Wednesday, 19 November 2008

'This Is Not News'

I've just spent a face-achingly amusing few minutes perusing the comments on the Guardian website in response to John Sergeant's withdrawal from the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.

Entertaining were such perspectives as:

1) SCD is a programme for people who love watching high-quality dance. Those who voted for Sergeant were not real SCD fans, just 'having a laugh'. (Sidesplitting, eh? That's my idea of a screaming Saturday night jape.)

2) We should bemoan Sergeant's success in the contest (despite his paucity of talent) out of sympathy for those other more talented celebrities, to whom his presence is a wounding affront. (Diddums for the poor celebrities. How their poor hearts must bleed.)

And, most hilariously (and frequently/vociferously stated):

3) This is not news!

No, my friend, this is news. You may not like it, but it's news. So much so, you pissing idiot, that you are yourself commenting on an article about it.

News is what people read/watch/listen to. Current events. There is an infinite number of potential 'news' items at any second. What makes the difference as to what is reported and what is not is – [frickin' drumroll] – public interest.

I'd be prepared to bet that this story has already garnered (and will continue to garner) extraordinarily high reader-counts and comments. Things aren't headlined on the Guardian website solely on the whim of the editors. They are highly-placed because they are read by many people.

Newspapers don't just print stuff and hope. And the newspaper that ignored the interests of its readers would be pretty sodding short-lived.

Think about it, idiot commenters. Or, alternatively, go stand on your soapbox outside a MacDonalds and start yelling: 'This is not dinner!'


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ghost cars

Sadly, this is rather late for Hallowe'en. Nevertheless – behold! the terrifying Ghostcars!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Autumnal Hooliganism

Now, a proper, dyed-in-the-wool, hooligan – mayhap one of a less cerebral bent – would've given this the kicking it deserves.


Your hero, of course, walked meekly on by.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

My US Election Hero is ...

As Flickering Too Long says, Obama's victory speech was excellent. And last night was moving in many ways.

Obama himself is a mesmerising figure, and one (as object of such attention, such rhapsody, such excitement) by whom it is easy to be moved. (Which does not in any way detract from the man's talents.) Many people, no doubt, have been touched by Barack Obama, despite never having met the fellow. We've somehow got to know him over the past year or so. We feel a connection.

So far so unremarkable. The headline 'People Feel Connection to Obama!' ain't going to sell many newspapers.

But what about all those other people with whom – as a result of this election – we might feel a connection?

Over the past months, I feel I have formed a one-way e-bond with Michael Tomasky, of the Guardian – whose Tomasky Talk video blogs have followed the American election (he also writes).

At first, I found his tendency occasionally to sniff, resonantly, mid-sentence, extremely distracting. And I'm not about to claim that this has since become a habit I cherish.

However, I'm fascinated by the transformation that has occurred. At first, I watched the videos purely for their substantial content – slightly frustrated by the fact that video, by nature, is so much slower than the written word.

But, of late, I've found myself watching for Tomasky. Wanting to get his take. And wanting to see him give it.

How curious.

His latest (perhaps final?) American election piece was rather affecting. Watch it, why don't you? I've come to think that this is an incredibly pleasant, intelligent and sensitive human being. And will miss regular Tomasky talk bulletins should they (as I fear) cease.


One pundit, however, by whom I was not impressed is David Dimbleby – whose chairmanship of the BBC's election night coverage I found (at points) exceptionally irritating.

I cannot stand it when some pompous, establishment-endorsed arsehole has to have an answer for everything. Whenever a guest or co-presenter made a joke or flippant comment, Dimbleby had to come clunking in with some kind of rejoinder to undermine the attempt. He came across as impatient, frequently humorless and self-important.

When you're as well-established, respected and (I have no doubt) well-off as Dimbleby, you don't need to get the bloody last word in every exchange. It impresses nobody.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

What does one drink on such a night as this?

So: it's election night.

Therefore, despite a general tendency not to consume more than token amounts of alcohol on weeknights, the Intellectual Hooligan has cracked open a bottle of Election Day Pinot Grigio.

(Er ... It's not actually called that, you understand.)

Ah ... Limpid, complex, aromatic ... I'm getting citrus oils, elderflower – a hint of gooseberry. Elegant ... Balanced...

Actually, it's a couple of steps away from cats' piss. It's Pinot Grigio, for Christ's sake. Insubstantial yet harshly astringent; cheap, designed for the mass market. In tribute to Sarah Palin, therefore, I raise my pinot-grigio-filled glass.

That's what I get for buying Marks & Spencer 'Eat In For 10 pounds'. Heck, I had to choose something – and it was either that or the cheap Australian Chardonnay...

For the record: it's easy to slate Palin. And, by internet standards, I've probably been fairly subtle, here. But – my spittle-drenched opposition to every last one of her views, my wholesale condemnation of her politics and my heartfelt wish that McCain had not seen fit to cheapen his ticket thus aside – I say without bitterness or hostility: this woman has performed sodding brilliantly, given her inexperience.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Juicy flies in the web

To mark the end of the month of October, the Intellectual Hooligan presents you with a number of web-bound nuggets into which any e-spider would surely be glad to sink her fangs.
  • My enviably creative and observant friend Rebecca blogs about adopted objects. This is an enormously RSS-friendly blog in general – a feedreading treat. Have a look at bespectacled man with moustache – and then subscribe.
  • Over at the superbly-titled Flickering Too Long, meanwhile, there's a review of the Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading. A film I am now determined to see ...
  • The Anglo-Buddhist Combine (explanation of the blog's title) is substantially better-informed and more lucid than the Intellectual Hooligan on matters political. I recommend this piece on US politics.
  • Finally, this article about the poetry of spires is rather interesting (was originally published in the Chicago Tribune, but far better-presented by Slow Painting). The prose tends toward the purple at times, but nevertheless worth a look.

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