Tag Archives: liar

April 30th

On this day in 1315 a man you’re unlikely to have heard of was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon. His name was Enguerrand de Marigny and this is his story. To be perfectly upfront with you, his story is not that interesting, but as I was flicking through it, I came across the name of one of his employers and it chimed with me in a that name sounds like someone who has not been in the news at all sort of a way and so I decided to tell it. So, here goes.

de Marigny also stole dolls houses from children

Enguerrand was eventually a chamberlain and a minister of Philip IV (known as Philip the Fair). Philip was a bit of a git. He suppressed the Knights Templar because he owed them a lot of money. By suppress, read disbanded, arrested, tortured and had a few burnt at the stake. He also expelled all Jews from his Kingdom in 1306. In short he was a nice looking chap, but his personality was less than pretty. Now, before Enguerrand got to work for a chap who was already a chamberlain to the king and his secretary. This bloke’s name was Hugues de Bonville.  Unfortunately, Hugues career was cut short when he was found to have paid one hundred and ninety-five francs for sexual relations with a floozy. No one would have minded at all, as most everyone expected his sort to be a bit dirty, but the silly arse tried to cover it up. He lost his job and then got killed in a battle.

None of this matter to Enguerrand who got to be close to the king who thought he was aces and skill. Others didn’t so much because de Marigny was a bit of a smug and oily little twit. He did whatever the king wanted of him, and took bribes and made enemies and created an oil slick in the English Channel. He would have continued on in this way, but unluckily for him, Philip the Fair died after having a bit of a stroke when out hunting. Now, de Marigny was left without his mate, but still with all his enemies. It did not go well for him.

Louis X, Philip’s son and the new king, was creeped out by Enguerrand, so when Charles de Valois denounced him and said he was all about the bribes and putting on over on the king, Louis had him arrested. He was found more or less guilty of all his so-called crimes and Louis decided he should be exiled to Cyprus. De Valois  didn’t think this was good enough as he had really taken against de Marigny, so he made up some shit about Enguerrand being involved in sorcery. As you can see this royal court was all about intrigue and a bunch of bastards trying to out-bastard each other. Despite the charges being so much made up nonsense, Enguerrand was found guilty and hanged in front of a baying crowd on this day in 1315. Many years later, on his deathbed, Louis X felt quite bad about putting Enguerrand to death, so he confessed, said sorry and gave  lot of money to the poor or Paris. But not to the prostitutes as he felt that old de Bonville had done quite enough of that in the past.

Today was the birthday of a curious young man by the name of Kasper Hauser. He was allegedly born on this day in 1812 and died in 1833. We don’t know his birth date for sure, because, well, therein lies the story.

In 1828, young Kasper turned up in Nuremberg with a letter addressed to a Captain Von Wessenig. The letter stated that the author

Kasper, the stabby little liar

(anonymous, but male) had taken Kasper into his house in October 1812 and never let him step outside it.  That he’d instructed him in reading and writing and religion, but nothing else. He asked that the boy be made a cavalryman like his father, but stated that Von Wessenig could either take him in or hang him. Which was nice. The boy also had another letter, allegedly from his mother, which gave his name, his date of birth and that his father, a cavalryman, was dead. Curiously both letter were written in the same handwriting, Kasper Hauser’s handwriting as it turned out. When in front of Von Wessenig, the only words that Hauser said, repeatedly were “I want to be a cavalryman as my father was!” and “Horse! Horse!” He later claimed to have no idea what these words meant and that he had been taught to say them by his captor.

Hauser’s story was that he had lived his whole life in a dungeon, that he woke up to find bread and water by his bed each day and sometimes the water was a bit bitter, at which times he would sleep a lot longer and then wake up to find that his bed straw had been changed and his hair and nails cut. He said that until he was about to leave his captor for ever, he never saw him or any other human being, that he was then taught to stand and walk, to write his own name and to utter the words he’d said to Von Wessenig. Which sounds like utter bollocks and is belied by the information in the letters.

The whole thing caused quite the stir and Hauser was put into the care of a schoolmaster who taught him many things and discovered that Kasper had a talent for drawing. Things were going well until Kasper was allegedly stabbed by the man who’d brought him to Nuremberg. What is more likely is that he had cut himself with a razor because the schoolmaster was starting to get the idea that Kasper was a little liar.

He was moved on to another house and before long he was injured again, again almost certainly by his own hand after, again, his guardian was pretty sure that Herr Hauser was a dirty liar. In fact Hauser’s death was almost certainly self-inflicted (a stab wound to the chest), when it turned out yet again that the people he lived with thought he might like to play fast and loose with the truth.

The truth is that Kasper Hauser was almost certainly a pathological liar, who made up the story of his life, conned people and had a strong need to be seen as special and the centre of attention. He did succeed in this. His story is still well-known, especially in Germany and there is even a statue of him in Ansbach.

So, today may or may not be his birthday, but the little liar has been dead for a very long time, so there shall be no happy birthday from me, just the relation of a slightly interesting little story to you, my readers.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

March 20th

On this day in 2003 the US,  the UK, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and so started the Iraq war or the conflict or Operation Iraqi Freedom or “That fucker dissed my dad and he’s got oil,we’re going in!”

 

The Black Death turned doctors into scary bird creatures

The war itself was declared the day before, despite the fact that most of the world said it was wrong and we should all take a chill pill and do a bit more looking for those alleged weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that UN Resolution 1441 was in no way a permission to go to war and despite the fact that somewhere between six and ten million people in 800 cities across the world had protested against the will to go to war against Iraq. Basically George W Bush and Tony Blair had made their minds up that they would do what they wanted to do and to hell with what anyone else thought. Most of us knew at the time that the reasons for us going in were a lie and if we didn’t know then we know now. Some thought that the lie was fine because Saddam Hussein is no more and that matters more than legality, truth, honest, morality and anything else you’d like to throw into the pot. Others of us think that getting revenge for your dad, lying to the people who elected you and thinking that you have the right to decide which alleged human rights abuses you’ll get all fighty about based on oil is a fucker’s trick. And never the twain shall meet. Probably.

 

Now, we could explore this in minute detail, but you all know what happened and what’s still happening, so instead we’ll look at another, well it’s not so much a lie as the result of a bunch of academics – albeit olde worlde ones – putting their heads together and coming up with a clusterfuck of stupidity.

This day in 1345 is the day when the Black Death was created. Allegedly. That’s right, learned scholars from the University of Paris came to this conclusion because on March 20th 1345 there was a triple conjunction of the Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius. To be fair to them, I looked this up in my Dummies Guide to Astrology and it does confirm that when Saturn, Jupiter and Mars get all conjuncted up, there will be an outbreak of the sniffles, and if they do it in the 40th degree of Aquarius, then those sniffles will turn into the black death. If they do it in the 42nd degree we all get over it within a couple of days but have to be wary of a rather explosive dose of the trots.

The thing is that along with the planets doing their righteous dance, the black death also required the existence of rats and fleas

Matthias Grunewald seems to have thought that one of the symptoms of plague was "turning into a frog"

aplenty and as luck would have it, there were shitloads of the fuckers around in the fourteenth century.  Disease probably spread along the Silk Road and then the rats got on ships to go on their holidays and spread it all around Europe. There was a delightful Schadenfreude in this spread and it went as follows. Italy finds itself all infected with people dropping dead in the streets, throwing up blood and being covered in buboes (swellings, hence bubonic plague) and black spots. The Italians are, as one can imagine, shitting it, and over in Spain they’re laughing at them. “Ooh look at you! If you were good like us God wouldn’t kill you with the Black Death!”. And then what do you know! Oh dear, the Spanish are dying. Now the French are laughing and then, merde! They’re all carking it and the English are … etc.

 

Basically the Europeans all thought they were too pious and good to get it and enjoyed the suffering of other countries and regions until of course they got it. It was a bastard of a pandemic. We don’t for sure how many people died, but scholars (not the shitehawks who were all “oh when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars”) estimate somewhere between 75 and 200 million. It took Europe 150 years to recover from it in terms of social demographic losses.   It was awful in other ways. People in olden times were all about being punished by God, so rather than see the disease for what it was, they saw it as God’s judgement and as such they had to find someone to judge themselves. Enter the beggars, the lepers, the so-called witches and of course the Jews. There were persecutions, murders and torture. What was so nice about this was that even if you escaped the plague you had a really good chance of being different enough to be murdered anyway. Ain’t life grand!

The plague hung around for centuries, popping up every now and then to keep the population on its toes. The last great outbreak in England was in 1665 and we all know that the next year Samuel Pepys got rid of it by getting drunk as a skunk and burning London down.

So there we have it, boys and girls. March 20th is a day for lies and nonsense!

 

Today is the birthday of Little Miss Firecracker, Holly Hunter. She is probably best known for her role as a mute piano player in The Piano where she plays the piano and has sex with Harvey Keitel, but for me she shines brightest in the aforementioned Miss Firecracker, Raising Arizona, Broadcast News and O Brother Where Art Thou.

She’s tiny, quirky, sweet, funny and every bit of her Georgia upbringing is still present in her voice. I like her because she’s tiny (5’2″ apparently) and feisty and sometimes I’d like to be her. She is also a woman who lives her private life out of the public eye. She has

Cute little policewoman

two children, probably twin boys, but their names and ages and in fact anything about them is not up for public discussion. There are a lot of people in the public eye who could learn a bloody lot from her.

 

She’s been around as an actress for 30 years and yet manages to still give off a youthful feel, not through the sleight of hand of cosmetic surgery, but through being full of life and spirit. She may actually be some sort of pixie or elf. I am almost certain that she s a minx.

And that is all really. I just like her and I like watching her in films where I don’t have to see Harvey Keitel’s bare arse going up and down. Happy birthday Holly Hunter. I think you’re just lovely!

Oh, I also like her in Crash, but that’s because it’s a films for perverts.

1 Comment

Filed under Almanac

March 7th

On this day in 1876 yer man Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent (in Boston) for the telephone. Controversy surrounded his “ownership” of the invention and another man, Elisha Gray, claimed he  had beaten Bell to the patent office and that Bell was copying his design.

 

Mustachioed Man: Did he just tell the queen that she has a great arse? Bearded Man: Good grief, I believe he did!

So, was he? Was Alexander Graham Bell a great big cheat and a liar? Surely not! As it turns out, he mostly and almost certainly wasn’t. Here’s what happened.

 

Sandy, as we’ll call him, had been working on his device for a couple of years. He’d got into experimenting with sound as a direct result of his work with the deaf as a speech therapist. He’d studied acoustics from a young age and experimented over the years. from 1872 onward he was backed in his sound experiments and in 1874 he came up with the idea of sending voices through telegraphy. Unfortunately he had a good idea but he was a bit shit with the old electronics so he needed to find someone to work with. Luckily he got together with a chap called Thomas Watson and together they managed to come up with a device that sort of did what they wanted it to. It did transmit a voice, but it was a bit like listening to a drunk underwater, which was ironic given what was coming next.

Well, not quite next. Next was the race to the patent office. Before applying for the US patent, Sandy wanted to get the British patent sorted. He wasn’t being all patriotic or anything, it was just that the British got snotty about giving a patent to anything that had first been patented elsewhere. He was also canny. He’d have to share his US profits with his backers, but the UK profits would be all his! He knew that Gray was also working on a similar invention and as it happened they both filed their application for patents on the same day, 14th February 1876. There were slight differences in their devices. Bell’s worked with a reed and other stuff like that (what? I’m not Thomas Bleedin’ Edison you know!) and Gray’s worked using a water transmitter. I know, the mind sort of boggles really. Sandy’s patent no. 174,465 was issued on 7th March and he immediately got back to work. It was then that Elisha got a bit cross with him. To be fair he had a bit of a point. Sandy’s new drawings looked a lot like Elisha’s and in his first successful test of the telephone – as he was now calling it, which was handy given it’s what we all decided to go with as well – he used a water transmitter. He spoke the words “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you.” and Watson (in another room, because being in the same room would have been cheating) heard him clear as A BELL (ha!) and came in.

While all that sounds a little cheaty, rest assured that after giving the liquid transmitter a go, Sandy went back to his own design and as our phones today are not all watery when we shake them, we can tell that the liquid transmitter thing didn’t become the way of things. That said, Bell did admit that a drunk at the Patent Office had shown him Gray’s caveat, so while he wasn’t a big old cheater he was  a bit of a naughty boy.

The telephone took on pretty quickly and within 10 years there were over 150,000 telephones in the US. One person who refused to have a phone on his desk because they were nothing but a bloody nuisance was, you’ve guessed it, Sandy Bell  himself!

Today was the birthday of Tammy Faye “Tammy” Bakker Messner who was famous for being married to fraudulent money grabber and faux religious nutjob Jim Bakker, who to add to all his sins couldn’t even spell his surname properly. She was also famous for wearing every piece of make-up she owned in one go, which generally made her face so heavy that it was hard for her to hold her head up in public and sometimes she had to have invisible string attached to the top of her head to keep it in place and stop her from collapsing.

Some claimed that she looked a little like Dolly Parton without the tits, but they also forget that, more importantly, she also lacked

Tammy Faye cries because she forgot to put on her sixth layer of make-up that morning

the charm. To be fair to the hideous old baggage, she did show a slightly more humane attitude to homosexuals and AIDS than most of her evangelical brethren, but then she was also all about the Benjamins, so it’s hard to see her in too charitable a light.

 

Her marriage to Bakker ended when he went to prison for being a thief and a liar and she divorced him. Showing a remarkable aptitude for choosing husbands who were destined for jail, she next married Roe Messner who was also a thief and a liar who ended up in prison in 1996. She didn’t divorce him, probably because he was slightly less cuntish than Bakker.

And to be fair to the big old fright-wig on legs, she was considerably less cuntish than either of them. In later years she appeared on The Surreal Life with among others Ron Jeremy (porn star, large penis), Vanilla Ice (shit rapper) and Eric Estrada (former policeman in the California Highway Patrol) and wrote a book entitled I survived … and you will too. Unfortunately she didn’t (she died of colon cancer in 2007), so the outlook for the rest of us is probably bleak.

Happy birthday you crazy evangelical hoochy mama!

1 Comment

Filed under Almanac

February 20th

On this day in 1933 the US Congress proposed the twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution. After fourteen years of having to drink bathtub gin out of teacups, Americans were on the verge of being able to drink legally again.

What do we want? Beer! When do we want it? NOW!

The eighteenth amendment, which had brought in nationwide prohibition of alcohol, was seen by many as a noble cause and became known as the noble experiment.   It was certainly the crowning “achievement” of the Temperance Movement, but noble is as noble does. Those who’d pressed for prohibition saw a future where prisons became factories, the slums were a thing of the past. In short, they were blinkered idiots whose understanding of how society worked could have been written on the back of a very small matchbox with room to spare for the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

As any fule kno, tell people that something is taboo and they want it more and this is even more true of something that people have already had access to and quite enjoyed. Far from bringing about a social utopia the abstinence advocates had predicted, the period of prohibition brought with it more crime, more poverty, more misery and little change in the drinking habits of most Americans. Bars closed and speakeasies opened; legal distilleries could no longer ply their trade, so organised crime took their place and flourished; most importantly, and sometimes lethally so, the quality of unlicensed liquor was uncertain. The rich were reasonably sure to be drinking pre-prohibition standard alcohol. The poor might end up with concoctions that could kill or disable them.

Thankfully for all, the depression, which pretty much fucked over the whole world, served as a catalyst to repealing prohibition. It

Lucky Luciano

Lucky Luciano loved his dog, selling cheap hooch and killing people

was increasingly obvious that the ban on alcohol wasn’t working, in fact was doing the opposite of everything it was supposed to achieve. So FDR and his congress got their heads together and decided that given that poverty and misery were rife, people might as well be allowed to get stocious legally and with less risk to their health.  It took a while from the proposal to the actual lifting of the ban. The Amendment needed to be ratified by the majority of the US states and it wasn’t until December 15th 1933 that prohibition was finally lifted, although people were drinking openly before that date. Some states did not ratify the amendment and remained dry for quite a few years longer. In Kansas public bars were illegal until 1987 and the whole state of Mississippi was completely dry until 1966. One begins to realise why people from that part of the world were so ornery and miserable; bad enough that they had to live in Mississippi, but to not be able to have a few drinks to numb the experience was a blow almost to hard to bear.

So, chin-chin, bottoms-up, cheers and Sláinte! On this day 78 years ago, Americans were allowed to get pissed again!

Today was the birthday of Roy Cohn, but luckily for the world he died in 1986 and his presence no longer pollutes us. Roy Cohn was a lawyer who was closely involved in the prosecution of the Rosenberg trial and afterwards always boasted that they had received the death penalty on his recommendation. So far, so shitty. He later teamed up with Senator Joseph McCarthy to join in his persecution of suspected communists. They also went after any gay men they could find, which was the ultimate hypocrisy for Cohn;

Detritus assuming human form

he was a homosexual man. While (as we  have seen earlier in our investigation of facts) McCarthy was covered in disgrace toward the end of his witch-hunt, Cohn walked away pretty much unscathed. He enjoyed a long career, acting as counsel for people as varied as Donald Trump (hang your head in shame, you bouffanted buffoon) and John Gotti , organisations such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York (happy bedfellows, I’m sure we can all agree) and the New York Yankees (bastard idiots), and he was an informal legal advisor to both President Nixon and President Reagan. It’s nice to know that they entrusted their affairs to such an incredible shite of a man.

In his private life Cohn long denied his homosexuality, claiming that while he enjoyed having sex with men he wasn’t gay because he didn’t allow anyone to penetrate him. He had sex with gay men, whom he despised, but he was not gay himself. Which was nice and evidence that he wasn’t just a sleazy lawyer, he managed to be a sleazy and despicable human being as well. AIDS is a terrible disease and no laughing matter, but then according to Cohn he never had it; he had liver cancer. Despite this he did secretly take part in trials for new and ground-breaking AIDS drugs, including AZT, but fortunately they didn’t work and he died in 1986, broke, alone and generally despised. It really couldn’t have happened to a nicer man.

If you want to know more about this vile turd of a man, I can highly recommend Citizen Cohn, in which James Woods depicts him or, even better, Angels of America in which Al Pacino plays a dying Cohn being haunted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg. I don’t believe in ghosts, but if I did, I’d like to think that really happened.

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

February 15th

On this day in 1980 Lillian Hellman, in high dudgeon over some remarks made about her by Mary McCarthy, threw her toys out of the pram and got her lawyer to phone Ms McCarthy with the message “You’re sued, bitch!”

Their lack of amity stretched back over about thirty years. They’d met at a poetry reading and things had cut up a little rough – verbally at least – over the rhyming structure and origins of There was a Young Girl From Nantucket. Hellman challenged McCarthy to a poetry-off and onlookers gasped in amazement as the two women pit their wits against each other for over three hours. Eventually a sweat-sodden Hellman admitted defeat when she was up against If William of Orange had been a Banana. The fact that McCarthy had very nearly faltered on If Pigs Could Fly and Lambs wore Roller-Skates was no consolation to her and from that day forward the two eminent ladies of letters had a mutual antipathy for each other.

Fast-forward thirty years, when McCarthy was being interviewed on television and was asked about Lillian. Mary was not kind. She

`

Norman Mailer's favourite fantasy

stated that Ms Hellman was not capable of writing the truth, called her a liar and laughed when she recounted the tale of the day Lillian had told everyone at a lunch table that she had invented mayonnaise. “We all would have believed her.” said Mary, “But she then went on to tell us it was made of Heinz salad cream with some cream and a couple of egg yolks added.” Lillian was absolutely furious and so she issued a lawsuit claiming $2.2 million in damages for libel.

It really was a frightful mess and while everyone agreed that Mary should have kept her mouth shut about the mayonnaise gaffe, they also thought that Lillian was being a bit of a bitch. The fact is Hellman was a bit of a fantasist and made up stories about herself all the time. It got that even she wasn’t sure when she was lying and when she was telling the truth, so suing someone for being a bit sarcastic about her predilection for telling porkies was a little rich.

Lots of people rushed to Mary’s defence, which just made Lillian crosser and then Norman Mailer suggested that they slug it out in a boxing ring, but everyone told him he was a bloody idiot and when he remembered that both women were rather elderly and therefore it wouldn’t be that good an image for his wank bank, he agreed that shutting up might be the best thing in the circumstances. The lawsuit dragged on for four years and then, luckily for everyone involved, except Lillian, Lillian shuffled off this mortal coil. Mary was able to get her life back, Mailer tried to get Cindy Crawford to argue with Princess Diana so that he could suggest his boxing ring idea again, and the literary types of New York went back to gossiping about Truman Capote. It is rumoured, though it  has never been confirmed, that Lillian’s last word was: “Mayonnaise”.

 

Today is the birthday of the singer in one of the worst bands in the world ever. The band is UB40 and the singer who screeched and barely formed the words of the poor excuses for songs that they performed, is Ali Campbell. As well as being a shit singer, Ali has been blessed with the sort of face that even a mother can’t, in all conscience, love.

UB40 have been called the most successful reggae band in the world, but critics who are not  hampered with cloth ears have said that

Campbell often did a poo in his pants while singing

UB40 are to reggae what poo is to diamonds. There most successful hit was Red, Red Wine in which Ali Campbell went for method singing, added an “h” to wine and caused many household pets to develop lemming-like tendencies whenever it was played on the radio.

 

Campbell has since left UB40 and has managed to have solo success in the face of remarkable obstacles: his voice, his face, and everything about him. Today, he celebrates his 52nd birthday, probably wearing a comedy dreadlock wig and wishing he was more like that nice Bob Marley. Happy birthday, Ali Campbell. You utter knobend.

2 Comments

Filed under Almanac

February 10th

On this day in 1355 the first recorded pub brawl in history took place and was known as the St Scholastica Day Riot. But this was no ordinary brawl between a few blokes who’d had a few too many and then got in a fight over someone looking at their pint a bit funny. Oh no.  The whole thing started in the Swindlestock Tavern in Oxford and was started by two Oxford students named Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield. The la-di-da pair complained to their host, John Groidon that his drinks were shit. He took umbrage at this and a war of words broke out, with many of those words being of the four-letter variety; this wasn’t enough for the posh wee shites. They threw their drinks in Mr Croidon’s face and beat him up and probably pissed on him too, much like their natural descendants, the Bullingdon Club would do centuries later.

This is a scene from the battle of Agincourt, which was not quite as bad as the St Scholastica Day Riot

So far, so minor if totally out of order pub brawl, but there was more to come. The good folk of Oxford were not much enamoured by the behaviour of the “bloody students” at Oxford and there was some retaliation: armed retaliation. At this point the mayor thought it was getting a bit loco in the coco so he went to see the Chancellor and have a bit of a word. It was, on the surface a good move, but talking to the chancellor was like talking to a brick wall. “I think you should really have these rebellious upstarts arrested good John.” he said (the Chancellor’s name was John, as was the mayor’s). “Fuck you, you grubby little oik!” was the Chancellor’s response. It’s easy to guess what happened next, but whatever you’re guessing is probably a little short of what actually took place. Take a deep breath, what follows is pure mental.

Two hundred students who thought it was fine to get stocious, throw beer in a tavern keeper’s face, beat him up and piss on him, went into town, beat up the mayor and anyone who got in their way, braying and waving their stupid floppy hair about all the while. And there was more. The riot went on for two days, during which time 63 students and about 30 townsfolk were killed! While it is at least  small relief that more students were killed than townsfolk, it was utter nutjobbery that allowed it to happen in the first place.  The killing and mayhem was eventually stopped when the wimpy students were routed and the mayor gave in and said “Yeah, those bastards at the university were in the right. They are allowed to do anything they want.” They were and they did.  A special charter was created and every year after that on 10th February, the mayor and his

Medieval students were noted for their small stature

councillors had to march bareheaded through the streets and pay a fine(!) to the university of one penny per student killed; this amounted to 5s 3d and was paid every year until 1825, when finally a mayor said “Fuck this for a game of soldiers! They can whistle for it!”

By this time the Bullingdon Club had been formed and its members were the spiritual ancestors of Messrs Spryngeheuse and de Chesterfield, drinking, puking defecating, micturating and beating up the plebs, the possible gays and anyone who they deemed weaker than them. Of course this sort of behaviour only takes place before they go on to run the country and look down their inbred noses at, and legislate against the oiks who get up to the same sort of stuff, but in less expensive clothes. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Today is the birthday of Glenn Beck, a man for whom the phrase “utter shitclown” may well have been coined. He is famous for his radio and television shows wherein he rants about communists, socialists and progressives, says that Barack Obama is a racist and gets very shouty about anything at all that doesn’t agree with his far right “beliefs”. Born and brought up a Catholic, he converted to Moronism Mormonism later in life. He is loved by the sort of people who share brain cells with their families on a rota system, as well as cynical Neo-Cons who like the fact that he whips up a big ole ferment about increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories, saving them the job of doing it themselves.

Beck may be doing it all for shits, giggles and money, he may be a buffoon with the learning capacity of  an educationally challenged

Beck's ability to cry like a baby on cue, marks him out as a probable infantilist

amoeba, or he may be a clever bastard who knows exactly what he’s doing. One thing is certain: even at the age of 47 he looks like a corn-fed baby who is always on the edge of throwing a tantrum. He uses this to good advantage by doing a lot of on-air crying. Fuckwits see this as a sincere outpouring of heartfelt emotion; anyone with half a brain wants to give the big blubbering piece of lard something to cry about. It is also worth noting that in the right light he looks like clown-loving serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Probably.

So, it’s his birthday today, he will probably eat cake before hauling his arse onto television to make vile accusations against some minority group or other. Or maybe he’ll go off to his Mormon Temple, boogie on down with the Osmonds before going out in the moonlight to shoot stray dogs. Whatever. There will be no happy birthday to him here, just a steadily raised middle finger and a sneer of pure and utter derision. Fuck you, Mr Beck, and the raggedy horse you rode in on.*

*No horses were hurt in the making of this comment.

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

February 9th

On this day in 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy gave a speech to the Women’s Republican Club of Wheeling, West Virginia, in which he played the big old braggart and claimed that he had a list of 205 members of the State Department who were in fact dirty Communist spies. He was a bit backward about coming forward with actual names, mostly because he was making it all up. That said, he was taken aback by how much publicity his speech got and in later speeches and meetings he kept changing the number of real honest to badness communists. It was 205, then it was 57, then it was 81 and then … etc. Poor old Joe forgot that the first rule of telling a good lie is to keep it simple and not to change the story when you think you might be found out, no matter how outrageous the lie.

Joseph McCarthy's idea of what a communist looked like

However, brazen, silly and easily pulled to pieces as the lie was, it created what became known as “the Second Red Scare”, because people were looking for something to be scared of. The first “Red Scare” was particularly nasty and involved people getting executed for being a bit too bright and a bit too far to the left of centre. That didn’t happen this time around, but it did get a bit bloody silly, given that it was all based on the rantings of an alcoholic who had a bit of a stick up his arse about communism and wasn’t afraid to go on for hours about how he knew that X person was in fact a top communist spy. There was a big hearing which was set up by Democrats to discredit McCarthy, but it backfired, despite the fact that McCarthy talked pure shite the whole time. This just made McCarthy worse. He had begun naming names in the committee hearing and when it was over he named more and more ridiculous names including, the lone Ranger and Tonto, Speedy Gonzalez and Harry Truman’s dog Feller. Despite this he got re-elected to the Senate in 1952 and continued to malign anyone he felt like having a pop at. By now Truman was out of office and Feller was left alone a little, although for the rest of his life, he was known to get a bit bitey if  he encountered a man who looked anything like Joseph McCarthy.

Thankfully, he went too far with Dwight D. Eisenhower when he started in on the army. Eisenhower was already a bit pissed off with McCarthy, but this made him go ballistic. While he remained a calm demeanour in public, in private he was saying to his closest aides, “It was bad enough when he went after that poor dog, but now he’s messing with the army, I’m going to kick that sonofabitch up the ass!” And he did. In a secret event that has never before been publicised, Eisenhower invited McCarthy for drinks and pretended that he had dropped his pen on the carpet. When McCarthy bent down to pick it up for him, Dwight took a run at his target and kicked him right up the arse. It was the beginning of the end for the old soak. Everyone started turning against him. Ed Murrow did a spot on his TV show wherein he stated that “McCarthy is an old drunk and a bastard liar.” and everyone who had been going “Yeah! That dog is a communist. Kill it!” was now all “Aw, the poor doggie. Shut the old drunk up!”

He continued to get all red in the face about communism (this was quite painful for him, as he’d see his face and hallucinate that it was turning into the Soviet flag) for another couple of years, but no one paid him any attention and so one of the bigger liars of history, met his end in obscurity in 1957. He was survived by Feller, who may or may not have peed on his grave.

Today would be the birthday of Brendan Behan, who met a premature death in 1964. Jaysus he was a grand aul soak! (that is Irish for “good golly, he liked a drink!”) and a fine writer. The drinking started early. Biographer Ulrick O’ Connor, tells the story of an 8-year-old Behan out with his grandmother. A passer-by was alarmed by the look of the lad and declared, “Oh my! Isn’t it terrible,

Brendan was a bugger for the bottle

Ma’am, to see such a beautiful child deformed?” Granny replied, “How dare you! He’s not deformed, he’s just drunk!” Brendan described himself as a drinker with a small writing problem. Unfortunately, the writing problem became smaller as the drinking became bigger. He left behind some great work, including The Quare Fellow and Borstal Boy, but he knew that his public reveled in his drinking and despite his diabetes and other health problems, the grand aul soak, drank himself to death. ‘Tis a coincidence and an irony that both of today’s entries involve men who were far too fond of the sauce. In the case of our first drunk, ’tis a grand aul shame that he didn’t drink himself to death earlier and in the case of the very wonderful and much missed, Brendan, ’tis an awful shame that he didn’t wean himself off the demon teat and live to write us a million more stories.

Happy birthday, you silly old fool, you may have been deformed by the drink, but you left a fine legacy behind you!

2 Comments

Filed under Almanac