The Ice Planet

May 27, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

On UKIP, Ignorance, And The Lazy Lie Of “Disillusionment”

Disillusionment is so often cited as the reason people vote for extremists, the underpinning reason why X or Y is happening in British politics. And it’s mostly gibberish. It’s a nonsense told both by those who wish to vote for extremes, and by those attempting to justify why others might vote for those extremes. The reality is, it’s barely ever the case.

I feel like we’re in a pretty scary place. When it comes to politics, there’s obviously a tendency for hyperbole, exaggerating one’s claims to suit one’s political agenda. But for someone with left-wing beliefs, their understanding of how to treat others best represented by socialism, the United Kingdom is currently a frightening political landscape.

People are voting UKIP/BNP/English Democracts, etc, etc, we’re told, because they’re disillusioned with the main parties and want to see things shaken up. This is plain, absolute rubbish. It doesn’t make sense in any way, and the media’s frequent declaration that this is the case is both intellectual snobbery, and woeful naivety.

The obvious reality is, a large contingent of people voting for extremes, for racist and homophobic parties like UKIP, BNP, etc, do so because they are racist and homophobic. Pretending this isn’t the case is endemic in the reporting of our politics, perhaps from a fear of appearing “biased”, perhaps from a fear of alienating the racist and homophobic contingent of their audience. Very few people tend to wear the mantle of “racist” with pride, hence that most oxymoronic of aphorisms, “I’m not racist, but…” The inevitable continuation of something either grotesquely or insidiously racist rather confirms the contrary, but for some reason our press has opted to acculturate itself to the opening gambit. Essentially, the coverage of UKIP in the recent elections has been, “UKIP isn’t racist, but…” The reality of course being: UKIP is racist, and lots of people who agree with their racist views have voted for them accordingly.

Being disillusioned with politics because it’s not racist enough would perhaps be a more honest use of the d-word, but of course it’s never represented this way. Instead we’re given diatribes about corruption, expenses scandals, broken promises, and the elite political class ignoring the needs of the regular working man. That’s all true of course! We currently have a Conservative government that is making copious rotten hay while the Sun doesn’t shine, leaping on the economic crisis as an opportunity to further its ideological goals of the destruction of welfare, the dismantling and privatisation of the NHS, and the easing of taxes for the rich. Eton/Oxbridge educated rich kids reshaping the country into something that supports themselves further. So in steps good ol’ Nigel Farage, pint-smoking, cigarette swilling man-of-the-people, not a part of all that lot, eh?

Farage, whose father was a stockbroker, was educated at private boys’ school Dulwich College. He went on to become an investment banker and commodities trader, working for companies deeply embedded in the corruption of the economic crisis such as Refco, while each of the four companies for which he worked was at some point embroiled in financial scandal.

Since becoming an MEP he’s been linked to expense scandals , employs his own wife as a secretary (his German wife, no less, giving her a job that could have gone to a British national), and earns a considerable salary. His attendance record for votes in the European Parliament is below 50%, in 2013 his attendance being the fifth worst of all 752 MEPs, and the third worst of all UK MEPs. (Two of the four remaining worse attendees are also from UKIP.) Farage was a member of the EU Fisheries Commission, during which he attended one of 42 meetings. In his time as an MEP he has never attempted to amend a piece of legislation, and UKIP by their own policy vote ‘No’ for any vote they do bother to show up for. In doing so, UKIP and Farage have voted against extended paid maternity leave, clamping down on the ivory trade, and efforts to fight organised crime, and abstained on votes to help the victims of the Japanese tsunami. Votes attempting to cap bonuses for bankers, or dramatically reduce European Parliament costs by creating a ‘single seat’, weren’t attended by any UKIP MEPs. Despite their terrible attendance, and unwillingness to engage with the parliament, they – including Farage – still claim the full amount of their allowances.

To be disillusioned by politicians, and thus vote for Farage instead, is an act of gross ignorance. A rich investment banker, privately educated, from a wealthy background, who actively votes against not only the interests of the people he claims to represent, but the policies of the party he leads. Adding on top of this the overt hypocrisy of his employing his German national wife in the UK, raising children who (perfectly reasonably, of course) speak English as a second language, and swilling around in expenses for which he does at most less than half the work, you’re not even touching on the fact that Farage is a Huguenot name, Farage descending from a group of people whose very existence depended on the open immigration policy of England. He is every bit the politician toff, the embodiment of the wild hypocrisy our press so lazily pretends he opposes. People do not vote for him because they’re disillusioned with the other politicians. They vote for him because he represents their hate and bigotry.

Farage is a man who saw the floundering self-destruction of human pustule Nick Griffin and the BNP and thought to himself, “Ah, I see where they’re going wrong!” I don’t believe that Farage is a racist for a second. I don’t believe that Farage would care less if Romanians moved in next door. I highly doubt he believes there’s any “immigration crisis”, since he – like every other politician – knows there isn’t one. Farage is something far more creepy and frightening – he’s a man who’s spotted that he can use racism, fear and bigotry to his advantage. He has realised that there is enough stupidity and spite amongst the British public that he can leverage it for power and money. His own life and behaviour demonstrates there is no ideology behind his actions – instead just a cold, calculated, cynical manipulation of the most vulnerable, or the most unpleasant. He spotted a way to convert ignorance into power. He’s crafted a party that is racist and bigoted, as a means to an end.

The fear of recognising that large numbers of people are ignorant is perhaps the largest inhibitor of our rationalising and responding to Farage and UKIP, and their significant success in the European elections. The press do not go near it, either for fear of insulting their readership or appearing elitist and out of touch. Let alone recognising bigots as bigots. In the build up to the elections, I frequently saw reporters interviewing people on the streets regarding their reasons for voting UKIP, who invariably began with “I’m not racist, but…”, and then went on to say something horrendously ignorant and racist, based in fear and hate. And then rather than reacting to this, or acknowledging it as such, or questioning the claims, reporters would turn back to the camera and say, “And that’s the message we’re hearing on the streets today. Back to you in the studio.” Wildly stupid comments, based on parroting whatever idiocy had been written on the front page of that day’s Daily Express, about how “all the…” people of one nationality or another were stealing our wives, or eating our jobs. Instead, like the businesses they obviously are and need to be, the various press organisations rushed to attempt to accommodate these views, appeal to them, and sell their products.

The reality is, an enormous number of people are ignorant, and more seriously, determinedly unwilling to learn. This fuels bigotry, and bigotry fuels extremism. Tell someone who is willing to consider, research and investigate information that Romanians are stealing their jobs and jobless Bulgarians are living in platinum mansions paid for by their personal tax alone, and they’ll discover neither is true. Tell someone who is wilfully ignorant, or unequipped to learn, and this will rationalise that which they do not like, and develop bigotry.

Why did lots of people vote for UKIP, despite their not representing any of their policies or claims by their actions, and despite their being a party populated by so, so many open and overt bigots? Because lots of people are ignorant and/or bigoted.

Does that mean ignorant people should be condemned as humans? Goodness, what a surprise – no. Does that mean people should be dismissed, hated, discounted? No! It means we can recognise the failings of society and the educational infrastructure, and begin to address the issues. If your roses have greenfly, and you pretend they don’t, the roses get eaten and harmed. These ignorant or bigoted people (possibly including me) are the roses. If we recognise that education is failing people, and that bigoted tropes are endemic in people’s lives, then we can begin to help protect everyone from these infestations, help people to bloom. Pretend otherwise, and society gets blighted. Join the greenflies’ side, and crap, we’re in big, big trouble.

Most frightening of all is that the three major parties are responding by seeing if they can pretend to be more pro-greenfly. The Liberal Democrats are pretending that they were making a pro-Europe, pro-immigration case, but it simply wasn’t true. Every sentence was smothered in caveats about how “We know there is a serious problem, but…”, only making themselves look like they were acknowledging they were failing to address an issue they recognised. The reality is, of course, that all three parties know there are no significant issues with immigration, and all three parties are aware of their dependency on the EU and the utter madness it would be to leave it. Indeed, all three know there is no real problem with “welfare scroungers”, and that the abuse of welfare that does exist has no significant impact on the economy. Right now they are all engaged in various levels of pretending otherwise, because they too recognise the volume of hate and bigotry that’s out there and amongst their own, and how appealing to it can win them votes. Each of these deceits plays neatly into people’s fear and hatred, enabling us all to blame everything on others around us – the (other) unemployed, the (other) bureaucrats, the (other) immigrants. No personal responsibility, and no responsibility in our leadership. It’s all the fault of this other guy. It’s a genius scam, and it’s working terrifyingly well.

And the madness is, here lies the truth of disillusionment. 60-70% of people don’t bother voting. Lots of them will just be lazy. Lots will think politics is for other people, because they have been so poorly educated about politics (the very concept of it was never mentioned to me at any point during my schooling). And lots will be because who the bloody hell will they vote for? Not because politicians are all X, Y or Z, but because there is currently no meaningful left wing representation in the UK. All three major parties are right of centre, and the outliers on the left such as the Greens are a) so small and poorly thought through that they can’t effect change, and b) so riddled with anti-Semitism and so involved with horrific organisations like Stop The War, that they can end up appearing more right wing than the rest. With no feasible representation for anyone who isn’t driven by ignorance or hate, and that’s an awful lot of people!, voting has become damned difficult.

For me, the dilemma of voting last Thursday came down to there being no party that even tries to represent me. I ended up voting for what I considered the least worst in Europe, and then instantly felt awful. There is no party responding to this by arguing in favour of the beauty of a welfare system, in which we support each other in our times of need. Nor by arguing for the joy of immigration, of the UK’s blatant dependence on people from other parts of the world living on this bit of the world, let alone the opportunity and enrichment it provides everyone. Every major party, and most minor parties, are actively arguing against what I believe in. In next year’s general election, there’s no one for me to usefully vote for. I’ll vote Pirate Party if there’s representation in my area, or goodness knows who if not. But whatever it is, it won’t be for a party that will win anything. Which leaves me feeling pretty disillusioned.

by John Walker at May 27, 2014 10:12 AM

May 26, 2014

Nick Cohen

The end of the boring EU

hals7

You have to pay attention at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to realise it is inviting the public to witness the death of old Europe. The Dutch don’t know it. They have spent €370m refurbishing its 19th-century halls and the museum now shines as one of the world’s great cultural centres. Nor do funereal sentiments greet the millions of visitors. They are welcomed instead by two over-confident English philosophers, who have splattered their thoughts over gallery walls like middle-brow graffiti artists.

It is as if the culture ministry of a totalitarian state has taken control.

Carry on reading


by Nick Cohen at May 26, 2014 01:35 PM

May 22, 2014

Nick Cohen

Politically correct Ukip goes mad

Nigel Farage“Political correctness” is a treacherous ideology, which can turn you upside down. I avoid the term if I can because it has a double meaning. On the one hand, it describes a liberal and in my view admirable campaign to persuade institutions and the wider population to treat people equally regardless of gender, colour or sexual orientation. Like all campaigns in democracies, it can win only by winning arguments.

But political correctness has become a despised term because it also means the silencing of arguments.

carry on reading


by Nick Cohen at May 22, 2014 08:46 AM

May 21, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 163: Buggies In A Canal Near Your House

In our 163rd ever Rum Doings, our topic is, when are we going to get a proper extradition order for the housing bubble?

Topics include: Ru Paul! UKIP! The aesthetics of sexuality! John’s elbone surgery! Tips on oogling people in public! Aeroplane toilets! Naked & Marooned! Manual typewriters! And how coffee saved John’s faith!

Don’t forget to email podcast@rumdoings.com with the word “shibboleth” to indicate your interest in coming to a live edition of Rum Doings. Last chance. Probably.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at May 21, 2014 04:58 PM

May 19, 2014

Nick Cohen

The rise and fall of Mo Ansar

Broadcasters made him the voice of British Islam, even though no electorate had voted for him, and no organisation had appointed him its spokesperson. Ansar was not an Islamic scholar. He had not published a book or led a movement. He was a planning manager at Lloyds-TSB in Winchester until 2006, and has had no visible means of support except appearance fees and state benefits for years

Read the whole thing


by Nick Cohen at May 19, 2014 08:24 AM

May 13, 2014

Nick Cohen

How to be a traitor

7th edition of the Festival of Literature

No one is as hated as deeply as the apostate. Ordinary opponents are nothing in comparison. They are unbelievers, who know no better. It is not their fault if the light has not fallen on them. The apostate, by contrast, has known the truth and rejected it. There can be no excuses for his treachery, no defence of ignorance the law. The Devil must have seduced him, or to translate old superstitions into language of a secular age, he must have “sold out”.

Carry on reading


by Nick Cohen at May 13, 2014 02:10 PM

May 09, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 162: I’m Not An Expert On Ghost Physics

In our 162nd ever Rum Doings, our topic is, are net curtains ever acceptable?

Apologies for this brief summary, but John is currently one-handed, and typing hurts rather a lot. But just know this is the second appearance of Judge Coxcombe, in which we respond to your questions. Also we’re very offensive, so enjoy that. It’s a really good, double-length episode!

Don’t forget to email podcast@rumdoings.com with the word “shibboleth” to indicate your interest in coming to a live edition of Rum Doings.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at May 09, 2014 10:51 AM

May 01, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 161: The Booth Bros

In our 161st ever Rum Doings, our topic is, why are we no longer a nation of bunters?

Hurrah! We’re joined by the Lord High Judge Coxcombe, who is hear to judge, well, John apparently. Next week’s episode will feature his rulings on you, the lone listener. This week, instead we begin with some comely discussion of racist, racist UKIP and corrupt career politician Nigel Farage. We consider the middle class bias of Twitter, and then Nickbot is unable to process the concept that someone might be nice about someone else without there being some concerning subtext. We then argue about whether we should put away our childish things, and Nick’s daughter’s plans to murder Martin.

We learn how to detect a fake baby Jew, revisit the “Russia are the baddies” theorem, and then require the Judge to rule on Scottish independence. It then becomes time to judge John on whether he is terrible or not.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at May 01, 2014 11:38 AM

April 29, 2014

Nick Cohen

How British are you? Take the Ukip test

gay-gymIf you believe that Ukip supporters love Britain and cannot abide Europe, look at the report by the pollster Peter Kellner in the current issue of Prospect. Ukip fears Britain has:

‘gone off the rails. Hence the fact that 57 per cent of Ukip supporters would prefer to migrate to mainland Europe if they could.’

To put it another way, no one hates his country more that the bawling patriot.

Read the whole thing


by Nick Cohen at April 29, 2014 09:13 AM

April 28, 2014

Nick Cohen

Nigel Farage is a phoney. Scrutinise him and he’ll crumble

Nigel Farage laughs up at rain

Allow me to sketch you a portrait of a political leader. Even by the lax standards of the powerful, he is England’s greatest living hypocrite. He courts popularity by warning that tens of millions from the dole queues of Europe are coming to take British jobs, while employing his German wife as his secretary. He denounces “the political class” for living like princes at the taxpayers’ expense while pocketing every taxpayer-funded allowance he can claim for himself, his wife and his colleagues.

He says he represents “ordinary people”. But he is a public school-educated former banker, whose policies will help him and his kind. He claims he is the voice of “common sense”, while allying with every variety of gay-hater, conspiracy crackpot, racist, chauvinist and pillock. The only sense he and his followers have in common is a fear of anyone who is not like them.

Read the whole thing


by Nick Cohen at April 28, 2014 08:46 AM

April 24, 2014

Nick Cohen

“No one does as much damage to a country as the patriots who profess to love it”

article-2383156-1B1CF30F000005DC-573_634x493No cause is as dead as the campaign to provide an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Far-sighted politicians once found it intolerable that criminals could abuse and exploit the half a million among us who were living beyond the minimum wage, the tax system and the rule of law.

Carry on reading


by Nick Cohen at April 24, 2014 09:01 AM

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 160: There’s Nothing Wrong With Eugenics

In our 160th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, videogames!

We begin with discussions of the abacus and hopscotch. Which inexorably takes us toward discussing the Mozilla and Brendan Eich matter. And Moses.

We ponder the Downs Syndrome test during pregnancy, and then the abstract nature of pregnancy. Then things move on to Stephen King, whereupon Nick feels the need to ruin the end of 11.22.63, because John was just about to start it. Want to miss the spoiler? Skip from 21:00 to 22:00. And 26:00 to 27:00. Nick is a dick.

We answer a few Twitter questions (at last), and then come upon an idea. Make sure to respond regarding a live show. And we once more repeat our plea for someone listening to give us at least £100,000. Then we break all the rules and talk about bloody videogames.

Finally, Nick attempts to explain the inexplicable Bitcoin.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at April 24, 2014 08:32 AM

April 18, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 159: I Missed The Bit Where We Said What Should Be The Title Someone Tell Me

In our 159th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, what is it with those flamingos?

It’s Rum Doings in person! We unite in the echoey halls of Posi Castle We begin with our listener’s all-time highlights of Rum Doings. Then we begin our LCHF picnic, of home-baked not-bread and chocolate brownies. Mmmmmmmm. With our mouths full, we explore the ways of Nigel Ferage, which inevitably leads us to discussing abortion.

And then we move on to a very special letter. Typed on a manual typewriter, what begins as a sympathy message about the disappearance of Dexter, quickly becomes… very strange. Whatever you do, make sure you listen to the final excerpt.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at April 18, 2014 10:00 AM

April 14, 2014

Nick Cohen

Poverty amid plenty; food banks in property bubbles

What image will social historians use to capture our times? Last week, after frenzied bidding, a drab garage next to a Camberwell industrial estate in what was once a cheap part of south London, sold for £550,000. That might do. No one who sniffs the air can fail to notice that London in the Osborne bubble has a whiff of Weimar Germany – but without the art or indeed the sex.

Yet alongside oligarchs buying the capital’s streets, and the Bank of England and Treasury pumping asset prices, we also have poverty that those of us who remember the recessions of the 1970s and 80s have not seen before.

Carry on reading


by Nick Cohen at April 14, 2014 11:21 AM

April 10, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 158: You’re A Poopy Pants, You’ve Got Big Poopy Pants On

In our 158th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, isn’t it about time we trusted MPs to manage their own business?

We begin with Nick criticising some videos he’s never seen, based on his own mad assumptions. This somewhat leads us to discussing internet abuse, then eventually John’s deserved privilege.

We discover that the holy spirit is a God fart, and have a few guesses at who’s going to die next. We then conclude that all people aged 73 are paedophiles unless proven otherwise.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at April 10, 2014 11:15 AM

Nick Cohen

You sexist/racist/liberal/elitist bastard! How dare you?

Terror arrests aftermath

While he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Tony Judt found the breath to educate those who believe they could ameliorate pain with soft words and bans on ‘inappropriate’ language.

“You describe everyone as having the same chances when actually some people have more chances than others. And with this cheating language of equality deep inequality is allowed to happen much more easily.”

Carry on reading


by Nick Cohen at April 10, 2014 10:56 AM

April 02, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 157: Lucy Went Outside And Now She’s Come Back In Again!

In our 157th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, is anyone going to be brave enough finally to confront the menace of rollerblades?

Today we’re here to tell you about how to get fat while pregnant. Inspired by an NHS booklet, we learn why the key way to get as fat as possible is to cram carbs into your face while eschewing the likes of saturated fats that might endanger an expectant mother with providing their developing child with substances it needs.

We also discuss… (“we”, ha) Nick also discusses which supplements you should take, in what ends up being an almost exclusively dietary edition. Oh, and Lucy went outside, and now she’s come back in again!

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at April 02, 2014 02:09 PM

March 27, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 156: I’m Too Tired, And Perhaps Faithful

In our 156th ever Rum Doings, our topic is isn’t it about time we went to war with Russia?

Recorded across the Atlantic, on an overly-loud laptop mic in San Francisco, and Nick’s echo chamber in London, Nick naturally insists on talking about bloody videogames. John was at GDC at the time of recording, so despite wanting to talk about anything else, Nick must be obeyed. There’s also talk about San Francisco itself – a peculiar and unsettling mix of opulence and horrendous poverty.

As John struggles through his cold, Nick expresses his hatred of women, and we give the latest news on the death penalty. And hash browns. Mmmmmmm, hash browns.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at March 27, 2014 02:55 PM

March 24, 2014

Nick Cohen

The climate change deniers have won

The Amazon rainforest is burnt to clear land for agriculture near Novo Progresso

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

Read the whole thing


by Nick Cohen at March 24, 2014 03:10 PM

March 10, 2014

The Thoughts of a Mind

Rum Doings Episode 155: A Banana Fits In The Palm Of Your Hands And You Can Juggle Leeks

In our 155th ever Rum Doings, our topic is why don’t they just build the aeroplane out of the same thing they build the black box out of.

We start by wondering where that plane might be, before leaping forward to discuss John’s having impregnated Laura, then nipping to Ukraine to deal with that. And then begins a mighty section on You & Yours and the audiophiles. With diversions into the magical powers of ethernet cables.

There’s talk of the power of fat, and what excellent weapons leeks make. And then more vital ethernet cable coverage.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

by John Walker at March 10, 2014 01:42 PM

November 14, 2013

Mad Mel's Liquid Finale

The Middleman

&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;b&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;This TV review first posted June 10, 2008.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;b&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;Edited to remove a waffly first paragraph.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;i&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/i&gt;&lt;i&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&quot;Fighting evil, so you don&#39;t have to.&quot;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/i&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;ABC Family&#39;s &lt;a href=&quot;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Middleman_(TV_series)&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;&lt;i&gt;The Middleman&lt;/i&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;seems destined—indeed, designed—to be a&amp;nbsp;cult favourite. Too goofy for the mainstream, it&#39;s also hampered by a budget that the most basic of basic cable hour-longs might be ashamed of. But what it has in spades is charm and a lack of preciousness that lifts it above the unoriginal premise and similar, more self-consciously offbeat fare. Enough, at least, to ensure it finds a niche populated by kids &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;looking for a clever actioner that doesn&#39;t speak down to them, and older kids&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;adults charmed by pop culture references familiar enough to evoke&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;&lt;i&gt;Buffy&lt;/i&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;and its contemporaries, yet&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;obscure enough to make them feel smart.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;On paper&amp;nbsp;&lt;i&gt;The Middleman&lt;/i&gt;&amp;nbsp;holds little promise: &quot;A young woman is recruited by a secret agency to fight against evil forces.&quot; More&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men_in_Black_(film)&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;&lt;i&gt;Men in Black&lt;/i&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;than&amp;nbsp;&lt;i&gt;Buffy,&lt;/i&gt; it &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;offers little variation from the age-old trope: a world of aliens and monsters (&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;and&amp;nbsp;super-intelligent, genetically-engineered primates) coexisting alongside the world of men. Sometimes peacefully, other times less so. When someone from the outside discovers this secret world,&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrokenMasquerade&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;they must become part of it, or join those who fight or police it&lt;/a&gt;.&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;And that&#39;s pretty much what we have here. Wendy (Natalie Morales) is a geeky temp secretary who during one posting is attacked by what she describes as a &quot;hentai tentacle monster&quot;. The beast is dealt with by an implacable stranger, the eponymous &quot;Middleman&quot; (Matt Keeslar), who fights evil using an array of whizzy gadgets supplied by an unknown power. Impressed by Wendy&#39;s poise in unusual circumstances (&lt;i&gt;&quot;95% of people would fill their shorts and be eaten&quot;&lt;/i&gt;), he offers her a job as his apprentice/sidekick.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div class=&quot;separator&quot; style=&quot;clear: both; text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o164/wilkinsonswords/middleman1.jpg&quot; imageanchor=&quot;1&quot; style=&quot;margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;&quot;&gt;&lt;img border=&quot;0&quot; src=&quot;http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o164/wilkinsonswords/middleman1.jpg&quot; height=&quot;271&quot; width=&quot;400&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;i&gt;The Middleman&lt;/i&gt; doesn&#39;t wear its influences on its sleeve so much as have them tattooed on its face. &quot;The Pilot Episode Sanction&quot;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;is a Frankenstein&#39;s Monster of someone else&#39;s ideas. But what judicious employment of familiar concepts allows is room for the dialogue and characters to breathe, without having to spend too long explaining the set-up. And while it doesn&#39;t subvert the trope&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;entirely, it does undermine it with clever digs at both its own and the genre&#39;s preposterousness (&quot;that belonged to my father, who disappeared in mysterious and as-yet-unexplained circumstances&quot;) and via the fourth wall-breaking captions.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;The dialogue is equally sly, assaulting the viewer with pop culture references and screwball sparring. Morales&#39; delivery is perfect: rapid-fire and deadpan, she&#39;s more Garofolo than Gellar, though hotter and geekier than both. Keeslar, channelling&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benton_Fraser&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;Constable Benton Fraser&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;—shit, how good would Paul Gross be in this part?—isn&#39;t&amp;nbsp;quite so confident, but his might be the harder role: a former Navy Seal, the character is written as an endearing throwback to a more innocent time, ruthless, intelligent and maybe a little dim—all at the same time. And all the while spouting goshdang-it-to-heck aphorisms (he never swears, except when he does).&lt;/span&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;If the show seldom pauses long enough to allow appreciation the more delicious lines, nor does it allow reflection on its weaker moments. In any event, o&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;nly a few spoil the party: a series of gangster film quotes that not once stray from the obvious (&lt;i&gt;The Godfather&lt;/i&gt;, &lt;i&gt;Scarface&lt;/i&gt;),&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;and a &lt;i&gt;Planet of the Apes&lt;/i&gt;&amp;nbsp;reference which I&#39;m surprised didn&#39;t get left on &lt;i&gt;The Simpsons&lt;/i&gt;&#39; cutting-&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;room floor where they found it. The pilot also seems to run out of breath&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;halfway through when Wendy&#39;s boyfriend appears, a boring dick undeserving of both his screen time and Wendy&#39;s forgiveness. But it gets its second wind as it approaches a denouement marred only by the obvious deficiencies in the budget.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;So ignore that, throw in a&amp;nbsp;&lt;a href=&quot;http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RidiculouslyHumanRobots&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;ridiculously human robot&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;with a prickly demeanour, and a black-and-white aside that ends with an image of the Middleman holding an umbrella and Wendy wearing a scuba mask, and you&#39;re left with what has the potential to be one of the oddest and smartest shows you&#39;ll see this summer.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div class=&quot;separator&quot; style=&quot;clear: both; text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o164/wilkinsonswords/vlcsnap-150171.png&quot; imageanchor=&quot;1&quot; style=&quot;margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;&quot;&gt;&lt;img border=&quot;0&quot; src=&quot;http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o164/wilkinsonswords/vlcsnap-150171.png&quot; height=&quot;225&quot; width=&quot;400&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div class=&quot;separator&quot; style=&quot;clear: both; text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div class=&quot;separator&quot; style=&quot;clear: both; text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;b&gt;Notes from the future:&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div class=&quot;separator&quot; style=&quot;clear: both; text-align: justify;&quot;&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;ul&gt;&lt;li&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;The second episode isn&#39;t very good, but it all picks up from there.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&lt;li&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;I&#39;m not sure how I got through this review without mentioning Nu-Who, which in hindsight seems an obvious influence.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&lt;li&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Sheppard&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;Mark Sheppard&lt;/a&gt;&amp;nbsp;shows up in episodes 11 and 12, back when he was being good in stuff.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&lt;/ul&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;&quot;&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;</content>

by scwilko at November 14, 2013 10:13 PM

March 16, 2013

Paging Mr. Driftwood

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

by levine at March 16, 2013 09:59 PM