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Friday, July 29, 2005


"Ici c'est bon de tuer de temps en temps un emigre, pour encourager les autres"

The good news is that it seems all of the sad excuses for hominids behind last Thursday's damb squibs have been caught.

The bad news is that before they got around to actual terrorists, London police whacked a perfectly harmless wetback.

"Stupidity", Robert Heinlein observed, "is the only universal capital crime". Running from armed police officers who identify themselves as such, and moreover running into a subway station the day after several of them have been bombed (and by someone who lived in your house)... this may not be stupidity, exactly, but I'd hate to live on the difference.

(I know. I know. He was Brazilian; in Brazil the police have "the IQ of a mango and the integrity of a daffodil". And he was worried about being deported - and contrary to some beliefs, the UK government has occasionally been known to stir out of its habitual torpor and deport the odd illegal alien; one friend of mine outstayed his welcome from this island of lost souls and was deported- two, if you count a Kiwi who got a very nasty letter from The Home Office saying, in effect, "Make my day, punk". Still. Better in Brazil than dead; better in Brazil than in Britain, perhaps; Brazil is no place to be middle-class and aspiring, but nowadays Britain is hardly better).

As for the cops who shot him, I have two observations:

1. If they thought this man looked like a member of an Al-Qaeda affiliate, then I fully expect them descend on next year's Wimbledon tennis tournament and arrest the Williams sisters for membership in the Aryan Nation.

(Maybe they were just trying not to profile anyone? And the next time there is a rape committed in London they will pull in a bunch of women as suspects? I mean, it wouldn't do to confine the investigation to people who are actually likely to have committed the crime; that would be profiling).

2. Having shot the wrong guy, couldn't they at least have planted some kind of excuse on him? I mean, don't these people watch The Shield?

(I mean, say they planted some drugs on him. Nobody cares what happens to drug dealers. Over in Thailand, the Bangkok police have been quietly offing meth vendors for the last two years and aside from the occasional hand-wringing op-ed piece in the Financial Times and some more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger footage from the travel channel, there's been nary a squeak in protest. Or suppose they planted a gun on him: this is Britain, the land of the hoplophobe; most people in these parts seem to believe that carrying a firearm through the streets is a worse crime than abusing a child - that's certainly the message that judges send out when they hand down sentences for felonies).

They didn't, though, which suggests that for all their trigger-happy ways, the London police remain closer to Dixon of Dock Green than Mackey of Farmington.

It is my fervent hope that the twisted medievalism of Al-Qaeda and its asshole buddies can be overcome by "Dixon" methods rather than "Mackey" methods. We'll see. Meanwhile, I shall raise a caipirinha to the memory of Jean Charles Menezes, who died in the War on Terror and is with the angels.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Again With The Bombs...

...but what a contemptible little set of bombs they were. To call them pissant would be too generous.

In my early childhood I was told that the first time the Nazis bombed England the casualties were as follows: Humans, 0, Rabbits, 1. It inspired, or so I was told, this song.

And today - the mighty warriors behind this latest triumph were, I am sure, hoping that the Brits would be cowering in terror from north, south, east and west, but really, what have they achieved?

They grazed a granny. (link).

No offense, Ma'am; we hope you aren't badly hurt. (We know you aren't. The weak sisters die young; the strong women live forever. The little old ladies are little only in stature; their spirits are a hundred feet tall).

Y'know, when the miserable little cowards behind this latest venture eventually wind up in the next world (after tripping over their own shoelaces and falling down some stairs, I'd wager, judging by the level of competence they have displayed today), when they collect their seventy-two raisins;

(You poor, deluded, dupes. If you wanted raisins, you can get them in any convenience store. And if you were dumb enough not to check your translation, and thought you were getting virgins - don't you know that every moment of intimacy takes place between two virgins, because every intimate moment is unique in its delight, and so whatever one's past, one always comes virgin to every encounter? - Well, no, you don't. If you were healthy enough to know that, you would be healthy enough not to find joy in blowing people up).

-At any rate, you wouldn't want to be these two-bit losers, on the day they finally choke on their own drool and find themselves in Hell. I believe there is something worse than being eternally tormented for being evil, and that is being eternally laughed at for being a useless fuck-up.

But seriously, boys, I take it all back. You are the ultimate in terrorism. Because terrorism is a confession of weakness; it screams to the sky "Nobody really supports my cause, so I have to murder a bunch of random people just to get noticed!" (Of course, under a well-run government the terrorists get noticed in ways they never wanted (police raids and cruise missiles are a poor substitute for seventy-two something-tasties) but still they get noticed, and that might be their true psychological payoff). At any rate, terrorism is a confession of weakness, like the pathetic little inadequate that stalks the beautiful woman he knows he can never, never deserve while he remains as he is. But you, you pathetic little pratfallers, you can only aspire to the weakness of the terrorist: you are people who have fucked up even your fuck-ups.

And you know what? When the last one of you has choked on his own hatred we'll still be here. Drinking our beer, wine and cocktails. Reading and saying whatever we like. Flaunting our shameless flesh. Loving who, how and where we want to. We'll bury you, you sad little inadequates, and we won't even notice while we're digging your graves because you know what? We have so many better things to do with our time than worry about you.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


"Well - business as usual, Mr Ward!!

Yes, business as usual.

Last night, at about 21.30, all the lights went out. So this is it, I thought, it's finally happened, the Mullahs have exploded an EMP over the city. The GoldenEye has opened... Then I tried to to call my friend Michela a half a mile up the road:

xj: Hey, Michela, have the lights just gone out at your place?

MICHELA: No, what are you talking about?

xj: Oh... must just be a brownout...

It was, in fact, just a brownout. And it was, in fact, just a brownout of my block. And it was, in fact, nothing more than a practical joke brownout: you know, the sort where you rush to the store to buy up their stock of candles, flashlights and matches, and get back home precisely five goddamn seconds before all the lights go back on...

God bless the electricity company and all who serve in her. I saw worse brownouts back before 9/11. (That was when I shared an apartment with an accountant from London Energy; my theory is that someone in his office had a grudge).

This morning, half the Tube network was out of action. Osama and his miserable passel of raisin/virgin afficionados may gloat, if it warms the cockles of their shrivelled hearts, but we Londoners know better: this is business as usual, Mr Ward! On one out of every ten average days in this city, half the Tube network is out of action. Half the Tube network being out of action is our normal state. In fact, the Tube's definition of good service is "trains are running to some vague approximation of timeliness". You think you can scare us by making trains crap? Bworn an' bred in de' briar patch, Br'er Osama!

Kidding aside, that there were Tube trains running at all today was a triumph. It's a fine tradition of this city to hate and despise every connected with the Tube network, so I will not say anything along the lines of I am proud, honoured and humbled by your incredible achievement in keeping our city moving and thus spitting in the face of the evil men that tried to hurt us all, and you especially, the other day. May God bless you all. No, I would not ever care to voice such sentiments. I'll just look forward to the day when we can go back to damning the damn Tube network for their damn ten minute delays without any inconvenient choked-up feelings of gratitude...

Thursday, July 07, 2005


...and one more thing

I'd like on this day of horrors to share with you a joke that a South African of my acquaintance told me in September 2001; I think in fact this was the first joke I was ever told after 9/11.

The year is 2050. Little Johnny, a precocious boy, has been reading some old book and has come across a reference that puzzles him. So he asks his wise old Grandpa:

JOHNNY: Grandpa, what were the Twin Towers?

GRANDPA: Oh, they were two very tall buildings in New York City. They were destroyed half a century ago by Moslem terrorists.




JOHNNY: Grandpa, what were Moslems?

I remember my clearest memory of 9/11 is dread: but not primarily dread of al-Qa'ida and their merry gang of private-pilot medievalists, or naked existential dread at the thought of so much death, though those were certainly present. No, what I felt most was an utter, scalp-prickling, bowels-liquefying, scrotum-retracting dread of omigod WTF will the Americans do NOW? There are things in human garments that accuse George W Bush of being a crazed warmonger. Well, a few days after 9/11 I read an op-ed piece that, in effect, urged the US government to demand that every ISP on Earth give the NSA complete access to its communications, and seriously suggesting that hold-outs should be destroyed by cruise missiles. By heaven, at this moment I stand amazed at Dubya's moderation...

(Oh and BTW the author of that little piece of "ugly American imperialism"? It wasn't Mark Steyn. It wasn't Ann Coulter. And, AFAIK, it wasn't anybody remotely connected with FOX NEWS. It was written by John Keegan, a British military historian and a former professor at that neo-conservative think-tank known as Princeton College. Lest we forget, that's how normal people felt after 9/11; GWB could have nuked the entire mid-East into a sheet of glass and nobody other than Dennis^H^H^H^H^H^H Justin Raimondo would have cared to raise a protest). (No link to him. I don't believe darling Dennis is the sort of person this blog should be linking to. I dare say you could Google him, if you felt the urge to wallow in his vile, Jooooooo-hating filth).

It's a sad fact of life that whilst decent people have in their list of concepts things like "benefit of the doubt" and "try to see the other fellow's point of view" and "who am I to cast the first stone" and "live and let live" and a whole bunch of ideas like that that make civilisation possible - assholes (a category that encompasses all divisions of mankind and includes a fair number of white Anglo Christians, in my experience)... assholes see all these nice, friendly concepts as just being another way of saying "I'm a wimp; I surrender".

The asshole can therefore rob, cheat, abuse, betray and generally dis' the decent person a number of times without any retaliation, because it takes quite a lot to convince a decent person that somebody is an irredemable asshole... but one day the asshole will cross a line, which may not have been obvious to either party in advance, and it becomes obvious that the asshole is, in fact, nothing more than an asshole, and all bets are off. In one of his novels CS Lewis described how a decent person deals with a true, irredeemable asshole: "He fought him with a clean hatred, as though for the first time in his life he knew what hatred was for, why God made that emotion". (Something like that. Ransom whacking the Un-Man in Perelandra, if anyone wants to look it up).

I've sometimes thought that al-Qaida's entire silly jihad might be one colossal exercise in Suicide by Cop. And by that I mean, they know that they can't face the modern world; that they don't have the balls and the intellect to face the challenge of adapting their faith to the challenges of modern living: as Iraqis and Afghanis and Lebanese have done and, I do believe, some day soon Syrians and Egyptians and Iranians and maybe, who knows, even Saudis will do. No, they cannot face that challenge, and so choose death, by provoking the very people they know will come after them, and hunt them down, and grant them grace. Well, to all jihadis I say what a better man than me once said, "If you wish to die for your cause, then we aim to please". Inshallah, most of them will come to their senses first, and the rest will take few innocents along with them. But whatever it takes, boots on the ground in Qom or mushroom clouds in the sky over Al Qasim - don't think we won't do it. Not just for us, but for all the good people they're holding hostage right now. And I don't just mean the Quattrochis and the Woods and the Bigleys. I mean all the Arabs, all the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and North Africans and everybody else that these miserable savages have prevented from living their lives.

Fifty-some years ago Italy, Germany and Japan were controlled by fascists. Today, I have Italian, German and Japanese friends, and the only reason that was possible is because the decent people of that time gave their all to make sure that the twisted idealogies that held Italy, Germany and Japan hostage were annihilated, rendered so thoroughly dead that today their meagre handful of adherents lack the credibility to be evil: they are merely pathetic. See, I'd like to think that when that conversation really does occur in 2050, the last line will go something like this:

JOHNNY'S FRIEND IMRAN: Uh, sir, what were terrorists?

Good night, London. Today, at least, I'm proud to live here.


The Prayer for the Dead

Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills; yea, the accomplishment of their wills.

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