Tuesday, 6 December 2011

No Need to Go Russian Into Anything...

Russian election news tops the headlines today! According to some of the press, the Russian political system might be a teensy-weensy, itsy-bitsy, infinitesimally small bit corrupt. Hardly worth worrying about really. Chechnya, ruled by what some pesky fools would call a "Warlord", who promised 100% of his people would vote for Putin, had a 99.5% turnout, of which, generously, 99.48% of the vote was to Putin. It's quite one thing for a despotic maniac to promise 100% of his citizens will vote for someone, it's quite another to very nearly pull that figure off. Some tedious allegations of electoral fraud came up. Russian TV indicated turnouts of 146% in some places, but in Russia, like Zimbabwe, dead people retain the right to vote, so we can't really find it too surprising that turnout was so high. Also some ballot boxes arrived ready filled, but the deliverers probably just saw some youths and wanted to save them the inconvenience of actually going to the polling station, so let them vote there. Also, apparently some pens used invisible ink, probably just a practical joke by notorious japester Vlad "The Lad" Putin. Also, one person filmed an election officer filling in votes at his desk, but I'm pretty certain his opinion counts the same as about a thousand of the proles. Also, apparently some voters were bussed to several polling stations to vote repeatedly. But these are just a couple of minor indiscretions that every election has. To claim that there is systemic abuse just because of repeated and widespread examples of it is just foolish.

Next up, Khmer Rouge go to trial! Not Pol Pot (Figurehead of the group) given that he is dead (A difficulty for any modern day trial), but fortunately, his sidekicks are all there! Today, one said that they "were not bad people". Now, if you ever find yourself in a scenario where you say that, it does undermine your case, and maybe I'm just being picky here, it's probably just me over-analysing, but it does weaken your position of not being bad people, if you are saying that whilst on trial for genocide. I generally like to think of myself as "Not a bad person", and yet, somehow, I don't have two million dead Cambodians to explain from two years of appalling leadership. The figures just don't quite add up. I can count on 0 hands the number of times I've been on trial for genocide.

Chaos reigned in Britain for a day. It was so mad, I went to the library to hand back some books, and when I got there, it was CLOSED. Anarchy in the UK, The Sex Pistols have never sounded so right. This was a momentous turnout of a third of public sector workers on strike over pensions, which was hugely eclipsed by the biggest news story of the day: Professionally offensive man Jeremy Clarkson said something offensive. I think they were going to lead with "Footballer plays football" before this other story fell into their laps, and they couldn't turn it down. The media exploded over this, despite the fact that it was an ill-judged (and bad) joke. Curiously, though, for one of the first times ever, they managed not to be the biggest over-reactors in this scenario, with Unison angrily comparing him to Gaddafi (Pro-tip: Your argument loses validity when you compare people involved to dead dictators. Just a memo for next time) and demanding he be reported to the police (For a bad joke. What were they going to do, take away his license to lampoon?). Extraordinary.

Finally, onto a mildly silly story now. This story isn't in itself amusing, but if you look closely at the copy of FHM India's cover, you'll note that, apparently what sells lad's mags in India like hot potatoes is "7 TIPS TO ACE SNOOKER". Part of me secretly wishes British magazines had more snooker tips as cover stories. The other part of me is amused at how antiquated the concept seems. It's like a 19th century lad's mag in the UK. I wouldn't be surprised if you open it up, and there's tips on how to maintain your beard, naughty pictures of a lady's exposed ankles, and "Stories from the Frontline: My Crimean Experience" by Lord Cardigan*, with some poetry by Tennyson (He seems like a maverick poet. I bet he'd be up for it). I actually want this to exist now. It could have a section on John Wisden, "Bowler of the Century?", for his performance in the season as leading wicket-taker with 106 wickets. Perhaps a segment about the "New-fangled football: Will it catch on?". It'd be lovely. If I was born 160 years earlier, and rich, this would have happened.

*You don't need me to tell you that Cardigan was the leader of the Charge of the Light Brigade, so his experience would largely be "Got my men massacred", but to be honest, I imagine that'd be the case for most British army officers throughout the 19th century, so he's as good as any. Tennyson also wrote "Charge of the Light Brigade", the poem about the tragedy. This was a deliberate inclusion by me, but I'm putting these two facts down here so as to ensure that you can see they interweave nicely, and thus assume this is a real, December 1854 edition of whatever this magazine may be called. Perhaps "Victorian Gentleman". I've not really thought this through totally.

Anyways, that last bit clearly isn't news. But it's news-inspired. Good enough for me. That's enough. We're done here.

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