Thursday, 3 December 2009

Culmination

This blog is basically some thoughts I've had over the last week and, a bit like a volcanoe erupting, I shall now spew forth. Although, there will be considerably less lava, and a few more words. Otherwise, the comparison is pretty much ideal.

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I was sitting in a well known train station eating slowly cooling food from a well known artery blocking establishment and reading the Evening Standard. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I pretty much read every article in there, and came across these delightful collection of words:
Mr Balls [Minister for Education] and wife Yvette Cooper [Minster for Don'tknowanddon'tcare] are the first married couple to serve as Cabinet ministers. He went on: “I think marriage is important."
Question for you, Mr Balls. Does your wife agree with your views on marriage, and is that why she took your name?

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Same paper, another article. I wonder that if I make a habit of reading the Standard and finding humour in it, I might just have things to write about far more regularly.

The article was about the 'failing' state of the capital's primary schools. It set out some of the standards the children were supposed to reach at different levels. Children who reach Level 4, for instance, 'can “read between the lines”, use commas to break up long sentences, and “get the point” of a story or poem.'

Out of those things, "getting to the point" seems quite key. General comprehension of stories and poems is fairly essentially if you're going to read stories and poems. And then, they drop this bombshell, which I think I will let do it's own legwork:
London schools minister Diana Johnson said children who fall short of Level 4 were not “lost” and could still read “and enjoy” Harry Potter books, for example.
Boom. Take that, Ms. Rowling.

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From the ridiculous to the more ridiculous without a hint of sublime at all. In fact, the downright worrying would be more appropriate. I read yesterday of an initiative by a northern Italian town called 'White Christmas'. A suitably apt title for a seasonal event, you may think. However, the seasonal event in question is officials from the right-wing local government 'to identify and expel as many non-Europeans as possible.'

Not only is this worrying in the first instance, but for the precedents it might set. However, worst of all, the defence of such a move from Claudio Abiendi, the xenophobe apparently in charge of security in the town, follows thus:
"For me Christmas isn't the holiday of hospitality, but rather that of the Christian tradition and of our identity."
I'm tempted to go into the finer points of just how wrong that is, but all I think I shall do is mention the cold, winter night where a heavily pregnant teenager turned up in a town where there may have been no room, but they certainly found some. How's that for 'Christian tradition', Mr Abiendi?

1 comment:

samisaacson said...

Nice last little point - let's not forget that some of the first people to have worshipped Jesus were simply 'from the east'. Probability of a white Christmas: very, very low.