Friday, 15 July 2011

Light Years

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is this piece of news.

In the run up to last year's general election, I read a UKIP leaflet. One in which the party had managed to spell its own name. Unlike this one, from Metro:


I'd vote for a Dance Party. Everything about that leaflet is hilarious. The misspelling, the way South Ribble sounds like a place made up by Blackadder, the fact that he owns a pet crematorium, and that he looks exactly like someone who would own a pet crematorium.

The UKIP candidate for my home constituency of St Albans was John Stocker, the father of a drama teacher at my secondary school who once made me cry. I'm fine. I'M FINE. I once spoke to John Stocker, and his opening gambit was to say 'we are not a racist party.' An oddly defensive first line. He went on to tell me that he had a number of Asian friends. Like a huge steaming pile of cliché.

Anyway, his leaflet listed a number of AWFUL things that the EU was doing. Among them was the DISGUSTING fact that the EU is making us use energy saving light bulbs. The EU is worse than Hitler.

And then today I saw this story about the Republicans fighting to repeal a bill that aimed to increase light bulb efficiency by 25%, by promoting energy saving lightbulbs. I find this whole attack on energy saving light bulbs utterly baffling. Yes, they take a little longer to get bright. But I'd argue that it's a sacrifice worth making. As energy saving methods go, this one is easy. It requires no further effort or expense. (While the bulbs cost more than the old ones, they're more efficient so should save a household around £50 per year.) I'm no great champion of environmental causes; I like nothing more than to go round my house needlessly switching on electrical devices. But this just seems obvious, and I thought it would be an agreeable, uncontentious policy. But clearly I'm an idiot.

So why do these people hate energy saving light bulbs? Well I don't fucking know. And let's face it, neither do they. Apart from some unconvincing half-arguments about them being a 'threat to health', UKIP appear to oppose them purely on principle; the EU says it so it must be bad. As for the US Republicans, they see the fight for the old light bulbs as a fight for 'personal liberty.' The Republicans are funny with their freedom rhetoric aren't they? They love freedom when it's freedom to have a light bulb, or a gun, but when it's freedom to have an abortion, or marry someone of the same sex, they hate it. Sorry, did I say funny? I meant despicable.

The whole thing is ridiculous. These are just fucking light bulbs! It's ILLUMINATING to see how some people would rather be in the DARK when it comes to basic decency, but I suppose they're not very BRIGHT. I mean they're cunts.

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has promised, 'President Bachmann will allow you to buy any light bulb you want.' Finally, a candidate who understands the important issues! I wish people would shut up about the boring economy and foreign policy and get down to the serious light bulb agenda. I'm off to get on the first flight to the US where I intend to become a citizen and vote for Bachmann a gazillion times. But seriously, I'm worried she might secretly be a moth.

Thanks for reading, I will leave you with my joke on the subject, and the Jamiroquai song (and cool snowboarding video) that this blog is named after. Enjoy!

How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb? A two-thirds majority.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

I Got Pictures On My Mind

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is political cartoons.

The stupidity of political cartoons has been observed by the brilliant The Trap in one of their brilliant Sodcasts, as a Hate. So go find and listen to that particular Sodcast and they'll explain what's wrong with political cartoons better than I can. Seriously, stop reading this and go listen. Stop! Now!

Fine. So today I went to visit my great-uncle in hospital (after the fun of cleaning his toilet.) and we eventually got to see him, after the receptionist insisted that he wasn't in the ward we'd been told. He was. As was an empty bed, which definitely and unequivocally disproves all this nonsense about overcrowded hospitals. While my mum talked to him I flicked through the New Statesman and all the fun and elation of being in a hospital cancer ward left me.

Tim Kirby's political cartoon was awful as usual. It isn't online, but here's one of his that is:



1. It isn't funny or clever. A good political cartoon is funny and clever, or at least just clever.
2. It's mostly words. A good political cartoon does not rely on too many words. The joke or point should be contained in the picture. Contrived labels to create visual metaphors are unacceptable.
3. It's not even a good drawing. A good political cartoon is well drawn.

Oh and here's what I mean by using contrived labels to create visual metaphors:


Ah of course, it's the Privatisation wolf in the sheep's clothing of Reform. And Rowan Williams is... a shepherd? The speech bubble is just redundant. People tend to talk strangely in political cartoons. I agree with the argument, but it all just makes the picture confusing and annoying. If you need to label everything for it to make sense, then rethink it. The problem most of the time is that too much is crammed in, leaving us with unwieldily long captions and stupid labels. I can do that.


See? Oh yeah, fish puns were another of The Trap's Hates.

And then there's The Guardian's Steve Bell, who I generally just don't really understand.


All that said, I do love Chris Riddell, if just because he fulfils the 3rd condition of good political cartoons; his drawings are brilliant.

I will leave you with the System Of A Down song from which the title of this blog is taken; Pictures. Enjoy!