" Madam Miaow Says: October 2008

Friday, 31 October 2008

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross: a modern lynching

Martin Rowson gets it right

Okay, I hate myself. I didn't want to but they made me do it. London Mayor Boris Johnson accused the Chinese of being incapable of original thought and here I am proving his halfwit point by blogging on the sodding Brand 'n' Ross stormette just like every other mofo and his dog.

But I am so furious. FURIOUS, I tells ya. Just when everyone was waking up, smelling the coffee, swallowing the red pill and dusting down the tumbrils for the long-awaited fate of the greedy overpaid city hotshots who've sucked all the money out of our economy, their mates at the Daily Mail swing it around and chuck two celebrities into the lions' den to draw all the flak that should have been zeroing in on the real fat cats.

Two silly little middle-aged boys go bullying the sainted Andrew Sachs on the radio over the sex-life of his granddaughter (yes, it was wrong, stupid and sexist and deserved a dressing-down — hey, make them wear polyester for a year, that'll learn 'em) and suddenly it's like Satan walked in and ate all the babies. Even poor old Sachs seems embarrassed by the whole pantomime and has called for calm.

With £18 million of publicly funded BBC dosh, Jonathan Ross is hugely overpaid. But I'd rather see someone who brings a modicum of pleasure to people's lives getting lots of lolly than the Masters of the Universe who merely shove money around and asset-strip rather than actually producing anything.

Bankers are still getting their bonuses despite receiving huge state hand-outs following years of hedge-funded short-selling avarice, but a couple of celebrities are being thrown to a torch-bearing, pitchfork-wielding mob, taking the heat off the proper thieving swine. And the BBC is made to kow-tow yet again for completely the wrong reasons! Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

Sense of proportion, much?

STOP PRESS: For anyone puzzled by events and wondering wtf Ross and Brand actually did, there's a thorough precis at New Internationalist.
... So when Gordon Brown insists, that the illegal invasion of Iraq, which has cost tens of thousands of lives and is paid for by the British taxpayer, is to ensure that ‘the new Iraqi democracy is properly safeguarded’ – where are the 30,000 complaints to the BBC when that that particular obscenity is broadcast on Newsnight? ...

Russell Brand responds to the Daily Mail

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's original offending phone message to Andrew Sachs

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross: a modern lynching

Martin Rowson gets it right

Okay, I hate myself. I didn't want to but they made me do it. London Mayor Boris Johnson accused the Chinese of being incapable of original thought and here I am proving his halfwit point by blogging on the sodding Brand 'n' Ross stormette just like every other mofo and his dog.

But I am so furious. FURIOUS, I tells ya. Just when everyone was waking up, smelling the coffee, swallowing the red pill and dusting down the tumbrils for the long-awaited fate of the greedy overpaid city hotshots who've sucked all the money out of our economy, their mates at the Daily Mail swing it around and chuck two celebrities into the lions' den to draw all the flak that should have been zeroing in on the real fat cats.

Two silly little middle-aged boys go bullying the sainted Andrew Sachs on the radio over the sex-life of his granddaughter (yes, it was wrong, stupid and sexist and deserved a dressing-down — hey, make them wear polyester for a year, that'll learn 'em) and suddenly it's like Satan walked in and ate all the babies. Even poor old Sachs seems embarrassed by the whole pantomime and has called for calm.

With £18 million of publicly funded BBC dosh, Jonathan Ross is hugely overpaid. But I'd rather see someone who brings a modicum of pleasure to people's lives getting lots of lolly than the Masters of the Universe who merely shove money around and asset-strip rather than actually producing anything.

Bankers are still getting their bonuses despite receiving huge state hand-outs following years of hedge-funded short-selling avarice, but a couple of celebrities are being thrown to a torch-bearing, pitchfork-wielding mob, taking the heat off the proper thieving swine. And the BBC is made to kow-tow yet again for completely the wrong reasons! Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

Sense of proportion, much?

STOP PRESS: For anyone puzzled by events and wondering wtf Ross and Brand actually did, there's a thorough precis at New Internationalist.
... So when Gordon Brown insists, that the illegal invasion of Iraq, which has cost tens of thousands of lives and is paid for by the British taxpayer, is to ensure that ‘the new Iraqi democracy is properly safeguarded’ – where are the 30,000 complaints to the BBC when that that particular obscenity is broadcast on Newsnight? ...

Russell Brand responds to the Daily Mail

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's original offending phone message to Andrew Sachs

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Death Rides an Iron Horse: suicide by train in the Credit Crunch


Here are some figures you won't have seen in the national press. One week. Three journeys. Four suicides.

Last week my associate Charles Shaar Murray traveled to Oxford to lay some cool slide guitar on a friend's album. Both journeys out and back to London were delayed by a fatality on the line, one of them on the Tube leg of the trip. My Bedford train from St Pancras the next day was delayed by a fatality on the line. Another friend, in town for the day, was late due to ... a fatality on the line!

If we had four deaths in three journeys (one of them a return), what sort of suicide pattern must be emerging across London and the UK, let alone all the other countries hit by the recession?

The money-making jamboree of the past decade made unimaginable fortunes for bankers until the Credit Crunch and sub-prime market failure ended their bonanza but they're not the ones picking up the bill. The depression in the 1920s may have had bankers leaping off skyscraper ledges but no such luck this time around. All gilt, no guilt, they've been insulated from the fallout — their fallout — by governments too scared to take meaningful action except chuck our money at them (coins sharpened to a razor's edge are acceptable, thank you, but not billions from public funds, if you please), or which are so heavily compromised themselves that they risk being squished in the bail-out feeding frenzy.

Despite government bluster that bloated bankers responsible for the bad debts and subsequent economic collapse receive no bonuses, Lloyds TSB, having just shared in the £37 billion rescue package due to having nothing but moths in their coffers, now insist that their executives get their bonuses because "they deserve it". I do wish the culprits would get their just desserts in this instance but the deity in charge of cosmic justice must be washing her hair. It's now workers without millions to cushion them who face eviction, destitution, rising bills, failing services, relationship breakdown and all-round general purpose hardship. Most of us have few savings. British debt is running at £1.69 for every pound made so many people have no slack to take them through the next nightmare period.

The train suicides are the canaries down the mine, the frontline, the first over the top of the trenches. The rest of us can only watch and shudder knowing that soon It Could Be You stepping off the planet. Better buy that Lottery ticket quick while you can afford it coz it's the best chance most of us have to extricate ourselves from Other People's mess. Some hope!

Poor train drivers. I hope they're getting counselling coz there's gonna be a lot more of this going on for the foreseeable.

Death Rides an Iron Horse: suicide by train in the Credit Crunch


Here are some figures you won't have seen in the national press. One week. Three journeys. Four suicides.

Last week my associate Charles Shaar Murray traveled to Oxford to lay some cool slide guitar on a friend's album. Both journeys out and back to London were delayed by a fatality on the line, one of them on the Tube leg of the trip. My Bedford train from St Pancras the next day was delayed by a fatality on the line. Another friend, in town for the day, was late due to ... a fatality on the line!

If we had four deaths in three journeys (one of them a return), what sort of suicide pattern must be emerging across London and the UK, let alone all the other countries hit by the recession?

The money-making jamboree of the past decade made unimaginable fortunes for bankers until the Credit Crunch and sub-prime market failure ended their bonanza but they're not the ones picking up the bill. The depression in the 1920s may have had bankers leaping off skyscraper ledges but no such luck this time around. All gilt, no guilt, they've been insulated from the fallout — their fallout — by governments too scared to take meaningful action except chuck our money at them (coins sharpened to a razor's edge are acceptable, thank you, but not billions from public funds, if you please), or which are so heavily compromised themselves that they risk being squished in the bail-out feeding frenzy.

Despite government bluster that bloated bankers responsible for the bad debts and subsequent economic collapse receive no bonuses, Lloyds TSB, having just shared in the £37 billion rescue package due to having nothing but moths in their coffers, now insist that their executives get their bonuses because "they deserve it". I do wish the culprits would get their just desserts in this instance but the deity in charge of cosmic justice must be washing her hair. It's now workers without millions to cushion them who face eviction, destitution, rising bills, failing services, relationship breakdown and all-round general purpose hardship. Most of us have few savings. British debt is running at £1.69 for every pound made so many people have no slack to take them through the next nightmare period.

The train suicides are the canaries down the mine, the frontline, the first over the top of the trenches. The rest of us can only watch and shudder knowing that soon It Could Be You stepping off the planet. Better buy that Lottery ticket quick while you can afford it coz it's the best chance most of us have to extricate ourselves from Other People's mess. Some hope!

Poor train drivers. I hope they're getting counselling coz there's gonna be a lot more of this going on for the foreseeable.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Greg Palast on the Theft of the Presidency 2008

"A lot of Europeans wonder: Why are Americans so crazy, they keep reelecting this guy?" Well the answer is, we don't! They keep stealing these elections! And they stole it in 2000, they stole it in 2004,and they’re all set up to steal it again!" - Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on BBC Television Newsnight.

Jumping Jack Kerr-rist! The Republicans are at it again. Greg Palast, who uncovered the first electoral theft of the White House in Florida, 2000, applies his forensic journo skills to the tactics being used this time around in the 2008 election.

The poorest are again being purged from the voter rolls with those under threat of foreclosure missing off the lists. Entire swathes of America devastated and turned into what look like battle-zones with one in five denied a vote. Who's doing the purging? Mortgage companies supporting McCain and the Republicans, that's who.

So the Bush government wrecks your life and then makes sure you have no say at the ballot. Neat, huh?

And guess what? The black electorate is being hit hardest — 100,000 black voters eliminated in the swing state of Indiana alone. C'mon Obama, up for the challenge?

As Palast concludes, "The next man in [the White House] won't be chosen by counting the votes, but by blocking the voters."

And don't think the Democrats have entirely clean hands, either.

Greg Palast's Newsnight report (in two parts):
Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 1 Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 1

Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 2Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 2

Greg Palast on the Theft of the Presidency 2008

"A lot of Europeans wonder: Why are Americans so crazy, they keep reelecting this guy?" Well the answer is, we don't! They keep stealing these elections! And they stole it in 2000, they stole it in 2004,and they’re all set up to steal it again!" - Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on BBC Television Newsnight.

Jumping Jack Kerr-rist! The Republicans are at it again. Greg Palast, who uncovered the first electoral theft of the White House in Florida, 2000, applies his forensic journo skills to the tactics being used this time around in the 2008 election.

The poorest are again being purged from the voter rolls with those under threat of foreclosure missing off the lists. Entire swathes of America devastated and turned into what look like battle-zones with one in five denied a vote. Who's doing the purging? Mortgage companies supporting McCain and the Republicans, that's who.

So the Bush government wrecks your life and then makes sure you have no say at the ballot. Neat, huh?

And guess what? The black electorate is being hit hardest — 100,000 black voters eliminated in the swing state of Indiana alone. C'mon Obama, up for the challenge?

As Palast concludes, "The next man in [the White House] won't be chosen by counting the votes, but by blocking the voters."

And don't think the Democrats have entirely clean hands, either.

Greg Palast's Newsnight report (in two parts):
Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 1 Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 1

Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 2Greg Palast on the 2008 theft, Part 2

Friday, 10 October 2008

Nathan Fillion in PG Porn: Nailing Your Wife

Is it the subprime market? The credit crunch? An end to juicy roles for a meaty hunk still in his 30s? What can a poor out-of-work actor do to earn a crust?

He was Caleb in Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 7, Captain Mal Reynolds in Firefly and Serenity, Dr Adam Mayfair in Desperate Housewives. He was gorgeosity personified. But you've never seen the chiselled square-jawed Nathan Fillion as hunkerlicious as he is here.

I salute you, Captain Mal. I'd happily go down with you and your ship with all hands and able-bodied seamen. Heh, heh!



Aw! Maybe Joss Whedon saw this and took pity coz Nathan Fillion now stars in Joss's internet smash hit musical, Dr Horrible's sing along blog

Dr Horrible

MTV article here and here

Joss Whedon's Master Plan

Dr Horrible's official fan site

STOP PRESS: PG Porn isn't without controversy, although I think the grandly named Theresa Darklady Reed may have missed the play on the common euphemism, "nailing", here, when she assumes women will write it off as "... another example of violent misogyny self-righteously disguised as humor."

She says she'd rather get a glimpse of the actress's knockers and Nathan's knackers than have her poor delicate sensibilities assailed by the comedy horror twist.

She writes: " ... beautiful Penthouse Pet Aria Giovanni never gets a chance to show her famous breasts or even catch a peek at what's tucked inside of "Firefly" actor Nathan Fillion's trousers." Yeah, very feminist of you, Ms Reed. Let's hope you get your poke quota up soon.

Nathan Fillion in PG Porn: Nailing Your Wife

Is it the subprime market? The credit crunch? An end to juicy roles for a meaty hunk still in his 30s? What can a poor out-of-work actor do to earn a crust?

He was Caleb in Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 7, Captain Mal Reynolds in Firefly and Serenity, Dr Adam Mayfair in Desperate Housewives. He was gorgeosity personified. But you've never seen the chiselled square-jawed Nathan Fillion as hunkerlicious as he is here.

I salute you, Captain Mal. I'd happily go down with you and your ship with all hands and able-bodied seamen. Heh, heh!



Aw! Maybe Joss Whedon saw this and took pity coz Nathan Fillion now stars in Joss's internet smash hit musical, Dr Horrible's sing along blog

Dr Horrible

MTV article here and here

Joss Whedon's Master Plan

Dr Horrible's official fan site

STOP PRESS: PG Porn isn't without controversy, although I think the grandly named Theresa Darklady Reed may have missed the play on the common euphemism, "nailing", here, when she assumes women will write it off as "... another example of violent misogyny self-righteously disguised as humor."

She says she'd rather get a glimpse of the actress's knockers and Nathan's knackers than have her poor delicate sensibilities assailed by the comedy horror twist.

She writes: " ... beautiful Penthouse Pet Aria Giovanni never gets a chance to show her famous breasts or even catch a peek at what's tucked inside of "Firefly" actor Nathan Fillion's trousers." Yeah, very feminist of you, Ms Reed. Let's hope you get your poke quota up soon.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

South Park and The China Problem



If you want to do China-bashing, you might as well do it right and no-one does it like South Park.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone savage Western paranoia in their latest episode, The China Probrem, the season premiere broadcast in America on Comedy Central last night. Starring Eric Cartman as Edward McMillan-Scott (and here).

And featuring Steven Spielberg and George Lucas as you've never seen them before. Poor Indy!

Cartman's Olympic nightmare:


Harro Prease:


Cartman and Butters fight evil Chinese:


Other classic South Park episodes:

Tom Cruise and what Scientologists really believe:
Trapped In The Closet

Just damn good fun:
Make Love Not Warcraft

Something for the Lefties:
Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes

South Park and The China Problem



If you want to do China-bashing, you might as well do it right and no-one does it like South Park.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone savage Western paranoia in their latest episode, The China Probrem, the season premiere broadcast in America on Comedy Central last night. Starring Eric Cartman as Edward McMillan-Scott (and here).

And featuring Steven Spielberg and George Lucas as you've never seen them before. Poor Indy!

Cartman's Olympic nightmare:


Harro Prease:


Cartman and Butters fight evil Chinese:


Other classic South Park episodes:

Tom Cruise and what Scientologists really believe:
Trapped In The Closet

Just damn good fun:
Make Love Not Warcraft

Something for the Lefties:
Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes

Friday, 3 October 2008

Madam Miaow's New Internationalist column: Hello Dalai!


Oh, yes. Nearly forgot to post my August column for New Internationalist magazine.

So here it is ...

How lucky we are to be born in the enlightened West where we eschew cults of personality in favour of merit. Not for us those mindless automata praying at the altar of Stalin, Mao or Simon Cowell. No, we sophisticates know when we’re being shimmied up the garden path. After all, we got rid of our troublesome clergy in the 16th century. Hey, we even decapitated one of our kings – only one, but it’s the thought that counts.

So what exactly is the lure of the satsuma in specs that is His Holiness, the Dalai Lama? In contrast to China’s trigger-happy capital punishment system he’s certainly seductive.

Celebrities and politicians – two cheeks of the same overfed bottom – flock to Dolly for enlightenment and the chance to soak up a bit of the transcendency transmitted by His Happiness without doing any of the work. Fame, glamour and power? Yum!

Caught with a rodent gnawing away at your fundament and in need of redemption and a bit of nifty PR? Hello Dolly! Owned a few human beings in your time like Dolly’s beloved mother? Forgiveness is yours.

But Sharon Stone, reincarnated as a moron, said the recent devastating earthquake in China was karma for Tibet. Seventy thousand people died as some sort of divine retribution for politics. What kind of a religion is that? Funny how when anything happens to other people it’s karma, or bad stuff they’ve earned through their own actions. Yet whenever bad stuff happens to the Tibetan ruling élite it’s so unfair.

Just a suggestion: maybe what’s happening to them is divine karma coz in their medieval feudal theocracy one tiny group of Tibetans used to own all the other Tibetans. Maybe it’s divine karma because those peace-loving Buddhists used the death penalty until 1920 and torture well into the 1950s. Dolly was overseeing CIA-funded guerrilla warfare from exile in the 1960s – even while he was publicly renouncing violence. What is that, anyhow? Extra backup just in case the divinity’s asleep on the job? It’s okay, God, move along. Nuthin’ to see, we got it covered.

Ooh! There I go being all Chinese and oppressive again. ‘Leave him alone, he’s mastered the art of being happy.’ Know what would make me happy? $180,000 dollars a year paid into my personal bank account by the CIA. I reckon I’d never be in a bad mood again.

On the other hand, look what China’s had in one year: freak snowstorms, earthquakes, flooding. One plague of boils and I will be hedging my bets.

[In 1998 the LA Times reported declassified documents showing $1.7 million a year paid by the CIA to the Tibetan independence movement in the 1960s, with $180,000 paid to the Dalai Lama personally until Nixon stopped US support in the 1970s. The Tibetan government-in-exile acknowledges the $1.7m but denies any went directly to the Dalai Lama.]

Madam Miaow's New Internationalist column: Hello Dalai!


Oh, yes. Nearly forgot to post my August column for New Internationalist magazine.

So here it is ...

How lucky we are to be born in the enlightened West where we eschew cults of personality in favour of merit. Not for us those mindless automata praying at the altar of Stalin, Mao or Simon Cowell. No, we sophisticates know when we’re being shimmied up the garden path. After all, we got rid of our troublesome clergy in the 16th century. Hey, we even decapitated one of our kings – only one, but it’s the thought that counts.

So what exactly is the lure of the satsuma in specs that is His Holiness, the Dalai Lama? In contrast to China’s trigger-happy capital punishment system he’s certainly seductive.

Celebrities and politicians – two cheeks of the same overfed bottom – flock to Dolly for enlightenment and the chance to soak up a bit of the transcendency transmitted by His Happiness without doing any of the work. Fame, glamour and power? Yum!

Caught with a rodent gnawing away at your fundament and in need of redemption and a bit of nifty PR? Hello Dolly! Owned a few human beings in your time like Dolly’s beloved mother? Forgiveness is yours.

But Sharon Stone, reincarnated as a moron, said the recent devastating earthquake in China was karma for Tibet. Seventy thousand people died as some sort of divine retribution for politics. What kind of a religion is that? Funny how when anything happens to other people it’s karma, or bad stuff they’ve earned through their own actions. Yet whenever bad stuff happens to the Tibetan ruling élite it’s so unfair.

Just a suggestion: maybe what’s happening to them is divine karma coz in their medieval feudal theocracy one tiny group of Tibetans used to own all the other Tibetans. Maybe it’s divine karma because those peace-loving Buddhists used the death penalty until 1920 and torture well into the 1950s. Dolly was overseeing CIA-funded guerrilla warfare from exile in the 1960s – even while he was publicly renouncing violence. What is that, anyhow? Extra backup just in case the divinity’s asleep on the job? It’s okay, God, move along. Nuthin’ to see, we got it covered.

Ooh! There I go being all Chinese and oppressive again. ‘Leave him alone, he’s mastered the art of being happy.’ Know what would make me happy? $180,000 dollars a year paid into my personal bank account by the CIA. I reckon I’d never be in a bad mood again.

On the other hand, look what China’s had in one year: freak snowstorms, earthquakes, flooding. One plague of boils and I will be hedging my bets.

[In 1998 the LA Times reported declassified documents showing $1.7 million a year paid by the CIA to the Tibetan independence movement in the 1960s, with $180,000 paid to the Dalai Lama personally until Nixon stopped US support in the 1970s. The Tibetan government-in-exile acknowledges the $1.7m but denies any went directly to the Dalai Lama.]

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