This is fun

So, The Guardian runs a series for a week telling us all that concrete is the Very Devil. And now they run a page of responses. One of which is simply a tweet from someone picking up my own piece telling The Guardian they’re all wet.

These aren’t the same thing

If your cat is overweight or suffering from behavioural problems it might be worth looking in the mirror to find the reason.

New research carried out by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln has found a link between the personalities of cat owners and the behaviour and wellbeing of their pets.

The findings suggest that, just as a parent’s personality can affect the personality of a child, the same is true for a cat and their owner.

My personality affecting your is one thing. My behaviour affecting your behaviour another.

Say I kick the cat every time I enter the room. It’s only a pussy as dumb as Anna Soubry who’s going to sit quietly as I enter the room, isn’t it?

But that I’m a miser doesn’t mean that cat’s going to start storing mice heads.

Umm, what?

By definition, buybacks intend to punish the shareholders who sell and benefit those who don’t, which in RBS’s case involves the taxpayer.

Who is this idiot?

Simon Goodley is a Guardian business reporter

Like the Halal Butchery Reporter for Peppa Pig Weekly then.

Pre-announcement of buybacks shares are at one price. Post- at another. Those who sell into this new price have benefited just as much as those who hold on.

How could it be any other way? If those who sold into buybacks lost out they’d never sell into them, would they?


Part of our Ever Popular Series, Headlines In The Guardian Which Prove Betteridge’s Law.

What is the focus of sexual attention, which bit of sex is emphasised, changes with fashion. But not the attention nor the sex:

What women wear has always been part and parcel of sexual politics. But, 18 months after MeToo was born, has fashion’s centre of gravity moved away from sex?

That’s over here

Owen Jones and his suggestion that is.

As Andrew C points out:

Off topic but hilarious:

“Let’s give citizens free cash to save not-for-profit journalism”
says Owen Jones

Not for profit journalism being one thing I concede that Owen Jones and the Guardian are experts in.


For Owen is insisting that this £10 billion be spent upon his mates. Instead of £10 billion being spent upon what we want. You know, us out there, us whose money is being allocated. That we all have £200 more a year to allocate as we wish is a great idea. But what if our preferred allocation doesn’t include any form of media. Instead of a Pigeon Fanciers’ Monthly subscription, we’d prefer a few pigeon chicks? Instead of reams more of snowflake outpourings we’d prefer to Easyjet to the Alps for real snowflakes? What if, and perish the very thought of it of course, our desires for spending our money don’t conform to what Jones thinks it all should be spent upon?

Fortunately, we’ve a method of dealing with this. Jut cut taxes by £200 a head. Then we all go spend that on whatever it is that we want and not what Owen Jones thinks we should have. Everyone’s happy here – other than Owen and seriously folks, who gives a damn about that?

Why not try reading something other than the Guardian?

The same goes for the democratic emergency. Almost everywhere trust in governments, parliaments and elections is collapsing. Shared civic life is replaced by closed social circles that receive entirely different, often false, information. The widespread sense that politics has become so corrupted that it can no longer respond to ordinary people’s needs has provoked a demagogic backlash that in some countries begins to slide into fascism. But despite years of revelations about hidden spending, fake news, front groups and micro-targeted ads on social media, almost nothing has changed.

There are other newspapers, some of which even print some of the truth.

Well, yes

Woman dies after being stabbed to death by fellow motorist in Surrey

The “to death” part tells us she died, doesn’t it?

Headline writing used to be a skilled trade……perhaps an art, an arcane one and part of the subs’ toolbox. But we no longer have subs these days….

I’ve forgotten why

A former New York Times executive editor has been accused of plagiarism in a new book looking at how journalism has evolved over the last decade.

Jill Abramson, whose book Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts was published this week, has denied claims of plagiarism but promised to “review the passages in question”.

The claims were made by Vice journalist Michael Moynihan, who accused Abramson of lifting passages from publications such as The New Yorker, Time Out and the Columbia Journalism Review.

The forgotten being why Abramson left – or had to leave? – the NYT. And I’m not interested enough to go look it up. Her Guardian pieces don’t fill with enough glee to bother. They’re not loopy enough to mock, wrong enough to fact check. Just very boring mainstream – mainstream for a NYC liberal that is, considerably loopy by real world standards but still not sui generis. I’ve never seen any piece where she’s said anything you could’t guess at before reading once you knew the underlying subject.

Now we know why of course, we’d read it before elsewhere.

Other things that don’t work

“Buzzfeed is the most important news organisation in the world,” wrote Ben Thompson, a technology analyst closely followed by the Silicon Valley set.

By rejecting advertising in favour of advertorials distributed via the same social media channels as its journalism, Thompson believed Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti had created a new kind of media organisation that “perfectly aligned” the interests of staff and readers. With no need to write so-called clickbait to attract big audiences for advertisers, for the first time digital journalists would be completely free of commercial concerns.

That’s to rather miss the point of journalism, which is filling in the white spaces between the ads.

That we call them advertorials doesn’t change that the people paying want the audience to see them….

Not that I’m managing this myself, but….

On Wednesday, HuffPost’s parent company, Verizon Media Group, and BuzzFeed both announced plans to lay off hundreds of staff. The news signalled a collision between the dream of an online media boom and the accountants’ harsher reality: questions over the long-term profitability of digital media companies, and, as a result, concerns over the future of online journalism itself.

“What if there is literally no profitable model for digital news? Or none that actually scales and endures without, say, the established readership base and brand of the New York Times?” asked the MSNBC presenter Chris Hayes, summarising a growing fear among media executives that the current model of paying for journalism on the internet is broken.

Well, yes.

Or perhaps this should be viewed from the other way around? Why not look at the revenue and think about what can be done with that?

Had a few contacts recently. Emails from people at HuffPo, FastCompany etc. Journos looking to write a story. And they’re using the American methods. Nothing is ever actually just said. It’s always “So and so told us that”. Which is time consuming and expensive, you’ve got to go look for the quotes which build the story the way you want it. Takes days to stitch together something this way. It’s also the American way of journalism.

The English has always been a bit more direct. And perhaps online needs it to be even simpler?

Another way to put this is if online revenues won’t support the American newsroom techniques why not go look for the techniques that will be supported by the revenues?

Entirely agreed I’m not doing it either but someone, somewhere, will.

Quite so, quite so

What may seem like poverty pay to a Guardian reader need not be so for a worker in Bangladesh (Revealed: the poverty pay behind the charity slogan, 21 January). A pound is worth roughly a hundred taka, so 35p is 35 taka. If someone works 40 hours a week, she would make £14 a week. The per capita income of Bangladesh is £1,400 (£3,650 in purchasing power parity). If she were employed for 50 weeks she would make up to half the per capita income – not rich, but not poor by local poverty standards.

Wages in Bangladesh are not determined by Comic Relief but by average productivity of labour. Bangladesh could use the employment provided by Comic Relief. If the “radical anger” of Guardian readers leads to cancellation of the contract, the Guardian readers may be happy, but not the Bangladeshi workers.

Wages in Bangladesh will take another 50 years to catch up with the UK. The economy is growing healthily. It can grow because its low wage attracts orders and helps exports. Leave it alone to grow.
Meghnad Desai
Labour, House of Lords

A glorious complaint don’t you think?

The entire website of Elon Musk’s private charitable foundation is shorter than many of the Tesla CEO’s contentious tweets. “Musk Foundation. Grants are made in support of: Renewable energy research and advocacy; Human space exploration research and advocacy; Pediatric research; Science and engineering education,” the site reads.

Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal how the foundation has put that vague mission statement into practice. Together, the documents show that many of the organization’s donations have gone far beyond its stated scope. Some have benefited the billionaire’s own initiatives and, indirectly, his family, while others have tackled his pet peeves – the foundation has given more money to artificial intelligence research than to any of the more traditional charities it says it supports.

Billionaire spends his charitable donations on things which he thinks important – that being what a peeve is.

How we get to hundreds

Exposed: the horror Zimbabwe is hiding behind a news blackout

I’d believe it, certainly.

Hundreds of people, including children as young as 10, have been killed

Really? Shit!

And then:

Hundreds of people, including children as young as 10, have been killed or beaten in Zimbabwe


No, government killing people, government beating people, both wrong. And yet Blair Peach was not British government beats demonstrators to death was it? A demonstrator, possibly….