Archive for January 8th, 2007

It Might Smear Their Lovely Career

The main reason for the contemporary evasion of Arendt’s critique of careerism, however, is that addressing it would force a confrontation with the dominant ethos of our time. In an era when capitalism is assumed to be not only efficient but also a source of freedom, the careerist seems like the agent of an easy-going tolerance and pluralism. Unlike the ideologue, whose great sin is to think too much and want too much from politics, the careerist is a genial caretaker of himself. He prefers the marketplace to the corridors of state power. He is realistic and pragmatic, not utopian or fanatic. That careerism may be as lethal as idealism, that ambition is an adjunct of barbarism, that some of the worst crimes are the result of ordinary vices rather than extraordinary ideas: these are the implications of Eichmann in Jerusalem that neo-cons and neoliberals alike find too troubling to acknowledge.

Thought-provoking piece on Hannah Arendt in the LRB.

The Secret of My Dieting Success

….is Loyd Grossman, in collaboration with Tesco’s meat counter.

Before I go any further, let me just say that it is very possible that neither is the secret of my dieting success, and that there is a distinct possibility that my New Year pound-shedding extravaganza was down to some sort of nasty virus. But seeing as this is the time of year when the huddled masses become waddling masses, I felt it my civic duty to tell you my story.

I lost 3 (count em!) pounds in two days with the help of Loyd Grossmann’s Chicken Tikka Masala sauce and 2 chicken fillets from Tescos.

Thursday night, and I was feeling outa sight, having enjoyed a spiffing holiday season yet still very much taken with my presents. Most nights in our house we spend a fair amount of time cooking. That is, I do the cooking, and my wife films me with a handycam. I pout alluringly, and she tries to keep the lens away from my lower half so as not to draw attention to my wide hips. Actually, that’s not quite true. We both cook, handycamless.

A lot of the time we put a fair bit of effort into cooking, but the other night she wasn’t feeling the best and I really couldn’t be bothered cooking industriously for one. So I did three things I never do: first, I walked into Tescos, second, I bought a jar of Loyd Grossmann’s Chicken Tikka Masala sauce, and third, once home I pierced the seal on my recently purchased ‘Fresh’ chicken fillets from Tescos without catching a hint of the habitual embalming fluid vapours, since I had a bit of a cold at the time.

I boiled some rice, cut the chicken fillets into nice little pieces so as to make sure they were properly cooked all the way through, then heated Loyd’s sauce, and flung it out on a plate for myself. Fifteen minutes later I had demolished the lot, and felt rather satisfied with the whole thing.

As the day was dawning on Friday, I clung on to the toilet bowl as a Krakatoa of red boke burst forth from my person. This clip should aid the imagination:

That was in the upstairs toilet. In the downstairs toilet, another story altogether.

But! After lying wretched on the bed for all of Friday, and eating 1 slice of toast (which, when brought to me, looked the size of a 16″ pizza), and then one square meal on Saturday, I awoke on Sunday feeling lithe and zesty, like someone off a Special K advertisement but with less…swimming pools. And red swimsuits.

Take the Loyd Grossmann and Tesco challenge, and see how much weight you can lose.

David Ervine dies

I was sorry to hear that David Ervine is dead.

I remember when he started appearing on TV after the IRA ceasefire of 1994. In those days, he was always introduced as ‘a man understood to have an insight into loyalist paramilitary groups’, or words to that effect.

Back then, whatever their backgrounds, unionist politicians seemed to adopt a public persona of either Lord Snooty manqué or menacingly twangy preacher, and they rarely said anything of interest to nationalists. Little has changed on that front since, but although he later acquired a reputation for wordiness, David Ervine actually spoke like a normal person -something which was new, and much appreciated by many people on the other side. In his media appearances he did more good for community relations in two or three years post-ceasefire than many other public representatives have managed to do in twenty or thirty.

One of the good guys.


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