November 29, 2009

Yes We Canton

From AOL News: Swiss Vote to Ban New Minarets
GENEVA (Nov. 27) — Swiss voters approved a move to ban the construction of minarets in a Sunday vote on a right-wing initiative that labeled the mosque towers as symbols of militant Islam, projections by a widely respected polling institute showed. . . .

The nationalist Swiss People's Party describes minarets, the distinctive spires used in most countries for calls to prayer, as symbols of rising Muslim political and religious power that could eventually turn Switzerland into an Islamic nation. . . .

"Forced marriages and other things like cemeteries separating the pure and impure — we don't have that in Switzerland, and we do not want to introduce it" said Ulrich Schlueer, co-president of the Initiative Committee to ban minarets.
I would just like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that, even if this might seem like a pretty crazy election result, it's about par for the course in Switzerland; apparently the reason they have such good clocks there is so that they can precisely measure how much time has elapsed since their last horrific referendum.

Item: In 1958 they voted overwhelmingly against giving women the vote. Not until 1971 were women enfranchised on a federal level, and in one particularly ass-backwards canton the law wasn't enforced until a supreme court ruling in 1990. 1990!

Item: In 1986 they voted overwhelmingly against joining the United Nations, afraid that doing so would compromise their "neutrality". (They eventually joined in 2002 by a margin of about 10%.)

Item: They voted to decriminalise abortion… In 2002.

Item: In 2003 they voted against making public buildings fully accessible; that same referendum, rejected by 63% of voters, also included a provision to give the disabled equal rights under the constitution.

Great chocolate, though.

November 27, 2009

November 24, 2009

No Sign Of The Times

I have tried, on days when my newspaper has mysteriously failed to appear, over the past few months, to give my neighbours the benefit of the doubt. But today, seeing as the blue delivery baggie is still sitting, empty and incriminating, on my building's front steps, and also seeing as today I have finished my thesis and was actually quite looking forward to sitting down and reading the newspaper, I would just like to say, to whoever is responsible:


Ahem. That is all.

November 22, 2009

Heard It On The Irvine

From BBC News: Minimum alcohol pricing backed by author Irvine Welsh
Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has urged politicians to tackle Scotland's "cheap bevvy" culture. . . .

Mr Welsh [said]: "In Scotland, our cultural relationship with alcohol interfaces negatively with resilient poverty to maintain the long-running embarrassment of this weeping sore on our social fabric. Cheap bevvy is part of that culture."
"Our cultural relationship interfaces negatively with resilient poverty?" Man, no wonder people had so much trouble understanding Trainspotting! Zing!

Also, I'm fairly sure that fabric can't develop weeping sores.

I'm just kidding, Irvine — you're all right.

November 20, 2009

November 18, 2009


As my thesis-writing winds down this week, fellowship application–writing winds up (sigh), and in preparation I've been doing a bit of light Googling to try and get a handle on the form (Trimburphiles, read: "rhetorical situation"). I particularly enjoyed this tip from a document I found on Stanford's website:
Avoid excessive, unreasonable enthusiasm. Extreme effusion backfires. For example, statements such as "I love 19th century British literature so much that I feel that I live in the 19th century" or "I AM Nietzsche" or “I live and breathe sea urchins” suggest possible psychosis, not reasonable enthusiasm.
...which I think casts doubt on the deservedness of Stanford's reputation — at least if "I live and breathe sea urchins" is something an undergrad there actually wrote, once.

November 17, 2009

You Bring The Molehills, I'll Make The Mountains!

The blogosphere — and the print media, and Facebook, and fucking everybody, apparently — is currently up in arms about the RACIST MOVIE POSTER SCANDAL surrounding Vince Vaughan's latest snoozefest, Couples' Retreat. As you can see from this article in the Huffington Post, the UK version of the film's poster is missing a black couple that's in the US one, definitively proving that Britain is racist — or something.

In a statement, Universal Pictures claimed they were just trying to simplify the poster by including only stars who would be recognisable to an "international market" (NB. I live in the States and still have no fucking idea who Faizon Love is), but the bloodthirsty public won't fall for such brazen misdirection. No, this is an OUTRAGE! — A DISCRACE! AN ATROCITY!! — even though ALL studios alter their posters between the US and Britain for ALL movies, ALL the time.

Well, we here at plethoric pundigrions pride ourselves on our investigative journalism, and can therefore exclusively reveal that, in fact, AMERICA is far more racist than Britain. Consider the movie posters for the 2007 hit Ocean's Thirteen:

As you can plainly see, 25% of the people depicted on the UK poster are black, compared to a paltry 17% on the US poster. Furthermore, the UK poster includes one woman whereas the US poster has none. WHAT'S THE MATTER, AMERICA? CAN'T TAKE THE SIGHT OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN?

Oh, but the discrimination doesn't end there. Maybe one of my American readers can explain why the fuck they hate dinosaurs so much:

Yeah, that's right — look at it. It's disgusting. The British DVD art contains THREE TIMES as many Tyrannosauruses as the US DVD art — not to mention twice as many squirrels.

So I say it's time we demand answers from the film studios. I won't rest until I have the severed head of a Warner brother in front of me.

November 13, 2009

November 09, 2009

...and Charlie's Still Bitter About the Mekong Delta

So, today, of course, is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a heady day, back in November of 1989, when the Wall first came down: people put on their best pastel-coloured suits for it, and set the VCR to record The Cosby Show, and left their Walkmans at home as they flocked to the streets to celebrate the reunification between East and West.

Obviously, then, the Boston Metro's front page headline today takes a sombre tone, one of self-reflection and gravitas, and above all one that is conciliatory, imbued with a deep sense of respect for how much we've achieved as civilizat — oh.

Commies, Metro? Seriously? I'm curious as to what exactly went on at the editorial meeting where it was decided that this was an okay headline. "Let's stick it to those commies, eh, chaps? They might be pushing their healthcare reforms through, but at least we still got 'em with the Wall! They'll never get over that!" (NB — pun intended.)

November 06, 2009

November 05, 2009

Had To Be Done

From AOL News: Swine Flu Virus Confirmed in Iowa Cat

(Original courtesy / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

November 02, 2009

November Is Sophomoric Humour Month (Apparently)

From BBC NEWS | Health: Women not getting bone treatment

You heard the BBC, fellows! Make sure your wives and girlfriends are getting the bone treatment they so desperately need!