Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Unhelpful messages No. 3

Error: bX-aiksoi : supposedly an explanation for not uploading a post ! What the hell does it mean ?

Unhelpful messages No.2

Terms and conditions apply.
Classic FM adverts

Unhelpful messages No.1

Other parts were played by members of the cast.

BBC Radio 4

Desperate Anachronisms

I have been watching the BBC's Desperate Romantics about the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (to be precise, about the leading pre-Raphaelites as all the others don't get a look-in). I have been enjoying it despite the suspect dialogue. Did Rossetti really frequently exclaim "shit". Don't misunderstand. I'm not objecting to the coarseness. I simply doubt that it was the expletive of choice in the 1850s.

The latest episode went beyond the substitution of modern Atlantic dialect for mid-Victorian upper class speech. It was historically innaccurate. The brothers suspect that Ruskin is trying to arrange adultery between his wife Effie and Millais in order to begin divorce proceedings against her. His marriage was actually annulled in 1854 and she married Millais in 1855. At that time divorce required a private Act of Parliament, which may have been beyond Ruskin's means. Divorce through the courts only became available in 1858. In the same programme Holman Hunt refers to Rossetti's libido, a term which didn't come into use until Sigmund Freud developed psycho-analysis forty years later. If the writer Peter Bowker can't be bothered to get his history right, surely the BBC also employs researchers and script editors.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The strange case of Jack Straw, justice, Gary McKinnon and General Pinochet

As Home Secretary Jack Straw evaded his legal obligation to extradite murderer and torturer Pinochet by saying that he was unfit to face trial. Pinochet returned home to greet his supporters showing no signs of unfitness. Even tea with Margaret Thatcher hadn't made him sick.

Perhaps as Minister of Justice, Straw might see the case for refusing to extradite Gary McKinnon as unfit to face trial, or does that get-out-of-jail free card only apply to corrupt dictators and not to UFO-geeks with aspergers. I don't suppose Straw will stop the extradition. Giving him the post of "Secretary of State for Justice" truly took New Labour into the realms of 1984.