This is the news.

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I’ve spent most of the day wondering quite how the Daily Express would respond to the publication of the Operation Paget Report, a 3-year investigation into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, which concluded that her death was, in fact, an accident.

The Daily Express is a little obsessed with DianaPoW. This year alone she’s graced their front page 53 times, mostly on Mondays. The Wikipedia article on the Daily Express uses my all-time favourite DE front page:

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I like how it neatly ties together the Express’s two main themes. Love Diana, Hate Darkies.

The Daily Express is truly industrious in its exploitation of the death of DianaPoW. Just when you think they’ve covered every angle of the story, they’ll find an old one to rehash. Even the BBC, a stranger to wit and irony, has found cause to mock:

And what’s this? It’s a Wednesday and there’s Princess Diana smiling prettily from the front page of the Daily Express.

Are they messing with our minds at Desmond Towers? For she was on the front page on Tuesday too. That, thanks to the Bank Holiday, was the first day of the working week, so Tuesday was in effect Monday (a day on which the paper found room for its favourite princess on the front page, as tradition dictates).

So, how did the Express choose to cover the publication of the Operation Paget Report? Let’s turn first to another fine newspaper, The Sun, for some relatively objective coverage:

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And now the Express, bastion of the middle classes, and the first British paper to carry a crossword:

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First, let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that the Express won’t stop asking the key questions. Phew. And then let’s ask one of our own. Why do people buy the Express anyway? My brother has a theory:

There’s probably a few hundred thousand little old ladies living in Greenwich with Alzheimers who buy it every day and don’t even realise it’s a different paper every time. Groundhog Day for middle-class colostomy baggers.

Which reminds of a story a Kentuckian ex-girlfriend once told me, about when she visited her Grandpa who was suffering from Alzheimers, and saw he was reading a three-week old newspaper, and said, “Grandpa, that newspaper is three weeks old.” To which he replied, “It’s news to me.”

*Images kindly provided by the Notwelshman, and his merry band of dribbling idiots.

Nihilist seeks nothing.

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This review of a compilation of LRB personal ads led to the ferreting out of these lovely things, which prove if nothing else that the art of self-deprecation is alive and well:

I wrote this ad to prove I’m not gay. Man, 29. Not gay. Absolutely not. Box no. 2205

Beneath this hostile museum curator’s exterior lies a hostile museum curator’s interior. F, 38. Box no. 13/07

‘Scarface’, ‘Mad Dog’, ‘Pretty Boy’, ‘Baby Face’ – if I had an
underworld crime nickname it would be ‘Screwed by Ex-Wife’s Solicitor
and Currently Sleeping in a Caravan’. Man, 42. Screwed by ex-wife’s
solicitor and currently sleeping in a caravan. Box no. 14/06

My hobbies include crying and hating men. F., 29. Box no. 14/10

All humans are 99.9% genetically identical, so don’t even think of
ending any potential relationship begun here with ‘I just don’t think
we have enough in common’. Science has long since proven that I am the
man for you (41, likes to be referred to as ‘Wing Commander’ in the
bedroom). Box no. 10/11

and finally, compare this three-word classic from the LRB “Misery, seeks company” with a representative example from the New York Review of Books:

“Passionate, stunning, sassy and dynamic maverick with loving heart. Considered adorable and cute. Combines athletic outdoorsyness with easy sophistication. Accomplished consultant and educator, serves on cultural, educational, environmental boards. Willowy, athletic, very physical with slender dancer’s body. Loves entetaining friends, brainstorming, playing with ideas, theater (classical, contemporary, cutting edge), jazz clubs, sailing, skiing, golf, South of France, most of Italy, Australia. Interested in the world – politics, people, the arts, finance, everything on the forny page and more…”

That slice of Italy she doesn’t like must be crying itself to sleep at night (on it’s gigantic pillow.)

More from PKD:

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The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides taught that the only things that are real are things which never change… and the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus taught that everything changes. If you superimpose their two views, you get this result: Nothing is real. There is a fascinating next step to this line of thinking: Parmenides could never have existed because he grew old and died and disappeared, so, according to his own philosophy, he did not exist. And Heraclitus may have been right—let’s not forget that; so if Heraclitus was right, then Parmenides did exist, and therefore, according to Heraclitus’ philosophy, perhaps Parmenides was right, since Parmenides fulfilled the conditions, the criteria, by which Heraclitus judged things real. I offer this merely to show that as soon as you begin to ask what is ultimately real, you right away begin talk nonsense.

and

Fake realities will create fake humans. Or, fake humans will generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them, eventually, into forgeries of themselves. So we wind up with fake humans inventing fake realities and then peddling them to other fake humans. It is just a very large version of Disneyland.

via :

Why we worship Charlie Brooker

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Scientology is a spoof religion followed by several high-profile Hollywood stars, every single one of whom is doing it for a bet just to see how long they can fool Tom Cruise.
Advanced followers of Scientology believe an alien ruler called Xenu brought his people to Earth 75m years ago, gathered them round a volcano and obliterated them with a series of nuclear blasts; their displaced souls are responsible for many of mankind’s ills. This is hilariously implausible and richly deserving of open derision, unlike, say, the belief that a man who got nailed to a couple of planks more than 2,000 years ago is your best friend and saviour.
When not being laughed at, Scientology is viewed with suspicion; many members of the public consider it a sinister cult hell-bent on gathering as much money, power, and influence as possible, unlike all other religious movements, every single one of which deserves forelock-tugging respect and unquestioning indulgence of its every crackpot whim.

from The Grauniad

Stick figures in peril – Hayulp! Hayulp!

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Today I encountered the astounding world of stick figures in peril. I have two theories on this: the first is that sign designers have pretty monotonous jobs. There’s almost no way to make a No Left Turn sign interesting. But ask a graphic artist to make a sign involving stickular representations of people, and I can see the thought bubble plinking into existence over their heads saying: “Hilarity must ensue, or my life will have amounted to nothing. Nothing!” And, according to this fine map the most profligate designers of subversive signage live in Germany. Who’d have thunk? None live or work in Portugal. Such frivolity there would be punished by a stiff beating with a shard of bacalhau.

My second theory is that at some point in the past or future, evil scientists [or possibly fish] develop a raygun capable of removing the third dimension from a discrete chunk of space – a body, for example. Deprived of their third dimension and all the joys that allows- sex, food, music, smoking, hitting stupid people with a pointed stick – these people have gradually withered, and become simpler, straighter, stickier. And these signs that surround us are their art, their theatre. The remains of their lives. They have much to teach us, if only we could decode them, for example:

“Looks like Napoleon fell off his bike again.
Lesson: Never fight a land war in Asia on a bicycle.”

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via Isoglossia

In other news, it’s a clear cold night in London, and I can see Canary Wharf twinkling in the distance.

alphagoogle

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The alphabet according to Google Suggest

a = amazon
b = bbc
c = currency converter
d = dictionary
e = ebay
f = firefox
g = gmail
h = hotmail
i = ikea
j = jokes
k = kelly blue book
l = lyrics
m = mapquest
n = news
o = orbitz
p = paris hilton
q = quotes
r = ryanair
s = spybot
t = target
u = ups
v = valentines day
w = weather
x = xbox
y = yahoo
z = zip codes

Paris bloody Hilton. In the long-distant future, people will examine the internet archive, and pore over every link, and look for an answer as to why she ever came to prominence. Then, as now, they will fail.