Mm, isn't it? I'm busy with other things at the moment. I say 'busy' but I'm doing this, aren't I? Anyway, I have time to put some links down of stuff I've enjoyed over the past couple of days, and which hopefully you might enjoy as well.
First up is David Mitchell with clearly one of the most brilliantly argued things ever, on speeding fines and how drivers think they shouldn't be told off for breaking the law. I've tried to write about this subject myself a couple of times but nothing has quite done justice to the simmering irritation I get when people who break the law decide that (a) they're such brilliant drivers they'd never hurt anyone; (b) it's just a 'stealth tax' on otherwise law-abiding motorists; (c) no-one ever actually died from speeding, it's all just a conspiracy against us to raise money and (d) Waaah! Waaah! Waaah! I got caught out! Waaah! Waaah! Not fair! Not fair! Waaah! Waaah! Luckily Mitchell has delivered the goods rather marvellously, and while he hasn't got a car and doesn't drive, I have and I do, and I've even been caught by a speed camera myself once, and guess what? It was my own fucking stupid fault and I was dumb to do it. And if I get caught later today, I'll be pissed off, but it will be my own fault. And I shouldn't speed if I don't want to get a ticket.
It's seldom an accident, that's for sure – even if it may cause one. Almost everyone knows when they're speeding and almost everyone speeds. Maybe this massed recalcitrance means we should change the law, allow people to drive as fast as they like and accept a few thousand more road deaths?
Any speeders who aren't OK with that need to shut up and pay their fines, even if they were speeding in a way they thought safe – and I accept that driving illegally fast is not always unsafe. Laws, particularly those enforced by cameras, need clearly drawn lines. You can't replace speed limits with nebulous rules against dangerousness as they'd have to be enforced by real police officers, who are, in fact, busy trying to catch real criminals.
Johann Hari ponders why we as a society think it's for the best if we indoctrinate all children to some Big Sky Man:
Why does this anachronism persist in this blessedly irreligious country? For all their whining that they are "persecuted", the religious minority in Britain are in fact accorded remarkable privileges. They are given a bench-full of unelected positions in the legislature, protection from criticism in the law, and vast amounts of public money to indoctrinate children into their belief systems in every school in the land.
Speaking of persecuted minorities, pity poor Richard Littlejohn. No, seriously. Tricky Dicky has taken time out from sunning himself by the pool in Florida to get angry over the Guardian for saying he makes up shit about health and safety - even though he quite patently does make up shit about health and safety. Come off it, Littlebrain: that's kind of what you do. Anyway, quite brilliantly, in attempting to defend himself with 'facts' he peddles even more bullshit, as documented rather enjoyably by No Sleep Til Brooklands:
There are times when I'm actually embarrassed for Littlejohn. Here he is, trying to prove his worth as a purveyor of hard-nosed journalistic facts, and yet he crams so much fail into a brief sentence segment you wonder if he's doing it deliberately to generate more criticism he can self-righteously moan about. Sorry to labour the point, but in that brief section of one sentence, which is supposed to prove how good he is with facts he manages to get the following things wrong:
1) it hasn't 'been closed to the public', it was never open to them,
2) it will at some point be open to them, and
3) it has nothing to do with health and safety legislation.
Oh, Richard, Richard, you poor, poor man. You can't just say "Aha! Here's real journalism and facts!" and then just copy some bollocks out of the Daily Mail without bothering to check whether it's accurate or not. I almost feel sorry for him too. It's almost as if he genuinely believes that the Mail is telling the truth about things. That I do find tragic. For the price of a direct-dial call from Florida he could have checked out the details of the stories, but no: he thought just repeating the rubbish from the Mail was good enough. It wasn't. He now looks five times as stupid as he already did.
The Mail covers things in an interesting way, and it's always worth thinking about their choice of words. Jamie over at the Quail has a look at how they could have described a paedophile, and how they chose to. Why do you think they might have done that, then? Hmm.
Jack of Kent ponders what should happen next, now that Simon Singh has effectively been defeated in the courts by the British Chiropractic What A Load of Old Steaming Bollocks Association (at least I think that's their title; I'm not entirely sure. Oh well, it's not as if they're particularly litigious, is it.) Ben Goldacre is also itching to say something, but hasn't been allowed to yet. I do hope someone gives him the opportunity to say it in print.
Angry Mob looks at the Pavlovian response of readers to a well-known family newspaper to a crock of shit story about how women are rubbish and not as good as men.
Paulie says Gordon Brown deserves everything he gets. And I'm inclined to agree.
Ben Six lists six prime ministers who would be better than Gordon Brown. To which I may add a seventh: a wooden dog on wheels.
And Sarah at Paperhouse explains why people decide to do deals with people like Max Clifford.
And that's all for now.
- Links for Sunday
- Sunday bollocks
- Dunblane apology from Sunday Express
- Links 19/5/09
- Links 21/1/10