Thursday, 31 May 2018

Some thoughts provoked by famous people in the news.

The best headline I have seen today is this:

Trump holds prison reform summit with Kim Kardashian West.

First of all, I find myself thinking that, of course, that will be the well known academic and expert on prisons, Kim Kardashian West! Perhaps not. And then I reason that a reality TV star president is probably quite likely to choose his advisors among other reality TV stars. But when I read the article I discovered that Ms. Kardashian (or is it Mrs Kardashian West?) had been to see the President to ask for a pardon for someone in prison. That makes more sense but the headline writers clearly could not resist the temptation to have some fun.

Another famous person making headlines today is Germaine Greer, coming out and saying that punishments for rapists should be reduced. Here’s a link to the article. She has been speaking at the Hay literary festival and, as ever, she seems to have set put to be controversial. You can agree with some of what she says, such as when she said that a big part of the problem was that the world was full of bad sex, that people were not talking and loving as they should. “Love-making is not a matter of an organ, it is a matter of communication and somehow we’ve got to rescue it. It is in deep trouble, heterosex.”

And she is probably right that sometimes rape is not so much violent as just non-consensual sex. But she must remember that women have been fighting to make everyone aware that no means no. And that even if she felt more annoyed than destroyed by being raped, some women, many women, feel traumatised by it. Maybe what she should say is that there should be more of a sliding scale of punishment.

And then there is Roseanne Barr who has been in trouble for tweeting racist remarks, comparing an African American woman to an ape. She apologised and gave as an excuse the fact that she was tweeting under the influence of sleeping pills! Really? But surely, as with alcohol removing your inhibitions, when you speak or tweet while taking sleeping pills, what you say at that point comes from something inside you that really believes what you say. Even the company who made the sleeping pills have apparently said that becoming liable to make racist remarks is not on their list of possible side effects. I think the company is called Ambien, or maybe that’s just the sleeping pills.

Which reminds me, on a less serious note, about something called Ambient Television. This is another thing about tv sets that I forgot to mention yesterday. I have been seeing adverts for sets that blend into the wallpaper when not being used. This is Ambient Television which allows your set to match the furnishings instead of being a big black empty screen when not switched on. Of course, for your tv set to do that blending stuff it needs to be wall mounted, which apparently is the modern thing. No more standing your tv on a table or a sideboard or a special stand. It needs fixing to the wall, so that you sit on the sofa and stare upwards at it, pretendin to be at the cinema and probably munching a bucket of popcorn at the same time.

Personally I think I would prefer the option to have my tv screen show a work of art. But then we don’t have a gigantic wall mounted television set anyway. That’s all.

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