Archive for the 'Media & Politics' Category

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle

March 17th, 2009 by Ian
Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee isn’t just good at pissing off Christians, he’s also a very funny stand-up comic. Now he might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s great to have a comedian on that early in the evening on BBC2 who doesn’t insult my intelligence. Especially as he spends most of the time slagging off the BBC staples of Moyles, Clarkson et al. It’s not even a one off. He’s got a series out of it. God knows who let that happen. Presumably the same person who allowed the classic TMWRNJ with Richard Herring. It’s even produced by Armando Iannucci for crying out loud! What more do you people want?

Last nights show focused on ‘Toilet Books’, or rather celebrity hardbacks. Leigh deals with the whole thing not with anger, or angst but with a lofty disapproval. He’s cleverer than all of us (and of course much funnier). That’s just something we have to deal with.

See it on iPlayer here for the next few days.

And yes, it’s got the actor Kevin Eldon in it, obviously.

‘The Office’ Musical

March 2nd, 2009 by Ian

Star of this is Ed Helms of course, who’s musical stylings are probably the best part of the whole show. This post is primarily for one of my keenest commenters, Rami.

via Huff post

Fisking can sometimes make you look a little childish

February 12th, 2009 by Ian

So I’m a total dick on the internet. All my pals know it. I engage in fisking sometimes, arguably one of the most dickish activities one can take part in. Even so I can never reach the dizzy hights of dickishness of Tory blogger Donal Blaney. He may quite possibly a very clever parody (much like a British Stephen Colbert). I don’t know. Claire Hazelgrove is politically a nobody. She’s only 20 and who has heard of her? Why would anyone go out to shoot her down? But on Blaneys blog he decides to rip into her posting a little bit of internet fluff. You know that ‘tell us 25 things few people know about you’ thing that’s going round facebook / twitter? Well Blaney fisks the hell out of her answers. The result is embarrassing. I remember when my little sister talked like he does. She grew out of it when she was about 14. When Ms. Hazelgrove says;

I’m utterly useless before 10am, although I do quite often have to get up before then.

Blaney wittily retorts;

Judging by your contribution to political life thus far, you’re not much better after 10am either, you idle sheet-presser.

Meow! Is this guy for real? The rest of the thread is pure gold in my opinion. Including a perhaps slightly unfair comparison to Hitler and I think every comment should be prefixed with a *cat noise* What a pissy little bitch he is! He’s got to be a nu-labour plant. Check out the rest of the blog for more chortles, including some really weak attacks on Obama. Didn’t Donal get Dave’s memo? We’re supposed to all love Obama now!

Democracy 1 – Shady MPs 0

January 22nd, 2009 by Ian

Thank you internet! Or more specifically I think we need to thank the ever-brilliant mySociety and other grassroots organisations. Parliament wanted to vote to ensure that MPs could conceal their expenses from the public (i.e. the people who pay for them) but the vote has now been cancelled. I’m not sure if MPs are aware of the irony of such secrecy. In a period when ID cards, national databases and cameras on every corner are being forced upon us by the government, those in power don’t even want us to see how they are spending our money! Hell; we may not trust them but at least we don’t suspect them of being terrorists, as they do to us.

Anyway, the vote was cancelled in part due to a huge internet campaign that let MPs know how unpopular this was. This is great news for anyone with a passing interest in living in a modern transparent democracy.

The argument made by Harriet Harman that publishing all 1.2 million receipts would have created “a blizzard of information at great expense” is again, an ironic one (given the massive cost of the national big brother database) and one that shows an ignorance to the possibilities of web and technology in general. Again, the web as a tool to ‘rally the troops’ has, like the Obama campaign,  shown itself to have a positive effect on real democracy and the important freedom of information campaign.

Cheney turned up to inauguration in a wheelchair

January 21st, 2009 by Ian
Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney

I’m pretty sure that’s the right picture.

Scrawny racist slags off new first lady

January 4th, 2009 by Ian

Happy new year! Lets start with something predictable. Anne Coulter, the blonde Fox News Sturmführer, has a new book and she’s already being such an unbelievable bitch about new first lady, Michelle Obama. From the Daily News:

Coulter wrote, “Her obvious imitation of Jackie O’s style – the flipped-under hair, the sleeveless A-line dresses, the short strands of fake pearls – would have been laughable if done by anyone other than a media-designated saint.”

Coulter said Cindy McCain, the wife of vanquished GOP nominee John McCain, “dressed well without freakishly imitating famous First Ladies in history.”

I found this amusing for two reasons; Firstly, Jackie dressed exactly how a first lady should. Any emulation of her look is common-sense for any woman lucky enough to be able to pull it off (read: not the Bush wives). Secondly, Cindy McCain? Well dressed?

A 'well dressed' Cindy McCain

A 'well dressed' Cindy McCain

I can’t remember if that was before or after she stopped playing with the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Yup; lets hope Coulter gets that jaw un-wired again and we can enjoy her dropping bitchy lol-bombs well after the inauguration.

via Huffington Post

Ahmadinejad to deliver C4 christmas message

December 24th, 2008 by Ian
Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad

Channel 4 are courting controversy as usual and are letting the President of Iran take the reigns of their ‘Alternative Christmas Message’. I usually don’t watch the Queens message (because I know what she’s going to say anyway), but I think I’ll be watching this. I’ve not heard much from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad since Obama won the election. Although Obama isn’t exactly going soft on Iran, he doesn’t seem to be partaking in any G. W. Bush-style goading of the Iranians. So if Ahmadinejad mentions anything about his new less-threatening counter-part, it could be quite interesting.

We never get to hear Iranian politicians without it going through some pretty heavy filtering. Remember the “Israel must be wiped off the map” ‘translation‘ in the Western media? I’m no fan of Ahmadinejad’s often frankly dickish behaviour, but an appearance like this on Western TV is definitely a must watch for anyone interested in the nonsensical  ‘war on terror’ and the Middle East

It’s not Christmas until we get another Barney the Dog video

December 19th, 2008 by Ian

The worlds most universally hated man and serial bastard, President George Bush, has a dog called Barney. Barney has stared in many of his own videos and this Christmas is no exception. The reason for Barney taking such a role at Christmas is probably because despite his support of the war and attacking journos, he’s probably the least unpopular living entity in the Whitehouse.

His latest video is painful, obviously. It’s nice to see the Bush twins  in a less slutty pose for a change. Watching the Bush family ‘interact’ is undoubtedly cringe worthy but like all good train-wrecks, you’ve got to watch.

Barney and the Bush family

Barney and the Bush family; Maybe a white fluffy cat would be more fitting.

The thing that disappoints me, as a non-American, is that the production of the video is actually rather good. Well; not ‘telly good’ (maybe ITV), but Barney the dog receives definitely better video production than most of our British politicians.

Augmented reality Mini ad is unspeakably awesome

December 18th, 2008 by Ian

I don’t own a webcam, but if advertisers started doing more cool stuff like this, I’d probably buy one.

I wouldn’t, however, buy a yellow Mini convertable.

via Gizmodo

Iraqi journalist says goodbye to Bush. With his shoes

December 14th, 2008 by Ian

Remember when the statue of Saddam fell and everyone set about it with their shoes? It was then that I learnt that a shoe to the face is pretty much the greatest insult one Arab can give another. Well; at a recent press-contest an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at Bush. He almost got him in the face. It’s a pity Bush dodged, because then he could have said he had at least sacrificed something in the war on terror / Iraq / anyone who looks at us funny. Still, it was a pretty good throw (non of this under-arm nonsense) so full credit to the guy.

Apparently the reporter shouted, “This is a fairwell kiss, you dog” before he probably got the secret-service ass-kicking of his life. Apparently Dana Perino White House Press Secretary / presidential eye candy Dana Perino came away with a black eye in the scuffle. Lets hope at least she passes that message on.

I don’t know if it needs making clear how Iraqis feel about the current (but not for long, thank god) president but you never know, we might see Obama wearing an anti-hush puppies flak vest. For the comments section: If you could have any footwear thrown at you, what would it be?

National Hack The Government Day

December 11th, 2008 by Ian

This is possibly not exactly what you’re thinking. This is ‘hack’ to improve, not destroy. Why haven’t we done this before?

Government isn’t very good at computers. They spend millions to produce mediocre websites, hide away really useful public information and generally get it wrong. Which is a shame.

Calling all people who make things. We’re going to show them how it’s done.

They’re completely right of course. Government currently are a bit of a joke on the web. Especially local Government. Just look my own councils awful awful website. Call that navigation? “Widescreen”? wtf? I’m not sure about this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if rewiredstate.com was the gang at TheyWorkForYou, simply because I know they are very much on the ball when it comes to the web and politics in Britain. The web is a great way to share information that should be available to the public. Doing that only strengthens democracy and increases citizen interac…. oh why the hell am I saying this? They know that. We know that. Lets hope someone does something about it.

I personally feel that when large companies get involved with the Government and computers then it almost always ends in unmitigated disaster (see; NHS). Maybe if APIs are created, access is encouraged (or even allowed), OpenSource is utilised and work is done by designers and developers on a volunteer/small agency basis, then we’d see a lot more useful stuff. Well, a lot more usable stuff anyway and certainly a lot less waste. I’ve signed up. Lets hope this flourishes.

www.rewiredstate.org

edit: example of government waste provided

A minute of Keith Olbermann is a minute well spent

November 16th, 2008 by Ian

When this man is on point, he can really fly. Originally a sports broadcaster, he has moved into politics. Sadly he wasn’t in full swing around the start of the Bush-era but he is now a must watch. I quite often watch his MSNBC show online, or at least the ‘World Worst Person’ segment. He’s a little Jon Stewart-esque, but with less jokes. That’s not to say that watching this frustrated silver-haired doberman as he angrily tears apart talking points isn’t funny. Here’s all you need to know before you dive into his work:

Finally: A use for Ozzy Osbourne

November 10th, 2008 by Ian

Selling cell-phone text messaging. Take it away, oh incoherant one.

Via Gizmodo

The US elections: what I have learnt

November 5th, 2008 by Ian

I learnt that I was wrong. Watching the US media in the past few months gave me the impression that the fear of a black man running the country was so great that it’d mean Obama would loose. It wouldn’t be because of his policies or his character, but the idea that there was just something not quite right about him. I was shown to be wrong, and it’s restored a lot of my faith in not just the US, but mankind!

I also learnt that although many people are prepared to be a bit more liberal in some respects. People have woken up and realised that the imminent threat of their local Walmart being blown up isn’t quite the reality that many seemed to think it was back in 2004. However; now the Prop8 result may show that some people are even more scared of gays than any AK-wielding terrorist.

The power of social media, the web and associated technologies surpassed what even I, a web professional, expected. I wish that some of the more liberal groups in British politics would realise this too.

Finally, I learnt that sometimes no matter how crazy you sound, no matter how much you screw up and no matter how plain nasty you are, you’ll can still pull in votes. Here’s to you, Ted and your series of tubes.

Twitter was one of many tools that the Obama campaign used to get people involved

Twitter was one of many tools that the Obama campaign used to get people involved

Now we have to look forward to the inevitable disappointment as Obama announces that the Iraq pull-out date is going to be 2023 and Joe Bidden inserts himself firmly in the buttocks of the music companies (and starts going after internet users). At least we got to see Palin cry. I’m looking forward to Schwarzenegger – Palin 2012. Hey; it could happen.