Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Two Sides? No Sides!

We're in the final big mudslide before a general election.  Political fuckers from all sides are getting their licks in, trying to persuade us poor unejicated plebs what's best for us, in a particular tone taken by Westminster political spods.  You know, the ones who are all tied to City of London vampires.  The ones who don't want working people to get a fair shake because of some vague ideological standpoint that pay equality is bad.

Don't ask why, it just is.  Shut up and keep watching Eastenders, Coronation Street and whatever the current reality TV is.  BBC News will keep you informed of what we want to tell you and how you should think about it.  We've also got The Sun and The Daily Mail for you to read.  Oh, and by the way, inserting rusty pins into your genitals is a fucking fantastic idea.

But I digress.  That's a conversation for another time.  Or have I said all I need to on the subject already?  DRAMATIC MUSIC!

That was an interesting digression.  Right out the gate, whoosh, go off ninety degrees to where I wanted.  Back on point, fucko.

Since the Scottish independence referendum there's been heightened political engagement in Scotland.  We saw droves of people rush to join the SNP and the Greens.  In the wake of a number of promises broken and others Satanically twisted in their fulfilment, we watched as Labour turned into a pariah party in Scotland.  They and the Tories worked hard to stop people from voting for independence, and they succeeded, in an entirely, hilariously, pyrrhic way.  Instead of a small portion of the Scottish population eyeing the Westminster lunch club suspiciously, now a big chunk of the country looking really closely at that prawn cocktail and wondering how many jobs were lost in order for the tubby MP to have it.  Not that Westminster give a fuck, their most important voting demographic is also their biggest, funnily enough, and resides around the south east of England – right on their doorstep.  Still, it's something of a worrying niggle to them I imagine, like those head aches and the voices.  Oh, the voices.

No, Mister Stumpleflush, I can't possibly do that with a corkscrew...

So with all that as a wonderful background, with Scotland's populace suddenly more engaged and in a perfect position to turn the screws on Westminster.  What do we start doing the moment we've got this level of engagement?  What's the bestest idea you can think of with this all going on?  Anybody?  Nobody can guess?

We split into tribes.  Yay!  Something positive is taking place, let's suck all the fucking good from it and turn it into a Who Can Call Each Other Cunts Most contest.  Yep.  We'll erect tents at either side of a fucking ravine and scowl at each other.  Get a nice big animosity inflation unit going to blow huge floats that hurl insults at the people on the other side.  And possibly sprays cat piss at them while they're at it.

It's like a fight over territory between two factions of chimps, except without all the screaming, shit-flinging an– oh, fuck it I can't even finish that sentence.  That level of lie would implode the entire fucking planet.

It's just really nasty.  It's like there's something burrowed in human psyche that means we can't just be a majority on something.  We have to schism down the middle and throw bodily fluids at each other.  Nice foetid ones at that.  The ones we've collected in jars over the years and let get good and decomposed.

There's nothing wrong with being at different side of a political discussion.  That whole thing of robust political discourse being an important corner stone of democracy is a valid argument, but the problem is, in our fractious internet age, people retreat to be with people of the same political standpoints as them.  It's natural.  We don't want to spend every day being told we're wrong and it's good to be around smarter people who can give us ideas to defend our standpoints when we do encounter people who tell us we're wrong.  The sticking point comes when we don't leave these groups and they become an echo chamber.  Those conditions are arsehole ideology breeding grounds.

It also means when people of different political opinions come together from these places, dripping with the absolute smelly determination they're right, it turns into sloppy shit fight.  You know what's horrible in a political discussion?  I'll assume you actually want to know and haven't just wandered off with your fingers in your ears going, "I don't do this.  I don't do this," like a cunt.  It's when anyone, on any side, rolls their eyes and goes, "That's just typical of what your side says," as if to dismiss them.  I do it when I'm reading shit the Tories are up to, and I'll probably do it a dozen times today, the difference being is that I'm not in discussion with someone with a differing opinion.  Yet this is an accepted part of political discussion, even including the inevitable snorting.

It's not even isolated to internet or private conversations, it's used in the highest political discussions in the land.  This is a response you'll see in assemblies and parliaments right across the land.  Like it's some kind of all-powerful weapon against ideologies that will cut an opponent off at the knees without a response.  They're right about one thing, it is hard to respond to, outside of 'you're a cunt'.  Of course it's typical of what one political view would say if it aligns with their political view.  Fucking morons.

It ties in with the whole thing of a misunderstanding of what robust debate actually means.  Watching footage from the House of Commons is like watching a bunch of unsupervised and undisciplined school kids scream at each other from across the play ground.  It's a football away from a couple of MPs rolling around on the floor punching and biting each other.  It's rowdy, it's horrible, it doesn't get much done and that seems to be the way our political wanks want it.  If that's how top level political discussion goes, what does that leave for the rest of us?

That's right.  Festering penis scrapings.

For fuck's sake, we need to be a bit more mature about how we discuss these things.  Yes, you disagree with what that SNP person or Tory person is saying, but outright calling them a cunt isn't going to get you anywhere, even if it is justified.  Passion is good.  Passion gets shit done.  Foaming mouthed, eye-rolling raving makes people reach for the fucking cattle prod.

Pack it in you fucking idiots.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Back On Pandora.

Well, it's not really back on Pandora.  In case it wasn't immediately obvious, I'm talking about the follow-up to the game I had an embarrassingly long obsession with – Borderlands 2* – that means I'm talking about Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!.  That exclamation mark seems to be quite important and makes further punctuation difficult.  I think they did it on purpose, just to annoy people.  Like me.

I'm going to go ahead and spoiler the shit out of this game.  It's been out for over a month, but if you've stumbled (miraculously, because hardly anyone seems to) on this post, haven't played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! yet and want to, I'd close the door quietly on the way out and come back when you can tell me I'm talking shite.

I'll come out and say it right out: I enjoy this game.  I've been playing on my own and with my wife since it came out on 17th October.  I've kept abreast of the digging into the game and know quite a bit myself, so I decided to give my thoughts on it thus far.  A review, if you will.  But I'll say it again, despite anything else I might say, I enjoy this game.  It is flawed, and because I have the best interests of the game at heart I see those flaws and want to salve them.  Not everybody's going to agree with me, but tough shit.  Opinion, man!  OPINION!  But really if I were a journalist, I'd be the kind who meekly writes the most harmless stories when I know the terrible truth and then after years is found overdosed on booze, sleeping pills and painkillers.  I'm brave, me.

So, what do we have?  I'll tell you what we don't have, it's not Borderlands 3.  That's something that needs to be said outright.  From its setting – the time between Borderlands and Borderlands 2 – to its general feel – it's a tweaked version of the Borderlands 2 framework.  Borderlands 3 will probably be an evolution of what's gone before, and although we have some interesting things happening in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! it's not different enough to be that new game.  I can see why some people have been prompted to say it's a glorified DLC, but it isn't that either, fortunately.  The campaign is too substantial and the four, going to six, playable characters are all hallmarks of a separate, if very linked and similar game.

In this game we follow Handsome Jack, the villain from Borderlands 2, as he gets help from a new group of vault hunters to overcome a new threat to Pandora.  This all takes place on Pandora's moon Elpis and involves all the Borderlands-y insanity and ludicrous violence we've come to expect since the first game.  You get a bunch of twists and turns on the road through Jack's inevitable downward spiral.  It's all fun and mostly funny.  Not everything reaches its hilarious potential.  Davis Pickle is a bit of clunky misstep, the Artful Dodger thing raised a smile for a moment and then I started rolling my eyes when he explained every...bit...of...fucking...rhyming...slang**.   That aside the story bobs along and we're introduced to the Australian-themed moon with all the cultural nods and winks that entails.  I'm sure there are some American-baffling Home and Away and Neighbours references buried in it, fortunately I haven't seen those, and I'd be too embarrassed to admit I had – fucking soap operas.  I giggled a lot at the wider cultural references and, of course, Mr Torgue.

Also to put in the 'cool' category we actually get to hear what the vault hunters think of all the crazy shit that's going on.  Their reactions lend some humanity and, at times, hilarity to the narrative and its nice not to be in control of a voiceless cypher.  Especially as there's the sense that these are supposed to be independent characters and not faceless clay to be moulded like in any number of RPGs.  Some of the dialogue can get tiresome, though, especially if you're playing the game for an extended time.  For the most part it works and is an extension of what was done with the Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep campaign expansion.  And including different voice overs for the two (current, because after the implementation of Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode in Borderlands 2 I'd be surprised if it didn't make a return here) playthroughs was a great choice as well.

The game feels like Borderlands 2 and the characters and weapons handle in much the same way.  The addition of lower gravity and air-poverty are cool.  The need for oxygen in large parts of the game isn't as terribly intrusive as people feared and it's a lot of fun to use it to soar over Elpis and slam down on...I would say unwitting, because some enemies seem to be fucking clairvoyant...foes.  The enemies are still almost mindlessly aggressive, so you have situations where they are trying to shoot at you through walls, which is frankly weird.  The new cryo element is another great addition and much better than slag.

Now, we come to the segue-way from me being purely complimentary to me being critical.  Loot is still a problem in this game.  Mostly, you can charge through with the weapons you pick up, get from the golden chest or missions.  What if you want the rarest of the loot?  The legendaries.  There are a bunch in this game, some of which return from Borderlands 2 or look exactly like ones in Borderlands 2, which was a bit disappointing in itself, but not awful and gave a little extra bit of familiarity and a link to the games nominally bracketing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.  The drop rates are still an issue, one-in-thirty from sometimes quite challenging enemies still feels mocking.  It's even worse, now that I know that legendaries, skins and heads are all linked to the one pool.  Character customisation shouldn't have to come at the expense of hours upon hours of grinding and legendary equipment shouldn't be made even harder to get because those same customisations push them out.  You shouldn't need to fight a raid boss thirty times to get a single legendary, if anything it should have a high chance to drop multiple legendaries.  It all goes back to what I said before about the difference between frustration and fun, dudes.  There have been people who defend this policy, often with empirical data, but the act of playing a game isn't quantifiable with numbers, it's a lot more about how a player feels and if we feel like we're getting a bit screwed (whether we are or not) it's going to impact our enjoyment and whether we pick up another one of your games.  Here's a wee, hastily thought out suggestion for those with the numbers mind: have a sliding scale dependent on the type of boss.  Mini-bosses will have a one-in-twenty chance to drop their legendaries, main bosses have one-in-ten or -twelve and raid bosses have one-in-five for one, one-in-ten for an extra and one-in-thirty for a third.  Raids should never drop anything lower than blue, either.  That would make raid bosses more rewarding and rewarding is what this is all about, right?  I'm sure I'm right.

This neatly moves me onto the other great frustration about the game and that's the non-respawning enemies with assigned loot-drops.  Why have an enemy, with a legendary that has that horrible drop rate, that you can't get to go after again?  It beggars logic and it's ruler-across-the-knuckles mean.  I can see a vague argument that it's in keeping with Borderlands, but why add such an unfair feature?  There are plenty of call-backs to the first game and that's one of the shittier ones.  It's a bizarre decision, but then Gearbox seem to enjoy their bizarre design and gameplay-tweaking decisions.  The most recent of which was lessening the drop rate of a grenade from an uncommon enemy, when most players hadn't seen the drop.  I think it comes from a bunch of people saying they'd seen this item drop a few times.  This was a tiny percentage of a community that, has been said time and again, is a tiny percentage of the overall player base.  It's nice that Gearbox pay attention to the community, but this is just silly – it wasn't game-breaking and the item dropped isn't that great, so why mess with it?

Admittedly, the legendary problem has been mitigated by the addition of the Grinder, into which you can throw items you don't want and possibly get items of better quality.  That's a fucking cool feature, I have to admit.  They've also boosted the quality of the equipment you can buy from vendors, so that legendaries have a good chance to appear in the items of the day.  And it's even better when you can afford them, and it means money actually has value again in a Borderlands game.  Those are design decisions I can approve of.  However, not everyone wants to play that way, they might be weird and messed-up, but some people like to farm allocated drop sources for their stuff.  These people don't want to stand at the grinder hoping to get the item they want, they want to go out and find a high-powered enemy and make them PAY!  Reducing so many enemies to single-instance encounters robs the players of end-game experience.  And we want end-game experience, we want to play this for ages.  Choice is a big part of the Borderlands experience and the choice to get equipment in different ways will extend the life of the game more than making enemies bullet sponges.

And that's the problem, and a problem I understand Borderlands 2 suffered from early on, too, there's not that much to do once you've completed the game a few times.  The single raid boss isn't enough to sate most players.  There is more content to come and that's good.  There is a single campaign add-on advertised.  I really hope this is groaning with content.  An absolute ideal is something that's as long as Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! main game.  That's unlikely, but it would be wonderful if it happened.  Regular events would be another fantastic way of boosting the life of the game.  Things like scaled-down versions of last year's Loot Hunt event would be fantastic, with a weekend or a week of an item or two getting a drop boost.  We've already had the Jack-o'-Cannon in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! for Halloween and it was a great bonus.  You have the power to make us want more, Gearbox!  You know, by giving.

So those are my thoughts on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel after over a month playing it.  It's a great game and, with a few tweaks, can be a terrific game.  I'll be playing it for some time to come.  Shooting insane arseholes in the face is surprisingly addictive.

* And you can read all about that creeping insanity: here (part one) and here (part two), if you're so inclined.  The first one caused a tiny (not being ironic, it really was barely visible) stir on the Gearbox forums, but hardly anyone read the second.  Maybe I got gun shy after the first.  Some people got quite aggressive and unpleasant and it didn't encourage me to want to discuss the matter on the forum further.  A needless explanation there, for people who didn't care.  And unexpected poetry!

** His sister, the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady-inspired, Eliza does the same.  Now, she's a character that deserves the hate Pickle gets on the Gearbox community forum.  In a game full of nasty sociopaths, she is one of the worst: screwing people over and leaving others for dead is all par for the course in Borderlands, but we're expected to like Eliza.  Problem is there's nothing about her that is likeable.  Even Handsome Jack's funny.  Eliza is just a monster and it feels off, even for Borderlands, to let her go about her dastardly business.

Admittedly, the mission rewards are still some of the best in the game.

Okay, okay, it is fun to go off and shoot a baddie in the face until he tearfully hands over the legendary you've been after.  Within a reasonable time-frame, not three days.


P.S. Gearbox, gies a writing job.  I can write good!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Goodbye, Doctor.

Well that was a big pile of fucking terrible.  Obviously some of you out there don't agree.  You're strange and wrong, of course.  What am I talking about?  Doctor Who, of course.  That little BBC show that was off the air for about fifteen years and was brought back in 2005, to much fan fare and fandom creaming.  Really, about nine years down the line the shine's tarnished a bit.  And by 'a bit' I mean its now about as shiny as a tennis ball.  So it goes without saying I feel the need to go on a spoiler-ridden rant about it.

Seriously.  SPOILERS, morons.  If you don't want anything given away because you haven't caught up don't read on.  Although, I don't think anyone who is interested in Doctor Who will be behind that much.  You never can tell.

I'll admit I was one of the many people who got very excited when it was announced Doctor Who was going to return.  I watched it as a kid.  From what I learned more recently I was the only one in my household who enjoyed it.  How's that for making you feel shit?  Makes me feel like I was some kind of pre-pubescent dictator of the television.  That just sounds hilarious when thrown out into the ether.

So, the excitement in the year or so before Russell T. Davies brought Doctor Who back to the screen was quite palpable*.  Christopher Eccleston was a good choice.  An actor with gravitas and the ability to play it light.  And ears, such magnificent ears.  My enthusiasm lasted through that first series.  Even then, there were concerns.

I mean the format for Doctor Who was always multi-part stories, told in half-hour chunks.  Davies came back and changed the format to stand alone forty-five minute stories.  It wasn't too terrible, for a while, but we'll come to that.

Then there was Rose Tyler.  In the first of this new series, the preoccupation with the companion was quite refreshing.  Rose Tyler wasn't a terrible character, and I was surprised how good an actress Billie Piper is, being more accustomed to her previous incarnation as teeny pop performer.  Now I see that's when the rot started to set in.  Russell T. Davies ran with this and Steven Moffat's taken that cue and gone further with it.  The companion being either a fawning cypher or unreasonably stubborn.  Whatever the companion, they shoved in one of my pet hates about modern storytelling: the pathological need to have a romantic subplot.  It's not the pinnacle of story, most of the time it's as interesting as overhearing a loud teenager's phone call.  Now we're here, on the cusp of the abyss**.

The latest series of Doctor Who has been a dismal affair.  It's not just the preoccupation with the companion, in this case the empty vessel that's Clara Oswald, but let's dwell on it a moment.  In a show that's ostensibly a fantasy/science fiction premise, it felt like a lot of time was lavished on the life of Clara Oswald.  It's happened since Rose Tyler, through What's-Her-Name and Amy Pond.  These last series it's been turned up a couple of notches.  To the point it felt like a standard drama with some sci-fi spotted through.  Not even interesting drama.  The most mundane and boring stuff they could dredge up:
     "What's for tea tonight?"
     "Oh, okay...Oh look.  The Doctor."
Wouldn't have been so bad if the sci-fi stuff counterpointing it was at all interesting, but it was like a shot of beige thrown into a wall of grey.

It doesn't help that Steven Moffat can't seem to write women.  This post here details his many crimes against women characters.  Clara Oswald was a dull character who was supposed to have strong traits, but never managed to show them.  She could have been played by a washcloth on a stick with 'Clara Oswald: Strong Female' stitched on it.  In the last episode of the latest series The Mistress describes her as a 'control freak'.  What?  I never got that.  You can't just say that without having the character display it.  She was deceitful and wilful when she wasn't being a compliant puppet, but control freak?  And her wilfulness was always used in the most stupid way, in order to advance a plot that was in danger of plunging down a hole and managed to find another one.  Not that plot holes worry Steven Moffat much...

...Because, as Cracked observed, Doctor Who currently lives in a fucking plot hole.  And fuck does it.  I couldn't even tell you what the last few episodes were about, they were such a mess.  I have been chided in the past about my stories lacking internal logic.  You know, that thing where, no matter how nonsensical something is in a story, it makes sense in context.  Sapphire and Steel was great at it.  Most people couldn't follow what the fuck was going on, but there was a sense of some underlying logic that you just didn't understand.  Current Doctor Who tosses that out the window BECAUSE SOMETHING FUCKING COOL IS HAPPENING!  That only works in small doses, when entire episodes are full of contradictions it gets tiresome.  It feels like the writers have been throwing things on a page and hoping they miraculously come together.  That only works with stir fries.

I could even forgive the twisted mess the stories have been if they had been interesting, but they have completely lacked any kind of excitement.  You can see they want to be, like the kid who's wearing the glasses and drawn-on scar, really wants to be Harry Potter, but doesn't quite do it.  Russell T. Davies wasn't great at this kind of narrative excitement, but he did manage it, possibly by pure chance, in all the arm-flailing and scurrying around.  These recent episodes have been plodding affairs desperately pointing at the screen and shouting, "See!  Excitement!" while pointing at a tree.  The stakes never felt that high.

The stakes should have felt high, since the reboot, the series has been running on series-wide arcs.  These in themselves aren't a problem, but it's the need for a new story every week that's ground down the poor show.  It's the same problem that dogs American television, with its obsession for twenty-two and -four episode series.  It gets tired.  There's only so much that can be mined out of a premise.  Before for Doctor Who, that took almost thirty years, with the previous longer-form, multi-part stories, but it's been accelerated this time with so many stories being thrown at us in a series.

And the cardinal problem, for me, is that in a show called Doctor Who, we haven't seen that much of the Doctor.  Whether that's actually the case, I don't know, I'm sure some pedant will show me a spreadsheet showing, empirically, the Doctor was in the show the most.  The problem is, stories don't run on empirical evidence, they run on feelings and if you leave viewers feeling like the eponymous character hasn't been seen enough, you've done something tragically wrong.  Yes, they pulled it off in Blake's Seven, but there was actually a valid narrative reason: Blake was dead.  What's Doctor Who's excuse?  Steven Moffat wants to concentrate on Clara and Danny going down to Asda?  We really need to know how many times a week they see each other?  Come on, that's not drama, that's a desperate bid to make people turn off the television.

For me, after discussing it with my wife, it comes down to a basic problem: Doctor Who is a pure nostalgia-fest.  People who watched the original run, like yours truly, and loved it.  We are hoping for a snippet of that feeling, but for me at least, it's not coming.  I've tuned in week after week only to be disappointed and bored again.  Yes, there have been good things, but they're bogged down and buried by the utter shit.  Don't trot out that tired, "it's a kid's show" bit, because that's no excuse for shitty writing.  Doctor Who is tired now and I suspect a proportion of people tune in hoping it improves, only to be disappointed, their little forty-five minutes of sadness on a Saturday night for a few weeks.  This could be the only thing keeping it afloat.

After the Christmas episode, I'm out, and I'll probably cringe my way through that.  I can't handle the disappointment any more.  I can't handle the fucking terrible stories, either.  The final episode of the recent series was an exercise in not creating tension.  It was remarkable that scenes with a plane besieged by Cybermen could be so boring.  It was so bad I can't even come up with an amusing simile that encapsulates tedium.  But Michelle Gomez was fucking amazing.

There are some things that can be done to improve it: for a start, give us the Doctor, doing things, being mad, solving problems like a fucking beast.  He's smart and he's resourceful, but that hasn't come across well recently, because he's been mostly absent.  Ditch the cult of the companion, it's the worst while giving us an interesting companion, even go so far as a non-human or non-contemporary human.  Think through what's happening in the story more, dude.  Pulpish madness only works when there's a baseline somewhere, without that, doesn't matter how mental that baseline is, the viewers are floating around with a nothing plot.  I'd even plump for longer story arcs, two or three episodes to tell a story and let it breath more – the, "woo! thrown into the plot" thing makes me weary.

None of the above will happen, mind you.  Too many people are vocal in their love of Doctor Who, but for me it's lost its appeal.  It's a bit sad, but I'll be off watching things that are fun, instead of hoping for another episode of Doctor Who to end.

* I may have jumped up and down clapping at one point.  It's out there, deal with it.

** Hyperbolic?  Me?  I resent your unspoken implication and challenge you to a duel.  That I won't turn up to and call you a prick for going.

Yeah, I skipped the series with Catherine Tate, because I found her comedy vapid and unfunny, I couldn't imagine watching her as a companion.  I might have been wrong in my assessment, but that's where we are.

Before anyone starts shouting at me for some misogynistic slight, Danny Pink could have been played by another washcloth on a stick with 'Danny Pink: Man'.


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Yes, We Do Have Priorities.

"Stop talking about this and think about this!" I've been seeing this sentiment a lot recently.  My language might be vague and you're probably already wondering, after a whole sentence, why the fuck you clicked on this blog.  You need to bear with me.  I have a point, but I'm going to waffle a bit before I get there.  Make yourself a cup of tea or relax yourself with some porn, whatever it takes, I'll be waiting*.

Done?  Got yer tea and biscuits in comfortable reach.  Cleaned up?  Dribbled tea everywhere when you thought you'd be a smart arse and try to do both things at once?  Sicko.  We'll assume you've done whatever thing you needed to relax yourself and we'll say no more.  Especially about the stains.   Oh, the stains.

You know when you see something so odd that it stops you in your tracks?  Sometimes you go, "Oh, right," and carry on with your day and pour out those cold beans from the can and shovel them into your mouth**.  Sometimes that weird thing gets you thinking.  It could be anything, but let's go with a celebrity's face suddenly changes to something unrecognisable.  It's obvious that's she's had work done.  Enough to alter the way she looks so drastically.  Now, I don't think it's fair to shame her, she's a victim of a hypocritical system that pulls women one way then another, mocking them for just about any decision they make.

The small rumble of interest caused a few people to start wailing about all the other things wrong in the world.  Excuse me?  "There are more important things in the world than Renée Zellweger's face!" No kidding, crazy person.

Even stranger, and more odiously, was when Nigel Farage waded into the vague nonsense that was the UKIP Calypso this week.  Now, the song was an offensive piece of crap on a number of levels, and I'm not going to link it.  But the pan-faced goblin that is Nigel Farage got on his high horse in the Independent.  He does the same, "There are more important things to be angry about," rant and then points, obliquely, at Ebola and more blatantly at historical child abuse in Rotherham.  In this article you can almost see the straining erection he has for getting more column inches and air time for such a stupid thing and then thrusts a veiny, probably corkscrew-shaped, stiffy in the faces of anyone close by.  It was easy publicity for a racism-factory that runs on a sticky fuel of grubby attention.

This curious phenomenon of pointing at things that are more important to shift attention away from something seen as fairly trivial does a disservice to people in general.  You are aware that we can give thinking time to other things, right?  Some things make a bigger impact, and time does dull them – be honest, in a few months both of the examples above will be forgotten.  By squealing about them you've got people thinking about them for longer and perversely taking attention away from the thing your trying to point out.  People are weird, contrarian and arseholey about that.

People do need to think about other things than all the horrible shit that's going on in the world – even if it is a minor scandal or uproar – because we would become either fatigued or humourless existers who can't eat because they are stuck in constant sad face.  It's like having a tiny bit of salacious gossip and screaming at the person, "I don't care if he fell into bed with his brother-in-law's wife, what about fucking PALESTINE§!?"

Yes, giving any thought to the small things is silly, and that's kind of the point.  We're still aware of the giant ogres and injustices stomping around the world, we just need something to take the edge of or we'd go fucking nuts.  I notice no one ever berates anyone for looking at cute animal vids on Youtube.  Sometimes we need something less horrible to be able to deal with the nightmarish shit that's going on.

And then, of course, looking at my half-formed examples above more closely, you'll start to see that they're indicative of much bigger issues with society.  Poor Renée Zellweger is a new poster child for our fucked up attitudes towards women – she shouldn't have felt the need to use surgery to look younger, but she conversely shouldn't be pilloried for doing it.  Nigel Farage and UKIP are fucking cancerous political spectres, stoking hatred against certain demographics, giving voice to the worst kind of bigotry and polishing it up as mainstream politics.  You know why Farage and his particular breed of ghoul are trying to do this?  To line their already pretty money-padded pockets.  They are an expression of our greedy-shit political system, amplified to a chinless, guffawing, hundred pound note-smoking, poor-mocking caricature straight out of a Dickens novel.

In Nigel Farage's case in particular, you have to ask who benefits from the distraction: the song itself was a distraction on its own, but still shone a spotlight on UKIP's spineless dickery, so Farage§§, the slippery fuck, did a bit of crafty sleight of hand.  He got publicity for the party while diverting attention away from their abhorrent policies.  He's clearly been getting lessons from David Blane§§§.

So, everyone, just calm the fuck down, take a deep breath and let's just agree that Nigel Farage is a cunt.

* Just keep thinking about that when you're trying to crank one out.

** Oh?  That's just me.  Okay.  Fuck.

I mean, seriously, if the captions and headlines hadn't said who she was, I wouldn't have known.  No, Russell Brand, that's not a result of getting older.  Ageing a few years in adulthood doesn't cause that level of appearance change.

And, fucking hell, the BBC have been doing enough of that.  How much of Farage's tainted champagne have BBC execs drank to constantly shove that cunt to the forefront of political debate in the UK when UKIP are still essentially a fringe party?

§ But really it's still fucking awful there.

§§ He might be a giant grinning thumb, but he's a sharp grinning thumb, that's why he's so dangerous.

§§§ Is that charlatan shithead still around?  Levitation, fucking hell.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

And Lo, It Happened.

A short one after a long absence.  I've just had all the wind knocked out of my sails.

I write this a week after the No voters won*.  It's still raw.  I was going to go on a rant, but this post covers everything already.  Just add something about a moronic war and fracking fucking everywhere.

I will say I'm a tiny bit more optimistic than I was last Friday.  There's been this groundswell of political interest as some No voters are realising just what they've done and incensed Yes voters rally to push change.  I say I'm only a bit, because, like the promises made by the three main parties a day or two before the referendum, there is no politic interest or will in Westminster to listen to us uppity Jocks.  Labour and the Tories will simply turn away and pretend it's not happening.  I hope I'm wrong and the collective force of will affects change, but will hope be enough?

* I say won, but they're swimming in the same shit as the rest of us, only some of them are grinning and gloating about it.