Selected Reading (06/02/09)

February 6, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Misc. | 11 Comments

Still not properly back yet, so here’s some more stuff from the past few days:

  • Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, testifying at his own war crimes trial, says that Pat Robertson (yes, that one) was his man in Washington.
  • Johann Hari on the hope from Haiti.
  • Sunder Katwala continues to whack the Tories over their ‘Broken Britain’ meme.
  • David Semple reminds us what a vile racist Tom Tancredo is.
  • Every time I read Bloggerheads, I’m left thinking “goodness, the internet’s got some horrid people on it”.
  • You’ve probably already seen this but it bears repeating: this ruling by Cherie Blair is a dozen different kinds of WTF.
  • Lastly, a filmaker from California thought it’d be interesting to take photos of vans. The results are here.

Oh, and this place has a new theme. The image is by the scarily talented Ben Heine.

Anything I should be reading? Let me know in the comments. Trust me, I’ll welcome the distraction.



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  1. Thanks for the link-back.

    Really like the new blog theme by the way – gives it a great polished feel.

    • Cheers! I surprised myself actually – it looks far better than you’d expect from a blogger with Key Stage 4 IT skills.

  2. wo&aw, nice blog, congrats. Thanks for using one of my illustrations. Good luck

    • You’re welcome Ben. I will eventually stick a link to you on my blog’s FAQ page when I get the time.

      All the best,


  3. I went to a family occasion on Friday night & yesterday morning/afternoon, & went out clubbing last night, so I’ve been neglecting the ‘sphere, I’m afraid. But I did see this.

    This is just the kind of thing that barely gets noticed or cared about, but in my view it’s a terrible tragedy. I know there are people who simply wouldn’t give a fuck, I think it definitely says a lot about them, none of it good.

    I’m just on my way out (to Stanage Edge to clear my head- do you know it?) but if you go looking, there’s an article by Hitchens C. about a book discussing North Korea which I am going to buy next weekend if I’ve got enough pennies left over.

    • Should a man in your condition really have been going out somewhere with steep cliffs?!

      I do know Stanage Edge, as it happens; Dad was a big climber & mountain rescue chap in his day. Dropped it when me & the other one were born, mind, but compensated by dragging us out on long walks around some gorgeous places. Not a bad area to retire to, I don’t think.

      Yeah, I saw that thing about the extinct language, and it rather mortifies me that there are now more people who can speak Klingon than Bo. It actually seems quite a massive fail by academia; sure, there was clearly no use for it on those islands anymore, but surely there was an incentive for somebody else to learn it from her. Maybe they just didn’t catch her in time, but I first read the story with the same kind of incredulity as if I read a story about an animal or instinct reaching extinction: you’ve known the species was endangered, you doubtless have the scientific and monetary resources to help it survive, and yet it’s still become extinct? WTF?

      Perhaps I just haven’t read enough about it, but considering that the extinction is mostly due to factors outside of the Andaman people’s control, I think the least that could’ve been done for them was to record and preserve (if only as historical artefact) their culture.

      • I’ve long thought about it. Have you seen all these right-wing fuckwits sneering at Welsh? It always makes me cringe, & wonder what sort of people they are.

        When I heard about the book “On The Life And Death Of Languages” by Claude Hagege I went out & bought it in the hope it would solidify my thoughts- it might be helpful if you can spare a few hours. It’s funny, he has written several books but they are all in French so I could only read the one that I could find in translation! There’s a lesson for us all there, & not a flattering one fo me.

        You’ve got to admire people who go out & chronicle life. Some ways of life, such as that of agricultural & industrial labourers generations ago, won’t be missed as they were harsh & miserable. But it’s as well that they are remembered.

        One of the 1001 reasons why I’m not a libertarian is that it is often through agencies like the Federal Writers’ Project that such worthwhile work is done. But I suppose I am more a European liberal than a socialist as I am relatively sceptical of the state.

        Glad you liked it anyway- I was fairly sure you would. Oh, & I now feel even worse than I did this morning! But it will all drain out of my system eventually. I only drink once a month or so now.


    You might have already seen this, but its worth checking from the economist.

    British society not broken, but could do better in places. Its the sort of article full of nuggets to pull out when people are making ridiculous statements on the internet. I like those posts and articles, they give you power.

    • Aye, I add my voice to yours in hailing this article. But no time for any further analysis as I am going to do a bit of reading (books) before bed.

      • Cheers chaps. Bought my first ever Economist on the strength of these recommendations. Liking.

  5. Yes, I can’t afford £4 a go but I read it at the library! They have some excellent analysis. It’s rare that you can find such detailed coverage of foreign doings too. They have a way of getting under the skin of an issue which is remarkable given that their pieces aren’t particularly long.

    I do think journalism needs money. So if print does fade or die, we’d better fork out & pay for blogs to employ reporters or else we’ll suffer a lack of information.

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