Monday, July 28, 2014

The wars on the television will never be explained - Israel and Gaza

Having always been more of a Christopher acolyte than a follower of Peter, I still subscribe to the Hitchens scripture. And yes, the theocratic analogy was quite deliberate.

In an otherwise faultless polemic on Israel and Gaza, he had this to say:
The fate of Israel will be decided in people’s minds, in countries like ours, and on TV screens, not by bullets and high explosive. Each episode of this kind makes that future more doubtful.
At first I was staggered by that. I do find the small victories on Twitter and on the messageboards of liberal newspapers to be tedious, especially as the backdrop is death and destruction of real people, not of arguments and points. We may like to think that starting hashtags on Twitter and supporting John Snow means that the Israeli army will cease, but they won't. Britain doesn't have the same power any more. That is the real legacy of appeasement and retreat.
But wars aren't won on our TV screens. It's a fallacy. Propaganda is important, just look at the rampaging ISIS mob as it butchers Mosul, recuiting other nutters to their winning team. Or rather you can't, because they won't allow it. We can't see it, but it doesn't mean it isn't happening. And it doesn't mean they aren't winning.

There is only one country "like ours" where people's minds will decide the fate of that Israel: Israel itself.

It isn't just me, LinkedIn really has lost its way

Monday, July 21, 2014

What have we been reduced to? Gaza, Ukraine and Twitter banter

I watch the news every day. My faith, my values, what I cherish above all else, is the sanctity of human life above all political squabbles. 

It distresses to see humanity stripped from much discourse about Gaza. "They" did this, so "we" can do this. 

What particularly upsets me is tit for tat 'yebbut' posturing telling me what I am not allowed to condemn, or pity, or mourn. Like some guy Hillel Neuer in a quote recently listing every current atrocity and challenging anyone to somehow associate any shred of condemnation of Gaza with them all, thus laying down the charge that to fail to do so is actually "anti-Israel". Then some pillock on a demo has a banner likening Israel to Hitler, which a stream of other twits claim is enough to render the entire march as wrong. Or those who think not enough Israelis have died to justify military action. It's all messed up.

It's all been reduced to banter on Twitter. Suarez, Gaza, the Golf, Ukraine, Michael Gove. Instant opinions and powerless passive aggressive nonsense.

It's wrong to kill on such a scale. Wrong to lob rockets indiscriminately, wrong to kidnap school girls in Nigeria, to blow airliners out of the sky above Ukraine. This should never become a zero sum battle of moral equivalence, that the scoring of points on social media is the ultimate forum - the goal, the triumph. Of course it isn't, but it feels like it's getting that way.

Where in our twisted humanity did we lose the capacity to be able to call something for what it is without the Pavlovian response of "yebbut what about what they did?"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Music Review - Nicky Campbell and Kate Robbins - We're Just Passing Through

We're not unfamiliar with Nicky Campbell's voice in our house. It used to be the first one we heard in the morning, but we get up before he starts his Breakfast show on BBC Radio Five Live these days. We're not immune to his talents and the cadence of his voice and his vocabulary.

So his foray into music isn't a surprise - but the delights of his work with Kate Robbins are. Why do I say that?

For a start I don't really like smokey bar room jazz - not my thing - but it's what Kate does very well. She did the Crying Game song which dominated that movie. But for those of us prepared to like a bit of everything, to dip into something new and to make our world just that little bit bigger, there's so much to luxuriate in here. It's a lovely blend of styles, clever use of instruments and for fans of Nicky a cute turn of phrase at every turn.

Musically, I like Nicky's vocals on Tell My Heart (video above), a tender and uplifting song with probably an unconscious nod to another current favourite of mine, David Ford.

But I think my favourite track is Let's Just See How It Goes - redolent of Paul Heaton and The Beautiful South with lots of quirky references to pepper a doubled headed love song, managing to rhyme Machiavelli and Delhi Belly as it does so.

So yes, something to savour this summer, the soundtrack of our afternoon in the garden, as well as the morning chorus.