We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“You just don’t listen!”

When women tell us men how unhappy they are, our job is to listen, not to try to fix everything. What matters is empathy, not problem solving.

Here is a video that illustrates the principle.

My apologies to all those who saw this about half a year ago, which is often how these things work, and my thanks to 6000, which is where I first encountered it. Says 6000:

If my wife sees this, I’m dead. So let’s keep it between ourselves, ok?

So, commenters, try not to shout.

My main comment is that the still shot that introduces the video, and the title of the video, both give the game away. But maybe they have to, to get the video noticed.

Mrs Thatcher clones

An unexpected pleasure, leftists chocking at the sight of people celebrating Margaret Thatcher, has just got even better.

The Daily Mail informs us that the “Thatcher haircut” is the rage in central London, with one salon claiming to be overwhelmed by demand.

Italian-born Christina Bellucci, 37, a digital consultant, said she felt the look reflected a modern attitude.

‘This is a strong style and gives me authority,’ she said.

‘When I walk out the door I feel a few inches taller, it gives me power without sacrificing any of my femininity.’

Azathoth: crisis of trust

Crisis for that last amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity as trust hits record low, the Guardian reports.

Public confidence in the boundless daemon-sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin, monotonous whine of accursed flutes; to which detestable pounding and piping dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic ultimate gods, the blind, voiceless, tenebrous, mindless Other Gods whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep has fallen to historically low levels in the six biggest EU countries, raising fundamental questions about its democratic legitimacy more than three years into the primordial idiot god’s worst ever crisis, new data shows.

The blind idiot god encircled by his flopping horde of mindless and amorphous dancers, and lulled by the thin monotonous piping of a demonic flute held in nameless paws “could do much better if its institutions coordinated better”, according to a press release issued today.


Kim Jong-un is looking at things, just like his father!

The Kim is dead, long look the Kim!

- commenter Alisa

Appropriate surname for a government regulator employee

This might be a bit of a cheap shot, you might say, but the benefit of cheap shots is that they often hit the target and are not expensive to fire.

This guy appointed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, an organisation that, remember, did such a splendid job in preventing the 2008 crash, Bernard Madoff, and so on, has the perfect name for the job.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Sudden Onset Regional Accent Syndrome

A recent blog post by Tim Worstall describes the lack of understanding that surrounds this embarrassing condition. He recalls his experiences as a chronic sufferer since childhood:

When at primary in Bath, good strong Bathonian. And the standard Eng middle class at home, like what I speak now. Of[f] we move to Italy to the Forces school when I’m 8. My mother still remarks on the near cockney (probably closer to what we would call estuarine now) that my brother and I both picked up in weeks. And started speaking as we walked through the doors of the school and dropped the moment we left them.

A SORAS survivor among his commenters, ‘Chris’, had an even more overwhelming attack,

“When I came back to England from British Guiana at 11, to attend an almost all-white boarding school, I had a strong Guianese accent – for about 10 minutes”

Another commenter, ‘Richard’ was a witness as the syndrome struck down a friend.

“… [he] said he could hear his accent change, in 2 or 3 stages, over the train journey home at the end of term.

Be aware that initial symptoms can seem trivial – hearing a person who has lived in England for half his life say, “put it down by there” within seconds of setting foot of the platform at Swansea station may not, at first, seem cause for concern. However without treatment “by there” can become interjections of “mun” or even “Ych y fi” with terrifying speed.

Although the disease is most common in its homolocutic form, in which people suddenly revert to an accent they thought they had abandoned years ago but did actually have at one time, it also has a heterolocutic variant.

At the London SORAS support group, I recently met Berenice (28) who blames the loss of her job at an advertising agency specialising in political campaigns on the heterolocutic form of the disease. At a creative meeting, she prefaced her query as to whether an advert suggesting that first time female voters might like to grant Ed Miliband the traditional jus primae noctis would really resonate with the youth demographic with the words “Not being funny or nuffink”, and was fired on the spot. Berenice was infected after discussing the weather with a work experience girl.

Some sufferers choose to carry an information card or medical alert bracelet in order to assist first responders when the victim himself can no longer communicate verbally in a way normal people can understand. ‘Quentin’ (not his real name), a plumber’s mate struck down with the disease after installing a combi boiler in this right posh house up on Primrose Hill, is very grateful he did. While just about still able to speak comprehensibly he called an ambulance to say he had “the most frightful case of SORAS” before lapsing into a kind of idiodialect in which the only words medical staff could understand were “yah” and “darling.” It was only his desperate gesticulation towards the bracelet while strapped to a medical trolley that stopped him being wheeled into the genito-urinary ward.

Related conditions such as TIGFAF – Talking In a Generic Foreign Accent to Foreigners – can be even more distressing.

Unofficial London Underground signs

What I like about these fake London Underground signs is the implicit disrespect of authority. If this idea catches on, some poor Transport for London official will have to make a statement about the importance and seriousness of signage on the London Underground and the terrible risks of meddling with it. This will only add to the fun, much as the fake cigarette health warning stickers were made funnier by the neo-puritans’ humourless reaction to them.

I want to see more of this kind of misbehaviour.

Samizdata quote of the day

“Unlike Mitt, I loathe Sesame Street. It bears primary responsibility for what the Canadian blogger Binky calls the de-monsterization of childhood – the idea that there are no evil monsters out there at the edges of the map, just shaggy creatures who look a little funny and can sometimes be a bit grouchy about it because people prejudge them until they learn to celebrate diversity and help Cranky the Friendly Monster go recycling. That is not unrelated to the infantilization of our society. Marinate three generations of Americans in that pabulum, and it’s no surprise you wind up with unprotected diplomats dragged to their deaths from their “safe house” in Benghazi. Or as J. Scott Gration, the president’s Special Envoy to Sudan, said in 2009, in the most explicit Sesamization of American foreign policy: “We’ve got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries – they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes.” The butchers of Darfur aren’t blood-drenched machete-wielding genocidal killers but just Cookie Monsters whom we haven’t given enough cookies. I’m not saying there’s a direct line between Bert & Ernie and Barack & Hillary … well, actually, I am.”

- Mark Steyn

Funny how these trends in kid-friendly TV animals go. Back when I was a nipper, we had Basil Brush, Top Cat, the cast of the Magic Roundabout, the Muppets, and the timeless Tom and Jerry cartoons. A later generation had Roland Rat.

Aficionados like to point out that Basil Brush was modelled on the late, great Terry Thomas. Definitely a Tory.

There is room for many different opinions regarding Wikileaks

…but room for only one regarding this: Julian Assange supporters ordered to forfeit £93,500 bail money.

Vaughan Smith, the former British army captain who hosted Assange at his Norfolk home while he was on bail throughout 2011, and had promised to pay £20,000 if Assange skipped bail, was ordered to pay £12,000, while Philip Knightly, a veteran Australian investigative journalist who exposed the British traitor Kim Philby as a Russian spy, was ordered to pay £15,000, £5,000 less than he originally pledged.

It is understood that a separate group of Assange supporters, thought to include the film-maker Ken Loach, the writer and campaigner Jemima Khan, the journalist John Pilger and the magazine publisher Felix Dennis have already forfeited bail cash worth £200,000 following a court order earlier this year.

I am kind of glad that the old softy of a magistrate let off those of the sureties who were of limited means from paying the full amount, but, sorry, if you aren’t laughing at the luvvies losing their dosh, call an exorcist. You are dead.

I protest at misleading campaign material issued by the Republicans

Via Jim Miller on Politics I learn that the Maine Republicans have been stirring up prejudice against a Democratic candidate for the state senate, Colleen Lachowicz, because she is an orc.

The Repubs have made a website called Colleen’s World in which they quote some of Ms Lachowicz’s more vigorous statements made while playing or talking about World of Warcraft. The intro to the website says,

In Colleen’s online fantasy world, she gets away with crude, vicious and violent comments like the ones below. Maine needs a State Senator that lives in the real world, not in Colleen’s fantasy world.

While whoever thought up this line of attack could justly be praised for seizing an opportunity, he or she could also justly have his or her head staved in by a +5 mace for scaremongering. There is a reason for the first word in the phrase “Fantasy roleplaying games.” That when playing or discussing the World of Warcraft game Ms Lachowicz a.k.a. Santiaga the Orc occasionally says things like “I can kill stuff without going to jail. There are some days when this is more necessary than others” tells you nothing about her character other than she has a neat turn of phrase.

I take this personally. I would not want anyone to malign my character for similar reasons. People often do malign my character, not so much because he finds a lot of job satisfaction in ripping up malefactors with a wall of bullets from his trusty Steyr AUG, that’s par for the course in the Urban Arcana D20 Modern campaign setting, more because (a) he has no sense of humour whatsoever about being called “Harold Potter”, and (b) he’s a tax inspector.

Mr Potter positively relishes eviscerating some poor hardworking zombie minion and then slapping what’s left of him with a £9,000 bill in back-taxes for violation of IR35.

You don’t think I would behave in such a foul manner in real life, do you?

I’ve nothing against zombies, either.

Samizdata aircraft passenger announcement quote of the day

“Ryanair has been forced to apologise to Italians after a crew member on a flight to the southern city of Bari reportedly described it as the “the city of the mafia and St Nicholas” in an on-board announcement.”

Via Tim Worstall.

I am off to San Francisco for a week’s business and some sightseeing next week. I am flying via Virgin, and the last time I did, the announcement about the destination was not quite so, er, interesting.

Sustainable catastrophe

Incoming from Michael Jennings, in the form of a link to this:


How many months do we still have to save the world from verbal catastrophe?