The Young Pope might work for the Mass market. Who knows what Donald Trump would have made of Diane Keating?

October 28, 2016

Diane Keating .jpg

TV Review

I noticed last night [25th October 2016], that in the UK the much-advertised new Sky block-buster was up against tough competition for the prime-time 9pm TV slot.

The Young Pope called out for serious attention, through its evident intelligent use of vast resources in what I believe is called production values.

I became a lapsed believer while watching the first instalment of this morality tale. Maybe it was because I missed the first few minutes and hadn’t been caught early enough for the experience to convert me into a true believer.

No plot-spoiler here

I don’t think there is much need for plot-spoiler caution in this post. There has been enough pre-publicity for anyone with access to Sky to know more than I do about this vehicle for Jude Law’s box-office manifestation. It comes complete with a cast of beautifully dressed prelates and the smouldering sexuality of Diane Keating. [Pause for confession: I have sinned, father. I have become increasingly troubled with thoughts of what Donald Trump would have made of the character played by Diane Keating.]

More confessions

The story mostly held my attention. But my lapses continued.  As well as the troublesome image of what Donald might do to Sister Mary, aka Diane Keating ,  I began to consider how to rate The Young Pope. [More confessions: Also, father, I tried switching channels during the ads to see if there was any secular relief on Sky Sports. I was sorely tempted by the devilish counter-attractions of live tennis.]

A bit of a switch off

Worse of all, having failed to survive watching a penultimate break for more ads, I found solace in a library book [Adam Sisman’s biography of John Le Carre, if you were to ask me, father].

Orthodox believers remained rather sanguine about The Young Pope

The truthfulness of Twitter

So it came about, that I never quite reached the end of the first celebratory festival in honour of the papacy of Lennie, the cigarette-smoking American Pontiff. That is not to say it will not become a block-buster.

In a week when Twitter announced serious malfunctions to its business plans, some of its tweets capture my  thoughts on The Young Pope.

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More to follow


Hillary duffs up Donald

August 26, 2016

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Donald Trump’s recent decline in the polls has been traced to his reactions to the Democrat’s National Conference. Hilary Clinton’s speech was one important and damaging blow before the Kahn family’s interventions

 

I first heard Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech as she was making it, and late into the night European time.  This gave me benefits of live radio (BBC5) as well as its drawbacks.

I missed the opening few minutes, but then listened to its ebb and flow uninterrupted by commentary.  (Except for one brief period when two American voices assessed the impact of  a pre-announced demonstration and walk-out by  Californian delegates supporting Bernie Saunders).

Rehearsed but not over-cooked

The delivery sounded to me rehearsed but not over-rehearsed.  Hillary does not do warmth, and did not attempt to do so.  The voice was familiar, somewhat detached, slightly strident (yes, I know that’s a judgement open to criticism as gender discriminatory. Men are rarely described as strident)

Hillary does Tough better than Warmth

The would-be POTUS may not do Warmth, but has to do Tough.  Hillary mostly let the words carry the Tough message.

Two portions of the speech struck me and rather surprised me.  There was lot of what our own dear Sun or Daily Mail would have sneered at as loony-Leftie stuff of the sort expected from Jeremy Corbin.  Holding Wall Street to account.  Even I.  Did she say that?  Surely I missed some vital qualifiers there. Leveling out inequalities. (Are you listening Bernie?). Whatever, the reception to her words seemed rapturous, but that was more predictable.

Trump kippered

I had wondered how she would deal with Trump.  On this I am more confident.  She kippered him.  It was as clinical and merciless as the weekly going-over which David Cameron handed out to Jeremy Corbin over the last few months.   She took as her main point the megalomaniac claim thatTrump alone could rescue a weak America. She contrasted it with her belief that no President fixes things alone. America is best when it works collectively, the United bit, right? I remembered how Obama had a rare failure when he once tried out that theme. He was challenged for dissing the entrepreneurial giants of big business, and the spirit of free enterprise.

‘Us not me’

Tonight Hillary got across the ‘Us not me’ point well. But how to deal with the giant shadow cast by Husband Bill?  I couldn’t she how that could be done. Hillary just said she had learned how to deal with a lot of bad stuff, and when knocked down got up fighting.  I think the audience got what she was driving at.

Will she be a great President?  I don’t know.  Will she even become President in the first place? I don’t know. Incidentally, the great futurologist Alvin Toffler died this week, but if he had lived I guess he would have found a way of predicting while maintaining residual doubts.

Her remark about not trusting the Presidency to someone easily riled was seized on and maybe will continue to rile the thin-skinned Trump. I do know that today’s speech [July 28, 2016] has not harmed the chances of a woman becoming the next President of the United States of America.

Postscript

Since the post was written, the Trump campaign has dropped further behind Clinton’s efforts. A series of misjudgements starting with the attack on the parents of an American fallen hero appear to have added to Mr Trump’s problems. At the same time, the setbacks may have strengthened his core support.

The campaign remains fascinating to students of politics, leadership, and trainwrecks.


Dame Lowell Goddard, Donald Trump, and thoughts on Leadership Selection

August 5, 2016

 

Nigel Farage

The New Zealand Judge, Dame Lowell Goddard, prompted controversy when she was selected to head the politically sensitive investigation into child abuse over English candidates. That decision, and then her own to withdraw, invite questions about leadership selection

Selection of course, rather than election, although the selection process is made by our elected representatives. This distinction that seemed to have passed by Nigel Farage, in his often-repeated remarks about non-elected officials in the citadels of the Evil Empire in Brussels and Strasbourg.)

Read the rest of this entry »


Mike Ashley to run for leader of the Conservative party

June 8, 2016

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It is rumoured that self-made billionaire Mike Ashley is to run as leader of the Conservative party. The plan was put in place after secret meetings with Donald Trump, Lord Alan Sugar and Simon Cowell earlier this year

Mr Ashley’s chances of becoming leader of the Conservative party was rated as “a good bet at 1000-1” a figure now famous for the odds available at the start of the season for Leicester City Football Club winning the league. Now, after his effortless intellectual bettering of the Commons Select Committee this week [7th June, 2016] the odds are likely to drop even further.

Getting a safe seat

He is, at present, ineligible to stand, but  a safe seat in Parliament has been identified from a short-list of current MPs who are in danger of being deselected, declared insane, or imprisoned for various criminal offences.

The Press Magnet

Sociologist Tony Scrivener of Urmston University says that Mr Ashley has the characteristics needed to get to the top in politics.

“He has a track record of success in business. He is seen as not a member of the ruling elite. He is a ‘press magnet’, a larger than life charismatic personality, not afraid to take on the establishment. He will build on what he will call his triumph over parliamentary attempts to lock him in Big Ben for contempt.

His physical bulk, and his macho image also work for him, often appearing in the style of President Putin, stripped to the waist surrounded by adoring fans at Newcastle, the club he owns.”

Abolitionist firebrand

He intends to bring in advisors to help in his plans, which include the abolition of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies, as ‘wastes of time and space’, the creation of five million zero-hours jobs, and winning the World Cup with the English football team.

The Ashley team

We have not been able to confirm the names of the advisors, but they are believed to include a top BBC football pundit who once worked for Mr Ashley, and possibly the Portuguese media specialist Hose Nourinho, to strengthen his PR department.

The Queen is safe

He intends to preserve the monarchy until after the demise of the Queen, but after her departure he is believed to  favour of an elected head of state who knows a bit about business.

My Pal Donald

He believes he will turn the criticisms about his own business affairs to his advantage. In this, he is being advised by someone he refers to as “my boony pal Donald”.

Other parts on his brilliant vision include the purchase of The Sun from another of his close friends, Rupert Murdoch, and holding mass rallies at Newcastle United Football Club. During each of these,  he will descend in a massive balloon bedecked in the club’s famous Black and White colours. [The balloon that is, not Mr Ashley], who will emerge, shirtless, displaying his Putinsque Six Pack, to the thunderous chords of Local Hero.

Stop Press

I have been unable to confirm [8th June, 2016] that Mr Ashley is about to join the Remain campaign to add his formidable communication skills in a last desperate attempt to win over supporters swayed by the brilliant rhetoric of  Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and particularly Michael Gove.

 



Why banning demagogues is not a good idea

December 30, 2015

Here are three people who were in the headlines recently, connected with proposals for banning the rights of others, or being banned themselves Tyson Fury 2008

Donald Trump

Katy Hopkins

Tyson Fury

Demagogues?

Hold off for the moment on whether these three people are demagogues. I want to concentrate on a different point.

Trump and Hopkins

Each of these individuals has attracted attention for widely-publicized views which have triggered strong emotional reactions for and against them and their advocates.

‘The Donald’ has skillfully drawn attention to his Presidential campaign. His views trigger reactions of all kinds from revulsion, humour, to wide enthusiasm towards some perceived as a strong leader. The most recent call for a ban on all Muslims from entry into the United States is for some bizarre, unworkable, unethical, and stupid.

Katy Hopkins has been recognized by Trump for her journalistic work supporting him against his detractors.

An illustrative example of the mutual admiration between them came in in a broadcast interview with the Daily Politics programme. It seems that in her newspaper column she uses Trump’s call to ban Muslims to advance an overlapping set of beliefs.

She concedes the proposed banning is unworkable, but maintains Trump’s heart is in the right place in trying to do something about what they both believe to address ‘the Muslim problem’.

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury, newly crowned boxing champion has expressed himself in terms designed to hit the headlines by infuriating some groups he disparages. It is not clear whether he, unlike Mr Trump or Ms Hopkins, is attempting to manipulate the press or whether he is being used by them

Petitions pile up

One petition that gained support called for the banning of  Trump from entering the UK for his schemes to ‘deal with’ Muslims (ban them entry to the United States) and with Mexicans (ban them entry into the United States by building a very big wall).

Another petition wanted to ban Tyson Fury from being a candidate on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Hopkins, in a somewhat frenzied TV interview, mentioned a third petition which she claims has been deliberately ignored through BBC bias because it showed support for Trump’s proposal of a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The Case against banning: the unintended consequences argument

Where to begin? The pragmatic position is that any proposed ban should be scrutinized for unintended consequences. Metaphorically, ‘don’t turn him or her into a martyr’.

The Case against banning: The moral dilemmas

There are various ethical dilemmas to consider. Claims about depriving people of their human rights are rarely without dilemmas. Should the State exercise its right to kill killers?

Or silence those opposed to free speech for security reasons.

The right to give offense

Another thought-provoking idea. I you take freedom of speech argument taken to one of its less logical conclusions you find yourself supporting banning and restricting a fundamental human freedom of speech to those who are believed to threaten a similar basic human right in others.

Think carefully, dear leaders, before supporting banning persons as a matter of principle.

 


By popular demand Camila Batmanghelidjh and Batman enter the Charismatic league tables

August 18, 2015


Following a request from a subscriber in Gotham City, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Batman have won promotion to the Charisma Premier league. Their names and ranking will appear when the list is updated in September

A subscriber purporting to come from Gotham City has successfully nominated both Camila Batmanghelidjh and Batman for inclusion in the Charisma league table.

The Batman nomination was accepted after his strong charismatic leadership performance over a period of many years.

Dr Batmanghelidjh , author of Shattered Lives, has been in outstanding charismatic form this month, as she battles to defend her company’s record under her leadership.

Another strong contender for the Charismatic leader of the month award is Donald Trump, with standout performances against a Fox News commentator and several Scottish wind farms, and for persuading a little girl that he is really Batman in disguise.