Blogging as a depressing exercise


by Sunny
5th December, 2006 at 11:51 pm    

Justin

Yes…. Justin McKeating does look a bit crazed doesn’t he? He has a right to be proud though, I picked up The Blog Digest today and it is as interesting as the cover is amusing. The blurb states it is the “the ultimate anthology of blog writing from the last twelve months,” and it certainly tries to live up to that promise by covering a whole range of subjects. The book features lots of excellent writers from the blogosphere, and myself, as you may expect.

But I’m having a bit of a crisis of confidence here folks, so help me out. Are blogs helping people get to know each other? Do they build understanding or simply lead to more hardline attitudes? I only ask because the last post on the Middle East descended into a string of insults (once again) involving people who really should know better.

If rational and intelligent people cannot have a civilised conversation on a blog that tries to remain as non-partisan as possible, where is the hope for world peace? Maybe that’s why it makes more sense to take a side: at least only one side will accuse you of bias.

I don’t know, I’m feeling a bit disappointed that however hard one tries to encourage a whole different group of people to independently share their experiences and build a positive conversation – it is doomed to failure unless you take a very authoritative line and actively weed out the troublemakers. In other words, bang some heads together and force people to live with it. Or avoid talking about anything sensitive at all.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that blogs are good because people are allowed to express their views. Except, increasingly, it looks like the only outcome is that rather people learning from each other, the online space simply becomes an even bigger penis-size-comparing-contest. What a monumental waste of time.


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  1. raz — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:00 am  

    The concept of ‘political internet debate’ is an oxymoron in my opinion. Take a look at commentisfree, thousands upon thousands of comments, yet virtually nothing actually worthwhile in terms of enlightening debate or dialogue – just masses and masses of polarised diatribes, with each ‘side’ never bothering to listen to other, only regurgitating their own prejudices and propaganda incessantly. Am I being cynical? Maybe, but there are an awful lot of armchair hatemongers on the web these days.

  2. Psychohobbit233 — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:22 am  

    Please don’t despair Mr. Sunny, you are doing a good job. It’s just I have to go to bed because I’m tired but will get back to this space and exchange thoughts which may help to change the world. Too late for anything rational [00.21 UK time], but I value your gist. Iss a good blog.

  3. Nyrone — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:18 am  

    The grandaddy of questions….
    As relevant as it’s ever gonna be.
    Congratulations for sticking to practical, critical discourse even though it would be easier to simply brush this entire semi-world aside and concentrate on the niggling theoretical issues, that further contribute to the political football we all engage in, that really can serve as nothing more than a time-killing escapism device to ‘focus’ on the bigger unsolveable problems and lead us onto a proverbial cocoon mission to ‘heal’ the symptoms of deep-rooted problems rather than concentrate on the almost incomprehensibly galling severities that slide into us at birth like tape worms and fester inside of us untill we are willing to let them out…

    shit, that’s not clear at all.
    A crisis of confidence can be healthy, because it may spark a new road of thought processes internally, and lead to a new way of thinking in which the ‘bringing together’ of people for constructive debate may become easier or more readily potentially possible.
    However, Some people, seek the feeling of alignment with others purely as a protective measure to protect themselves from feeling pathetic and outdated.
    They don’t mean immediate harm, but they are afraid of being alone and allign themselves with anyone willing to listen, and in the process get pulled down by their own mendacity.

    Personally, I have withdrawn a lot from taking ‘part’ in the debates here. They always leave me depressed about the lack of pro-activity on issues, the level of fake ‘knowledge’ of issues and a ‘superiority-cloak’ that some of the writers hide behind, as well as the disagreeing-for-disagreements sake, intellectual wanking competitions and other useless banter that quickly descends into playground-style farce. My views on being some kind of hyper-argumentative news-junkie that simply comments to fill time and solidify arrogant self-identity complex of position is that….it doesn’t really lead anywhere, and it just creates an atmosphere of competition rather than co-operation….with many desperate to outdo each other, than really listen with an open mind and heart.

    I’m just gonna keep stepping backwards
    Silence is rather beautiful at the moment.
    The elements certainly formulate on a different levels when we stick to unhealthy internalization of thoughts…like poetry.

    I need a whole-scale re-education
    I need a wholesale re-evaluation
    I refuse to be condemned onto a side of A4 paper.
    I wish to come closer to my essence and discover the intimacy of my existence.
    To be Religious in it’s truest form.
    I am sick and tired of seeing news reports that give equal time to death and cricket.
    By the end, both things become consumable bite-sized chunks of nothingness.
    We become the consumers of Death
    War-as-entertainment
    Poverty-as-Big brother
    Reality as an abstraction understood through newspapers and ambigious accounts of distorted stories which rely on lies and lies upon mountains of more lies.
    We need a hundred emotional tanks to break into our subconcious, to show us what the news cannot.

    Has anyone considered the possibility that the reason that so many people grow up so severely fucked and confused is that they rushed into towing the party line, and never had sufficient time to take a step back, take a little breathing time and examine the severity of the events that were transpiring all around them? Grow up quickly, earn some money, buy a house, get a car..is that it?

  4. Bert Preast — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:32 am  

    Man, everybody has problems. Relax, enjoy them.

    Blogging is a fine way to voice one’s thoughts with the customary physical barriers removed. Of course people are going to be a little more forthright when there’s no prospect of a fist in the face, but this is a good thing, no?

  5. Nyrone — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:50 am  

    sorry, I digressed quite far out there…

    To reply to the question, I don’t think it makes much sense or difference to state whether blogging is having either a good or bad effect directly.
    Blogging is an amplification of expression from under the bedsheets, and the views and hardline attitudes you dislike seeing on here daily are more a proof of the fundemental roots of indifference and intolerance than anything to do with strictly blogging.

    I think Blogging may have brought the internal arrogance of people kicking and screaming out into the open. People are finally able to write a lot of what they think, and yet at the same time are seemingly restrained, censored and moulded by the collective blogosphere environment and how they are ‘perecvied’ within it.

    The same old group collectivism creeps in, as people becoming tribalistic and take sides…it’s the same old traiditional eons-old shit…I reckon it’s much more important to grasp the roots of this desire to impress others, be publicly accepted as smart, get in your 2 cents in a debate, have an opinion about everthing under the sun even though you know next to nothing about it, and then the almost fanatical obsessive desire to critisize endlessly without proposing any constructive solutions at all…

    I know how you feel about the Diatribe Sunny, but you are now undoubtedly aware of the fact that people on blogs and sites represent an amplification of much of the world, and bring to the table the same sense of difference and conflict that they must have present at the UN too.

    If we cannot all discuss matters in the spirit of progressive symbiotic friendship and debate, what does that say about our humanity?
    Not exacly the history of a species at peace with itself…

    This is why dictators tire of multiple opinions and enforce non-negotiable rules to lead. It’s obviously wrong, but isn’t there a logic to applying one ‘sane’ philosophy to everybody else in the spirit of mutual collective progression? Ever Read Plato’s Republic?
    Nightmare or great, depending on what side you were on.

    I have often sat down with family and cousins to have a mature, open-ended intelligent conversation about the multitude of issues that exist in our society.
    Can you guess how many times arguments, petty squables, awkard silences, fights and cuss slanging matches have broken out? That’s right….almost every single time.

    There is now a NO RELIGION/POLITICS rule when we sit down to talk to each other at the table.
    Isn’t that just ridiculous?

  6. Chairwoman — on 6th December, 2006 at 8:44 am  

    Sunny – I would have posted this on the other thread, but you’ve quite reasonably closed the comments.

    I get angry not because people criticise Israel, but because they are not even handed. At no time have the Jewish commenters said that Israel was blameless. But the ‘other side’ invariably say that not only is Israel wrong, but that only Israel is wrong.

    Also, I have thing about apportioning blame generally. I get angry when a doctor makes a genuine error and gets struck off the register. Everybody makes errors of judgement at work, but only some are punished for it.

    Olmert made a serious error of judgement. He is onviously unfit for the job. But this does not make him a war criminal, nor a genocidist. If he had followed up the invasion by lining up civilians against a wall and shooting them, imprisoning them, torturing them, starving them, then that is what he would have been. None of that happened. In wars people die and get horribly maimed. It shouldn’t happen. We all know it shouldn’t happen. But it keeps on happening, again and again.

    Surely the object of forums such as this should be to encourage people to sit down and negotiate, but every time I say this, the general result is that Israel should do the giving. This is not only unrealistic, but is not going to get anyone to the negotiating table. The old expression that 100 per cent of nothing is nothing is still true. I am not saying this because I am on Israel’s side. I have said again and again that after a good negotiation, both sides should wish that they had been able to achieve more, but be pleased with what they have achieved.

    Perhaps it’s a case of not being able to put an old head on young shoulders and that you won’t realise the veracity of this statement until you’re too old to change the world, and that comes a lot sooner than you’d like.

    Another thing. I am not offended by what my mother called ‘language’. I don’t mind being sworn to, but not sworn at, and there are people here who resort to personal insults. That’s unneccessary. It also ups the temperature, everybody starts doing it, and the whole thread degenerates into an orgy of name calling.

    I have read Nyrone’s thoughtful posts, and found them both spiritual and moving, and I have noticed how he has taken a step back, and appreciate how difficult that must have been.

    I think I’ve covered everything, but probably not.

  7. Chris — on 6th December, 2006 at 9:07 am  

    “Debate” blogs will always descend into shouting matches because the last wo/men standing will be those with the most extreme views – everyone else will have gone home.

    But blogs of other sorts – such as political gossip (e.g. Guido Fawkes), finance/economics (e.g. Tim Wortsall or Stumbling and Mumbling), straightforward campaigning (e.g. NO2ID or Taxpayers Alliance), or local interest (e.g. Londonist or Diamond Geezer) – are fantastic alternatives to the lazy, spoon-fed mainstream media.

  8. justforfun — on 6th December, 2006 at 10:29 am  

    Sunny – don’t be down.

    A short response is all I have time for now, but I just wanted to say that what you are doing has its problems, but at least you are doing something – and have shown over the last year and half a capacity for reflection on your work and to ask for advice. That is to be admired. Don’t despair.

    Justforfun

    PS – sorry to Anas, Don, Jai, Chairwoman & Bananabrain- not to have posted further comments on the discussion on ritual and religion in ” Last Jewish generation”. I am thrashing out a response at the moment as I think we were sniffing around something that I think might be a useful angle at looking at things.

  9. El Cid — on 6th December, 2006 at 10:45 am  

    I will succumb to temptation just this once due to Sunny’s thoughtful post and Nyrone’s subsequent comment. Blogging here has generally been a positive exercise. So don’t get too down. But I will try to stay out of it for the forseeable future.
    In many ways, the intransigence connected with I/P is unique. It is one of the worst examples of head-banging tribalist politics.
    British muslims are increasingly questioned due to their perceived split allegiance to the ummah, but Jewish commentators on this blog also seem to be affected by racial/tribal loyalties, which sometimes lead to a siege mentality and to threats of walkouts. They will no doubt say I am being unfair, maybe even anti-semitic. I really don’t give a toss anymore. Emotional blackmail is something I will always give short shrift
    The irony is that I am not “the other side” when it comes to Israel. After all I believe in the state of Israel’s right to exist and I am not muslim, let alone Palestinian. I detest those who would send suicide bombers into Israel. But don’t tell me that Israel’s land grabs, bloody aggressions, and treatment of Palestinians isn’t part of the problem. We’re not talking about just mistakes.
    And before you fire back a few salvos I also — as I mentioned only yesterday — really really went out of my way to visit Dachau with my kids in October. If I am the enemy, then I am an enemy of your own making.
    Contrary to Chris’s assertion, I am also not an extremist. Refresh for example is well to the left of me, while Electro and TottenhamLad are well to the right of me. I wouldn’t call Chairwoman an extremist either.
    Anyway, that’s it from me for a while.

  10. Jagdeep — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    Everyone just take a few days off, calm down, then return and carry on as usual. Sunny you’re doing a good job and moderate as you see fit. Don’t bow to ANYONES agenda. But ik benti please, Singho.

    Have a few more light hearted threads, too. For example, why the hell did they leave Monty Panesar out of the first two tests?

  11. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    Regaring I/P both sides are too blame in my view, two sides of the same coin etc. I’ve watched both pro and anti Israeli commenters use obvious tactics to wind the other up without losing face (lot’s of projection and denial going on there). Pretty pathetic but dishonest discourse comes with the territory.

    More generally, it’s easier to mouth off online than in real life and that’s one factor that makes discussion increasingly problematic (how many of us would be quite so agressive/rude/insulting face to face?).

    The net seems to strip some of the humanity out of peoples words, tone and context of tone are sometimes hard to express or get misconscrued. A related point, exrtremists or trollers tend to spoil it for everyone by purposely polarising debate. Once everyone takes up arms it’s better to close the thread or delete comments more often.

    A sterner moderation policy is probably needed, maybe deciding to not cover hot topics (there seems to only be one really) for a while. Deleting or banning repeated trollers or wind up merchants might give the rest of us the space to think a little clearer.

  12. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:30 am  

    One last point; if you guys think this is hard you should try posting on Urban75.com! This place is practically a nursery by comparison.

  13. Chairwoman — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:30 am  

    To whom it may concern. It is about peoples’ refusal to admit that Israel has an argument at all. That’s it. In a nutshell. Perhaps if Hamas and Hizbollah didn’t display the kind of intransigence that is so often seen on this site, then Israel wouldn’t be so bloody aggressive. Two sides of the coin.

    But that is not why I decided to take a break. It’s the force behind the argument. Look, I’m still a bruiser verbally, and I can take and handle any kind of rhetoric, but the venom that slips through sometimes leaves me breathless.

    And El cid. You are an angry, man. I don’t think you’re the enemy, I just feel that you have a lot of rage bubbling under the surface, and one of the good things about beng a widow, is that I don’t have to have a man shout at me any more because he’s had a bad day.
    In real life the man might have shouted, but he was also supportive, did stuff around the house, was funny, etc., etc., and that was compensation enough.

  14. Douglas Clark — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:38 am  

    Sunny,

    When I started looking at bloggs, I was interested in specific, narrow topics. Space.com became a favoutite of mine. I gravitated to an area called ‘Free Space’, where you could talk about anything you wanted to. After Iraq the tone of that forum became worse and worse. People, who I’d thought were reasonable and balanced turned out to be anything but. You can argue a liberal point of view – for a while – but gradually the constant drip, drip of aggressive and alien opinion wears you down. I said my farewells. And this was on a forum with more rules of debate than you could shake a stick at.

    I found this site through Harrys’ Place, which certainly had a different view on life from what I was used to. Very persuasive chaps too. It was Harry T that pointed this site out, and with a glowing recommendation. And I still think he was right.

    You have been lucky to attract a lot of very bright commentators. It would be a genuine shame if they are leave because of shit like this:

    “go fuck yourself *****. hasta la vista baby.” superiority?

    There are always people that get too heated in a discussion, I’ve done it, you’ve done it. But when debate descends to profanity who wins?

    You need to consider editing out offensive posts and replacing them with a placeholder. You need to consider whether me saying ‘fuck’ as a way of emphasising a point is OK, but ‘fuck you’ directed at another poster never is. You need to consider temporary and permanent bans for persistent abuse. You need to consider appointing moderators.

    Shit, this is depressing. As Satre said, “Hell is other people.”

    On a more upbeat note, I agree with justforfun, but just want to push that idea a little further. One of the things the NGN seems to be saying is that there is a need to create a public space where people can debate anything without fear. You could consider Pickled Politics to be the virtual reality beta test of that idea.

  15. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:39 am  

    Thinking about it, I reckon a PP retreat to Urban75.com for a week or so would do everyone some good.:D

    It’d be like those corporate team bonding painballing weekends!

  16. Jagdeep — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:39 am  

    But why did they leave Monty out? It’s not like Anderson did anything, or Giles excelled in either test. And it sent the wrong message, of being too defensive, when you keep your raging bull locked up instead of unleashing him to run at the crocodile hunters in the ASHES for gods sake!

  17. Chairwoman — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:55 am  

    Jagdeep – I don’t understand cricket despite my father spending many hours explaining the scoring and other niceities to me. But I do know that there’s nothing prettier than cricket being played on a village green.
    I also know that Mark Ramprakash is a great Latin dancer.

    I am going to take your advice, and have a few days cooling off, rather than slamming the door.

    Leon – I tried to look at Urban75.com, but it wouldn’t let me.

  18. Riz — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:59 am  

    Fear not Sunny Jim. I’m actually surprised that every slightly contentious post hasn’t degenerated in to slanging matches in the comments sections. I say this because my belief re the blogging world and other public forums is that extremists tend to be more emotional about their opinions by their very nature, and so it doesn’t take more than a few of these crazy folks on either side of an argument to generate endless pointless comments, where they talk but never listen. Even though these people insist on having their voice heard, over and over again, they are the minority. The majority of readers are probably somewhere in the liberal middle ground, and because they probably aren’t as easily excited as the extremists, they may not post as many comments, especially when a debate has spiralled away from reason. But the middle is there, it is there in great numbers.

    Disclaimer: This person doesn’t know what he is talking about, never has, never will.

  19. justforfun — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

    Sunny – the following are just some thoughts. Speed read through and discard what you don’t agree with.

    ..involving people who really should know better.

    Well do we really know each other? I think not. I think the whole “blogging thing” on a certain level builds up a sense of false community. We log on each morning and see familar names but no faces, and so our minds overlay personalities onto these names. We must recognize these personalities are our own constructs. They are not accurate.

    A question for people – just as an illustration and thought experiment – when one reads comments, does one sub-vocalise the words written by others with a Gujurati, Punjabi, English, Bengali etc (and not forgetting Glaswegian) accent as appropriate for the “name”? I personaly assume we all have an English accent (except the Glaswegians posters who I read with a Glaswegian accent I can’t understand – but if you were from Fife I could). So it came as a shock to hear Sunny speak on TV. It pulled me up and I realised I had built a mental image that was different and wrong. I had wrongly assumed that he would have lost his Indian accent after being here since his early teens. A little thing and my error, but I think it illustrates that perhaps when we read a comment, we let our constructed personnality for that “name” cloud over what the “name” is actually writing. We give the “name” a personality that is probably totally wrong but is comfortable for our own world view and prejudices. Our minds like to live in their comfort zones. If they did not we would all be driven mad.

    Leon – I am not sure if the net strips the humanity from peoples words. Rather, as I think I am saying above, we overlay constructed and stereotypical personilities onto the words of others. They are not lacking humanity, but rather have the wrong humanity. But of course much is misconstued because of this.

    …., it looks like the only outcome is that rather people learning from each other, the online space simply becomes an even bigger penis-size-comparing-contest. What a monumental waste of time.

    Well – that is at the heart of it – does blog and does one comment to change people or to learn and change oneself. I hope I am here to learn, but when I pontificate it is only to elicite a response that will, perhaps, make me question my view again.

    Personally, if I really wanted to change people’s minds then doing it one by one by commenting on a blog would really be a monumental waste of time. I’m here for myself. Sorry if that sounds selfish, but if we are all selfishly introspective and use others’ comments as a spur to think things through, then perhaps it is worth it – as we have the rest of our lives to impliment the changes in ourselves and change the outcomes of our future actions.

    I’ve just re-read the above – what rubbish but easier to post than delete.

    Justforfun

  20. Jai — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

    Good points by Jagdeep, Leon and Douglas in #10, 11 & 14.

    Apart from this suggestion by Leon:

    =>”It’d be like those corporate team bonding painballing weekends!”

    Considering who else has been using rural paintballing weekends as a cover for something else during the past couple of years, we’d probably end up being misidentified and shipped off to Guantanamo. I’d always wanted to go paintballing too. Damn wannabe jihadis have ruined that for me too.

    Unfortunately I’m only half-joking ;)

    ********************

    Regarding the frequent hijacking of threads on PP in relation to the I/P issue — something, it has to be said, Anas in particular has been repeatedly guilty of — it should be considered that ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THAT WILL MAKE A SHRED OF DIFFERENCE TO BRITISH & AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY, OR THE POLITICAL/MILITARY ACTIONS OF ISRAELIS & PALESTINIANS, OR THE LIVES OF PEOPLE CURRENTLY LIVING IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD.

    So it’s completely pointless for the people concerned to keep harping on about the issue at every conceivable opportunity here on PP. Unless they’re just using PP as a proxy in order to release their own feelings of frustration and helplessness. In any case, this will still make zero difference in the grand scheme of things.

    Discussing the subject from an academic perspective, and in order to bounce ideas around, is fine. But it’s pointless to do so if you think it’s going to substantially change anything in the real world (at least with regards to the areas I typed in upper case above), and it’s therefore a worthless exercise if it involves harrassing otherwise-friendly commenters on this blog to the extent of potentially poisoning the PP experience for everyone concerned.

    Anas, I hope that you in particular are reading this.

  21. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

    yes it is depressing – only in as much as real life is/can be depressing! blogs reflect reality – so what can we expect? one could take an authoritative line sure – but then so what? you wouldn’t hear all the disagreements that’s what. doesn’t mean the disagreements aren’t there. the whole point of people speaking up is that we might not like what we hear – and people might not get along. it’s a case of how much reality one wants to deal with. and from where im sitting -yeah there’s a lot of shit that goes around, a lot of hurling of insults, but at the same time, lots of lovely things happening and a lot of connections being made.

  22. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

    but yeah, it can be disheartening – just like the ‘real world’ is so often disheartening it makes you want to climb under the duvet and hide. but as chairwoman says – a bit of cooling off and then maybe we can all face the world ( virtual or non-virtual) again!

  23. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:07 pm  

    Anyway – a waste of time? clearly not when it’s leading to other people collecting other people’s writings and then getting it published and selling it as a book!

    how clever ** chortles*

    i suppose it’s this year’s go at what that tim worstally- fellow did last year.

  24. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

    next time someone asks me about ‘feeling british’ i shall have to point out that im not even allowed to be listed in the brit blogs directory – !

  25. Nosemonkey — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:09 pm  

    I have yet to see a single online discussion about the middle east that hasn’t descended into wild accusations and hissy fits within the first few comments. Same with The War Against Terror as a whole. Which is precisely why I usually try to avoid writing about the damn things.

    Which is, most likely, why my visitor rate has dropped to about 10% of what it was when I was briefly all terrorism news, all the time. (During which time I had a post devoted to my dhimmitude on Little Green Footballs, which was fun. The fact that it was at about 1pm on 7th July 2005 and my “appeasement of islamists” was due to my telling someone off in the comments for suggesting mosque burning as an appropriate response seemed not to matter one jot to the rabid racist rascals across the pond…)

  26. Sid — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:12 pm  

    Salutations

    Following yesterday’s fracas, I would like to apologise for being instrumental in depriving PP of the wit and charm of some of its better commenters. Hopefully only temporarily.

    However, I do not apologise for criticising Israeli policies. I’m tired of having to skirt around the issue simply because anyone who does (criticise Israel) is up against the danger of being “outed” as an antisemite. If you know me you’d know how laughable that is. I’m not antisemitic or racist but I do tend to get exercised and shoot from the hip, shout my mouth off or simply become truculent on the I/P issue. I’m tired of having to examine my motives when I’m critical of Israel. I’m aware of Israel’s lone status in the region, I support it’s right to exist and its right to defend it’s citizens from Arab aggression and, after 9/11, can appreciate what low-level prejudice on a massive scale does to an individual and collective psyches. But Israel’s state crimes like other state’s crimes could, I would have thought, be debated in traditional terms of for and against by intelligent well-informed people. Isn’t that the function of blogs?

    Like others, I’m taking a breather from PP because I agree with Sunny’s closing comment, that the nature of debate here (on I/P specifically) has been a monumental waste of time.

    Sid out.

  27. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:13 pm  

    yeah so imagine how hard it is in real life sorting out such situations! should give those of us who live in ‘peaceful places’ an understanding of just why it appears to be so f**cking hard to sort out these conflict situations when its hard to get people to agree with each other or talk to each other. imagine a blog thread with armed people and we can then get an insight into war perhaps!( i.e. why they’re so hard to ‘end’! or how the difficulty of so-called ‘impeccable rules of conduct’in practice etc. )

    so blogs are ultimately good as i think it helps us understand homo sapiens better. if that’s getting a grip on what a shitty species are – well so be it then. Better to understand ourselves than float around on a lot of ether!

  28. Anna — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:16 pm  

    The conventional wisdom seems to be that blogs are good because people are allowed to express their views. Except, increasingly, it looks like the only outcome is that rather people learning from each other, the online space simply becomes an even bigger penis-size-comparing-contest. What a monumental waste of time.

    Agreed. I’m new to the blogging world and can’t shake off an ambivalence about it. On the one hand – what a great medium with such potential for meaningful interaction, how challenging to elitist discourses, how democratic. On the other hand – how lowest common denominator.

    I know that my blogging partner and I have talked a lot about trying to consciously engage with this world very selectively, and refusing to indulge the propagandists, ideologues, and “dudes who shout loudly on the internet because that’s the only place anyone will listen to them.”

  29. Roger — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

    Perhaps the solution would be to have a calming-down period before people can post what they’ve written. It would also be handy to be able to preview posts, so people can see what they’ve said.
    For what it’s worth, i think icy and deliberate courtesy are actually much more effectively offensive than vulgar abuse.

  30. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    I am not sure if the net strips the humanity from people’s words. Rather, as I think I am saying above, we overlay constructed and stereotypical personalities onto the words of others. They are not lacking humanity, but rather have the wrong humanity.

    I think I may have not been clear enough. When I say humanity what I mean is the character of the person. When we speak in real life there is a whole heap of things we use to communicate aside from words (body language, tones, hand gesticulation etc). On the screen all you see is words. You can use them well to convey what you mean but without the 90% of non verbal communication something is [sometimes] stripped out.

    That’s not to say that conversations are inferior quality/restricted but I do think that factor should be recognised a bit more often.

    Put simply, it’s too easy to get the wrong end of the stick online.

    Chairwoman: try http://www.urban75.net/vbulletin/index.php

  31. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    It would also be handy to be able to preview posts, so people can see what they’ve said.

    I like that; auto previews on blogs always make me think twice before hitting submit comment. We did have it here but it was removed for some reason (can’t quite remember why)…perhaps it’s time to bring it back?

  32. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    i think leon’s got a good point in #30.

  33. Jai — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

    Regarding the preview function :

    Personally I found the previous version on PP slowed down my speed of typing too much. Sepia Mutiny have a good system, though — you can type at normal speed in the comment box and either submit it immediately or hit the “preview” button to see how your comment looks. It may be a good idea for Sunny to have a chat with Abhi, Anna etc on SM and see if their system can be incorporated here too. It’ll need some suitable techie types to implement it, of course.

  34. Sahil — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    Don’t be disheartened Sunny, PP is still the most cuddly blog out there. I went for my night class last night and got back to somthing like CiF, I/P threads seem to do this. I agree with Sonia who says we can debate it all we want but it makes little difference on the ground, but at least there is some discussion rather than a Berlin Wall in communication.

    I hope nobody took any of my comments as personal attacks, (I’ve had a look back and there doesn’t seem to be anything like that there). I have little time for people on blogs who are more interested in character assassination rather than the topic, even if the topic is academic.

    As for the blogs making monsters of us: its probably true, the temptation to be aggressive is quite large. I wonder what would happen if picklers actually met each other in real life, maybe a circle line pub crawl, and how the conversations would resume.

    P.S. I’m a shitty writer, and frankly I have a real hard time bringing across tone. Maybe I’ll just speak like Marvin :-D

  35. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:39 pm  

    yeah i think there are some aspects to online communication and how it differs to when you’re actually standing next to someone to take on board. i dont think there are any ‘techie’ solutions to this frankly – its about interpersonal communication and yeah some of us do get aggressive – the faceless net makes it easy to be like that – and its up to us individuals to sort ourselves out. anything else is control – and what’s the point in that? may as well have no one writing.

  36. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    Sunny, no you should not feel down. The space is very useful. PP has been full of self-selected enthusiasts, who above all value debate. And that’s everyone.

    As I’ve said elsewhere any supporters of the NGN manifesto need to be measured against it.

    The thread need not have descended into yet another debacle. Because that’s what it was.

    Unnecessary.

    That said, it was a prime example of how the NGN philosophy does not play out (yet) for the simple reason the history of PP has been ‘communalist’.

    I am quite aware that PP threads play along nicely whilst there is a ‘common enemy’. To avoid inflaming the situation, I won’t mention what that has been.

    For quite a long time I’ve felt the historical meanderings of PP need to be laid out for all to see. At the same time, I am also quite keen to see things develop because there is always a common truth. And that is our common heritage.

    Thankfully, this is beginning to re-emerge in national politics, as it is on the international stage. Both of which have fed into how things have progressed on here.

    No one likes to be falsely accused especially when it comes to our individual truths.

    I have for quite a long while expected the disaster we saw on that other thread. Why? Because we can all make judgements as to where each poster is perceived to have his or her allegiance. Either through responding in defence, but more often by not challenging the mendacity of others. By that I do mean mendacity and not their capacity to draw on facts known to us all. And very many people on here have been guilty of that.

    This might as well be the equivalent of being a bystander to child-abuse or elder-abuse.

    The last time I entered a dialogue on Israel we did not enter into any name-calling, Chairwoman will confirm that. We concluded that whilst jews did not feel safe anywhere, Israel would not ‘risk’ anything. That surely is understood by all. If I could put it another way, and perhaps more provocatively, the actions of Israel could be put down to a siege mentality.

    We also aired the view that some muslims are anti-jewish. This needs to be dealt with. However to deal with it on the basis all-muslims bad and all-jews good is madness. Equally there are jews who are anti-muslim. That too must be addressed.

    Muslims need to draw on their heritage and that heritage has been a very positive influence on the world, just as has been the jewish influence.

    Muslims and jews need to recognise that they are culturally ‘of and from’ the middle-east, and experienced periods of great enlightenment and propelled what is now western civilisation.

    The history of jewish-muslim ‘supposed enmity’ is very very recent. It is artificial and is necessitated by political expediency.

    Why would I have put that into a jewish-muslim context? For the simple reason that we have all allowed the issue of Palestine, Lebanon and Israel be portrayed as muslim/jewish issue.

    I long concluded that what is needed in the Middle East is a European style economic union, with Israel active within it, which both Chairwoman and I have signed up to.

    That said, we must not remain silent.

    I would go as far as to say that the European Union is the modern expression of the Khalifa. [Insert a smiley here – I wouldn’t be seen dead doing it myself – too modern for me]. And yes I did say the Khalifa – some of you will no doubt be revving already.

    Now back to holding people up to the NGN philosophy – the biggest failure is unfortunately you, Sunny.

    The header for that thread is riddled with hypocrisy, is very myopic and is based on a history which you have re-written within, literally weeks of the most fundamental of events for Lebanon.

    That could not have possibly been the basis of an informed debate – and so it proved.

  37. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:41 pm  

    its useful to remember that one of the key things about online discussion forums is that people do use them to blow off steam. its not just blogs – in the old days when blogs didnt exist there was still terms like ‘flaming’ etc. and it happened a lot e.g. on Usenet etc.

    as long as there has been online communication, these issues have been around.

  38. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:43 pm  

    Should have read as follows:

    “We concluded that whilst jews did not feel safe anywhere, jews would not ‘risk’ Israel”.

  39. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    “And that is our common heritage.”

    what is?

    when you say refresh – “Why would I have put that into a jewish-muslim context? For the simple reason that we have all allowed the issue of Palestine, Lebanon and Israel be portrayed as muslim/jewish issue.”

    i would say refresh that the ‘all’ is misleading. a lot of people might see it like that but there are certainly people on this thread who haven’t seen it like that. so let’s not make such generalizations. the point is rather that where there are people trying to frame issues in that way there tends to be great polarization. It’s definitely useful to realize that – and that if anything – is what made the NGN manifesto interesting for me.

  40. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    i don’t quite understand what refresh you’re saying about the Ngn ‘philosophy’ – but i do find it interesting how what that ‘manifesto’ stated has already found its way into a ‘box’ + ‘label’. as far as i was aware, reading the actual text of the manifesto itself – there was very little most people would disagree with simply because most of it was common sense and a commitment to what can be broadly termed as universal human rights.

  41. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    but in anycase – nitty gritty aside – what is ‘informed debate’ after all – it’s always going to have to take into account that we humans are capable of being childish when it suits us. Perhaps the point of all this is to stop pretending we’re all such ‘rational creatures’ all the time – clearly we aren’t. It’s only the academic study of economics that thinks that isn’t it?

    * chortles*

  42. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

    “And that is our common heritage.”

    what is?

    I’d like to think that we have developed societies which survive and thrive through exchange of ideas and people.

    As for that particular generalisation, yes guilty.

  43. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:04 pm  

    “there was very little most people would disagree with simply because most of it was common sense and a commitment to what can be broadly termed as universal human rights. ”

    Agreed.

    Now lets expect people to follow it through in their dealings at least on PP.

  44. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:06 pm  

    anyhow to keep on and on: ( personally) im a ‘student of human nature’. so nothing is a waste of time really from that perspective – PP has been v. useful ( and is..) for providing lots of material in that direction. i guess that’s the way i handle life generally – i have to – otherwise id be hiding under the duvet all the time ( which is very tempting i must say! must be also why ive always smoked so much weed. bill hicks no doubt has something clever to say along those lines)

    wait for a few years and if ive done a phd or sth then you’ll all recognize yourselves. ** cackles**

  45. Shoque — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:07 pm  

    Refresh said:

    Muslims and jews need to recognise that they are culturally ‘of and from’ the middle-east, and experienced periods of great enlightenment and propelled what is now western civilisation

    How are Bangladeshis in the UK ‘culturally of and from’ the Middle East? Bollocks to such reductiveness of my heritage and history for the sake of Ummah unity.

  46. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:08 pm  

    yeah but that’s the point Refresh! people can be very silly in real life, that’s why we need to keep reminding ourselves of where we might want to be, and keep that in focus. of course we need to be aware of the reality of what we end up doing – and a sense of humour is always helpful in these cases.

  47. Shoque — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    Sonia said:

    the point is rather that where there are people trying to frame issues in that way there tends to be great polarization.

    Exactly. Now we are all reduced to the stump of our ‘religious identity’, for the sake of Israel-Palestine discussions, the likes of Refresh can pompously proclaim that I and you and all people who are nominally or non-nominally Muslim are ‘of and from’ the Middle East. What condescending bolloks.

  48. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:11 pm  

    im so sick and tired of hearing about the ‘Ummah’ can i say once and for all. I think muslims really got that one wrong – it should have been realized that they were supposed to think about the whole world and everyone in it – not just the ‘muslims’ around the world. sheesh – talk about major ‘group-o-centrism’.

    ummah unity indeed. it makes no sense unless we’re thinking about the whole world. i thought i’d just point that out.

  49. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

    Looks like there is something there for everyone.

  50. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:14 pm  

    :-)

  51. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:17 pm  

    “im so sick and tired of hearing about the ‘Ummah’ can i say once and for all. I think muslims really got that one wrong – it should have been realized that they were supposed to think about the whole world and everyone in it – not just the ‘muslims’ around the world. sheesh – talk about major ‘group-o-centrism’.

    ummah unity indeed. it makes no sense unless we’re thinking about the whole world. i thought i’d just point that out.”

    Quite right to point it out. And in the end that is what has been lost – and if you look on another thread on the report by Demos and the effect of policy on muslims – the siege mentality is likely to become the next point of contention.

  52. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    Sunny, blogs are your life but don’t get, um, blogged down about it. As someone who was a chatroom addict for two years (Asians in Media… your fault), I know how easy it is to get embroiled in deep heated rage with people who go by the name of Desikuri69 or someshit.

    But PP is different because people are discussing ideas much more than mud-slinging, and with the exception of a few silly buggers playing silly buggers (is it me you’re looking for), it’s mostly intellectual, insightful and damn interesting to boot.

    The trick is not to treat this as the be all and end all (which for you is difficult because it’s both your passion and your job) and take some of what’s gleaned here to the realms of the real people. I’ve made friends and influenced people by blatantly ripping off some of the Picklers here and, while none of them were fooled, the important thing is I was in the pub.

    It’s good to have a place to share ideas, argue points, crack funnies or even just verbally masturbate with both like-minded and unlikeable souls.

    It’s a good service you’re providing. Now go to the pub, man.

  53. Shoque — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    Refresh is the worst kind of Ummah nutcase, talking about the Khalifa, subservient to the middle east, in fact saying that all ‘we muslims’ originate from the middle east. What utter nonsense. Does a black African Christian from Nigeria go around proclaiming that he is ‘from and of’ the Middle East because Jesus originated from Bethlehem? So how can a Bangladeshi be ‘of and from’ the middle east and not primarily from Bangladesh? When you see it like that, it becomes so laughable! Pathetic and silly. Take your ummah that reduces everyone to subservience to Arabs and fly out of the window.

  54. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

    Looks like we’re back on track.

    Shoque, the key thing is I mentioned ‘culturally’.

    Never thought I’d end up being called a kind of Ummah nutcase.

    By the way lets not let this descend into name-calling. What do you say?

  55. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:25 pm  

    anyway i wanted to get back to the original point of this thread. (ha – digresser that i usually am.) back in the early days of the net, there were the usual utopian visions floating around. howard rheingold’s first edition of the ‘virtual community’ was full of hopefulness etc. etc. and used one case study of the ‘Well’ as an example of really positive relations etc. coming out of online communication. Of course since then, in later editions, rheingold was more realistic about online communication and the virtual space – and this is pretty much where current scholarship stands on cybersociology. technology ain’t gonna change things fundamentally.
    ( though the technological determinists may like to think so otherwise!) technology is a tool – nothing more nothing less. it facilitates a certain kind of communication. perhaps the problem was that we humans were the ones who didn’t ‘change enough’ to rise up to fulfil these utopian visions.

    yeah social dynamics do change based on what kind of communication we have open to us – but at the end of the day – whether its the phone we’re thinking about – or online space – it’s not going to be ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ but in-between – it’s going to reflect our social reality. different people use their online spaces in different ways.

    so if blogging is a depressing exercise – which it may be sometimes – only because ‘living’ can be a depressing exercise.

  56. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:25 pm  

    good one refresh. otherwise we’ll be in trouble for diverting this thread! :-)

  57. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

    kismet – you always make me laugh! ..’dont’ get blogged down’… im going to start using that as a strapline.

  58. Shoque — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    Refresh, how can a Bangladeshi be primarily culturally ‘from and of’ the Middle east? Relegating all cultures to the Arab accoutrements of the religion, such a snivelling posture.

  59. Brian — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    I would like to respond to the purpose of blogs. In reading through the commentary I note that some of the discussion focuses on the Middle East which, as a topic, will tend to bring with it very intense feelings wherever one may stand on the topic.

    I am personally opposed to censorship of ideas even if those ideasd include put downs and profanity. It may very well be that form time to time there is a lack of civility but I think due to the voluntary nature of these forums one is free to discontinue involvement in the discussions, ignore those who lack civility or respond in kind.

  60. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    the issue of control is an important one though.

    sunny’s done a great job setting PP up, writing articles etc. and feels ultimate responsibility for it, but at the end of the day, one can’t do anything much about the people who show up and say what they say. one can try – but there lies the road to a police state. after all – there’s a good analogy here to the governance problems nation-states have. you can have a country but you can’t do much about the interaction of the people in your country!

    ho ho ho. Or like having kids i bet..

  61. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:30 pm  

    good point brian

  62. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:44 pm  

    but there lies the road to a police state.

    I really can’t see how banning a few trolls will lead us into a police state.

  63. Jagdeep — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Kismet, tell the truth, have you used any of my lines in the pub??

  64. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

    Just for you Sonia:

    Blog Rocking Beats

    Blog The Dead Donkey

    Blog Roast

    Blog Trader

    Blog on the Tyne

    Haven’t got the Bloggiest

    Web Das

  65. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

    I have jagdeep as it goes. I told someone I had bacardi for blood. They looked at me strangely

  66. Jagdeep — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:06 pm  

    Cool Kismet! So he didnt take the hint to buy you another drink, preferably a Bacardi?

  67. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:06 pm  

    Blog of Seagulls, anyone?

    Ooh one day they’ll let you blog on your i-pod so you can run and type at the same time. Take your blog jogging

    Only blogging, kids

  68. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

    I don’t drink bacardi I’m afraid. I have meth for blood

  69. Douglas Clark — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    W B Yeats wrote:

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    Brian, Sonia. I too am against censorship of ideas. But I am also against red mist personal attacks on other posters. It is that aspect that annoys me. Quite a lot of people are completely turned off by personal insult, me included. I would have thought that if you believe in individual freedom, it would include the right not to be insulted, in ways that would probably cause a riot if someone said them to the person face to face. There are ways of taking the piss out of someones point of view that fall far short of cheap shots. Anyway, it made me go away and find the quotation above. Which I think is apt. Sunny is trying to create a space that is the antithesis of that gloomy quote. It would be good if we could all support that.

  70. Robert — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    What a monumental waste of time

    You’re months too late with that quote Sunny! In fact, my own contribution to the 2007 Blog Digest specifically criticises the mud-slinging, partisan tendencies of some people.

    I don’t know if I’m wasting my time by adding the 70th comment to this post, but on Pickled Politics we do still usually see meaningful dialogue after four-score and ten posts, so overall I wouldn’t get too depressed.

    There are plenty of people out there who are coming closer together (opinion-wise) as a result of blogging. Overall I’ve had a postive experience on this front, Sunny, as you know.

  71. Brian — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    “I would have thought that if you believe in individual freedom, it would include the right not to be insulted,”

    Douglas:

    I am suggesting that a thick skin is a necessary prerequisite for discussions of this nature. I feel that each person is able to set his/her boundaries independent of what others may say.

  72. Katy — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    I am tired of this to-ing and fro-ing, but I just want to make one thing clear: I never deal with I/P, or any other issue, on a Muslim/Jewish/anything else basis. I look at what individual people have said and I answer the points they have made. I am frustrated that people do not do the same thing to me.

    I am not labelling anyone an anti-semite. What I am saying is that I am tired of people ignoring what I am actually posting because they assume that as a Jew I must have a certain viewpoint. That was why Sid’s remark about how Muslim commentators are lovely and reasonable about the crimes of Muslims states whereas Jewish commentators are just apologists got up my nose, that is why El Cid gets up my nose, and that is why Anas’ pointed trolling of my mother and I – which was clearly based on the fact that we are Jewish – got up my nose. I have to say that I would probably not have reacted to Sid’s remarks in the same way had Anas not been persistently winding me up over the last few months. I don’t think that El Cid is an anti-semite, although I do think he is needlessly unpleasant and far too prone to judging people on their backgrounds and not on what they say; I certainly don’t think that Sid is an anti-semite, nor have I ever; I don’t even think that Anas is an anti-semite. I don’t think that any of those people, or any of the PP commentators, think that Jews are intrinsically evil or a lower life form than other people.

    I object to the suggestion that my walking out of PP is some sort of emotional blackmail tactic. I’m going because the people who want a fight seem to be drowning out the people who are looking for consensus. If one person says “I think Israel is as bad as Nazi Germany, and the Palestinians have a raw deal, and they should have self-determination” and the other person says “I don’t think that Israel is as bad as Nazi Germany, but the Palestinians have a raw deal and they should have self-determination”, I think that they are in agreement on the important points and there’s a basis for agreement. But unfortunately there is a sizeable and loud contingent on this site who think that the only important point is how bad Israel is in relation to Nazi Germany. That sort of thinking on both sides is the reason why there is still no state for the Palestinians: because there are far too many people who would rather fight for every single thing they want and lose everything than get some but not all of what they want.

    I thought I had been fairly restrained in the way that I had dealt with people here, not just in relation to I/P but in relation to the other issues that have been discussed (before someone manages to turn those into I/P issues too). I am sorry if people feel that I have been manipulative or have tried to wind up anti-Israel commentators. Aside from my article on Israel in the summer I don’t think it is a topic that I have ever raised, precisely because of the pointless bickering that inevitably ensues. But more and more it is raised whether it’s relevant or not and someone has to try and inject some perspective into the debate. The recent government report into antisemitism concluded that it is on the rise in this country partly because of anti-Israel feeling. I am not saying that anti-Israel feeling is in any way the same thing as antisemitism, but the potential for both to exist in the same place and for one to lead to the other is obvious, and that is why, if I see someone working themselves into hysteria over some I/P related issue, I try to point out that there is another side to it.

    Sid says that he is tired of examining his motives every time he mentions Israel. I examine my motives every time the subject comes up too. I think it’s inevitable. I constantly ask myself, “Do I think this because I am Jewish?” or “Would I feel the same way if we were talking about another country?” I think it’s a good form of self-editing. I didn’t mean to imply for a second that Sid is antisemitic when he said “Muslims are much more rational about Muslim states than Jews are about Israel”, but I was offended that he lumped a group of commentators with very different perspectives and backgrounds into one group; I thought it was frankly laughable to suggest that none of the Muslims who comment here has ever taken an apologist approach to a Muslim regime; and I thought it would have been better if he had just addressed what bananabrain had said (I think it was bananabrain that he was talking to at that stage, and for the record I think he did bananabrain an injustice – but it would have been fair comment and not stereotyping).

    What it comes back to is something that I’ve said again and again and which everyone ignores: if you’re going to take issue with someone, look at what they have said, not what religion they are, what colour they are or where they come from or what you think they think. That’s how to promote understanding and consensus. And that’s what I have always liked about this site. Leon has said (and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying so; he has always been very supportive of me) that I take the things that are said on this site too seriously. I do, to an extent. I take it seriously because this is a tiny microcosm of society, and if people here can’t debate like adults and find some common ground then I don’t see much hope for the real world either. I don’t come on here to fight for the sake of it (and I know that Leon doesn’t either) – I come here because I think there is a crisis between different faiths and ethnicities in this country and forums like this are the place to try and reach out to each other. That’s why I get upset at what Sunny calls the penis-size competition.

    I freely admit that perhaps this means that I am not, as I originally suspected, cut out for political blogging, and I should leave it to the people who are.

  73. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    Suck my blog!

    (I’ve update mine for anyone who wants to know how my British Citizenship Test went)

  74. Jagdeep — on 6th December, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    That’s why I get upset at what Sunny calls the penis-size competition

    Although, thinking of it, this could be an interesting feature on the blog. What say you, Kismet?

  75. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

    Shut it Jagdeep. I have penis envy as it is

  76. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

    i think Katy has made some very valid points in post.no. 72.

  77. Jagdeep — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    Yes, I think so too sonia.

    By the way, if you stare at the picture at the top of the thread of the dude in the bookshop sticking his thumb up and grinning, he looks a little scary, if you stare at him long enough.

  78. Jagdeep — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:22 pm  

    Like Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ type scary.

  79. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    He actually looks like a good mate of mine…weird.

  80. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    Katy’s going?

    What?!

  81. bananabrain — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:31 pm  

    i’m glad this thread is up.

    i guess i am finding this stuff a little depressing as well – and i’ve been doing interfaith dialogue for a good long time, over 12 years. if there’s one thing i’ve learnt, it’s that you never, *never* talk about I/P until everyone knows each other well, have something invested in the relationship and have a way of discussing stuff that doesn’t raise temperatures. if there’s something that bothers me it’s overly polite more-tea-vicar kind of talk which means that nothing substantive is ever discussed. i like it quite robust and enjoy the cut-and-thrust. but that’s not the same as telling people to go fuck themselves. that’s just too much. if you’re resorting to abuse, you’ve lost the argument. it’s also just plain bloody rude.

    i also really, really hate it when people either just post these enormous long screeds which would take a book to respond to properly and point out what’s wrong with them, or they say “read chomsky’s X or lewis’s Y” and you’ll agree with me” and i admit i’ve been guilty of the latter from time to time. other than that, more or less what chairwoman and katy have said. i am more than happy for people to know i’m jewish, but not for people to use that as an excuse to discount my opinion on the grounds that “well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?”

    i appreciate that sid took the trouble to apologise for causing offence, actually. that shows generosity of spirit. the trouble really arises from people pushing one another’s buttons on purpose and sometimes it seems to me that not automatically believing the worst of and condemning israel appears to constitute pushing people’s buttons. on the other hand, it is important to understand that when you recognise there are jewish people attempting to participate in a discussion, comparing israel to the nazis basically destroys all chance of a civilised discussion. it’s the nuclear option; it comes across to me in particular as if the person making the comparison has no conception of what that means to a jewish person. i don’t call anyone a nazi unless premeditated, intentional, joyful ethno-religious genocide is being envisioned or commmitted and sometimes not even then. isn’t genocide bad enough?

    jai and chairwoman (i think) mentioned the “armchair warriors” problem. for the record, i have a lot of close family in israel, mostly living in the north and well within katyusha, qassam and scud range. i spent a lot of time on the phone this summer talking to people who had to spend time in bomb shelters because of hizb’ullah. for me this is not a problem that goes away when i turn the computer off. i wouldn’t want to say something that i wasn’t equally comfortable saying to my own relatives.

    i didn’t start posting here with the intention of talking about I/P. i don’t wake up in the morning and go “ooh, how can i fight the good fight for israel today?” i wanted to get a handle on, as it were, what intelligent, educated, politically engaged people are talking about, particularly if the people concerned were muslim/hindu/sikh/black/brown/whatever. the trouble is that that involves I/P quite a lot. and i am aware that there are a lot more people that read threads than post to them. if people are in the habit of reading these discussions, i would hate for them to think that i was letting a viewpoint go unchallenged because i didn’t have an answer for it, or because i thought it was right, particularly on this subject. i have to assume there are jewish people who read these discussions and who are glad someone is saying what they think. more to the point, for better or for worse, i’m one of those people who still thinks there is a point to dialogue. there are a lot of people in my community who think that a) most muslims want to kill us and get rid of israel and those that don’t wouldn’t do anything to stop it happening and furthermore b) we’ve seen what non-muslim europeans do when jews are in danger, which is basically feck-all. israel as a whole is a holocaust survivor and if you’ve ever known what they’re like to deal with this is awfully familiar:

    “ah, why do you bother? who cares what the goyim think? they didn’t lift a finger when we were being sent to the ovens and they wouldn’t do a thing to save jews or israel if it came to the crunch. all you can do is make sure nobody, but nobody, thinks they can get away with spilling jewish blood.”

    if you have some idea how israel has always been treated in international forums (the UN in particular) you will know how this reinforces that perception. it is based on a fundamental mistrust born of long experience. personally, i am not that much of a fortress-mentality paranoiac – but neither do i think that there is no danger at all. i’ve not called anyone an antisemite unless they really deserved it (and, for the record, sid and anas are not on that list) but katy has really expressed my feelings rather well in post #72.

    the last thing i want to say is that i was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who said they valued my contribution (and katy’s and chairwoman’s) so maybe a blow has been struck for reasonableness overall. i am glad to see that sunny doesn’t want to see PP go the way of so many other online communities.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  82. Billy — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

    The picture at the top is scaring me. I can’t stop looking at it, it is hypnotic.

  83. Douglas Clark — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:37 pm  

    Brian,

    The point of the Yeats quote was that ‘passionate intensity’ is the last resort of the extremist. If debate is to be limited only to those with a thick skin, perhaps we should teach Hippos to type.

  84. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

    if there’s one thing i’ve learnt, it’s that you never, *never* talk about I/P until everyone knows each other well, have something invested in the relationship and have a way of discussing stuff that doesn’t raise temperatures.

    Very good piece of advice that.

  85. Brian — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:50 pm  

    Perhaps Douglas.

  86. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:51 pm  

    What does I/P mean?

  87. Douglas Clark — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    Just to say I agreed with almost all of your post at 81. As I don’t think I’ve said it before, can I just say that this place would be far worse off if you, Katy and Chairwoman stopped posting here. T’would be a sad day.

    I’m having problems with the Hippos. It’s not that they don’t have ideas, it’s just they keep smashing the keyboards.

  88. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

    Israel/Palestine. Although I sometimes instinctively read it as Internet Protocol…

  89. Kismet Hardy — on 6th December, 2006 at 3:57 pm  

    Oh so not Idiotic Posts then… I thought you were all TALKING IN CODE about me. I’m not paranoid. They really do want to kill me

  90. El Cid — on 6th December, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    Did someone say something about pressing buttons earlier?

    i’ve not called anyone an antisemite unless they really deserved it (and, for the record, sid and anas are not on that list)

    Are you singling me out as an antisemite bananabrain? why don’t you just say it then. if i told someone to fuck themselves yesterday it was precisely because of this. so the point is?

  91. bananabrain — on 6th December, 2006 at 4:15 pm  

    no, i didn’t call you an antisemite, but you are unnecessarily rude and confrontational. you’re also unnecessarily quick to try and make out that i’m having a go at muslims in general rather than specific opinions (e.g. ‘ummah-pushing beardy khilafa-advocating terror-apologists) in particular. i’m not one of those people who calls anyone who disagrees with me an antisemite. i don’t call people antisemites unless they say antisemitic things. in fact, i am extremely careful about how the term is used, because there are some people who try and make out that it is about “semites” in general rather than jews.

    if i’ve got a problem with anyone, i tend to tell them directly, rather than dropping hints. i hope that’s clear.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  92. El Cid — on 6th December, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    good. glad to hear it

  93. Jai — on 6th December, 2006 at 4:49 pm  

    Hug it out, people. Hug it out…..

  94. Katy — on 6th December, 2006 at 5:20 pm  

    if there’s one thing i’ve learnt, it’s that you never, *never* talk about I/P until everyone knows each other well, have something invested in the relationship and have a way of discussing stuff that doesn’t raise temperatures.

    Absolutely.

    It is also much easier to talk this stuff out on a face to face basis. Leon was saying earlier that written words aren’t always enough on their own. Sometimes someone sounds very very angry when they aren’t.

  95. Ravi Naik — on 6th December, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    “Israel/Palestine. Although I sometimes instinctively read it as Internet Protocol”

    It took me a while to figure that one out, I initially read it as intellectual property.

    “if there’s one thing i’ve learnt, it’s that you never, *never* talk about I/P until everyone knows each other well, have something invested in the relationship and have a way of discussing stuff that doesn’t raise temperatures.”

    I think we can do better than that. I suggest that we follow some ground rules when engaging any discussion:

    1) Disagree with your opponent without bringing his/her background to make your point, including his/her race, sex or ethnicity. Respect and be gracious, or like someone said, disagree without being disagreeable.

    2) Give some threshold and resist the knee-jerk reaction of calling your opponent a racist, a homophobe, a bigot, or xenophobic for something that you may perceive as politically incorrect or insensitive. Discuss, engage and explain. As for messages written by trolls and flame baiters, probably they should be deleted by Sunny.

    3) And finally, never compare anything to Hitler or nazism. I guess this is a corollary to 1) and 2), but its worth mentioning.

  96. miraxx — on 6th December, 2006 at 5:38 pm  

    But it is not really the trolls who are the source of the problem, Leon. Trolls are easily dealt with. But when we have meltdown from a group of regulars who value each other(in most other circumstances) and whom we generally think well of, there’s a problem which in my opinion cannot be solved by the blog owners or moderators. It is totally up to the participants themselves how far they want to take things. All we can do is to make it clear that they are welcome back at any time they choose to return.

    Personally, I found PP difficult at one stage because I was labelled an Islamophobe and in so much as it suggested I hated muslim people (not true at all) more than the religion (fairly true but Islam is not at the top of my list even then, heh), it was very offensive to me. The only way- after a hiatus- was to deal with the individual – to challenge him or ignore him as the situation warranted – rather than let him dictate the terms of my participation by walking off altogether. I would urge all concerned – CW, Kate, bananabrain (3 of our most courteous posters) as well as El Cid and Sid, good blokes who shoot off their mouths sometimes to not feel shy about coming back when they have all cooled down somewhat.

    But a lot of what Katy and Bananabrain have said does need to be looked at. Discussion about the I/P has become futile for a lot of people in the middle like me because it seems a prequisite that one must be prepared to make it a deathmatch and the language used is hyperbolic and melodramatic. Like Anas saying something to the effect that if you don’t recognise I/P as the predominant issue, then you don’t care for justice. Genocide, apartheid, nazi state etc are all terms that have become abused of their regular meaning.

    A personal note to Bananabrain: In 2000, I was on a date when my date – a European- started with the Israel= Nazi state rhetoric. I warned him that I would not indulge a discussion that started on that premise. He went on. I picked up my handbag and simply left. By the time he called me on my cell, thinking that i had gone to cool off in the restroom, I was already home. You don’t have to be a jew to stand up for these sort of things you know.

  97. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 5:55 pm  

    Miraxx,

    Will you go on a date with me? ;-) [I promise not to talk about Nazi Germany or anything Aryan-related.]

    Hello everyone [*exhausted from work*]

    [scanning thread...]

    Yikes.

  98. ZinZin — on 6th December, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    The prodigal son returns.

    Nice to have you back Amir.

  99. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 5:59 pm  

    Amir, you two-timing again?

    Where’s my expensive meal?

  100. Leon — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:01 pm  

    What a troll is or trolling is is a judgement call. Hence your opinion of it will be different from others.

  101. inders — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    I wanna join in the name calling…

    someone someone ‘do’ me.

  102. Don — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:08 pm  

    ‘Yikes.’

    Yeah, and none of it down to you! Good to see you back.

  103. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

    ZinZin – cheers big ears! (That’s my new catchphrase.) :-)

    Refresh – who said anything about “expensive”? I’m taking you to KFC or Burger King [*licking his greasy fingers*].

  104. inders — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    Heres what I think (HWIT):

    If you hold a belief so strongly, you can’t laugh about it. You should be forced to go to bed without any supper.

  105. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:12 pm  

    Don,

    ‘Yeah, and none of it down to you!’

    [*imitates the voice of Fry from Futurama*]

    Heh heh heh heh heh!

  106. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:17 pm  

    Kismet Hardy? A Tory?

    What’s been going on here…?

    OKAY, OKAY.

    Who been taking the anti-stupid pill. Own up.

  107. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

    You welching Amir? Yes expensive!

    I have it all logged and filed, if only Sunny got his search facility to work?

  108. miraxx — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

    Hey Refresh, Amir will NEVER take you out. He dropped that notion damn fast when he found out you were a bloke.

    How long are ya stayin this time, Amir? ;-)

  109. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Its looking that way – Do you think is he a homophobe?

  110. miraxx — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:26 pm  

    Ok Inder, you sad twat, you must have a hell of miserable and meaningless existence if you have to beg for abuse from random strangers. Why don’t you just put yourself out of your misery?*

    * er, not really. I am not that good at this.

  111. raz — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:27 pm  

    HANDS OFF MIRAX AMIR!!!!!!!!!!

  112. miraxx — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    no, refresh but i don’t know the bloke and find some of his expressed views – on abortion, say- a little too conservative for my taste.

  113. miraxx — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:43 pm  

    Raz, you are a very sweet boy but it is time you learn to share …there’s plenty of me to go round. I do weigh 120kg you know.

  114. Don — on 6th December, 2006 at 6:57 pm  

    Miraxx,

    Don’t be so judgemental. Begging for abuse from random strangers is a valid life-style choice. personally, I’ve only experimented.

    Amir,

    So which is it? Are you buying Refresh that meal or are you a homophobic bigot?

  115. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 7:31 pm  

    Refresh and Mirax, My sweets…

    (I) “Do you think is he a homophobe?”

    I’ve always felt comfortable around gay men and women. There are of course aspects of gay culture that I disapprove of. And I don’t support the notion of “gay marriage.” A heterosexual union is preferable to a homosexual one. Sodomy – which, in my opinion, is dirty and dysfunctional – is a sexual fetish that does not deserve a special legal status. For me, the idea of sticking a willy up another girl’s bottom is both sadistic and unhygienic. Heterosexual men who want to inflict this trauma on their girlfriends do so because they have an obsession with virgin-like “tightness” or they want to inflict pain on another human being; thus narrowing the gap between sex and exploitation – which, according to Christianity, is immoral. That is my opinion.

    (II) “He dropped that notion damn fast when he found out you were a bloke.”

    I didn’t drop the notion. But you are correct to point out that my attitude shifted. Not because of his gender. Rather, it was because he said “Yes.” Generally speaking, I tend to have a very low opinion of myself. I felt humbled when Refresh accepted my invitation, which, originally, was only intended in jest.

    (III) “I don’t know the bloke and find some of his expressed views – on abortion, say- a little too conservative for my taste.”

    Yes. I oppose abortion (except in cases of rape, incest, or when a young girl’s life is at stake). No one should have the right to reduce their unborn baby to a pile of meaty mush just because they don’t “feel” like rearing a child. Give it up for adoption. But don’t kill the poor soul. When I first saw a still of an aborted foetus I burst out into a flood of tears. It’s one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever seen in my life. Period.

    Amir

    [P.S. RAZ!!!! – How’s it going mate?]

  116. Billy — on 6th December, 2006 at 7:42 pm  

    ” Sodomy – which, in my opinion, is dirty and dysfunctional – is a sexual fetish that does not deserve a special legal status.”

    What about lesbians?

  117. Billy — on 6th December, 2006 at 7:43 pm  

    Is fellatio a sexual fetish?

  118. Suzzy — on 6th December, 2006 at 8:18 pm  

    Sodomy – which, in my opinion, is dirty and dysfunctional – is a sexual fetish that does not deserve a special legal status

    Homosexuality cannot be reduced to sodomy you ignorant sap. The ‘legal status’ is a contract designed to ensure that gay men and women in long term relationshiops have certain legal protections that are available to married couples too. It has nothing to do with the sexual act of anal intercourse, which is perfectly legal between consenting adults.

  119. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 8:50 pm  

    Amir, you shock me. Perhaps you’ve forgotten what you proposed to do once – absolutely vile stuff. I had to request Sunny to delete your post at the time. I don’t think he did, though.

    I had nightmares for days (well nights).

    I shudder as I hit the ‘Submit Comment’

  120. Sahil — on 6th December, 2006 at 8:52 pm  

    Oh Amir is back, lets all make fun of him!! :-D

  121. Sahil — on 6th December, 2006 at 8:53 pm  

    Just kidding Amir, if that didn’t come across.

  122. Refresh — on 6th December, 2006 at 8:57 pm  

    Before anyone asks why I accepted his offer of a meal (an expensive one at that) knowing what he had said in THAT post – its simple, I was going to do a runner.

    Well what do you expect, an expensive meal in Moss Side with Amir – YOU wouldn’t want to hang around. Would you?

  123. namitabh bachchan — on 6th December, 2006 at 9:14 pm  

    maybe the beauty of the blog is that it does serve dual purposes, one of which to express opinion while the other is to provide a forum for debate…knowing how the ‘other side’ thinks is sometimes more helpful than the fight.

  124. namitabh bachchan — on 6th December, 2006 at 9:17 pm  

    Additionally, I’d like to point out that expressing dissent to a service or institution can also be very useful in creating progressive policies.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I have used my blog in the past to vent, but through that process, I was able to spot trends that later proved useful in policy formulation.

  125. raz — on 6th December, 2006 at 9:17 pm  

    Amir,

    RAZ is fine at the moment, especially after Shoaib and Asif got off OJ Simpson style ;)

  126. Old Pickler — on 6th December, 2006 at 9:45 pm  

    an even bigger penis-size-comparing-contest.

    This is sexist. Women can’t compare penis sizes. On second thoughts…

  127. Don — on 6th December, 2006 at 10:08 pm  

    Amir,

    ‘I don’t support the notion of “gay marriage.” See Suzzyy’s points.

    ‘A heterosexual union is preferable to a homosexual one.’ To whom?

    ‘Sodomy – which, in my opinion, is dirty and dysfunctional…’ Ouch, you’ve got me there. Think it’s wierd myself – I mean, if you have the option, why would you…? But, chacun a son gout. As long as both sides are cool with it, how does it get to be our business?

    ‘narrowing the gap between sex and exploitation – which, according to Christianity, is immoral.’ You mean exploitative sex is wrong? Dang, without christian insight I would never have known that.

  128. Old Pickler — on 6th December, 2006 at 10:20 pm  

    chacun a son gout

    Each to his goat. Better not say that in Iraq – the Imams will be on your back.

  129. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:16 pm  

    Suzzy,

    (i) “Homosexuality cannot be reduced to sodomy you ignorant sap.”

    Of course it isn’t. (There are some gay couples who abstain from it.) But it’s still a major part of most homosexual relationships. Just look at the disproportional amount of AIDS in the gay community. Bareback sex is becoming increasingly common.

    (ii) “It has nothing to do with the sexual act of anal intercourse, which is perfectly legal between consenting adults.”

    Yes, okay. But why on earth should gay couples receive the same legal perks as straight couples? They can’t reproduce and thus fail to provide one the most basic services available to mankind: family life. Gay people, as a result, tend to have bucket loads of disposable income – otherwise known as the “pink pound.” Rearing children is expensive, at times harrowing, periodically stressful, time-consuming and emotionally draining. You need a male and a female parent to influence the child in their separate ways – to provide them emotional and moral stability – which, by extension, enables them to form their own relationships and families in the future.

    Sodomy’s legal status is irrelevant to our discussion. Urinating on your partner or wearing a nappy and acting like a baby is also within the law, but I’d never want that immoral filth taught to my children at school or shown on the BBC. Gay activists – the most intolerant and militant of all lobbyists – want to amend the law so that gay couples can be used as “prototypes” during sex education lessons. No. Thank. You.

    Amir

  130. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:20 pm  

    Sahil,

    Heh heh heh heh! :-)

  131. Suzzy — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:27 pm  

    But why on earth should gay couples receive the same legal perks as straight couples?

    So that gay couples can receive probate and pension rights and every other thing that secures their status as they grow old and are not left destitute when their life partner dies, same as anyone else, you homophobic bigot.

  132. ZinZin — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:41 pm  

    Suzzy, Amir this threads theme is about Sunnys despair about blogging and neither of you are helping.

  133. namitabh bachchan — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:54 pm  

    Amir,

    Same-sex couples aren’t asking for special rights; they just don’t want special discrimination.

    Regarding children, there are plenty of couples in the UK who are married and have no children or are not married but have children. The institution of marriage doesn’t regulate reproduction, so attaching fiscal incentive to the institution doesn’t necessarily increase a couple’s likelihood of having kids.

    I am a little confused about your position regarding reproductive rights and healthcare. In my humble opinion, if a government is not providing healthcare to its residents, then the government doesn’t have the authority to legislate reproductive choice (like abortion).

  134. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:58 pm  

    Suzzy,

    (I) “So that gay couples can receive probate and pension rights and every other thing that secures their status as they grow old and are not left destitute when their life partner dies, same as anyone else.”

    To restate the obvious once more: it is impossible, and will remain so in the future, for a homosexual couple to produce offspring. 2 vaginas = no kids, 2 willies = no kids. Willy + vagina = kids. Kids = one of the heftiest financial burdens known to mankind. So who, in your opinion, is the most entitled to legal perks and tax cuts? Gays or straights?

    In any case, with or without marriage, gay couples are still entitled to pensions and “every other thing that secures their status as they grow old.” Especially when one considers their access to disposable income.

    (II) “you homophobic bigot.”

    I don’t hate gays. Or fear them. Or demean them. Nor have I ever chosen my friends according to their sexual orientation. But I don’t like sodomy. It’s unhygienic and aesthetically repulsive. Furthermore, I’m a zealous supporter of stable, two-parent families. If that makes me a “homophobe”, so be it. But I can assure you that I will take that insult less seriously in future. You are an obstruction to your own cause.

    Amir

  135. Amir — on 6th December, 2006 at 11:59 pm  

    Sorry ZinZin – I needed to reply.

    Point taken.

    Blame it on the sexy Mirax and kinky Refresh. :-)

  136. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:23 am  

    Amir, et al. That was bloody funny, and how a debate can be conducted. It should certainly cheer Sunny up, well it cheered me up anyway. He should also watch 18 Doubty Street to see how his ideas are going mainline.

  137. Ravi Naik — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:28 am  

    “Yes, okay. But why on earth should gay couples receive the same legal perks as straight couples? They can’t reproduce and thus fail to provide one the most basic services available to mankind: family life”

    Amir, so you think that marriage is only valid if it produces offspring? What about heterosexual couples who choose not to have children? And what about those who can’t have children? Is their marriage any less valid?

  138. Suzzy — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:39 am  

    Amir, you pompous little homophobic bigot, you are what you are, your arguments are pathetic and lame, and as I pointed out, the reason why gay people have civil partnerships is so that they have the same rights in law as married people so that they are not left destitute or wanting when their partner dies. Only a heartless little bigot could object to this. So stop squealing about your squeamishness about sodomy, you half witted buffoon couldnt even understand the basic point that civil partnerships have nothing to do with the legality of anal intercourse in the first instance. In fact your constant references to it makes me think you are hiding something – you really actually like taking it up the arse, dont you? :-)

  139. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:39 am  

    This gets better – and all because people got their knickers in a twist over debating etiquette.

    Douglas – Sunny loves the controversy and the hype so don’t worry about him.

    By the way Amir – I think you are in no position to discuss the issue. THAT email still exists you know.

    And where does aesthetics come in?

  140. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:41 am  

    Donald,

    (1) “To whom?”

    To society.

    (2) “You mean exploitative sex is wrong? Dang, without Christian insight I would never have known that.”

    Whether you like it or not, Christianity is the basis of a superior, unsurpassed morality. Even if you’re an agnostic – like Iain Dale – but recognise your debt to the Christian faith – like Iain Dale – it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Did I mention that I like Iain Dale?

    Amir

  141. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:41 am  

    By the way I forgot to say, welcome back Amir.

  142. Shankar — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:57 am  

    ::: By the way Amir – I think you are in no
    ::: position to discuss the issue. THAT email
    ::: still exists you know.

    Refresh, it’s not Amir’s fault that you have a woman’s name, or a name that could be a brand for a female sanitary product. :)

  143. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:09 am  

    Shankar, that may be so.

    But you don’t want to go there – or we could get into rhyming slang territory. [Big Toothed Smiley]

  144. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:10 am  

    Suzzy Q,

    (II) “Amir, you pompous little homophobic bigot, you are what you are, your arguments are pathetic and lame.”

    Pompous – yes. Pathetic – quite possibly. Bigoted – nope.

    (I) “Only a heartless little bigot could object to this.”

    Heartless? My favourite movie is The Jungle Book and I cry whenever I see a sad story on telly. I love animals and I’m very close to my mum. Heartless? Pah.

    (II) “So stop squealing about your squeamishness about sodomy”

    I’m not squeamish about it. I just think that shoving your penis up another man’s shit-hole is dirty and distasteful. (For example: one of my gay work colleagues had to go to the doctor last week to remove a piece of sweetcorn from his urethra.) That applies, mutatis mutandis, to a heterosexual couple who engage in a bit of bumming. Some people disagree. Others concur. Sodomy is just as bad as emetophilia. But not quite as bad as coprophagia.

    (III) “In fact your constant references to it makes me think you are hiding something – you really actually like taking it up the arse, dont you?”

    Here’s the clincher. By using “anal sex” in a derogatory way, you are implicitly subscribing to my own morality. At least we agree on something. :-)

    Amir

  145. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:16 am  

    Still, bloody funny. :)

  146. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:23 am  

    Doug, Refresh – cheers big ears’! :-)

  147. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:28 am  

    Amir, I’ve long wondered the reasons behind why religions are opposed to homosexuality. Why do you think Christianity, as you see it, does?

    Jai, you’re another one who is squeamish about ‘gay hugs’. Why do you think Sikhism does?

  148. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:29 am  

    I remember, in my younger days, doing what we all do, but deny. I looked up sexual deviation in the Enyclopedia Britannica. You bloody well did, liar!

    Shit, I said, I have never in my life wanted to make love to a pavement, nor a hole in the door, or floor if you are really kinky. But, apart from being completely lacking in desire for poultry, I did find the old fetishist thing about underwear quite a good read. Stimulating, even. I’d deny that anyones sexual identity is as simple as we make it out to be.

    Incidentally, despite it being quite an old print of the Encyclopedia, it worked out that men had 20 odd sexual deviances and women had one. Rubbish, I said, they have at least two.

  149. Sid — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:32 am  

    Anal sex – don’t knock it til you tried it. Need to have lots of lubricants at hand though.

    Speaking of arse, there’s the distictly tart smell of knob cheese on this thread.

    Oh look its Amir! Welcome back.

  150. Anil — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:33 am  

    This gets better – and all because people got their knickers in a twist over debating etiquette.

    No, it got worst. And you should know better. I am sorry, but this Amir character is not a homophobe. He is a certified pompous idiot. For anyone who reduces homosexuals and the plight of gay people to arse fucking does not deserve to be treated with respect.

  151. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:33 am  

    Doug, please don’t encourage him.

  152. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:36 am  

    Anil, we go back a long way. Me and Amir. Leave him alone. He is harmless. He loves everyone really (see above).

  153. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:46 am  

    We came across a woman whose second name was Brabender. After an enormous investment of time and effort, we were, as you knew, disappointed.

    And don’t get me started on Ms Whip, who wouldn’t have said boo to a goose. Well, neither would I, actually. Scary bastards, geese.

  154. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:54 am  

    Anil,

    (I) “For anyone who reduces homosexuals and the plight of gay people to arse fucking does not deserve to be treated with respect.”

    I didn’t. I argued that the institution of marriage is sacred and should not be extended to homosexuals. That, for me, is a valid opinion. Refute it if you will. But don’t even think of trying to put words into my mouth.

    I totally reject the repulsive abuse that is meted out to gay men and women. For the record, I have never abused a gay in my life. Not even in jest.

    Nor do I have any problem with “gay hugs” or the occasional camp tittle-tattle. I find it quite amusing. :-)

  155. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:56 am  

    Sid,

    You charmer. ;-)

    Knob cheese smells a bit like scampy, don’t you think?

  156. Katy — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:01 am  

    Ooh, hello Amir.

    Knob cheese smells a bit like scampy, don’t you think?

    I am delighted to say that I would have to take your word for it.

  157. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:04 am  

    Doug,

    Here are a few amusing fetishes:

    1) Eproctophilia [John Prescott’s wife is a lucky dame]

    2) Robot fetish [Bring out the Kraftwerk CD]

    3) Amputee fetishism [Paul McCartney and Heather Mills?]

    4) Diaper Fetish [What are the scores George Doors!]

    Amir

  158. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:05 am  

    “I argued that the institution of marriage is sacred and should not be extended to homosexuals. That, for me, is a valid opinion. Refute it if you will.”

    Amir, what you lay claim to in the name of marriage is the legal arrangement. Which is not sacred per se.

    However marriage vows in a religious ceremony is probably closer to what I beleive you are talking about.

    With regards the cost, and the value to society of parents rearing children is a valid perspective and that can and should be accounted for in our fiscal arrangements.

    I don’t think the ‘pink pound’ comes into it.

    With regards promoting homosexuality as a lifestyle then that is an entire debate in its own right. Don’t you think?

  159. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:18 am  

    Katy,

    And me, as this seems to be some sort of polymorphic debate in the worst of all possible taste. Cheese – yeugh!

    Reminds me of my schooldays. The whisper, “wanking makes you deaf”. I swear, when someone did that in our class, someone piped up, “Well it’s never done that to me.” How we laughed. Although we hadn’t heard it ourselves. Funny that.

  160. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:21 am  

    Refresh,

    (1) “With regards the cost, and the value to society of parents rearing children is a valid perspective and that can and should be accounted for in our fiscal arrangements.”

    Yes. I agree. Totally.

    (2) “Amir, what you lay claim to in the name of marriage is the legal arrangement. Which is not sacred per se.”

    Yes it is. Especially if you get married in a Church (or some other religious temple). Devoting your entire life to one woman is truly astonishing. Beyond praise. Having children together is one of the most beautiful things I can think of. Can you imagine making love to a woman knowing that you’re doing it to procreate? It must be incredible. Growing old together, in your twilight years, hand-in-hand. Sharing Christmas with your children… Etc. Of course it’s sacred.

    Amir

  161. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:21 am  

    Katy,

    [In the words of Alan Partridge…]

    SMELL MY CHEESE!! SMELL MY CHEESE!!

  162. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:33 am  

    Katy,

    Do you wanna a whiff? :-)

    You can put a bit in your banana cake. A bit of nutmeg, a slice of orange, a nub of knob cheese. Ba-da-bing!!

  163. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:40 am  

    Amir,

    You have hit post 160. This is becoming a CiF thread.

    Long and difficult.

    Say for instance, two brothers lived together, and on the death of one, they wished the other to inherit? Would you have a problem with that? Whether you suspected a sexual relationship, or not.

    A relationship that I’d argue is none of the states business, either way.

    And anyway, what business is it of yours? It is just more state, or worse, your, interference, into relationships, I think.

    If a man wants to leave his estate to another man, that should be OK, subject to offsprings rights, obviously. Clearly, if he wanted to leave it to a knot in the wall, he is mad. Or differently enabled, if you prefer.

    This is practicality, not morality.

    You are right on the subject of fetishes. If they are not your own, then they are frankly ridiculous. Which is not to say you haven’t a secret too. Do tell.

  164. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 3:15 am  

    Doug,

    (1) “Say for instance, two brothers lived together, and on the death of one, they wished the other to inherit? Would you have a problem with that?”

    Not at all. Sexual orientation notwithstanding, I yearn for common sense over bureaucratic nonsense. As far as I’m concerned, the grieving gentleman should be awarded his deceased brother’s money and assets. I’m an avid opponent of inheritance tax, so he’d benefit twice under my rule.

    (2) “Which is not to say you haven’t a secret too. Do tell.”

    I DO have fetishes. Everybody does. But I’m not going to tell, because it’s all too embarrassing. Even for me. :-) I’m one of those people who really, really likes sex. To be honest, I should show a little self-restraint. *Protestant guilt* :-(

    Amir

  165. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 4:31 am  

    Ravi Naik,

    (1) “Amir, so you think that marriage is only valid if it produces offspring? What about heterosexual couples who choose not to have children? And what about those who can’t have children? Is their marriage any less valid?”

    Monogamy per se is intrinsically valuable. But the rearing of children makes it more so.

  166. Amir — on 7th December, 2006 at 4:47 am  

    namitabh bachchan,

    (1) “In my humble opinion, if a government is not providing healthcare to its residents, then the government doesn’t have the authority to legislate reproductive choice (like abortion).”

    Women who abort are unable to love the children they carry; and many of them know very well what they are doing. The desire to end an inconvenient life is a form of hatred. This, in my opinion, should not be tolerated in any given society – let alone ours. Parents who contemplate abortion are shamelessly self-centred. Being self-centred leads inevitably to hating others who are obstacles to selfish desires. What is “natural” in human nature easily descends to the diabolical. And our modern, post-Christian, liberal culture treats the self-centred life as normal, rejecting abortion laws as tyrannical impositions on what was once called “the unfettered self.” This, again, is an intolerable stance to take.

    Amir

  167. Billy — on 7th December, 2006 at 9:30 am  

    What about heterosexual couple where one or both are infertile? Is their marriage worthless because they can’t produce children?

  168. Ravi Naik — on 7th December, 2006 at 9:58 am  

    “Monogamy per se is intrinsically valuable. But the rearing of children makes it more so.”

    Even so, having children is not a prerequisite for marriage. And anal sex is not exclusive to homosexuals and some married couples do engage in that activity. So I am not sure why you would bring both up as arguments against gay marriage.

  169. Leon — on 7th December, 2006 at 10:17 am  

    With gross overpopulation I reckon more childless homosexual couples could be just what the human race needs…

  170. Sid — on 7th December, 2006 at 10:55 am  

    Also queer guys make the most generous friends, know where all the best bargains are, make the best uncles for the kids and are great travelling companions. Never forget their birthdays though, bitch.

  171. Kismet Hardy — on 7th December, 2006 at 11:14 am  

    All I know is that when I’m with women, I pay, while with men, they pay

  172. Kismet Hardy — on 7th December, 2006 at 11:15 am  

    But not very much. How much would YOU pay to do my bum?

  173. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 11:21 am  

    ..make the best uncles for the kids

    ??

  174. Kismet Hardy — on 7th December, 2006 at 11:59 am  

    I’m the Thread Killer

  175. Jai — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

    Refresh,

    =>”Jai, you’re another one who is squeamish about ‘gay hugs’.”

    It was a joke, bewakoof. Especially when you consider the habit of many Sikhs to hug each other and anyone else within arm’s range at the drop of a hat.

  176. Suzzy — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

    Here’s the clincher. By using “anal sex” in a derogatory way, you are implicitly subscribing to my own morality. At least we agree on something

    In the bigoted hall of mirrors of your own mind that probably means something or makes sense – for a homophobic bigot who does not even understand that civil partnerships had nothing to do with the legality or otherwise of gay sex in the first place, you are a half wit as well as a homophobe and a pompous sap of the highest degree.

  177. Sid — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:05 pm  

    El Cid, not real uncles, but proxy uncles. Also known as babysitters.

  178. Robert — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    increasingly, it looks like the only outcome is that rather people learning from each other, the online space simply becomes an even bigger penis-size-comparing-contest.

    No, Sunny. 178 posts in, the conversation is actually mainly about bumming.

    Mathematicians amongst you will know about ‘complex numbers’ and the fractal graphs that they can generate. I’m thinking of those iterative equations, where you stick a couple of numbers in, but you have no idea what the graph will do. For some, it will tend to zero, others it will disappear to infinity, while others fluctuate along a sort of wave.

    It seems to me that Pickled Politics threads can behave like that. No matter what Sunny posts at the top, there is no way to predict what will come out at the bottom…

  179. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    Where is Peter Tatchell when you need him?

  180. Chairwoman — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

    Changing the subject, there’s been a Tornado, causing major structural damage in NW London.

  181. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    I hope the sinners and sodomites of NW London shall repent and understand the sign of displeasure of our Lord.

  182. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:41 pm  

    Robert,

    “to predict what will come out at the bottom…”

    And that, my friend, is a Feudian slip. ;)

  183. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:42 pm  

    Or try Freudian, even.

  184. Chris — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

    I love the contradictions in so many anti-gay arguments.

    On the one hand lots of talk of anal sex (“disgusting” and “degrading” despite being very popular with heterosexuals) while on the other lots of talk about “promotion”.

    If it’s so “disgusting”, just how successful is such “promotion” likely to be.

    Of course, gay teens are subject to constant heterosexual “promotion”…does it work?

    And then we have the wonderful arguments about promiscuity.

    Gays are so promiscuous, so they musn’t be allowed the chance to form a proper committed relationship, erm, well, er…

  185. Robert — on 7th December, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    I’ll tee ‘em up, Douglas, and you can knock ‘em down.

  186. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

    Oh brother. The Labour Party have lost the plot completely.

    http://jsingh-sohal.blogspot.com/2006/12/labours-new-approach-to-attracting.html

  187. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:23 pm  

    Jay, is that you?

  188. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

    No El Cid, that’s just a blog I read from time to time. This guy is a journalist for ITV.

    Pathetic poster though eh? Keith Vaz, what is the point?

  189. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:31 pm  

    I haven’t got a strong view on it, to be honest. Looks harmless to me. Sorry to be boring.

  190. Leon — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

    Changing the subject, there’s been a Tornado, causing major structural damage in NW London.

    Wha!?

  191. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:37 pm  

    I suppose you’re right El Cid, it’s just really lame.

  192. Shankar — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

    ::: I’m thinking of those iterative equations,
    ::: where you stick a couple of numbers in, but you
    ::: have no idea what the graph will do.

    Well, it’s not as unpredictable as you think. Stick the likes of Refresh (#109) and Amir (#115) into those iterative equations, and you are sure to predict what comes out at the bottom.

  193. Kismet Hardy — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    ……. ……. ………. ………
    …… ……. ………. ………
    ….. ……. ………. ………
    …. ……. ………. ………
    … ……. ………. ………
    .. ……. ………. ………
    . ……. ………. ………

  194. Leon — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:55 pm  

    Ah it’s just gone up on BBC:

    Six hurt as tornado hits street

    Six people were injured when a tornado swept through a London street leaving a trail of destruction.

    Rooftops were ripped off and cars were badly damaged as the freak weather hit Kensal Rise in north-west London.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6217514.stm

  195. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:58 pm  

    What’s the Muslim angle on it Leon?

  196. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

    I just want to say that I agree with Kismet Hardy’s last post.

  197. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    To Katy, Chairwoman

    I’m sorry loves.
    I do regret losing my temper but, to be honest, when people say, right, that’s it, I’m leaving, talk to the hand… well.. it’s not unnatural to think, ok, fuck off then, is it?

    I am annoyed by Don’s and Clairwil’s assertion that I had a problem with jewishness. What the fucking point of that was except to provoke I don’t know — even if Don covered it in candy. Whatever. They are wrong.

    However — and you’re not going to like this Katy — it’s my deeply-held belief that Jews and Arabs can rarely be unbiased when it comes to I/P. The problem is way too deeply entrenched and I think that Bananabrain’s heartfelt post #81 only serves to illustrate that. And hence you probably pull your punches when it comes to criticising Israel when it seem — to the rest of us — blatantly out of order. You’re within your rights to disagree. But this is my opinion.

    As for you Bananabrain:
    when you say you’re also unnecessarily quick to try and make out that i’m having a go at muslims in general rather than specific opinions… I mean, c’mon… go over what you said initially… that you didn’t mean how it came across is another thing… it’s not my fault that you didn’t say what you meant.. i’m not a psychic

    Anyway, I should really be working and I’ve tried to write this in a way that sets out my position without provoking a backlash.

    I’m sorry if this detracts from the subject in hand, which I think is fudge packing, cheese grating, and bums, generally

  198. Nyrone — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:19 pm  

    Kismet Hardy’s last post is indeed a statement of unparalleled genius.

  199. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

    I think Kismet’s last post says it all, really, and I have nothing to add.

  200. Nyrone — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    I count 214 dots….goddamn genius.

  201. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    …………………
    …………….
    …………………
    …………………….
    ……..
    ………………

  202. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:23 pm  

    (My last post was a direct response to Kismet Hardy #193)

  203. Nyrone — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    …….. …………. ………….
    ……………. …….. ……
    ………. …………………….
    ……… ……… ……………..
    …………….. ………………
    ……………. ……………….
    … ………… ……………….

  204. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    ..bums and lots of dots, that is

  205. Nyrone — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    Respect to Kismet and Jagdeep.
    You guys are pioneers!

  206. Leon — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    What’s the Muslim angle on it Leon?

    Er…

  207. Jai — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    Are we still hugging it out, folks ? ;)

    *****************

    A belated ‘welcome back’ to Amir. I see that he’s still making mischief and becoming the centre of turmoil wherever he goes, like your “throw tradition to the winds” unconventional family-friend Auntie Neeta who insists on turning up at Asian dinner parties wearing a mini-dress to show off her legs and slim figure, while the other aunties there are swathed in miles of heavy silk saris and tut-tut at her disapprovingly.

  208. Jai — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    =>”What’s the Muslim angle on it Leon?

    Er…”

    It was a whirling-dervish suicide tornado, conjured up by the good folks at Finsbury Park Mosque to punish all the heinous infidels ogling the leggy female dancers during the Latin American section of Strictly Come Dancing every Saturday.

  209. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    ……..&…….
    …@………….
    …………$……
    ……sex……
    ..%………
    ……..3……….
    ….fuck………
    …………..£………
    ….*…………

  210. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    And that’s my last post on this matter. No more. I shall not be drawn into this debate any longer.

  211. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:51 pm  
  212. Chairwoman — on 7th December, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

    Good to see everyone’s back then. Just popped in to say hello.

    I think that this thread has gone places where no honourary auntieji should go, so I will tiptoe out and leave you to your male bonding.

  213. Leon — on 7th December, 2006 at 3:00 pm  

    And on that note, I think it may be time for an early weekend open thread…

  214. Arif — on 7th December, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

    …. on Israel/Palestine, I made a couple of attempts to promote constructive discussion on the topic here, but the way I did it probably wasn’t very interesting for people.

    Being constructive on an issue probably requires a different mindset from being critical. But blogs seem a reasonably good vehicle for constructive discussions as much as critical ones, and both types of discussion are useful.

    Different blogs can set different ethics by the attitudes of regular contributors and in the last resort by their policies for deletions and bannings. And I guess at every kind of blog there is pushing of their boundaries which create tensions. I bet even a blog of saints would have some unconscious needling and making points by pushing sensitive buttons.

    In a way, this makes any blog a place where we can learn to be who we want to be within whatever framework we find ourselves. If I want to be rude, then too bad for me – no need for anyone else to be dragged down by it. I can learn about my sensitive issues and embarrassing prejudices safely because I am in a computer-mediated virtual environment where I can consider my reactions without being scrutinised. And hopefully with a better understanding of myself I become a slightly changed person off-screen too.

    Sure, the world is imperfect and full of potential misunderstanding, and if I allow myself to be dragged down, then the processes can work to push natural allies to stigmatise each other. But in the end it is my own responsibility how I want to interact online and offline.

    We each should try not to bait other people or be baited by them if we want a constructive discussion. All the moderation policies in the world can’t make that happen.

  215. sonia — on 7th December, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    kismet – no. 65 : im touched! thank you :-)

    gosh what is happening with tornados hitting london??!

  216. Kismet Hardy — on 7th December, 2006 at 3:18 pm  

    I’ve been looking through a few religion-led and race-led blogsites and the bigotry there (especially Ligali) is almost a given. They stick together and cussing the enemy can get as nasty as it likes for all the moderators care, hell, they even join in.

    See, this is why PP is different. Even though it attracts a lot of Asians, the differing religions and lifestyle choices means there can never be a set agenda or even an agreed enemy

    However hardcore things get sometimes, I’ve never once read anyone say Jews are interested in money, or homosexuals should be hanged (I mean maybe Arif says it but my eyes & limited braincells go wobbly after a while), so it’s all good and gay and proper

    I love you all and want you to invite me to your house

  217. Kismet Hardy — on 7th December, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    PS. Jagdeep: ‘Drawn in’… You funny monkey

  218. Jagdeep — on 7th December, 2006 at 3:32 pm  

    Kismet you are right — I spend time on some other message boards and it is as depressing as hell.

  219. Sid — on 7th December, 2006 at 4:05 pm  

    Kismet, you can be pretty brilliant when you’re serious. Or is that just you when you’re spliffed up and coming down from a massive Meth sesh?

  220. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    i wish i had a spliff. haven’t had one since… i can’t remember

  221. jailhouselawyer — on 7th December, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

    I think that blogs do help people to get to know each other, and different points of views, I consider some as blogfriends. Don’t let it get you down.

  222. Don — on 7th December, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    ‘Kismet Hardy’s last post is indeed a statement of unparalleled genius. ‘

    Really? I felt his initial premise was sound, but his third and fourth points were little more than assertions dressed as argument. Somewhat jejeune, frankly.

    Jagdeep’s response, although intemperate, revealed key weaknesses in Kismet’s position.

  223. Chris Stiles — on 7th December, 2006 at 7:22 pm  


    Really? I felt his initial premise was sound, but his third and fourth points were little more than assertions dressed as argument. Somewhat jejeune, frankly.

    Yes – I don’t think pickled politics is that much different from some of the other message boards.

    To a certain extent it’s only that so far the people willing to occasionally take themselves less than seriously and puncture pomposity in the process haven’t got to the point where they are swamped by idiots invading discussions between the more earnest contributors.

    Most of Gene Spaffords original Axiom’s about the Usenet equally apply to blogs/message boards/discussion sites of this ilk.

    However, I think we will eventually start to learn to deal with ‘new media’ (insofar as they are new) and successful sites will mostly learn to self police.

  224. Don — on 7th December, 2006 at 8:12 pm  

    Um, I was commenting on #193.

  225. Sid — on 7th December, 2006 at 8:19 pm  

    hahaha

  226. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 8:24 pm  

    Chris Stiles,

    I am quite offended by this sort of academic approach to posters here. Anyone agree that we are not cardboard cut-outs, suitable for inspection by a wannabe sociologist?

    We are, by default, different from folk that post somewhere else. Otherwise, we’d post there. Obvious innit?

    It is also wrong to assume that serious posters here can’t also post funny posts. Anas can be quite bloody funny sometimes. It is ridiculously one dimensional to view folk the way you seem to have.

    I’m absolutely underwhelmed that Gene Spaffords Axiom applies to us. As I’ve never heard of him, nor care about him, I think we should develop our own ilk, if you will. As Sunny seems to have gone away, can we all agree to be an ilk? Kinda like an auk, or a refreshing drink. Or a political movement. Ilks of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but Chris.

    Chris, either join the fray or go away.

  227. Chris Stiles — on 7th December, 2006 at 8:33 pm  


    It is also wrong to assume that serious posters here can’t also post funny posts.
    ..
    Or a political movement. Ilks of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but Chris.

    Try breathing.

  228. Douglas Clark — on 7th December, 2006 at 8:41 pm  

    Breath in, breath out. It was still pretty cheeky Chris, and you still think you have some sort of intellectiual high ground when you certainly don’t.

    And stop calling me an Ilk. Bloody worse than Hobbits, Ilks are. Try writing posts that don’t insult your readers.

  229. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 9:03 pm  

    El Cid,

    Bananabrain’s contribution there and up above is deeply depressing.

  230. Refresh — on 7th December, 2006 at 9:05 pm  

    Jai, isn’t it about time all these Sikhs hugging at the drop of a hat get with it? [Cheeky smiley].

  231. Chris Stiles — on 7th December, 2006 at 9:10 pm  

    Douglas -


    It was still pretty cheeky Chris, and you still think you have some sort of intellectiual high ground when you certainly don’t.

    We all think we have ‘some sort of intellectual high ground’ – or we wouldn’t be busily posting examples of our shining wit (or otherwise) on here.

    Unless you feel that the topic of the board itself is verboten – in which case you haven’t explained why.

    Of course, if you were trying to prove the truth of Sunny’s last paragraph by choosing someone to tangle with, then congratulations.

  232. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 9:56 pm  

    Any thoughts?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2490974,00.html

  233. ZinZin — on 7th December, 2006 at 10:17 pm  

    Whats a thought?

  234. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 10:18 pm  

    you know… i think, therefore I am.. that sort of thing

  235. El Cid — on 7th December, 2006 at 10:19 pm  

    on a lighter note:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,,1966820,00.html

  236. inders — on 7th December, 2006 at 10:23 pm  

    Within any population or system there is a constant amount of insanity. The saner most posters are, the more crazy the minority must get.

    Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self. Buy it at all good bookstores.

  237. Desi Italiana — on 8th December, 2006 at 9:03 am  

    “I personaly assume we all have an English accent (except the Glaswegians posters who I read with a Glaswegian accent I can’t understand – but if you were from Fife I could). ”

    Oye! I speak with a North American accent, Californian to be exact! :)

    ******************

    Speaking of blogs, I’ve found them to be incredibly fruitful and frustrating at the same time. Fruitful is self-explanatory, in that you can shoot the shit, exchange ideas, and what not. Frustrating because sometimes you read posts and comments that are so off the mark, that you don’t even know where to begin. So you just think, “Why bother?” and leave it alone.

    Then there are commentators. At times, you get a) words put into your mouth; b) have poo flung at you, even if it was undeserved; c)commentators lashing out at you for no reason other than 1) they are directing their pent up angst at you; 2)they need a punching bag, so ANY minimal thing that can be misconstrued, they jump on; and finally, my favorite, d) labels used to shut people up. So you just steer clear of them, and comment around them.

    But all in all, I like blogging :)

  238. Desi Italiana — on 8th December, 2006 at 9:20 am  

    Also, there are commentators who show up only to post bitchy insults, offensive one liners, thinking they are witty.

  239. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 10:43 am  

    Desi I – of course sorry – When I read your posts in future I will use one of the following accents in my head – North American seems to vague – so please narrow it down to one of the following.
    - Valley Girl – but somehow I will not be able to take your posts seriously 8)
    - Posh Southern Belle
    - Southern like Daisy from the original “Dukes of Hazard” (and my favourite which I hope you choose)
    - New Yorker – Brooklyn – please no , but OK if you insist.
    - Conneticut Yankee
    - Texas drawl – now I hear that from a few of my American friends, along with Jewish New Yorker so that would just confuse me.
    - Generic sort of Canadian/American accent but that would be boring.
    - North Californian like as used at Berkeley where I got closest to going ‘postal’ ans shooting everyone in sight.

    Now for how I actually hear the others –
    Katy is like Joyce Grenfel.
    Chairwoman is like Miriam Margolyes.
    Sunny looks like Andre Agassi so now sounds like him.
    Jagdeep – sounds like me actually – mm – I’ll have to think on that!
    Jai – he is posh and polite and measured and so he speaks like Ian Carmicheal , the actor.
    Don – now I know he is from Glasgow I have him speak like Richard Wilson.
    Kismet – I make hime speak like Ian Lavender. Comic clown of genius.
    Sonia – speaks in the voice of a Assamese girl I used to know. Sonia as a fellow Zambian – I can give you a Zambian accent if you want.
    Raz – I have now given him a Brummie accent – just for fun.
    Sid – I have now changed his voice to that of Benjamin Netenyahu – just for fun.
    Anas – I have given him a the voice of Whoopie Goldberg )or do I mean Oprah)- just for fun. Much easier to undersatnd than a Glaswegian accent.
    Clairwil – she speaks with the voice of that Glaswegian with short spiky blonde hair and no fashion sense – used to present a few ‘current affairs’ programmes in the 80s90s but I am afraid I can’t remember her name, but I do remember her voice.
    Leon – generic English I’m afraid.
    Amir – now has Manucunian accent, but I used to give him an Iranian Persian accent.
    El Cid – English accent I’m afraid. Not a hint of Spanish in it, but if you want I can give you the Charlton Heston voice if you want.
    Miraxx – will not like me for saying this but she has the same voice as my Mum !!

    For all the rest they just speak with an English accents – but if you object, please make your preferances known.

    As for my real voice – its very boring. Have been told it would be good for announcing the weather on Basingstoke local radio!!

    Justforfun

  240. bananabrain — on 8th December, 2006 at 10:51 am  

    boohoo – you left me out!

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  241. Leon — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:00 am  

    Leon – generic English I’m afraid.

    Heh close, slightly gruff (but oddly well spoken at times) Londoner accent.

  242. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:03 am  

    Bananabrain – sorry – but you have not taken the opportunity to express a preferance, but rather express your hurt ego ;-) – so I have now given you the voice of ………….
    ……..

    …….

    Paul McCartney

    If you want another voice – speak quickly – Ringo perhaps? Now he is really good in Thomas the Tank Engine and my son used to really like his voice.

    Justforfun

  243. El Cid — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:06 am  

    I do have an English accent, albeit a North London cockney-Ali G-professional Thames estuary hybrid, which manifgests itself in different ways. See ya

  244. Don — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:19 am  

    Justforfun,

    Glasgow! Northumberland; flat vowels and with a slight tendency to roll my ‘r’s.

    This site is worthwhile, for those interested.

    http://www.collectbritain.co.uk/search/advanced.cfm?collection=English%20Accents%20and%20Dialects&step=val_form

  245. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    Sorry Don – I thought you said you were from Glasgow. My mistake.

    Good link – Try this one for the written word-
    http://www.whoohoo.co.uk/main.asp

    I’m not very good at hearing the North East accents I’m afraid. How about Melvin Bragg from Cumbria – will that suffice? ;-)

    Justforfun

  246. Chairwoman — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:35 am  

    Pretty much RP as is Katy, apparently we sound pretty much the same on the phone.

  247. Jai — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:35 am  

    =>”Jai – he is posh and polite and measured and so he speaks like Ian Carmicheal , the actor.”

    I don’t know who Ian Carmichael is or what he sounded like (I had to look him up on Wikipedia !), but apparently I come across as well-spoken in person — so I’m told — so the first part may be accurate. However, my voice is very similar to that of the Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan (albeit with a British accent, obviously). Yes, I do really have a Klingon-like growl in that way when I speak ;)

    *****************

    Just a quick side-question: Justforfun, are you Iranian, or Indian Parsi ?

  248. Jai — on 8th December, 2006 at 11:48 am  

    Refresh,

    =>”Jai, isn’t it about time all these Sikhs hugging at the drop of a hat get with it? [Cheeky smiley].”

    No, it just means that we’re secure enough in our manliness to be able to hug each other in a brotherly way without it meaning anything dodgy.

    Not to the extent of constantly kissing other men on both cheeks when meeting them, though, unlike some Muslims other people I could mention. Maybe there’s something “latent” going on there too. Not quite sure what.

    [Cheekier smiley]

  249. Refresh — on 8th December, 2006 at 12:02 pm  

    Absoutely with you on that one – kissing both cheeks probably more from the mediteranean and the Mid-East.

    Hugging is something which muslims do all the time too.

    But not as a an expression of manliness, but more of affection and goodwill.

    Unless of course you’re from the Punjab, in which case it is quite in order to crush someone’s ribs in a bear hug – just in case there is some doubt.

    In fact there is nothing latent going on at all – its more to do with how a particular action or tradition is viewed out of context. Especially if blown out of proportion and context.

    I am all for hugging, and am not particularly conscious of having to be manly.

  250. bananabrain — on 8th December, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

    well, i’m pretty much english RP, although i can get a bit posh at times due to childhood elocution (my mum went to the “cathedral school” in mumbai and has that slightly singsongy anglo-indian thing going on but you wouldn’t notice it unless you knew what you were looking for) although i am perfectly comfortable with, as it were, a rougher london edge which creeps in upon occasion (probably the result of growing up around carpet fitters). in the US my accent ramps up a couple of social notches until it can cut glass (or “glahhss”) and i say things like “ectually” and “an hotel/hospital”. it’s rather sad really.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  251. miraxx — on 8th December, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

    Afraid to ask what your mother sounds like Just for Fun!

    My accent is quite a strange beast and as a kid I sounded different enough from fellow singaporeans for me to carry out- for a few years running- various I’m-a-bloody-foreigner-from XYZ scams. Americans think I am british, some from Britain think I hail from Jamaica, etc. There’s a hint of indian but mostly, I now describe myself as high Singlish. If you have ever watched the local english news on TV, you’ll know what I mean. I have been described as the small girl with the big voice like the jazz divas but i can’t carry a tune to save my life!

  252. Jagdeep — on 8th December, 2006 at 12:59 pm  

    bananabrain, you keep mentioning your family in India – are you Bene Israeli? What are your links with the sub-continent? Sorry if it’s a personal question, just interested.

  253. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

    bananabrain – I think your Mum’s accent would be better known as original Bombay Welsh, but having just looked it up on the wwww it seems Bombay Welsh is now just another name for a generic Indian Accent when speaking English.

    Justforfun

  254. bananabrain — on 8th December, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    bombay welsh – hahahahahahaha!! very good. there are greater or lesser degrees of that. the posher you are, generally the slighter the accent.

    jagdeep – i’m not bene israel, but baghdadi (or at least my mum’s family are) – see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baghdadi_Jews

    my family came to india with the british about 150 years ago, apparently, as translators. a lot of us have a gift for languages and music. my grandfather was born in karachi. my mum grew up in mumbai until they emigrated to the UK in 1955, arriving like everyone else in the east end and having what i would describe as more or less a typical first-generation experience. i grew up thinking of myself as “brown” compared to the jews i knew who were all pretty much european. plus whenever my mum got racially abused it was always by someone who called her a “paki” rather than a “yid” or whatever. that and the family taste for spicy food is really about all there is to it, as my mum was only 11 when she left. as i have become more engaged with my jewish identity, i’ve discovered the baghdadi bit more. that dovetails nicely with my interest in interfaith dialogue, music and language, pointing me in the general direction of what turns out to be a general predilection for arabic language, culture, food, architecture, music and so on. and as a baghdadi of course i’ve come to feel like it’s very much part of where i come from, as it were. it also helps that i am a bit of an awkward bugger when it comes to judaism, having had the benefit of a western, rationalist upbringing and a critical education. basically that ought to explain why PP feels so, well, like family (at least when we’re not all arguing about I/P, or maybe because of that!)

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  255. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

    Jai – You do like your genetics!

    Firstly I would say I am culturally English. Although I will retire to India, I have been away too long, and visits have been too infrequent that I have reconciled myself that this will be as a foreigner.

    Genetically I am mixed – as you have guessed Parsi blood does flow in my veins or is that the whiskey – which I am immune to, as can be testified by many tests done by the Met Traffic Police. Also sloshing around is Gujurati blood (sweet tooth and diabetes risk), Anglo-Saxon blood (wide feet), Celtic blood (my mustache is suspiciously red) and very possibly Uzbek, as my daughter, when a baby was always called the “little Uzbek” as she had that serene Mongoloid look and that did not come from my wife who is presbytarian scots/ulster – In fact her look was so serene and commented on by all, that I actually investigated whether any Lamas had died before her birth and had been re-incarnated :-) . If I past you in the street I would look Iranian I suppose and would have difficulty getting on an ELAL flight with my close cut nit proof hairstyle, beard, fat stomach and bad teeth. But out here in rural England I look like all the others with bad teeth, beards, lumberjack shirts and jeans.

    Justforfun

  256. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    I have been described as the small girl with the big voice like the jazz divas but i can’t carry a tune to save my life!

    That does sound like my Mum. She is very loud, can’t sing and her polite nickname at school was “Little Hippo” !. So I am afraid you are stuck with it now!

    I shall have to listen out for Singlish. I presume it has a slight Chinese sound to it?

    Justforfun

  257. Jagdeep — on 8th December, 2006 at 1:53 pm  

    bananbrain, you have a very fascinating heritage! Thanks for the link. And it explains why you are so in tune with all of us here. Would you ever like to visit India with your Mum to have a look?

  258. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 1:58 pm  

    Arghhhhh – it so obvious – I look like the guy whoes picture is at the top of this thread. I even have that maniacal grin. But my book shelves are not tidy.

    Justforfun

  259. bananabrain — on 8th December, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

    my parents went last year, visited her old school and old home and met up with old friends. they had a blast. i haven’t been yet – am waiting for a good time to go, possibly for a wedding or a business trip. unfortunately one of my business school buddies decided to have his wedding this month just after i moved jobs, so it was like the worst timing ever. i’ll go eventually. unfortunately indian food gives my wife indigestion (unless she cooks it herself, apparently) at least at the moment. we’re still working on converting her from irish/hungarian into a good little mizrahi wife – but she has already picked up the taste for chilli, garlic and ginger. i have great hopes that she’ll be cooking hamin (see here, although there are as many ways of doing this as there are cooks http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/rfcj/CHOLENT/Hamin_Indian-Style_meat.html) every week soon!

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  260. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    Bananabrain – Only advice – don’t eat the meat in India. Stick to the vegitarian dishes, but if you must eat meat , then just eat chicken or least feathered birds. Beef is just not worth it. Lamb is actually goat and needs to be cooked as such. Unless of course you get to Kashmir , when lamb is better than any thing I have ever eaten here. mmmmm – thank god its lunch time.

    I forgot – Bombay Duck – don’t under any circumstances eat this dish, no matter how your hosts try to serve it. It is just a Bombay joke and in very bad taste in my humble opinion.

    Justforfun

  261. miraxx — on 8th December, 2006 at 2:21 pm  

    high singlish example here, both the newscaster and the minister:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDoxh4isuWk

    Typical singlish :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT89Knyd4Bc

    An expat brat doing a very credible Singlish impression, it works better if you listen with your eyes closed:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxIJ9swGFUQ

  262. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    - on food – eat the pomfreet fish in Bombay. That is OK, in fact more than OK.

    In fact I am all nostalgic now – even the tomato ketchup is special in Bombay. Its never been replicated here. I think I am onto something.

    Justforfun

  263. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    Miraxx – that newsreader could get a job on the BBC.

    I hear the West Indian sound as well, I’m no liguist but I wonder if the Barbadian sound and other sounds in the generic West Indian accents came from the indentured labour.

    Justforfun

  264. Sid — on 8th December, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

    Sruely this can’t be right? ;-)

  265. Kismet Hardy — on 8th December, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

    Sid, what they really need to invent is a condom the size of a clitoris. Then I too could have safe sex

  266. Leon — on 8th December, 2006 at 3:35 pm  

    Yeah I had a chuckle when I read that. But to be fair isn’t it proportionate? Most Indian girls I’ve met aint exactly er tall/big so Indian guys are um probably a “good fit”? Or something.

  267. Sahil — on 8th December, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

    HAHAHA, Digging a hole here Leon, this could spiral into a penis comparing competition. :-D

  268. Jai — on 8th December, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

    Justforfun,

    =>”Jai – You do like your genetics!”

    No, that’s my friend Razib. I’d just heard you mention Zoroastrianism many times previously on PP, so had been wondering about your own roots. I haven’t met any Parsis “in real life” although had some Iranian friends at university and later some professional colleagues. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you anything about hot Iranian women either *ahem*.

    Thank you very much for your answer anyway, that’s fascinating :)

    =>”If I past you in the street I would look Iranian I suppose”

    Allegedly I do too. Which means that if we passed each other in public, we’d have to hug each other like long-lost cousins. Not the “special hug” that Kismet and Refresh do to unwitting victims, though.

  269. Sid — on 8th December, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

    I heard Southasian men are only slightly better endowed than Orientals (Chinese/Japanese). And that really ain’t saying much. Which is probably why the girls go crazy when the West Indians are touring India.

  270. Leon — on 8th December, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    HAHAHA, Digging a hole here Leon, this could spiral into a penis comparing competition.

    Poor choice of words…:P

  271. Sid — on 8th December, 2006 at 3:44 pm  

    But to be fair, the condoms in that BBC article look like they’re designed for horses. Or Ghanaian guys.

  272. Kismet Hardy — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

    Leon, agreed. Because if you’re comparing penis sizes once the said penis has spiralled inside the hole, what you’re actually doing is comparing vagina sizes

  273. Leon — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

    That reminds me of a Prince song…

  274. Kismet Hardy — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    Ooh I know the one. If I was your girlfriend I’d stay at home all day measuring my vag?

  275. Sid — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    I Could Never Take the Place of Your Dildo?

  276. Leon — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

    Er no. I’ll give you a hint, it’s on the Batman soundtrack.

  277. Kismet Hardy — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    Little Red Condom (in honour of Indian men)

    Size of the Toms (in honour of voyeurs)

    Penis Park (okay, pushing it a bit now but what an image…)

  278. Kismet Hardy — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    Around the world in 80 gays (in honour of Arif)

  279. Sid — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

    Condompussy (IUD equivalent)

  280. justforfun — on 8th December, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

    Jai – If you ever get to meet a Parsi man before they die out, they are not like Iranians at all. All the Iranians I met at uni were metrosexual tossers ;-) (just to throw in a general slander for fun) That’s why it was actually very easy to *meet* Iranian girls , because they were just glad to meet people who weren’t like Iranian men. However this was based on the early 80s in London and I know that they were not a true sample, as they were all just out of Iran spending their parent’s ill-gotten loot after fleeing the revolution. Jealousy on my part I suppose ;-) - the spending money bit.

    If we meet – Can we just stick to shaking hands? (I read that shaking hands was an old pre-islamic Iranian custom that came to Europe via the general Iranian migrations through Europe in the Dark Ages 300- 600AD – or so says Paul Kriwaczek in “Search of Zarathustra” -Seems possible, as the Romans and Greeks did not shake hands as a greating, while Iranian tribes such as the Franks and Alans who brought feudalism with them could also have brought hand shaking)

    Justforfun

  281. Kismet Hardy — on 8th December, 2006 at 5:07 pm  

    Talking of nothing. New Generation Network also sounds like something Prince would do…

  282. Desi Italiana — on 8th December, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    Justforfun:

    “Desi I – of course sorry – When I read your posts in future I will use one of the following accents in my head – North American seems to vague – so please narrow it down to one of the following.”

    My accent is Californian, to be exact. But it’s not Valley Girl (which, like, I also, like, TOTALLY hate), nor is it Bay Arean. I pronounce “water” as my fellow Californians do- “wadder” and “bottle” as “botdle,” a type of pronounciation that was painfully pointed out when I was teaching English in Italy and my students couldn’t understand what I was saying everytime I pronounced “t” as a “d”.

    Re: voice, I’ve been told that for a small person, I sure am loud. I also tend to talk very fast and energetically.

    Re: ethnic backgrounds, I’m Gujarati and part U.P. My great grandmother was from UP, but looks wise, I’m pretty typically Gujju, I think (suprisingly, Punjabis who upon seeing me ask me right off the bat, “Are you Gujarati?”)

    And IF there was some hush hush hanky panky going on, I’m probably something else too …. :)

  283. The Ill Man — on 8th December, 2006 at 8:37 pm  

    “Clairwil – she speaks with the voice of that Glaswegian with short spiky blonde hair and no fashion sense – used to present a few ‘current affairs’ programmes in the 80s90s but I am afraid I can’t remember her name, but I do remember her voice.”

    Muriel Gray perchance? She’ll love that……..

    Amir, I don’t fancy sodomy myself, but then nobody’s forcing me to take part so why is it relevant? Serious gay relationships/unions/marriages, to me anyway are completely valid and deserve to be recognised in the eyes of the law.

  284. bananabrain — on 11th December, 2006 at 12:02 pm  

    “vicki waiting”? as in “i didn’t realise i was playing in a cathedral”

    well spotted there.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  285. Leon — on 11th December, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    Yup.;)

  286. justforfun — on 11th December, 2006 at 10:17 pm  

    3rd Man – thanks for jogging my memory – right first time.

    Justforfun

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