Yes oh yes. Happily I had the original wizard jolly time at Rachel
's, came home all skippy mid-morning on the 1st to find the dog (who does not usually get left all night by any means, I hasten to add) had done a cat-like guilt trip by removing a banana skin and teabag from the bin and putting them in the hall to indicate his hysterical desperation for food. Sorry K. Also happily I strolled like a jammy bugger right past the hangover. Unhappily I was then suddenly strucken with some evil winter lurg on the evening of the 2nd, ensuring that my long-anticipated viewing of the 'This Life' special was punctuated by stumbled dashes to the loo down The Corridor. (The Corridor is the defining feature of my flat, which was built by a philanthropist in the 30s like most flats in Walthamstow, and it is so very long that it's not nice when you're ill.)
'This Life +10' was so fist-chewingly insultingly bad that I might have had cause to go a-vomming regardless. I bloody love the original series, it's up there with 'Six Feet Under' for me in terms of wit and nuance and emotional Truth, and of course Anna was a formative influence etc etc no but really, it was great. So it was grotesque to see these sort of reanimated character corpses mouthing lines they would never actually say, in this nasty smug artificial clunky set-up, and although it hasn't ruined it for me I rather wish I'd avoided it. It was such a Comment, or it thought it was - a fly-on-the-wall documentary within a film, and all the look-now-it's-the-noughties-people-have-iPods stuff - and I hate that.
So two fingers to Amy Jenkins even if it was her concoction in the first place and we should be grudgingly grateful. But more importantly a whole set of offensive digits to whatever this malaise is. It's not dissimilar to the bout of whatever it was I had a year ago
, which may or may not have been food poisoning. This was too late both for the new year oysters (how did the affluent and properous ever get into those as a stylish sexy thing? They are so messy you need a whole council cleaning squad on standby pointing their high-power hoses at your top) and the subsequent prawns, so it's obviously just the continued wrath of the God in whom I don't believe. This one's evidently pissed off that not everyone thinks He exists, although any decent God wouldn't give a rat's ass because He would have the confidence in Himself, innit. But as Woody Allen once quoth, "How can there be a God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?"
Food is once again my enemy, and me and food usually get on pretty well. Constant nausea, wobbly head, old-lady gait. Bugger. And of course the world hasn't realised that the law is, there shall be no bad news for the whole of January. Most of the bad news, as usual, seems to be stupid news. Naturally my gears are especially ground by the re-emergence of the tabloid anti-darling, the Devil Dog. The mauling to death of a small girl
is unquestionably horrific and tragic, just as the mauling to death of a small baby
was last year, but they seem to be events that just suck the common sense out of the press and police and public alike, spit it out and run around making Eddie Izzard noises. ("Hello, can I come in? I've got a pig in me trousers. Can my friend come in too? He's got jam for brains.")
I have far too much ire on various angles of this for my poor head to deal with at present, but by way of pretending I'm not sickly let's have a nice LIST (with nowhere near sufficient links but, well, I'm new at this really, and I'm ILL, etc):
1) Did I tumble in surprise from my chair when it was reported
that they'd seized £15,000 of cash and (at least according to The Sun) some quantity of heroin and coke from the house where the kid died, the stuff belonging to the dog's owner and kid's uncle 23-year-old Kiel Simpson, a tracksuited skinhead with a stupid face? Niet!
I must report that in fact my arse stayed exactly
where it was m and barely registered a twitch at this unexpected twist
. I was Jack's entire family's complete lack of surprise and that of all his dodgy, responsibility-bypass, tracksuited, scally bastard neighbours.
If she'd accidentally swallowed a load of chinawhite and died that way, the press would at least have rounded unequivocally on the feckless little bastard, but because the dog was the deus ex jobby in this case, they somehow can't bring themselves to really point and shout at the crim scum whose fault the situation was entirely. Well, a couple of people have a bit, but one of them was Simon Heffer, and who listens to that old gasbag? It is not a dog issue, besides the fact that the dog was illegal (under a rather moronic and arbitrary law
which doesn't work). It is a crim scum issue.
1b) As for ascribing human moral values to dogs, that's just the other side of the noxious sentimentality that propels people to feed their pets ice cream cones. Totally consistent. It's not just the tabs that do it either - so many people, who should know better, automatically think of dogs as knowing what they're doing in the way we do, having motives in the way we do. They do not. I don't get angry at that sort of idiocy because it gives dogs a bad name - dogs don't care
- but because the bad name gets dogs and people killed.
Dogs do not have responsibility. Nothing is their fault
. They are done to, acted upon, and everything else is instinct. They don't have morals. If loud fireworks bang make jump, as has been suggested was the case here, maybe go bite. If squeal heard, more bite until no more squeal. That's how they work. High-pitched sounds stimulate dogs to bite. It's nothing to do with any desire to kill people
. That's why they love squeaky toys - they mimic the distressed cries of prey animals. K's squeaking of his squeaky is fantastically funny and awfully cute, but it still often occurs to me precisely why he enjoys it.
This dog was a year old. It was a puppy
. And already fucked up enough to attack, kept outside and isolated, and given the opportunity to act on its most dangerous instincts by fools. (It's now emerged that the family were discussing getting rid of the dog after it bit one of them a few days before - can't find the link but I'll add it later.)
2) It's amazing how little the media seemed to be arsed to find out about the (actually not very long or taxing) Dangerous Dogs Act. They were content to say that only pure-bred pit bulls were banned, when in fact it clearly says 'pit bull type
dogs', which covers a multitude of cross-bred, brick-headed, long-legged, muscle-bound penis-extension canine sins. The morons on the internet were calling for pit bulls to be banned when they already are
, you morons, but they're the morons on the internet.
What worries me is that the media are starting to figure there's almost no point in getting the facts completely straight about such an emotive issue, because, well, it's a bit pedantic when children are dying and morons are baying for blood. Oh, and also, faced with the choice of a thousand dog experts champing at the bit to go on telly and explain that it's a more complex issue than it appears and it's not as simple as 'pit bulls bad', or of any number of traumatised victims of dog attacks, who do all the outlets pick? Even the BBC take the juicy option and parade the poor sods on the show. Does anyone do sensible news any more? And what's this thing of handing influence over to people who are (totally understandably) hysterical and usually know nothing about the broader issue? They are not in any position to influence opinion, and they don't even realise the media are exploiting them in their pain. If anyone starts talking about 'Ellie's Law' then I am off.
3) What was 3)? Oh yes. The raids
. Well, great, they're busting a dog-fighting ring - needed doing. Except that to begin with, they should have done it a long time ago, and for the sake of the dogs, not because of some binary connection with an attack on a person. This means the dogs are now being treated as dangerous objects to be removed from society, rather than the subjects of abuse that they are.
But more importantly, like the DDA itself, the raids aren't going to make any children any safer whatsoever. This is for a very simple reason that I haven't seen anyone else bring up yet, either because they don't know or because it'd be too unpopular and iffy a point to make. If you're a big old crim and you breed dogs for fighting, then you probably know what you're doing as much as a big old crim with a crack lab. The dogs are used in a sport (legality aside) and in gambling and so they are an investment, just like greyhounds. Of course many of them are mistreated, but the serious people are going to spend money and time building and maintaining athletes - champions. (The ones seized from Merseyside so far were from a couple of lock-ups, both at buildings owned by a local bloke who also owns a gym. Yeah? Minted crim scum.) People have to handle the dogs, take them to and from fights. So they don't want the dogs to be people-aggressive, only dog-aggressive. Dog aggression and people aggression in dogs are not the same thing - there's an overlap, yes, but one does not indicate the presence or even propensity of the other. Any dog-aggressive dog should be watched around people, but, well, it's just not a direct equation at all.
So, pit dogs are bred and trained (as far as you can stretch the definition) to want to fight other dogs. If they show signs of wanting to fight people, they are no good. In that context, they are Bad Dogs. They're frowned upon. They're no more suitable as champion fighters than a greyhound with a gammy leg. What worries me is that these are maybe the dogs that the serious dog-fighters offload onto molluscs like Simpson. Although of course his dog Reuben was only a year old, so Simpson probably bought him as a too-small puppy for £400 from one of his dodgy crim mates. Or a bloke at the side of a road. Whatever.
The point is, the likelihood of these lock-up raids bringing in any actual potential child-killing dogs is pretty negligible. (Obviously any dog larger than a baby is a potential child-killer, a point that I wish more people were making till blue in face and cliche-sick, but statistically... it's just not likely.) They need to worry about individual dogs, pit bull or otherwise, owned by individual idiots. Same as before. Same as in 1991 when the DDA was hurried through the House like an illicit lover out of a window. That's not going to change, but as is usual with difficult problems the solution is too tricksy and long-term to be seriously contemplated by a government that wants to stay popular. The public want results, and now they're getting them, even though they're the results of something else entirely.
isn't going to help either - all it'll do is shut a few people up until the next attack (I'm betting it'll be, ooh, maybe a Neapolitan mastiff, to shake things up a bit). In the meantime, slightly more well-meaning but still moronic morons are beseiging animal shelters and such with desperate enquiries about their perfectly docile, amiable bull breed slobberer that they now believe is a ticking time bomb, while others are just abandoning them in a panic. (This happened with Rottweilers last year too, only it wasn't reported. The media's angle this time is slightly, fascinatingly different - all because of the legal issue with the dogs, which gives a certain sense of calm and your-government-is-in-control to it. There's room for a mote of sympathetic stuff about the dogs and responsible-ish owners. With the Rotts, it was just scary anarchy time, and the abandonment issue just wasn't relevant somehow. Hmm.)
Oh, and others are having themselves what would appear to be slight little overreactions.
The rotten bastards.
The ignorance! I can hardly stand it. (Ha! And now Posh is setting a great example
Speaking of which, I'm afraid I'm hopelessly hooked on Celebrity Big Brother
this time. I know, I know, but it's so succulent for the amateur psychologist. But crucially, it is full of what seem to be genuinely nice people. I really, really like nice people.
I think celebrities in general get a fucking hard time, and of course some of them deserve it because they're horrid or stupid people who were always going to be horrid or stupid one way or another. In Big Brother terms, though, the celebrities are always going to be better value than the nobodies. This is partly because they are used to being watched and analysed, which makes it less of a morally-suspect exercise, and partly because many celebrities become famous due to their natural charisma, personality and yes, intelligence, or the effects thereof.
And, and, if people deal with the pressure of fame for years on end, they either become partially destroyed by it or they achieve this sort of aura of placid contentment and Knowledge. They know themselves. They might not have anything left to prove. That's certainly the defining mark of most of the lot this time. They are lovely
. The disgraced former Miss Great Britain and sort-of WAG is an irritating little empty-headed twit, and the two ex-popstars are boring, and Leo Sayer is a needy blabbergob, but the others are just lovely
. Especially the lovely Shilpa
, who I expected to be rather precious as a massive Bollywood star, but is actually totally humble and sweet and just lovely lovely lovely and trying ever so hard.
The Goody family on the other hand are a repugnant shower of deeply unlikeable sub-humans. Jade is just a genuine idiot who's learnt to flaunt her ignorance for a lot of money, her boyfriend is some sort of half-smiling, vacant-eyed shadow, but the mother.
.. Put me in a house with that woman, that aggressive, childish, beastly, bellowing, thick-as-two-short-pigshits woman, and it'd be like that episode of 'The Shield' where Vic puts two rappers in one of those shipping crates and tells them to sort it out and then in the morning only one of them walks out and says he wants breakfast. I am telling you.
Labels: bad telly, beast, good telly, idiots, media, ooh that's good wrath, party party, proper world events, this life