Saturday, 17 August 2013

Suarez Bites God

This is your better token dispenser? And it doesn't give any change? What does your worse token dispenser not give? Tokens?

In news of fantastic maps: these forty maps which explain the world are very good, but they're small beer compared to the omnihistomap, which I am always pleased to see again, this time via Slate.

The first half of this feature on the horrible little toe rag Luis Suarez is very funny; the second half is brilliant. It's a dialogue about why we want sportsmen to be 'good'.


"Hmm," said Gary, "I guess because athletes already represent a physical ideal for many people, and there's a natural tendency to want to find correlations between inner and outer qualities. In the same way that, like, if you're talking to a very good-looking person, unless they're really dumb you'll take their ideas more seriously than you would an ugly person's."

"But that's an obvious mistake," said Cassiel.

"I know," said Gary with a shrug. "But it's human nature. Plus the way most sports are organized, athletes explicitly represent a community, so the 'better' they are, the easier it is to see them uncomplicatedly as avatars, the better you feel about the community. It's a convenience, more or less."

Plenty more of that. I love Brian Phillips.

Q. Are you blogging because there are only a few minutes to go in the Liverpool game, and for the millionth time in the last five years they have dominated but are only 1-0 ahead.

A. Does the Pope eat butter?

Q. Why aren't you writing the Mighty Fin Christmas Show?

A. Easy tiger. I'll be doing it in a few minutes.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

business, business, they've all got it infamy


As per often recently, I've got a bit too much to do so I'm not here so often. Don't run away with the idea that I am not wasting time, but when I am wasting time, I am neglecting really important stuff I have to get done, so that makes me feel to guilty to blog. Anyway.

Rewriting: When I wrote my first Mighty Fin Christmas Show, in 2004 or thereabouts, I had two weeks to do it. It was funny and I'm proud of it. That's fine. I have just, in two weeks, written a first draft of this year's MFCS. It's funny. I think you'd enjoy it. But it's not 2004. I have written a lot more things. I can better see which bits are fiddled and jemmied, or put in because I like the jokes even if the they compromise the scenes, and I kind of can't let them sit there. I know it's a thing all professional writers say, but part of being one is being unable not to rewrite under certain circumstances, and it's a pain in the neck.

I am whining about my dream job, I see. How becoming. To repeat, it is my dream job.

To do: I have always liked the cut of Ian Sansom's jib. His book at bedtime on R4 is really fun. I plan to emulate this really excellent page of his website.

A complaint: the BBC headline Hertfordshire Police officer 'raped woman after arrest' reads differently from a headline which reads: Hertfordshire Police officer accused of raping woman after arrest. They might be legally equivalent, but they're not the same and the first, which is on the BBC website, makes me really uncomfortable. I'm a handwringing liberal, of course.

Recommended: This story about bot wars.