In lane one (1), the Holy Father of the Roman Catholique Church, his
Popeship, John! Paul! II!
After his heart problems on Thursday, the Pope received the Catholics'
last rites for the sick and dying.
In lane two (2), Europe's longest-serving
living monarch, "Prins"! Rainier! of Monaco!
The health of Monaco's Prince Rainier is "precarious" and there is
only a very slim chance that he will recover, the principality's royal
I'm backing the Pontiff, for sure.
There may be a point to Richard "All-Dawk" Dawkins
For many British people, belief in a six-day creation
seems to be one of those incomprehensibly American quirks, like beef
jerky and pledging allegiance to the flag. But a large and growing
number of British Christians are defying Darwinist orthodoxy in favour
of creationism - the belief that Adam and Eve are the mother and
father of humanity.
He [who cares?] feels frustrated that the scientific evidence is not
treated more seriously. "So many evolutionists are incredibly arrogant
and give the impression that only fools believe in creation, when
there are many eminent scientists who say there is some evidence of
Like bollocks there are. A handful of physicistes, maybe. And
Most apologists for creationism share this frustration. One of CSM's
leaflets rallies support for teaching creation in schools: "The
hard-nosed humanism of evolutionism has become entrenched in the
British educational system and in society at large. We need your
dedicated support to topple it!"
Humanisme, contempible Jesus-Freak? We don't need no stinking
humanisme! Evolution is as true as a true thing, and I'm an
old-fashioned structuraliste Marxiste and one thing old-fashioned
structuraliste Marxistes like me are most certainly not is humanistes.
Not many peeps have been heard of Tony "Baloney" Blair's "Faith-Based"
schools idiocy lately, what with the War on Whatever and all. And
hoorah for that, for sure.
What's that? Sweden's Glorious National Choklatmilk is being
over by fiendish Danishes?
[Korvgubban] Mikail Karan har alltid gillat Pucko.
- Det är ju en klassiker. En symbol för Sverige.
- Nu får man hoppas på att danskarna inte får för sig att ändra på
Puckon. Men man kan aldrig veta.
[Sossagevendor] Mikail Karan has always liked Pucko [for it is
"It is of course a classic. A symbol of Sweden."
"We can only hope that the Danishes don't start meddling with Pucko.
But you never know."
This such Ancient and Glorious Chocklatmilk has been part of the
Swedish way of life since the Dawn of Time (or "1954", to use the
technical term), Danishes! You meddle with it at your own risk or
Item: I have to go out for some yummy öl this evening, but I
would secretly like to finish my essay instead, so that it would be
Item: The (French) book by Althusser I ordered doesn't have the
essay I want, as I assumed it would, and the one that I can be sure
does is out of print.
Item: The weather. It is rubbage.
Item: I still do not live in Berlin, and I am making negligible
progress at learning German. When I finish my essay I must spend the
slack time before the next block on this.
Item: My eyesight seems to be going wonky: for reading, at
least, it only seems to like to focus on exactly one (1) distance,
which is exactly the distance to my monitor in my standard working
Item: The clocks are telling the wrong time, and I am expected
to join the conspiracy to pretend they are not. I do not like you,
Blightian Somewhere "Time"!
Item: I don't understand databases, and in particular their
relevance to blog management software. I am the proud owner of
desbladet.se, and quite right too, but it doesn't point to
anywhere, and it won't until I figure out how to cause there to be
a 'bladet to be pointed to. Blogs are made of sequences of blocks of
text, it seems to me, and relational databases are made of query-able
tables. What, then, has (a) to do with (b)?
Item: I am just grumpy 'cos I'm tired.
Unlike the many universities in the UK that content themselves
with their role as finishing schools in which the nation's Gilded
Youth can revel in their heady freedoms before taking up their
positions of Future Captains of Industry, the University of Openness
is open (hence the name) to essentially all-comers.
Which means, among other things, that it can't expect that its
students have been briefed on how to construct essays, and considers
itself obliged to explain this such craft or "skill".
Their advice is undoubtedly very excellent, but I do not, and cannot,
follow it: they recommend
- making a plan, composed of a series of paragraphable points;
- deciding on an order for these such points; and then (and only
- making an uppwritening, complete with elegant linking prose
But I only find out what order stuff has to go in when I am practising
my Rhetoric Fu and focusing on the smooth. Which means that I have to
draft and redraft just to decide the structure, but I get a completed
essay as a side effect.
Life is hard, for sure, and redrafting is very much a form of work,
but it is our new secret weapon: it is an amazingly effective tool
(which we never use on the 'bladet, of course).
The only really sure way to tell if your mattress is in fact a scone, in
our experience, is to spread it with jam and cream and see how it
Should it turn out - as we certainly hope it does - that your mattress
is not in fact a scone, this procedure is apt to leave it in less than
ideal condition for sleeping on, but this is surely a small price to
pay to sleep safe - if sticky - in the knowledge that you are not at
risk of ambush by paper doilies and the many fiendish instruments of
Constant vigilance, Varied Reader; constant vigilance!
Mein Kampf, the book Hitler wrote in prison before he
rose to power in 1933, has become a bestseller in Turkey, provoking
Colour me consterned, for sure, but the piece drips with incidental
"Obviously we're very concerned," Ivo Molinas, one of Turkey's 25,000
Jews, said in Istanbul. "This is a democratic country and the book
can't be banned, but it would be good if the Turkish government openly
said they don't like it being sold. Unfortunately, there has been no
Mein Kampf is of course banned in naughtily undemocratique
Analysts believe the book's popularity is related to a rise in
nationalism and anti-US sentiment since the invasion of
Anti-US sentiment? Bad analysts to be suggesting that the wise
and judicious employment of Imperial Stormtroopers for Freedom(TM) in
Iraq or elsewhere might provoke anything other than love and
We hate the Common
Agricultural Policy, for sure, but we are enchanté by this
masterpiece of controlled spite from Die Welt:
La reine d'Angleterre, le prince Charles et un certain nombre de ducs,
comtes, barons et marquis font partie des plus gros bénéficiaires des
subventions versées par Bruxelles à la Grande-Bretagne au titre de la
politique agricole commune (PAC).
The Queen of England, prins Charles and a number of dukes, counts,
barons and marquis form are among the biggest beneficiaries of the
subsidies distributed by Brussels to Great Britain according to the
terms of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Oxfam and the Times used the Freedom of Information Act to get
this data, and well done them.
[L]es grands propriétaires terriens sont sans doute conscients de
leurs privilèges, car ils ont tout fait, avec l'appui du Parti
conservateur, pour empêcher, vainement, la publication des chiffres
qui font mal. Les gentlemen-farmers, mal nommés en l'occurrence, ont
refusé de répondre aux questions de la presse.
The major landowners are surely aware of their privileges, since they
unsuccessfully tried, with the help of the Conservative party, to
obstruct the publication of these damaging figures. These
(inaptly-named) gentlemen farmers have refused to answer questions
from the press.
Good abuse, well directed. We hereby declare ourselves to be pleased
with Die Welt.
It is local logical Monday again!
§1. Of Langwidges and Legislation
legislation which came into force last September, 60% of lessons
in the final three school years must be taught not in the students'
native Russian but in Latvian, the state language.
(I have lately just headed myself off at the pass to avoid writing a
vair vair long essay on the Ett språk; ett folk; ett land
syndrome in Yooropean nationalismes for the University of Openness.
Which was nice.)
Anyhow: put Russophone teachers and Russophone pupils and no
inspecteurs in a classroom and I think you can guess how strickly this
here law is going to be observed:
She is teaching them about Greek democracy. And despite the law,
almost the entire lesson is conducted in Russian.
"They speak good conversational Latvian," says the teacher. "But it's
not good enough for complicated ideas like this. They just don't
understand the Latvian textbook."
She says she hands out crib-sheets in Russian to help them, "but
strictly speaking, they are illegal".
Democracy isn't complicated, endearingly-baffled Easterners: you vote
for whoever you like, but the government gets in anyway.
Is it the new snökaos? Call it "hayfever" if you like, we call
it s3xual assault.
§3. Alienate me harder (Latvian style)
park in the Latvian capital Riga, a small group of protesters
gathers, all Russian, some wearing paper hats inscribed with the word
More than 450,000 Russians and native Russian-speakers - out of a
total Latvian population of 2.3m - are classed as "non-citizens"
because they have failed (or refused) to take a test in Latvian
language and history, which would allow them to have citizenship.
This was local election day, and they were protesting about the fact
that as "aliens", despite having lived in Latvia all their lives, they
had no right to take part in the elections - whereas citizens of other
EU countries could vote if they had lived there for a mere six months.
We would quite like to have an opinion on the Latvian Russian question,
but it's a fiddly one: minority rights are well and they are also
good, but this particular minority was introduced more-or-less
explicitly to dilute the ethnic Latvianness of Latvia.
We think we will settle, for now, for the fact that it all seems
at least fairly polite.
(We're still not here, by the way; back tomorrow.)
In our society, the character one performs and one's self are somewhat
equated, and this self-as-character is usually seen as something
housed within the body of its possessor, especially the upper parts
thereof, being a nodule, somehow, in the psychobiology of
personality. I suggest that this view is an implied part of what we
are all trying to present, but provides, just because of this, a bad
analysis of the presentation.
A correctly staged and performed scene leads the audience to impute a
self to the performed character, but this imputation - this self - is
a product of a scene that comes off, and is not the
cause of it. The self, then, as a performed character, is not
an organic thing that has a specific function, whose fundamental fate
is to be born, to mature, and to die; it is a dramatic effect arising
diffusely from a scene that is presented, and the characteristic
issue, the crucial concern, is whether it will be credited or
"Swerving" Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday
Life, (pp. 244-5 in the Pelican edition).
En avril 2003, un an après l'invasion d'Irak, 78% des Blancs
soutenaient celle-ci, mais le chiffre tombait à 29% seulement chez les
Noirs selon un sondage Gallup.
In April 2003, a year after the invasion of Iraq, 78% of whites
supported it, but the figure fell to 29% among blacks, according to a
[St Louis Post-Dispatch, via Courrier International, 24 mars, 2005]
People don't seem to have a clear picture of the past of their country
any more. It is not a question of the actual history, but rather the
history that is required to create a national loyalty. If you look at
the Poles or the Czechs, every schoolchild can tell a story about what
his or her country is. It is not necessarily the truth - it is a bit
of the truth with a lot of embellishment - but it is a
loyalty-creating story that gives people a way of attaching their
emotions to each other, and in particular to strangers.
Roger "Scroot-Scroot" Scruton, in the "Roundtable on 'Britishness
Rediscovered'", Prospect (April 2005), also featuring Billy Bragg.
(It is slightly depressing to note that fellow participant Gordon
Brown - for it was he! - doesn't seem to have the slightest clue about
or interest in what makes nationalisms tick and was content to blither
about basing a national identity on shared "values". We don't much
like Scroot-Scroot - and there's more than a few central Yoorpean
Romany ("Gypsy") persons who've felt the rough edge of
loyalty-creating narratives that exclude them even more vigorously
than the loathsome Daily Mail and its loathsome readers manage,
but he does at least understand the question.)
§4. Hello, ¡Hola!
It is an exclusive interview with Mette-Marit about her debut solo
official visit, to Malawi! In, um, Spanish! But we'll do our level
best, of course.
La princesa sigue impactada por este viaje al horror y la esperanza,
que permanecerá para siempre grabado en su memoria. «Siento de verdad
que ha ocurrido algo dentro de mé, como persona. Tener unas
impresiones tan fuertes te hace replantearte tus proprios
Right. Umm... The prinsess remains after her journey impacted by
the horror and hope which are permanently engraved on her memory.
(Phew!) "I feel that the something which has occurred outside of me,
as a person. I have an impression of strongness to replant your own
Careful, Varied Reader: don't replant your interrogantes
existentiales (a kind of flowering vine with flowers of a
particularly delicate aroma) until you are sure that the season of
ground frosts is past, or (like the lovely kronprinsess) you have a
greenhouse at your disposal!