Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pablo Picasso

Remember this? Picasso Potatohead.

Charlie Brooker on the credit crunch: For years, money was just appearing from nowhere, or so we were told. People bought houses and bragged about how the value kept zooming up, and up, and up. In fact they didn't seem to be houses at all, but magic coin-shitting machines. It was all a dream, a dream in which you bought a box and lived in it, and all the time it generated money like a cow generates farts. Great big stinking clouds of money. And none of it was real. And now it's gone. Your house is worth less than your shoes, and your shoes are now, in turn, worth less than your mouth and your arse. Yes, your most valuable possessions are now your mouth and your arse, and you're going to have to use both of them in all manner of previously unthinkable ways to make ends meet, to pay for that box, the box you live in, the one you mistook for an enchanted, unstoppable cash engine.

I have heard two comments from bankers in the last few days that have had me pissing myself laughing. The first was off some financial genius who said that we can’t seriously expect the banks to hold bonuses down; that would only lead to the brightest and the best leaving these shores for Asia, or some such place. Yes. I’m sure that financial institutions the world over are queuing up to offer jobs to the idiots who got us into this mess in the first place. The berks should be forming an orderly queue on the roof of the nearest tall building and wait patiently to do the decent thing and take a header off it.

Another mind of magnificence complained that the bail out puts so many restrictions on them that shareholders dividends will be diluted out of existence. Please excuse me while I shed a quiet tear for all the shareholders.

Talking of economic miracles I came across this piece in the Sunday Herald on Indian Dalits, or untouchables changing their religion to avoid the institutionalised oppression that they suffer at the hands of their supposed betters. The piece isn’t actually about economics, but it does interview a man who earns pennies by climbing into sewers and cleaning the shit out with his hands and it reminded me of something I heard last week about the average weekly wage in India, which is still counted in pennies for the vast majority of the population. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that the haves are actually trying to make it illegal for the have nots to convert to other religions, mainly Buddhism.

I didn’t see any of Englands game at the weekend, so I’m hardly qualified to comment, but I will anyway. First, the booing. I shared my thoughts on booing last week, so I will just point out that the booing of Ashley Cole was anything but good natured, so I’m agin it. On the other hand, if someone has to be booed, young Ashley is a deserving case.

It’s not so much the booing that interests me, but the response to it. The press has been more or less unanimous in condemning it, which strikes me as being a bit hypocritical and many of them have poured scorn on the booers, questioning their judgment, and suggesting that they aren’t there for the football, but for the theatre; which was exemplified by the rapturous reception received by Beckham. It’s a fair point that, actually. Maybe the new generation of football fans are getting the footballers they deserve.

Of all the responses from the players, Steve Gerrard made some sense and Rio Ferdinand thoughtfully provided a text book example the kind of arrogance that has turned the nation against the players in the first place. I can’t remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of the fans being despicable. Well, Rio, the people who pay your wages may or not be despicable, their booist tendencies may be unwelcome, but they are entitled to an opinion; it might serve you and the others well to try and reflect upon the reasons for the booing, you might learn something about yourself. Anyway, the next time I see Ferdinand I shall boo him, even if it’s in the cheese aisle at Sainsburys.

The Chicago Way has restored my faith in pulp fiction. An old style, hard boiled, wisecracking detective, with an inability to sustain a relationship but capable of taking a punch, takes on corrupt cops and the mafia, whilst surrounded by more femmes fatales than you can shake a stick at. Just the job for a tired and weary head.
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