A book review then. Unspeak, by some Gruaniad hack. The first book in a long time to break my if it is awful by fifty pages dump it rule. But no, I didn’t finish it. I got maybe one hundred pages in before I dumped it. Whyso? Well, the thing is, I wanted to like it. The whole concept of ‘words as weapons’ is one worthy of a book or two.

(As an aside, another book I did enjoy, except his pompous-ass style got in the way a lot of the time, was Strictly No, about the meddling classes, political correctness and such and such. His style got wearing, and with a judicious bit of editing, it would have been great. But what I wanted to say was it is listed, as its genre, as humour, whereas the right-on Unspeak is listed as politics.)

Now, it might be pointed out that me saying this book had an obvious political bias (US/UK/Israel baaaaaad, in the hand-wringing Western European guilt-ridden way)
is hypocritical, as I would only read books I agree with. Far from it. I repeat, I wanted to like this, and stuck with it longer than I would have otherwise done. He attempts unbias, at least I think he thinks he is making the effort. But he is so far from that. Consider the footnotes. I paraphrase, as I don’t have the book to hand, but it goes like this:

Israel rocketeda number and bombeda number plus one and did evil, naughty thingsa number plus two, the same number as the first one, obv. Of course, the heroic Palestinians, fighting the just cause, send suicide bombers into public places. But Israelkeep those numbers increasing attackedand on and on

See? Of course, his plea to listen to the quite-provable biased BBC as they are impartial is a pure joke. (In a bit of nepotism, he speaks of his employer in the same breath.) I am not saying I agree with the Merkans, or the UK, being the good contrarian that I am, but his hatred seeps through, spoiling what should otherwise be a good book, making it a book to be quoted and used by useful idiots.

Some sections were more painful that others, and a lot of his conclusions a bit, well, stretched. ‘Carpet bombing’ springs to mind. He points out that this is to soften its impact, because who would be scared by dropping soft floor coverings. This after he (rightly) gives the alternative meanings to many other phrases. There are others, I am not just picking this one out. I guess it would be too much for him, self-professed liberal, to deconstruct (*snigger*) that word. He is too busy bashing the evil US/UK/Israel, and their wicked twisting of words.

Not even an also-ran. 3/10 I bet some of his proceeds go towards funding terrorism, too.

We move (ha! pre-paragraph joke) on to traffic lights. It seems, in its wisdom, that Cambridge City Council have changed the way the lights down the Madingley Road work. Now, why would they do this? Because, you see, the past few mornings on the way in to work, I have been caught in horrendous jams. Where there were none, not one, before. The traffic usually flows freely. I hate to imagine what it is like when normal people try to get to work at normal times. Now, why would they do this? Because, you see, you can see the lights are green coming out of the Park and Ride, but there aren’t any buses. And they stay green for an age. Now, why would they do this? Because they are trying to bring in a congestion charge, and by stacking the decks, they can switch this at any time to prove that there needs to be a charge? That the buses run better? That, oh, I give up. But not before putting a freedom of information request in.

All those taxes that would be better spent funding terrorism.

Cassandra thinks me a cynic. But when it comes to politics, yes, I probably am.

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It is a well-known fact that the Stray Taoist (nee Toaster) isn't as internally consistent as he thinks he is. Welcome to his world.

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