I got an e-mail this week from a guy whose surname was Blasé. I wanted to reply, “I don’t like your attitude, Blasé!” I bet he gets that a lot. But it made me wonder: if you can be nonchalant, why can’t you be chalant?
Such important questions were conspicuously absent on the first of the party leaders’ debates on tv the other night. Did you watch it? Most people’s vote in the UK makes no difference to anything. If you live in Cambridgeshire, you might as well cast your vote down the toilet. But it’s extraordinary that there should be such a thing as a safe seat. The very concept of a safe seat is an argument against the first-past-the-post system.
What would Labour have to do to lose their core voters? Apparently causing violent death and misery on a mass scale in the middle east isn’t enough. What would be enough?
Nothing. Gordon Brown could ride a blind pensioner like a donkey to Buckingham Palace to announce his introduction of compulsory euthanasia for World War II veterans, and some people would still vote Labour. At most they’d tut and roll their eyes.
I guess it’s a tribal loyalty, like supporting a football team. You are invested in the outcome of a game in which you lose either way. The result of a UK general election is the answer to the question ‘Would you prefer to be punched in the stomach or kneed in the groin?’
The principle argument against electoral reform is that it would weaken government; it would dilute legislative power. Well, good. That’s exactly what I want, and I don’t think I’m alone. Labour have created 3,600 new criminal offenses since 1997, and I think we could have managed without them.
I hope for a hung parliament, followed by electoral reform. I think voting Liberal Democrat is the best way to move in that direction.
Or, y’know, they’re all the same, hang the bastards, yadda yadda yadda.
The rules of the game are unique for each player
I overheard two bicycle couriers chatting on a park bench the other day. It was interesting to eavesdrop; they talked shop in the same way bankers might talk about interest rates. Mostly, they talked about run-ins with the police and white van drivers.
One guy: “The guy just turned left in front of me; I slammed into the side of his van.”
Other guy: “Did he stop?”
First guy: “Did he fuck.”
Other guy: “Did you call him a cunt?”
First guy: “Nah, I just called him a tosser.”
It would seem that in the lexicon of bike couriers and van drivers, there is a scale of profanity with fixed consequences. So, if a bike courier calls a van driver a tosser, the van driver will shake his wrist in a wanking gesture while he drives off. But if the bike courier calls the van driver a cunt, the van driver will get out and beat up the bike courier. Perversely, the van driver is allowed to call a bike courier a cunt for more minor infractions on the basis that he is protected on all sides by glass and steel and is almost certainly heavier, thicker, generally a more physically substantial individual. Every game has its rules.
I don’t like to moan about my job, because the hours are short, the pay is good and no-one gives me a hard time. But it’s boring. You amuse yourself as best you can.
I don’t want to go all Jeremy Clarkson, but some of the shit I have to edit and publish about health & safety is unbelievable. It’s often not even about health & safety itself, but about what percentage of managers have read a report published by so-and-so on such-and-such, following a recent survey etc.
The people responsible, in order to keep themselves in a job, use as many words as they can to say as little as possible. To keep myself in a job, I try to make it readable. Then I publish it to the sound of trumpets.
I want to e-mail the content owners as follows:
Your unintentional pastiche of local government health and safety satire is on the site now.
But of course what I actually send is:
Your content is on the site now. The style guide demanded that I remove most of your exclamation marks. I hope that’s ok.
Still with me? You deserve a reward. Here’s a bunch of New Yorker cartoons all re-captioned with just ‘Christ, what an asshole’. Mostly it’s an improvement; you’ll be surprised how funny it is. I think it’d work for most one panel comics.