Do you remember that time when the Daily Mirror libelled Frankie Boyle by calling him a racist?
It was fairly recent, and it was a massive story. Surely you remember all these things happening:
The managing director, chief executive and head of the Daily Mirror resigned
The Daily Mirror’s head of journalism was sacked
The Daily Mirror’s entire legal team offered to resign
The head journalist of the Daily Mirror did a corruscating interview with his own boss, in which he ritualistically tore him to pieces and was incredulous at the failings
The Daily Mirror ran headlines and the first 7 pages of its newspaper with massive coverage of the scandal and crisis for over a week
The Daily Mirror made a full, frank apology, as did its board and the trustees
Members of Parliament asked questions in the House, and spoke widely about the urgent need to reform the whole newspaper… including offering personal opinions about who should be the next editor and manager of the paper
The Chairman of Mirror Group Newspapers appeared all over the media, frankly answering questions about the role of the Mirror, and offering to scrap the newspaper and start again with a completely different team
Surely you remember that? It was very similar to all of those times the Daily Mail has been found guilty of libel since 2001, when all the Mail’s staff resigned in disgrace and the paper spent 10 full days apologising on every single page. As a reminder, these are the libels in question:
Alan Sugar awarded £100,000
Diana Rigg awarded £30,000
Elton John awarded £100,000
£30,000 award to Dr Austen Ivereigh, who had worked for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
£47,500 award to Parameswaran Subramanyam for falsely claiming that he secretly sustained himself with hamburgers during a 23-day hunger strike in Parliament Square to draw attention to the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka
the former lifestyle adviser to Cherie Blair and Tony Blair, Carole Caplin received “substantial” libel damages
Isn’t that familiar either? It should be, because I definitely remember the Mail spending days and days in soul-searching, and the main stories on every page being about the crisis at the Mail. I remember Paul Dacre, the editor and chief exec, standing down with a humiliating public statement.
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s only the BBC which has to do this kind of self-flagellating bullshit perp-walk every time a member of its staff makes a mistake. To be clear, the BBC fucked up, and they did it in some style. But they did not report that Lord McAlpine was a paedophile: they reported that a member of the public had claimed a “top Tory” was a paedophile, and Twitter and gossip – some of it already circulating – filled in the blanks.
And yet somehow half a dozen people who have had flawless, exceptional careers in public service have to go. The BBC has to rip itself to pieces for days on end, and go through paroxysms of guilt. We demand it. And it’s an utter fucking nonsense.
In all of this, let’s not forget what we should actually be focussing on – criminals at large, who have cause misery to potentially hundreds of children. Not BBC executives or one wonky report. Yes, it was an error. In fact, it appears to have been about 10 errors, each compounding the last. But nobody died, and in actual fact I’d be surprised if Lord McAlpine could even sue for libel, considering he was never identified. Not even his job was – nobody said “McAlpine” or “Treasurer”. Other people leaped to that conclusion, and they fact that they were able to simply demonstrates that the rumours (albeit false rumour) were already in existence.
For that matter I could state that a well-known panelist on a popular Saturday evening talent show is an utter cunt who fucks goats and squirts tart lemons into the eyes of kittens while sipping Martinis made from the tears of orphans. But if (and I should state that this is entirely for the purposes of illustrating my point) Simon Cowell or Pier Morgan decided to sue me for libel, it would be extremely hard, because I didn’t mention either of them by name. And I never would.
You should primarily be scared of Sebastian Pritchard-Jones, not scared of me. Or scared of most men. Most of us are fine, it’s just that rogue 43% that give us a bad name.
Just to clear it up straight away: I am notSebastian Pritchard-Jones. I only share one name with him. And a nationality. And a beard. And glasses.
Hmm, I’m now starting to wonder if I am Sebastian Pritchard-Jones.
If you’re single and are thinking about dating somebody via that there interweb, I recommend you read the story of Seb, and then drink a gallon of bromide and join a convent. He’s a charmer.
But I’m a bit of a charmer too, and earlier this year I started dating somebody who is so much better than me that she might actually be a different species. She’s smart and funny and silly and annoying and violent, and has an alarming habit of loudly calling me a twat in the children’s section of Ikea. We get looks.
We get looks a lot of the time actually. We’ve been together now for long enough for me to largely forget the vast chasm between our sizes, ages, looks and talents. But it must still startle strangers, and we’ve both heard comments. Sometimes straight to our faces: a stranger at the next table at our local pub quiz asked me straight out if I was rich or fantastic in bed. I had to tell him the answer: no and no. I’m just relying on the fact that my girlfriend hasn’t worked it out yet.
It never occurred to him that we’re together because we make each other laugh and are very happy. It must be something close to prostitution, in his mind. She must be with me for my deep pockets or fat cock. I think this is a telling comment about your average bloke: in his tiny mind, the only reason to select a girl is for her looks, and the only thing girls like about men are their money and their penises; so fellas get freaked out when a pretty girl is seeing a guy who looks like a bloated corpse, hasn’t been paid for 2 months, and has a cock like a grain of rice.
Not that that’s me. My cock is at least twice the size of a grain of rice. Unless it’s chilly.
But I can kinda understand why we seem an odd couple. I occasionally catch glimpses of us in shop windows as we walk hand in hand around the Trafford Centre, and I’m reminded of that song lyric “Pretty women are walking with gorillas down my street”. Except in my case, it’s not a gorilla: it’s a blobfish.
She’s also far too young for me, far too posh for me, far too pretty for me, and if she’s reading this she’s going to be far too smug for me too. She’s fucking unbearable.
We met online. I know, it’s horrible. But neither of us was on a dating site, so it’s slightly less tragic than you may assume. I was convinced I’d be single for frikking years, which didn’t bother me one iota. I was quite happy fighting off next door’s psychotic cat, rearranging my books, and performing my twice-weekly routine of masturbation, self-loathing, comfort-eating and weeping – the favourite pastimes of the eternally single. I genuinely hadn’t made any attempt to meet somebody, and I even managed not to join Plenty of Fish, which appears to make me unique. From what I understand, about 50% of all married people are on there too.
And she wasn’t looking for a fella because she was in the middle of her finals at uni, so needed to concentrate and get work done. And she owns a rabbit, so frankly, who needs a man?
Both of us were on Twitter, just doing Twittery things. And we bumped into each other, and that was it. I had no idea how old she was, what she looked like, or where she lived. But it didn’t matter. Sparks. Who can predict this shit?
So I didn’t have to make a ghastly dating profile, or retouch my photos to remove most of my chins, or pretend to be warm and sensitive, or in any way be a manipulative sociopath like whoever Sebastian Prichard-Jones turns out to be.
But even so, I did slightly… well…
OK, I kidnapped her. Happy now? Jesus.
I only kidnapped her briefly, and only because I was too busy chatting on our first date, and didn’t realise the entire road layout had changed since I’d last been in that vicinity. But still, I ploughed straight past our destination and took her into Wales.
Me? I laughed, because I knew I wasn’t going to bludgeon her and shove her in the boot. (I would do now, because I know her well enough to know she’s bloody well asking for it, but at the time we were both on our best behaviour). However she didn’t laugh at all. Apparently she was geniunely terrified, and starting to wonder if a “leap and roll” exit from the car was survivable at 70 mph (answer: no).
But this is at the core of the relationship between men and women. Men can be manipulative sociopaths, and tend to be twice the size of women, strong, aggressive, determined and horny. It’s not a good combination, guys. So think hard about how your actions are interpreted.
It’s not the first time I’ve terrified a woman with threats of a remote, grisly death. My mate Jason and I worked together 20 years ago; and following our company’s Christmas do I was driving Jason home (having drawn the short, sober straw). I also offered a lift to a colleague, Usma, who lived along our route. As we got into the car, 2/3 of us pissed up and drunk on booze, and all of us giggly, I jokingly said to Jason: “Right – straight up to the moors for a bit of a murder”.
I know. It’s not funny at all. But Jason was hammered and I always laugh at my own awful gags, so we were far too busy laughing to notice Usma was quietly running for safety. I hadn’t noticed she wasn’t in the car until I’d gone half a mile. It took me until Easter before she’d forgive me.
So even without trying, men can be pretty terrifying to women. We tend not to think about the potential threat we pose; or at least, nice guys who pose no threat tend not to think about it. Not until later. It’s the ones who know perfectly well what threat they pose that you have to watch out for.
The problem is, nobody can tell which is which until it’s too late. I could be one. I probably am. This type of “hey, I’m nice really” blog is exactly the type of thing a manipulative sociopath would write, only maybe with fewer admissions of threatinging to kidnap and murder people. Or maybe not, who knows? Maybe this sounds enough like Sebastian to fool people who know him. Or who don’t know him. Whatever.
My girlfriend’s family are not happy with her going off on a date in the car of a strange old man who briefly kidnapped her. Not happy at all. And to be honest, I don’t blame them, even though I’d rather die than hurt her (I only wish she had the same policy – Jesus, the beatings she’s given me!).
However, my point is: be careful. I know, you’re all smart people, and it won’t happen to you. But it can. The Sebastian Pritchard-Jones’s of this world make it a dangerous place.
So watch out!
I’m only threatening you because I don’t want somebody else to do it.
This morning 51% of America awoke in a modern, moderate, sensible, educated, peaceful and healthy democracy.
So did the other 49%, except they hated it.
I’ve spent a long time wondering what causes such hatred, and I think it comes down to a combination of marble and penises.
I realise that’s an odd statement, so I’ll explain.
When I was a kid I lived in a bizarre household. I actually think most households are bizarre when you look at them close-up, but I was discouraged from staring at strangers ever since my older brother saw his first ever black man on a bus, and asked my mum, in a loud, clear voice: “why is that man so dirty?”.
It was the 70s, but still.
Fortunately my brother was only 2 years old, so the man just grinned and laughed it off, and there was no long-term damage other than my mother refusing to go on busses from that day onwards. But that story has been drummed into me since I was old enough to be drummed upon. Those lovingly applied, highly rhythmic beatings quickly taught me to stop staring at strangers, let alone make comments; and the rhythmic beatings also made me appreciative of the 7-4 time signature (but not enough to ever want to be in Sting’s band: he’s a cock).
So instead of looking at other people I just looked at my family, and came to some conclusions: they were fucking weird. Believe me folks, I know. I’ve done the research. These are findings.
One of the strange things about them is their ongoing experiment with milk. In ye olden days most people had milk delivered by a man (who is now unemployed because people find it more convenient to drive 1.5 miles to a supermarket to hear other people’s children being yelled at in the next aisle, then queue for 45 minutes to use a “serve yourself” machine that works at best 1 in every 450 times. Are you sure just collecting it from your doorstep and giving that man a job is less convenient?)
But for my whole life my parents had a couple of pints delivered each morning. And for that entire 42 years they’ve left the milk on the warm doorstep until at least 3pm, when they’ve decided to bring it indoors and store it in the most logical place: on the window-sill, in a beam of sunlight. I was 14 before I saw a cup of tea I didn’t have to chew on. It’s a miracle my dad made it to 77: he was playing fast-and-loose with food-poisoning for as long as I can remember.
Deliberately placing your milk in the best location for it to poison you is a strange decision, although I wouldn’t blame my mum for attempting to murder any one of us. We were bastards to her, and are responsible for 2 of her 3 nervous breakdowns. I’d like to say it was an accident, but nobody accidentally leaves a snake-skin on their mum’s ironing board or steals her car when she parks it outside Tesco.
Waited until she was on holiday, then wrote “hello mum” on approximately 5,000 small slips of paper and hid them all over the house – inside pans, under mattresses, in shoes, and even, imaginatively, peeling back a bit of wallpaper, sliding a note behind it, and pasting it back – she didn’t find that one until she redecorated 5 years later.
Recorded 5 minutes of silence on a cassette tape (it was the 70s, but still), followed by an official-sounding voice saying THIS CAR WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN TEN SECONDS. We then placed this in the car stereo, pressed play, and turned off the engine. When she turned the engine on it started playing silence… until she was half-way home, when it suddenly made its announcement. She nearly died.
Made her one of those “pass the ring along the bendy wire” games that you need a steady hand to play. You know the type: you sometimes see them at school science days. She has Parkinson’s disease. How we laughed as she chased us around the house in slow-motion, trying to kick the shit out of us.
Built an earwig farm in our bedroom. An earwig farm is just what it sounds like: we kept dozens of earwigs. Slight construction problem: the farm was made from Lego, and the earwigs escaped en masse every single night. Didn’t stop us, we just went out and found some more.
But the oddest thing my parents did was to put carpet on the bathroom floor.
It was the 70s, but still.
When I think back to it now, I realise that having a carpet in your bathroom is, quite frankly, the biggest snub to basic hygiene that I can imagine. Because my household included three males, and at every moment of the last 40 years at least one of those males was either drunk or potty training.
Even stone-cold sober I have my doubts about my ability to piss straight. Every man reading this will agree, and every woman reading this will agree and be furious about it. But I have to defend myself: my penis is a stupendously poor instrument for urinating through. Or for anything else, for that matter.
Women, a group of people who are never wrong, often complain about men’s inability to hit a 3 square foot bowl, right between their feet, only 9 inches away.
But to be honest, that’s a bit unfair, because women have it easy. They don’t have to piss via this strange, gently squirming object that looks like the chestburster putting a sweater on. When liquid comes out of a lady, it doesn’t have to negotiate a ring of skin that could be in any position, and is designed purely to bounce your stream of fluid off so you end up pissing like a watering can.
And women are, let’s face it, damn near in the bowl to start with.
If you leave the foreskin hanging in the stream, it causes… let’s call it “turbulence”. Every drop goes in a different direction, it varies wildly in speed and flow, and it’s impossible to prevent dribbling. If you pull back the foreskin the head of the penis is tightened, your tinkle-hole is pulled into unpredictable shapes, and your piss comes out at the speed of light and in a strange, star-shaped stream that starts as narrow as a pin-head, but is over a mile wide by the time it gets to the bowl.
Either way you have startlingly little control. The penis is designed to direct piss away from the body, not to direct piss into a toilet. Frankly the penis doesn’t care where it ends up. It’s a bit like the baggage handlers at Manchester Airport, but less smelly.
I say the penis is “designed”, but of course the penis isn’t designed at all, and I think this, combined with marble tiles, is what makes Republicans so angry (sorry, I may have drifted away from my point a bit).
My only explanation for the existence of a carpet in my parents’ bathroom is that it hid the rogue splashes, whereas they just linger on the tiles, forming small pools of ammonia where earwigs can easily die. I’m moderately confident that in my parents’ youth, carpets in bathrooms were the norm, and all those carpets soaked up the urine into a dark, gnarly ring around the toilet plinth. So back then Republican men wouldn’t be confronted with facts. Just unzip, stare at the wall (and NOT at your cock, in case it turns you gay – I never said they were rational, did I). Then piddle wildly on the rug without any consequence, and zip up and walk away. Nobody’s beliefs need to be challenged by that. Nobody has to think about the inadequacy of God’s perfect design.
But fast forward to the 80s, and we see the beginnings of the domination of the marble bathroom floor, which coincides neatly with the rise of religious fervour in the USA, and with the crisis of capitalism.
Tiled bathrooms mean the carpet no longer soaks up the piddle – it’s now splashed back onto your white, wealthy ankles, or left in standing pools around your bathroom. So you have to look down, take a bit of control, and be confronted with the evidence. It’s there in your own hand, and, if you’re not careful, trickling down your leg a bit: errant micturition and stinky puddles of piss! It’s just too much evidence for feeble minds to take. You can’t avoid the conclusion that… deep breath… there is no God!
Let’s face it, what kind of supreme being could design a penis? The whole male genital area is a farce, and it drives Republicans insane to know their beliefs are utter poppycock. Excuse the pun.
So what do they do when confronted with this problem?
shout louder and louder about how ace God is in the hope that noise and enthusiasm will make it all true
get mad at gay people because they hate having to look at their own penis, and don’t understand anybody who actually does that for fun
get a Colombian immigrant to clean up the tiles and wash their trousers
become very jealous of how good ladies are at piddling
This explains everything you need to know about the modern Republican party:
they’re so religious and anti-science that if you exchange the word “God” for the word “Allah”, you could mistake them for the Taliban
they dispise and fear homosexuality in equal measure
they hold the poor and minorities in contempt, except as people who can be called upon to clean up their mess
they have a dysfunctional relationship with vaginas.
Ah, vaginas. How I’ve missed talking about you.
There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about vaginas and breasts. Being British, we’ve been obsessed with breasts, because, well, they’re funnier and there are twice as many of them (four times if you include John McCririck). But in America it’s different: vaginas have performed a very important role in the non-election of Mitt Romney.
We’ll come back to cunts later, but first…
Britain: the land where breasts are unavoidable. It turns out that in the UK, norks form an integral part of the news gathering and dissemination industry. Several of our most popular newspapers are simply unable to tell us about Quantitive Easing unless they accompany the discussion with topless photos of Stacy from Gravesend, who has strong views on the EU, a fine set of heaving funbags, and a pout that looks like it was sliced from the corpse of Frankie Howerd.
This, apparently, is essential. I’m sure we’ve all seen those woodcuts of tarts with big tits adorning Shakespeare’s First Folio. Nobody would take him seriously unless they could turn the page and have a quick wank. What light from yonder window breaks? It’s your mum, coming in to catch you spaffing on your tummy.
Some of those feminist types, concerned that this constant bombardment of facile bints in our daily news might be having a deleterious effect on our national psyche, have demanded No more page 3. But what would our nation be without the right to demean women and detract from real issues?
Better. That’s what our nation would be.
On the other side of the Atlantic they’ve been much more obsessed with vaginas. A startling number of so-called “social conservative” Republicans have got into a rare old tizzy over women’s dew-speckled love-caverns. They (the Republicans, not the cunts… I know, they’re interchangeable terms) include the lovely Todd Aiken, a man who prides himself in a 100% record of never colliding with facts, and who believes that women’s wombs somehow “shut down” when a “legitimate rape” is committed.
And then there’s Richard Mourdock, a man so vile even Rupert refuses to share a spelling with him. Mourdock delights in the belief that God intends rape to happen. It happens, and everything that happens is God’s will, so God must want rape. Presumably God also intended Richard Mourdock to be kicked out of office, because thankfully, that happened too.
Not content with pardoning violent criminals who help themselves to your womb, a significant number of Republicans also want to force women to be prodded and poked on an industrial basis, employing the very doctors they don’t want to be available to the poor, to do “trans-vaginal” testing of pregnant women. To you and me, that’s shoving a pipe up you for absolutely no medical advantage. Just because they can. Just because they’re men and you’re not. Just to show you who’s in charge.
And these people rant about small government… apart from when it helps them to demean and control women, blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, the disabled, the poor, the mentally ill, the unarmed, the uninsured, leftists, centrists, socialists, Atheists, Muslims, Sikhs, nations who need relieving of their stock of oil or, frankly, anybody who just looks a bit funny.
I’m a bit of a lefty, in a thoughtful, sensible “steady-on-now, let’s not go too far” kinda way. I’m unapologetic about it, at least as far as any Englishman can be anything without apologising slightly: if you punched me in the face I’d bumble that I’m sorry for all the inconvenience I’d caused your fist.
But I don’t hate government, not even the current British government of right-wing ideologs and spineless toadying fuckwits. I don’t hate them, any more than I hate vaginas or tiles. In my opinion this idiotic cabal of Etonian gobshites are a dismal failure who had one economic idea (cutting our way to growth), which has been tried literally 176 times worldwide since 1980 and never worked. But I don’t hate them. I just think they’re idiots.
Likewise I don’t hate their supporters. I find it confusing, that’s all: confusing that anybody could vote for a party which is hell-bent on dismantling the NHS which we own and have paid for; and who can’t recognise that private companies are often utter scoundrels who pillage our national assets then fuck off to Belize with the takings. But I don’t hate people for voting that way. I’m sure Belize is very nice, if you need a warm, sunny place to hide your £300 million.
But the idea that you can hold such visceral, groundless and – let’s face it – reckless hatred for your government… well, it baffles me. Especially as the government is, in every sense, the nation. Obama is one man, and maybe you like him and maybe you don’t. But underneath him are about 40 million anonymous Americans, some of them Democrats and some Republicans, some with vaginas, some with penises… probably a few with both (let’s hope they don’t live in Alabama!). Possibly a few of those people still have carpets in their bathrooms, and I hope its preserving their faith as much as its dismantling their immune system.
But all of them are simply working to keep the nation on the rails. Do you hate all of those people? All those firemen and teachers and soldiers and social workers? Of course not. So how can you hate your government.
So that’s it: my theory, which I hope you enjoyed. It’s a theory about penises and marble tiles. And if you didn’t like it, try this theory: Republicans have, at some point piddled on their tiles, slipped in the dribblings, and banged all the logic and compassion out of their heads. I simply hope that they do it again sometime soon, and invent a Flux Capacitor so they can all go back to 1955, and feel right at home.
Frankly, Back to the Future might just as well have been their election slogan….