“It would be churlish not to recognise the politicised minority who are rising up and occupying things, but the overwhelming narrative of recession Britain is one of political quiescence and cultural conservatism. Welcome to the New Boring, of which Downton Abbey and its ancillary industries (dull interviews, dressing gowns, National Trust season tickets, butler-length eyebrow extensions) is the most perfect expression in its conservatism, vapidity and conformism. The New Boring upholds a law announced by French situationist Guy Debord, who very sensibly killed himself in 1994 so there was no chance of him witnessing the Z-listers who have joined Ant and Dec in the jungle. Namely: “Boredom is always counter-revolutionary. Always.”—From Downton Abbey to Kirstie’s crafts … the New Boring is everywhere | Culture | The Guardian
In which I jump to the exaggerated conclusion that, in the future, no news will be worth reporting unless it contains some celebrity involvement. And in which I also dare to criticise Mr Stephen Fry (which probably means that I’ll be banned from the internet forever).
The protesters shun formal leaders and hierarchies – and I also don’t see why they should be criticised for this at a time when conventional leaders and hierarchies have been so conspicuously useless. Here are some recent scenes in establishment politics. Silvio Berlusconi displays his incomparable charms by describing Angela Merkel as “culona ichiavabile” (“an unfuckable lard arse”). Rick Perry, contender to become Republican candidate for the great office of president of the United States, questions where Barack Obama was born five months after the White House released his long-form birth certificate, and excuses himself by saying: “It’s fun to poke at him.” A punch-up breaks out on the floor of the Italian parliament between one right-wing member of the government and an even more right-wing member. Nicolas Sarkozy tells David Cameron to “shut up” because he is “sick” of him. David Cameron elevates the tone at prime minister’s questions by shouting: “Complete mug!” at Ed Miliband.
Protesters or leaders? I know who looks the more grown-up.
The current political and social climate has reached such a disastrous state that even previously risible, highly objectionable commentators and columnists, usually with faces like smacked upper middle-class arses (i.e. imagine David Cameron smug expression repeated many, many times), are beginning to ‘see the light’. While they’re not manning the barricades and suggesting we nationalise the banks and start campaigning for equal distribution of wealth, it’s at least a start. And the latest is Andrew Rawnsley, emerging from his usual fug of waffling pomposity to talk huge amounts of sense about the #occupy movement.
When the English-language publication of the new Murakami novel makes it onto BBC News, that’s quite a big deal. (Though I could do without the comparison to the frenzy of excitement surrounding each Harry Potter book.)
“I don’t think of myself as an artist. I’m just a guy who can write. Yeah.”—There are many writers - far too many, in my supposedly knowledgeable opinion - who talk at extraordinary, self-important lengths about the ‘art’ of what they do. It’s as if they want to separate themselves from normal people and construct an air of lofty mystique around themselves. If any living writer had the right to talk in such a long-winded, grandiloquent way about what they do, it would be someone like Haruki Murakami, who has managed that rare feat of being hugely successful whilst also maintaining a cult status. He’s already one of my favourite authors, but I like him even more after this wonderfully down-to-earth interview in The Guardian.
You’d think, after all these years, that political parties would finally have learned to check (a) the appropriateness of the lyrics for songs they want to use as soundtracks for their conferences; and (b) that the artist involved is willing for their song to be used in such a biased setting. Apparently not. Therefore, they deserve all the ridicule and scorn heaped upon them.