August 23, 2006

Admission Impossible …

As that time of year rolls around again, and the world bemoans the ease of A–levels, GCSE's and SATS (how else could we possibly explain a rise in decent results?) we also have to face an encounter with an increasingly visible phenomenon. Watching channel 4's Admission Impossible, I am once again confronted with the idiocy of Britains upper–middle class. I say watching, because after ten minutes of listening to mindless snobbery and bile pour out of them in awfully correct and well elocuted accents, I switched the sound off, for fear it would give me a rage–induced heart attack if it didn't. To catch anyone up who managed to actually avoid it: all over Britain, mummys and daddys embark on a terryfying campaign to get thier little darlings into the 'right' secondary school for them – getting up to such capers as moving home, becoming Catholic (oh yes) and by the looks of things, making hash cakes as bribes (by this point I'd turned the sound down, but going by the womans maniacal grin as she bend over her aga, they weren't just cup–cakes). If the parents are bonkers, the children seem even worse. Turtored to within an inch of their lives, one little boy stares glumly at his feet and mutter 'I don't think I'm going to get in' – looking almost exactly like one of my friends as he left an A level exam, that he had needed to pass. These kids have worry lines. Perhaps worse than the threat of cracking up and becoming a delinquent (I hear sexual deviancy is more the thing nowadays – perhaps after one or two of mummys 'special cakes'), which is, after all a perfectly healthy response to having absolutely anal and deluded parents. No, the scarier part is the children who sit there and smile in a cutre childish fashion, spewing the same bile as their parents, blind and unquestioning. "Thats where all the criminals come from" one girl smiles sweetly – she has pigtails. Pigtails!

My god, this program annoys me on so many levels. Number one, lets look at these annoying dinosaurs who are impressing these out dated and DISCRIMINATING views on their children. Its nice to think these children might grow up to warp their own children in a similar way. Children should not be able to spout this bullshit. Number two … god, these poor children. Entrance exams, skills, musical instruments, etc. The sheer pressure of the whole thing is gross. The parent who says if he makes the 'wrong choice', his child will regret it for the next 60 years. Bloody hell. Unless they've drastically upped the school leaving age, and banned all transfers etc since I left high school (not that long ago, honest), I think we have a bit of a drama queen on our hands. And thats the problem. These parents make such a big deal out of something which is important, but not essential. A child who wants to learn can learn anywhere. A child who doesn't want to learn will reject it everywhere. Maybe at private schools, they are better at ramming it down pupils throats. I wouldn't know. And personally, I think being at a well mixed school, and learning how to interact with lots of different people is a whole lot more wholesome than thinking that the world really is full of people who have holiday homes in the carribean.

Jon O Farrell wrote about the whole thing in May Contain Nuts – one of the funneist books I read in a while, and it clarfies my whole opposition to the concept. Better, probably than I can do (and have done)

Anyway, rant over. I will just say that I am also against the whole system of league tables and obsessive testing which has led to this new breed of parent picking out the 'best school' (and then doping the admission staff)


May 16, 2006

Exams and Food

What is it about exams and compusive eating? I've just developed a fabulous stomach ache from all the crap I've been eating, to match the backache from my rubbish desk chair & neither of them are helping me focus my mind on the subject at hand – the tiny matter of my first exam in just over a day (eeek). Everyone i know agrees – Exams make you eat lots. and lots. and lots. And its all rubbish. I know people who can't revise unless they're munching thier way through a jumbo bag of M&M's, or whatever it might be.
Grrrrrrr

On a more positive note, blog–related self distraction rules :)


March 23, 2006

Dr Frank Ellis has been suspended

Dr Frank Ellis, a lecturer in russian and slavonic studies from the university of Leeds has been suspended because he believes that black people are 'intellectually inferior' (ie, dumber) than white people. He also believes women to be 'intellectually inferior' to men. He aired his views in an interview with the student newspaper, in which these and a number of comments revealed him to be strongly right-wing, sexist and racist. (If you believe that a person or group of persons is inferior to you, a) you are discriminating against them and b) you are holding prejudices) Ellis claims that he treats everyone like an individual, and does not make assumptions based on these wider 'rules'. I'm not convinced that anyone can have these beliefs and still treat black people or women identically to white or male students, but if he can, congratulations to him. However, that doesn't answer the question of how a black or female student would feel with him as a tutor, having to go to lectures or seminars with him. It would be greatly unfair to expect those students not to feel anxious in that kind of situation. I suppose it is this which has led to his suspension. I can't help but feel a slight joy at it.

Of course, the thing which has thrown the lefty-liberals into a tizzy is the issue of freedom of speech, and civil liberties being eroded (see Marcel Berlins column at link for a convincing argument for preserving them). All things should be sacrificed on the alter of freedom of expression. I include myself in this tizzy-ing – generally, freedom of speech something i value highly. But there are always exceptions – the BNP, for example are banned from speaking on campus, and I quite approve of that. I think. The problem is, people can't be trusted to think the right things. And so, you run the risk of turning the liberal lefty into an endangered species, because suddenly everyones reading the sun and joing the BNP. Its a terrible conundrum. I'm still not entirely sure Ellis being suspended is a good thing. Now Leeds will be accused of hiding behind 'political correctness', an issue which I'll address when i have the energy.

Another argument I've heard a lot of, is that Universities are centres for academic debate, and instead of silencing Frank Ellis, we should argue with him. Some have even commented that they find his suggestions interesting. My argument against him will follow :)


March 19, 2006

Sueing and Compensation …

With the drug trial thing that happened, its raised another particular bug-bear of mine which I decided needed expression. One of the things which annoys me more than anything else is the extent to which people sue other people all the freaking time!!! The way I see it is quite simple – if someone has done something to someone else which has severely damaged their quality of life/public image in a way which is likely to have serious repercussions (ie, a doctor being accused of being an alcoholic, or something) then they can sue for compensation, to help them carry on living in the manner which they lived beforehand, as well as (in the case of the doctor) making some actions towards reparing the damage. In the most present case of the drug trials, the families of the injured men are considering/threatening to sue the drug company for compensation. Its a fairly logical assumption that the men involved signed waivers and were aware of the dangers of a drug trial before they took part (who wouldn't have an inkling that it might not be entirely safe), and although the risks may not have been registered as very likely to them, they must have been aware of them. Incidentally, the drugs company can't really be blamed for that, as studies show that we base our own risk assesments on our knowledge of when, if, and how it has happened previously, and to the best of my knowledge, there has not been such a bad reaction to drugs in recent history. Apart from anything else, although companies are not allowed to 'pay' test subjects, the 'compensation' they recieve for thier time is rather generous, and this shouldn't be overlooked. Sadly, in this case, we'll probably see the drug companies giving all the men a healhy sum as a 'goodwill' gesture, one of my least favourite transactions. Evertime someone comes out of something ill, or injured or even a little upset, they are always looking for someone to sue.

On to the second part of my annoyance – compensation. Everybody always seems to be getting compensated, even when its not appropriate. Take, for example, the victims of the tube bombings in London over the summer. Victims, and families of those who died are recieving obscene amounts of money. Its true that in some cases people have lost their ability to work, or lost the main breadwinner of the family, but the welfare state is there to provide support in these kinds of emergencies. The compensation seems to be coming from entirely the wrong direction – I can't see the extremists who blew the tubes up shelling out millions of pounds to support the people they exploded, so it seems like the public coffers are compensating for something they can take no blame for. It was the same after 9/11, and I'm sure it occurs in less publicised cases all the time, and I don't understand why …

I hate to jump on the bandwagon despairing over the state of the world today, but I would argue that the 'compensation culture' we live in is getting beyond a joke. You know, the other day it rained when I was wearing a white shirt, and everyone could see my bra – I was traumatised – so who do I sue ….. :)


March 03, 2006

Wallace and Gromit Night @ WSC

For all of you who haven't yet remembered how cool Wallace and Gromit really are, a quick reminder that tomorrow you have a second chance to see the Wallace and Gromit night – a chance to see A grand day out, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave, and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and the fabulous shorts Cracking Contraptions – all in one night!

Get down to L3 tomorrow night, for a 7.30 start, or go to link for more info!!!


March 02, 2006

A question on morality

I just read a pro-life discussion on someone elses blog, and it made me think about morality and all that stuff. When I'm in a happy mood, I like to think that the world is simple enough if you follow a few rules:

1. Please yourself
2. Try not to hurt other people
3. Be honest
4. If you say what you really think, then you shouldn't feel bad about it.

Like I say, simple, and perhaps a little crude. To put please yourself first is selfish, maybe, but often to keep yourself happy, you have to keep other people happy – boyfriend, girlfriend, friend friend, family. I mean more that its your responsibility to make yourself happy – theres no one who can really do it for you. And you should try not to hurt other people when you're making yourself happy. Unless you can really help it. And then the being honest. It makes sense I suppose – be true to yourself – do or say what you honestly feel needs to be done, and that should work. I mean, if you feel bad, its usually because you did something wrong.

But then, I feel bad. I think I hurt someone, I didn't really mean to, I don't think. I insulted someone – I was trying to be honest, and I stand by what I said, but I still feel guilty deep down that I hurt them (maybe). And I wonder if I'm the best judge, and I can say I was trying to be honest but I'm lying to myself because I like to feel all calm and superior like I have everything worked out.

I'd like to think I have everything worked out. Mankind is the only animal that doubts. I'm pretty sure anyway. Even chimps probably have more certainty than us. ALthough, I'm not sure we're all uncertain. Could it be that certainty is what sets apart the truly great – the scientists, the politicians – people who change the world? Or were they pretending like everyone else?

This is a little arrogant. I should take some time to explain that I'm not ruminating on life, the universe and everything because i am terribly wise. It annoyed me when I was replying to the other blog, and suddenly I wondered 'is this true'?. This is, I believe usually referred to as the 'human condition'.

The human condition is one of uncertainty. It works in a sentence I suppose. I remember thinking when I was little that when I was grown, I would know everything. It was such a perfect dream. Imagine knowing everything – being sure that what you were doing was right all along. Maybe that'll happen when I become a geriatric.

Either that, or I'll lose my marbles and won't care either way. I'm not sure morals are a good thing.


February 26, 2006

An Awesome, All 90s All Nighter

Damn, all that Alliteration is just so damn tempting. Seriously thought, from where I was sat/hovering (ie, the Proj box) it was pretty damn cool. Two big thumbs up for the radio mikes and Andrews fabulous Dj'ing (well, we promised nostalgia, although I was waiting for body-rockiing, was that by 911?) which meant that we knew when we were supposed to be starting the films. And handover went fine and now we're all flying solo, no stabilisers :) (do you get stabilisers on planes?)

Just a little bit about the AllNighter:

Every term, WSC hosts the most amazing event in the history of the world. We play films ALL NIGHT (in case you hadn't guessed) from about 8 O Clock in the evening to whenever we finish. Our line-up always includes a 'mystery' film – whats it going to be?!?! and it usually exposes the film officers interesting taste in films (Bubba Ho-Tep anyone? Gigli?:)) But yeah, its pretty cool & its fun even for us poor souls working the films – yes, we really do have to stay up all night to keep everything running. And most of us spent the entire day before organising the damn thing (Two very enthusiastic thumbs up for the WSC crew :P). But its awesome. I love it.

So thoughts on this AllNighter – Shawshank is an ace film. I missed the end, but saw Brooks kill himself, which always makes me cry. The quiz was extra cruel this year thanks to our new films officer James ©. I love the Wedding Singer, but missed most of that due to the law that when you plan to work a film and watch it, you become tangled in something else and miss most of it. I got the song though. Then we did hand over, and Nick pretended to be me, which seemed to confuse people! The Usual Suspects I hear is a great film, and I also intended to watch it (see aforementioned law) although I saw the bit where it snapped very clearly – very clearly indeed. Hmmm, snaps are no fun at 3am.

Then, bada-bing, bada-boom. Perhaps the worst kept secret this year, but never mind. The mystery was … American Pie is actually a great movie (in comparison to all the other pies, and all the crap that followed it) Also, any thoughts on whether the choir guy and his girl shag? My bet is yes, but it was causing some debate upstairs!

Theres no point saying anything about the matirx. It was full of noises and flashy things that kept us all awake. Neo is actually convinvcing, Trinity is like a shaving of metal. Leather/PVC is not a good look for her. Laurence fishbourne uses the same expression when he is captured as when he's losing his mind in Othello.

Its now 8am. Thank you, and Good Night :)


February 24, 2006

The AllNighter

Roll up, roll up folks to the night of thrills and spills that is the Warwick Student Cinema AllNighter. This term we're running the Awsome AllNineties AllNighter – its what it sounds like, and as well as a fabulous line-up, there'll be lots of cheesey indulgent nostalgia to get into.

Plug over. But anyway, it'll be a great night, so grab your sleeping bags, your pillows, and your housemates and come along to L3 at 7.30!!!!!


February 22, 2006

Spoon

I Just searched and found that I have never used the word spoon on this blog. So spoon.

Spoon, spoon, spoon, spoon, spoon


10 things I hate about you

Yes, I really am talking about the film. How awesome is it? I just re-watched it for the billionth time, and its as classic now as it was the first time. I was wondering whether its a sign of serious deep seated issues or a true skill to be able to not only quote most of the lines, but get the timing and emphasis right. But then, it is a fabulous film. And heath ledgers never been so hot as when he's young and australian and impressionable.

Also, reminded me of one of my other favourite things, 3rd rock from the sun. JOseph Gordon Levitt is not as cute as Heath, but hes still a funny little guy, and 3rd rock is fantastic. I tried to find it on DC last year with limited success, and now I really want it (is it available on DVD?)

Hmm, just watched Susan humiliate herself on Desperate Housewives. Thats a bit icky. I suddenly don't like Mike very much any more.

Anyway, thats me entering the real world for long enough :)


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