All entries by this author

Snakes Croaking under the Irish Coconut Trees *

Dec 15th, 2003 | Filed by

Mix the Osbournes, the Simpsons, Don DeLillo and Eminem: an anthology of media cliches.… Read the rest



Poisoning Children, Whatever Next

Dec 15th, 2003 2:23 am | By

Just a few more jottings on ‘Hear the Silence.’ It was reviewed on Saturday Review yesterday. I already liked Tom Sutcliffe, and I like him a lot more now, because he was very harsh about it, even outraged. He said it was dreadfully biased, and that (just as I’ve been whining for the past two weeks, without even seeing it, just that one bit of dialogue I heard was enough of a warning) it was totally on the side of the angry mother, so that her point of view is the one that the audience sympathizes with. And that it makes the GPs absolute monsters. ‘I’ve never met any GPs like that!’ he said indignantly. One of the guests, though, … Read the rest



Gone, Gone, Gone

Dec 14th, 2003 5:30 pm | By

Well, whatever one thinks of the war, or US hegemony, it’s hard not to rejoice at this. I’m not even going to bother to try – which is no great feat, of course, I don’t think too many people are trying, though I did see an odd comment from George Galloway. But good news is good news. Not a shot fired, no one so much as got his hair mussed, as dear General ‘Buck’ Turgidson put it in ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ Just a murderous ruthless tyrant caught like a rat in a trap, lying in a spider hole under ground, hauled off to be shaved and examined and pushed around. He’s still alive, he can be tried in court. He may … Read the rest



Hear the Noise

Dec 14th, 2003 | By

Vaccinations are one of the great success stories of modern medicine – so successful, perhaps, that people have become complacent about the diseases vaccines prevent. At least, the bizarre panic over the triple jab for measles, mumps and rubella, the MMR jab, would suggest as much. Add a chronic background suspicion of science and doctors and the medical ‘establishment,’ along with the standards of evidence, peer review, accountability, rationality, statistics and risk-assesment that are fundamental to the way all three function, and you have the recipe for a full-blown attack of the irrationals.

In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a research scientist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, published a paper showing that he had found traces of the measles virus … Read the rest



Her Views as a Mother *

Dec 14th, 2003 | Filed by

Doctors criticize Juliet Stevenson for comments on MMR jab; Channel 5 says she has every right to speak.… Read the rest



From Evasion to Denial *

Dec 14th, 2003 | Filed by

Has the Left abandoned the Enlightenment ideal of universal freedom?… Read the rest



Reactions *

Dec 14th, 2003 | Filed by

The nightmare fear of a return of Saddam Hussein is over.… Read the rest



Ding Dong the Witch is – Captured *

Dec 14th, 2003 | Filed by

Iraqi tyrant found in hole in ground.… Read the rest



From Here to There to There

Dec 14th, 2003 1:47 am | By

It can be interesting sometimes, seeing the way a thought goes from one blog to another to another – forming a little cyber-chain. I noticed this one yesterday. First I saw this post at normblog:

Well, I’m sometimes dazed, actually, more than I’m confused, about the way certain others of Marxist persuasion, or merely formation – and indeed others, more generally, on the left – have found it possible to align themselves lately on matters relating to human rights.

That post directed me to this one at Harry’s place, which quoted from and linked to an interview with Christopher Hitchens that I posted in News a few days ago – a very interesting interview it is, too. Harry says this … Read the rest



Socially Maladjusted Loner? Excellent!

Dec 13th, 2003 11:07 pm | By

Another remark or two on that discussion at Invisible Adjunct (and I have the link right this time, which makes a change). There is something one person said, about what it takes to become an academic, that strikes such a chord with me.

The problem, of course, is that such people are not much fun to be around and aren’t well adjusted socially. I know this description fits me pretty well, and almost everyone I know (other than my colleagues) finds me odd beyond belief. In short, the best traits for success in grad school are being a socially maladjusted loner with the dedication of a religious penitent. Like priests, others won’t and can’t understand your sacrifices, and can’t even

Read the rest


The Brains Are Under Construction *

Dec 13th, 2003 | Filed by

Brain research casts doubt on lowering voting age to 16.… Read the rest



Bendy Yellow Fruits for Sale *

Dec 13th, 2003 | Filed by

Eats, Shoots & Leaves offers overheated whimsy and forensic quibbling.… Read the rest



Graduate School?! Don’t Do It!

Dec 13th, 2003 2:30 am | By

Update. Er – the link now goes to the right place. So much better that way.

This is a fascinating blog discussion – it takes off from a commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education, about the angst of deciding whether or not to go to graduate school. There are (as of this writing) 104 comments, including several from Jane Galt, who wrote the Chronicle piece. The discussion started on December 4, and it’s still going on. It’s surprising (at least to me) how strongly the tide is running in the direction of ‘don’t go.’ Well I don’t know why it surprises me, come to think of it, since it’s not something I ever wanted to do. But it does … Read the rest



Feisty is as Feisty Does

Dec 12th, 2003 11:22 pm | By

I was going to write about something else, about several other things in fact, but I was so struck by one thing in that Guardian article on the MMR issue I just put in News, that I have to point it out. Have to.

Justine Picardie does a photo feature on Wakefield, his house, and his family, for the Daily Telegraph Saturday Magazine. Andy is, she tells us, “a handsome, glossy-haired hero to families of autistic children”…Then we hit ground zero: she fantasises about a Hollywood depiction of Wakefield’s heroic struggle, with Russell Crowe playing the lead “opposite Julia Roberts as a feisty single mother fighting for justice for her child”.

Oh, gawd. There you have it. Swap Juliet Stevenson … Read the rest



Next Monday

Dec 12th, 2003 10:29 pm | By

Update. Ah – now I understand why I didn’t find any reviews of ‘Hear the Silence’ – because it hasn’t been on yet. I was thinking it was shown last Monday (pay attention, woman! Read the fine print!) but it’s going to be shown next Monday. Yes, that would explain it.

Philip Stott has some remarks on the subject here. All you Ukanians out there please watch it and then send us your blistering comments which we may decide to post here without so much as a by your leave. No not really – but I might post them with permission. So be eloquent, stand up straight, turn your toes out, and stop scratching.… Read the rest



How Did the MMR Scare Get Going? *

Dec 12th, 2003 | Filed by

Sloppy reporting, visions of movie stars playing the hero parents – the usual thing.… Read the rest



Leo Marx on American Studies *

Dec 12th, 2003 | Filed by

The discipline that was not a discipline, before and after the Great Divide.… Read the rest



Legless in Xuzhou *

Dec 12th, 2003 | Filed by

Shanghai Eye goes on a press junket and frolics with the convivial miners.… Read the rest



Headscarves and Secularism Clash *

Dec 12th, 2003 | Filed by

French commission of inquiry recommends banning very visible religious clothing, including crosses and headscarves.… Read the rest



Hitchens on Trotskyism, Principle, Resistance *

Dec 11th, 2003 | Filed by

‘It’s important to try and contain multitudes.’… Read the rest