David Thompson
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April 05, 2016

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Liz

So can I have her laptop and iPhone?

David

So can I have her laptop and iPhone?

I doubt it, but she may sell it to you, adorned as it is with radical chic.

Though I’m not sure that Amazon, Twitter or the makers and retailers of her MacBook would survive the forcible introduction of Laurie’s preferred socio-economic model, which she describes as “full communism,” and which apparently entails “the whole thing crashing down,” the abolition of the conventional family, no-one having to work if they don’t really feel like it, and lots of stuff being, as she puts it, on fire.

NielsR

Anti-capitalist rally in Berlin. Genius. Maybe they can walk the route of the Wall to really ram home what they are proposing.

mojo

All the self-awareness of a slice of toast, that's our gal!

David

And remember, this is the would-be communist revolutionary who can’t live without Facebook.

rjmadden

Laurie’s preferred socio-economic model, which she describes as “full communism,” and which apparently entails “the whole thing crashing down,” the abolition of the conventional family, no-one having to work if they don’t really feel like it, and lots of stuff being, as she puts it, on fire.

It's not politics, it's a cry for help.

Spiny Norman

I used to think she was just an over-indulged child with the internet as a plaything. Now I think that's too generous.

D

I remember people like her from when I was a schoolboy 50 years ago:

- abolish all technology and energy
- everything should be free
- nobody should work for anything

Back then, we called them moochers, freeloaders, or, more properly, hippies.

mojo

To hell with Penny Red, she's boringly predictable.

But THIS sounds like a job for...(wait for it)... HERCULES!

[+]

Laurie’s preferred socio-economic model, which she describes as “full communism,”

Why don't the tools who want a communist revolution just emigrate to places where it already happened?

David

Why don’t the tools who want a communist revolution just emigrate to places where it already happened?

Inferior WiFi? A less credulous audience?

RY

Why don't the tools who want a communist revolution just emigrate to places where it already happened?

Because then they wouldn't be able to be "revolutionaries" anymore. They'd be out of a job.

Sam Duncan

“the whole thing crashing down,” the abolition of the conventional family, no-one having to work if they don’t really feel like it, and lots of stuff being, as she puts it, on fire.

Sounds like fun. For a weekend. If you're 19.

But yeah, this:

“Anti-capitalist rally in Berlin. Genius.”

mojo

Inferior WiFi? A less credulous audience?

The distinct possibility of being stood up against a wall and shot?

Hal

Because then they wouldn't be able to be "revolutionaries" anymore. They'd be out of a job.

Ehn, given the track record, more likely they'd be the job.

brinster

While she's in Berlin,why don't we all go to Laurie's house for a few days, eat her food, drink what's on hand and watch a few PPV movies.

rabbit

Penny doesn't really want to end capitalism.

Like Naomi Klein, she well knows that only the capitalist system can afford to support parasites people like her in the manner they so richly deserve.

Her career is to oppose capitalism but not so effectively that she actually succeeds, which she knows would be a tragedy for her and everyone else.

Watcher in the dark

If these people get their wish and capitalism falls, Penny and friends will find that life is not much fun at all. Indeed if it falls just as she and this other person are talking, she may find herself stuck in Berlin and risk being taken for, oh I dunno, some sort of Syrian immigrant.

Jason

"@paulmasonnews and I". FIFH.

Jeff Wood

Paul Mason is occasionally fisked at Tim Worstall's place. They sound made for each other.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

Frankly I'm puzzled. Laurie seems to be as dumb as a box of cream donuts, but somehow she apparently still gets paid to try to destroy capitalism, which...pays her to do it. Buh-whuh?

David

They sound made for each other.

Mr Mason has cropped up here a few times too. As when he suggested using computer games to overthrow capitalism – by ignoring what gamers actually want, and say they want, and instead making games that are dull and tedious but politically corrected.

Theophrastus

It's not politics, it's a cry for help.

Or her chosen therapy?

marc

She's getting rid of a 2 year old macbook things must be looking up,for a replacement she should have a look at North Koreas fantastic offerings http://www.northkoreatech.org/2011/05/25/north-korean-laptop-pcs/ that should ease her conscience

sackcloth and ashes

'Penny doesn't really want to end capitalism.

Like Naomi Klein, she well knows that only the capitalist system can afford to support parasites people like her in the manner they so richly deserve'.

This may be a folk myth, but there was apparently a cartoon in the 1970s showing a vendor of 'Socialist Worker' outside the gates of a factory. There are a couple of factory workers, and one of them is saying 'Right, so we've formed a Soviet, shot the bosses, and declared workers power. What do we do next?'

The 'Socialist Worker' vendor is supposed to be visibly shitting himself.

RY

@ sackcloth and ashes

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive."

Horace Dunn

Penny probably thinks that using the pronoun "me" instead of the correct pronoun "I" makes her sound more working class. In fact it just makes her sound like a mental defective. "Me is doing a talk in Berlin".

Dozy twat.

fnord

Her career is to oppose capitalism but not so effectively that she actually succeeds, which she knows would be a tragedy for her and everyone else.

I beg to differ. The idea that she would care about what happens to anyone else is absurd on its face. I doubt that she even believes other people really exist. Like any other sociopath.

Hal

Siiiiggghhh. Having a skim through the headlines of the moment, and then spotted;

Opinion:Panama Papers: Why Aren't There More American Names?
The New Yorker

Um. Why would there be?

RY

@ Hal

That article quotes Craig Murray who is a crazed, conspiracy theorist and activist who thinks MI5 are behind everything. And probably the CIA, too. Serious people on the Left sigh just having to listen to him. There have been people here who have suggested that the CIA have had American names redacted from the Panama Papers. Conspiracy theories are very, very popular.

David

Anti-capitalist rally in Berlin. Genius.

Well, we’re talking about someone who, while reminding the world that she’s “a Journalism Fellow at Harvard,” struggled with the thought that printed newspapers tend to have an even number of pages.

David

Speaking of Paul Mason, Tim Worstall is rightly puzzled by his Hovis ad mythology of the working class, whose “story” was apparently annihilated, deliberately, by a malicious demon queen named Thatcher. Mr Mason is so busy ascribing magical powers to Mrs Thatcher, he overlooks the fact that massive and unprecedented working class support was rather pivotal to her three election victories. Not least because her supporters wished to escape the union-crippled, council-housed proletarian reservation now being romanticised by Mr Mason, albeit retrospectively and from a safe distance.

Joan

It's on.

Oh no. Will capitalism survive?

Lancastrian Oik

Laurie seems to be as dumb as a box of cream donuts.

I prefer an American expression I came across earlier this week: "Dumb as a barrel of hair".

MH

David, the Thatcher documentary (which I hadn't seen) is brilliant.

David

the Thatcher documentary (which I hadn’t seen) is brilliant.

It is rather good. It’s worth watching just for the scenes with Neil Kinnock and Mary Warnock. The comment thread below it is quite fun too.

witwoud

"Mr Mason is so busy ascribing magical powers to Mrs Thatcher, he overlooks the fact that massive and unprecedented working class support was rather pivotal to her three election victories.'

Ah, but they were deceived by the Prince of Darkness himself, Rupert Murdoch.

David

Ah, but they were deceived by the Prince of Darkness himself, Rupert Murdoch.

It’s curious just how often articles by socialists veer into the realm of conspiracy theory.

Lancastrian Oik

Paul Mason: We had seen the film Kes, and chuckled at the poverty of aspiration we were all in the process of leaving behind. Our culture was the one celebrated in Ken Loach movies: politicised and articulate, wanting only libraries big enough to house the books we had to wait weeks for.

Has Mason really seen Kes?

Both in Barry Hines' original novel and in the Ken Loach film, Billy Casper is the only character with aspirations- they may be inchoate given his age but they are definitely there, symbolised by his theft and subsequent rearing of the adolescent kestrel. His schoolmates are the ones who will end up "going' down t'pit", something which Billy is desperate to avoid. Billy's teachers could not give a shit; the football match is brilliant comedy, but the telling scene is Billy's encounter with the careers teacher. The lack of aspiration is all around Billy, because his home life is hideous with an absentee father, a slag of a mother and an ignorant thug of a half-brother. The film portrays working-class life as tragedy- it doesn't suggest Billy Casper is a one-off. It is only his desire to escape the horror that makes Billy the exception rather than the norm.

I am of the same age as Mason and from the same side of the Pennines; replace "Going down t'pit" with "Goin' t'work in t'mill/shoe factory/tyre factory or down one of t'few pits left after Wilson and Benn closed the buggers down" and life for a large swathe of the working class was exactly as portrayed in Kes. The towns and cities of the industrial North in the 1960s and 1970s were hard and often violent places. Mason's trajectory towards university, teaching music and eventually talking and writing specious bollocks about economics began with aspirational and dedicated parents and the teachers at his grammar school (bingo!) who no doubt pushed their talented son* towards university, making sure he did his homework and got those vital 'O' and 'A'-level passes.There would have been others of a similar worldview and they might have been "politicised and articulate" (and more than a fair few of them would have been Tories who belonged to "the Con club") but they would have been a minority.

*He has a degree in "music and politics" from Sheffield. "Music and politics"- hmmm. But Sheffield is a decent redbrick, so we'll let that one pass.

TomJ

On the comment thread kicked of by the post on the tweet wherein la Penny demonstrated she had no problem with the sports pages of the Sun (for surely she could not believe a newspaper's last page number is not even...) there was a side discussion about how the techie mindset was not amenable to feminist tactics. People who were interested in that may find this of interest...

David

Our culture was the one celebrated in Ken Loach movies: politicised and articulate, wanting only libraries big enough to house the books we had to wait weeks for.

The man’s an incorrigible fantasist, positively delusional. From his dreams of subversively communist computer games and his utopian “slums of hope” to his breathless descriptions of the 2011 London rioters – mostly career criminals with records as long as your arm – as a “massive political demonstration against the capitalist state.” You’d be hard pressed to make Mr Mason sound more unwittingly comical than he already is.

Anna

The man’s an incorrigible fantasist,

Or a liar.

David

Or a liar.

He doesn’t seem overly concerned with whether what he writes is true or even plausible. Much like Laurie, in fact.

Jonathan

He has a degree in "music and politics" from Sheffield

No doubt taught by Professor William Bragg, who, let's never forget, lives in this 'umble workmans hovel:

Lancastrian Oik

"Music and politics".

It conjures up a sort of mid-70s Pythonesque vision of a stand-off which would have taken place in the Leigh home of the Mason family in the winter of 1977 when the subject of young Paul's choice of degree possibly became a bone of contention. Paul Mason (played by Michael Palin), wants to read politics, is obsessed by all manifestations of Leftism and goes into rhapsodies about the beauty and simplicity of Rousseau, the shimmering symmetry of Trotskyism, the modernist clarity of Mao etc., etc. Mason the elder, he of the"...lifetime of trade unionism, workplace discussion and self-education meant he could sight-read music, grapple with serious novels and sit though five hours of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, (played by Graham Chapman, I think) is a gruff no-nonsense fairisle-pullover-and-collarless-shirt clad Northerner who gestures with an unlit pipe whilst spelling out the need for the younger Mason to have a grounding in simple, worthwhile, common-sense stuff such as Schubert and Mussorgsky.

In the end, after almost coming to blows and being harangued by a screeching "Mum" (Terry Jones in drag, naturally), they decide to toss a coin which lands on its edge. There is a stunned silence and the cast do double-takes to the camera, before father Mason utters the punchline:

"Looks like you're going to Sheffield then, lad".

David

they might have been “politicised and articulate”… but they would have been a minority.

Quite. However much Mr Mason may not like them, there are bell curves of ability, heritable traits, and the scope for variation is quite significant. But as we’ve seen, Mr Mason needs to romanticise the proletariat in a funhouse mirror kind of way to make it fit with his unrealistic politics. And so he seems to imagine that if not for Mrs Thatcher, the low-skill, low-IQ, barely employable proletariat would be “grappling with serious novels,” discussing Oxford and Cambridge, and listening to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in its five-hour entirety.

Which makes me want to steer Mr Mason around the rougher and more vandalised parts of town so he can suggest these things personally to the tattooed teenagers in question.

mojo

Darwin Awards: Early Issue

http://www.newser.com/story/223135/teen-killed-after-strapping-rocket-to-skateboard.html

Spiny Norman

Apparently, they just laughed when Jamie and Adam said "Don't try this at home."

pst314

"let's get the audiences together to end capitalism!"
That sounds like a line from the "Die Hippie Die" episode of South Park.

mojo

"me and @PaulMasonWhine", she meant, obviously.

(yes, that's an Enological joke. So sue me.)

mojo

"Don't try this at home."

The difference between deflagration and detonation. "Some chemical combination".

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Meanwhile, back at US universities...

The KKK come to Indiana U !

Then my residents, terrified, come running to me, saying yeah the report must be true, they saw him and couldn‘t believe there was a klansmember with a whip.

Wait for it...

And I see this picture. It’s a priest. With a rosary.

Read the whole thing, among the immediate responses via Yik Yak, (whatever the hell that actually is), "Reasonable fear imo".

Further south in Tennessee, #TheChalkening gets a member of student government excommunicated for wrongthought.

From the head commissar:

“We promised to represent you, and by you we mean everyone,” the message continued.

Well, maybe not everyone, everyone...

“We will not, however, represent those who support the oppression of others...

The oppression of other is, of course,

...bigotry or hatred or the messages spread by Donald Trump’s ignorance...

The faction that forced the student out are of course,

...part of a rival student government coalition that sought to promote more diversity on campus.

Unless the "diversity" actually means, "diversity".

David

The spam filter is being uppity again. If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll shake them free.

David

It’s a priest. With a rosary.

Can we say hysteria yet?

Hal

@ Hal

That article quotes . . . Conspiracy theories are very, very popular.

Eek. Gasp. The horror, the horror. Oh, the humanity.

Oh, and Think of the children . . .

---A friend who grew up speaking Russian as her first language rather matter of factly confirmed the utter lack of surprise to find Putin very quickly turning up in the data . . . and then three days later there is a very interesting brand new announcement out of Moscow . . .

Hal

It conjures up a sort of mid-70s Pythonesque vision of a stand-off . . . .

Always remember it's very important that one address the issue of a homosexual nymphomaniac drug addict involved in the ritual murder of a well known Scottish footballer.

Rebecca

@Lancastrian: I have not heard that one, I'm going to use it! The saying I hear and use most is "dumb as a box of rocks," which comes out as "dumazaboxarox" here in the Midwest USA.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

The saying I hear and use most is "dumb as a box of rocks,"

Sharp as a velvet bag of styrofoam peanuts.

Sharp as a bowling ball.

Dumber than a creosote post without the creosote.

Hal

Sharp as a . . . .

Not exactly the sharpest lump of sandstone in the knife drawer . . . .

Lancastrian Oik

'"We could charge you with obstructing justice," Ohls said. "Interfering with an officer in the performance of his duty, aiding and abetting the escape of a felon, accessory after the fact of homicide, obtaining motor vehicle information dishonestly, impersonating a police officer and being stupider than three sheep."

"I got an overdue library book, too," I said. "May as well make a clean breast of it."

"Get out of here," Ohls said'.

From Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker.

"Stupider than three sheep". I like that a lot.

CJ Nerd

A New Zealand judge, sentencing saome dumb criminals, allegedly said:

"You couldn't find your own arse using both hands, a torch, and a GPS".

Jib Halyard

Smart like freight train

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Swift like fence post.

abacab

Conspiracy theories are very, very popular.

It is somewhat unsurprising that those who wish to organise society and the economy as a conspiracy - their conspiracy - have convinced themselves that it already is one.

I guess if they didn't, they might have to come to terms with the fact that a) there's no little man behind the curtain, b) most people are more or less happy with stuff the way it is, and c) that they are really rather horrible little people looking for ways to justify their totalitarian fantasies.

Hal

From Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker.

Oh, that does look like fun . . . . I suppose I should also get around to reading through all of Chandler . . .

Tim Newman

I suppose I should also get around to reading through all of Chandler

Indeed you should, particularly: The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The Long Goodbye, The Little Sister, and The Lady in the Lake.

Rafi

Which makes me want to steer Mr Mason around the rougher and more vandalised parts of town so he can suggest these things personally to the tattooed teenagers in question.

I'd watch that show.

David

I’d watch that show.

I suspect that if our clownish old communist knew something about IQ, heredity and assortative mating, and how these things tend to produce social stratification and what he calls “the class system,” his politics might need some serious rethinking.

WTP

I suspect that if our clownish old communist knew something about IQ, heredity and assortative mating, and how these things tend to produce social stratification

Imagine a world in which he does. It's easy if you try.

jk...actually, I don't really know the old fool aside from what little I've picked up here but I have spent a good bit of time imagining where that line is between the useful idiots and the sociopaths. I'm ill that way. It gets even worse when I think about the dynamics of the interaction twixt sociopaths. Thoughts like this are why I can never retire.

Fruitbat44

Oh dear, what is Laurie Penny for? Maybe to amuse the rest of us?

Nopasa

I lived in Berlin where there was still a wall. In fact I lived in East Berlin as a foreigner who could leave.

A few years back I saw a protesting group of old "anti-capitalist" types and a few young suckers. It was near the Brandenburg gate. I pointed out to them was that where they were standing was more-or-less on the location of the swerving wall where you could stand and look at the thing from the western side.

They didn't quite get it.

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