Showing posts tagged newspapers

Tonight, we went to a talk by Robert Fisk at the Minella Hotel, just across the road from my house.

Fisk is a Middle East journalist of great renown who is probably most famous for somehow getting to interview Osama Bin Laden, on three separate occasions, in 1993, in 1996 and again in 1997. He also annoyed John Malkovich, for some reason, who said in 2002 that he wanted to “just shoot” him.

When I got my chance to have my old, hardback copy of The Great War For Civilisation signed, he notice that the cover was not in great shape. “I can see why you brought it in a bag!” he said.

"Yes," I answered, "it’s been through the wars with me." He looked at me. "No! Not ‘the wars’! I mean, you know, with me. It’s been with me since I bought it."

Then I asked him if he brought the brutal, upsetting videos he had with him the last time I saw him, and he said he didn’t, which is probably for the best, as I wanted Andrea to be interested, not repulsed.

Here is a selection of quotes from the night:

"Saudi Arabia is a fake state… [If I were a Saudi King], I’d rather live in Clonmel than Riyadh!”

"I mean why don’t they just rename the New York Times - U.S. Officials Say?" (On the deeply suspicious content sourcing in most mainstream newspapers.)

"Peace treaties don’t travel." (On being asked if the Northern Ireland peace process or the experience in Tunisia could help the Palestinians.)

"Sweden! Where everything is perfect and nothing goes wrong." (On mentioning Sweden as being a paragon of governance. He was possibly being sarcastic. I’m honestly not sure.)

"While they are physically in Baghdad, they might as well be in Co. Mayo." (Trashing hotel journalism, with which Iraq war reporting was heavily infected.)

Any of his books are highly recommended, and go see him if you can.

Daft Punk did a thing at the Grammy Awards last night! Good for them.

Now let us have a brief tour through some of the lazier areas of contemporary music journalism.

So this one time, the South African division of Reuters converted 50 Cent.

So this one time, the South African division of Reuters converted 50 Cent.

As with most medicines, the things that are good for us in small doses can become toxic in large ones. Writ large, the intimacy that we value so highly is cronyism. The valuing of the personal is an impatience with ideas. The tolerance is indifference. The love of the local is also a clientelist political system in which the sense of a national polity almost disappears.

The adaptability that has allowed communities to absorb large-scale immigration also manifests itself as mass emigration when times are tough. The Irish success at social networking can lead to the idea that you can get around anything if you know the right people.

- Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times Weekend Review, 26 October 2013, perhaps unwittingly hitting on the Aristotelian model of community.

In the beforetimes, in the long long ago, Aristotle wrote that “man is a political animal”. This is frequently misinterpreted to mean that man is naturally interested in representative democracy as we currently understand it.

What he meant was that humans are designed by nature to actively engage in the particularly Greek way of organising people, the polis. Because this word polis is the source of our ‘police’, ‘policy’, ‘politics’, and every city that ends in ‘-polis’ or ‘-pol’, there has historically been some confusion about this quote, ascribing to Aristotle motives and intentions that he cannot have had.

In yesterday’s weekend edition of The Irish Times, they had a little vox pops thing, asking the question, “What words have most inspired you?”
My father added his own comments to some of the suggestions and left it on the table where I have my tea. If you can’t read it, here are the relevant inspirational quotes (and his comments in parentheses):
"There’s always a solution." (Death)
"You’ll only regret it if you don’t try it." (homos)
"There’s a crack in everything, and that’s where the light comes through." (or water)
"Be bold enough to enjoy life now." (pay later)

In yesterday’s weekend edition of The Irish Times, they had a little vox pops thing, asking the question, “What words have most inspired you?”

My father added his own comments to some of the suggestions and left it on the table where I have my tea. If you can’t read it, here are the relevant inspirational quotes (and his comments in parentheses):

"There’s always a solution." (Death)

"You’ll only regret it if you don’t try it." (homos)

"There’s a crack in everything, and that’s where the light comes through." (or water)

"Be bold enough to enjoy life now." (pay later)

I sent a sternly-worded letter to the Irish Times about Neil Young's farcical negative reviews. They printed it

"OMG Barry you forgot to block out your name and address! Anything could happen!"

Yeah, you people can’t even be bothered to send me a message on tumblr. I think I’m safe. 

Related: Leave Neil Young alone

…some people light your fire in a very special way and I am past the age of caring how good or bad that might look in the eyes of the world.
Stephen Fry, in an interview he did with Lady Gaga for the Financial Times. Before any words, the photos kicked off some memes

Newspapers are finally figuring out how to report these things properly: victims front and centre, and in the notable case of the London Independent, no mention of the gunman at all.

Also, Vicki Soto is a legend.

Update: The RTE report is perfect. Two separate reports, the first one four minutes long at the head of the show, with no mention at all of the gunman. Even the second report, about the police investigation mentions the gunman very briefly and centres the report on the victims.

Great Lies Of Our Time

"There’s no other way." 

There’s always another way. You might not like it, and there may be obstacles, but there’s always another way. 

"Both sides are equally to blame."

Drummed into us at an early age by busy parents and lazy teachers, this has infected our news media with a sickness where they refuse to put blame on one side of a conflict without putting some sort of blame on the other side. What’s the point? Just tell the truth. Yes, there are “two sides to every story”, but the truth is that most of the time, one guy is being an asshole.