Vague ramblings

A year of living disingenuously…

Posted in Life, Personal stuff by Ian Cundell on 31 December, 2014

So it turns out that I was a tad on the optimistic side this time last year. It also turns out that there is nothing like a stonking great tax bill, hard on the heals of my old laptop’s hard drive packing up (repairable, but no longer viable as a work machine) and my car needing a new clutch to prick the mood. Ho, as the old saying goes, hum

2014 has been a year of mind-boggling stupidity on so many scales that it is hard to know where to start.

Well, no. Not really. The only place to start is to ask why the British media has failed to ask any serious questions of Nigel Farage, a Dulwich College-educated commodity broker putting on a beer-and-fags, man-of-the-people act, while actually being a disgusting, boorish oaf and an embarrassment to anyone who stops to think for a minute. Meanwhile, the Greens – who have actually had an MP for nearly 5 years now – are excluded from the debate. It is hard not to call it censorship, so I will. I’m not even a Green and it offends me.

Putin tried to rebuild the Russian Empire but hey. he’ll still get to stage the World Cup thanks to a vote so bent it would have embarrassed the old Soviet Union.

We managed the incredible – landing a fridge-size spaceship on a speeding comet – only for a lot of people who are smart enough to know better to drop their pants and shit all over a female artist’s right to have her art celebrated. And the liberal left wonders why it has so much trouble building durable alliances. Fortunately for lefties everywhere, #GamerGate managed to give us an even more stupid Twitter storm, with added dishonesty. No, wait…fortunately? Libertarian numpties bow to no-one when it comes to dimwittedness.

And, under a black President, the USA seems to have declared open-season on black youth. That, as the youth probably don’t say, is something I simply cannot get my head around.

It is not all bad – to say so would be as disingenuous as the media I castigate above.

Some extraordinarily brave people, at great personal risk, have stepped into the Ebola cauldron.

Convicted price-fixer David Whelan got his arsed kicked for the kind of casual, unthinking racism that Nigel Farage wants to make acceptable again.

Peter Capaldi rocked it as Doctor Who, as right-thinking people knew he would.

Our fighting forces are finally out of Afghanistan.

Neil deGrasse Tyson made a wonderful, thoughtful update of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

Oh, and we landed a spaceship on a comet. ON A FRIGGIN’ COMET, PEOPLE!

Anyway:

This time next year I will live somewhere new. For the first time in 60 years there will be nobody called Cundell in the old family home. So for me 2015 will be a new year in more ways than one.

I hope it is for you too, all of them good.

Now, 2015, let’s try that again and this time, concentrate.

Happy New Year.

(Thanks of KRB for a factual correction)


Social intercourse for nerds and geeks

Posted in Life, Musing by Ian Cundell on 3 July, 2013

Toby Frost, author of the terminally daft Space Captain Smith novels, recently brought me up to speed on the right old hoo-ha (who-ha?) in SF fandom: Summary from one PoV here (skim the comments though) or from a different perspective here: (Short version: older duffers shocked at being taken to task for crass sexism)

It has striking similarities to a who-ha (hoo-ha?) rumbling along in the sceptical/ atheist/ secular movements, especially since sceptic Rebecca Watson  made a perfectly reasonable request to be treated with personal respect.

It would be tempting to explain such who/hoo-haing by the pervasive presence of a large cohort of self-styled libertarian “free thinkers” who feel they have the right to be obnoxious without facing consequence.

But I am minded to agree with Toby – and possibly William of Occam – that a simpler explanation is better: mine is that both movements are chock-full of nerds and geeks, people who – as a whole – have no clue how to behave around strangers.

In a characteristically waggish moment, Toby suggested a top-10 list of how to behave in company, but I’ve decided to go with a Cognitive Behavioural approach, complete with homework, since CBT does not work unless you do the homework. I’ve tried to use gender-neutral language, so that the poor chaps don’t feel victimised. (It should, but won’t, go without saying that Toby is an innocent bystander in what follows. He really should know better than to be waggish near me.) (more…)

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Jimmy Savile: A decade on trial

Posted in Irritants, Life by Ian Cundell on 23 October, 2012

The more I think about it, the more I am coming to the conclusion that a documentary made in 1982, as part of the the TV series Police, is one of the most important episodes of television in history.

The episode, of course, dealt with the way Thames Valley Police handled a complaint of rape. It shocked the nation and led to fundamental changes to the way rape victims are treated.

But I now think it did something of much wider significance: it put a gun to the head of the 1970s and cocked it. Three weeks ago, ITV finally – finally – pulled the trigger. (more…)

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