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Mr Grumpy can now be found posting at

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Pope and gay priests

What's come over the Grauniad? You'd expect the Vatican document to be a red rag to a bull, producing a reaction like this. This is also predictable stuff. But then there's this. Praise the Lord!

How simple does it have to be made? The Roman Catholic Church has a celibate priesthood. If you don't like it, find yourself another job or another church. There has been a problem with men entering the priesthood believing celibate is just for straights. There has been an extremely expensive and damaging problem with some of these men believing it doesn't apply to them even if they fancy one of the altar boys. That's why there's a document. No hidden agendas. Just the need for the Church to restore a basic level of credibility.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Why oh why can't we talk about the real issues?

'In the absence of analysis, voter choices are hardly more meaningful than the options of reality television. Dial 02 for Adair Turner's pension plan or 03 for Gordon Brown's; 04 to withdraw troops from Iraq or 05 to keep them there; 06 to replace Trident or 07 to scrap it.'

I offer a link to this piece in the Observer not because it's worth reading but just for the fun of adding an extra layer of media self-referentiality. Anyone who wishes to link to this post and supply a commentary lamenting Mr Grumpy's preoccupation with media froth is very welcome to do so. And dial 08 to watch Z-list celebrity Mr G consuming marsupial gonads.

Friday, November 25, 2005

This is the Word of the errh...

Changing the subject completely, Mr Grumpy read one of the lessons in church on Sunday. This is a verse from it:-

'As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.' (Ezekiel 34:12)

But not quite, because we have long since ditched the sublime King James Version. Here's what we got in the New Reviled Standard Version:-

'As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.'

Leaving aside the literary merits of the changes, why has the shepherd gone forth and multiplied? You're there before me, but just in case you need a hint, here's an extract from the preface to the New Despised Standard Version, by Bruce M. Metzger on behalf of the Committee of translators:-

'The mandates from the Division [of Education and Ministry of the National Council of Churches of Christ] specified that, in references to men and women, masculine-oriented language should be eliminated as far as this can be done without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture. As can be appreciated, the Committee found that the several mandates stood in tension and even in conflict.'

Which is being interpreted, we wanted to translate accurately but we were told we had to be PC.

The high point of this idiocy is reached in the story of Christ's entry into Jerusalem, where the quote from Psalm 118 with which the crowds hail Jesus is no longer 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord' (as it still is in the liturgy - how much longer?) but 'Blessed is the one...' (see Matthew 21:9 and Mark 11:9). In Luke's version (ch. 19:38) we still have 'Blessed is the king who comes..'. Doubtless we must await the next revision to see this corrected to 'monarch'.

By the way, Grumpy re-singularized the shepherd, and hasn't had any complaints so far.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Chomsky and friend - slippery customers

In the spat over Emma Brockes’ Guardian interview with Noam Chomsky, the latest development is a contribution from Diana Johnstone, whose book about the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia Chomsky was so keen to see published.

Another slippery customer.

She doesn’t quite manage to deny that she minimized the severity of the Srebrenica massacre, nor does she quite manage to admit that is really does stand out as the worst atrocity of the whole conflict. What she does do is claim that there was a campaign to drum up support for a NATO intervention in which a key premise was that the situation was like the Holocaust.

To which I say, cobblers. I don’t recall anyone worth taking notice of saying anything of the kind, and from the fact that she is totally unspecific as to who is supposed to have made this claim, I deduce that she doesn’t either.

What certainly was said was that the Bosnian Muslims were the victims of an unprovoked and brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing - a term first used in this context, I believe. And Ms Johnstone’s take on that? She insinuates that it is a ‘Manichaean’ view of the conflict, but delicately avoids asserting that it was actually wrong. Plenty of Muslims read the Guardian these days, don't they?

A very slippery customer indeed.

On Chomsky himself, and the Guardian’s apology and suppression of the 'offending' interview, see (of course) Oliver Kamm.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tough love from Madeleine

Who'd'a' thought it? Madeleine Bunting lecturing young Muslims on 'tough love' under the headline 'Why Muslims must guard against the satisfactions of complaint'.

But don't worry, our Madeleine of the Sorrows (Norman Geras, not me) hasn't moved too far out of character. This is a gem:-

'As alcohol consumption has soared in the past two decades, Muslims have been left to negotiate its centrality in British social life - at work, school or university, or as neighbours - with great difficulty. Alcohol is probably now one of the most effective and unquestioned forms of exclusion practised in the UK, affecting every kind of social network.'

Speaking personally, I find a little pub culture goes a long way, so I do have a degree of sympathy. But it has never before occurred to me to complain of exclusion. And I have no idea what the best guess for Alcoholics Anonymous's UK membership is, but they certainly make up a substantial constituency of the 'socially excluded'.

It really isn't a problem to go to the pub and not drink, is it? But maybe it gets more difficult if your beliefs confer moral superiority over the drinkers. And could it be that part of the real problem with pub culture lies elsewhere - in the unregulated mixing of the sexes, say?

Then there's this:-

'And then there are the thinly concealed intentions; for example, the government's current proposals to regulate "places of worship" aimed at mosques is an unprecedented intrusion of the state into the affairs of a religious institution that could take Muslim alienation to a whole new level. '

Well, I think you'll find that state interference in religion has plenty of precedent in British history - the terms 'Dissenter' and 'Nonconformist' reflect some pretty hefty levels of social and political exclusion, after all. But I grant that the phenomenon of place of worship as terrorist recruitment office doesn't have too many recent precedents as an argument for interference.


The Beeb on the Egyptian elections:-

An Islamist supporter was killed by a gang of thugs in Alexandria on Sunday, monitors said.

'Militants', surely?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Clinton the stopper?

Did Bill Clinton say, as the Independent’s Rupert Cornwell claims, that ‘the war in Iraq was "a big mistake"’. Yes and no, it seems, but more no than yes. The AP report quotes him as saying ‘The mistake that they made is that when they kicked out Saddam, they decided to dismantle the whole authority structure of Iraq’. Nothing in the report suggests that he condemned the invasion per se.

Did he say anything remotely resembling ‘the sooner American troops leave the better’? No, that is Mr Cornwell’s view, echoing the comments of a congressman whom, I am wiling to bet, not one Indie reader in a thousand has ever heard of. What Clinton did say was ‘We never sent enough troops and didn't have enough troops to control or seal the borders.’ Which doesn’t exactly make him a ‘stopper’. But clearly if you want an eye-catching headline Congressman John Murtha doesn’t quite do the business. So ‘Clinton: The big mistake of the Iraq war - Ex-President leads the critics’ it is.

Is the Independent even trying to be a newspaper of record these days?

The benefits of hindsight

‘Had we intervened in Rwanda in 1994, for instance, we might have stopped the genocide that killed nearly a million innocent civilians.’

The LA Times, for a change, but the suggestion is no stranger to the British papers that lead anti-Iraq war opinion.

What’s interesting is that the assertion draws its force from the fact that it didn’t happen.

Imagine that Clinton had sent troops in and (a more athletic stretch of the imagination) they had been spectacularly successful in stopping the bloodshed. Would he have gone down in left-liberal opinion as:

(a) a great humanitarian who saved hundreds of thousands of lives


(b) a cynical imperialist who must have got wind of Rwanda’s previously unknown oil reserves?

The old Adam

We all know about the brutal overthrow of the Inca and Aztec empires by the conquistadors. Now comes evidence that the fall of the Mayas, seven centuries before Europeans set foot in Latin America, was a no less gruesome affair. Just human nature, I’m afraid.

Torture in Iraq - not fit for the Grauniad to print

Dear Editor,

Whilst naturally you are right to condemn the use of torture by Iraqi government forces, you would do well to remember the principles underlying your enthusiasm for the admission of Turkey into the EU, notwithstanding the ongoing human rights abuses in that country. Iraq is a profoundly brutalized and traumatized nation and is not going to turn into a model democracy overnight. However, a popularly endorsed democratic constitution creates a space for improvement that would never have existed under Saddam Hussain – and one does not need to have been a supporter of the invasion (I was not) to acknowledge this.

Yours faithfully...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The wisdom of Gary Younge on the French riots:-

‘And the reality is that none of this would have happened without riots. There was no petition these young people could have signed, no peaceful march they could have held, no letter they could have written to their MPs that would have produced these results.’

‘These results’ including ‘10 boarding schools for those who want to leave their estates to study’ – good progressive stuff, eh, Gary?

How many petitions, peaceful marches and letter-writing campaigns did la yoof organize before turning to rioting? I take it the answer is 'not many'. So in fact we don't know what they would or wouldn't have achieved, do we?

‘When all non-violent, democratic means of achieving a just end are unavailable, redundant or exhausted, rioting is justifiable.’

And if rioting turns out not to have done the trick after all, what else will be justifiable? A bomb or two on the Métro, maybe?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

That French riots story in full

Deep waters here, but the general drift appears to be as follows:-

Some oppressed youths began rioting in really quite a small sort of way, but then along came a very unpleasant government minister called Monsieur Sarky and told them they were scum. They were naturally dreadfully upset about this and set about proving him wrong. Score to date: one burnt-out synagogue, two burnt-out churches and one 61-year-old man beaten into a coma whilst trying to put out a fire in a rubbish bin. Whether Monsieur Sarky has got the message yet is not clear.

If anyone wants to call their blog Monsieur Sarky, pardon mon vieux, but I have asserted my moral right.

Chomsky, you @#*%

Great minds think alike, even if they use slightly different terminology. What would the vicar say if Mr Grumpy were to call Chomsky what the Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for WAR call him? So I'm afraid this site has to stick with 'twat'.

That Oliver Kamm's a smart lad. You can't expect quite the incisive analysis you get from self and the Popinjays, of course, but he tries hard. Required reading for all Chomskyites.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A slippery, sanctimonious twat (no, not me)

Being the world’s top public intellectual means never having to say ‘sorry, I was wrong’, because even your wrongness is more right than lesser mortals’ rightness…

Given the immense global success of the Chomsky brand, I can only rejoice at seeing the man so adroitly kebabed by the Guardian’s Emma Brockes, who makes so much sense that I assume she is operating in a province of the Grauniad empire where Seumas’s writ doesn’t run.

The pity is that he undoubtedly will not allow himself the faintest inkling as to what a slippery, sanctimonious twat he comes across as. Hard words from a Christian, but the good thing about Christianity is that you can be a slippery, sanctimonious twat and it’s OK because God loves you anyway. He even loves an irascible old curmudgeon like Mr Grumpy. Chomsky is determined to trust in his own righteousness, and the strain shows.