Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thoughts on Moyse

Football v education.


Appoint a new manager. Not up to the job.
Sack him. 

If Manchester United was a university.

Appoint a new coach. Not up to the job.
Promote him to manager.
All the players complain.
Get rid of them.
Attendances fall.
Write papers about how fans are not economically viable.
Sack the programme sellers.
Relegation again.
Blame the pitch and sack the ground staff.
Another relegation.
Send manager on a management training course.
He fails.
Promote him to director of football and appoint his best friend as manager. Call them the dream team. Drop into the conference.
Give the manager and director of football a big pay rise.
Go bankrupt.
The club bought by China.
The manager and director of football get a huge pay-off. The stadium is named after them in recognition of their outstanding service.
They then write a newspaper column about how the club wasn't good enough for them.

NB. Some of these apply equally to Newcastle United.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mental health

Which of these is the craziest?

John Pilger regurgitating Russian propaganda and bonkers conspiracy theories about Washington launching a 'proxy "colour" coup against the elected government of Ukraine' and 'Moscow's inevitable response in Russian Crimea to protect its Black Sea fleet' (by invading and annexing part of a state whose territorial integrity they had guaranteed in return for them giving up nuclear weapons - not the best argument for nuclear disarmament), before going on to his latest obsession - an American plot to invade China.


A certain Mr Amess who has developed a phobia about Kim Kardashian after watching her sex tape; "the sight of Kim writhing around with her huge bum and the sound of her horrible, high-pitch wailing repulsed me … The experience left me terrified and I never wanted to see her face again".

It's obvious. Pilger by a mile. Never mind, the Guardian will always find a home for him.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey man!

We are in the midst of a primordial redefining of flow that will remove the barriers to the nexus itself. Who are we? Where on the great quest will we be recreated? Our conversations with other storytellers have led to a blossoming of ultra-dynamic consciousness.
Yep, it is one of those word generator thingies. This one produces a full article of New-Age bullshit at the click of a mouse. Rather like the Alan Sokal hoax, it is indistinguishable from the real thing and just as meaningless. How long will it be before one of these appears on an inspirational quote website?

There is a serious point to all this fun. The generator's creator writes,
Sometimes, there is a better way to pull your head out of the clouds and the charlatans’ hands out of your pockets. All it takes is a sneaking suspicion that this doctrine you’ve come to defend, fund and worship is, all things considered, perhaps a bit silly. Ridicule can be more persuasive than reason when it’s done right.
Not just effective, but funny.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The return of the Plump

Back in Greece for Easter. Spring has been early, but the trees are in blossom and the scent of jasmine and orange blossom compete with the song of the nightingales for airspace. And I have just spotted my first mosquito. Summer is round the corner.

It is a brief trip this time, sandwiched between two events. The first, unusual and lucrative, a colloquium in London that provided intense conversation and even more intense alcohol consumption. It was enormous fun. Most of those present would not have been natural political allies, but what was really interesting was not arguing out the differences, but finding the areas of agreement or, at least, of mutual interest. And discussion is so much more pleasant when washed down by free Rémy Martin.

After Easter I am off to give a paper at the European Social Science History Conference in Vienna. So I am maintaining my academic career, but without the salary (something surely wrong here, ed).

In all this gallivanting, thoughts of blogging have been few and far between. So, try this for some light entertainment.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Friday cat blogging - with a difference

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Turkey anyone?

The continuing protests and repression in Turkey have got, at best, sporadic coverage. The attempts to ban Twitter and YouTube after they were used to leak evidence of corruption did get some notice. But the local election results are being portrayed uncritically as an endorsement of Erdogan and an indicator of opposition failure. For example, Simon Tisdall reports in the Guardian;
For the first time, it was suggested, his (Erdogan's) remarkable grip on the working class and rural vote was beginning to slip. The municipal poll results provide scant evidence to support this theory. The AKP's share of the vote was up six points on 2009, at around 45%, while the main opposition trailed with around 29%. On the other hand, the AKP total was 5% down on the last general election, when it polled 50% of all votes. Some voters, at least, may have turned against their prime minister.  
However, this is from a source who knows the country well:
As many of you know, yesterday probably the largest electoral fraud in Turkey since 1946 was discovered in Ankara. The method (writing fake numbers into the computer system that didn't tally with the ballot box counts) were used for hundreds of ballot boxes (the CHP say 70,000 of their votes were not counted or transferred to other parties) seen to have been used in a number of other Turkish cities as well. Once the fraud was discovered, well over a thousand volunteers went out to follow the physical paper trail and there were protests in front of the Supreme Electoral Council (where the fraud had taken place) and in front of polling stations in CHP areas where they are still refusing to count the votes.
The problem: the Supreme Electoral Council was both responsible for the fraud (Efkan Âlâ, the Interior Minister, himself stopped vote counting in CHP areas between 2-5am, apparently in order to allow it to happen) AND it is the body which handles appeals. So it may be that there is no justice, even if the fraud is documented down to the minutest detail (on the Twitter hashtag ‪#‎TutanakNO‬ you can see photographs of almost every ballot box total, and you can compare them online to the Supreme Electoral Council results, if you want to check for yourself).
It seems like the blow to democracy that Tisdall fears has already happened.


See here for an account of the protests