Someone was banging on about individuals being environmentally friendly being pointless. I would blog about it, but
Joe’s post about Lovelock and Fatalism sort of covers my thoughts.
The Today programme, asking Hunter Davis what “4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire” was about brought me back to the subject of general knowledge. It struck me as an odd question, for surely it is common knowledge that it was taken from a newspaper article, and anyone who doesn’t know, probably doesn’t care. Hunter skillfully turned this inane question into one about which particular newspaper article inspired the verse.
This reminded me of the weakest Link, in particular an edition when all the men had been voted off with 3 female contestants left. Before I get accused of sexism, I will say that was probably a coincidence. Anyway, they were asked several general knowledge questions, about song lyrics, TV shows and politics as I recall. After getting each one wrong, the contestants would roll their eyes as if to say “how do you expect me to know a stupid bit of trivia like that.” It seems knowing things has ceased to be something to be proud of. Or even expected. Heaven forefend that on a quiz programme your ability to remember facts is tested. It also reminded me of an episode of the Golden Girls, where Bea Arthur’s character failed a game show audition for being bright. I’ve heard this about UK game shows too, which is surely a sad indictment of human attitudes.
This also reminded me of a conversation I had with someone who was giving me a lift once, about the Reflecting Britain project. My chaufeuse (one of two people I would nominate for a diamond but for the fact neither is a member of the Lib Dems), opined that few women went into Engineering because few kids knew what it really was, and few women go into politics, because they don’t feel the need to be right. *
Anyway, I am firmly of the opinion that knowledge and intelligence is to be respected, certainly more than surgically enhanced looks or a forceful personality.
* I was writing an article about gender balance in Engineering and politics, but it’s trapped on the hard drive of my old PC.
Dr Condoleezza Rice today is visiting Merseyside and Lancashire, as a guest of Blackburn MP and home secretary Jack Straw. Understandably there is some disquiet about this visit and many people in the area are going to be protesting about recent Anglo-American activities.
“Ahh, Ah Ah Ahh, Ah Ah Ahh, Ah Ahh. Ahh, Ah Ah Ahh, Ah Ah Ahh, Ah Ahh.”
John Lennon, A Day in The Life
I’ve just woke to a quite surreal exchange on the Today programme. Following an explanation of the “4000 Holes in Blackburn Lancashire” from Beatles expert Hunter Davis (who coped quite well with being asked a question that is surely general knowledge), Wayne Hemingway waxed lyrical about Blackburn.
Wayne suggested, among other things, that Jack should take Condoleezza down the market to buy broken biscuits and drink sasperella or Dandelion and Burdock. Hmm, thought I, visiting Lancashire, or 1979? Coming from a place that was once, but is no longer Lancashire, I have heard many people reminisce about Sasperella, even though it is still reasonably easy to obtain. I bought it once because we liked Vimto in our house and it came in the same shaped bottle, so expected it to be a slightly different formula to Vimto.
The Today programme presenters seemed bemused by the insistence that this was not a tour of the North West, just a visit to two places. The weather presenter, an ex Chorley less who appears now to have gone native, thought people got territorial up here. No, it’s just that the North is just as diverse a place as the south and not two or three homogeneous regions. Londoners may be under the impression that there is a huge cultural difference between Highgate and Hampstead, but point out Leeds and Manchester are not the same place separate cities that are miles distant, you’re being weird and northern.
It was interesting to note how another piece of general knowledge looks in the light of modern times. The Beatles expert stated that the BBC had banned “A Day in the life”. I immediately thought of the Paul McCartney line “I went upstairs and had a smoke“, with a strange emphasis on smoke. But no, I was reminded it was because John Lennon says “I’d love to turn… you… on…”
And cue the orchestra.
Good news, shame about the coverage!
Doctor Who is back on 15th April.
18w energy saving light bulbs are just 47p each in Netto. At 2 hours use a day it will pay for itself in energy savings in just over a month. Or in other words after a month you’ve got a free light bulb. And at that rate the bulb will last 6 years.
If you wouldn’t be seen dead in Netto, Morrison’s equivalents will take 2-3 months to pay for themselves.
I can think of few excuses for not buying energy efficient at those prices.
Obviously slightly older than me as I remember it changing to 0181 811 8055
Someone who understands these things pointed out to me last night that what we write is not necessarily what people read. This was aimed mainly at me, but I think it a useful lesson for all those who need to distinguish between criticism of their written word, and criticism of themslves as people.
A personal case in point is this post which claims that when I was writing this, I was laughing at the Derbyshire. Not one bit, I was actually feeling extreme horror, bewilderment and incredulity, and am extremly dismayed at the general level of mirth out there.
I did get a brief glimmer of pride when I read this New Statesman Article, that apparently lifts words straight from my blog (according to google at least). But that didn’t last long. My hit counter has gone ballistic, all with people looking for info on the Darbyshires. According to the tracking data it’s now in the top 40 search words for people hitting this blog (but still way behind raxacoricofallapatorius). I’m now getting quite concerned about the whole thing. Watching two people appear to have a nervous breakdown live on the net is not my idea of fun.
In a discussion elsewhere I noted that some young people tend to see tact as dishonesty. Leah’s recent spoofs based on criticisms of her writing style read like a twelve year old, “So I shouldn’t talk about how attractive I am so much? Should I pretend I’m ugly instead?” From an educated person in their 20s that isn’t funny.
A will admit when I read that they had left the party, part of me felt relieved. But another part of me feels very sad that I will probably never meet them and get to put their writing into perspective.
I was very supportive of them at the time, I felt they were new to the whole internet thing, and needed to be cut some slack. I thought the whole ill advised reaction to a nasty and vindictive parody site written by a jealous rival was simply down to inexperience. I expected that they would learn from their mistakes and calm down.
I do take it all back. I was wrong. Their recent postings are a work of art to rival anything by Dali. The sheer hypocrisy of it all astounds me, they complain about criticism and back biting, yet are far more vicious and hysterical in their condemnation of others than anyone who’s dared to poke fun at them. Mild mannered criticism is met by screaming abuse. As any sensible person knows to keep the moral high ground you must keep any response calm and proportionate. Lashing out at someone who’s politely expressed a dislike of the colour of your shoes isn’t what normal people do.
Their recent posts are particularly troubling. Perhaps I don’t understand, but it all sounds terribly worrying.
My attitude towards “Personal” posting still stands, providing it’s done by relatively sane people. We can’t all be PPC material, or experts in Mill, but there are limits.
On Monday night we were reading the district directory and noted that all the e-mail addresses were underlined, making them difficult to read. One person there present (a rare person who occurs both in the Scouting and Political areas of this blog) was baffled as to why they didn’t just press the appropriate keys and remove the hyperlinks. Another noted that “not everyone is computer literate”.
This set me thinking. A recent proposal to SAGGA was worded on the assumption that in 2006 it is normal to have at least a basic ability in using a computer. From that perspective should we stop talking about people who are “not computer literate” and start talking about “computer illiteracy”.
As human beings we often like to protect ourselves in a bubble, and as I’ve observed the computer illiterate often like to look on those of us who “get” technology as strange and unusual. But is this fair, is it right? Is it mean to look on the world as it is, rather than in terms of others protective bubble?
Able people have feelings too, and being labeled as a “geek” and a “weirdo” for being able to understand something 90% of the population can, sometimes hurts.
I’m so excited!
I have booked flights for not one, but two excursions abroad this year. In April Sarah and I off to Sardinia for 5 nights. Over the last couple of days, the hotel bookings were finalised. It’s going to be great.
I’ve also booked a flight to Olso in July, and will be staying a night there before meandering down to SAGGA Summer Camp by train. I have 2 weeks off, so I’m not sure where I will be going on to at the end of camp. I need to start negotiating with people travelling by car ferry as to how my tent will get home.
I did get raised eyebrows when I revealed I would be flying RyanAir both times.
Life is sweet, I’m very happy at the moment.