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]

Samizdata quote of the day

How about adding some math lessons to plot statistically the chance of an Arab suicide bomber and a gay socialist vegetarian pacifist wearing a Che Guevara tee shirt and no sense of irony all ending up on the same bus in London?

Sigh…Math was never that much fun in my school days.

State education is beyond parody.

– Perry de Havilland commenting here

An unfair hit list

Lincoln Allison, a contributor to the excellent Social Affairs Unit blog has this rather amusing, if at times harsh, list of various people he thinks are not quite the greats they are cracked up to be. Revealing the conservative tilt of that blog, his candidates are:

Princess Diana, Che Guevara, Salman Rushdie, John Lennon, George Best and John Osborne.

Maybe I am getting soft and liberal (in the US sense) in my early middle age, but with the exception of Guevara, I rather like most of the above, or at least I do not get as exercised as some right-of-centre
…continue An unfair hit list

Samizdata quote of the day

I belong to a Facebook group called “Che Guevara was a murderer and your T-Shirt is not cool”. It has 10,935 members. It’s not nearly enough. To celebrate the anniversary of his death, why not join up and get on the right side of history?

– Marc Sidwell, with thanks to David Thompson for the link

Miami Vice – not a bad film, but a shame about the political correctness

The film Miami Vice has been panned by the critics here in Britain, but I thought it was OK. The critics said the dialogue was hard to follow and it is true that the actors (like so many Hollywood folk today) forget the basic rule of “project, dear boy, project”.

However, modern films tend to be designed for a young audience (they are the people who buy most of the tickets)not for middle aged people like me (or most critics). The young simply have better hearing, and (much though it hurts to admit it) pick up things faster, they will
…continue Miami Vice – not a bad film, but a shame about the political correctness

The strangeness of Russia and western reporters

I was just watching a BBC Two special on the TV on political youth movements in Putin’s increasingly repressive Russia. During the programme a member of Yabloko was interviewed, the voice-over describing it as a ‘liberal’ (in the British sense of the word) opposition group, which according to its stated platform it sort of is (at least by local standards).

And on the wall behind the Yabloko spokesman being interview was a large picture of… Che Guevara.

So let me get this straight, some of their activists have a fondness for a mass murdering communist whose ‘philosophy of the wall’
…continue The strangeness of Russia and western reporters

The Guardian says Mugabe is not that bad

I have been waiting for the left to come out in support of Mugabe. After all, they worship Che Guevara, the warmonger and homophobe. They wear CCCP t-shirts even though that regime murdered 60 million people. So I was not at all surprised to read this John Vidal article in The Guardian this week:

It’s open season on the Harare regime and it appears that anyone can say anything they like without recourse to accuracy or reality. Whipped into a frenzy of hypocritical outrage, the EU, Britain and the US, as well as the World Bank – all of which
…continue The Guardian says Mugabe is not that bad

Americanism: Style and Dissent

One of my occasional forays in the United States has washed me up on the shores of historic Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod. Looking back over the Atlantic to the West Coast of Ireland has reminded me of how the weather can be just as bad over here as it is at home.

Anti-Americanism remains as popular at home as it is misunderstood here. What was originally considered a prejudice has now transformed into an orthodoxy, where the demonisation of the United States, its people, culture and contributions has acquired the power of an aesthetic reaction. The reaction
…continue Americanism: Style and Dissent

Fighting for the culture

Only a wilful fool would dispute that racism moved from being the unremarkable default mainstream view in the western world to being a prejudice which scarcely dare speak its name. I would argue that this did not come about just because a few anti-discrimination laws got passed. A great many things are illegal and yet doing them does not put you ‘beyond the pale’ in polite society. In most circles lighting up a spliff or speeding or paying your builder/nanny/housekeeper in cash are matters of little or no account and few people would think less of you if they discovered
…continue Fighting for the culture

The poster children for what they claim to despise

Today I went for a wander around Camden in London, visiting Camden Market, Camden Lock and The Stables, contiguous areas filled to overflowing with small shops and open air stalls selling exotic Goth clothing, lampshades made out of old computer motherboards, Tibetan jackets, New Age crystals, Latex fetishware, fur-lined handcuffs, AC Milan supporters posters, weird furniture made out of tree stumps, flashing clothes with fibreoptic weaving, magic mushrooms to go, bongs, ‘No one knows I’m a Lesbian!’ tee-shirts, and food from West Africa, Morocco, Japan, Indonesia, Lebanon, Korea, Venezuela, France, Italy, China, Jamaica, Thailand, Holland, Scotland and even England.

…continue The poster children for what they claim to despise

Idiots (complete with a big list of idiots)

Useful Idiots Mona Charen Regnery, 2003

It must have struck many people besides myself that anti-Americanism, so much a world-wide sentiment and problem, is, to an extent it is hard to quantify, an American export. No nation, surely, has produced such a large volume of self-criticism, proceeding through self-denigration to self-hatred. Is it surprising that the rest of the world has listened to, copied, and amplified the message? Yet it was not always so; indeed Americans fought both World Wars and the Korean War with little dissent. Television may have been the ultimate morale-breaker in the Vietnam War, but why
…continue Idiots (complete with a big list of idiots)

Jacques Vergès will not defend Saddam Hussein – but he is already attacking America

I was watching the early evening news, and there was an interview with and report about the man who is about to provide the legal defence for Saddam Hussein, a person called Jacques Vergès. It so happened that, by pure coincidence, I had been reading about this man earlier today. He makes an appearance in this book about the remarkable life of the remarkable language teacher Michel Thomas, Thomas having been involved as a prosecution witness in the trial of Klaus Barbie, whom Vergès (characteristically) also defended.

It was already clear from the news report this evening that Vergès will
…continue Jacques Vergès will not defend Saddam Hussein – but he is already attacking America

The Chilean disaster

Small Earthquake in Chile: Allende’s South America Alistair Horne 1990 edition

This paperback edition, published 1990, seems now to have been remaindered. It is very necessary to run through the history of this book. It was first published “towards the close of 1972” (p. 344), as “Allende stumbled from crisis to crisis, walking close to illegality”. What happened after that is given in a final chapter “The Deluge … and After”, pages 345 to 384, added in 1989.

It is a little difficult to assemble all the events of the book into a context so hazy in my memory, to
…continue The Chilean disaster