Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Swift Defense

Auntie reports that the Rev. Peter Mullen, a Church of England vicar, is in trouble for, well, posting this on his blog:

It is time that religious believers began to recommend specific utilitarian discouragements of homosexual practices after the style of warnings on cigarette packets: Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS. In addition the obscene "gay pride" parades and carnivals should be banned for they give rise to passive corruption, comparable to passive smoking. Young people forced to witness these excrescences are corrupted by them.

Mullen sadly lacks the courage to stand by this, resorting as he does to that refuge of cowards, the I Was Only Joking Defense, coupled here with the Some Of My Best Friends Defense:

I wrote some satirical things on my blog and anybody with an ounce of sense of humour or any understanding of the tradition of English satire would immediately assume that they're light-hearted jokes. I certainly have nothing against homosexuals. Many of my dear friends have been and are of that persuasion. What I have got against them is the militant preaching of homosexuality.

I can't imagine they'll stay his friends for long. But you can judge for yourselves how funny Mullen is; though he has removed his blog from the web, Google's all-seeing eye has it. A scan reveals Cullen not to be one of life's great thinkers, still less a noted wit. Some highlights:

Since [gay former MP Matthew] Parris will not dirty his hands by entering theological discussions with his readers, perhaps I might answer for religious believers in the purely utilitarian terms which even the lofty Parris is bound to engage with. We disapprove of homosexuality because it is clearly unnatural, a perversion and corruption of natural instincts and affections, and because it is a cause of fatal disease. The AIDS pandemic was originally caused by promiscuous homosexual behaviour. Such promiscuity is itself an evil because its perpetrators merely use others indiscriminately for their own gratification, treating their fellows as sex objects and as means to an end rather than as ends in themselves. I should have thought that Parris, having rejected religious belief, might want to construct his moral beliefs on this Kantian humanistic imperative. But I suspect he is not really interested in morality of any kind - except as a special plea to excuse his lust for gratification at whatever cost to human dignity and the sanctity of human life.

I'll wager Mullen's routine has 'em rolling in the pews of a Sunday. There's some corkers in here, from labelling "clearly unnatural" behaviour observed in monkeys, turtles, birds, bees and educated fleas, to the apparent believe that sex between male homosexuals involves some sort of genesis whereby virii spring into existence ex verpa, via Mullen's impressive ability to see into the hearts and minds of England's homosexuals (a power perhaps worthy of this blog's namesake) and use of Kant as an argument-winning trump card regardless of his relevance to the discussion.

In my neverending struggle to see everyone's good side (I'm prematurely campaigning for my own canonisation), Mullen does have a talent for verse - the above-linked Google cache contains a clever ditty about a civil ceremony to which Mullen predictably objected. It's no substitute for decency or intellect, but you take what you're given.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

99 Problems, But Race Ain't One

There's always complaints about a Glasto lineup. Kate bloody Nash my arse, for instance. And at the back of what charity shop did they find Will Young? Jesus wept. But these oddities have been overshadowed this year by National Heritage has-been Noel Gallagher's condemnation of the choice of Jay-Z to headline. My initial reaction - well, it was actually surprise that Gallagher was alive, I thought he'd died a few years back due to chronic lack of anyone caring. But then a quick glance at the NME website reveals Gallagher to be expressing a peculiar Toryism felt by a number of Glasto's target demographic. The "guitar music" thing is an obvious smokescreen - The Prodigy headlined in '95, Fatboy Slim's played a load, nobody's saying this is wrong for the festival. But the white middle-class boys here don't want to be shaken out of comfortable grooves. One NME.com commenter is particularly telling:

"The reaction we've got from people has been really positive"..... Really?!?! are you sure because all the reactions I've heard are pretty bad and not being able to sell tickets seems a pretty negative reaction. And also "amazing" and "Historic"hmmm... Not as amazing as Radiohead, Oasis or Led Zepplin would be....

Ah, Radiohead and Oasis - the music of the 90s, today! Led Zeppelin would certainly be "historic" in the Natural History Museum sense, once you dusted them off. Never been to Glastonbury, never intend to (junk food, not showering, and Radio One? That's just a weekend at home, except it's dry and I've got a Wii), but I thought it was all about modern, fresh, new music? Whatever your problems with Jay-Z, and I've got a bunch (it's the misogyny that really turns me off), he's a fantastic performer, and he's way too huge to ignore. But I'm not trying to preach hip-hop to the unwilling masses, I'm just disappointed by another reminder of how conservative the rock crowd can be. Give it a listen, at least.

Mind you, I can hardly complain about middle-class festivals. This year, I'm going to Latitude. It's got a fucking poetry tent. White people like it.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Frank Miller Redux

In my now-defunct (in fact, never really funct) other blog, last year, I wrote about Frank Miller's upcoming screen adaptation of Will Eisner's THE SPIRIT:

Anybody who could look at SIN CITY - whatever you think of it - and go "Him! That's the guy I want to make The Spirit!" is deeply misguided. Miller writes overwrought pulp about sociopathic caricatures of masculinity in trenchcoats who torture. And there's a place for that, but it's not in the pages of THE SPIRIT. I can see it now. The Spirit's going to drink hard and beat up criminals for information. Ellen Dolan's going to be the madonna and Sand Saref is going to be the whore. Ebony White, apparently, isn't in it at all.

Well, I was pointed by Lux to the official site the other day (check out that URL. Wow.) and it's even worse than I thought. Here's our cast of characters:

ELLEN DOLAN (Sarah Paulson), the whip-smart girl-next-door; SILKEN FLOSS (Scarlett Johansson), a punk secretary and frigid vixen; PLASTER OF PARIS (Paz Vega), a murderous French nightclub dancer; LORELEI (Jaime King), a phantom siren; and MORGENSTERN (Stana Katic), a sexy young cop.

Sort of gave up on that last one, didn't you, Frank? Better bloggers than me have pointed out that in Eisner's original comics, Silken Floss held two PhDs; "punk secretary and frigid vixen" is a bit of a demotion. And what's with the graphics on the site looking exactly like SIN CITY? Guys, I think people are going to notice if you just re-do the last film with different character names.

You'll be delighted to know that The Goddamn Frank Miller himself keeps a blog on the site, showcasing exactly why the ladies love him:

The director's job is, first and foremost, to be the warship's captain: to remain ruthless in his destination, while ready for what shoals and unforeseen opportunities present themselves. But to never, not ever, let anything stand in the way of the warship's purpose.

Phwoar. Take me, Frank.

But first, tell us about the movie.

One character presented a particular problem (no, it wasn't Ebony White - I saw no reason to try to update that ugly, best-forgotten stereotype of an earlier age, and never considered doing so).

Okay, Ebony's original portrayal in the comic was kind of problematic - he had big red lips and spoke like a minstrel. For that, though, he was an unusually prominent, positive and active black character at the time. And, you know how you update the character? Just don't have him act like a stereotype. Just let the Spirit's sidekick be a regular black kid! Darwyn Cooke did it perfectly well in his SPIRIT run recently, there's absolutely no reason it couldn't have been done here. In the name of anti-racism, Miller has removed the only sympathetic black character! Congratulations!

What makes this perfect is, right up there, "that ugly, best-forgotten stereotype". We all know how much Frank Miller hates him some stereotypes. Just ask frigid vixen Silken Floss!