Dear Flying Spaghetti Monster…

please, oh please let Sarah Palin run for presidency, so we can have Bachmann, Perry and the Palster herself slugging it out on prime time tv.

Best TV ever!

Thank you, your noodly appendage.

Oh Americans, how lucky you are.

And so it has started again. The best show on earth has started to rumble into gear again, swallowing thousands of journalists, creating millions of pages of print, thousands of hours of TV and keeping the nuttiest bloggers on earth in business (and, of course, giving Rupert Murdoch the chance to poison another 59 million minds by ramping up Fox News coverage and spreading his “neutral and unbiased” opininions over 5 continents). Yes, it’s the American Presidential elections, and this year could be an especially brillant one. If we’re really, really lucky, some of the nuttiest right-wingers ever could turf it out among themselves, turning the whole process of the Republican primaries into one giant freak show that is likely to be more entertaining than anything that Aaron Sorkin has ever dreamed of writing.

The prospect of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann slugging it out on a stage while Mitt Romney looks on grinning is just too exciting to contemplate, and I envy the nation that has the pleasure of witnessing this thoroughly entertaining process every 4 years. Here in the UK the best we can hope for is one aspiring Labour/Conservative/Liberal candidate calling the other one ‘spent’.

So I raise my glass to you, the happy citizens of the U.S. and especially to Sarah, Michelle and Newt and with baited breath shout

“Bring it on!”

Terry Pratchett’s ‘Nation’

I can’t remember the last time I cried while I was reading a book, but Terry Pratchett’s Nation certainly did produce a bit of a sniffle today. The first book by Pratchett not set on Discworld since, er, Good Omens, I think, is not only a philosophical masterpiece but also side-splittingly, laugh out loud funny. I think only Pratchett (and sometimes Dawkins) can get this combination right.

In ‘Nation‘ we witness the ancient struggle between belief and reality: If the gods (or god) exists, why is there so much  wrong with this world? Is the proof for supernatural belief a loads of of old twaddle? These age old questions are set on an idyllic island in an alternative reality Pacific Ocean that has just hit by an enormous tsunami, wiping out it’s population. Only a 13 year old inhabitant and an English girl (that was stranded with the schooner she was travelling on) are left on the tropical paradise that is slowly but surely filling up with refugees. In between making beer, defending the island from cannibals and negotiating with the British Crown these two have to come to terms (no, not with their sexuality. This is not Blue Lagoon) with their inner and cultural daemons. While I was looking forward to another Discworld and some Shenanigans of Vimes and his posse, this book is very welcome in a time when the secular western world is under attack from the Sarah Palins of our time.

‘Nation’ is tender, humane, a delight to read, very moving, and has maybe the best ending of all of Pratchett’s books.

I’ll now read it again.

Republican America: An alternative Reality.

Judith Warner, who blogs for the NYT, did the ultimate experiment: she ventured between the hockeymums during a McCain/Palin in Fairfax, Va. She wrote a deeply unsettling report from the frontline battle for values and god, summarising:

“Palin Power” isn’t just about making hockey moms feel important. It’s not just about giving abortion rights opponents their due. It’s also, in obscure ways, about making yearnings come true — deep, inchoate desires about respect and service, hierarchy and family that have somehow been successfully projected onto the figure of this unlikely woman and have stuck.

Dan Hoyle from drove through rural America and listened to ‘working-class’ people describing their unease about Barack Obama. He quotes this guy saying

“”Obama, he’s not our kind of people,” said Middleton in a gruff, bitten-off speaking style, taking a break from canning green beans at the couple’s double-wide mobile home. “He don’t believe in the hereafter, and the Lord, the way I look at it … he’s Muslim.”

12 percent of the American people apparently still believe Obama is a muslim (as if that mattered, but still) and therefor would not vote for him. Rush Limbaugh, ever the diplomat speaks about the Democratic Party being undermined by

” …the feminist tentacle of liberalism, then you’ve got civil rights coalitions, and you have all of these groups, and they’re all given seats at the table of power of the Democrat Party. “

Honestly, what’s wrong with these people? Why isn’t the libertarian wing of the Republican Party yelling and saying ‘hey, you neolithic abrahamian faith mongerers, all we want is fewer taxes and people just being people without government interference!” . When did the GOP suddenly become a two issue (God and Patriotism) party?

And how can anybody with a university degree vote for them?

The current manifestation of Republican politicics is now so far removed from real life (and literally lightyears away from what Europeans believe should matter in life) that they seem to be moving in their own alternative reality in which everybody hunts, collects guns, goes to church, doesn’t have sex before marriage and devotes their life to sock it to those pesky muslims (and Europeans). And wage war with everybody they believe looks at them the wrong way.

I am sure there would be real money in a alternative reality videogame that one could sell at gun conventions: ‘Republicanism, the videogame’ would feature in small town america, and the main character would gain points for swearing at people with foreign names, praying and barbecueing the juiciest burger.

Congratulations to the Palin Family

Well, isn’t that lovely? It’s only days since John Mc Cain, republican presidential candidate in the U.S., presented his choice for vice-president. The 44 year old Governor of Alaska has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Idaho and was mayor of Wasilia, Alaska for 6 years. That means she is looking after a similar number of people as the mayor of Duesseldorf, Germany. Plus, undoubtedly some Mooses. And fewer cultural institutions.  She has 5 kids and a hubby who is a champion snowmobiler and is a conservative christian on the more hardcore side of her faith.

According to CNN:

Palin said when running for governor in 2006 that she would support funding for abstinence-only education in schools, according to Eagle Forum Alaska, a conservative group that sent a questionnaire asking gubernatorial candidates their views on a range of issues.

Well, she should have done her homework. Would she have read some of the literature out there, she’d have found out that telling your kids not to have sex doesn’t work. Telling your kids to have safe sex works much better. The evidence is now overwhelming, as Mrs. Palin has just found out herself.

Her 17 year old daughter is pregnant and there are expectations that there will of course be a quick marriage.

Well, congratulations Grandma Palin. I hope your grandchild will be a happy and healthy one and that the bond between your daughter and ‘the young man’ will be a long one, but honestly: maybe it’s time for a policy rethink when it comes to the whole abstinence thing?