Run with Eric + TIME


America in 'still racist' shocker
The Sun in 'moral outrage' shocker
Footballer in 'stupid celebration' shocker
English cricket selectors in 'don't know what they're doing' shocker
Croatia in 'strict ex-Soviet state' shocker

America in 'still racist' shocker

I suppose it was only a matter of time.

What may also be only a matter of time is Barack Obama being assassinated. I am genuinely worried for his safety (and now they're taking away his BlackBerry, so we can't even e-mail him saying "Duck"). This really might happen. If it does, it's a tragedy not only for the obvious reason that, well, he'd be dead and his family would be quite upset, but because I can't see America electing another black man into the White House if Obama were to be assassinated. He has inspired millions, but a dead black president would be the final proof that America isn't ready. We can only hope and pray he doesn't become a latter-day JFK.

And these violent race crimes aren't encouraging, although they are predictable. Still, I am surprised by the burning crosses. You'd think even idiots from the Deep South would think that's going too far – not because everything else is OK (clearly it isn't), but because you'd think they'd be sensible enough to realise that associating yourself with the Ku Klux Klan doesn't do your argument any favours.

"Hey, Billy-Bob-Joe."

"How ya doin', Joe-Billy-Bob?"

"How'd that stunt go just now?"

"No prob, Bob. Those monkeys just got a window full of shit."

"Good work, buddy. Just let me finish this 'KILL OBAMA' sign and we'll head on down to the subway. Hey, do we still have any of those burning crosses from that, uh, fancy dress party?"

"Burning crosses?"


"I dunno... isn't that a bit too far? I mean, we want this guy to die, obviously – he's black and he's in charge of the greatest country in the world. But don't you think burning crosses kinda make us look a bit stupid? It's not even like it's ironic."

"Don't black out on me, man. We put up burning crosses and people know we're serious. Besides, what have you got against the Ku Klux Klan? Those guys were national heroes."

"Good point, man."

"Damn right good point. U-S-A! A-O-K-K-K!"

(Disclaimer: I feel no shame if you think this is in bad taste. I mock because I always do, and racism doesn't deserve special treatment.)

The Sun in 'moral outrage' shocker

No one does moral outrage quite like The Sun. Or The Mail. Or The Evening Standard. Actually, most of the British press does moral outrage in quite a big way, and you have to laugh because if you don't you just might cry.

But what does make me want to cry is just how powerful these papers can be. After this little shenanigan, a Gary Glitter song has been axed from a GCSE Music syllabus. Understandable, you might think at first, since he's a convicted paedophile and it would be 15- and 16-year-olds listening to his music. But think again. Why should it have to go?

They don't want children listening to Gary Glitter's music. Fair enough. It's awful. But it's not as if I'm The Leader Of The Gang (I Am) has subliminal messages in it telling certain listeners to take sweets from dirty old men, is it?

Listening to his music isn't going to hurt him. And then saying, "I dread to think what they may find searching online for him" – what? What will they find? His penis? Private videos of him abusing children? The only thing they'll find is that he's a paedophile, and if they didn't know that already they're intelligent enough to go "Boo, hiss" when they find out.

A lot of people are using the argument that he'll make money from the, ahem, exposure, but only if people buy his music. Are teenagers going to start buying Gary Glitter records? Really? Exactly.

I also find the browser headline interesting: "How can exam bosses ask kids to study Gary Glitter? ¦ The Sun ¦ News" Now come on, guys, that's not news. That's opinion. That's a liberty almost as bad as this related headline: 'PERVERT GLITTER'S £100k TELLY AD' – a fantastically misleading headline which makes it sound as though he's actually getting an advert for his services ("Hey kids! It's Gary Glitter!").

Maybe the song should have been removed after all. But I'm pretty sure The Sun's home brand 'got the bastard' bring-a-pitchfork whine party isn't necessary.

Footballer in 'stupid celebration' shocker

David Norris has been fined by Ipswich Town after seemingly making a gesture in support of ex-teammate Luke McCormick, who was jailed for seven years after causing the death of two boys in a car crash, having been twice the drink-drive legal limit after drinking at Norris' wedding.

I have one issue with this, and that's the club's response. The boys' mother was right to complain, and so reasonably too (call me inconsistent all you like – I think this moral outrage is justified), and I'm glad Ipswich Town looked into it. But they have come out in support of Norris and still fined him. What's the message there?

The club says it has heard Norris' explanation and is satisfied it was all a big misunderstanding, and that his celebration was misinterpreted. OK then. No problem there. But then they fined him an undisclosed fee for doing it. Why? If the gesture was so innocent, it's not his fault it was misinterpreted. Either he's guilty of deliberately making the gesture supporting Luke McCormick, in which case he should be punished, or he's the innocent victim of a giant misunderstanding, in which case he shouldn't be punished.

Mixed messages, methinks.

English cricket selectors in 'don't know what they're doing' shocker

In an attack on the English Cricket Board's selection policy, Darren Gough criticised the selectors for picking Ravi Bopara only to do nothing with him.

I couldn't agree more. Ravi Bopara is wasted batting at no8. In England's 158-run defeat to India on Friday, he came into a match that was pretty much already lost and hit an unbeaten 38-ball half-century, including five sixes. Significantly, he ran out of partners.

He also didn't bowl, although Collingwood and captain KP did, conceding 31 runs in 3 overs. In total, England were hit for 387 in 50 overs, which is not far away from 8 an over.

So, why is a man picked to bat and bowl batting at 8 and not bowling? Bopara bats at 3 for Essex and does a damn good job of it. He is definitely a better batsman than new boy Samit Patel and Matty Prior, who again disappointed opening the batting. He deserves better than this.

Ravi Bopara is a quality player, and if the selectors don't believe this, then why are they picking him?

Croatia in 'strict ex-Soviet state' shocker

It's official: Croatia has cancelled Christmas. OK, so only in the public sector, but still: won't somebody think of the children?

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