Archive | August 2013

Future Imperfect – How Writers Have A Tendency To Predict Things And Why That Can Be Very Very Bad  

Tomorrow's World Successfully Predicts The Blackberry Torch

Tomorrow’s World Successfully Predicts The Blackberry Torch

When I was a kid, one of my favourite TV programmes was Tomorrow’s World. A brave new vista of Science and modern wonders laid bare in your living room at 7 O’Clock every Thursday evening, just before Top of the Pops. Or was it 8 O’Clock, just after Top of the Pops? I can never remember. Read More…

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THE GREAT EMO-TEE- CON – How The American Secret Service Invented Emo

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Emo was born on a golf course. I was in the United States during a long secondment On Her Britannic Majesty’s Service. I was teaching my new boss how to play golf badly. Apparently it doesn’t come naturally to Americans, but fortunately I’m English, so it’s like breathing in and out to me. A golf course is a great place for secret people to discuss secret things. It’s not easy hiding a microphone in a sand bunker and so as long as you’re confident no-one’s been interfering with your niblicks, it’s ideal. Read More…

Do These Hush Puppies Make Me Look Fascist? – The Unlikely Connection Between The Daily Mail And Feminism

 

How Richard Littlejohn Sees Himself. Only Not Black, Obviously.

How Richard Littlejohn Sees Himself. Only Not Black, Obviously.

My newspaper of choice is The Independent, but every so often I read The Daily Mail for shits and giggles. You should try it once in a while, it’s the funniest comic ever published. It’s the rabid paranoia that makes me chuckle. The Daily Mail reminds me of that old telly program, World In Action. That nexus of pure terror guaranteed to frighten the shit out of you every Monday Night. Sometimes I hear the World In Action theme tune when I look at whatever ranty headline the Daily Mail is sporting that day. Read More…

The Dawkins Effect – Why Clever People Are Less Likely To Believe In Religion And Why That’s Not Necessarily A Smart Choice

An Atheist Being Clever, Yesterday.

An Atheist Being Clever, Yesterday.

A recent study in America has concluded that intelligent people are less likely to believe in God than those who are less intellectually gifted. If you are a clever atheist, then this conclusion seems entirely logical and unsurprising. Clever people question things and demand evidence to reach their conclusions. You don’t have to question any religion too deeply before all the answers become “It just fucking is, right”. The situation quickly moves from philosophical debate to exasperating conversation with your pre-menstrual girlfriend. Clever people don’t like this. Read More…

To Infinitives And Beyond – The One Thing Grammar Nazis Might Consider Leaving Alone

 

Grammar Is One Thing. Spelling Is A Different Matter.

Grammar Is One Thing. Spelling Is A Different Matter.

There’s nothing really wrong with grammar nazis’ intentions. The constant tug of war between the people who want to throw out the rules and the ones who take them far too seriously is good for the English language. It keeps it healthy. Plus everyone enjoys watching a good old chatroom fight on the internet.

Personally, I don’t fall into either camp. The grammatical rules of English are labyrinthine and I don’t pretend to know even a significant fraction of them. The ones I do know, I often break deliberately for effect. I’m also prone to using the Oxford Comma. One thing I do know though is this. Correct grammar is not necessarily synonymous with good writing. Read More…