Thursday, January 8, 2015

‘I abhor clichés, but will defend to the death your right to use them’ Appropriately, much ink has already been spilled in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders. And as far as the self-righteous jacks are concerned who have bullied clubs into not hiring a convicted rapist, there ain’t nothing like a hypocrite - they have threatened staff

I learned something today: Voltaire didn’t say ‘I disagree/disapprove with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it’. Apparently, one of his biographers, a Evelyn Beatrice Hall, coined the phrase and suggested it as the attitude Voltaire had.

But he did describe the Prophet in his tragedy Le Fanatisme ou Mahomet, as an ‘impostor’, a ‘false prophet’, a ‘fanatic’ and a ‘hypocrite’. Strong stuff, eh, and from the little I know of Mohammed not something I would claim, but then I’m not - as you might have gathered - a French intellectual polymath.

I doubt it go down well with the lads at the Al Qaeda Arms where they are apt to gather of an evening to knock back a few sarsaparillas and elderflower cordials. Good Muslim boys these: you might catch them slaughtering a defenceless cartoonist in cold blood and beheading hostages live on A Question Of Sport, but you won’t catch a drop of the strong stuff passing their lips, no sirree!

It’s a tad tactless of me to rattle on about clichés and the indiscriminate use of them after what happened a yesterday in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo offices, but there you go: tact is for wimps. That hoary old Voltaire quote, which, of course, isn’t a Voltaire quote, was trotted out on at least three occasions in the radio coverage I was listening to on my journey back from Work In London to Home In Cornwall and when clichés are used in anger, they always bring me out in a rash.

Here are a few other favourites ‘clichés are the first casualty of war’, ‘no cliché survives the first encounter the enemy’, ‘he who doesn’t understand clichés is doomed to use them’, and ‘clichés corrupt and absolute clichés corrupt absolutely’. Expect a few more over the coming days.

As for the murders themselves, might I trot out a few rather hackneyed observations of my own? Just as it would be ridiculous to blame Roman Catholicism for murders committed by the IRA, so it is ineffably stupid to blame Islam for this slaughtering of 12 at the Charlie Hebdo office or the kind of shit the lads from Islamic State get up to. But that’s what some are doing. In Germany several thousand folk have been turning out in street protests against ‘the Islamification of Europe’. Shame they can’t find the energy to protest against, say, the ‘rampant commercialisation of everyday life’ or ‘the adulteration of our food in the interest of making ever greater profits’.

(NB There was also talk on the radio about the development of a new pill to ‘counteract obesity’. The obvious solution would seem to be for people not to stuff themselves full of food every time they stop moving, but actually there’s a far better solution: pass legislation to stop food manufacturers stuffing corn syrup, sugar and hydrogenated fat into everything they produce. But don’t hold your breath on that one: you might as well ask governments to cut their own throats.)

There can be no better response to what the Charlie Hebdo killers did than that of several cartoonists in the past 24 hours. Here is a selection:

PS One Andrew Windsor, aka His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, will be mightily relieved by this turn of events as it has wiped his name and suggestions that he has been shagging one of his mate Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged ‘sex slaves’ right off the front pages.

. . .

You always know those who see themselves on the side of the angels as they are usually the biggest hypocrites.

The other day I wrote about the only mob - ‘cybermob’ to the geeks - who are ganging up and signing petitions left, right and centre to ensure Ched Evans, the convicted rapist who has served half of his sentence and has been released on licence, isn’t signed by another club and will no longer be able to earn his money playing professionally.

First they bullied Sheffield United into withdrawing its offer to take him back, and now they have bullied Oldham Athletic into about-turning on the issue and deciding not to sign him.

According to the BBC sport website threats were made against Oldham staff and their families. Ain’t nothing like two-faced hypocrites eh: moral enough to insist that a convicted rapist shouldn’t be allowed to play professional football but not above getting down and dirty themselves to the level of a rapist by threatening the lives of other folk.

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