In the beginning was the word

There was a time when book burning mattered. Once upon a time, religions enforced dictates by burning books containing the wrong opinions. To be orthodox was, literally, to hold the right opinion. And just in case that didn’t work, heretics were burned at the stake for good measure. At the end of the medieval era, […]

Falling for the propaganda

Linux is hard. I know this is true, because I’ve been told it so many times. Never mind that I’ve been using it quite happily for the past few years, it’s hard. Sometimes, I even have to type something using the dreaded Command Line interface. Never mind that all the programmes I need are stored […]

Swinging

Sometimes, the internet intrudes on the “real world”. And sometimes, the real world intrudes on cyberspace. The Crystal Swing phenomenon began when they came to the attention of ‘pantibliss’, the blog account of Pantibar, a Dublin gay bar. [Pantibliss in turn gives the credit to Robert Popper]. From there, word spread across twitter, and the […]

Free Speech or Worthy Speech?

There’s a meme going round, and I’m not sure what to make of it. One recent example forms the lead in to an article in Forth, and goes as follows: “We have to defend Lars Vilks because free speech matters but he’s a fool and his alleged would-be assassins arrested in Ireland are bumbling idiots, […]

Culture

Every now and then, Fintan O’Toole ‘s gaze moves away from lofty matters of national import, to consider the state of popular culture. The result is a National Squirm. There are people who understand VIP and Hello magazine but Fintan, for all his merits, is not one of those people. I still recall how marvellously […]

Rock Bottom

Anyone seeking for a metaphor for all that is wrong with Ireland at the moment need look no farther than the Dublin docklands. There, you will find the proposed new headquarters for Anglo Irish Bank, a building planned in happier days, before the bank imploded and was nationalised. A government strapped for cash as tax […]

Junk Watch

On the final day of my holiday in Donegal, I passed by a health food store. In the window was a handwritten notice offering “herbal swine flu remedies”. Then today, the Mayo News used their twitter account to promote the same idea. ‘Beat swine fly naturally with herbal remedies.’ Oh dear! Pseudoscience has been a […]

Wacko Jacko Heart Attacko

The toxicity of our celebrity obsession was reflected back at us by Jackson’s spectral and ruined face. The physical slicing, tucking and restructuring he endured was for what? For us. For our pound of flesh. We must live with that shame. Like slavering beasts, our appetites insatiable, we gorged at the trough of his fame. […]

Blessed Be Mammon

Two weeks from now, Thursday 14 May, has been pencilled in as National Blasphemy Day. The idea is simple. To protest the proposal to make blasphemy a criminal offence, bloggers will ‘deliberately set out to grossly offend the religious sensitivities of as many religious believers as possible, with the clear intention of causing outrage’. The […]