Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dizzee; Daft; idiot

I'm listening to Dizzee Rascal. Time hasn't been kind to Dizzee from my POV. Music that relies on freshness for impact can suffer when it becomes stale.

So why listen to him? I've been listening to a lot of Ratatat. I am not sure how you'd describe it: it has a hiphop beat structure, but the music is electro, I suppose, with a healthy dose of stratospheric guitar. Ratatat, as well as making their own stuff, remix hiphop classics. I say "remix" but it's more like "throw away everything but the rap and put in a Ratatat track instead", which works really well. Except that the weakest remix imo is their redo of Fix up, look sharp. So I went back to the source to check that I remembered it well, because I haven't listened to it in some time.

I have also been listening a lot to Girl Talk, which I mentioned before (too lazy to find URL). It too takes raps and lays them over backing tracks, but the backing is an insane mix of snippets, so that the outcome is a bit like Jive Bunny vs the Avalanches vs Jay-Z. It has really grown on me. I'm not a fan of hiphop, but the isolated raps sound like a mad, modern poetry, and I defy anyone to resist Whoomp, there it is over Big country. I lol'd.


So I've moved on to Daft Punk, but I'm beginning to regret it, because I think their work has always been a bit meh. It sort of goes on and you can mostly take it or leave it, except that I have the sound a bit high, so it's bugging me. Daft Punk don't lack ideas; they just never do anything with them. I think that if you enjoy experimental music, the mundane just becomes flatter and flatter, and there's no real way back.

I am in a good frame of mind at the moment. One reason is that I can now openly have Skype and don't need to pretend not to, because my sister has it, and we can use it to make video calls and show each other our kids. So I saw live pictures of my niece, L, which was pretty cool. I am a baby person, although I fear I terrify them. Well, that's why they are crying all the time, no? That or nappy rash.

I am debating leaving it open, but I'm not sure whether I'll be happy that if someone wants to Skype me, they can feel free, or unhappy that no one wants to Skype me. I have AIM and often have it running, hoping that a poker buddy will want to chat, and sometimes they do, but sometimes they don't, and I end up feeling unloved.

Which clearly will not do.


I was reading this in teh Graun, with mixed feelings. The comments indulge in the usual cavalcade of misrepresentations and bullshit, but reflect that it's a complex issue.

It's interesting for me, because this woman has a prejudice that I in no way share, yet I can't get as worked up as Sanderson about it (if you can't be arsed following the link, he is furious that a court has found in favour of a biblethumping registrar who was victimised after refusing to marry gays--"civil partnerships" are marriages in all but name, AFAIK). Now, I think the registrar is a silly shit, but I think she has a genuine problem of conscience, which is not difficult to work around. Yes, it would be much better if she wasn't homophobic. It would be nice if people didn't consider it a central tenet of their religion that they should hate gays. But most of the complaint against her is bogus, as many commenters point out. The law--and mores--shifted on her, leaving her noncompliant where previously she had complied; she is not the only registrar in town, and it had not been a problem working around her until Islington insisted on making an example out of her; and, as I noted, she has a genuine problem with her conscience. This is akin, as commenters also note, to doctors who refuse to do terminations, because they have a genuine belief that to do so would be to murder the foetus.

I'm not persuaded by arguments that you should not be permitted to be a doctor if you won't do terminations, however wrong I think the doctors are. There are plenty of other things doctors do, and you won't generally find it a problem to find one who will do it. The same goes for pharmacists who will not dispense birth control. It's bad, but not that bad. If you are the only pharmacist in town, well, that's a problem; but if there are dozens of them, not so much.

I don't know. I can agree that we should not be tolerant, but on the other hand, tolerance is so easy that it seems petty not to just let it pass. But I can appreciate the slippery slope arguments. Although, obviously, I don't expect a spate of refusals to serve blacks in shops, because racism is not a tenet of Christianity, even if homophobia is, at least in some brands of it. However, one should not separate religious belief from other sincere beliefs, and it's hard to argue that one should tolerate someone who will not do their job for gays but at the same time insist that someone who genuinely believes he will be sullied by contact with blacks, for instance, should. To some extent, we have to be able to say, maybe a service-oriented job is not for you, son. But I'm not sure what that extent is. Ideally, I would say that the registrar should register the gay partnerships, and we should not tolerate her refusal, because homophobia has no place in our society; but could we say that doctors must perform terminations? We might accept that the perceived heinousness of the act should allow us to be more tolerant. But then, what if it is the woman's sincere belief that facilitating a redefinition of "marriage" is as sinful as murder?

I do not know how one weighs beliefs. I'm not in favour, on the whole, of the majority's imposing its views on minorities, nor of the powerful's simply imposing their mores on the less empowered. Does one set broad standards that one hopes are reasonably universal? Or does one simply weigh the harm? If the latter, are gays harmed by this woman's refusal to register their partnerships? If one permits this woman to do what she thinks is right, because after all there are many other registrars in Islington, is a person in a smaller town to be permitted the same latitude, and if not, how do we measure the harm to them?


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