Thursday, January 03, 2013

arseholes on board

Here's a brief round-up of some brief things, in brief:

I popped out to the sandwich shop in the car at about 11:45am today, just in time to land halfway through a programme about Lawrence Durrell on Radio 4. As I said in my bit about Clea, 2012 was the centenary of Durrell's birth, so this programme, supposedly partly to commemorate that, ironically just misses being broadcast in the relevant year (but I dunno, perhaps it's a repeat). Anyway, I didn't hear much of it, but the gist seems to have been that now might be a good time for a bit of a critical re-evaluation of Durrell. Given that they must surely have read my various blog posts saying basically the same thing, I'm just a little bit offended that they didn't ask me to be on the programme. Maybe they tried to ring over New Year while I was away.

Also, a word of advice, based on a conversation I overheard around Christmas: if you are a vocal Christian, and up-front about it to the extent of wearing a Not Ashamed wristband and stuff like that, don't assume that that grants you some sort of indemnity against being judged by your words and deeds, especially if those words include expressing the opinion that the death of the two young boys on the M6 on Christmas morning was very sad for the family and all, but at least it means two fewer Muslims in the world. My suggestion to you is that in those circumstances people will ignore the fine words on your wristband and simply conclude that you are an arsehole instead.

As an aside, the whole Not Ashamed bit is weird, playing as it does on the bizarre persecution complex that Christians have cultivated of late, prompted by a couple of fairly straightforward employment tribunal cases (Shirley Chaplin, a nurse, and Nadia Eweida, a British Airways employee) siezed upon by various activism groups and taken all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, where they received the epic curb-stomping they so richly deserved. It requires something of a contortion to paint yourself as some sort of persecuted minority when you have representatives of your religion installed in every public and government institution in the land, to the extent of being the ruddy officially established state religion, for goodness' sake.

Finally, as part of the entirely welcome, much appreciated, but slightly daunting avalanche of baby-centric Christmas gifts we received over the festive period, I was amused to receive a cuddly monkeyesque toy with a "Baby On Board" logo on it and little suckers on the arms for attachment to the rear window. Now normally this would be my cue to jump into some sort of lazy observational-comedy-esque rant about how I was literally just about to drive into someone the other day but then saw the sticker and decided not to (a bit like this one), but instead I can share a couple of interesting facts with you: firstly that the signs originated in the USA in the early 1980s, supposedly as a prompt to the emergency services to have an extra-thorough rummage under the seats, in the glovebox, under the spare wheel, etc. in the event of an accident. Secondly these couple of stories from the Mail and the Telegraph suggest that in fact the view-obscuring properties of the stickers may actually cause accidents. While there may be something in that, I would recommend a pretty healthy dose of scepticism at the "1 in 20" figure that both stories carry, as these are drivers' self-assessments of what caused their accidents, in many cases where the only alternative answer would be "my rubbish driving".

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