»  Radio Derb — Transcript

        Friday, June 10th, 2005

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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]

01 — Intro.     Sorry about the lacuna there, Radio Derb fans. Duty called me away. So now I have two weeks of national and world lunacy to catch up on. Let's get to it.

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02 — Deep Throat unmasked.     The big news item of the last few days in U.S. politics was the unmasking of Deep Throat, the guy who ratted on President Nixon back in 1974. It turned out to be some guy named Mark Felt, who was miffed at being passed over for a top job.

Approximately ten thousand opinion pieces came out under the headline Hero or Villain. Well, he's a villain in my book. I'd give him five years jail time for betraying his FBI oath, plus a further 25-to-life, to run consecutivel,y for the way he puffed up the egos of a whole generation of American journalists.

Yeah, I know the guy's 91 years old, but medical science can do wonders nowadays.

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03 — They hired the money, didn't they?.     I'm sorry to quote my great political hero Calvin Coolidge twice in two broadcasts, but events insist on it.

Back in 1925 when someone suggested to Cal that the United States should write off the World War One debts of the European countries, the Vermont sage replied: "They hired the money, didn't they?"

Fast forward 80 years. Here are Bob Geldof, who's some kind of pop star and, Bono, who's one of those 70s people with only one name, urging us to forgive African debt. Geldof and Bono also want us to double development aid to Africa. You know: all that money like what the Swedish government gave to Tanzania for 30 years, with the result that Tanzania is now one of the best-developed nations in the world.

Bono had a meeting with Jose Manual Barroso, European Commission President — there's glory for you! — who said, quote: "We have some problems in Europe, but those problems are nothing compared with those people who are dying every day."

Wow. So people don't die anymore in Europe? Actually, the way the European economies are going, just stick around for twenty years or so and the Africans will be sending development aid to them.

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04 — Jimmy Carter is embarrassed.     See if you can guess who I'm quoting here.

The U.S. continues to suffer terrible embarrassment and a blow to our reputation because of reports concerning abuses of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo.

Okay, who Was it? Some Amnesty International spokesweenie? No, that was Jimmy Carter who — just gulp and say it, man — was once President of the United States.

Speaking at a human rights conference in Atlanta, the worst U.S. president ever said: "The United States needs to make sure that no Guantánamo Bay detainees are held incommunicado and that all are told the charges against them."

Darn right. They should also have cable TV, weight rooms, free tennis instruction, and conjugal visits. What kind of country are we, anyway?

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05 — New European Man? Not yet.     According to the proposed European Constitution May 9th was going to be Europe Day for the people of the continent.

This will not now be happening. Instead the actual people of France and Holland, in a disgraceful show of disrespect to the selfless public servants who are trying so hard to bring them together in an orderly system of bureaucratic socialism, had a couple of Dump Europe Days, voting down the suggested Constitution — which, by the way, ran to five hundred pages.

The creation of new European man is still something way off apparently. For the time being we're stuck with good old Germans, Italians, Dutch and Frenchman. Cue Flanders and Swann:

And crossing the Channel, one cannot say much
For the French or the Spanish, the Danish or Dutch.
The Germans are German, the Russians are red;
And the Greeks and Italians eat garlic in bed!

        The English are moral, the English are good,         And clever, and modest, and misunderstood.

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06 — One dead astronaut per eight Shuttle flights.     The Widow Maker — oh, sorry: I mean the Space Shuttle — is to be rolled out for a probable July launch.

We have three of these vehicles left now, two having blown up. They have a book value of around four billion apiece, and each launch costs around half a billion. That's the ones that go up and come down as scheduled. The ones that blow up cost a lot more, what with investigations and insurance and so on.

It's all in a good cause though. The fourteen astronauts who have so far died — that's one dead astronaut per eight Shuttle flights — did not die in vain. They died in order that … let's see, I'm just reading from some of the mission logs … they died in order that we could manufacture ultra pure gallium arsenide crystals and, uh, observe how fruit flies adapt to weightlessness.

May the dead astronauts rest in peace; and may the Shuttle program soon do the same.

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07 — White Christians are bad, say Dems.     Howard Dean thinks the GOP is a white Christian party. Furthermore, he thinks that's bad.

Well, we all know how wicked white people are — in my kids' Social Studies classes they teach little else — but I didn't realize that Christians are supposed to be evil too.

Well, perhaps Christians only evil if they're white. So Jesse Jackson — oh, sorry: I forgot to say "The Reverend" — and Desmond Tutu are cool.

Of course, if you're an animal rights activist, people are bad — even unchristian and unwhite people — compared with our finned and feathered and four-legged moral superiors.

This Political Correctness stuff is really hard to figure out, isn't it? To get started forming a party that Howard Dean could approve of I guess you would need as your nucleus some dark-colored Muslim pandas.

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08 — Ask a a policeman if he's gay.     If you want to know the time, ask a policeman. That's what I was always taught.

Then, assuming you're in England, you might ask him if he'll be attending Celebrate. Celebrate: That's the name of a European gay police conference to be held in London at the end of this month.

The central theme, it says here on www.gay.police.uk, is, quote, "to actively celebrate difference, not merely to tolerate or even respect it."

Let me just dwell on that for a moment. You tolerate homosexuality? Well, then, you're a hateful bigot. Oh, you respect homosexuality? Then you're merely benighted. To fully belong to the human race you have to celebrate it, see? Actively.

Excuse me, how do I actively celebrate homosexuality? I guess I could ask a policeman.

I have, as it happens, found the webpage that lists all the various workshops to be held at Celebrate. Quote: "Monitoring sexual orientation in the police service." Another quote: "Strategies for lobbying government and negotiating with chief officers." A third quote: "A Pan-European look at same-sex pension inequality." Another one: "Strategies for dealing with an institutionally homophobic press." And a last one: "Songs of hate: policing, homophobic lyrics."

Not much there about catching robbers and murderers. Oh, well, I guess celebrating diversity is much more important than all that boring, dangerous old police stuff.

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09 — Britain's new state religion: Islamopandering.     Still in Britain: The government over there has unveiled a proposed new law to ban all incitement to religious hatred. The maximum sentence for those found guilty will be seven years in prison.

Not to worry, though. The government has promised that the new law will not affect criticism, commentary, or ridicule of faiths. You know, just like Hubert Humphrey promised to eat the Civil Rights Act if it lead to racial quota systems; just as Edward Kennedy swore up and down that the 1965 Immigration Act would not lead to uncontrolled floods of low-skilled workers. You can trust these guys!

The interesting question here, of course, is: Which religions are going to be protected from rude words? Christianity? Don't bet on it.

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10 — Venice Biennale report.     Did you know that the Venice Biennale is coming up on June twelfth? That's the world showcase of avant-garde art. Let's see who will be exhibiting this year.

Representing Britain we have Gilbert and George who said, apparently in unison — I'm quoting from the BBC — "We are delighted and promise to do our very worst." You'd better believe them. Among their works exhibited in previous years have been one named Sperm Eaters and another one named Bum Holes. Hey, I'm just quoting from a press release here.

And then we have Ricky Swallow from Australia quote, much of his work riffs on mortality such as his brilliantly grisly iMan Prototypes — desktop computers with a skull instead of a screen. Wow — ust like Caravaggio!

Then we have Gabríela Friðriksdíttir from Iceland exhibiting quote, a film of singer Björk — I think that's how you pronounce it, Björk — in which the Icelandic pixie is doubled up as the Venus of Willendorf and gives birth to a sticky demon. Hm.

Uh, who else we got? "Well known in her homeland" — I'm quoting again here — "Miyako Ishiuchi of Japan will display 33 photographs fromMothers …" that's the title, Mothers, "… a 2002 series that documented her mother and her personal possessions just before she died. The objects — lipsticks, chemises and girdles, assorted false teeth, and combs still clumped with hair — have a solemn elegiac formality. More intimate are the close-ups of her mother's body."

And so on. My own submission, I'm sorry to say, was not accepted. It would have caused quite a stir, I feel sure. It was a still life: you know, fruit in a bowl, empty wine bottle, that sort of thing. Too revolutionary, I guess.

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11 — Signoff.     Okay, folks, we're up to date.

All you good people of the Midwest: We're expecting to see you formed up nicely in companies and battalions at the Chicago bash on the 23rd of this month. So if you haven't booked yet, get on it!

More from Radio Derb next week.

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[Music clip: More Derbyshire Marches.]