I've just read an interesting article on the furore that Russell Brand managed to kick off when he called George W. Bush "that retarded cowboy fella" and made fun of chasitity rings at the MTV Music Awards the other day.
The author, India Knight, sums up the whole thing rather nicely, I thought:
"The whole episode is like a parable about the differences between the US and the UK: so much common ground and yet such oceans between us. It isn’t about whether you find Brand funny or not: there’s always the “off” switch. It’s about the peculiar contradictions that seem to define modern America: the love of free speech and pride in democracy, coupled with bottomless abuse for anyone who has the temerity to voice dissent. The devotion to the flag, in people who strike some of us as trying their hardest to make the world dislike America. The sanctification of sexual purity versus the insatiable appetite for porn. And, above all, the sanctimony."
You know how I was saying the other day that surely the Republicans weren't daft enough to think that Hillary Clinton voters would switch their votes to McCain simply because his candidate for Vice-President, the vehemently pro-life Sarah Palin, was a woman? Well, apparently I was wrong: the latest polls seem to be indicating a 20 point swing towards the Republicans amongst white women since Palin's candidacy was announced. Surely it's not just me who thinks policy is more important than gender or colour or any other nonsense?
And lest you think I am focusing my incredulity entirely the USA, how about this:
TV Watchdog Ofcom has ruled today that an episode of "The F-Word" featuring Gordon Ramsey eating a puffin did not break the rules.
As the BBC reported:
"Ofcom received 42 complaints over the show which saw Ramsay "sky fishing" for puffins and eating its fresh heart. The regulator said the sequence was not in breach as it occurred in Iceland, where the puffin forms a popular part of the national diet. It also noted the birds were killed in a humane way with minimal suffering. Viewers had complained that the practice of killing puffins was cruel, the local tradition of eating their fresh hearts was offensive, and that, whilst not protected, puffins were a species under threat. However, Ofcom said that The F Word had historically contained items featuring the rearing, hunting or killing of a variety of animals for food, including those not usually eaten in the UK."
Get this from later on in the article though:
"In the same report, Ofcom also noted 31 complaints from viewers over a BBC News report about an incident in Jerusalem. Footage showed a Palestinian man ramming buses and cars with a bulldozer, killing three people and then the man being shot dead in the cab of the vehicle by an off-duty Israeli soldier."
31 complaints about some footage of humans being killed by a bulldozer and a man being shot dead and 42 complaints about a puffin being killed and eaten.
In puffin hunting season.