Thursday, February 16, 2006

In your face, literally ...

I'm one of those annoying people who gets upset about the ubiquitous use of "literally". A man trying to sell me a bathroom used the word 26 times in the course of a 5-minute conversation the other day. Still, I expect better from one of the heirs of George Orwell, greatest essayists of our time, yadda yadda yadda ...

"From 2008, the state will be in your face – literally in your face. If you want a new passport, you will have to go one of 70 centres and a technician will point a machine at your eyes to scan your irises."

Maybe if the state embedded a microchip under my nose or something I'd concede the "literally" but this looks pretty metaphorical to me.

Other than that, Nick's latest reveals him to be in tune with what people are grumbling about down the Dog and Duck:

"I sense a change of mood. Something snapped when the police allowed the supporters of suicide bombers to parade through London while abusing and threatening to arrest the passers-by who protested. Everywhere I got I meet people who are fed up with being told what they can and cannot say, read or do."

Mind you, there are limits! Nick had that Bob Geldof in the back of his cab once and he was deploring the use of cocaine in "fashionable clubs". Too right! You don't get that kind of nonsense in the Dog and Duck. There outta be a law! Oh, there is. (But we're fed up with being told what we can and cannot do.)

Tack on the ritual moan about Ken Livingstone and some middle-aged anxiety about memory loss (which no doubt explains why he can't get A.J.P. Taylor's book title right) and he's all done.

George Orwell? Hilary Winshaw more like.


Anonymous rioja kid said...

"Something snapped when the police allowed the supporters of suicide bombers to parade through London while abusing and threatening to arrest the passers-by who protested."

Did they? That's the first I heard of that. Can anyone authenticate this?

2/16/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Backword Dave said...

Not his worst effort, by a long way, but is he ever going to learn to spell Bob Geldof's fecking name correctly?

Until now, the great difference between Britain and Europe was that if you were not committing a crime or giving the police reasonable grounds for suspicion, you were free to do whatever you wanted. The police couldn’t order you to produce your papers on a whim.

Except for the periods now known to historians and the exceptional journalist, as "World War I" and "World War II." Nick may have heard of these, though they took up only ten years of the last century. And then there was the period after the second of these: see When the British fought off ID cards.

Compulsory ID cards are nothing new in the UK. They were issued to all British civilians during World War II. That is until one ordinary man said no.

What RK said *and* can someone parse that sentence for me? Who was "abusing and threatening to arrest the passers-by who protested" -- the police? I thought some counter-demonstrators *were* arrested. I didn't hear of either the police or the Muslim demonstrators abusing anyone (in either sense -- verbal or physical).

2/16/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

Something snapped

I think it was the tenuous thread connecting anything George Orwell ever wrote, and modern Decentism.

(or possibly, it was the barrier between sensible arguments about terrorism and simple outright Islamophobia)

btw, BD is on the money in the comment above, and NC getting it wrong is particularly annoying because he damn well knows what the sus laws were and has written about their effect in Birmingham

2/16/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous hellblazer said...

I think Hilary Winshaw is a bit of a harsh comparison (incidentally, this is the first reference to WACU that I've seen on a blog, is it actually that well known?)

On the other hand, the more I read that bit about Cameron I find my previous paragraph harder to sustain... One of the best themes in Pretty Straight Guys is the relentless debunking of Balir's favoured image as "the new man", "a leader in tune with the times". Is NC trusting that no one who reads the Standard has read his last book? Or is he just turning into Glenda Slagg?

(BTW, the use of 'literally' is strained but I think justifiable given NC's attempt to segue from the metaphor into iris scans.)

2/17/2006 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Simon said...

Can I claim a win on this? Admittedly I thought he'd do ID cards in the Observer rather than the Standard, but the prediction is there...

2/17/2006 08:51:00 PM  

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