Archive for September 5th, 2005

A Perhaps Pointless Peroration

At the risk of being frivolous, why is alliteration so attractive when describing the scale, span or scope of experience? Jonathan Freedland’s piece in today’s Guardian says the following:

Television viewers from Bradford to Bangalore could not help but notice it, and Americans from Buffalo to Bakersfield could not deny it.

Is it a way of circumscribing the potentially infinite? Is it also a means of demonstrating the span of one’s own knowledge, i.e. your point is all the more plausible because you seem to have an inkling of what life is like in Bradford and Bangalore and Buffalo and Bakersfield?

And is the ‘B’ sound particularly attractive because of its assertive plosiveness?

And why do so many Marvel Comics characters have alliterative names (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock, Reed Richards, Sue Storm… I could go on)?

Does anyone care?

Husni’s Choice

The Angry Arab ponders the forthcoming Egyptian elections:

’So in the Egyptian election: what do you think will happen? Do you think that Husni Mubarak will win? Or do you think that Husni Mubarak will be able to defeat Husni Mubarak? But then again Husni Mubarak may be the dark horse in the race? One think is for sure: it it too early to know whether Husni Mubarak will defeat Husni Mubarak. I am burning with anticipation. Your guess is as good as mine. But if Husni Mubarak wins, does that mean that the defeated Husni Mubarak will be sad?’

Of Bashing Bishops and Pounding Parsons

Des Wilson wrote a rather apocalyptic article last week (doffed cap to Slugger O’Toole), full of righteous indignation and purple prose, about the present phase of sectarian attacks:

in the drawing rooms and the clubs, in the archepiscopal palaces, at the church fetes, there is a calculated and planned silence – not a dignified silence, but a silence clothed in that artificial dignity which is another name for hypocrisy.

I was rather pleased to see this from a Church of Ireland bishop, who, whilst not quite archiepiscopal, and may not live in a palace, is at the very least episcopal:

I would very much like to see churchmen and political leaders, people who have status in the community, who are perhaps elected by the community to represent them, to find ways of modelling a respect for collaborative solidarity with one another.

“It doesn’t require any surrender of principle, what it requires is for people to stand together but to be seen to stand together.”

In other news, a DUP delegation, comprising Ian Paisley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson MP, William McCrea MP, Gregory Campbell MP, and Maurice Morrow MLA met with John Reid on Thursday to discuss the future of the Home Battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment.

Armagh Agonistes

Armagh bowed out of the championship yesterday in the worst way imaginable, that is, against Tyrone. Some great stuff was played by both sides in a compelling match replete with inspirational scores and turning tides, far from the occasional stereotype of dour, bonecrushing encounters. Stevie McDonnell’s goal was sublime.

I think Tyrone’s greater mobility and fluidity shaded it for them. Armagh defended well, especially in the first half, but they looked vulnerable down their left side at times, and Tyrone were able to exploit this, not least with Ryan McMenamin’s crucial point in the second half. There may have been tactical errors; Kieran McGeeney’s removal was swiftly followed by a point from Sean Cavanagh bursting through the middle. Still, if there is one thing a GAA fan does not lack, it is wisdom with hindsight.

At the end of each unsuccessful campaign (at least by this team’s standards), rumours abound in Armagh of changes, departures and the like. There is talk at the moment, for instance, of captain Kieran McGeeney taking over from Joe Kernan as manager, perhaps fuelled in part by McGeeney’s persistence on the touchline after being substituted. Instead of taking his place on the bench, he continued to marshal and direct alongside Joe Kernan.

When Kernan was appointed a few years ago, I was not convinced that he would be able to translate his success at club level with Crossmaglen to All-Ireland success. The fact that he won the championship in his first year shows you what I really know about GAA football. If he were to stay on, I think that he would still be able to squeeze the best out of the players available to him, given the constraints of an amateur game.

Yet most Armagh people realise that recapturing the All-Ireland doesn’t simply depend on the abilities of a manager. A huge factor in Armagh’s success over the past 7 years has been the autonomous hunger and perfectionism of so many Armagh players. McGeeney exemplifies this, and if he does take over, if not now then further down the line, it will be interesting to see if his extreme meticulousness and dedication can be applied to team management.

My Pet Scapegoat

Perhaps the only remarkable thing George Bush has in common with the poor of New Orleans at the minute is that both are being used as scapegoats in response to nature’s awesome destruction. Yet if the question boils down to who is the more deserving scapegoat, I say Bush.

I Refute That

Some people spend their whole lives blissfully ignorant of the difference between rebut and refute. But there are others whose ignorance is such that they don’t even know how to use refute incorrectly. Step forward IOL, for whom refuting someone’s comments appears to mean distancing oneself from them.


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