10
Feb
10

Lee and Kenny, an affair to forget

There’s a meme that lately has been infesting several message and image boards across the interwebs. It’s called trollface, and for those unfamiliar it’s an image used to signify a commenter who deliberately posts something erroneous and off-message to provoke a reaction.

There is a reason why I bring this up. I was reading about the resignation of Boy George yesterday, and I happened upon a picture in the IT of George and Enda in happier times.

via The Irish Times

I can’t be the only one who sees a resemblance. There seems to be a general perception that Lee was impatient. He was new to a career in politics. Did he really expect a frontbench position immediately? While there is a certain amount of validity to this argument, I can’t help but feel some sympathy for Lee. He may have been a beginner, but that’s not how Fine Gael sold him. He was an expert in finances who was going to further cement the party’s ability to fix the economy that Fianna Fáil broke. Lee is obviously a very intelligent man, and must have been very disheartening to realise he was just hired as a pretty face.

However, while this might have been a fair reason to leave Fine Gael, it doesn’t excuse his resignation from the Dáil. For better or worse, he was elected to the seat, and it’s downright rude of him to turn his back on those who voted for him just because he wasn’t getting his way. Seriously, what did he except?

In other news, Halifax is closing their Irish retail operations with the lost of 750 jobs, and retail sales are still dropping. I suspect Fianna Fáil are grateful to Lee for his timing.

18
Jan
10

New new blog

There’s something about blogging while unemployed, you tend to forget how much time and energy it requires, time and energy that’s in greater demand once gainfully employed. Updates on the new blogs have been, in a word, nonexistent. Here’s the new, new blog. It’s been up for a while, but I’ve just got around to putting something on it.

It’s a film blog that I’ve been wanting to do for many months now. The point is to write about moments in film that celebrates golden moments in cinema history. Promise to start updating regularly from now on.

I would also be happy to hear suggestions and opinions on this.

http://moviegracenotes.wordpress.com/

20
Dec
09

The new blog

When I woke up yesterday morning I was alarmed to find the slight headache that had been bothering me the night before was still there. “I hope I’m not sick,” I thought, and I went about my daily business. Today I was stuck down hard. I have a really terrible cold. I don’t think it’s anything more than that, but I guess we’ll see tomorrow morning.

The reason I bring this up is that I want you to appreciate the effort I put into getting the final touch and first post of my new blog out of the way. It almost killed me. If you’re interested you’ll find it here:
http://asiasticfantastic.wordpress.com/
I’m hoping to make it a news blog from Asia, but we’ll see where it takes (providing I’m still among the living tomorrow morning).

I’m also hoping to get a new film blog sorted by the end of the week, but we’ll see.

19
Dec
09

Rand Illusion

“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – what would you tell him to do?”

“I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”

“To shrug.”

Regardless of how much you may revere the writings of Ayn Rand, it cannot be denied she made one definite mistake with Atlas Shrugged. To be fair, it’s a mistake so commonly made that it would be irrelevant anywhere else, but with Rand it takes on a unique significance. The purpose of citing Atlas, as we see above, was to serve as a metaphor for the rich and powerful whose strength, hard work and moral clarity are what support our society as we know it, and how state interference in their businesses and profits causes the world to “shrug”. However, in the original Greek myth, Atlas didn’t hold up the world. This is a misnomer that has somehow been accepted as his defining trait. In the myth, Atlas was the titan who held up the heavens. Now, if we instead apply this as a metaphor to Rand’s work, it suddenly takes on a new meaning, not terribly unlike that of another literary giant, Chicken Little. Instead of a tribute to “those who produce the most”, it becomes a tale about a bunch of gullible sycophants running around in a panic because the sky is falling.
Continue reading ‘Rand Illusion’

18
Dec
09

Eye for an eye, is it?

It’s a story so horrifying that you almost have to will yourself to believe it. Approximately 50 people, including the parish priest who gave a positive character reference, walked passed a woman in court to offer sympathies to the man convicted of sexually assaulting her, a man who was proven to have lied about the incident. There is no grey area here. It was an attack, and those who shook the attacker’s hand compounded his crime. It’s understandable that we’re angered by this, but Jesus, that’s not an excuse to let our anger run free.
Continue reading ‘Eye for an eye, is it?’

15
Dec
09

The McCreevy generation

I’ve been posting here a lot recently, considering I said I won’t be updating much longer. It’s just that occasionally something occurs that just can’t be ignored. This is one of those times

There’s an article in yesterday’s Irish Times about Charlie McCreevy. It seems he was on Miriam O’Callaghan’s radio show on the weekend defending his role of finance minister until 2004, when he was booted out to Europe. On the property bubble he claimed: “There were property bubbles in a number of other countries.” It’s amazing. They’re still trying to pretend there isn’t something unique about Ireland’s economic crash, that we’re simply victims of a global downturn. This is infuriating on its own, but it’s made so much worse when we consider that, arguably, there is nobody in government who shares as much blame for Ireland’s recession as Charlie McCreevy.
Continue reading ‘The McCreevy generation’

09
Dec
09

Dog meat

It was going to happen eventually, I suppose. Today I was offered dog. Not a dog, you understand. I wasn’t being given a pet. Somebody thought that I might actually enjoy scoffing on flesh that had been pulled off the carcass of a dead dog.

I’ve been given a couple of days off as my fellow lecturers have to go to some conference. With nothing to do, the one lecturer who didn’t go to this thing offered to take me to lunch, and he suggested dog meat. I was previously aware of a penchant for dog meat in Korea, but I figured nobody would expect me to eat it. So this was a surprise. Thinking it best to immediately rule out the possibility, I calmly said, “I don’t think I’d like that, to be honest.” Unfortunately, I failed to appreciate this was beyond my companion’s level of English, and it seems he interpreted this as enthusiasm for the idea. Five minutes later we were parked beside a dog meat restaurant.

I honestly can’t say why I knew it was a dog meat restaurant – it wasn’t as if there were cartoon dogs on the sign – but somehow I knew it was not a place I wanted to be. And in that moment I thought it might be better just to do it. Was it worth the risk of offending a colleague by saying I didn’t want to eat here? Yesterday, this same guy congratulated me for assimilating into the Korean culture so well. It seems most Westerners have huge problems with food here, so the locals find it impressive that I horse it down without qualm. It’s not that impressive really, I genuinely love Korean food, but I have always prided myself on being able to assimilate well with foreign cultures. For instance, if I were teaching in Japan and someone offered me whale meat, I’d eat it. I wouldn’t feel good about it, but I’d suck it up and do it. And so, I rationalised that eating dog is pretty much the same deal.

Of course I didn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get the image of our Frank back home out of my head, looking up at me with his big sad face. I spluttered out, “Oh, dog meat. Sorry, I’ve had that before and I didn’t like it,” and so he took me to a Chinese place where I had battered pork and seafood noodles instead. I was embarrassed at my squeamishness. I mean, I’ve always had a problem with our national mores over meat, and how we find the foods of foreign cultures repulsive. If we have little problem with chewing on the flesh of cow or pig, then is eating dog or horse or whathaveyou really any different? The way I see it, the only people who can be legitimately repulsed by such customs are vegetarians (this should not be read as an endorsement of vegetarianism, as I downright dislike vegetarians). And so, I will try just about anything that’s offered to me.

Still, there are two animals I just can’t bring myself to eat: dogs and donkeys. Donkeys because they have it hard enough as it is, and dogs because, well, just because they’re dogs. What other creature in the animal kingdom strives to align with humankind the way dogs do? And we’re going to repay that by eating them? Fuck that shit.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.