Category Archives: Facebook

You Cannot Be Siri!

I think I must be channelling the spirit of Ronnie Corbett: I keep wanting to make corny jokes.  Incidentally I was very touched by the image of four large candles standing solemnly on the altar at his funeral last year:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-36073888

RC was much loved, perhaps more so than Barker of that ilk who, though more talented, could be a tad pompous.  It was crystal clear to anyone watching Ronnie C in the BBC armchair in his trademark sweater and lacking only a cup of cocoa to resemble a parent going to bed (my parents drank Bournvita which I found disgusting, though I used it once mixed with water to paint my face) that he did not take himself remotely seriously.

But I digress – which, now that I think about it, is further proof that I am channelling the little Ron, since his whole routine was nothing more than a long digression followed by a short punchline.  Lots of foreplay, you might say.  Anyway, somebody on Facebook suggested that I should tap Siri on my i-phone and say ‘I see a little silhouetto of a man’.  I didn’t even know who or what Siri was (I guess it’s a sort of speaking Google) but I did so and it spoke the lyrics of Bo Rap, as Queen fans call it, in a gravelly electronic voice.  Which was amusing.  And which brings me to today’s joke:

What did John McEnroe say to Harry Potter’s grandfather?

You cannot be Sirius!

Kirk out

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Nothing Will Come of Nothing…

… speak again.’   So says Lear to Cordelia – and pretty soon the government are going to have to say it to the electorate, ‘speak again – because we didn’t quite hear you the first time.  You weren’t enunciating properly.   You were trying to say too many things at once and we couldn’t make out what you wanted.’

Still, muddled as the result is, some things are pretty clear: first, that most commentators vastly underestimated Corbyn and his supporters.  I had felt for a long time that the press were overplaying their hand and that by getting out and talking directly to the public, JC could get past them.

https://wordpress.com/post/lizardyoga.wordpress.com/9023

And I’ve largely been proved right: the press threw everything they had at Corbyn and he still increased Labour’s share of the vote by 10% and the number of seats to 262, even winning ‘unwinnable’ seats like Canterbury and – what the hell? – Kensington.  Kensington!!

His critics are queuing up now to apologise and say they misjudged him: Owen Smith, Alistair Campbell, Yvette Cooper and so many others are falling over themselves to apologise and offer to serve in the shadow cabinet.  Likewise media commentators: Jon Snow yesterday and said ‘I know nothing about elections,’ and even the BBC has admitted its error, Laura Kuenssberg once again causing me to shout at the screen when she said that Corbyn had been subjected to unfair criticism.  ‘Yes, by you!’ I yelled.

We still need to win an election; but that is looking increasingly achievable now.  May’s hold on power is so tenuous and her coalition so weak and misguided that it is not a matter of whether she goes, but when.  Under any other circumstances than these, a Prime Minister who had called an election to increase their mandate and had instead lost seats would have to resign, not carry on as though nothing had happened.  Whether it be days, weeks or months; whether it be a leadership election or a vote of no confidence, she will be out.  And when there is an election Labour, with its membership now at 800,000 and rising (more than 150,000 new members since the election), are poised to win – and win decisively.  I watched JC on television yesterday: he looked poised, relaxed, assured and confident.  It was a pleasure to see.

Now is not the time for recriminations.  Now is the time to form a government.  JC4PM!

Kirk out

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Verb and Re-Verb

In the last year or two I’ve been collecting examples of new verbs.  These are usually existing words which have been either squashed or repurposed and made into verbs.  Previously they were either phrases (eg to manage a project becomes to project-manage) or nouns (eg to window, meaning to schedule a delivery within a particular period of time).  So here’s a little list, by no means exhaustive but comprising the ones I’ve managed to capture and commit to pen and paper:

to re-platform (heard at the railway station)

to window (seen on Facebook)

to project-manage (heard in conversation and rendered somewhat redundant by the phrase ‘I project-managed a project’…)

to part-time work

to offshore (as in tax)

to vacation (to be fair, this has been around for a while in the US but has only recently made it over here)

to semi-final (heard on University Challenge)

to sunblock (read just today on Facebook)

I’m sure there are thousands more.  Have you come across any?  I’d love to hear them.  Please send them to me and I’ll post them

Thanks

Kirk out

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Trans-Substantiation

File:Germaine Greer.jpg

Like many other women of my generation I owe Germaine Greer a great debt.  She put a lot of my life into context and helped me to understand my experiences.  I’m referring of course to ‘The Female Eunuch’ but also to other books, including one on female artists.  I’ve always held her in high esteem – but lately I’m starting to think she’s gone off on one – and I especially take issue with her comments on transgender women -‘Just because you lop off your d**k doesn’t make you a **** woman:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/germaine-greer-defends-grossly-offensive-comments-about-transgender-women-just-because-you-lop-off-a6709061.html

I find these comments unhelpful, to say the least – and far from a positive contribution to the debate.  But that does not mean we shouldn’t have a debate in the first place.  I would suggest that with transgender issues we are at the same stage now, as a society, as we were in the early ’70’s with homosexuality.  It is not now appropriate to ask someone why or how they came to be gay (though you could ask when they first knew) because these things are generally understood and accepted.  We are not at the same stage with transgender people.  Many in society are baffled and confused by what appears to be an explosion in transitioning: many people (myself included) have no idea why this is happening, what it means or where it comes from.  And so we need debate: because without debate or questioning, there is no understanding.  But here’s the problem: the party line on this is that we should not question, but accept, because the very act of questioning is construed by some as an attack on their right to exist.

Just the other day I got into a dialogue on Facebook about whether Germaine Greer should be allowed to address an International Women’s Day event in Brighton. http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2017/02/08/activists-call-for-germaine-greer-appearance-at-international-womens-day-event-to-be-shelved/

There are calls for her appearance to be cancelled, which seems to indicate that remarks by a person on a previous occasion, whether or not they are likely to be repeated at the event in question, can cause people to block them.  And I have a problem with this.  Hence the dialogue on Facebook, where f-to-m trans person was arguing very forcefully that Greer should not be allowed to speak, claiming that her remarks have been the cause of suicide in children before now.  This seemed a bit of a stretch to me (not to mention being hard to prove), and so I was arguing in a very restrained way that freedom of speech is important and that I am uneasy about restricting people on the basis of previous remarks.  My arguments were met with a barrage of anger, swearing and vitriol which eventually turned personal, whereupon I commented that I had tried to argue respectfully but was now leaving.  I was then told that my attempt to be respectful had failed – presumably because the very act of questioning is in itself disrespectful.  So here’s the thing – under those rules we stand on very unequal ground, because my interlocutor made no attempt whatsoever to address me respectfully.

It’s clear to me that people should not be given a platform to spout racism, sexism or any other prejudice: in any case, we have laws about that sort of thing.  But should a person be refused a platform because they have previously (even if it was only once) stated hateful opinions?  There’s a fine line here and I’m very uneasy about this.  On the one hand, I know hate speech has an effect on people because we can clearly see the rise in hate crimes since Trump and Brexit – but should the same apply to someone who has expressed certain views on trans people but is giving a talk on a completely different topic?

To be honest I can see both arguments on both sides.  But what I don’t like is being harangued because I have the temerity to disagree with a transgender person on this.  I have every right to disagree – and every right to be accorded respect, no matter how repellent they find my views.

If you have views on this I’d like to hear them.

Kirk out

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Offriending and Apatheism

I’m into portmanteau words at the moment: the word ‘sharpeggio’ came to me at about 5 am and I just had to write it down.  I don’t know how it applies to today’s post – or if it does – but we’ll see.  You know how I said the other day how poems have intentions separate from yours?  Well, I think blog posts have intentions too.  Sometimes I start a post without an idea of what I’m going to say but several words work themselves in – and although they seem irrelevant, by the time I’ve finished I can see what they’re doing there: why (in the words of Pooh) they ‘wanted to come in.’

And in the same way, several portmanteau words ‘came in’ after sharpeggios.  One was offriend: a word which I think perfectly sums up the frequent occurrence on Facebook of a friend taking offence at something you’ve said which seems to you perfectly innocuous.  Vide yesterday’s post.

Then Mark came up with apatheism.  This was one of those serendipitous moments; he didn’t know I’d been thinking of portmanteau words but this one inserted itself into his field of vision.  The word is defined as ‘indifference to other people’s religion’:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheism

combining as it does the words ‘apathy’ and ‘theism’ – and also, as OH pointed out, ‘atheism.’  We disagreed about the pronunciation, too: I think it ought to be ap-atheism but he favours apay-theism which plays  up the atheist angle.  What do you think?

Anyway, to return to ‘offriending’.  Facebook, as many people have spotted, has its own vocabulary, relative to offline lexicon but tangential to it: sort of at right angles, as it were.  So instead of ‘dislike’ we have ‘unlike’: and a totally new word ‘unfriend’ has entered the lexicon as well as my personal favourite, ‘unfollow.’  I quite like most of these words and I would humbly wish to propose ‘offriended’ as an alternative to ‘unfriend’ and her harsher cousin, ‘block’.  (Incidentally have you seen the brilliant ‘Black Mirror’ episode where blocking someone means that even in real life they can’t see you and you can’t see them?)

Terrific stuff.)  So if you hit the ‘offriend’ button it means that something in the conversation has hit a bum note for you and rather than get into an argument about it you are ‘unfollowing’ the post.  Of course you could just unfollow the post without telling anyone, but where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, what do you think?  Could it catch on?  Would it stop more pointless arguments like the two I mentioned yesterday, both of which I unfollowed?

Oh, and on an unrelated note, can people PLEASE stop saying ‘disinterested’ instead of ‘uninterested’?  It means ‘detached, without any investment in a particular outcome.’  It is NOT cognate with bored!!!

Kirk out

 

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