Politics Explained FFS part 1


UPDATE: Politics Explained FFS part 2 is here. And part 3 is here.

If you read my blog much, you may have ascertained where my political beliefs are. But I know a number of you are not regular readers, so I’m going to spell out what I think about politics, in an occasional series called Politics Explained FFS. Why the “FFS”? Why not? Gratuitous swearing in initialism form is one of the best things to have come from the internet and SMS. Use it or lose it.

Anyway, I’m going to kick off the series with an explanation of what “democracy” is. Winston Churchill once said:

No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

That’s one of those “it’s funny because it’s true” kind of comments. Except it’s not. Because it’s not true. I may explain that more fully in the future, but for now I shall quote Warren Ellis on what democracy is (well, I’ll quote his comic book character Spider Jerusalem):

from Transmetropolitan #15, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Darick Robertson. Published by Vertigo DC Comics, 1998. © 1998 Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

My main gripe with democracy is that you’ve got to go along with what the “majority” of people want.  No no, let me rephrase that: you have to go along with the decisions made by a bunch of people who got voted into office by some ridiculous election process.  Let’s say I wanna smoke crack.  It isn’t good for me, but neither getting hit by a truck when I’m trying to cross the road.  Most people don’t know me, and couldn’t care less if I get a crack-related medical condition. But a few hundred idiots who’ve never met me, and who are not likely to ever meet me unless I introduce myself before shooting them in the face, don’t want me to smoke crack.  So smoking crack is made illegal, and because I’m a law-abiding idiot I can’t smoke crack. Wut?

I am not opposed to rule by the majority, in principle anyway.  But majority rule does not scale!  Let’s say we’re having a referendum on voting reform.  51% vote Yes, 49% vote No.  So the Yes-voters win.  That’s not too bad in a small community of, let’s say 1000 people.  There were only 490 No-voters.  Not too many people to be pissed off.  But if we scale that up to a voting population of 10 million, we end up with 4,900,000 angry No-voters.  How on earth can anyone say that’s good?!!

I have a possible solution to this problem.  It is radical, but also very simple.  And I’m not gonna tell you about it right now!  Oh no, my cunning plan will be revealed in Politics Explained FFS part 2!!!  Ooh, what a cliff-hanger!  I bet you just can’t wait, eh?  Well, you’ll just have to.  Unless, of course, the stress is all too much for you and you choose to hang yourself in your ex-girlfriend’s closet instead.  That’ll freak her out for sure.  Though probably not as much as when she opens the refridgerator and finds her current boyfriend’s severed head next to the bottle of  Fanta.

So anyway.  To find out how I plan to restructure society and make happy bunnies of us all, check back here next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.  Well, actually that probably isn’t the best way to find out wtf I’m talking about.  Politics Explained FFS is an occasional series.  Which means I might post the next thrilling instalment later today.  Or in a couple of days.  Or maybe never (did you follow my occasional series explaining how to search the internet?  If so, you know what  I mean.  But don’t fret, I will complete that guide to searching one of these days.  In fact, probably pretty soon, as I’ve just had some ass-kicking ideas while writing these last couple of sentences.  And I will finish writing Politics Explained FFS too!!) So don’t give up on me and go look at porn instead.  I am bursting free from my cocoon of unreliability, as a super-reliable butterfly.  Or should that be a chrysalis?  Hmm, I think this would be a good time to STFU…


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Comics are just kids’stuff, right?


Wow, I’m tired. But I’m really wired too. You know, how you feel when you’ve been up for three days on a speed binge and have ground your teeth down to stumps (not that I know how it feels to be up for three days on a speed binge, I feel a bit too old for such antics nowadays).

No, my drug of choice has been comics. Back in the mid-to-late nineties I was well keen on comics, and I’ve been reliving that enthusiasm by reading comics on my computer. I don’t mean internet comics like Beaver and Steve – I’m talking about the real thing, like what I used to go to the comics store to buy, only now they’ve been digitized and are available for download in .cbr format files. You can read .cbr files in any .pdf reader, but my chosen weapon is Comix, whose creators describe it as

a user-friendly, customizable image viewer. It is specifically designed to handle comic books, but also serves as a generic viewer. It reads images in ZIP, RAR or tar archives (also gzip or bzip2 compressed) as well as plain image files. It is written in Python and uses GTK+ through the PyGTK bindings.

If you use Ubuntu, it’s in the repositories. I’m sure you can find it for other OSes too; just go looky at that link (here it is again, if you missed it).

I used to read Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson (and Rodney Ramos on inks) but sadly stopped buying comics before the title’s 5 year run was over. So, I downloaded the entire run of the comic and have been reading it straight through.

I’m also a big fan of Hellblazer, on which that Keanu Reeves movie Constantine was based (incidentally, that film did not do the comic any justice at all). So, I downloaded a huge bunch of Hellblazer .cbr files and binged on them too. I also downloaded V For Vendetta, the Watchmen mini-series (on which the film of the same name was based), and I’ve started a new (to me) title, the first volume of The Invisibles by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell.

So, where did I find this veritable trove of comic book treasures? All I’ll say is Filestube.com. Brilliant site. Check it out.

Now, how many more issues of The Invisibles can I read before I lapse into a coma and die?

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