Exhibit #14 All The Honeys Making Money

December 11th, 2009

The Noughties will be remembered as a stunted deformity of a decade when technology was routinely more impressive than people; when information was more available than ever before and yet when people’s grasp on the basic and fundamental arguments that once underpinned the assumptions of society seemed to slip as if greased and feebled.

A generation came of age into a culture that had accelerated so far away from its axioms that it seemed senseless and incomprehensible. It was as if we had all wondered into a doctoral seminar on modular forms and been asked to connect it back to Euclid in our heads. If that last allusion means nothing to you, it is because I am right – you are living in macro-culture and do not know the ground beneath your feet. You are adrift.

Nowhere has this been more true than in Feminism.

The arguments underpinning feminism are very clear, very simple and often incontestably correct. Take this, against the objectification of female sexuality, for example:

1. By presenting female sexuality as a consumer object, you reduce it to something less than it is – a commodity to be bought and sold.

2. If it is a commodity, then rape (unauthorised acquisition of the commodity) is the moral equivalent of theft – no worse.

3. Therefore Nuts magazine is actively re-incentivising rape.

4. stop it

Or, even simpler, try this one about the use of Ms as a title.

1. when a man gets married his title doesn’t change, he is ‘Mr.’ before and after.

2. when a woman gets married her title does change, from ‘miss’ to ‘mrs’

3. one’s title is routinely used in official correspondence

4. therefore a woman’s legal and social position is contingent on her relationship to a man where a man’s is not contingent on his relationship to a woman.

5. this is unequal: use Ms.

Shimples, as a meerkat might say.

And yet, in the noughties, these continued to be controversies because everyone came in at the wrong floor and started chucking opinions around based on the irrelevant surface.

So now Jordan is a feminist icon because she made a bunch of money  re-incentivising rape and changing her title to Mrs.

It has been a decade of cheeky, sex-fearing breasts wobbling merrily from reality TV to magazine shoots past student activists who were so busy propping up the most appallingly misogynist regimes on earth in the hope of annoying Dick Cheney that they barely batted a mascara’d eyelid. It was maddening. All this lad’s mag shit was bad but sort of OK in the 90s because it was still, at least, controversial – in the noughties it was just inherited – normalised by the vacuous treadmill of ever-replenishing youth.

Even worse was, to borrow a phrase, the ‘female as a genre’ music that infected the second half of the decade. Sure, the stereotype these collaborationist morons were embracing for financial gain was more to do with Dave Gilmour’s wank fantasy than the average Nuts reader’s, but there was No real difference – it was just the same old objectified, treacherous package marketed to the literate as effectively as it had been to the trogs.

Everyone was a stupid fucking cunt in the noughties – yes, that’s right, a cunt – I’m using a gendered swear as an insult, and you can’t do anything about it cause you couldn’t even be bothered to find out why I shouldn’t. You cunts.

Here: read some better writing than this from Caitlin Moran on Jordan and Laura Snapes on Florence and the Machine

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Digression – The “One-ders”

December 3rd, 2009

In Australia, they held a competition to find a word to use to describe the 2010s when engaging in self-aware conversations, unnecessary journalism and negative, blindly argumentative blog posting – they have just announced the winner:

The One-ders

Now, given that the so-called ‘noughties’ saw the ironic rise of promise rings, mormon-inspired chastity vampires, generational prudity, the retreat of men behind the cheeky carry-on net curtains of the lads mag, the sexual incompetence of a celebrity culture based largely on comedy tits, The Jonas Brothers, paedo-geddon and everybody being an infantile square who’d rather watch a boxset than fuck – then we can only assume that the ‘one-ders’, with a name evoking wonder – the wide-eyed optimistic march into a glistening future of progress and respect for the awesome, humbling stature of the world we’ve been born into – will fucking suck too.

We should call them the shitty-tens, that might at least inspire us to do better out of spite.

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Exhibit #13 Still Having A Monarchy

December 1st, 2009

The thing about the noughties that really sucked was the general sense that progress had been expected but that it had not been made. This was, after all, the Twenty-First century, the blackjack of centuries, the century when all the busts and unwelcome face cards of the twentieth century’s unceasing quests to double down and gamble were supposed to be paid off by a series of glorious, jetpack-fuelled tricks.

Why can’t I buy a delicious roast dinner in pill form? Why can I only plan a holiday in space if I’m willing to pay Richard Branson $200,000 for a half hour excursion? Why are people still working in supermarkets? In the sixties, people used to say that ‘millions now living may never die’ – in the noughties they just repeat some half-baked platitude about not wanting to live forever that they heard a c-list comedian say in the big brother jacuzzi because that is, literally, the full extent of their intellectual and philosophical ambition. In Britain especially, we’ve given up on the future because the future arrived and it was fucking orange.

Compounding the sense of dignity crushing futility is the fact that – when we sit down and take a long look at ourselves, our society and our place in the world – we have to acknowledge that all three are still, after all this time, still firmly underneath some onion-faced old lady who got to where she was by being born there.

The monarchy, the god damned fucking monarchy.

Of course this doesn’t feel like the future we were promised – you can’t live in a future with a queen unless that queen is wearing a silver bikini and is half wasp.

Issue 1, 2000 AD

Issue 1, 2000 AD

When the first issue of 2000 AD rolled off the seventies presses and the young of the discontented winters paused to daydream of a Utopian and impossibly distant century, they might not have explicitly erased the monarchy from the picture – but it was a necessary assumption. A monarchy would be as out of place in the brave new world as burnt rock cakes or nicotine-stained net curtains. Its Abolition was a prerequisite for any kind of progress.

Perhaps because it was always so obvious that it would be gotten rid of at some point, no one ever actually got around to getting rid of it.

Instead, mind blowingly stupid arguments – “she does a good job though, dun’t she, the queen?” and “it’s good for tourism…” (as if the lack of actual torture victims and inmates had dented the profits of the Tower of London) – were allowed to waft fart-like and uncontradicted until they condensed into an intellectual shit-hive that was more than capable of resisting any advocate of change.

This has left us with a horrible paradox in received opinion: everybody knows that the hereditary principle is ridiculous but everybody also knows that there’s no need to abolish the monarchy. It is stupid and embarrassing. And it is retarding us as a nation as we languish, constrained by our  chintzy head-of-state and left prostrate, quite unable to strive or let our wings take dream.

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Exhibit #12 Take That, and that, and that…

November 28th, 2009

Pretty much the biggest song of the noughties’ rubbish latter half was ‘We Can Rule The World’ by the reformed Take That. Like a lightning-reanimated window display, the neatly-scarfed foursome belted out Gary Barlow’s lyrics with inoffensive gusto:

You and me we can light up the sky

If you stay by my side, We can rule the world

Which is fine, because this is the noughties and everybody knows that listening to the lyrics would be like listening to the stated war aims of radical islamic terror groups (that is, completely beside the point). Except, wait, what did he say he wanted to do to the world again?

I mean, I’m all for poorly constructed metaphors in pop choruses. Pop singers are welcome to be my sledgehammer, to be my Teddy Bear, to have their milkshake bring me to a yard. I could even concede that everything was yellow If I was in an especially insipid mood – but how exactly does Gary get from kissing a woman and it feeling nice to being in charge of a planet?

The only answer is that the song is not metaphorical at all and that Barlow, having been driven mad by the ludicrous, unexplainable popularity of one of his ex-dancers in the first half of the noughties, has – in fact – turned into a pudgy Northern Darth Vader.

Come, Mark Owen, join me, together we can use the power of this station to light up the stars! if you stay by my side, then we can rule the galaxy as father and son…

The Terrifying Eyes of a Megalomaniac Napoleon Syndrome Sufferer

The Terrifying Eyes of a Megalomaniac Napoleon Syndrome Sufferer

It’s terrifying. He’s terrifying. If you can tear your eyes away from the 100% woollen softness of his scarf for a moment then look at his eyes – his dark, terrifying eyes burning with the stunted lusts of Caligula. Fear him.

Of course, none of this would matter, but Take That are huge now. At the turn of the millennium we really thought we’d got them on the run – it was four down, one to go and every prospect of an end in sight. Instead they had a more successful comeback than anyone and suddenly sober, previous owners of a sense of shame were willing to go on record as fans. They were sort of right: Take That did seem better in the noughties, certainly less annoying than their rivals in the credible music scene. But it wasn’t – as the clucking rent-a-hormone TV presenters would have you believe – because they had spent a decade growing more handsome and talented; it was just that now they were operating in the noughties where everything else was shit too and they benefited hugely from the comparison.

Well OK, that’s what happened – but as we approach a new decade I warn you to view the prospect of Robbie Williams rejoining his old brand with the trepidation of a republic in danger. A Sith Lord is bad – but a Sith with an apprentice? Be afraid, 2010s Britain, Be very very afraid.

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Exhibit #11 Dinner Table Text Message Etiquette

November 27th, 2009

OK, so not exactly a major issue, but – personally – I find that the shitness of a decade can be found as much in its minor irritations as in its grand historical motions. After all, people still look back fondly on the forties despite it having been, in many ways, the worst decade in the history of ever. Sure – the world was rent in twain by the collision of competing ideologies and sure, from the genocidal ashes rose the unceasingly peaceless firebird of all subsequent global disquiet – but at least no one ever started texting in the middle of dinner.

Because, right, if we were having dinner, all sat round a table, conversing and you suddenly leaned over and started whispering in your boyfriend’s ear, then had him whisper a reply, which then caused you to look noticeably yet coyly amused – that would be rude, wouldn’t it? But do it with a phone and apparently that’s just fine.

I know. It’s a small thing. A triviality. But if the broken window theory of crime prevention teaches us anything at all, it’s that shitness has its own butterfly effect: a butterfly starts texting during the appetiser in Connecticut and, 6 months later, a nice independent bookshop gets replaced by a Starbucks in Bristol. It didn’t seem like a big deal when you agreed to meet up with Darren outside the corn exchange that one fateful Sunday roast – but little did you realise that you had started a chain reaction that would lead us all, inexorably, to the fame of Chanelle Hayes.

It’s all your fault, oh ye careless custodians of the brave new broken world. Every last shitty bit of it.

Here is funny video for sharing on internet about 24 and phonez and dat lol

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Exhibit #10 Passable New Films Based On Pre-Noughties Intellectual Property

November 24th, 2009

Watchmen, Transformers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Terminator: Salvation, Spiderman, Batman, Indy IV, V for Vendetta, The Harry Potter Series, Twilight… the noughties saw the blockbuster movie become an exercise in rebranding things that people already liked and then making them excited about them because they already liked them and then carefully causing their excitement to crest by judiciously timing the introduction into the films of things they especially liked from the thing they already liked.

This often resulted in quite good films that were fun to watch. The only problem is that now we have eaten all our cakes there won’t be any cake tomorrow. What will we do in the 2010s when we want to watch something fun and exciting? There’s hardly anything  left to remake. This means we’ll either have to re-remake all the stuff we  re-made in the noughties or come up with something new – and that will be hard because all the original, brilliant, franchise inventing writers have probably given up and killed themselves leaving nothing but suicide notes, ironically reimagined from great suicide notes of the eighties.

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Exhibit #9 Fahrenheit 9/11

November 24th, 2009

If there was a turning point in the noughties – a moment that we can point to as the decade’s fulcrum – the gravitational mass weighing on the rubber sheet of goodness pulling it all down into the y axis of shit – then it has to be the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004.

Not because I especially hated George Bush – I hated him a normal amount – and not because of any ridiculous anti-americanism that paints George Bush as a worse leader than the tyrants and terrorists: The problem with George Bush’s unequivocal, uncontested trouncing of John Kerry was the way it just left everything feeling hopeless. Scared beat clever. Swiftboating beat arguing. Religion beat, well… pretend religion. It was almost as if The West Wing wasn’t an accurate reflection of reality – a notion I refuse to entertain.

There was nothing to cling to. No hanging chads or false consciousness – just the truth: that everybody in the world was pissed off with everybody else and that nobody cared too much to hide it.

And, just to make it worse, was the horrible realisation that lots of us had gone along with Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and were now tainted with the same shit as the winners and consequently were unable even to enjoy the moral highground once everything started to fall apart.

We’d ignored the mawkish sentimentality, logical contortions and crude demagoguery. We’d plugged it, discussed it, even paid money to see it. We’d sat back and taken it while Michael Moore argued that it was awful that black people were being sent to die in a war while simultaneously arguing that more troops needed to be sent to die in a war. We’d lapped up the carefully worded innuendos about the ‘white house’ arranging for members of the Bin Laden family to be flown out of the US after 9/11, even though Richard Clarke had taken sole responsibility for the 9/20 flight before the film went on general release.

We’d watched this bit, where, without captions to tell you who we’re actually looking at and with only the most cursory, barely connected nod to ‘human rights’ at the end – we are shown an extended pop video of White house staff and Bush family members standing next to people who look foreign and scary.

Are we supposed to recognise all these carry on up the khyber-style Arabs? Which ones are the ones that gave the money? Which ones did the human rights abuses? It doesn’t make a blind bit of difference – this is just an appeal to racism that can barely even be bothered to dress itself up as anything else – and we all lay back and took it.

We nodded along with slackjawed approval as he intruded on people’s grief, presented pre-war Iraq as a happy land of swingsets and hobbits, used every tabloid trick imaginable to manipulate us… and it didn’t even fucking work.

If it had done what it was supposed to – if it had reached a large enough audience of middle ground voters to swing the election – then it would still have been a horrible, greetings card mockery of an argument but at least it wouldn’t have mattered. As it was, Bush got re-elected anyway, and the Limbaughs and Hannitys and Coulters could walk around with a new air of smugness, happy in the knowledge that, however much you lower the bar, there will always be some fat fucker willing to limbo under it.

The noughties saw us forget that our enemy’s enemies are not necessarily our friends. It’s a lesson we should try to remember.

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Exhibit #8 Comments

November 20th, 2009

Somewhere, somewhen, in one of the many worlds implied by Hugh Everett’s relative state formulation there is a pleasingly-straight-fringed, happy-go-lucky and financially viable young man writing a blog called The Noughties Were Ace.

Right at the top of his list, exhibit #1, is the vast network of mediated social interactions that are often referred to as web 2.0.

Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere, wikipedia, collaborative authorship… these are wonderful things with wonderful repercussions. They are Timothy Leary’s Intelligence2 made a reality, Intelligence studying Intelligence; every digital interaction between two people operating like a fired neural impulse in a gigantic overmind that is open to anyone with a broadband account and the urge to discover its power. Interactions between groups are even more efficient, multiplying exponentially the power of communications technology to drastically reshape every aspect of our lives.

And he’s right – that lucky, alternative universe dwelling bastard, sitting there without a horrible cold counting his money and awards – he’s right. Web 2.0 is ace. It is transformative and extraordinary and it would be the height of petty, pompous negativity to criticise the minor effects of it’s extremities in the face of its otherwise awesomeness.

It’s just that… well… comments: they’re annoying aren’t they?

Because comments look like they are judiciously breaking down the walls between the elite and the people and giving everyone a voice – but they aren’t: they are mainly just giving a voice to the kind of person who wants to passively comment on things.

Not uniformly. Sometimes comments can be brilliant – like when you write a bombastic post about how much you love Carter and someone rightly assumes that you’d want to know that they’re with you. I liked that. They can function like points of information, give right of reply, right of correction. They’re a great idea that often works fine.

But then, there’s the kind of person who used to write to points of view. The kind of person who comes up to you after a gig and wants to talk to you about machine heads. The kind of person who believes that ‘constructive criticism’ is always welcome…

Well, it isn’t, right? Nobody will ever really want your constructive criticism. I definitely won’t. If I did want it, then I’d to travel Okinawa, climb up a mountain with two full buckets of water suspended from a yoke and beg every day for your constructive criticism while you rap me across the head with a zen stick and call me an arrogant pup. If you’re willing to dispense it for less – it’s no good to me. Even if you are right it will just make me petulant and rebellious and want to not improve on purpose just to spite you.

Even worse are the people who have spent every day since they left university working on a highly personal, grand unified theory of social cohesion that they like to use to bludgeon people with in comments sections only tangentially connected to their argument.

“ha, I see that you consider Dogtanian to be epic win -well, isn’t it the case that the imperialist messages inherent in Dumas’ work can be traced ultimately to the machinations of Blair and his illegal war..?” – you know the sort of thing.

And then there’s youtube and yahoo answers: the inner circles of comments hell. So bad they went through bad, then good again and all the way back to bad.

We have been left with a comments culture where the news doesn’t feel like it’s been reported until Brian from Chepstow has called it disgusting and sent in a photo of it snowing. Web 2.0 was a test to see if we could we embrace the best of the noughties without grubbily spoiling it with our self-absorbed desire to piss on everything and we failed. Even when the noughties were ace, they were a bit shit.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to say in the comments section of that alternative-universe me’s blog. That’ll show him, the smug tosspot.

Anyway, here is the Intro to Dogtanian. It is epic win.

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Exhibit #7 Chavs

November 15th, 2009

In the UK, there has developed a kind of sickening underclass in the last decade.

Economically valueless, they work – when they work at all – in industries that have been rendered more or less obsolete by the march of progress. They are perennially drunk and have loud screechy voices drawing unwarranted attention to their tasteless outfits and rough, bitterness-chiseled faces.

Motivated only by spite, rage and an animalistic lust for undeserved monetary reward, they lazily gorge themselves on a diet of celebrity gossip, fads and irrational fear. They prefer the rule of the mob to that of law. They are criminally ignorant. They breed nasty, unvaccinated, disease ridden children. They lie around at home – producing nothing of value – and dragging the whole intellectual life of our nation into a scuzzy, ugly, acquisitive quagmire with their vile, toxic presence.

They are, of course, Columnists; and to have to read them picking on the working class because some unpaid work-experience girl showed them urbandictionary.com and gave them tenuous permission has been one of this shit decade’s true horrors.

What kind of generation listens to Lily Allen when Lady Sovereign exists? A shit one, that’s what. A bullied generation. A gang of needy, whining victims floating in a sea of their own equally valid opinions.

It’s no good. If you’re among the chattering classes, you’re supposed to feel embarrassed about your background. You’re supposed to know, deep down, that those potent, erect, bastards who intimidated you at the bus stop were right to humiliate and damage your fragile little ego – it is the only justice achievable in an imperfect world. You’re supposed to get over it, realise your limitations and acknowledge that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in St. Cuthbert’s reformed academy of Philosophy. You are not supposed to seize on a bit of playground slang and use it as a means of segmenting and distancing yourself from people you’re scared of. You’re not supposed to be comfortable.

The noughties saw the end of middle class shame, but we needed that shame. It was the only thing that stopped us being insufferable little prigs.

Here, watch Lady Sovereign’s fucking brilliant Hoodie video while punching yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNx1YCIGWQs&feature=related

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Exhibit #6 People Not Giving Carter USM The Respect They Deserve

November 14th, 2009

OK, so this is personal and a slight departure from the otherwise fairly demagogic tone of this blog thus far, but Carter USM were amazing, and based on the gig I just went to, STILL amazing. It says a lot about the noughties that young people are massively, wallet-emptyingly excited about blur getting back together for some rubbish gigs and a new torrent of condescending glibness while Carter barely seem to merit a ripple in the national psyche.

I know I’m supposed to encourage end-user participation in order to solidify the blog’s brand with an active userbase in order to attract the right demographic for advertisers – but on this issue – if you want to disagree – you can fuck yourselves, userbase, right in your monetized engagement receptacle. Say what you like about me, but when you insult Carter USM you cross a line. That is all, proper bitchy copy tomorrow. :)

Carter USM at Kentish Town Forum, 13.11.09

Carter USM at Kentish Town Forum, 13.11.09

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