Johnny Not-So English

Mr. Bean has created a stir:

Rowan Atkinson has reportedly finally moved into his ‘space age petrol station’ mansion after a decade-long planning row with neighbours. The Blackadder star, 67, initially bought the 1930s quaint English home – known as Handsmooth House – and its 16 acres of land for £2.6million in 2006.

He shocked locals in the charming seventh century village of Ipsden in Oxfordshire when he knocked it down and installed a modern 8,000 sq. ft. glass and steel mansion designed by top U.S. architect Richard Meier in its place.

Oy.  From this:

…to this:

Now I’ll grant you that House #1 needed a lot of restoration.  And I’ll also grant you that House #2 is located where nobody can see it (at least from the road).

But seriously?

I note, by the way, that he has ample space to park his supercar collection:

Small wonder that it took him ten years to get permission to build this dropping of visual excrement.  It should have taken longer.

No Kidding

One of my favorite movie (and life) lines comes from A League of their Own :  “There’s no crying in baseball!”

Here’s something we all know about.

Facts be damned: Rising use of emotional language like ‘feel’ and ‘believe’ has helped displace rational thought in ‘post-truth era’

A new study suggests we are living in the post-truth era where ‘feelings trump facts,’ as language has become less rational and more emotional over the past 40 years.

A team of scientists found words like ‘determine’ and ‘conclusion’ that were popular from 1850 through 1980 have been since been replaced with human experience such as ‘feel’ and ‘believe.’

The team also identified another major shift around 2007 with the birth of social media, when the use of emotion-laden language surged and fact-related words dropped.

Although the drivers behind the shift cannot be determined, the researchers suggest it could be a rapid development in science and technology or tensions that came about from changes in economic polices in the early 1980s.

Reason #2,465 why I could never work in a modern office.

Coming from a business background where every single proposition or proposal had to be justified with fact, research, real-world experience and (lastly) common sense, the very thought of going through the same process where any suggestion of same might “trigger” some kind of emotional response at best makes me want to reach for the gin bottle. (At worst, it makes my trigger finger itch.)

In fact, an emotional response to criticism would have made my time’s audience suspicious:  Why are they getting upset?  What are they hiding?   Why should we take them seriously when they are such weak people that criticism upsets them?

Nowadays, of course, all the above responses would result in Stern Words from HR (or even, gawd help us, from your own Management, so pussywhipped has the business world become).

No wonder Socialism has become so popular:  because while the eventual goal of Socialism is complete societal control, the way it is introduced is through emotional appeal:  “It’s not fair that…”  or “We need to end [whatever supposed evil]”, without any fact-based foundation but with plenty of anecdotal or emotionally-based evidence.

Small wonder too that the entire Green Movement is based not only on emotion, but a pack of easily-disproved lies (“Climate is cooling I mean warming I mean changing, and we’re all gonna diiiieeeee if we don’t do something!!!”)

Facts don’t need to be propped up by emotion;  they stand proudly on their own.  In fact, it’s probably true to say that the greater the hysteria generated by about some supposed catastrophe, the more likely it is to be complete bullshit.

Dr. Fauci, call your office.

Kinder, Gentler, Stupider

From Scottishland comes this drivel:

Scotland seeks to ban words like ‘addict’ and ‘alcoholic’ in plan to tackle drug deaths

…to be replaced by?

New guidance published online calls for other words such as “junkie”, “clean” and “substance abuse” to be shunned in favour of “person with problematic drug use”, “person who has stopped using drugs” and “substance use”, respectively.

Nothing like a change in terminology to address the “problem” of drug deaths.

What amuses me about this bureaucratic bowdlerism is that the Scots are renowned for being among the plainest-speaking people on the planet — beating out even Australians — with their often-withering commentary about people and life in general.  (Listen to any Billy Connolly rant, for example, to get a taste.)

Imagine Billy describing a junkie using the above terms…

Aweful

When an article begins with:

“Recently I spent a couple of days in Dubai-on-Thames, formerly known as London”

…you just know you’re in for a rant of the kind you will often see on this back porch, only with (far) fewer Bad Words.  And indeed, Theodore has still more gems, like:

“That anyone capable of uttering such drivel should be appointed (with the prime minister’s approval!) to a position of such importance demonstrates that the country has long since passed the point of no return as far as its decay is concerned.”

…and my personal favorite (about another writer):

“In a sensible world, the writer of this would be charged with crimes against the English language and forbidden from ever writing again.”

Under the reign of World-Emperor Kim, such charges would be accompanied by public floggings, but let’s not get distracted here.

Also:

“On and on goes this saccharine semi-prayer that made me want to throw a brick through the window.”

Or put a .45 bullet into the miscreant writer, but that punishment would be reserved for the editors of various newspapers (you can guess their names).

Anyway, go ahead and read the whole article, because I’ve only touched on the vitriol.


The title of this post reverts to the original spelling of the word, i.e. something that inspires awe, and is being used sarcastically.

Screw Modernity

Whenever I’m stuck to describe how I feel about something, I almost always resort to the classics, because every situation in modern times has occurred, sometimes often, in the past, and we’re just experiencing reruns.

I had to go to WalMart for an emergency purchase — they don’t sell gin, but they do sell tonic — and as I saw the usual tragic shoppers pawing through the worthless clothing, fall-apart utensils and cheap furniture, my mind wandered off to the tragedy of the current “pipeline” issues which are making people fearful that they won’t get the plastic toys for their kiddies in time for Xmas (not Christmas), or which are forcing people to wait an extra week for their must-have cheap kitchen appliances (avg lifetime:  months, not years), and it stirred within my memory this immortal poem, written in 1902:

Cargoes
by John Masefield

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

Substitute “rusty Chinese container ship” for the dirty British coaster, and you have the modern take on the earlier perspective, in a nutshell.

Then I heard on the radio some guy moaning about the fact that his car’s “management” chip had recently failed, thus rendering his Mercedes into an immobile, upholstered metal/plastic cube, and I thought longingly back to the days when a car’s management system was its driver, not some multi-pronged Chinese piece of silicon.

I fucking hate the modern world.

I think I’ll take the Mauser for a trip to the gun range.  No batteries to fail, no chips to malfunction, its technology tried and tested for over a hundred years.  Only its old and imperfect management system can screw things up.  And I prefer it that way.

Confederacy Of Awful

In the traditional sense, the word “awful” had the precise opposite of its meaning today;  something “awful” (or “awe-full”) created awe in the listener or viewer, rather than making one want to puke.

I suspect that “awe-full” was intended in the creation of this list.  But as one who as World Emperor would impose a retroactive global ban on any structure taller than twenty floors, the list simply makes me want to head for the barf bag.

As far as I’m concerned, of course, “Ten Best Skyscrapers” could just as easily be “Ten Best Snakebites”.  That this is an annual competition depresses me even more.  Here’s one example, taken at random:

And, to add insult to injury, the “Tour Alto” (6th place) is in Paris.

Kill them all.