Circle Jerk

To get things started, this:

Jamie Oliver has said he named his new product “punchy jerk rice” to show where he drew his culinary inspiration from.

Oliver’s rice mixes garlic, ginger and jalapenos “to create a jerk marinade with attitude”.

I know a lot of people like Oliver’s cheeky Essex-boy shtick and lord knows it’s made him rich, but boy I find it irritating. I’ve tried using his recipes before and they’re full of silly descriptions and flippant remarks, often in places where you need some clear direction. The informal, who-cares approach may have worked when he burst onto the scene as a young man with The Naked Chef, but now he’s 43 and so laid back he wants the government to tell everyone what they can and can’t feed their children, he sounds like someone who’s never grown up. And the problem with trying to be popular and down wiv the masses (even though his fan base is exclusively middle class) is he attracts the attention of idiots like Dawn Butler:

In a tweet the Shadow Equalities Minister wrote to Oliver: “I’m just wondering, do you know what Jamaican jerk actually is? It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products. Levi Roots should do a masterclass. Your jerk rice is not OK. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.”

If Britain was a serious country and adults were in charge the pressing question on everyone’s minds would be how such a complete imbecile has attained elected office. Instead, everyone is running around contesting the absurdity which is “cultural appropriation”, as if logic and reason are answers to a child flinging shit. Butler should have been ignored or mocked into oblivion, but instead she’s generating headlines.

And this amuses me:

The chef and entrepreneur Levi Roots has described Jamie Oliver’s decision to launch a jerk rice dish as a mistake, as a row over cultural appropriation widened.

From what I remember, Levi Roots turned up on Dragon’s Den with a guitar and some of his grandmother’s homemade sauce. Pasty-white Englishman Peter Jones, who is good mates with the bloke in charge of purchasing for Sainsbury’s, agreed to back Roots for a hefty cut of the business. One phone call to his mate later and kerr-ching! Instant success. Now Roots has gone onto open some successful restaurants which is more than Jamie Oliver managed, and I don’t begrudge him his fame and fortune. But I don’t see how Roots getting Peter Jones to flog his grandma’s sauce into Sainsbury’s makes him an authority on Jamaican cooking, much less one who deems it appropriate to tell another chef what to do. Does he even have a chef’s qualification, as French chefs must in order to be taken seriously? No, he doesn’t.

So in summary, we have a politician telling an unqualified chef/guitarist to teach a former pastry chef, who may have made a pig’s ear of a dish, to give a masterclass on how to do it properly. Little wonder British cuisine is subject to global mockery; the problem is, with stories like this making front page news, the mockery is no longer restricted to the food.

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Kofi Annan

From the BBC:

Kofi Annan, the only black African to become UN secretary-general, has died.

The 80-year-old “passed away peacefully on Saturday after a short illness”, the foundation named after him said.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalise the international body, during a period that coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic.

My abiding memory of Kofi Annan is his repeatedly appearing on my TV screen shaking his head sadly and saying he was “gravely concerned” about something or other, and that something or other continuing as if he didn’t exist. I always thought he was probably a decent guy, but hopelessly weak and easily manipulated. The Iraq War probably did more damage to the UN than any other event: firstly the weapons inspectors dillied, dallied and let themselves get pushed around for a decade; then two permanent members of the security council undermined the very sanctions they voted for by doing illegal business with Saddam Hussein; then two other permanent members decided to gather up a posse and attack Iraq under the auspices of Resolution 1441, telling a pack of lies in the process. Of the five permanent members and the UN itself, the only entity that came out looking good was China. And doesn’t that tell you everything? As the UN was rendered impotent by its senior members, Kofi Annan shook is head and said he was gravely concerned. Nobody cared.

This would not be so bad were this not the first time something awful happened on his watch, but as the BBC says:

However, Annan was not immune from criticism. His critics blamed him for the UN’s failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s when he was head of the organisation’s peacekeeping operations.

Kofi Annan was head of UN peacekeeping between 1992 and 1996. During that period we not only had the Rwandan genocide – which happened right under the UN’s nose – but also the Screbrenica massacre. I find it hard to blame the individual Dutch soldiers in blue helmets who stood by and let a few thousand Bosnians get murdered by Serbs, but the Dutch government was so ashamed they resigned en masse in 2002. Not Annan, however: despite having failed to prevent two of the worst acts of genocide in my lifetime he got promoted a short time afterwards to the top spot. I’d be interested to know what you have to do to miss out on promotion at the UN, let alone get fired.

Unfortunately, Kofi wasn’t the only Annan making headlines during his tenure either. His son Kojo was also in the papers for being neck-deep in Iraq’s oil-for-food scandal, which (again) occurred right under the nose of his father. As Mark Steyn said back in 2005 in an article that’s worth reading in full:

You’ll recall that Kofi Annan’s son Kojo – who had a $30,000-a-year job but managed to find a spare quarter-million dollars sitting around to invest in a Swiss football club – has been under investigation for some time for his alleged ties to the Oil-for-Food programme. But the investigators have now broadened their sights to include Kofi’s brother Kobina Annan, the Ghanaian ambassador to Morocco, who has ties to a businessman behind several of the entities involved in the scandal – one Michael Wilson, the son of the former Ghanaian ambassador to Switzerland and a childhood friend of young Kojo. Mr Wilson is currently being investigated for suspected bribery over a $50 million contract to renovate the Geneva offices of the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation.

The actual head of the Oil-for-Food racket, Kofi sidekick Benon Sevan, has resigned, having hitherto insisted that a mysterious six-figure sum in his bank account was a gift from his elderly aunt, a lady of modest means who lived in a two-room flat back in Cyprus. Paul Volcker’s investigators had planned to confirm with auntie her nephew’s version of events, but unfortunately she fell down an elevator shaft and died.

Most of the Ghanaian diplomatic corps and their progeny seem to have directorships at companies with UN contracts and/or Saddamite oil options. I had no idea being a Ghanaian ambassador’s son opened so many doors, and nor did they till Kofi ascended to his present eminence.

I got the impression the world gave Kofi Annan a pass on almost everything because, as an African, he was held to appallingly low standards. The same bigotry of low expectations which plagues prominent Africans everywhere was applied to Annan time and again, but reading the tributes pouring in it seems he’s been deified in the same manner as Nelson Mandela. For example:

Well, okay. But I remember him for being utterly ineffectual and presiding over a UN which proved itself to be both impotent and corrupt in equal measure, both of which got considerably worse when he was in charge – perhaps because he was in charge. This from the BBC sums up his career for me:

He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a solution to the conflict.

He quit his post as UN envoy to Syria after only six months in the role, citing the failures of world powers to fulfil their commitments.

He did seem like a kind, decent person and I wish him to rest in peace, but he is undeserving of the professional platitudes being heaped on him.

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Idris Elba as James Bond

I’m a little late, but this is worth commenting on:

Idris Elba has posted a cryptic tweet suggesting he could be the next James Bond.

Days after reports that a producer of the franchise is tipping him to be 007, he posted: “My name’s Elba, Idris Elba”.

Fans are taking it as a big hint that he could be about to take on the role when Daniel Craig leaves next year.

There’ve been rumours linking Idris to the Bond role since 2014, which he’s neither confirmed nor denied.

Taken in isolation, this isn’t too bad an idea. Idris Elba is a decent actor (although he has turned in some awful performances), and like Daniel Craig he has both physical presence and suavity. Personally I think the James Bond franchise should have been binned once and for all after the godawful Spectre, but if they’re going to insist on flogging this dead horse you might as well cast Elba as anyone else. Sure he’s probably too old and many will wonder how MI6 ended up recruiting a Baltimore drug dealer as their top agent, but neither of these should count against him. Again, taken in isolation, nor should his being black. A black James Bond might seem a little odd and out of whack with the books, but that ship sailed a long time ago. So in itself, and as a comment on Elba’s suitability for the role, I don’t have a problem.

However, any decision to cast a black actor as James Bond cannot be separated from the culture war which is raging around us. It would be nice if people could adopt the same attitude to Elba as rugby league fans did to Ellery Hanley when he became captain of Great Britain in 1988, or damned near everyone did when Daley Thompson cleaned up in 1984. I understand this era was pretty awful for black or mixed-race kids at school or on the street, but nobody in those days was trumpeting the achievements of a talented black person as being a victory over whitey. People cheered for Frank Bruno, Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah, Nigel Benn, and Chris Eubank as well as the numerous black performers and musicians in Britain’s cultural scene without resorting to zero-sum race war score-keeping. But we live in a different era, one where we’re told that a black person taking a nominally white position is hugely important in itself, a redressing of the balance currently tipped in favour of “white privilege”. And unfortunately, after a decade of poisonous identity politics, they are right: Idris Elba playing James Bond would be important in itself, and not in a good way.

Something the ZMan has pointed out is that minority groups are increasingly acting as though they’ve won the decisive battle in a war. Pulling down the symbols and statues of one’s enemy is the act of a conquering army, and that’s precisely what’s happening in the UK, US, and Canada. Meanwhile, within mere weeks of the Supreme Court ruling in his favour over his refusal to make a cake for a gay wedding, the Colorado baker is back in court after a transgender woman filed a discrimination suit against him. When someone decided to remake Ghostbusters in 2016 with an all-female cast, it was presented by culture warriors as a victory for feminism. When it tanked, misogyny was blamed. The forces behind identity politics spare no efforts in seeking opportunities to capture ground, celebrate a victory, and in it rub the noses of those they see as their enemies, i.e. ordinary white men and their families. Indeed, New Labour’s entire immigration strategy seems to have been created purely to spite the native British population by shoving “diversity” in their faces and calling anyone who complains a racist. Within minutes of the rumours of Elba playing Bond hitting social media it was full of SJW’s delighted by how much this would upset “racists”, by which they mean anyone getting a little fed up of identity politics being rammed down their throats twenty-four-seven. For instance:

There is plenty of this sentiment echoed on Twitter, and they might have a point if the only people who have mixed feelings about the idea are racists who don’t like blacks. But what I suspect is bothering many people is that Elba cast as Bond will deepen the wounds of the ongoing culture war. We’ll have endless Guardian articles telling us on the one hand that a black James Bond shows how wonderfully multi-cutural and diverse Britain is, while on the other it’s still steeped in racism and unable to move on from its colonial past. Anyone who objects to such extrapolations from a single casting will be denounced as racist and, probably, banned from Twitter – along with anyone who gives the actual film a less-than glowing review. And if there was not at least one article in a mainstream media outlet demanding a transgender James Bond, I’d be astounded.

As the Zman said, the SJWs and militant minorities believe they’ve won and are enjoying what they think are victory parades. In reality, the war has barely got started and all we’ve seen so far are small, opening battles which is shaping up to be a long and bloody campaign which can only have one winner. Given where we are now, compared to even five years ago, I’d hazard a guess a lot of people uncomfortable about Elba playing Bond are less concerned with the colour of his skin than how it will be used by sections of the left to further and deepen the ongoing culture war. It was not the racist right that created identity politics but the woke left; ordinary people have been fervently wishing this war would end but, with no prospect of that in sight, increasing numbers have decided enough is enough and started to push back. Unfortunately, this means fighting on the ground the left have chosen, and in this case it’s Idris Elba playing James Bond. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but sadly it is. It’s a shame because Elba seems like a good sort and I’m sure he didn’t ask for this, but as Trotsky didn’t quite say, culture war is interested in you.

I don’t think there’s anything to the rumours of Elba playing Bond – they’ve been circulating for years – but if the producers move ahead with it, they should prepare themselves for an shitstorm that may render the film unmarketable. It won’t be a question of right wingers objecting to Elba’s casting per se, but of its inevitable weaponisation by those who want to see them eradicated, or at least cowed into silence. Nobody batted an eyelid back in 2006 when Felix was played by a black man in Casino Royale, and I doubt a black Bond would have done much other than raise a few eyebrows and cause some muttering. Alas, that was a long time ago. We’re now neck-deep in a nasty, vicious culture war which is taking no prisoners, and until recently has been heavily one-sided. But now the other side is turning up, the rules are about to change. Depressingly, this probably means a black James Bond is a near impossibility – at least for a while.

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Why actors should stick to reading from scripts

While I was writing my post about The Death of Stalin I came across this interview with Jason Isaacs, who plays Marshall Zhukov. It starts well enough, but pretty soon we get this from Isaacs after the interviewer successfully turns the whole thing into an exercise in Trump-bashing:

Well, the question we get the most now is if [Iannucci] made this [film] about President Trump. The answer is no. It’s timeless. It’s about any time there’s a situation where there’s irrational and terrifying behavior happening. One of the things about the film that I think has worked so well for audiences is that although it’s specifically about the panic and terror in the shadows of Stalin – and the power vacuum that emerged when he died – it’s applicable to so many other situations and so many different countries and politicians of all stripes. We made it in June 2016, so at the time, it felt like it was about Brexit.

Sure, the height of Stalin’s terror was just like Brexit. Little wonder actors are considered to be nothing more than people paid to read someone else’s words while looking beautiful. He goes on:

I think many people understand there was a big smoke-and-mirrors act just over a year ago and that the person in the White House is not who he said he was and is unable to do the things he said he could do.

Erm, he’s Donald Trump. He’s been a household name and media darling since the 1980s. Here’s the next “question”:

It seems like British leaders are acting like the adults in the room when it comes to anything Russia-related in comparison to Trump.

Yeah? Here’s a clip of the British defence secretary addressing Russia:

A more child-like performance is hard to imagine. Here’s Isaacs’ response:


Well, we just had a couple of people poisoned on British soil and the Prime Minister (Theresa May) made as strong of a response as she could.

Hurrah for Theresa! But did Russia pay any attention? No.

Every day it seems more surreal and transparent that something really corrupt and dangerous is going on at the heart of American politics.

You mean the attempts by the CIA, FBI, and DoJ to prevent Trump becoming president and unseat him after the election by claiming he’s a Russian agent? Ah no.

It’s important to be reminded that the people who stand up there pretending to be able leaders are often power-grabbing, narcissistic children behind closed doors.

He could easily be describing Obama or the so-called leaders of the EU. Either way, it’s hard to accuse Trump of power-grabbing when he seems keen on rolling back executive overreach, reducing the authority of bodies like the EPA, and returning power to Congress.

Knowing that, we can then interpret that and act accordingly.

Indeed, it’s best you stick to acting. Isaacs’ portayal of Zhukov was good, but I suspect the great Marshall would be a little disappointed he’s being played by someone so dim, and more than a little wet.

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Thin Skin

It seems Elon Musk’s submarine really was crap:

A British cave explorer who recently helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a Thailand cave network slammed Elon Musk’s child-sized submarine proposal as a “PR stunt.”

The Tesla CEO had traveled to Thailand earlier this week, touting his “mini-sub” that he said was built with rocket parts and could be carried by two divers.

But British caver Vernon Unsworth told CNN that Musk “can stick his submarine where it hurts.”

Unsworth, who lives in Thailand and has spent years exploring the Tham Luang cave system where the boys were trapped, said Musk’s submarine wouldn’t have made it past the first 50 meters into the cave after the dive start point.

“It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like,” Unsworth said. “The submarine, I believe, was about five-foot-six long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone round corners or round any obstacles.”

When a CNN journalist pointed out that Musk had been inside the cave, Unsworth shrugged.

“And was asked to leave very quickly. And so he should have been,” he said.

I expect we’re going to hear more feedback along these lines as the rescuers start telling their stories. Given the way Elon Musk has reacted to Unsworth’s comments, he seems to have struck a nerve:

Musk lashed out on Sunday, saying he would make a video proving that his “mini-sub” would have been successful and adding: “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”

The accusation, presented without evidence or context, was directed at Vern Unsworth, a British cave explorer who recently said Musk’s attempt to help the rescue effort was a “PR stunt”. No evidence has emerged to substantiate Musk’s claim of pedophilia.

On Sunday, when a Twitter user pointed out that Musk was “calling the guy who found the children a pedo”, the billionaire responded: “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”

Intense criticism followed. Some Twitter users pointed out how “dangerous” and irresponsible it was to make such a serious allegation and to broadcast a potentially libelous insult to his 22 million followers.

Spokesmen for Musk and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Later on Sunday, Musk deleted the “pedo” tweet and its follow-up.

Publicly calling someone a pedophile because they didn’t like his submarine PR stunt is pretty low from Musk, and there’s a good chance he’s going to get sued for libel. There’s really something not quite right about the man, at least to my eyes; I’d not be surprised if he does a stretch behind bars at some point in his life.

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Elon Musk: help or hindrance?

Elon Musk has busied himself over the last few days tweeting out possible innovative, hi-tech solutions for rescuing the Thai kids from the cave.

Of course, many people think this is great, likening him to a real life Tony Stark deploying secret technologies in humanity’s hour of need. Ever the skeptic, I’m not so sure. I have no doubt that Musk means well and genuinely wants to help, but he’ll not be unaware of the PR value of this (and he seems to be as good at PR and self-promotion as anything else, to be honest). But he’s not there at the scene, and I suspect a few of the rescue team are getting a bit annoyed about having to divert time and attention to respond to whacky ideas from a billionaire sat on the other side of the world. Imagine you’re trying to work out how to get kids through a 15″ tunnel filled with water when this arrives:

Okay, that wasn’t from Musk, but you get the idea. I’m sure he means well, but I suspect his input is less a help than a hindrance.

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Melania’s Jacket

Demonstrating the gravity and rigour which justifies their unique funding model, the BBC offers five reasons why Melania Trump chose to wear a green jacket with “I don’t care. Do you?” printed on the back. Personally, I think it was her reaction to weeks of gleeful speculation from the press that her absence from public appearances was due to abuse at the hands of her husband rather than kidney surgery, but others differ.

The BBC doesn’t go this far, but some commentators believe her choice of attire was a deliberate snub to Donald Trump, who – as the speculation around her medical absence proved – are desperate to believe she hates her husband and is deeply unhappy. Now it may be that Melania’s marriage is an unhappy one, but you’d hardly rely on the modern media to give an appraisal of what makes a satisfied wife: half of it’s made up of crazed feminists raging about how awful men are, with the other half being pencil-necked omegas who think white-knighting for women who despise them will get them laid. And speaking of crazed feminists:

Antonova seems to think because her own marriage ended in disaster she is qualified to ascertain whether other women, who have given no sign that they are unhappy, are trapped in an abusive relationship. I have no doubt that Melania knows what she’s doing, although I don’t think she’s too keen on the First Lady role. She’s spent her entire adult life around brash assholes like Trump, and I doubt his character took her by surprise. Indeed, women seem to like the man, and others just like him, which no doubt drives feminists nuts. None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who’s read Chateau Heartiste or similar.

Of course, the comforting fallback is to say Melania’s only with Donald for the money. Which she might be, and everyone said that about Rupert Murdoch’s young wife Wendi Deng. However, when some dickhead tried to throw a custard pie in her huband’s face during questioning by MPs during the phone hacking scandal, she stood up and belted him one.

Y’know, maybe these eastern women actually have some pride in their husbands and take their role as a wife seriously? That would explain why media types are confused.

Finally, I turned on France 24 and saw a discussion about Melania’s jacket between two men and two ageing Frenchwomen who looked as though they’d been drinking vinegar all morning. They agreed the Trump camp had “lost control” by “allowing” Melania to dress in a such a manner, and offered the time she chose to wear high heels as another example of her tin-eared sartorial choices. Naturally, it didn’t seem to occur to any of them that a woman ought to be allowed to dress as she pleases; presumably they’d not be too happy if Fox News spent a segment of a show discussing how haggard Macron’s wife looks no matter what she wears.

Now a bunch of ageing, single women criticising how a prettier, more successful married woman dresses is nothing new, of course. What amuses me is they call themselves feminists.

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Prodnose Priests

Last October I said:

A couple of years back I realised that middle-class snobbery is what drives so much social and political campaigning these days. Probably the best example is the campaign to reduce sugar in people’s diets – for their own good, of course. It is always fizzy drinks and sugary snacks that get cited, never fancy desserts.

Who is trending on Twitter this week, leading the charge in campaigning for the government to introduce new laws aimed at restricting certain foodstuffs in the name of tackling obesity?

I’m sure the lower classes, who are forever blamed for putting a burden on the NHS with their delinquent lifestyles, are delighted to have former Etonian and Oxford graduate Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall telling them how to live. Naturally, multi-millionaire Jamie Oliver is four-square behind him:

Albeit looking rather porky himself. Maybe he should do a little less meddling in other people’s lives and hit the gym? And speaking of Jamie Oliver:

Mr Oliver told BBC Breakfast that he does not ban junk food in his home, but that it is only eaten by his children as a “treat”.

Ah, so he’s free to feed his own fucking brats whatever shit they demand, but the choices of other parents ought to be reigned in by the government.

I’ve said this before, these dickheads would be a lot better off going to church. There they can do all the moral posturing they like, and receive assurances of their virtue from someone who is paid to deliver them. People are fond of saying that religion has declined in Britain, but I disagree: all it’s done is take other forms. The prodnosery, meddling, hand-wringing, and moral sneering at those considered less virtuous is alive and well, it’s just the clothes worn by the high priests are different.

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Jamie’s Ditchin’

We shouldn’t be surprised by this:

Jamie Oliver’s two flagship London restaurants have gone into administration, although the celebrity chef immediately bought one back.

His upmarket Barbecoa steak restaurant in London’s Piccadilly will close a year after it was re-launched.

The closure of the 12 restaurants will affect at least 200 jobs.

Court documents revealed that Jamie’s Italian had debts of £71.5m.

There’s a world of difference between being a good cook and being able to run a restaurant. Many a decent cook has been persuaded by friends and family to open a restaurant only to find the skills required are quite different. I find Jamie Oliver’s recipes to be hit and miss, but he’s made good money flogging books and doing TV shows so he has some talent. But as a businessman capable of running a restaurant empire he looks about as credible as Diane Abbott for Home Secretary. The mockney cheeky-chappie shtick doesn’t count for much in the hard realities of business.

The chain also closed down six Jamie’s Italian restaurants in January 2017.

At the time, the company said that the closures were due to uncertainties caused by Brexit and a “tough” market.

Or, as someone on Twitter put it, he was selling bland, overpriced crap served on manky old wooden boards. Sadly, these latest developments will leave him with more free time to lecture the British public on how to feed their children and lobby for an increase in state nannying.

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