July 31st, 2013


False Friends

a) There is a superficial similarity between The Onion's brain-dead teen and the hikikomori of Japan, but is it the same phenomenon, explained in different ways according to the differing cultural schemata of the USA and Japan, or two very different things that happen to flourish in the same teenage hedgerow?

b) The teen in the Onion clip says, "I don't even..." - a phrase I've only ever seen written before, and which I've always understood (correctly?) to mean "This is beyond my powers of expression to describe" rather than "I can't be bothered to finish this sentence". Does it depend on context?

c) In neither case does it have much in common with my favourite Japanese phrase - or rather non-phrase - of today, which is the way of expressing one's dislike of something by saying "[whatever] wa chotto" - i.e. "[whatever]'s a bit..." Here, the unfinished sentence suggests polite reticence and a reluctance to vocalize criticism - something to which I can certainly relate as an English person (and which further convinces me of the deep subterranean affinity between our nations), but heard the wrong way could sound quite snotty and supercilious.

d) And speaking of supercilious, is there any culture where raising one's eyebrow and looking to heaven is seen as a deeply respectful gesture? I find it easy to imagine, but have never heard of one.

Sounding the Bottom of the After-times

It occurs to me that it's some time since I posted a poll...

Poll #1926963 Futurama

In 100 years time, people will think that this generation:

Lived through a very interesting period and I wish I could have been around then
Screwed it up for everyone who came after, the bastards
Got their knickers in a twist about nothing, bless them
Were delightfully quaint in their fashion and technology. Gotta love Oil Punk!
Were labouring in the general ignorance that preceded the discovery of the One Truth in 2068
Some other answer, which I will explain in the comments.

When You're in a Hole, Stop Fracking

Despite myself I'm beginning to feel rather fond of Lord Howell, the ermined fuckwit who called the north-east of England "desolate" yesterday. Speaking to The Telegraph today he has apologized and explained that he actually meant to insult the north-west. So that's all right.

Parody cannot improve on the original...

What was in my mind was much more the drilling going on off the Lancashire coast. But it came out of my mouth as the North East, which you can blame me for rightly. And that has created a great furore.

The North East wasn’t in my mind at all. Afterwards, I checked my words again, playing back the debate.

It was a stupid error of mine to mention anywhere at all. The general story is right – that we want the derricks for fracking to be far away from residences in unloved places that are not environmentally sensitive. I don’t want to see gas fracking subsidised like wind farms are. A lot more care must be taken than has been the case with wind farms, which have caused terrible desecration. It’s odd that they’ve decided to do this in sensitive places down in Sussex.

In unrelated news, the Court of Appeal today recommended that the DPP give further consideration to the guidelines for assisted euthanasia.