why. But what if it had been a painting? Would that make a difference? if so, why? If not, why not?

  14. I don't think her opposition to the use of an image of herself that was created when she was 10 yrs old is a red herring, Frank. Her mother got paid $450 for allowing her 10 yr old daughter to be made up like a woman and photographed in what is clearly a provocative pose (assuming the rest of her body is a nekkid as the top half of the photo we see in the article). At the age of 10 she was unable to give informed consent to do this, and should be allowed to have the publication of the photo banned. This isn't somebody snapping her in the shower or skinny-dipping in a pool - this is a commercial product where here naked image was sold by her mother. That in itself is wrong in all kinds of ways.

    Apparently, according to the article in the Arts section, it was part of a series of photos included in a Playboy supplement called "Sugar and Spice". You know where that reference comes from, and the last line of that refrain is "That's what little girls are made of". So any suggestion that Playboy did not realise they were promoting this as images of "little girls" collapses under scrutiny.

    As for it being a photo of a photo, again from reading the Arts piece I think what the artist did was to take the image, frame it then re-photograph it. Would it make a difference if it was a painting? Depends on whether you are saying the painting would be an exact copy of the photograph in paints or not. If yes, then no, imo, it makes no difference, given the pose and given the knowledge that it is a 10 yr old child.

    It is the knowledge that it is a child of 10 modelling for this in an adult sexual pose that is disturbing, imo.

  15. should be allowed to have the publication of the photo banned

    Nope. Consent was given - yes, by her mother, who had the legal power to do so. When that photo was taken the photographer was acting with consent - I don't buy into retrospective withdrawal of consent.

    Now, *should* her mother have been able to do that? Well who else would? The kid? Would we allow that? And if her mother couldn't, well, could she give consent to surgery? No, we place children in their parents' care - that has to stick. And when a contract is made, that has to stick too. I realise it's awkward in this case, and others, but the alternative is worse.

    With Playboy, like I say, I dunno. Haven't seen it.

    Now, if it were a painting it would make no difference? So what of the, literally, tens of thousands of painting with naked children in them? What of the intentionally provocative cherubs?

    I want a law - moral or legal - to apply equally in every case. Definitions and offences must be clear and apply everywhere and to everyone, or they are not just. IF we say all photos of naked children are illegal, then all parents are screwed aren't they? IF on the other hand we say only photos of sexual abuse are illegal, then this pic is in the clear.

  16. That's really the nub of the issue, isn't it? Legal vs Illegal.

    Do I think this photo should be banned per se? Probably not, no. But it is all about the surrounding circumstances and the context. As I said in my first post, with all the givens, it is not right for it to have been used as a work of art.

  17. And drawing a parallel between giving consent for a child to appear naked in a sexualised context and giving consent for surgery is bordering on daft. The two are not the same. The results are not the same. It's comparing apples and a tin of beans.

  18. Hi BB - hope the eye clears up quickly and on its own!

  19. Thanks Thaum - and I forgot to thank Anne too for the kind wishes.

    It is just at the really ANNOYING and itchy stage at the moment, and weeping a lot. I hope it calms down on its own. Bloody thing. Grrrr...

  20. There are some real foaming at the mouth 'hang the pedofiles' types hanging out on that Spirit of America thread.

    BB is quite right, surely this just boils down to whether the image in question is legal or illegal? All the evidence so far tends to suggest it isn't so I suspect the Old Bill have acted incorrectly here. Of course, if the image IS illegal then I would have thought that they've still acted incorrectly in not impounding the image as possession of it will be illegal too and being a 'work of art' is no defence.

    Whether it was morally right to use it is another matter and a bit of a red herring IMHO.

  21. Hope they eye gets better soon, BB!

  22. Are you better now LordS? Didn't you have a hole in your stomach at some point back there?

  23. Still got it, Vari.

    Fortunately it's almost closed now. Just a couple of weeks more healing I hope!

  24. oh dear, well get well soon everyone, LordS and BB in particular!

  25. Thanks, Vari.

    I'm looking forward to having what will be the first fully immersed bath I'll have had since mid-June. I've only been able to kneel in six-eight inches of water and it's not the same as a steaming hot lobster broiling hour long lounge!

  26. Thanks vari

    Blimey, LordS - I think I would actually die if I didn't have a proper bath for that length of time. I have a bath every morning. Only civilised way to start the day, and f00k the water shortage, I say! :p

  27. I prefer to bathe in the evening myself but yeah, it's been a tough four months!

    The first bath I have is going to be the mother of all baths. Water at 70 degrees, half a dozen bath ballistics from Lush, scented candles, a mariachi band, boxes of chocolates, bottle of wine and four teams of dancing girls working in shifts. I may even send out for a curry.

    If I can emerge with any more than one layer of skin undissolved I shall be most disappointed.

  28. Ahhhh... Lush Bath Ballistics. Now you're talking... :o)

  29. LordS

    Sorry to hear you've been out of sorts but the great bath bonanza sounds fantastic. Can we all come and make a party of it?

    Hope it's not conjunctivitis - its horrible.

    What do you reckon to BAE Systems getting their comeuppance at long last? Or will they still manage to wriggle out of it do you think?

  30. sheff

    It seems inconceivable that they could wriggle out of it a second time. They don't have Tone doing their dirty work for them this time threatening us with the Saudi backlash for a start.

    Intersting times.

  31. Goodness no idea Lord S - a hole in the stomach? I have a horrible vision of that scene in Dog Soldiers where the mutt gets hold of a section of the soldier's entrails!

    Take care and get well soon. I do like the party you have planned - will the maidens be working in shifts of time or wearing the other sort of shift?

    BB rest your eye and if you put stuff in bath I'd say cover the eye during the bath - lots of chemicals in those things.


  32. I can barely fit me in my own bath, Sheff ;-)

    Well, Edwin. It's more of a John Hurt in Alien. But as I say, healing nicely.

    About bloody time too! I'm a very impatient patient.

  33. Ah damn, better cancel the trip to Castle Summerisle then.

    Me, I'm a shower-in-the-morning sort of person, but I do like a nice evening bath (with wine and book) every once in a while.

  34. Here's a link no good blog can do without...


    Or it would be if I could get a link to stick on here.

  35. Hahahahah!

    Excellent, MF. "Has feminism defrauded your mortgage?" is the first one I got.

  36. MF



    Well, duh!

    Been reading the Brooke Shields' thread. Does her unhappiness with the photo being used now constitute valid grounds for the police action? Once something is in the public domain by the consent of that individual, or their agent (ie Brooke's mum in this case), what weight should we give to withdrawal of that consent later on, when it becomes embarrassing or discomfiting to them?

    The Bullingdon Boys photo springs to mind as an example of how such a precedent could be abused.

  38. Lovely, I have a feminism one too:



    Haven't had that one yet, but I'll keep on spinning..

  40. Hank - I'm struggling with that one a bit. I think there's a very good case to be made for child abuse or exploitation against her parents, and the fact that Playboy was publishing these sorts of photos as "Sugar and Spice" is thoroughly revolting.

    However the work in question at the Tate is surely making this point.

    Someone posting on that thread also said that the Sun was publishing photos of 15-year-old girls coming on 16 with "5 more days until we can show you everything!" sorts of tag-lines. Completely despicable.

  41. us old socialists can be lethal...


  42. @thauma - I'm not sure myself. I've got no strong feelings either way on this, but it does seem to me that once consent is given, it can't be withdrawn and that BS could sue her mum for acting against her own best interests, but can't take action against the copyright owners with whom Ma Shields had a contract.

    If consent can be retrospectively withdrawn, then contracts, and contract law, are worthless?


    Aside from all that, if BS was to cry foul now and repudiate all the work she did before she was legally competent, she should give back all her career earnings, since they rested largely on the exploitation of her looks and very little on her acting ability. As her post-pubescent career will testify.

    I was always more of a Jodie Foster fan anyway. Her Tallulah in Bugsy Malone was sex personified for the 12-year-old Hank.

  43. There's some odd characters on the Whaddya thread tonight. And some newbies (dielib, csmythe) as well.

    (I'm kidding, kiz and bru...)

  44. Someone posting on that thread also said that the Sun was publishing photos of 15-year-old girls coming on 16 with "5 more days until we can show you everything!" sorts of tag-lines. Completely despicable.

    Not being a Sun reader I can't be sure about this, but I think this is the 'foaming at the mouth' brigade getting it wrong as usual.

    I bet they don't read The Sun either.

    If I recall correctly, this happened, but it was The Daily Star and the year was something like 1986. It was roundly condemned then, and while I can't be sure any newspaper is doing it now, I really doubt if they'd dare.

  45. "Not being a Sun reader..."

    You bloody fibber, Summerisle.

  46. Hank: well, yeah, Jodie Foster has a brain, apparently. Not that being brainless is an excuse for exploitation by one's parents.

    Looked a waddya a while ago: csmythe appears to have been someone who was put in pre-mod and is angry about. (I say pre-mod because s/he complained about a post not appearing that actually had appeared by the time I read it.)

  47. Quick Brooke Shields story ...

    Back in the day, I used to work in a three screen cinema. One day, an event that had never occurred before came to pass. A film was on and there was nobody watching it.

    The film was the sadly forgotten (snigger) Brooke Shields classic Tilt

    So being conscious of waste, we decided to shut the screen down. The film was wound back onto the spools and the lights turned out.

    About half an hour later, a little old man comes out into the foyer. Apparently when we'd shut it down he was in the toilet and he came back to a screen in total darkness. But being resolutely British he sat in the screen for half an hour thinking it was some sort of temporary fault and that it would all be sorted without him making a fuss.

    We gave him his money back and a free pass for whenever he wanted to come back, a voucher for a hot dog and a Kia Ora, waited until he'd left the building and then ruptured ourselves laughing.

  48. You bloody fibber, Summerisle.

    That's fightin' talk there, Hank. But I will confess to reading The Daily Mail occasionally, but only when they have a free DVD.

    Talking of which, I really enjoyed Abigail's Party from The Observer the other day. Brought back memories of some really awful dinner parties!

  49. Waddya occasionally goes a bit weird, it's all part of its charm!

  50. LordS - I might easily have misremembered which paper and as I wasn't living here then I didn't hear about the outrage.

    They might not get away with something quite like that these days, but *putting my feminist hat on* page 3 is fucking reprehensible.

  51. Hank

    We'll have to agree to disagree on the Brook Shields thingy. If she was changing her mind about something she did as an older teenager, I would agree. But she was 10 ffs. She did what her mum told her to do.

    Abigail's Party is a cringe-making classic.

  52. I can't quite get that outraged at Page 3. Back in the 1980s it seemed harmless enough to me, and these days it just seems plain daft.

    Nuts and Zoo on the other hand, now they are fucking reprehensible!

  53. Thauma - csmythe is, I'm guessing, the reincarnation of AndrewS (or summat like) who I've never come across before other than to see a pretty obnoxious post by him last night followed by four in a row deleted. Pretty good going that.

    Dielib, well, a curate's egg. I liked the line about Cif "becoming an even worse joke than it was". A man after my own heart. His follow up line about a thousand blogs about minorities and not one defending "the british way of life. NONE!" kinda exhausted my patience and sympathy though.

    Radicalchick's the interesting one though. Her deleted post yday about knobs in place of reccs for certain posts made me laugh, even if I thought it was a bit harsh that she targetted Jay. The ensuing war between them has been entertaining, if a little over my head.

    I'm comfortable enough discussing Orwell, as they were, but I can't help feeling that if it carries on, they'll be discussing Barthes, Lacan, muscular structuralism and divorce as a post-feminist career move.

    Anyway, deano...Where's deano?

  54. I wish one of these crypto-BNP numpties would actually describe 'the British way of life' because I haven't the faintest clue what it might actually be.

    The best guess have is that it can usually be described as the state of life that existed when the person pining for it was eight years old.

  55. @BB - "agree to disagree"...Well, morally. But contractually, BB?

    If BS can revoke her ma's consent all those years later, where does that leave us in dealing with powers of attorney? Seriously, contract law would be fucked if an agent's decision could be rescinded years later by the principal, no?

  56. @LordS - the British way of life - old maids cycling to communion in the morning mist, cooked breakfasts, red pillar boxes, cheeky scamps being forced up chimneys, rickets, TB, and using one's servants as shooting practice as the Glorious 12th draws near.

    For more details, read the Queen Mum blog on Cif last weekend. 93 servants, including 4 chauffeurs, wasn't it?

  57. hank
    I think deano said he'd be offline for a few days. He has trouble with his dongle you know..
    Plus he's probably still searching for his keks / glasses / strides!

    And the disgruntled one must be Andrew thingy - well spotted.

  58. The British way of life opposite where my other half works consists of blokes sitting outside / inside the pub all day, moaning about having no work for the last 25 years. Especially if the van picking them up for a bit of cash-in-hand labouring work hasn't come round that day.

  59. Sounds nasty, hope that gets sorted soon, deano, if you're looking in!!

    "Well spotted" - thanks, ms chin. I like to think of myself as an authority on bannable behaviour on Cif. Takes a thief to catch a thief etc..

  60. hank
    "old maids cycling to communion in the morning mist"? Stuff that, we old UT gals have plans for a retirement retreat which doesn't involve communing with anything remotely spiritual that isn't sold in a bottle.

  61. Tough one, Hank.

    Probably easier to discuss if the sex angle is removed so the question is essentially what should a child's guardian be able to sign a contract agreeing to and should the child, upon reaching the age of majority, have the right to rescind, or demand a renegotiation of that contract.

    Not sure about the first part of that but I'd say 'yes' to the second, or alternatively that no part of a contract taken out by the guardian of a child should extend beyond the child's age of majority.

    If you sign a contract as an adult, you should abide by it. But a contract signed on your behalf by a adult when you were a child, I think not.

  62. Hank

    From the point of view of a contract, yes you're right.

    I am missing Deano too! Hope he's ok.

  63. Boy boy boy! My local community radio station is blasting bout some fine ol' reggae tonight, wish they were on-line so you could join me. Lovers rockers rules the airwaves!

    It's so British you know. Home grown British reggae genre is lovers rockers y'know ..

  64. These matters are all too weighty for my addled brain and I am off to bed in hopes of refurbishing it. 'Night all!

  65. Sorry - got a bit unserious upthread.

    radicalchick's getting a bit feisty over on Waddya. She's chatting about Britishness with Dielib. With an AK47.

  66. Ok, LordS, I can see the sense in the latter argument, but, and I'm looking at this from a purely contractual point of view, if the adult version of the child star rips up the contract made on their behalf, should they also hand back the earnings from that contract?

    Can Brooke Shields claim exploitation and repudiate that exploitation while also enjoying the fruits of that exploitation?

    As I said above, I think that she has to abide by the terms of the contract her agent/attorney/parent made, and if she has a grievance when she reaches adulthood, the legal issue is between her and her agent, not between her and the other party to the contract.

    I understand what you're saying about it being easier to discuss if the sex angle is removed, because that has what has made it such an emotive issue on CIF and elsewhere. But the sex angle should be irrelevant anyway to lawyers.

    Btw, BB, Abigail's Party is fonduetastic, but I still prefer Nuts in May.

  67. An AK47? That's Russian. If she wants irony she should be shooting him with an Enfield.

    I used to live a stone's throw away from the Enfield rifle factory (when it was open) and got woken up on Sunday mornings by the sound of test rifle fire ;-)

    Better get myself over to WDYWTTA and enjoy the show!

  68. "Hank, from the point of a view of a contract, you're right."

    Thanks, BB. Dammit, I knew I should have studied law. Are you looking for a junior, BB?

  69. I'm not well up on modern weaponry, LordS & swifty's not around to ask!
    Rifle fire on Sunday morning - makes a lively change from church bells I suppose.

  70. Can Brooke Shields claim exploitation and repudiate that exploitation while also enjoying the fruits of that exploitation?

    Morally, perhaps not. But I'm sure she could make a good case for the seed of that exploitation not being her responsibility.

    I think this is one of those areas of law where an unstoppable force (the principle that a child is not responsible) meets an immovable object (contract law) .... BeautifulBurnout could spend the rest of her days arguing that one!

    Perhaps I missed my true calling, I love a good argument and will happily claim black is white if it gets up someone's nose.

    I should have been a lawyer ;-)

  71. Cool ... we all want to be lawyers. Not sure if The Untrusted is the right name for the firm though.

  72. LordS
    I love a good argument and will happily claim black is white if it gets up someone's nose.

    That's a postgrad qualification for CiF if ever I heard one!

    And boys - BB may prefer a female acolyte, y'know.

  73. LordS
    Hysterical with laughter here - think of the ad!

    Need a divorce? Need representation before the Grand Immigrationor General lot?

    Put your faith in The Untrusted Ltd, established since Noah was a little boy. You pay, we post crap on CiF while our minions buff up your case file. Our in-house advocate is well experienced in handling yobs. In fact we have a few in-house yobs & miscreants ourselves.

    But we are The Untrusted, and we are at your service (for a small fee - absolutely no credit).

  74. Hehehehe!

    Untrusted Chambers. Has a nice ring to it, innit?

  75. @mschin - are you pitching for a job? You can be the arsey receptionist a la Kiera (?) in This Life (-;

  76. Problems with the law? Court appearance due? Can't pay that fine? Hey, us too!

    Untrusted and Untrusted. Your Partners In Crime.

  77. hank
    No, I want to be the diversity specialist ..

    *ducks & scuttles quickly*

  78. Righty-ho, I'm off to bed.

    Big ups to Montanna, who will probably be awakening shortly. I always feel guilty for having such a good time on here when she's not around.

    A bit like those mice who come out at night and have a party in the kitchen but scurry back into their holes come daybreak.

  79. Child custody case? The crazy b*itch won't let you see your kids?

    We can arrange for you to be sectioned, as part of our murder prevention strategy (funded by the Violence Against Women Unit). It'll be cheaper for you in the long run .. honest. We're The Untrusted & wouldn't lie to you.
    ** Special all-in-one price including long-sleeved white suit for your sojourn (POA)

    Untrusted & Untrusted Family Court Services

  80. "Untrusted and Untrusted. Your Partners in Crime."

    Laughed at that, nice one.

    Gone bonkers over at Whaddya, innit? Proper bonkers too, not Imogen-bonkers...

    OK, party games time...what issue are we going to get synthetically outraged about tomorrow while completely sober and posting from work?

    I'm going for the disgusting and totally gratuitous representation of a female monkey on the Guardian home page as an object of sexual gratification since she he has been rendered topless and her nipples have been airbrushed proud, simply to reinforce the arrogant entitlement of Darwinian men who can spell.

    And so what iff I carnt spel, I can tipe rilly fast and spew out alsorts of stuf rilly quick;ly., so fuck you.

  81. "No, I want to be the diversity specialist..."

    You've got a sense of humour, mschin, so you're disqualified (-;

  82. Best night in Waddya for ages, hank! Between here & there, it's been an entertaining couple of hours. Couldn't keep up the serious stuff in the end!

    But tomorrow is another day, and at least you can post from work - I can't even read any blogs, newspapers or owt else of interest.

    Just checked out the front page. Go for it, it's like, so sexist & she is a venerable old lady who deserves more respect.

  83. I think I might go for the phallicisation of those fighter aircraft. They are such a turn on, oops, I mean they are being objectified as inverted symbols of the patriarchy, wings spread akimbo across the front page of the Graun ...

  84. Time I was in bed too. Night night all x

  85. I can't post from work, mschin. Never been able to. I can't even get access to Cif from work. I would complain about it but it's my own fault for thinking there was ever a career path with all the benefits working at Greggs.

    Still, I'm allowed to take as much pastry home as I can scoop up in my hat.

    You're right though about waddya. Been a scream. How much do irony implants cost? Some of the regulars might need to be checking their medical insurance...Particularly if they need "smugnessectomies" at the same time.

  86. Get that blackened kettle on yrself there pet...

  87. oops..! that came across meaner than it was meant too.. sorry... evil seeping out...

  88. "Get that blackened kettle on yrself there pet..."

    To who, kizbot?

  89. This comment has been removed by the author.