Posts by Rich Lock

  • Hard News: Friday Music: It's good to…,

    Spike Milligan has a piece in one of his war memoir books about being on home defence in the early part of the war, and sitting in a pillbox with his mates and a record player listening to tunes, with one eye out for the German invasion and the other looking out for any approaching officers. He notes that despite loving the music, there are still certain records he can't listen to as they bring up too many memories, and too many ghosts.

    I found this Pulp tune very difficult to listen to for many years:

    ...and the line about "the child's toy horse ride that played such a ridiculously tragic tune" always made me think of the end credits to the film 'Withnail and I', which I still can't listen to (included here with the preceding Hamlet speech for added poignacy):

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Leviathan,

    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." - attributed to Cardinal Richelieu.

    I'm not confident that The Musketeers are riding to our rescue this time.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to nzlemming,

    The New Yorker.

    The overall tone/narrative of The Atlantic piece is along the lines of 'The West thinks it's fighting Al-Quaeda 2.0. That is a wrong and dangerous assumption. Here's the real situation and why that assumption is dangerous'.

    The overall tone of the NY piece is: 'The Atlantic article drifts close to saying we are at war with Islam. This is wrong and aids our opponents on 'The Right', and therefore we shouldn't say it'.

    Well, firstly I don't think The Atlantic article did do that, and the author of the NY piece conspicuously fails to give any concrete examples.

    Secondly, I am assuming that most people reading it can parse the difference between opposition to fundamentalist strands of a religion and the religion itself. This is the kind of distinction I would like those in power to be able to make and act on, and to be briefed and informed accordingly (the Atlantic article points out that the response so far indicates that this is not the case - i.e. the US responding as if it's fighting Al-Quaeda 2.0).

    Thirdly, 'The Right' is going to do whatever it pleases in terms of narrative-setting whether or not intelligent articles with subtle shades of detail in them are published. If you're damnned if you do and damnned if you don't, then frankly you might as well do it anyway.

    Fourthly, and bearing in mind point 3, I take umbrage at effectively being told to watch my mouth in case an idiot, or block thereof, is unable to distinguish shades of gray. I would dearly like more in-depth and intelligent media analysis to be available, rather than most of the BS we currently get. Media dumbing-down is a perrenial complaint, not least on this site. And what happens when we do get something not dumbed-down? Along comes someone telling us to watch what is said in case of misinterpretation, and aid to our opponents. That's knind of insulting, as the assumption is that the readers can't carry out their own analysis and make up their own minds.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to David Hood,

    A response to the Atlantic article, criticizing the clash of civilizations narrative.

    Thanks for that. But a distinct whiff of Straw Men and what-iffery, imho.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    If I understand correctly, if somebody calls you an apostate then either they're right in which case they have to kill you, or they're wrong, in which case they are considered apostate and you have to kill them.

    Is also my understanding, based on The Atlantic article I linked to above.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    but won't be once they shift back into guerrilla mode

    It's unlikely that they will now that ISIS has declared the Caliphate*.

    See this excellent article which in my opinion is required reading for anyone discussing this topic.

    *needless to say, that doesn't mean that dealing with this issue makes yer extremist problem go away, just this particular hydra head.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: The Force will be with…,

    We got scared and the reason we got scared is because we have kids now.

    It's the same problem every generation seems to go through: How can I make sure that my children grow up with the same experiences I had?

    Just re-reading the original blog again, more thoroughly - this is what I was getting at with my first post. I went through something like this when my daughter was two-three (you will play with the toolset..... No, the toolset... the toolset. Step away from the fish). However, my jedi mind tricks didn't work on her very well. I sort of came out the other side around the time she turned four. I'm actually really enjoying being along for the ride as she finds her own way. It's fun trying to find new stuff that we might all enjoy, and seeing it and the old stuff through new eyes.

    http://xkcd.com/1053/

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: The Force will be with…, in reply to mark taslov,

    Nice. I tend to think Craig's comment....

    It tanked in 1982, but everyone who saw it went off and drew comic books, directed music videos and made more movies

    ....could sorta be applied to 'Star Wars' as well, as that film shows. It inspired a lot of people to go off and dream up their own stuff set in that Universe. Most of the expanded universe stuff ranges over a full spectrum from 'meh' to 'embarrassingly bad', but still...

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: The Force will be with…, in reply to BenWilson,

    She's always in the thick of it, you can't accuse her of not pulling her action weight. She's the last one to leave the rebel base when Hoth is invaded, still barking evacuation instructions. She's on board the fleeing ship custodian of the stolen plans, defiant in the face of torture by Vader. She's in the rearguard battle on Cloud City, she's riding a speeder on Endor, shooting at Storm Troopers. She totally chokes out Jabba, and that's after staunching out the whole throne room dressed as a bounty hunter carrying a suicide bomb. Not to mention she has some of the best lines. She's a really big part of what made the first franchise hold together.

    Not to mention that when she has a gun held to her entire planet ("You would prefer another target, a military target?"), she has the brass ovaries to stone-cold poker-faced lie right to the face of Governor Tarkin. And that's after torture by the freaky floating torture-droid thing in her cell block. Which she clearly was able to effectively resist.

    I have lots to say about Star Wars, but must resist.

    It's still of some relevance to the younger generations. My 4-year old daughter likes it, but doesn't love it: for her, it's just one of many, many options: Marvel Cinematic Universe, How to Train your Dragon, Frozen, Mary Poppins.

    The fun for her seems to be in mixing them up. I usually end up playing George Banks or Anna to her Elsa, Toothless or Stormfly. Occasionally I manage to be Iron Man.

    I've found the best way to watch any of them is an almost literal machete: We've watched the original Ep4 escape from the death star and subsequent attack dozens of times, but hardly any of the rest of the film (frankly, a lot of it is pretty dull, and I say that as a fan). There's only a few small parts of the prequels actually worth watching. For example, the Darth Maul/Qi Jonn/Obi-Wan fight at the end of Ep1. In the original cinematic release, it's intercut with the fucking abysmal climatic Trade Federation/Droid army fight ("this is neat!" "use-a da bomb-ba jar-jar" shudder), but it's actually pretty awesome if watched uninterrupted/uncut, and available in that form via Youtube.

    That was the worst part of the prequels for me: If they'd been pure unadulterated crap, I'd have preferred that to what we got, which was flashes of enough really cool stuff, often in the background or as atmosphere, to show you how good it could have been, before dropping a huge steaming pile of something awful onto your lap.

    And I'd recommend anyone jonesing for a Star Wars action hit to youtube the intro/cutscenes from 'the old republic' games. Far more energy and imagination than Lucas showed in almost all of the tired mess of the prequels

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Terror panics and the war imperative, in reply to BenWilson,

    How can military policy ever be based on anything but death threats?

    Portions of the top brass in a lot of western militaries have been moving more towards attempting to position/align their military arms for a more peacekeeping/policing/nationbuilding role over the last 20-odd years.

    Which is all very well, but the infrastructure, equipment, training and mentality is still combat-oriented, and there is quite a bit of institutional passive and active resistance to movement in that direction, both macro and micro.

    Once governments have sunk billions into a project like the Eurofighter (so that we can achieve air supremacy over Europe if the USSR invades), it's difficult to pull the plug.

    Similarly, if the gunnery sergeant responsible for training a bunch of raw recruits has an old-school mentality, no amount of memos on the soft use of force is going to change the style he passes on.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2407 posts Report Reply

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