Friday, January 19, 2007

Wild Weather and Stupid People: Britain in the News

It's so nice to be the country everyone is talking about. It's almost like being the popular girl in the lunchroom. Everyone wants to sit with you, someone volunteers to fetch your lunch, you get the best seat at the table, and you derive secret pleasure knowing that people are talking about you.

Britain has been on the front page of the New York Times for the past two days. Now, if only Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged TODAY, we could be assured a full week of front page status. But my prediction is that it's going to happen sometime in February, so we wait as patiently as possible for the wedding of the century. But I digress.

Britain has achieved such international notariety for the past two days, first for the antics on the "reality show" (I use the term as loosely as I possibly can) "Big Brother" and then, on the second day, for the wild weather we experienced Thursday.

I'll work backward from the topic I find more interesting. We expereinced gale-force winds in Britain yesterday, caused by a vigorous jet stream that started over the Atlantic. The wind was blowing so hard where we lived in London that it sounded like children were screaming. Highways were shut down, trains were cancelled, flights were delayed. It felt like a small hurricane, without the rain.

As Thing Two and I walked to school to pick up Thing One, we walked with a friend of ours. "We can all band together so we don't get blown away," I (sort of) joked. "I love this weather," he replied. "It vindicates me for my opinion about global warming."

After we discussed climate change and how the hosepipe ban has finally been lifted (thus allowing us to finally put some grass down in our garden), we somehow got on to the topic of which dictator killed more people on a per capita basis: Stalin or Mao Tse-Tung. (If anyone happens to know the answer to that one, I'd appreciate it. I haven't had a chance yet to do the research). So the next time you assume the parents doing the school run are only discussing the next birthday party or school event, please remember this exchange. But again, I digress.

The second news item that propelled Britain to the front page of the New York Times was the current edition of "Celebrity Big Brother."

Now, I should state for the record that I haven't watched any of this program. In fact, the other night when I was all drugged up on my new meds and looking for something mindless to watch, I had a stark choice between "Big Brother" and "Ugly Betty" and I went with the latter-- and I was glad I did. I found "Ugly Betty," which I wasn't so impressed with the first time I watched it, uttlerly charming. But I consciously-- or as consciously as I could, considering my state-- decided not to watch Big Brother because that was only buying into what the producers want me, and millions like me, to do.

But from what I understand (taken from Radio 4, BBC News last night, and the newspapers I read) there has been a bit of an outburst by Jade, a woman who by rights should never have been famous, but is. This woman is incredibly stupid. She signed up to ran the London Marathon last year, but dropped out some time after mile 15 because she didn't realize that 26 miles was as long as it was. Or that a marathon was 26 miles. Apparently Jade has been picking on another Big Brother resident, Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty. This treatment is either racist or bullying or both, depending on who you ask.

It seems to me this whole hoo-ha could be keep in perspective if you remembered how stupid Jade is. (see above) She might be a little bit racist (if you've seen Avenue Q you know what I'm talking about), but she is a lot more ignorant than racist. This is not to excuse her behaviour, but she's going to pay the price when she gets out of the house.

And she deserves it. Even if she is stupid.


Tom said...

According to a Time magazine article back in 1999 (via Google, of course), Pol Pot was the worst dictator, killing about 1.7 million Cambodians through his policies and police (interesting how those words are spelled...)

Anywho, here is the reference. I'm sure someone has an accounting of the atrocities of dictators (besides the deity of your choice, of course).

And remember, better living through chemicals!

Your Brother who works for the big bad drug industry. :-)

KQ said...

Yo Stapes,
So it is windy like a hurricane, but there is no rain? That is really weird. I have been through enough hurricanes and bad storms to not want to experience winds like that again. Please make sure Thing 1 and Thing 2 do not blow away.
Piff! The racism on Big Brother. We've had the Kramer dude shouting slurs at people and Dr. Burke from "Gray's Anatomy" acting like his on the schoolyard by claiming he DIDN'T call someone a homophobic slur - and then using the slur. Although the Jade Big Brother thing WAS the crawl on CNN last night when I watching.
(A side note: the Little Dude is currently chewing on some of my socks from the clean laundry.)
OH! Prince Charles and Camilla will be here in Philadelphia this weekend! I am actually VERY excited. I may take the Little Dude down to Philadelphia to see if we can see them when they are going into the Bellevue Hotel. When I was 9 or so, Queen Eliz. 2 came to Philadelphia and I was there with a throng of people to greet her. I saw her car. Very exciting. I think I have almost (but not quite) forgiven Charles for all the Diana stuff.