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Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019 (Only #Current Affairs)

I got "unfriended" on Facebook today. It was quite the trauma. A friend of a friend posted a linked article about how the "Income of [the]Top 1% Has Grown 100 Times Faster Than Bottom 50% Since 1970". That's quite a peculiarly specific slice of data, in terms of both time line and demography - to the extent that I have no "feel" for what it really means - but I think it's fair to say it's another treatment on the rich getting richer (much richer, it seems) while the bottom half aren't getting richer nearly so quickly. Actually, when I put like that the sting seems to go out of an already not-very-stingy headline, but let's try to go with it and get on board with the feeling of shock.

The chap in question, who shall remain nameless, is Addison Hodges Hart. He's something of a book-learning man. He's a writer. A pious man. He's a bit of a left-leaning thinker. And he doesn't like billionaires. He really doesn't. Because they are billionaires. Isn't that obvious enough for you?

Addison thought it was "outrageous" that there was this income increase gap. I took issue the whole notion of why intrinsically it was bad that a billionaire should exist. What was I thinking?

Here's how it started.

And this is what came next. Now, my spelling is a bit off, but forgive me - it was on a mobile device.

I guess Addison thought better of writing, "Oh, for Christ's sake. Wake up", because a minute later it looked like this.

The screenshot does not do it justice. It's a hilarious, animated gif of an ostrich pushing its head in the sand. It's just so bowel-burstingly funny. Presumably the ostrich meant to depict me. It's a bit odd, though, since I expressed a specific desire to know more immediately before this. So funny, sure; but relevant, not really, no.

After this, I found that I was not able to add further comments or even edit my existing comments. There was no way I could further engage with this interesting argument. I had been unfriended, you see. This meant that I was unable to engage with other intelligent contributions...

Such as this:-

And this:-

And of course, this killer comment, from M.O. White, demonstrating his capacity to conflate and confuse two different issues and hurl a cheap insult in one splash of the pen. I bet he got a minor orgasmic pleasure from splooging his skills thus:-

I wasn't the only person to express an interest in understanding the moral framework behind all the censure and disapproval. Tim Harris asked:-

However, he had his comment deleted, presumably by Addison.

So that was quite the exciting afternoon.

Thursday, 7 Nov 2019 (Only #Current Affairs)

When you find yourself siding with Piers Morgan in an argument or interview, you know the other side is reprehensible.

James Cleverly was tasked with defending the indefensible. He chose to accept the task, despite and after being presented with an argument that suggests, really quite strongly, that uncharitable, deceitful and basically nefarious motives were at the root of the video.

James Cleverly said: "We edited the video to make it shorter."

Actually, they included a segment of a few seconds of silence dubbed over Keir Starmer listening to a question, and thus not talking, which had the effect of making it look like he had no answer after the question was asked. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the intention was here.

To publish the edited video in the first place, presumably expecting no-one to notice or kick off about it shows some hubris. To claim that the motivation was a time constraint suggests a kind of "last chance at the OK Corral" sort of bollocks flapping.

In short:-
1. This stunt was a brazen lie.
2. It's amazing the Conservative Party thought they could get away with it.
3. Boris and his mob may just have clutched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Oh - and after hearing that Boris actually conceded the point to Piers, I expect Cleverly won't be feeling too pleased, or clever, having stuck to the Party line as he did. This lifts "taking one for the team" to a whole new level.

Monday, 13 May 2019 (Only #Current Affairs)

Tucker Carlson interviewed a Dutch historian Rutger Bregman who had just made himself unpopular at Davos. He then went on to make himself unpopular with Carlson, and with Fox who did not air the interview. Fox/Carlson have since had to do some back-peddling after Bregman published the recording he'd made of the interview.

One commentator described Carlson as ""a hollow mouthpiece with no true values". Harsh, but fair?

Sunday, 12 May 2019 (Only #Current Affairs)

Andrew Neil is a consummately professional journalist. Shapiro's lack of preparation for this interview included not boning up on who he would be dealing with.

There's also a fundamental misunderstanding by Shapiro about how journalism in the USA works compared with how it works in the UK. Andrew Neil, in his questions, takes an opposite viewpoint and challenges his subject on a topic. It does not mean he holds the polar opposite views; it's just an adversarial style of questioning, designed to get to the heart of the matter. On American television, it seems you are expected to assume the interviewer holds the position from which their questions come. He even explained his method to Shapiro when the poor Schlep seemed to misunderstand and take offence.

But even considering that stylistic difference in approach, it does not mean you should flounce off when things do not go your way.

Shapiro missed an opportunity here and buried himself. Perhaps he expected a friendly interview and was curve-balled when he found all was not "on side".

Tuesday, 4 Dec 2018 (Only #Current Affairs) Beacon