Reading newspapers these days provides all the entertainment I can handle within a whisker of apoplexy.
Who needs satire, stand-up comedy, erotica or studies of human pathology when we have The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian and so forth.
Satire in particular can never keep pace with reports on everyday life. To wit:
For decades now, Harvey Weinstein has been one of Hollywood’s top producers. He has made more Oscar-winning films than many producers have made films.
Now the boom has come down on his head: hundreds of actresses have accused him of using his position to try to coerce them into sex.
Alas, it’s a widely known fact that most Hollywood actresses have had to bonk their way to the top. This tradition is doubtless demeaning to women, but also to the men who have to rely on such tricks to get sex.
By the looks of Harvey, he would be hard-pressed to get women into bed if he produced not international blockbusters but, say, loo seats. So those accusations ring both true and, for anyone who knows anything about the cinema business, almost superfluous.
What I do find astounding is that none of those indignant accounts features a woman who actually succumbed to Harvey’s unsolicited advances. Surely there must have been some? Over the past 30 years?
Or perhaps not: today’s aspiring Hollywood starlets are too robust of morals and too committed to women’s rights to gratify a chap whose one word can make the difference between stardom and waiting on tables.
So much more damning it is that, after being contemptuously dismissed hundreds of times, the frisky mogul kept trying. Some people just never learn their lesson.
Russell Fuller, the BBC tennis correspondent, defends equal prize money for women players. The gap between them and the men used to exist, he writes, but it doesn’t any longer: the women have as much athleticism and weight of shot.
On reading this I heaved a sigh of relief. Now we could stop the offensive, sexist discrimination of men and women playing in separate tournaments. Let them all play together – the women will win their fair share of prize money, weight of shot and all. Mr Fuller and I have no doubt about that. I wonder if the women players share our confidence.
At least Russell stayed within his area of expertise, such as it is. Martin Samuels, probably our best football writer, ventured outside – with the same pathetic results such forays by sports hacks always produce. This is what he wrote:
“Brexit, Catalan nationalism, Scottish nationalism, I see it all pretty much as flips of the same coin. This desperate, misguided belief to see us all as different, when we are largely the same. Differences in culture. Yes, sure. But the day after the Brexit vote I sat in my Paris hotel and looked out of the window at the junction below and saw thousands of people who looked exactly like us…
“The differences are historic, cultural, the similarities are human… Why do tiny regions wish to break away and live in isolation wrapped around a flag? Who becomes stronger by getting smaller?”
If Martin, who’s rather corpulent, believes that bigger equates stronger, he should challenge a professional middleweight to a fight and see how he gets on.
Applying the same principle, he must also believe that the Ukraine is stronger than Switzerland; Nepal, than Singapore; and Ethiopia, than Israel.
Though it’s true that people in different countries tend to have the same number of limbs and similar internal organs, sovereign statehood springs precisely from “historic and cultural” differences.
To use the former as an argument against the latter is, well, ignorant, to put it kindly. And equating Brexit with Catalan separatism isn’t something that can be described kindly. Is Martin aware that Britain isn’t technically a province of the EU, the way Catalonia is a province of Spain?
Really he ought to stick to wingbacks and holding midfielders. But he won’t, will he? And Martin? Do look up the difference between ‘historic’ and ‘historical’.
Students at Oxford University banned the Christian Union from attending a freshers’ fair to protect new undergraduates from “harm”. Christianity, they explained, is “an excuse for homophobia and neo-colonialism”. The implication is that it’s all Christianity is.
On that basis they should have banned all Muslims as well. Christians regard homosexuality as a sin, but at least they don’t toss homosexuals off tall buildings. That practice is the unique property of Muslims – and their record on colonialism isn’t exactly pristine either.
Except that in their case the colonialism wasn’t just geopolitical but also religious: as the Arabs conquered new territories, they converted their new subjects to Islam at sword’s point. That’s how their religion spread: one doesn’t hear about too many Muslim missionaries risking their lives to preach to the uninitiated.
Jews should be excluded as well: while their record on colonialism hasn’t been too bad since the time Moses led those ancient Hebrews to the Promised Land, their feelings about homosexuality are similar to the Christians’.
People who venerate scripture describing homosexuality as an ‘abomination’ shouldn’t be allowed to sully Oxford halls with their malevolent presence. In fact, the only group that should be welcome are militantly atheist Corbyn voters, ideally anti-Semitic (tautology?).
Those self-righteous young cretins (another tautology?) ought to remind themselves that, without Christianity, their university wouldn’t exist at all. Nor would any other similarly old educational institution.
But for those Mediaeval friars, these religion haters would now all be studying at polytechnics. Perhaps that’s where they belong anyway, devoting themselves to less challenging academic subjects, such as plumbing.
Interestingly, Frederick Potts, who led the anti-Christian campaign, was a star of Balliol’s University Challenge team. This proves yet again, if any proof is needed, that there’s more to education than the knowledge of trivia.