Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Friday, October 29, 2010


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Monday, October 11, 2010

"No one likes the idea of hearing what you're thinking."

I've whined about this before, and it wasn't very interesting then. Still, worth a quick look, if only because I've discovered that there's a name[1] for the error Andrew Marr's making here:

"Most citizen journalism strikes me as nothing to do with journalism at all.

"A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting. They are very angry people," he told the Cheltenham Literary Festival. "OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk".

"But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.

"It is fantastic at times but it is not going to replace journalism."

Andrew, meet Theodore. And Charlie:

[1] Other than pot, meet kettle, of course.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Blair: The Vegas years

I'm going to have to disagree with this:

Anyway, let's end with the now traditional, pro-forma Blair-bashing as I observe for the thousandth time that the problem with the former PM isn't that he's a liar. The problem is that he believes his own bullshit, which has made him considerably more dangerous to ourselves and to those he intends to help, not to say infinitely useful to people who don't believe a word of it.

Sorry but this is not the speech of a man who believes his own bullshit:

The former prime minister said that there had been a failure to challenge the ''narrative'' that Islam was oppressed by the West which was fuelling extremism around the world.

He said too many people accepted the extremists' analysis that the military actions taken by the West following the 9/11 attacks were directed at countries because they were Muslim and that it supported Israel because Israelis were Jews while Palestinians were Muslims

''We should wake up to the absurdity of our surprise at the prevalence of this extremism,'' Mr Blair said

''Look at the funds it receives. Examine the education systems that succour it. And then measure, over the years, the paucity of our counter-attack in the name of peaceful co-existence. We have been outspent, outmanoeuvred and out-strategised.''

"Out-strategised"? Extreme views that many people hold? I'm sorry, but even by Blair's appallingly insincere standards, that one looks like a phoned-in performance. But the real sign that Blair's illustrious career of bullshit-peddling is in its twilight. The War on Terror crowd have always been big on pulling waffley, abstract ideas out of their arses just so that they've got something very general to declare war on, and Blair rode that wave with the best of them. But when you're down to talking about "narrative"[1] you're basically admitting that that part of the game's up.

[1] Which the Telegraph, no less, sees fit to put in inverted commas.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Sticky Wages of Fear

Good to see the Security/Industrial Complex meme getting a bit of an airing from Simon Jenkins.

For those who immediately start looking for the tin-foil hat when they hear the phrase "Security/Industrial Complex", here's Plato saying the same thing.


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