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]

We need to take this pandemic seriously…

But…

Might they deal with you too, Sadiq?

Violating lockdown has joined hate speech on the very short list of crimes that the mayor of London does want enforced. He favours having the army deal with lockdown violators.

Some 15 years ago, the lieutenant-colonel who was to handle a key part of lockdown if terrorists hit London with a bioweapon was someone I knew well. “Lucky you”, my friends said, when that chanced to come up in conversation. “While we’re being gunned down by the ruthless soldiery as we try to flee the capital, you’ll be able to slip through the lines.” – to which I replied (jokingly – they thought! 🙂 ), “You don’t know her. She’ll shoot down her friends with the others; why do you think she got the job!”

I think my friend would have made full colonel if she’d stuck with it, but the time demands on the rest of her life would have been too great and she is now happily pursuing other choices. I don’t know who would be in charge if the army were called in, but I hope they’ll have the same willingness to call Sadiq Khan out – not least because the only consideration that might make him and his kind hesitate to see the crisis as “a terrible thing to waste” is the worry that others might think the same.

Samizdata quote of the day

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!

Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss to all the world!

– Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s setting of which is the Anthem of Europe.

Sing all the way through this while washing your hands to help avoid the spread of coronavirus. Other songs recommended for this purpose include Stairway to Heaven and Another One Bites the Dust.

PC Savage – paladin of wokespeech

Oxford’s UNWomen society gave its name a new meaning by no-platforming Amber Rudd last Thursday. Student Nadia Awad

“highlighted Ms Rudd’s reference to Labour’s Diane Abbott as a “coloured” woman during a radio interview”

in her explanation of why the remoaner-sympathising ex-Home Secretary had to be silenced.

Inspector: “Would Mr Kodogo by any chance be a coloured gentleman?”

Police Constable Savage: “WelI, I can’t say as I’ve ever noticed, sir.”

All those times I watched the Not-the-Nine-O’clock News sketch yet failed to realise that PC (in both senses) Savage was merely shocked at his superior’s using such a term.

I knew that the terminology merry-go-round is a major PC concern, but I had not realised that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had advanced so far as to make part of its own name unsayable – at least by those who who wished to be allowed to say anything else afterwards.

(What with her being set up by her civil servants over the Windrush scandal and now this, I may yet feel compelled to a slight sneaking sympathy for Amber – which, as demonstrations of how political correctness distorts reality go, really takes the cake! 🙂 )

Is his name Dracula?

Allegheny County, home to the city of Pittsburgh, has been hit with a lawsuit over irregularities on its voter rolls, including dead voters, duplicate registrants, and one registered voter marked as being born in June 1800. (reported on freebeacon, h/t instapundit)

I was aware that every election day in the US the dead rise, shamble towards the polling booths and vote, shall we say ‘disproportionately’ ( 🙂 ) Democrat. (It seems they have been some Democrats’ most reliable voting block for a long time.) However this is the first time I’ve wondered whether the undead join them. For the dead voters, is there some healing ritual we could perform that would free these trapped souls to ‘move on’. For the undead voter(s), is a stake through the heart the only way?

In the UK’s past, the rising of the very-recently deceased from the morgue, of the ill from their sickbeds and of the politically inactive from their slumber was only a very localised problem, but as parts of the US are not the only foreign culture from which dead voters could immigrate with the living, I hope our new government will keep more of an eye on things than past ones have done – especially when our politically-correct media avert theirs.

How would she know?

“I will not be slienced.” (Greta Thunberg in Bristol)

How would she know? Indeed, how would we know? It savours less of English understatement that of pointed irony to say that noone has tried to silence her. So it seems to me that we and she lack data on this point.

Greta has Asbergers Syndrome. Fans of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ know how many of the jokes depend on the impossibility of silencing the asbergian Sheldon by the gentle methods of social cues and hints, and the ease of doing so when to speak or to act requires that he move outside his idiosyncratic comfort zone. If Greta ever goes to China (obviously required by her proclaimed cause but AFAIK not even hinted at by her handlers or herself) then we may learn how far her ability not to be silenced extends beyond her condition. Meanwhile, we are entitled to reply to her, “How do you know?”

The question could also be put to her about other matters.

Samizdata quote of the day

FYI, the death rate of COVID-19 among men is about 60% higher than among women. As there are no biological differences between men and women, I conclude this is entirely due to our inability in our society to teach men not to rape.

– Samizdata Illuminatus

This video has been viewed 726 million times

Europe – The Final Countdown

Titania McGrath takes to the stage

Whilst the British ‘comedy’ circuit has long been the preserve of the Left, events have taken a dramatic turn as Titania McGrath, radical socialist, feminist, intersectionalist, Twitter SJW par excellence and all-round good egg has escaped from Twitter into real life and has brought her insight to the stage.

The Culture War rages on.

Ricky Gervais, the best man at a wedding who shouts out “Don’t marry, mate!”

Ricky Gervais’s opening comments at the Golden Globes in Hollywood (I assume he is not doing them ever again) are rightly being lauded around the non-PC parts of the internet/media world for telling much of Hollywood how totally, eye-wateringly awful it is. Seems a tad harsh, though – he’s a bit like the guy who comes to a party, takes a lot of the decent wine, insults the guests and then leaves. Seems a tad boorish. But maybe I am being squeamish and boorishness in these times may be necessary. I get the impression that a high-water mark of PCness, or “wokeness”, to coin a term, may have been reached. Maybe even last December’s crushing of Mr Corbyn’s UK Labour Party was an indicator. (For anyone living on a remote desert island in recent years, here is a definition of “woke”.)

So what is the context here and how do we end with a situation where a movie industry reaches the point where a British entertainer hammers practitioners in this way?

One sign of what is going wrong is how famous franchises are “rebooted” – James Bond is getting older and being replaced, at least in terms of the person with the iconic 007 number, by a black woman who has his serial number (possibly); Terminator, Star Wars, Dr Who….the list of increasingly “woke” productions goes on. The accountants aren’t happy as far as viewing figures and box office takings are concerned, it seems.

Of course, as we have seen on discussions on this blog before, some business tycoons might be willing to see some of their revenues decline if it means winning a longer term war to change the “culture”, but shareholders’ patience has its limits. If Proctor and Gamble takes a hit by insulting men as toxic, well, even the most PC chief executives will be booted out eventually.

But for the penny to drop, so to speak, it appears necessary for unvarnished truths to be dished out, and quite possibly, Gervais is ultimately doing the sector a favour, even if swearing at guests is a bit, well, off.

I do think that the very fact that someone such as Ricky Gervais can stand up in front of Hollywood luvvies and more or less telll them they are a bunch of narcissistic, ignorant twats is quite something and suggests we have reached a sort of tipping point. It even got mentioned on the BBC this morning.

OK, I hear you cry, is Gervais’s intervention necessary? If “woke” films lose money and Netflix/other hoover up the market, that is capitalism in action in its most brutal and bracing way. That of course is all true. And there have been and will be films made that upset fans and conventional wisdom, whether from a traditional conservative or socially radical point of view. So long as it is a free market, that’s fine. (But when the State intrudes with subsidies, this becomes a big problem.)

But the benefit at times of having someone such as Gervais drop some bombs on an awards ceremony is that paradoxically, he highlights the place of awards events in business sectors. Industry awards ceremonies are marketing exercises, and there is, as with all types of business, a law of diminishing returns if there are lots of them: the more awards there are, the less each one matters over time. The decisions about who gets what gong and for what are subject to lots of political eye-gouging. A lot is at stake in terms of PR, contracts and connections. And in a slightly less venal way, awards are a chance for people to meet old friends, make some new contacts and have a glass or two in convivial surroundings (and there’s nothing wrong about that, by the way).

However, for all their annoying qualities and diminishing returns, awards events can also be a chance for an industry that is a bit under the cosh to put its best faces forward, to plead a case, to show it still counts. There are awards events for every sector under the sun, from architecture to IT.

Funnily enough some of the smarter Hollywood people (yes, they exist) probably know they have a problem with how the sector has been going, and Gervais touched on some of them: competition from new media; stale franchises and lack of originality, and yes, a liberal-left culture that alienates a large number of potential customers. The industry is vulnerable if actors and actresses lecture people about their carbon footprints or about sex, and then fly on private jets and hang out with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein. So awards ceremonies, even when someone like Gervais is nasty to the guests, have their uses, sometimes if only to tell a sector that it has a dose of the flu and needs to get better. They might even encourage change if the reaction is serious enough.

In my own industry of financial media, we have awards ceremonies too, and it is often quite a tricky point to know what sort of man or woman to nominate as the sort of warm-up act. A few years ago I went to a black tie gala evening run by an investment industry body. The bloke doing the warm-up gags was a hard-left socialist by the name of Frankie Boyle. It was like inviting Lenin to talk to the Institute of Directors. Boyle was disgusting and unpleasant, and people walked out. The Golden Globe audience, methinks, got off quite lightly.

Do read the Gervais speech. It is glorious.

I do think, reconsidering my article from a day ago, that Gervais was pretty out of order swearing at the crowd, and part of me wishes that he hadn’t done that, and that we could have a Hollywood that was classy and elegant. But rather as with Donald Trump, a vulgar, rough and no-nonsense person is necessary to burn down what exists before the rebuilding can take place. Or to use an expression from the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, we need creative destruction.

How to hand in your resignation

I thought about putting this in The Great Realignment, but the link to politics is slight. This is more about fantasy fulfilment. Have you ever dreamed of telling a bad boss what you think of him? Have you ever dreamed of telling the world what you think of your bad boss, shortly before making him your ex-boss? Meet Gareth Arnold, who until today seems to have handled the Twitter account for Jared O’Mara MP, regarded by all sides as the most useless MP in Parliament today. Actually as of now (20:36 BST) Mr Arnold still is handling Mr O’Mara’s account but Mr O’Mara may not be entirely happy with that.

The first indication that something was up came at 8:03. A tweet allegedly from Mr O’Mara said,

Jared O’Mara
@jaredomaramp

Comms Team signing off… forever: Jared, you are the most disgustingly morally bankrupt person I have ever had the displeasure of working with. You do not care about your constituents. You do not care about anyone but yourself.

Thick and fast they followed:

I cannot and will not defend you and your vile, inexcusable contempt for the people who voted you in. You selfish, degenerate prick.

*

My fear is that now (as I quit) the rest of the staff will leave and once again you will close your office and stop helping anyone but still take your wages until you have the decency to call a byelection.

*

Leaving constituents desperate for representation again. No matter if they are having their homes taken away, their liberaties disgraced or being deported because of your inaction.

*

Sheffield Hallam deserves so much better than you. You have wasted opportunities which people dare not to even dream of.

*

Consider this my resignation.

Thanks

Gareth Arnold
– @garetharnolduk

“GnasherJew” has archived the thread to keep it for posterity.

P.S. In other news, Boris Johnson will be made PM tomorrow.

Samizdata quote of the day

There’s sufficient evidence that Stanley Kubrick directed the fake moon landing film, but being a perfectionist he did it on location.

Runcie Balspune