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“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you”

–       Oscar Wilde

Frankie Boyle is arguably the most misunderstood comedian in the world.

My Shit Life So Far and his recent book Work!Consume!Die! are arguably only two of the funniest and cleverest books I have had the pleasure of reading in quite some time. Like Frankie Boyle, I am also voracious reader who doesn’t watch TV (much) and I was pleasantly surprised that a mere stand-up comedian has managed to outshine most of what is published today.

His most recent work in particular, Work!Consume!Die! is a hugely relevant, scathing critique of our vapid, debased culture that is both morally and financially bankrupt. Utterly hilarious and ferociously intelligent, Boyle is a ranting prophet who, fuelled by an insatiable desire for justice, wants to make sense of an insane world. He has launched a one man jihad against indifference and apathy.

I do think most people don’t understand Frankie Boyle. If he is “shocking” , a charge frequently levied against him, it is precisely because he is trying to jolt people out of their deluded and catatonic state due to being hypnotised by that flickering box of light in their living rooms as war, poverty & injustice are increasingly tolerated.

If you are conceited enough to snort with derision that your tv consumption habits are more discerning than those of the rabble, then Boyle has this to say:

“Don’t go away thinking that you’re not part of the herd because you don’t watch The X Factor. There’s distraction for all, it’s just got different reading ages. Did watching Ther Wire really help you understand inner-city life? More than having a conversation with someone who lives in your own inner-city?…..You’re watching a Swedish detective series instead of The X Factor and you’re throwing judgement around?”

The theatre of the narcissistic and the absurd, celebrity culture, is fair game for Boyle’s often vicious barbs because as he is it pains to point out, it is manifestly not real. It is a mass hallucination that serves to distract people from what is real and meaningful – “the flickering of shadows on the wall of the cave” as Plato wrote, where people mistake illusion for reality.

The peerless American intellectual Chris Hedges, who wrote a superb book called “The Empire of Illusion”, which was damning indictment of our obsession with vapid celebrity culture and blind consumerism, interestingly makes similar arguments that Frankie Boyle does in “Work.Consume.Die” as does Don DeLillo in the novel White Noise. The only difference is that Hedges and DeLillo use their weapon of choice, which is eloquent prose and Boyle relies on what Mark Twain called “the human race’s most effective weapon”, humour. The underlying point is the same. The only difference is that Hedges uses his weapon which is eloquent prose and Boyle  relies on what Mark Twain once called “the human race’s most effective weapon”, humour. The underlying point is the same.

Boyle has obviously read the Italian novelist , philosopher and  semiotician Umberto Eco when he asserts with customary dark humour, dark hunour being  a paritcualr  lietmotif of his:

 “The best comics are really trying to wake you up from the symbolic world; they’re desentimenalisers, pointing out that those First World War soldiers who had a truce to play football at Christmas probably killed each other the next day before muttering ‘that was never offside you cunt’.

It is evident that Boyle is remarkably well read too, citing great writers and thinkers like Thomas Pynchon, Slavoj Zizek and like George Carlin and Bill Hicks before him, he has been profoundly influenced by Noam Chomsky and with these books he can justifiably claim to be a true heir to them arguably more so than any other comedian alive today with the possible exception of Louis C.K. and Doug Stanhope.

Indeed there is a book to be written on the influence of Noam Chomsky on stand-up comedy as George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Doug Stanhope, Russell Brand, Alexi Sayle, Mark Thomas and of course Frankie Boyle have all cited the influence of the world’s greatest public intellectual alive today.

The influence of Chomsky looms over the pages as with both of Boyle’s books a strong unstinting morality reverberates through the pages that stick to your fingers like glue as they are incredibly engaging.  If anything, they are a plea for more humanity in an increasingly inhumane world.

You will read about something you didn’t know before, you will look at something very differently that you did know before. you will admire the prose, sentence construction and the pages are drenched in Boyle’s uniquely acerbic wit as he deservedly excoriates the usual suspects: venal politicians, vacuous celebrities, organised religion, the reactionary right, racists and bigots, complacent and smug middle class liberals, the craven, ineffectual and down right corrupt media and the double-standards and nauseating hypocrisy that wafts through though our dysfunctional society like a fetid fart.

Boyle is not shy of breaking taboos and puncturing the cosy consensus of deference to a superstitious and medieval institution which other European countries dispensed with after the Enlightenment, that is the obscenely wealthy British monarchy.  Boyle targets the hilarious double-standards of the British press with their fawning coverage of them, which is more often servile propaganda that would make the editors of Pravda blush.

“Prince Charles gets praise in the Daily Mail for the way he’s brought up William and Harry since the death of Diana. Eh? For years as a single parent living mainly on state handouts? Has the Mail gone nuts?”

To all the people that feign offence and horror at Boyle’s innocuous words that, unlike taxpayer funded weapons manufacturer BAE, have never physically harmed anyone, where is your faux outrage over the violence, suffering and social misery that *is* being caused by Western governments by waging illegal wars with impunity.
Where are the furious and indignant letters a to the BBC over the brutal austerity measures that are being mercilessly unleashed on the most vulnerable members of society?

Indeed Boyle deserves to be singled out for praise in being a principled dissenting voice when he was reprimanded by the BBC for making a joke that highlighted the illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel:

A few years ago I watched a documentary about life in Palestine. There’s a section where a UN dignitary of some kind comes to do a photo opportunity outside a new hospital. The staff know that it communicates nothing of the real desperation of their position, so they trick her into a side ward on her way out. She ends up in a room with a child who the doctors explain is in a critical condition because they don’t have the supplies to keep treating him. She flounders, awkwardly caught in the bleak reality of the room, mouthing platitudes over a dying boy.

The filmmaker asks one of the doctors what they think the stunt will have achieved. He is suddenly angry, perhaps having just felt at first hand something he knew in the abstract. The indifference of the world.

‘She will do nothing,’ he says to the filmmaker. Then he looks into the camera and says, ‘Neither will you’. “

Most coke addled celebrities enthusiastically feign interest in charity to boost their profile but that is the typically the limit of what they are willing to do about challenging injustice. Boyle bravely pricked people’s conscience about the unconscionable events that are happening in the world and he hopes to elicit more than slightly bored sighs from an increasingly passive populace that is desensitized to killing and injustice.

Ireland doesn’t escape Boyle’s ire either. His view was undoubtedly formed from they many wet, grey and suffocatingly dull summers he spent with his relations in Donegal as a child in the 1980s

“Ireland has always had a vibrant lieterary and musical culture, but it’s a fairly horrible, priest-ridden , fucked up society…..
“I feel that as somebody who is 100% genetically Irish I can say this. I fucking hate Ireland. The cunts never stop talking and they bullshit. I can only magine what the talks with the IMF were like”.

Like all much of all great comedy, it is funny because it is true.

Much has being made of the increasingly public spat between another excellent comedian, Stewart Lee and Frankie Boyle.

As if liking one precluded appreciating the other. This is not so unusual as masters of their area typically lock horns. Great minds who are the very best at what they of often have such spats and public feuds in exchanging barbed comments with each other : Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Maria Vargas Llosa, Noam Chomsky and Christopher Hitchens. Stewart Lee and Frankie Boyle are no different.

Perhaps Boyle is at his most iconoclastic when he tackles Britain’s ingrained class system, which is more akin to a caste system and he is not shy about contextualising the UK riots.

“Crime is inevitable in an unequal society. John Maynard Keynes said “Nothing corrupts a society more than to disconnect effort and reward

Frankie Boyle is that nagging voice in your conscience telling you to turn off that TV, stop imbibing celebrity culture and wake up from your soma induced coma and pay attention to what is happening in the real world and not the soothing artificial one that you find comfort and solace in, the proverbial flickering of shadows on the cave wall.

Crucially, Boyle, a drinking man’s Michael McIntyre, has somehow crammed in more laugh out loud funny gags on the average page than most bland, boring, soi-disant comedians manage in their entire hacky sets.

Will Lynch

Will is a stand-up comedian, writer and the Irish radio correspondent for the acclaimed American news show This is Hell

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Murdoch’s Crumbling Empire

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s the Murdoch press. What do people expect? They are utterly bereft of any scruples or moral compass.
Remember the Sun newspaper after the Hillsborough disaster? It is still boycotted in Liverpool.

I suppose the hacking is an inevitable response to the macabre interest people have in unfortunate murder victims and the insatiable demand the public has for lurid gossip about celebrities.

The prurient public that fuel this salacious tabloid coverage are just as guilty as the hacking hacks in the News of the Screws.

It’s a cynical rebranding exercise as there was an exodus of advertisers which forced Darth Murdoch’s evil hand.

Expect the Sun on Sunday to hit the newstands instead.

They will be ultimately redistributed for the Sun on Sunday. It is just a very ruthless rebranding exercise by Murdoch.

He was forced to choose between Rebekah Brooks or the NOTW and he ditched the wrong red-top.Rebranding of the NOTW aside, I think the closing down of the NOTW is demonstrably a good thing.That paper (and it’s sister paper The Sun) is a pernicious toxic rag that has ruined lives and arguably communities in the UK.

Of course it is a tragedy for those who have lost jobs but far more jobs have been lost as a result of the ferocious right-wing policies that paper championed.The NOTW supported the Tories who have put hundreds of thousands on the dole & have plunged countless families into poverty.

Lest we forget the class warfare it waged on working class communities in Britain during the miners strike and it’s shameless cheerleading of Fianna Fail in Ireland.Not to mention the cynical exploitation by the Garda PR man Paul Williams of working class communities and the failed war on drugs.

Murdoch covertly moved the Sun, the NOTW, the Times and The Sunday Times from Fleet Street to a massive compound in Wapping over-night in the 1980s and this resulted in one of the biggest showdowns with the trade union movement.

Murdoch famously won as he was unwaveringly supported by Maggie Thatcher and the British police. When the strike was eventually broken and the union lost, the rest of Fleet Street decampde down to the London Docklands so it was a seismic event event in both the history of both the British press and the trade union movement.

Watch Steve Coogan rip into the News of the World on Newsnight. He eviscerated the hapless hack that has been trying to defend the indefensible all week.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkeSJLgzG8k

and Charlie Brooker just wrote this piece about the final edition.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree … -the-world

It is welcome that Darth Murdoch’s suffocating grip over British politics and public life is slowly being vitiated. It is welcome that politics and democracy can breathe freely once more.
However it is a pity that politicians are only now growing a pair.
The political parties were so craven and obsequious in genuflecting before the Dark Lord and his iniquitous media empire. It is a pity they did not demonstrate a willingness to stand up to his tyranny before his thinly veiled class warfare in the form of ferocious right-wing,neo-liberal policies which were unleashed across Britain and the ensuing social carnage that arose in once proud working class communities.

Another Lynching?

Posted: June 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

This was prompted by this article by David McWilliams:

http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2011/05/23/dsk%E2%80%99s-downfall-is-ireland%E2%80%99s-loss

I remember listening to the radio (Radio 1 or Newstalk) and Stieglitz’s approach to Ireland was quoted and despite being a Nobel laureate he was similarly sneeringly dismissed by some vacuous establishment talking heads on the hilarious and crudely anti-intellectual basis that he “wasn’t Irish” and therefore he didn’t understand Ireland and wasn’t qualified to talk about the unique Irish economic situation!
For real.
This actually happened on Irish radio.

I read that Stieglitz article when it came out about DSK reforming the IMF out of recognition from the monstrous entity that destroyed South America in the 80’s&90s as it unleashed economic mayhem and social upheaval wherever it went.
This impression of a reformed IMF was reinforced from the Morgan Kelly article where the IMF, far from being the rapacious grim reapers of old, where actually rather lenient on Ireland in stark contrast to the obdurate ECB, who seem sadistically intent on crucifying Ireland and offering us up as a ritual sacrifice to the new gods, the international banking cartels and as a horrifying warning to other delinquent states in the Eurozone.

So when this story broke about DSK I immediately thought of the parallels with both Elliot Spitzer and Julian Assange. There is possibly much more to this story than first appears. Economist Paul Craig Roberts, who was the former editor of the Wall Street Journal, believes that DSK was possibly stitched-up.
Certainly if you want to neutralise a troublesome opponent who is challenging the status-quo, smearing them with a salacious sex scandal is traditionally the preferred way as it is the most effective.
I am not inclined for conspiracy theories but Qui bono? Who benefits from removing DSK from the picture? Obviously Nicholas Sarkozy is one candidate.The investment banks that want the IMF to go back to it’s old ways and who would suffer if bondholders were burned in future financial crises? Perhaps .
Interestingly, the reforming DSK – a socialist – has been replaced by John Lipsky, a former vice chairman of JP Morgan. What direction will the IMF take now?
At the moment we don’t know what happened in that hotel room yet despite this, there is a frenzy of lurid speculation and DSK has already been subjected to trial-by-media and has been roundly condemned.
Somehow I don’t see this new,nicer, reformed and more humane IMF 2.0 continuing under the stewardship of Lipsky

There has been a lot of commentary on this case. The most important one is that this is a debasement of the English language and a two-fingered salute to all victims of the violent crime of rape to call consensual sex rape when the condom broke.

All you need to know is what the world’s leading feminist, Naomi Wolfe had to say on the case. I like Naomi a lot and I have read one of her books. She is incredibly smart and astute.

Julian Assange Captured by World’s Dating Police.

Of course if we dig a little deeper we find this startling revelation.

Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative.

Murkier and murkier.

Of course the CIA do specialise in smearing officially designated enemies. They have a long, sordid and blood stained history. There have been many worthy books written on their atrocious conduct. Irish journalist Alexander Cockburn’s Whiteout is probably the best account of their nefarious deeds with regards to selling cocaine so they could illegally procure arms for Iran.

Perhaps the most salient summary of the case is this from Roissy in DC or Citizen Renegade which is now his prefered nom de guerre. In his piece the links that he sources demolish any veneer of legitimacy to these trumped up charges.

I’ve written before that false rape accusers ought to be punished the same as actual rapists, with jail time. It is as evil as real rape. Their lies destroy lives. Tossing them in jail for years will send a valuable message to women everywhere that they will not escape the consequences of smearing a man who didn’t fulfill their romantic expectations.

Indeed. The bigger crime here is that this whole affair will lead to a watering-down of the crime of rape in the public’s consciousness and arguably it will make it more difficult for genuine rape victims to come forward.

What is shocking is that soi-disant feminists could traduce and betray their gender like this.

Tragedy as farce as pointed out over at Counterpunch.

The farcical rape charges have once again been leveled against the Pentagon’s Public Enemy Number One.Julian Assange now stands accused of: (1) not calling a young woman the day after he had enjoyed a night with her, (2) asking her to pay for his bus ticket, (3) having unsafe sex, and (4) participating in two brief affairs in the course of one week.

These four minor charges, worthy of Leopold Bloom’s mock trial in the Nightown chapter in Ulysses

Indeed.

Ireland – Democracy for Sale

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

David Malone, who runs one of the best blogs about the current European Debt Crisis is speaking here about the destructive cul-de-sac that Ireland embarked upon.

There is a trade union organised protest tomorrow.
Now is NOT the time for petty Union bashing. This is what they want you to do in the media, in Fianna Fail & the IMF- distract & divide. Don’t take the bait.
Keep your eyes on your real enemy; the junta in Fianna Fail that won’t relinquish power, the corrupt domestic banks, the property developers who have been bailed our at your expense via the criminal scam that is NAMA, the international bondholders in our banks such as Goldman Sachs who seem to have a gun to the collective heads of our country and of course, the IMF, who are a weapon of mass social destruction.
This is the biggest emergency that this country has ever faced.
The stakes are huge – do we live in a democracy or will we acquiesce to living in a plutocracy whilst surrendering our sovereignty?
Yes, the Irish unions sure have their faults. Absolutely. However they also have a lot of power.
Despite their flaws, it was because of the power of the european trade union movement that we enjoy a lot of rights such as paid annual leave, paid sick leave, 8 hr working days etc. The unions can act as bulwark against the savagery of unfettered capitalism and the dictatorship of “the markets”, who seem to be dictating our destiny at the moment. The have the means to emulate our citizens in Portugal today and mobilise people for a national strike – which is what needs to be done.
The French Resistance in WW2 was a coalition of various groups with conflicting aims and shortcomings but during a national emergency, they set their differences aside to save their country from being enslaved to fascism.

Ireland really is a just a corrupt banana republic. Fianna Fail didn’t arise out of thin air. They are creatures of this society and were voted into power enthusiastically by the people.

I used to use a joke on how I intended to vote FF at the next election as a protest against those who voted for them last time, so they can see how it felt for me last week. I must start wheeling it out again.

I think part of the problem is that we don’t have a national parliament as such, demarcated along traditional left/right divides, where people have a formulated a world view and have passionate convictions about what idea of a society they want to live in.
Ireland has political tribes that people align too, based on what side of a civil war their grandparents aligned to.
The Dail is more of an overly glorified county-council, where people vote on local issues – who fixed the potholes, who got me a medical card etc, who got funding for a bypass etc.
The people ultimately get the government they deserve. Just as in Russia they have consistently demonstrated a preference for an autocratic strongman, in Ireland we love “cute-hoors” – guys that scratch your back in exchange for a vote.

How many people kept hooping on about the value of their house during the bubble? Running around in a consumer orgy, maxing out credit cards, shopping in Brown Thomas and crowing about how many foreign gafs they own as their thick, overly-fed faces squeezed into Ralph Lauren shirts.
Joe Higgins warned about the property bubble and the corruption of Fianna Fail in the 2007 election – his election leaflet was like a prophecy – and the electorate didn’t like his “doom&gloom” message so they booted him out and elected a Fianna Failer and a Thatcherite clone in the form of FG’s Leo Varadkar.
Fianna Fail are the mirror of the Irish people. Now the party is over, the smoke has cleared, the lights are on and we have sobered up, we don’t like what we see.

I was just reading that German Investment banks would cook up dodgy deals in say Frankfurt and sign them at a desk in the IFSC. We were seen as the Wild West of international finance – utterly lawless, corrupt and with a financial regulator in a coma.

We are now also liable for the massive losses of German investment banks arising from the sub-prime and CDO fiasco. Depfa, a German investment bank, if it wasn’t bought by another bank, Ireland would now owe €180 billion – dwarfing the losses of Irish banks. Our exposure is much greater than realised.
This is probably why a country with a population of 1% of the EU was gobbling up nearly 30% of funds from the European Central Bank in the past year. They were desperately trying to stop the whole rotten and corrupt edifice from collapsing. It hasn’t worked but only compounded the problem.
The scale of the loses that we know of are just the tip of the iceberg. We are truly fucked if we allow ourselves to be bullied and intimidated into paying for them.

“Who Bankrupted Ireland?”

“Expect lots more national stereotypes to be wheeled out for ritual defamation……….They are bankers losses. It is NOT a question of Irish or German.
It is question of wealthy bankers from all countries not just Germany (almost every nation, Germany, America, Russia, France Britain, we did dirty work in Ireland) and their corrupt Irish helpers versus the people. It is not a question of should the Irish people or the German people pay. Neither people should. It should be the bankers who made the losses who should take them.
DO NOT allow the bankers to set us against each other as a cover for their crime and guilt.”

Has Fianna Fail sold our country to The Bilderberg Group & Goldman Sachs for 30 pieces of silver? Who is the head of the Bilderberg Group? None other than Domique “a crisis is an opportunity” Kahn,also head of the IMF. Who is advising Brian Lenihan? Peter Sutherland, also a member of the Bilderberg Group & Goldman Sachs.Who are the main Bondholders in Anglo?Goldman Sachs! George Osborne,also a Bilderberger,is lending Ireland money so that Irish taxpayer can pay back UK banks.
Goldman Sachs,”The Vampire Squid” are everywhere & exert inordinate influence.

Wise up, we live in a plutocracy:

The mainstream media has proven to be servile and little better than Pravda. RTE, Ireland’s state broadcaster, even cut a feed of our joke of a leader, Brian Clowen, being grilled at a press conference! Our media are still playing catch up.It’s pathetic.

I was patiently trying to explain to people the other day how our bailout bill could be hundreds of billions, as we are exposed to not just to our broken domestic banks, but also the shady investment banks that had shell companies in the IFSC as it was a financial wild-west with no regulation (I knew about it because I read this excellent blog here http://golemxiv-credo.blogspot.com/) and people were saying – “but how can that be?” they said as they looked aghast, “how come that is not reported on RTE/Newstalk/TodayFM/the national papers etc” and I had to patiently explain to them that the mainstream media is an integral part of the whole rotten edifice.
Similarly, during the mass-hallucination that was our much vaunted boom, I had to patiently explain to people that it was a classic bubble built on a mountain of unservicable debt, and bubble’s always burst.
I sadly remember telling people NOT to buy property during the boom, as you will end up in negative-equity (I had to explain what that meant at the time to as the word just wasn’t in the popular vernacular) but they replied “renting is dead money” “& “how come the media don’t say this?” – because the media exists to make a profit from advertising revenue from the banks and property developers so they are inherently biased.
I do feel sorry for the people that drank the Kool-Aid though.
Thank god for what was sneeringly dismissed as “the alternative” media. Well, which media source was prophetic? Certainly wasn’t the mainstream media.
It looks like The Guardian is now up to speed – Ireland’s taxpayers will have to spend a massive €200 BILLION EURO – at least – to bail out foreign investment banks. €200 billion euros?! The Treaty of Versailles was a veritable bargain in comparison!

This whole sorry episode has been a harsh lesson in the rapaciousness of global capitalism for slow learners. It’s too late now.
We live in the plutocracy that Chomsky has been describing for years. 200 billion?! For fucks sake! Dark times indeed

The European banks that have exposure in Ireland are just taken a hammering on the markets.The Euro will probably be hit with a speculative onslaught and that’s curtains. Grim. Dark times. “The lamps are going out all over Europe and we will not expect to see them lit again in our lifetime”.

Our only hope is an orderly default. Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker and Bloomberg think this.