Sunday, October 24, 2004

A lesson for our blogging times

Charlie Brooker, TV scheduler of choice, writes a rather near-to-the-bone TV review in The Guardian's A5, throwaway listings mag, The Guide. It's astonishingly insulting and very funny. Only this week's column's musings on George Bush - "John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you" - gets him picked up on the bleeding Drudge Report as The Guardian advocating assassinating the President. Rightwingers start discussing exactly what they should do about Mr Brooker. I'm guessing his email inbox is going to keep him in fresh new insults for months.

Of course, The Guardian is well aware that it has a substantial American readership via the internet. It brags about it often enough. Its Operation Clark County articles were much noted and the coverage in the paper entirely predictable (it's fairly obvious that they always wanted the idiot email responses: it helps fill up the paper printing them). The Manchester Guardian left its provincial moorings behind in the wake of the Suez Crisis to become metropolitan. Now another criminally stupid foreign adventure - one actually far worse than Suez - is turning the paper cosmopolitan.

5 Comments:

Blogger bebynnag said...

I am begginnig to hate the attitude of the Centre Left in this country. I think they care more about what's happening outside Britain.

That Operation Clark County was just as an idea that could play into the hands of specific parties in America. But like Tony Benn, if Ruper Murdoch can to do it. Why can't the rest of us.

Keep the good work guys.

10/24/2004 11:15:00 am  
Blogger bebynnag said...

I see that the tanned one is creating more problems for UKIP. He doesn't accept Knapman ( Is he wearing a whig though ?) as the leader.

Good work Kilroy. Keep the infighting going.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3760120.stm#

10/24/2004 11:21:00 am  
Blogger Dianne said...

Americans don't have a sense of humor about these things. My french husband posted a blurb one day along this line before reading it to me (an American). When I saw it I freaked out. Not because I care for George Bush but because of fear the CIA would soon bust our door down and haul me back to the states or that nasty little place in Cuba. I kid you not. My husband was having a roaring good time laughing at me while I shivered in fear, listening for the loud knock at the door.

10/24/2004 11:24:00 am  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Dianne - gotta love that 1st amendment, eh?

10/24/2004 12:54:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Dear God - The Guardian's caved in and issued an apology, taking the article off the website.

For those who missed it, here is the full text:

Dumb show

Heady times. The US election draws ever nearer, and while the rest of the world bangs its head against the floorboards screaming "Please God, not Bush!", the candidates clash head to head in a series of live televised debates. It's a bit like American Idol, but with terrifying global ramifications. You've got to laugh.

Or have you? Have you seen the debates? I urge you to do so. The exemplary BBC News website (www.bbc.co.uk/news) hosts unexpurgated streaming footage of all the recent debates, plus clips from previous encounters, through Reagan and Carter, all the way back to Nixon versus JFK.

Watching Bush v Kerry, two things immediately strike you. First, the opening explanation of the rules makes the whole thing feel like a Radio 4 parlour game. And second, George W Bush is... well, he's... Jesus, where do you start?

The internet's a-buzz with speculation that Bush has been wearing a wire, receiving help from some off-stage lackey. Screen grabs appearing to show a mysterious bulge in the centre of his back are being traded like Top Trumps. Prior to seeing the debate footage, I regarded this with healthy scepticism: the whole "wire" scandal was just wishful thinking on behalf of some amateur Michael Moores, I figured. And then I watched the footage.

Quite frankly, the man's either wired or mad. If it's the former, he should be flung out of office: tarred, feathered and kicked in the nuts. And if it's the latter, his behaviour goes beyond strange, and heads toward terrifying. He looks like he's listening to something we can't hear. He blinks, he mumbles, he lets a sentence trail off, starts a new one, then reverts back to whatever he was saying in the first place. Each time he recalls a statistic (either from memory or the voice in his head), he flashes us a dumb little smile, like a toddler proudly showing off its first bowel movement. Forgive me for employing the language of the playground, but the man's a tool.

So I sit there and I watch this and I start scratching my head, because I'm trying to work out why Bush is afforded any kind of credence or respect whatsoever in his native country. His performance is so transparently bizarre, so feeble and stumbling, it's a miracle he wasn't laughed off the stage. And then I start hunting around the internet, looking to see what the US media made of the whole "wire" debate. And they just let it die. They mentioned it in passing, called it a wacko conspiracy theory and moved on.

Yet whether it turns out to be true or not, right now it's certainly plausible - even if you discount the bulge photos and simply watch the president's ridiculous smirking face. Perhaps he isn't wired. Perhaps he's just gone gaga. If you don't ask the questions, you'll never know the truth.

The silence is all the more troubling since in the past the US news media has had no problem at all covering other wacko conspiracy theories, ones with far less evidence to support them. (For infuriating confirmation of this, watch the second part of the must-see documentary series The Power Of Nightmares (Wed, 9pm, BBC2) and witness the absurd hounding of Bill Clinton over the Whitewater and Vince Foster non-scandals.)

Throughout the debate, John Kerry, for his part, looks and sounds a bit like a haunted tree. But at least he's not a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat. And besides, in a fight between a tree and a bush, I know who I'd favour.

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

10/24/2004 10:39:00 pm  

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