September 2nd, 2004


Shut it, Melvyn

I've been trying to listen to the Republican Convention online. I haven't found anywhere to listen in. The official site doesn't allow me to so it's back to what I can get via Air America, which is yet more patina upon the surface. As if you would be able to watch/listen to it without an editorial stamp upon it.

Currently I am sitting at my desk and I've nailed one of my hands to the surface in an attempt to prevent myself from revealing my thoughts about the wholeprocess. It should be obvious enought already. Yup, when a country like Iraq looks towards its liberators for a shining example of what democracy can achieve, you just know they're going to love that show currently running off-off-Broadway. I can imagine the Baghdad of old, that imagined city of 1001 nights, markets filled with silks, damasks, brocades... and a stall run by some traders from the distant west who have journeyed from afar to bring nylon thongs in all the colours of the rainbow (and a fair few that can only be made through the application of nanotechnology and the destruction of a number of local beautyspots). Is that stall busy? In my imagination, no. The women stand around laughing. Children rush up to the stand and everytime one of them tries to touch some of the garish wares on offer, the stallholder pulls out a billy stick and clubs their hands into a red pulp. No touching! That's only for ferenghi punani...

Will anyone in Iraq look at America and think, that's what I want: barons, beauty queens and beefcake running the show. Where can I sign up? Well, if you were going to sell democracy to someone, you'd go for Sweden or somewhere. Not America. Curiously that analogy seems also to hold water for cars as well: Volvo vs Chrysler, Saab vs GM... I think we all know which to buy for safety, reliability and, err, restrained contemporary styling.

If an area is named South Ossetia, it will coalesce with its northern counterpart eventually. Saakishvili needs to offer something more than... he just need to offer them something other than... Actually, Saakishvili... Oh, what do I know.

Northern Ossetia. The current hostage situation is horrific. Once the situation concludes, let us hope without a botch job by security services, every Ossetian dad there is going to head off to Ingushetia or similar and get themselves some fresh Chechen. This is one of the faults of terrorism - not only is it preposterously bigheaded to claim you represent anything other than yourself, you will only encourage the murder of the group you claim to represent. I know that's what they want. There is no halcyon period in Caucasian history, people have been killing each other there since time began. The place doesn't enough flat land available for football stadia and even if it did, they would have chicken, sheep and pigs wandering around the terraces and the players wouldn't be able to see a long cross for the smoke rising from the shashlik stands. Yum.

I have lit an icon lamp for the people being held there. It is actually one of the most famous of Georgian icons and has been at Athos since... It's not an icon you would necessarily choose to light in the presence of Orthodox Christian Ossetians perhaps, but then again it is an icon that has known the area's history and there will never be an endorsement for the slaughter of children from the Mother of God. Trust me.

Two headlines caught my attention while travelling to Sutton Hoo and back.

RAIN STORMS RUIN CROPS - Cool drink satisfies thirst? Hungry cow eats grass? Yes, obviously...

HIT-AND-RUN MAN DIES TRAGICALLY - Mmm, well maybe he was famous from a previous incident. And how precisely did his death satisfy the classical model?

I'd have thrown myself out of the car by this point if I'd had the option. Fortunately my companions were more forgiving.