Strange But True 43


This comment appeared beneath the Guardian leader on Ned Kelly:

The defrocked ambassador to Uzbekistan , Craig Murray , had an earlier career as a barman in Aviemore. His party piece was somewhat bizarre. He would take a used cardboard box , cut out Ned Kelly style eye and mouth holes in it and then stand on the bar at drinking up time singing “Time to go Home” a la Andy Pandy

He was defrocked from that job too

All true. Strangely, while the Guardian moderators delete a great many references to me, they did not delete this one. In truth, I did not look nearly as ridiculous with a cardboard box on my head as Alan Rusbridger does with that wig on his.


43 thoughts on “Strange But True

1 2
  • MR Bill

    This sort of treatment is reserved for folks they really are afraid of…
    And, as is variously attributed (I’ll go with Brendan Behan) “There’s no such thing as bad publicity (except your own obituary.)”

  • Jon

    Interesting. Whilst I am wary of ‘conspiracy’ explanations as regular readers know, the consistency with which certain outlets present you in a bad light does give me pause for thought. If it spreads even to the lowly comment mods on CIF, then one might suppose that a discussion had been held…
    .
    Unless of course the Propaganda Model holds sufficiently true that the internal biases within the “liberal” London media set carry out this function subconsciously. Ponder, ponder.

  • vronsky

    “Whilst I am wary of ‘conspiracy’ explanations as regular readers know”
    .
    Interesting. In what way does a ‘conspiracy explanation’ differ from any other explanation? What’s special about it that it needn’t be subject to the normal rules of reasoning – what’s the evidence, what’s the likelihood, what’s the feasibility, are there demonstrable precedents, and so on? How do you decide when some putative explanation does not warrant this sort of examination on the grounds that it is merely a ‘conspiracy explanation’? This regular reader would like to know.

  • Tom Welsh

    “In what way does a ‘conspiracy explanation’ differ from any other explanation?”

    I think it’s often a matter of reasoning backwards. You might begin by looking at some events and asking “cui bono?” (“who gains by this?”) as Cicero used to. Then, if it looks as if there are people who stand to gain, and who also seem capable of having arranged the events, you might propose (cautiously if you are wise) that they might have had a hand in it.

    Of course, you should always take into account Hanlon’s Razor.

    “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.

    Or, as Mark Twain put it in his inimitable (but so often imitated) way,

    “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it”.

  • Quelcrime

    The Guardian moderators also delete any comment pointing out that Anders Breivik and David Cameron share a belief that extreme violence is an appropriate way to try to bring about political change.

  • Tom Welsh

    “So what did you do Mr Murray, to get ‘defrocked’ from a bar job?”

    I wonder if it was as colourful and creditable (to the sackee) as Charles Stross’ experience. As he related it, some prat asked for a Talisker and Coke (or something equally disgusting) and Stross told him to fuck off. Now he’s a successful SF writer, so it worked out well for him.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “I suppose we should not mock those afflicted with the early male pattern baldness syndrome” Mary.
    .
    Ha!!!!
    .
    Rusbridger out to wear a hat instead!
    .
    I think that Craig would look quite becoming wearing a cardboard box – or else, a la Peter Fonda, a lampshade. I wish other bartenders were as wacky.
    .
    ‘Defrocking’ sounds painful. But perhaps it was also joyful?
    .
    The Guardian, mostly, is like the average boring and predictable contemporary art installation. Look! What brilliance! A light-blub that looks like a light-bulb!
    .

    JFK on Marilyn and high-dose steroids: “Ask not how many ambassadors it takes to change a light-bulb, but how many light-bulbs it takes to change an ambassador!”

  • Jon

    @vronsky, ha – I like your response! But my point was not that situations involving a conspiracy should require a greater level of proof – I don’t believe that to be the case. It’s just that political phenomena (in particular involving media behaviour) can often be explained in ways that don’t involve a conspiracy.
    .
    This alludes to Chomsky’s assertion that the Propaganda Model does not need people to agree in secret upon a pro-establishment bias in order for that bias to occur. But of course that is possible as well.

  • Jon

    The conspiracy explanation in this case, btw, is that Craig has been blacklisted. That was the subject of one of Craig’s past posts, and he suggested at the time that he had had so many media invitations withdrawn that he was starting to wonder. This could be put in the same category.

  • vronsky

    “It’s just that political phenomena (in particular involving media behaviour) can often be explained in ways that don’t involve a conspiracy.”

    Why do you find that desirable?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I agree, Jon. The construction industry blacklists electricians, plumbers, etc. for politial reasons. During the Cold war, cleaners and journalists were blacklisted by MI5-at-the-BBC for political reasons. So why would the political industry today not also blacklist people for political reasons? I would be surprised if Craig had not been blacklisted in this way.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Vronsky, it may be that Chomsky was suggesting that most of the time, it is actually the way the system is set up – an ‘institutional’ dynamic, rather than a specific plan. And he always wants us to critique the whole system, power dynamics, rather than individuals or specific groups of individuals. This, I think, derives from the ‘scientific method, from Marxist technique. But, of course, both occur. Where the first is inadequate for the purposes of those in power, they apply the second. A double filter – indeed, just as there are multiple foci of power in advanced liberal capitalist states, so too there are multiple filters, which keep people like Craig Murray out and people like, say, George Monbiot in. The same dynamic applies right across the board in ‘civil society’ – in the arts as much as in politics. I’ve written, and spoken in public, about this extensively wrt the arts and doing so has made me few friends in high places. But those wankers were never going to be my friends in any case. If one is (pardon the use of these terms, but they are apt in the context of the ongoing and diversifying imperialist control of discourse and thought) a ‘field nigger’, it is best to become a revolutionary, rather than aspire to be a ‘house nigger’.

  • Jon

    Vronsky:
    .
    > Why do you find that desirable?
    .
    Partly Occam’s Razor. And in this specific case, because the ‘institutional’ dynamics (which are widespread) that Suhayl refers to could be viewed as more powerful than a conspiracy (which by definition are not widespread).
    .
    I think you’re of the view that I am discrediting conspiracy theories generally, but I am not 🙂

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Of course, the next questions people always posit is, “But is ‘They’?” (inferring that one is paranoid). Well, ‘They’ represents specific social classes, bureaucracies, sometimes members of particular types of occupation within a structure and sometimes even small groups of individuals. In other words, whatever configurations power assumes in a particular situation. It’s like a road system. Once a road is laid down, that becomes the only way you can go. Then everyone goes that way and it become normative. Same thing with power.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Perhaps a better analogy would be DNA. So, for example, the class system in the UK is one of the elements of ‘DNA’ in the UK body politic. Everything then, eventually in ‘civil society’ ends up conforming to the structures and dynamics of the class system. The ‘phenotypes’ may be varied – but the basic rubric remains.

1 2

Comments are closed.