jewin' the fat


Tall Tories
May 7, 2010, 10:16 AM
Filed under: Comment, media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Happy Election Day to the UK. Most recent exit polls have the Tories (Dave Cameron’s Conservatives) romping home with little less than a majority, but hey, I’ve got a wager on at work that they’ll take out 330 seats – so who am I to wish them ill? K’ARN TORIES!

"Hahahaha Thank GOD it's not me."

Four your procrastinating pleasure, a few odds and ends on the game-changing British elections:

First some choice campaign posters: here and here, and also, over here. Check out this here link for the originals.

Who said the BBC were old fuddies without a clue? Turns out they have concocted the coolest way to track and tally votes EVER. Right. Hurr.

Thanks to Foreign Policy, a break down of the implications for the Middle East.

And because if it ain’t on the front page of a tabloid, it didn’t really happen – here is a little diddy about the two major tabs in the Kingdom, and just how they work their objective, unaffiliated, non-partisan magic.

Can’t wait for the official results? Click right thurr for The Guardian’s live blog of the results.

It’s going to be a tight race. The only thing that is certain is the demise of Gordon “The Bigot Machine” Brown. The King is Dead. Long Live the King.



Everyone’s a little bit racist
April 27, 2010, 2:24 PM
Filed under: media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m still not quite sure what the relevance of the joke was, why he had to reference the tale as “true”, or how it “set the stage for [Jones'] remarks” but whatever, everyone’s a little bit racist. And besides, nothing like a little latent anti-Semitism to liven up the party. Am I right? Jim? Am I right? Har-di-har-har cause Jews sell stuff see? Har Har.

Judge the joke for yourselves after the jump.



Killer Queen Cuisine – Cooking for the UnDomesticated Goddess
April 24, 2010, 10:36 AM
Filed under: Comment | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thanks a lot Poh. You too Nigella, KylieMyrna - hell, even those women from Better Homes & Gardens are making me feel like a pariah, with their easy-as-1-2-3 bread and butter spectaculars and feed-the-poor-tired-and-hungry enthusiasm for kneading bread and basting flesh. 

Personally, I’d rather pop a Coopers and watch someone do it for me. And most nights, I do. 

See, I suffer the unusual and glorious ailment of living with a Kitchen God. That’s right, a God. Masculine. Dexterous. Full-flavoured. Talented. Gentle. Often sans shirt. And possessed of a natural ability to turn the most banal of canned items into culinary gold. It’s a delicious predicament. The only downside is this: It means I don’t cook. I can’t cook. I have no desire to learn to cook. My mother learned to cook because her mother-in-law is a domestic goddess. My sister learned to cook because her mother-in-law is a domestic goddess. And without a husband or mother-in-law to inspire/shame/berate me into kitchen up-skilling, why bother? 

‘Nuff said.

 I mean sure, I can boil an egg and put together a pasta – if I really tried I could probably marinade a chicken breast and not burn it – but with little or no reason to put myself out (thanks to Kitchen God), I will forever remain a Lady of Lunchtime (and dinner-time) Leisure. 

When I first moved out of home, there was a mad-scramble to accumulate recipes. It  was clear that I would not be mastering complex french cuisine, and so I collected easy, 1 pot standards that would see me through the week and remove the temptation of an ever-rising tab at the local Thai take-away. And they were pretty outstanding. On paper. Likewise, these days, the slow cooker is still tucked away in its cupboard, gathering dust and derision from generations of women who loved nothing more than feeding their loved ones. The carefully removed Food and Wine pages of the Sunday papers are dutifully tucked in and amongst the unopened pages of recipes books, which proudly proclaim simple satisfaction in ten minutes or less. That is, if they were used properly. Or at all. 

I was brought up in a family where women were confined by their gender to traditional roles of domesticity. My father brought us up to become financially independent, educated and self-reliant. Professional fulfillment was ours to take. Except that as well as career achievement and happiness, there was an another hope for three daughters – personal fulfillment, families, yes – but futures filled with more possibilities than just a variety of baked goods.

It’s tough being a woman these days. Body surfing in a bikini is hazardous. Body-scaping for a bikini too. Toddlers are promotion-kryptonite, and nannies are a definite no-no. The higher we climb, the less able we are to manoeuvre between a precarious stacked ladder and a double-glazed 3 inch thick glass ceiling - and now? The competition is only going to become more fierce, as men suddenly realise that the kitchen is not just a place to “mix it up”, and that the nutella isn’t actually a welcome addition to the bedroom, but more like a welcome addition to a batch of brownies. 

But never fear. For every sharply dressed and confident SNAG who grows his own herbs, strawberries and chilli, and who knows the difference between a heavy based saucepan and a large tin bucket, there are still a few sharply dressed, confident and spoiled mummy’s boys who can’t boil the kettle without alerting the fire department. 

Making sure the one you find supplements your skills – that’s personal happiness ladies. And at least one of you will use that damn slow cooker.



Top Ten: The Zionist Conspiracy

In honour of the biggest Zionist day in the calendar year this week, here’s a tribute to the ten or so biggest Zionist-stereotypes, all of whom claiming to hold the key to what a ‘true’ Zionist really is. The reality is, at the end of the day, that Zionism is not a political theory, power conspiracy nor a policy of a government (as detractors/hacks/ignoramuses may assume), it is an ideology which is inherently personal, and interpreted by the individual to facilitate self-determination as a member of the Jewish people.

As it turns out, a bunch of those Jew-Individuals got together a couple hundred years ago and, determined to do more than argue with each other on the value of a state for Jews or a Jewish state, actually set about creating it.

It is neither the plot of the 8th Harry Potter novel, 'Harry Potter and the Zionist Conspiracy to take over the world with superior money-handling skills and uber-developed business acumen mu-ha-ha-ha-hacking-cough-ha-ha!" (HT @ Diaryofanelderofzion.blogspot.com : he's a Zionist - he knows!)

Continue reading



Im Tirtzu
April 15, 2010, 11:36 AM
Filed under: Comment, Identity, Israel, Zionism | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This week marks the 62nd year of independence of the modern State of Israel. So let’s explore the ‘ism‘ that inspired, and facilitated the path towards a state for the Jewish people of the world.

If you will it, it is no dream  – Teddy Herzl

There is certainly an element of pride associated with Zionism, but it is not to be confused with nationalism (a pride-filled ideology though it may be). In fact, Zionism at its origin is more about the expression of self-determination, and self-determination is about feeling worthy as a nation of the elements of nationhood that others enjoy. Elements of nationhood can include common language, culture, traditions, symbols and of course geography – the latter being the uniquely absent component when one of the first Zionists, Theodore Herzl, cooked up this hair-brained scheme to get Jewish nationhood back on the menu.

However, Zionism at its origins was not widely accepted as a national movement – most Jews lived as ‘guests’ in countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Despite the threat and implications of violence, discrimination and expulsion (see England in 1290 CE, Spain, 1492 CE, Kiev, 1886 – click here for a full list of Jewish ‘Fugees) many didn’t appreciate the necessity of a national homeland. Unfortunately, it took a hundred years and millions of lives for the international community to realise this as a requirement for the safety and continuity of the Jewish people.

Currently, the image of Zionism is bound up in the current politics of the State of Israel. Perhaps it should be. But there are many forms, and many understandings of this ideology, and it’s important to see them not as a homogenous belief, but as focused manifestations of our identity as Jewish people – members of the tribe, individuals who identify as Jews, children born of Jewish parents, and people who subscribe to the tenants of faith, cultural norms and traditions of a 3000 year old history of a people – a people dispersed, and then, through the hope of Zionism, brought back together again..

So who is a Zionist? Check this out for the full list of wannabes, willneverbes and wildebeest that make up the Zionist colour palette.



Fog of Battle or Full of BS?
April 14, 2010, 12:47 PM
Filed under: Comment, media | Tags: , , , , ,

“And even if the wars didn’t keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.”
- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Chapter 1

On April 5, Wikileaks.org, a website which promises to promote freedom of information and complete anonymity for its sources, posted a 38-minute video, taken by a US Apache helicopter gun-camera in Baghdad in 2007. The site, which obtained the footage via a Freedom of Information application posted two versions – one, replete with edits, subtitles, indicators and highlighting, and another fuller version. The footage appears to show – well, let’s just let it speak for itself.

 Please Note: THIS FOOTAGE MAY BE OFFENSIVE OR DISTRESSING TO SOME VIEWERS.

As posted on the front page of the Wikileaks site:

FULL VERSION:

Check out this specially constructed site

Political and defence commentators have had a field day with this one, picking apart its content, its context and Wikileaks cutting techniques, while talk back and television audiences have been ferocious in their attacks on the US and Australian military for training their soldiers to dehumanise their targets before engaging (read: killing them). Veterans and individuals currently serving are forced to defend their actions in combat against civilians who have never held a gun before, and suddenly the morality of modern warfare is all anyone can think about – that is, 65 years after the firebombing of Dresden.

“A person who hasn’t been there will never get it”                                               – Ron Leshem, Beaufort

Now regardless of whether you think the title and/or editing of the videos and site is justified or simply a ploy to pique the interest  and direct the focus of viewers, there still remains the question of credibility. 

Screen grab of Colbert's interview with Assange (HT @ The Colbert Report)

Gawker‘s empowered piece on the debacle fleshes out the issue with a smartly conceived interview between with King of Satire and doublespeak Stephen Colbert and Wikileak’s Julian Assange – nothing we read or see in public media is completely objective – so can we trust such ‘leaked’ information? Even this blog post was edited (at current count, 8 times) for maximum impact on readers. Considering the clearly political motivations of Wikileaks, as admitted by its founder Julian Assange, how do we reconcile the facts:

1. Two Reuters journalists were killed.

2. Two Reuters journalists were not identified as such, and as they should have been, and as they had been trained to be.

2. The US internal inquest into the incident and the actions of the Helicopter gunners found no conclusive evidence of intentional murder or war crimes.

3. Julian Assange titled the video “Collateral Murder”, and made assumptions on the viewers behalf, to present a vision of the events that  subscribed to his political narrative.

4. We can not rely on a gun-camera to appreciate the real-time vision of the men who fired on the group.

It’s a fogging mess. While there is no doubt this footage is on par with the photos from Abu Ghraib as a paradigm shifting tool, and a gamechanger for war reporting, the facts remain. There is no comfort in knowing, and no bliss in ignorance.



Beck, Banksy & ‘Beatrice and Virgil’
April 13, 2010, 12:21 PM
Filed under: Comment, media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter B and the number 3 – ah! ah! ah!   

Photo: Muppet Wiki

Beck:  

The only thing that would make doing the ironing with a glass of pinot gris on a crisp autumn night in a terry towel nightgown sexier would be the hottest postmodern half-Jew in pop music, Bek David Campbell. His outrageous 1999 single Debra is dripping in smooth and smokin’ falsetto funk, and brought sexy back years before JT. Musical arrangements are fast and loose, structured and slippery, with just enough sleaze to get the housewives hot under the collar – like Beck’s coitus contemporaries Bowie and Prince. Lyrics that oscillate between self-effacing comedic genius (I said Lady, Step inside my Hyundai) and quasi-orgasmic sensuousness (like fruit that’s ripe for the picking) are packed with irony which borrows heavily from the same musical mastery as Flight of the Concords. If the last orgiastic breath of “Jenny” doesn’t make your loins quiver with excitement, you aren’t human. Take a listen here

Banksy:  

Every hipster worth his salty, unwashed, über-chic hair knows the pop-cultural importance of Banksy. What we don’t know, is who the hell this guy really is. Exit through the Gift Shop is the latest offer of an answer. It premiered at Sundance in January, and is about to hit US cinemas. Narrated by Rhys Ifans, the film tells the story of Mr. Brainwash, a French-born designer/entrepreneur Thierry Guetta, and his artistic enlightenment thanks to the Banksy himself. But like most great docos, soon the camera turns on its subject, and gazes not at the attempts of Guetta to replicate Banksy’s graffiti glory, but the man behind the mystery. Check out the trailer:  

   

Beatrice and Virgil:   

“If history doesn’t become story,” he says, “it dies to everyone except the historian. Art is the suitcase of history, carrying the essentials. Art is the life buoy of history.”  

– Henry, Beatrice and Virgil  

Props to Yann Martel – Life of Pi, which won the Man Booker Prize has been followed up with one of the smartest of literature’s handling of the Holocaust since Otto Frank published Anne’s diary. In an absurdist philosophical discussion between two stuffed animals in a taxidermy shop, Martel manages to capture the madness of the 20th Century’s greatest tragedy of human innovation and ignorance. As the author justifies his use of Animal Farm story-telling apparatus:  

“People are cynical about people, but less so about wild animals. A rhinoceros dentist elicits less skepticism, in some ways, than a German dentist.  But this animal-as-canvas quality is useful for a storyteller. It means that an animal that people feel kindly towards becomes a character that readers feel kindly towards.”  

Beatrice and Virgil is out this week. Check out all good booksellers, or here.




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