Tag Archives: Rants

Pole Axed

Rarely has the gulf in belief between the US and Europe been more clearly illustrated than by the recent, utterly inane, pseudo-controversy about a wax model of former US president George W. Bush‘s head appearing on a pole in an episode of HBO’s “A Game of Thrones.

TL;DR version for the Redditors?  Politicians are human, inherently untrustworthy and deserve scorn.  Move on with your lives.

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Putting aside the obvious fact that nobody would be any the wiser about this inconsequential, throwaway gag had the DVD commentary for season one’s box set not pointed it out, the resultant furore suggests quite worryingly that many Americans believe that their politicians (and, particularly, their presidents) are somehow utterly beyond reproach and deserving of a level of life-long respect which borders on blind idolatry and child-like worship.

Check out this take on the issue by Craig Eaton, Chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party in noted UK tabloid beloved of nitwits, the Daily Mail – ‘I think that it’s despicable. As a country, Democrats, Republicans, we have to have respect for the office and the individuals. Once we lose that respect, the United States looks weak.’

Yes, an entirely reasonable sense of proportion there.  It’s not as if the American president, senators, congressmen and the like are elected officials who work for constituencies – i.e., the general public.  They are, of course, veritable Titans who walk amongst us and we should all be wearing knee pads on the off-chance that we might need to abruptly genuflect in their presence.

Give any politician an inch and they’ll never stop the ensuing power grab until their avarice and arrogance trips them up or very human hubris results in death on a massive scale.  Politicians, I feel strongly, should live daily in the mortal and justified fear that their electorate will yank them from office and replace them equally swiftly with somebody hopefully competent and not quite as self-serving – they are rarely, if ever, people who deserve anything more than suspicion and contempt.

And Mr Eaton, by the way, I’m pretty sure that Bush’s tenure as president did more to hurt his image and the world’s image of America than a blink-and-you miss it shot of a mannequin in profile head ever will.

In Europe, I like to think that we treat politicians with just the right amount of withering mistrust and quiet disdain – experience has taught us that such individuals are rarely public servants in the truest sense of the phrase and have the moral and ethical core of a sneak thief – that any American citizen goes to their grave believing that politicians are any better than the rest of us is a sign that the biggest con job of all time has been well and truly perpetrated on a sleeping electorate.

Besides, this B.S. non-controversy has clearly only been stirred up by the kind of vocal, cynical, right-of-centre bullies on the blogosphere and in American talk radio who get to place issues of no-importance in the public consciousness and then scream like spoilt children until they get what they want – witness HBO’s deplorably cowardly and censorial decision to remove the shot from future broadcasts of the season one “A Game of Thrones” finale and DVD releases.

So, broadly fascistic rewriting/erasing of something which barely matters to appease lardy, Red State cry babies on the basis that they might cancel their HBO subscription or not buy future season DVD sets.  Great. That’s progress for you.

I also love the false equivalence being thrown around by some of these Conservative blow hards on the issue – would we be as slow to offensive were the head being used Barack Obama?  Any politician is fair game for this kind of treatment – and the “Game of Thrones” shot wasn’t even intended as satire, if you believe the DVD commentary.  I dread to think what many Americans would make of the lack of esteem we Europeans hold our politicians in.  If they ever saw an episode of “Spitting Image” or “Have I Got News For You?” your average Mid-Western Republican would implode in red-cheeked, puffed-out outrage before prompt self-immolation on the spot.

So, not entirely a bad idea, then.

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Filed under Geekery, Random Notes

Same moral panic, different day.

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Read the fricking label?

As we haven’t had one of these stories for at least two or three months now, let’s all be united in our shock and surprise as somebody else calls for action on the negative impact of video games on the fragile minds of young people.

Quel surprise.

Putting aside glibness for one or two minutes, the points made by Alison Sheratt of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers are not wholly without merit.  Kids are being allowed to play unsuitable, age-restricted video games by their idiot parents and teachers are seeing the result of this in their classrooms.  They are understandably upset by this – this does not, however, permit them to presume to stop the rest of us from playing video games intended for adult audiences in the comfort of our own homes.

Puffing yourself up and demanding that the government introduce ‘stringent legislation’ to restrict access to video games, internet content and television programmes is going to do absolutely nothing to end this problem as the responsibility for children’s exposure to media ends squarely and solely with their parents – the self-same group who invariably allow their wee darlings to play Modern Warfare 3 because it’s a game like Wii Sports and couldn’t possibly be harmful to little Kyle and Jade.

Let’s state some undeniable facts, shall we?  Kids have no money – their parents buy games consoles and TV’s, give their children laptops and mobile devices and purchase the software which runs on them.  The software which they buy for these home systems comes with the industry’s self-policing certification system (see the PEGI graphic above).

This means that parents, so keen to scream, shout and bully their way out of being held accountable for anything that their little darlings do, have no excuse about being unaware that the latest Saints Row” is totally unsuitable for their offspring.  If they choose to ignore ratings, certificates and guidance aimed to help them make informed choices about their children’s entertainment, its a parent’s fault and nobody else’s if their delightful kids then go to school and, through actions and words, make them look like the negligent, incompetent and careless half-wits that they so frequently are these days.

If we need to start doing anything in society, it’s to make feckless and lazy parents own the behaviour of their children and be held legally and morally accountable for their inaction and, let’s be honest, frequent corruptive influence.  Everybody shouldn’t have to suffer because some parents can’t be bothered to, you know, parent.

 

 

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Filed under Fluffrick