Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Round up

1. Latest 26 recommendations for April can be found here.

2. My favourite quote from the now-closed Hogarth exhibition at Tate Britain:

Shakespeare, who had the deepest penetration into nature has sum'd up all the charms of beauty in two words, INFINITE VARIETY.

From Hogarth's The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

3. How's this for being good at your chosen profession:

United's manager recalled Paolo Maldini's man-of-the-match display in Milan's 2-0 win at Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. "He played the entire 90 minutes without making a tackle," he enthused about a 38-year-old he regards as the most intelligent defender in world football. "It's an art."
Alex Ferguson on Paolo Maldini, from The Guardian, 24 April 2007


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Listorama: 10 steps to tyranny

As noted by Naomi Wolf in G2 in today's Guardian:

  1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
  2. Create a gulag
  3. Develop a thug caste
  4. Set up an internal surveillance system
  5. Harass citizens' groups
  6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
  7. Target key individuals
  8. Control the press
  9. Dissent equals treason
  10. Suspend the rule of law.

Plausible, no? Also, an obvious deepening of the ideas of the more widely known '5 steps to tyranny' (see point 7 on the link):

  1. Us and them
  2. Obedience to the leader
  3. Do them harm
  4. Join in doing them harm or stand by to let others do them harm
  5. Exterminate them.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Radio on

Advance waning that I'm popping in to the Madalyn Morgan show on Raiders FM next Wednesday afternoon at 6pm, to talk about rock, roll, words and literature. Should be good.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007


1) From yesterday's Thought for the Day (I know, I know), an interesting gobbet:

The theologian Walter Wink has identified a particularly dominant narrative
found around the world. It goes something like this: goodies are oppressed by
baddies. Along comes the hero, and through threat or force, liberates the
innocent and overcomes the evil doer.

So that'll be the most common out of the seven types of plot, then.

2) From a great piece in the Washington Post (tips to OHB) about an experiment it conducted to see whether aural beauty could be discerned by weekday commuters (generally, they didn't):

When Picarello was growing up in New York, he studied violin seriously,
intending to be a concert musician. But he gave it up at 18, when he decided
he'd never be good enough to make it pay. Life does that to you sometimes.
Sometimes, you have to do the prudent thing. So he went into another line of
work. He's a supervisor at the U.S. Postal Service. Doesn't play the violin
much, anymore.

When he left, Picarello says, "I humbly threw in $5." It was humble: You can
actually see that on the video. Picarello walks up, barely looking at Bell, and
tosses in the money. Then, as if embarrassed, he quickly walks away from the man
he once wanted to be.

Does he have regrets about how things worked out?

The postal supervisor considers this. "No. If you love something
but choose not to do it professionally, it's not a waste. Because, you know, you still have it. You have it forever."

There's a lesson in there somewhere. Just don't really or fully want to acknowledge it.

3) A discussion about Barbara Ehrenreich's new book, Dancing in The Streets: A History of Collective Joy, prompted this thought:

True rebellion now means you have to dance, consume less, and be idle, and not always in that order.

I look forward to practicing.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The sub-editor's fear of the semi-colon (digital edition): Code woes

Spotted on the top header of the Guardian's Sports blog this morning. Why so scared? Do they mean that they're running the risk of deleting the entire code for the site? And is that really the best place for an aide-memoire?


Friday, April 06, 2007

Beautiful, beautiful words

1) Laura Barton's latest Hail, Hail Rock'n'Roll, on Sunday morning music. As elegant and warm and as rich as ever, and with this arresting phrase:

"all big brass beds, dirty clothes, clean hands and cake."

2) The ICAN charity has a good wheeze going, in which you nominate your favourite word(s), and if enough people do so, BT will give them some cash. ICAN is a charity that 'helps children communicate'. The project is called Wall of Words. Only one other person shares my favourite, refulgent. Go and submit. And if you like that, then Wordie is also available for you.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Poetry: govt

Leviathan binds
voters mere ciphers; the state
grows more and knows more