September 2008

Quote of the Day: Irresponsibly repressive

It was also disingenuous of Random House to suggest that the novel might incite violence. Certain members of the population might choose to commit an act of violence, but that is not the same as the book itself inciting violence. To pass the responsibility in this way to the novel was a betrayal of the author and of free speech.

- Jo Glanville on the firebombing of an independent publisher.

Chris Morris returns to film?

Satirical genius, Chris Morris has been developing a comedy about Islamic terrorists, centring on a group of would-be suicide bombers from the North of England. Morris has said of the project that he wanted to do for Islamic terrorism what Dads Army did for the Nazis by showing them as ‘scary but also ridiculous’. And not a moment too soon.

However, both the BBC and Channel 4 have rejected the comedy as being too controversial for TV.

The good news, however, is that Film4 is putting up the money to develop the project as a film.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman told trade magazine Broadcast: ‘Channel 4 has a long history of working with Chris Morris, and a significant funding contribution towards his latest project is being made.

‘It was agreed at a very early stage that the project would work best as a film and from this point was developed through Film4.’

There is no title, script or release date as yet. But if this does go all the way into production then we can all look forward to Morris big screen début.

Better Zombies Through Physics

For the next six weeks, the Tor Books website will be joining scientist Erwin Schrödinger on a tour of Quantum Zombies, Inc.

Join us for chills, thrills, and pulse-pounding scientific breakthroughs as we embark on a tour of the Quantum Zombie, Inc. facility, courtesy of a guy who bears a striking resemblance to famed scientist and cat-lover Erwin Schrödinger. Hijinks, hilarity, and an abundance of felines await you in’s newest comic strip.

There will be one strip a week for the next six weeks and the first on can be found here.

Time to buy a new phrasebook

The Klingons for Jesus are coming

In fact not only should Klingons worship Jesus but Jesus is the messiah the Klingons have been waiting for all along.

Its certainly the most consistent religious website Ive seen in a long time.

Via Pharyngula

ID Cards: A foreigner speaks

A migrant, living in the UK, has this to say about the latest stunt dreamt up by the a government desperate to find a justification for their ID card plans:

[Y]our Labour Party has taken my biometrics and will force me to carry the papers my grandparents destroyed when they fled the Soviet Union. In living memory, my family has been chased from its home by governments whose policies and justification the Labour Party has aped. Your Labour Party has made me afraid in Britain, and has made me seriously reconsider my settlement here. I am the father of a British citizen and the husband of a British citizen. I pay my tax. I am a natural-born citizen of the Commonwealth. The Labour Party ought not to treat me nor any other migrant in a way that violates our fundamental liberties. The Labour Party is unmaking Britain, turning it into the surveillance society that Britains foremost prophet of doom, George Orwell, warned against. Labour admits that we migrants are only the first step, and that every indignity that they visit upon us will be visited upon you, too. If you want to live and thrive in a free country, you must defend us too: we must all hang together, or we will surely hang separately.

The migrant in question is Cory Doctorow, a Canadian author who is supporting himself but is no threat to anyone.

Much has been said about what is wrong with the governments ID card scheme – its overly complex, unnecessarily intrusive, not properly costed and horrendously expensive. And for what? Why are the government so keen to introduce these things?

Its a serious question, and one for which I have so far seen no answer: What does the Labour Party expect to achieve by introducing ID cards?

Marketing Atheism

Geoff J Henley has a point:

My goal is to integrate skepticism into popular culture. When we watch commercial TV, read newspapers, attend weddings and sporting events or drive through our neighbourhoods at Easter, religion all gets a free plug. But to find something about scepticism, you have to go look for it on the Internet or at a bookstore.

And heres what he came up with:

Via the New Humanist

Animated self censorship

Based on the graphic novel by Claus Deleuran, Rejsen Til Saturn (Journey to Saturn) tells the tale of what happens when a Danish crew of misfits travel in space to find natural gas. The film is due to be released on Friday and promises a fart and belch fuelled lampoon of a whole host of political and religious beliefs. Except one.

The one Muslim character in the film has been exempted from any religious satire because the director was concerned about his own, and his familys, safety.

Its unfortunately been impossible to make fun of the Muslims religion. I think we make many jabs at the person Jamil in the film, but its correct that were not touching his belief. Its simply too sensitive an area, that I cant take the responsibility to get involved. I certainly need to think of both my family and my workplace. Im not a fighter, and I dont like to have raging Muslims knocking on my door, says Thorbjørn Christoffersen.

I 100% support that people should be able to make fun of everything. but this is not about special consideration for Muslims, its about consideration for myself and my family, says the director.

Brian Mikkelsen, Denmarks Justice Minister – and former Culture Minister – has expressed sadness at this:

Its sad it its become so that individual artists censure themselves out of fear of religious fanatics. We have in Dnemark a strong and good tradition of satire, also in connection with religious subjects. And we should hold fast to it.”

From the trailer, the film does look like it could be a lot of fun. It is a shame, though – to put it mildly – that the people behind the film should feel threathened into holding back.

101 Exceptions

According to CHUD, Ricky Gervais – in an interview with Empire magazine – said of British films: The Americans are just better at it than us. Theres an odd exception, but when it comes to making movies we dont really cut the mustard. Not since about 1950.

Not one to let it lie, Edgar Rice has come up with 101 such exceptions, from The Lavender Hill Mob to Son of Rambow. And being the modest man he is, he has failed to list either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz – both of which deserve a mention in any list of Great British Films.

There are many, many more. But, given the number of films that are either co-productions or draw cast and crew from both sides of the Atlantic, is it even meaningful to talk about British Films as a separate category any more? Was it ever meaningful to make such a distinction?

Real Seminars for Real People

The Tryan Learn Institute has been teaching quality seminars since early 2007 and plans on continuing to do so for many, many months to come. Their commitment to providing top quality seminars is unrivaled in their industry and they focus on hiring only qualified and competent speakers to teach their seminars.

The seminar on Learning to Cope With Inept Coworkers looked particularly useful, I thought.

Also, check out One-Day Seminar, which chronicles a day in the life of seminar speaker Benson Mountebank.

Things I miss

Sex Drive is yet another teen comedy, this time starring Josh Zuckerman as Ian Lafferty who sets out on a cross country drive with his best friends in order to lose his virginity.

Its not a premise that had me leaping around with excitement, but this clip did make me laugh. A lot.