Saturday, November 08, 2008


After a punishingly busy week, with a punishingly pleasurable interlude in the Old White Hart shared with some 1982 highland malt whisky and a select group of brilliant people from work, I found myself with a whole week's unread copies of the Guardian to look through this morning. There was the odd significant event, but I would like to give my own special Fatman awards to three pieces.

First, curmudgeon of the week goes to Ariane Sherine with yet another attack on the inventiveness of text language.
Nearly as heinous are emoticons, where valid symbols are robbed of their purpose and contorted into "faces", even by people over 12. "But I need to use smileys so people know when I'm joking," enthusiasts protest, unwittingly making yet another case for the exclamation mark. If you're ever tempted to clarify yourself with brackets and colons, just remember: anyone who needs their email illustrated with pictures probably isn't deserving of your prose.
OMG WTF r U going on about? :-( :-(

Next, the award for violent crime of the week goes to the Catholic Church.
An Italian man has claimed he was beaten up by two 83-year-old nuns and a priest in a row over the ownership of a restaurant in a small southern town.
Finally, the Munich Memorial Trophy goes to Jonathan Steele for a suggestion in one of the many ghastly lectures to Obama that infected the media this week on 'what he must do if he is not to be a serious disappointment to enlightened types like me'. Steele's ingenious idea was to hand over Southern Afghanistan to the Taliban because they are not Al Qaeda. Seriously.
In Afghanistan that means separating the issue of the Taliban from that of al-Qaida. Nato's tentative new policy of talking to the Taliban should be expanded, so that foreign troops can be withdrawn from the south. The trend should be to bring troops out, not send more in.
I have to warn him he has to deal with the wrath of Terry Glavin. And, in the mood Terry is in, he should be afraid, he should be very afraid.

1 comment:

Graeme said...

Johann Hari had a similar response to Steele. I'm going to write a response to the both of them in a moment.