Cui bono?

honor hominesque honesti floreant

Category: gm

Careful with that stuff – where’s it from anyway?

We are pleased to learn, by postcard from France, that Manos hopes to return before long.  Evidently he has been spending some of his time in Germany  developing some skill in miniature calligraphy.  (It looks as if he has taken Rudolf Koch as a model for form, even if not for size; admirable choice.)  He will not, alas, be bringing samples of leukophyll with him ready to be planted in unsuspecting corners all over the island, but (to my amazement) he still thinks his negotiations to develop  ecologically aggressive white grass may save the world from climatic disaster.  At present, however, he is helping to organise a music festival in the west of France, for which he has written what he describes as a disconcerto, to be called ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.  It has bowls, cake tins, frying pans, kettles and other culinary equipment as the instruments, to be played by a group called the ‘Marignac 47’ who will beat the vessels with ladles and industrial cutlery, and who will wear white full-length aprons and tall white hats for the performances.  A screaming soprano is to be the soloist. (Further information and tickets, 39 euros, through this office)

      (1) grounded aircraft         (2) learning culture

      (3) eugenics                         (4) PR delicacy

      (5) eating gm                      (6) Brexit w(h)ither?

No news can be strange news (A special correspondent writes) Do you remember that story about the grounding of all Delta’s aircraft world-wide?  One of the first curious things about it, considering that we’re approaching the peak holiday season for many countries, and that there was plenty of coverage of the resulting inconvenience for tourists, was how quickly it all slid quietly out of the headlines.  Another surprise was how little accompanying news there was about the trouble that must have been caused to the Atlanta area apart from Delta HQ, if it was a general black-out.  Anyway it’s a shame if a large organisation like that which obviously relies hugely on electricity could not have had a well-prepared system for emergency power generation.  After all widespread power outages are not unknown in the southern US.  If it wasn’t a good old-fashioned power outage, I mean, if it was actually caused by some fault or failure in the computer software, they’d have told us, wouldn’t they?  If it was caused by some malware or hacker actually getting into their network and causing a problem, they would have mentioned it.  Wouldn’t they?  Or perhaps it just slipped their mind.  If it seemed to be the result of a computer ransom demand or something that involved the word ‘terrorist’, they would have let the world know.  Wouldn’t they?    What do you think?  Given the things that happen these days on the computer networks and in the tangible world you’d have thought that they might just have taken the trouble to tell everybody that it was nothing that involved any sort of terrorist issue, but no, judging from the news media I saw it seems they never got around to that.  Perhaps the news outlets simply didn’t ask about that sort of thing.  I guess they were busy and just didn’t get around to it; just a little ordinary problem that got a little larger than usual, nothing too serious that could have any major economic impact or put people off travelling.

——————–

(By e-mail from Dr Philipp in Mogadishu for his wife’s photographic exhibition)  Non sequitur sequitur (Yes, deliberate of course but how many will understand why?  O tempora, o mores!)  Have you noticed that enthusiasm for this popular error in reasoning shows signs of spreading out from the political field and is also escaping the verbal format.  There is evidence that it has now reached the film industry, always eager to join the latest trend as soon as it realises there is a trend to be joined, so that it can show it has not lost all contact with modern ‘culture’.  It is reported that a Mr Matt Damon is to ‘star’ in a film which will present scenes from the legends and prehistory of China as envisaged by American movie makers, and this is announced as ‘using cinema to introduce viewers to Chinese culture’.  Like us, you are probably looking forward to seeing Beyonce in an armoured-car chase through the streets of 1890s Moscow as a way of introducing viewers to the spirit of Russian literature.

——————–

Question of the week (or fortnight) Maud writes: In the 1930s western nations practised eugenics.  More ‘nice’ nations were at it than you would ever guess if you only look at what floats around on the nicely filtered, EU-approved surface of their national consciousness today.  It wasn’t just Germany by any means.  On the contrary, they included all the Nordic countries, the USA and Japan.  [Maud are you sure?  Please check whether Japan could be considered a ‘nice’ country at this period]   All these countries employed surgical techniques (in parts of America until 1972), with various levels of persuasion up to and certainly including compulsion, and with a wide range of groups and individuals affected, but often including unmarried mothers and members of ethnic minorities..  The modern equivalent is an immigration policy.  Which causes more misery?  Which causes more fatalities?  Think carefully before answering.  Just to mention one factor, how many child refugees from Syria travelling on their own have disappeared in the past three years?

——————–

Congratulations to the spokesman for the Thai police who steadfastly upheld the ancient traditions of official public relations.  Responding to requests for information following the co-ordinated launch of nine bomb attacks killing four people and leaving more than thirty injured, some seriously, in various cities of the country’s separatist south where hundreds have been killed in the past 15 years, he assured those listening that this was ‘not a terrorist attack’ but ‘local people’.  It is thought he was probably not referring to ill-judged firework displays but instead suggesting that either personal factors or business disputes might have been involved.  Some observers believed that at one point he might even have been close to the celebrated classic, ‘No danger to the public’ (See ‘Official Handbook for public announcements in case of nuclear attack’) but in the event this turned out beyond the limits of the possible.  However, the public will doubtless be relieved to hear that the nine further devices discovered later had failed to detonate, and also that the police were able on the following day to confirm that the series of explosions, across five provinces, while co-ordinated, was not terrorism.

—————————-

Thoughtful Europeans [American readers may prefer to pronounce those words as ‘hidebound old-fashioned Europeans’] are reluctant to ask their internal organs to deal with the products of genetic manipulations that have produced new vegetables of types hitherto unknown to Public Health Inspectorates.  The manufacturers (or should that be ‘the experimenters’?) make great play with the argument that there cannot be anything wrong with these new gifts to the profitable success of vigorous go-ahead American biotech firms, because American consumers have been consuming ‘nature identical’ gm maize products and gm corn products for twenty years with no evidence of harmful effects.  This office would just like to draw attention to certain matters of possible relevance.

(1) The fact that some ailments can cause death without the production of any new    chemicals at all.    Cf  the ‘folding’ of the prions in bovine spongiform encephalitis

(2) Latency for some ailments sometimes being more than fifty years

(3) The current US presidential campaign and accompanying polling figures

——————–

Late news It can be confirmed that Britain is continuing its determined effort to get away from Europe.  Measurements last week made by the British Institute for the Localisation and Geodesy of England show that Dover is already 13 centimetres further to westward of Calais than it was on the first of June this year, matched by a similar shift in Cardigan Bay.  This news has produced vigorous reactions in Dublin with some ecstatic, others in despair.  Rival manifestations are being planned.  One promoted by the tourist industry will march with the slogan Fáilte go Baile Átha Cliath, while the other made up of  those who fear they will have to take the traditional escape route to avoid the Anglo-Saxon impact will go under the banner Tá mé ag dul go Meiriceá.   

——————–

Linguistic corner (A reader contributes)  ‘Writer’s block’ is a large piece of very hard wood on which you place the assembled notes of the book you have been working on for somewhat over three years, before taking up your axe and reducing them to tiny, wretched fragments, which you then load into three large black plastic bags in the back of the pick-up that you drive first to the dump where you trample them, ineffectively (since you are wearing rubber boots), before leaving and heading for the harbour bridge.

Amymone, we have lost your address and phone number; please get in touch with us as soon as you can

Globalisation is bunk

Editorial note: I suspect I am declining into what my grandmother, Lady Craigeaster, used to call maturity, though to me it still looks like a shortfall in the ruthless selfishness that served me well in my youth before I realised that banking was the shorter and easier path to substantial wealth and to friendship with those holding the levers of modern power.  Whatever the case, I cannot conceive that fifteen years ago I would have permitted a contribution, such as the one immediately following, to sully the pages of this journal, whereas last week I found myself writing ‘Let the young have their say.  It has virtually no effect on the great causes of the state, merely releases a little steam that might otherwise escape through some inconvenient orifice in the body politic.’

There is a lot of talk in all the branches of the media about globalisation, which is taken to be a done deal already (as the change of the climate really will be in perhaps as little as ten years from now.)  The world does not have globalisation.  Holding this belief simply shows that the believer is a member of that benighted throng who think of the activities of humanity as consisting solely of trade and money.  The human species has made a lot of progress over the past 100,000 years and at the very least ninety percent of that was before any significant emergence of what could reasonably be called trade, while money has only been around for a mere two and a half thousand years.  It is true that in that short time it has caused mistrust, misery and warfare on a staggering scale, and has formed, as if deliberately, a Mephistophelean strategic alliance with organs of government round the world which has enabled it  to thrust a vicious wedge into the other aspects of human life to a point which threatens the extinction of the species.  For a trivial indication of the depth of the wound, read printed news or scan the internet for reports on, for instance, fine art or sport and notice how much of the report is taken up not with information about artists and their paintings or with athletes and their achievements but about financial activities of those involved or even just peripherally concerned.  Yet the many other forms of human activity most certainly still exist and although money can be dragged into them, they undoubtedly came into existence and they continue to exist for the sake of those parts that are not bound up with money (except in the view of the already enslaved members of governments).  There are, to begin with, all the other arts, music, literature, dance, the cinema; there is the terrestrial world, unimaginably complex in its geological, botanical, and zoological aspects and human interaction with it; and then beside that the marine world with all the same aspects; the myriad systems of custom about how one human may, should or must not interact with others; sports have already been mentioned.  We could certainly add more, but there is already enough background against which to remark that in all of them globalisation is non-existent.  On the contrary, we see diversity so various and huge that no human can hope to comprehend it even within one of the areas cited; and certainly it is far beyond anything that can even be sketched in a paragraph like this.  I do not simply mean that a particular artistic tradition of wood carving or a particular athletic activity, for instance, may not be widely practised outside a very limited area; rather, I mean that it will be completely unknown to the overwhelming mass of mankind, not excluding those who are (justifiably) regarded as having expert knowledge of athletic activity or three-dimensional art.  How many students of the theatre anywhere in the world except northern Thailand know, for instance, of Lakhorn Sor a traditional style of improvisatory performance accompanied by music which perhaps resembles the earliest beginnings of theatre in ancient Greece?

   So much for the first barrel of this requisitory polemic against the presumption of the globalists.  But there is a second.  How global is the globalisation which gives them such satisfaction?  It is astonishingly far from complete.  What we have even on the most charitable view is globalisation minus free movement of workers (and despite the best efforts of the desperate poor of northern Africa, giving away their life-savings to trafficking gangs, in order to gamble their lives against the power of the Mediterranean.)  One of the main supporting pillars of the whole enterprise missing then, and thereby a tremendous  and blatant reduction to the efficient working of the capitalist system, somewhat as in the operation of a bus which has a powerful engine but no seats for passengers, though some strong ones and lucky ones may manage to cling on here and there to the superstructure.  But enough is enough; if a second barrel is ever discharged, it will be at another time and place.

Claus Mudarris

Accra

There is a lot to be said for the Aussies.  Fine hard-working, straight-talking people, and when the going is really tough, they are as dependable and loyal as any race on earth, as they proved many times over in the two World Wars.  They have the odd blind spot, admittedly.  Why do they spend so much time in the water, teasing the sharks, when they have the money and the technology to zoom along over the surface under sail, finest sport available to a young man, or woman?  It is the sharks’ ocean after all.  As land-dwellers we would all take it rather badly if we were peacefully enjoying dinner in a fine restaurant and were suddenly intruded upon by a couple of great whites which had thought it might be fun to play hide and seek under the tables or to swing from chandelier to chandelier over our heads.  Anyway, in the recent terrible outbreaks of wildfires over large areas of Australia we once again saw the Aussie spirit, with whole communities pitching in together for the good of all.  Hundreds of volunteer firefighters turning up and working day and night to save what they could, no waiting for the ‘government to do something about it’; families leaving their own homes at risk so that they could try to stave off the threat to a neighbour’s property.   This is the way that nations should run, with people working together spontaneously, because it helps a neighbour, not because it is laid down in some set of regulations laid down by some remote committee of buffoons.  (In saying that, I’m thinking of cases like the  fireman charged with a disciplinary offence because of saving a drowning woman from a river, since his rules stated that ‘personnel should not enter the water’.  Which country?  You have probably guessed – modern Britain.)

            There was, however, a thin black lining to this silver Australian cloud.  One of the shining examples of mutual co-operation was in Tasmania, and during this it was discovered that one community had been cut off for days, and was in urgent need of supplies, both of provisions and of equipment needed to fight the fires and for rescue work.  The need was quickly met by people working, in some cases until exhausted, through their social networks on and off the internet, and at one point more than thirty boats were sent off with supplies.  That whole operation was a fine success. But afterwards it turned out that even in this wonderful outpost of the human race, the influence of the British bureaucrat is not unknown.  There was criticism of those who had not worked through the official channels, who had not got permission for this or that activity, and had gone ahead and helped people without being properly authorised to do so.  The most vaporous comment was that the despatch of the boats to help the isolated group involved boats that were not in a proper condition to put to sea (as far as I know they all did the trip there and back without mishap) and that people might have hurt themselves unloading the needed supplies.  To the best of my knowledge, nobody hurt themselves unloading supplies; there is no law against people unloading supplies to help others, and I am sure that even if there had been the unloaders would have used forceful language in saying they were going to make the trip and do the unloading anyway.  And good for them!

Charles Millarby-Wendlesham

Writtlehanpton

I don’t think I’d like to meet any of those genitically modified humans, as Jojo Ceausescu wrote about a week back.  I expect they’d all be about seven feet tall which doesn’t give much chance to the little ’uns, even if they aren’t going to be around till 2030 or something like.  But if those sientists are getting all so clever, why can’t they do something realy exciting we could all enjoy like they could modifie some of those big lizards like you see on tv and turn them into real dragons.  Come on sientists, get your white coats on!

Auliffe Baratsch

Yeovil