The Ten O’Clock News: Penguin Classics Represents Barbie…

It turns out I’m going out for the evening, which happens so rarely I haven’t got my shit together properly (on the plus side, Guardians of the Galaxy). Since I’m going to be entertained – or not, depending on whether it’s as good as my Twitter feed says – let’s all scratch our heads over the weird new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover:

from BBC.co.uk
from BBC.co.uk

Is it commentary on how the novel came out in the sixties, when everyone was screwing children, or did someone click the wrong file and send an illustration of a chocolate box to the cover for Barbies and Hookers?

I may have invented that title.

The Independent quotes a Penguin spokesperson as explaining  that the cover represents’“both the light and the dark aspects of life”’ but I swear I read that book a few times as a child and never imagined abject poverty or spoilt children in the form of a creepy doll child…

Seriously, I took A Level English Lit and I can’t link that picture to the book in my head. Anyone got any ideas?!

The Ten O’Clock News: Not USA-Independence Day!

The government’s gone and bought itself a massive effing boat, the unveiling of which is a massive effing attempt to convince the Scottish people to vote Union. Personally, I would then vote ‘no’ because will the Scottish government have a warship capable of carrying “40 jets and helicopters”? No. Because the Scottish government will not be able to afford a paper bag after independence, having spent everything on large tariffs and taxes it currently avoids as a member of the UK and EU. Or pro-independence celebrations. Or new flags. Or new currency. Or a new national broadcasting service.

This old-ish Guardian article explains the referendum pretty well and suggests that Scotland would, in fact keep the pound and the monarchy. But since when has a newly independent country kept the nice bits about its old state and just gained power? The last countries to join the UN as sovereign states were South Sudan in 2011 (result of civil war in Sudan. Now there is just inter-state war), Montenegro in 2006 (ex-Yugoslavia, ’nuff said) and Timor-Leste in 2002 (ex-Indonesia, massive guerilla war for ages). It’s pretty rare for peaceful states to suddenly declare independence, because usually a region wants sovereignty due to ethnic or religious differences with their neighbours. So, does Scotland have significant ethnic or religious differences from the rest of the UK?

Not really, no.

The UK is traditionally Christian, though secularism is increasing pretty much everywhere; most British people have family from elsewhere in the UK because we’re a small group of islands (most people aren’t hugely British going back a few generations but that’s a rant for another time). As far as I can tell, the biggest “national differences” are accent, traditional choice of alcohol and “national treasures”. Even then it’s dubious because let’s face it everyone loves Shakespeare and Robbie Burns and Lily Allen and Alexander Graham Bell. Okay I’m being facetious and I’ve done absolutely no statistical research for this whole paragraph… but it sounds like the SNP seriously expect to gain independence, keep all the things it likes about Britain, remove all those it doesn’t and magically fix all its problems.

From sensualeodicaprio.tumblr.com
From sensualeodicaprio.tumblr.com

I think that is a good place to end.

The Ten O’Clock News: In Which Smithy Fixes FIFA

I’m not sure how much longer the football world cup is on for so I’d better chat about it while it’s in the news. To start off, I’m with Gerard when it comes to giving a shit:

Printscreened from the Twitter.
Printscreened from the Twitter.

Seriously though, when did football become the biggest sport in Europe? Why has a bloke biting another bloke (which is gross, by the way), garnered such attention? Hopefully because it’s gross, but it’s hard to tell since a lot of big footballers get paid roughly the GDP of some small countries. (I may have invented that statistic. Shut up, I’m on holiday. Sort of.) Actually I’ve been taking a break from news stuff recently because all those actual statistics were bumming me out. Next week I’ll hopefully have regained some sense of typing but in the mean time I think it’s important that we all remember who should be in charge of the England team and probably the 2020 games.

When I was looking for that I found this and it’s flipping brilliant.

The Ten O’Clock News: Living Below the Line

I never thought I’d do the news about an article on Glamour magazine’s website, but I also thought this pose was exclusive to professional gymnasts, so if you’ve got proof UKIP’s not full of shit now would be a good time to let me know. (Please don’t let me try that outside of my Pilates class.)

Anyway.

Amanda Abbington is Living Below the Line

You guys know how during Comic Relief we sit there eating ice cream trying not to cry at all the little children living in sheds and trying to imagine what it’s like having virtually nothing to eat? Well, an organisation called Live Below the Line does a thing where people get sponsored to live, food-wise, on £1 a day for five days, so that we can start to imagine what  it’s like to live in abject poverty. Amanda Abbington’s done it and has written about it on the Glamour website (beware the distracting scroll-y thing).

To balance out all the procrastinating I did reading about Hilary Duff’s marriage, here are some fun facts about poverty! All info is from my Politics course so I don’t have sources, although I’m sure my teachers would be flattered if you demanded that I asked them to provide sources.

  • More people have access to a mobile phone than have access to a toilet 
  • It’s estimated that a country takes thirty years after a civil war to reach the level of prosperity that it held before the war
  • People tend to disagree over exactly how many people are ‘in poverty’ because if the figure sounds too high to tackle, schemes to eradicate it won’t take off. That said, poverty is relative; there are rich people in central Africa and people who can’t afford to eat in the USA. In 2005 it was estimated that about 20% of the world’s population was in poverty
  • Expanding on that: India’s effing huge general election is on at the moment and one quarter of the electorate is illiterate. Please note that India has a nuclear programme, a space programme and its own version of Hollywood
  • There is actually enough resources for everyone to have access. Or there would be if richer people were willing to share…

Okay I’m now mildly depressed and quite guilty about the amount I eat. I might try the Below the Line thing when school’s finished – has anyone else ever done it or something similar? I mean, the last time I did anything remotely selfless and food-related was when I gave up biscuits for Lent back when a) biscuits didn’t make me puke and b) I thought taking part in Lent made me a cool atheist… 

Those were the days, huh. They were also the days I could write a post without screwing with the colour scheme, so apologies if I made anyone’s eyes go funny!

The Ten O’Clock News: Send Us Your Consumer Habits for a Chance to Win $20! Or not…

Technology is not on my side this evening – don’t even get me started on my ability to lose remote controls – so I need you. Yep, you, hi. One of my morning pastimes is reading news headlines off my phone to my friends and occasionally reading aloud a story. Today I learnt I have a Lib Dem voice… Too bad the Lib Dems don’t, muahaha…

Anyway, my favourite stories are the ones that I can make a lot of noise about, like UKIP being stupid. I get to wave my hands about and everything, like I know what I’m taking about. So I’m wondering: what are your favourite news stories? The one that make you actually happy or the ones that make your blood boil or the ones about people being funny, like that Sainsbury’s cash machine?

I’m genuinely interested, and not just because I’m curious to see if it’s just me who loves getting angry at the TV… what are your news-y habits?

The Ten O’Clock News: The Luckiest Nut in the World

I feel like I’m cheating you guys out of some pi-based news chat but my wrist is creaky so here is a video about peanuts and world debt instead:

Bear with me. I first saw this video three or four years ago in Geography and didn’t really get it (WTF trade liberalisation you stupid choir). Then in Politics this week we watched it again and I got it (trade liberalisation is an idea people had to help out those in poverty by giving states loans. It doesn’t work because it inevitably makes sure that states have to borrow more money and cut public spending which usually causes poverty which can cause war which always causes poverty. You brilliant choir).

I challenge you to not have “groundnuts replaced slavery as Senegal’s biggest industry” stuck in your head today… Explaining in more detail would mean more typing so please research it and/or leave a question and I shall endeavour to answer it! Please note I will be using a handful of pages of notes and a section of one undergrad textbook. Said section may have been used to squish a bug judging by the smears over the structural adjustment programme paragraph… metaphor?!

The Ten O’Clock News: “and the Oscar goes to… every fuckin’ person who was involved in this goddamn hearbreaking real life fuckin’ example of human evil!”

So I think something like two-thirds of this year’s Oscars nominations are based on true stories – 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers’ Club, etc. (I’m assuming they’re nominated. I’ve seen them in the press, you know?!) On an almost entirely unrelated note, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical Stephen Ward is closing after a handful of months. I paid vague attention – not enough, clearly – because the actor playing Stephen Ward, who was involved in basically the first contemporary political sex scandal, was in Jesus Christ Superstar which was flipping brilliant and it got me thinking:

If you could make a film or musical about any news story, what would it be?

There are the heartbreaking stories, like the Ugandan tabloid that printed the names of gay people on their cover the day after homosexuality was made punishable by life in prison, which as a topic may well be made into a 12 Years-esque piece in years to come. So may the story of the women who were held in a basement in Ohio for, ah, almost twelve years. Or the Syrian civil war. Or the horrible one about an elderly lollipop man who was hit by a car while working.

Imagining them as films, they’re all up there with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in terms of ‘things I wouldn’t pay money to see again’. Which is sometimes what turns a film from ‘interesting’ to ‘brilliant’ (hello again 12 Years) because sometimes we need fiction to teach us about reality.

'To Kill a Mockingbird' from static.tvtropes.org
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ from static.tvtropes.org

On the other hand, we have the funny stories. Gordon Brown calling that woman a bigot. The time a woman put a cat in a bin. That Japanese toilet system that got hacked and started spewing out sewage. These might be more GIF material… I sort of want a musical about the toilet system though. Then there are the utterly brilliant and heart-warming stories, like Canada letting a child have three parents or Endal the dog who could get his owner’s cash out of machines for him. (I’m looking at you, Fred. Fred thinks that human objects are designed to be chewed; as far as I’m aware he’s never eaten our cash but he did nick an entire kebab the other day and got it clean off the skewer leaving only an unsavoury tomato. Part of me wants to reward his tenacity.)

But thinking about it, how many happy news stories get dramatised? No one wants to see The Day the Bus Driver Let Children Board for Free or Supermarkets: Assistants Are Lovely. We want Honey, I Think the Kid’s Self Harming and Kiddiefiddlers Unlocked Part 87.

Then there are the gross stories that are just made for bad adverts. You know those parent blogs where people live post their labour? Yeah. They’d be those adverts at the cinema that never, ever seem to end.

Ew.

Right, current events that should be turned into films: go!

The Ten O’Clock News: There’s a Word for What Happens to Your Nose When You Have a Cold!

Actually I don’t think there is. When I started this post I felt sure I could come up with a term, but the thing about colds is that they render the brain completely useless.

So any suggestions are welcome. So far I’ve considered:

  • Tissue rash
  • Snotticus nasalrash
  • Sneeze-induced face rash
  • Notevenmedicationcansolvethis

Ugh. Help.