I’ve got to admit I did quite enjoy the film, The Purge, as it was an intriguing extension/end-game to an imaginary, increasingly polarised society – both violent & religious in equal measure – and highlighted how accepting, or at least acquiescent, a whole society can be. But it was a film, it was fiction and it would never actually happen. Would it? Think again. It’s happening right here, right now. Think Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Chairman Mao and now think Rodrigo Duterte, newly elected President of the Philippines.
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I’ve always had an intense relationship with the telephone. It was an epiphany of Damascene proportions when I realised that, as a young & naïve telesales guy, I could indeed be tall, dark & handsome on the phone, and some well-chosen words really could get me anywhere. Well, at least through to the hiring manager. The phone represented a symbol of opportunity, it was going to get me to where I wanted to be, and, as such, you had more chance of seeing the Statue of Liberty without her torch than me without a phone glued to my ear.
In answer to the TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemptions) revelations of the last couple of weeks, Sir Bradley deemed to give journalist pal, William Fothergill, an ‘access-all-areas’ interview in this weekend’s Guardian. By all means do have a read if you’re interested on finding out more concerning the grey areas of drug use professional teams operate within, but I suspect, like me, you’ll be left a tad nonplussed by his range of reasons and excuses.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a scathing piece condemning the state-sponsored approach towards systematic doping taken by the Russian Olympics & Paralympics Federations and contrasting it with that of our own. Broadly speaking, my argument was based upon our two very different, but somehow strangely similar, approaches to the quest for international sporting recognition: ours was to spank the cash, there’s was to inject the dope. However, as it’s recently transpired, perhaps our two systems are even more similar than I alluded to.
Many of you will already know that I’m the least-travelled of individuals and the daily commute to Peckham still fills me with an equal combination of trepidation and excitement. So you can only wonder at my feelings when faced with the joyous prospect of a business trip to the US – imagine a midget ginga Mickey Rooney-esque individual playing the Eddie Murphy character in ‘Coming to America’ and you won’t be a million miles away.
If you know the picture you’re probably already aware of the story and, though I did steal the title, here’s a slightly different spin on it with a little more context.
In 2003, a couple of years before Herr Zuckerberg (allegedly) had the idea of stealing Facebook off the Winklevoss twins, he launched Facemash. It featured photos of students side by side, and requested viewers to vote on whom they thought the more attractive. Needless to say, the site was regarded as no more than a pick-up site that lent itself to the risqué and ignominiously closed down by the authorities, tout suite. The entrepreneur is on record of admitting he was a bit of a jerk but even this wasn’t an original idea, merely a blatant copy of ratemyface, hotornot and fitsort. I suspect Mark’s not kept awake too often by the thought that it’s also not a million miles away from Tinder or Grindr but at least his lack of innovative thought & social perception makes me feel a whole lot better about myself.
Fast forward a few billion and he now rules the world. But he’s still more than up to the task of acting a bit of a jerk. Or even a lot of one.
Earlier this month an author/journalist was banned from Facebook for posting the admittedly shocking & horrific, but globally iconic photograph of Kim Phuc, in which the naked and terrified Vietnamese girl is pictured running screaming from a US napalm attack. It singlehandedly turned popular opinion against the American War (as it’s rightly called in Vietnam) where the administration had chosen the world’s weakness communist state to go pick-on. However, Zuckerberg described it as transgressing the rules governing pornographic images, and not content with just the individual, went on to sanction many more, including Norway’s largest newspaper. Please take a few seconds to study the photograph and look at the faces of the two principal protagonists. The boy could have acted as the model for Edvard Munch’s The Scream and if you see anything pornographic in Kim then you’re already on the sex offenders’ register. Saucy snap it ain’t. With his ‘previous’ you’d think he’d be able to tell the difference.
So, the all-pervasive Facebook can do as they please and attempt to act as some form of moral arbiter of, not only the present, but also the retelling of the past. They should be delighted in their influence and you’d think that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander? But no, these titans of technology don’t necessarily practice what they preach and routinely pack their maturing offspring to the olde worlde Waldorf School, where all screens are banned and t’internet non-negotiably prohibited. A case of drug dealers avoiding their own product me-thinks.
A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of catching a radio interview with a highly sceptical, surprisingly witty Glasgow café owner, who, whilst going about his daily ‘full English’ business had been asked whether his pancakes were gluten-free? Now, just before you steam head-long into anticipated stereotypes, said owner firstly enquired whether if the customer was coeliac, which she’d never heard of, and secondly, how her gluten-intolerance personally manifested itself, whereby she was unable to give even one example of her supposed symptoms.
Having competed in triathlon in the past you’ll often have found me sexily encased in black neoprene. To that, I’ll usually have added a swimming cap and, in particularly cold water, I’ve even been known to don thick waterproof socks. I can do that as it’s my choice, and so could you, unless you’re a Muslim woman on a French beach.
Whilst waiting for the swimming pool to open, my conspiracy-theorist pal asked whether I had seen the helmet-cam-cycling footage of future national-treasure, Jeremy Vine? Obviously, not being part of today’s social media revolution I hadn’t, so he very kindly downloaded it onto his picture-phone. WTF.
It was a pleasant surprise to find out that Sports Direct are NOT the worst employer in the UK. No, even though their long-suffering workforce will now receive back pay of a million quid (for knowingly being paid less than the minimum wage), that dubious accolade goes to the ever-benevolent, Wimbledon sited, San Lorenzo restaurant, which has had to cough-up over £3000 to each of their 30 employees. I hope the owner chokes on one of his dough balls.