Frankie Scotland

Way back in 1866 the French poet Joseph Roux said “A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool.” With that in mind I am not sure if the following quotes are eight diamonds or eight pebbles. I guess that depends on whether you think of a me as a man of wit or a fool. These quotes cover various aspects of the modern world, good and bad, warts and all, from Robert the Bruce to Donald the Trump, from stock markets plunging to Hindu nationalist pogroms.

However, we start with Bill Maher who, on a recent episode of his brilliant TV show Real Time With Bill Maher, ended with a segment called “Death Prattle.” On YouTube the clip is called “My Way Or The Die Way.” Maher tirades against the way we over react to people with whom we disagree. The 5 minute segment packs a mighty philosophical, political, and cultural punch, and I agree with pretty much everybody word of it. Enjoy!

And finally, new rule, Americans need to find a better way to say I disagree with your position then “I’m going to kill you.” It’s one of the few things the left and the right have in common now. Adam Schiff and Chuck Schumer received death threats for impeaching Trump, and Susan Collins got death threats for not impeaching him…Why don’t they just make an app for death threats? You could call it “endr.” Look, I’m not saying there’s no place for blind blood lust, like in the Bible or when they run out of chicken sandwiches at Popeyes. But everything? A singer who wore her support for Trump proudly to the Grammys got death threats. Gayle King got death threats for asking a ‘too soon’ question about Kobe Bryant. Ilhan Omar gets death threats for being an immigrant. Death threats went out to a woman who wrote a pro-immigrant book because she wasn’t actually an immigrant. The Ukraine whistle-blower got death threats and nobody even knew who it was! They just sent open letters “To whom it may concern, I’m going to kill you.” This is what happens when you let cancel culture spin out of control. It’s the same attitude, just taken a little further. We take your livelihood. Huh! Let’s just go ahead and take your life. Because all the geniuses in this country are so one million percent sure they’re right about everything, that it’s always just ‘my way or the die way.’ You know, Trump may want to be a dictator but he is hardly alone. A lot of people in this country love to say “Off with their head!” Don’t like that thing you purchased? Threaten to burn down the factory. Don’t agree with someone who won the Oscar? Tell them you’re gonna find where they live and slit their throat. Don’t like the call the ref made at your kids soccer game? Send them a picture of you brandishing an axe. When did Americans become the fatwa people? Every minor dispute has to go from zero to Mel Gibson in three seconds? Did you know that the new pop sensation Billie Eilish spent her big night at the Grammys apologizing for winning? Yeah! Because her overriding emotion wasn’t pride, it was fear that super fans of rival pop stars would attack her. Oh, if only we had this kind of passion for something that mattered in this country. – Bill Maher, 28 Feb 2020, from his TV show Real Time With Bill Maher

Trump is the first president to use the stock market as a near-daily measure of his success — and his virility — and now the market is slumping. If you want to own it on the way up, you have to own it on the way down. Investors, who worried when Trump began to rise in politics, soon realized that he had their backs. He was just a corporate vessel pretending to be a populist; the stock market was his sugar high. Now Trump is learning the hard way what my fatalistic Irish mother taught me: The thing you love most is the first to go. As Mike Bloomberg points out, investors have factored in Trump’s incompetence, and that is contributing to the market cratering. – Maureen Dowd, 29 Feb 2020, from the nytimes.com article Trump Makes Us Ill

Blame the poisonous ideology of the Hindu nationalist BJP for the blood on India’s streets…What Delhi witnessed over the past week is targeted violence against Muslims, led by mobs of Hindu nationalists, mainly supporters of the BJP, India’s governing party, many chanting “Jai Shri Ram” (“glory to Lord Rama”) and “Hinduon ka Hindustan” (India for Hindus)…While the attempt to exclude Muslims reveals the chauvinist ideology of the BJP, mass opposition to the CAA, from Hindus and Muslims alike, shows the depth of hostility to bigotry. In Delhi, too, amid the violence there have been many stories of Hindus protecting Muslim neighbours, and of Muslims aiding Hindus. What is playing out in India is not a simple religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims but a political struggle between two visions of India: between those who see it as an open, secular nation and those who wish to create a chauvinist Hindu state. Who prevails in this struggle matters not just to Muslims, or to Indians, but to all of us. – Kenan Malik, 01 Mar 2020, from the theguardian.com article The Violence In Delhi Is Not A ‘Riot’. It Is Targeted Anti-Muslim Brutality

The man is at ground zero in every conceivable way our humanity can be measured, but a brief survey of the last forty years shows us that we were at the bottom before him. He’s a native son, a natural product of this ferment, not an anomaly but what’s at the end of the road when a whole culture elevates profit as the only measure of growth…Trump’s swelter of hatred for Obama and his influence on us is reminiscent of the darkness of soul that fascinated Nathaniel Hawthorne, the hatred of Roger Chillingworth for Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter, a novel of America’s dark soul. The desire for revenge which Trump, Impeachment Redux, now seeks is set against an elapsing moral sense in the American soul. This drama, a cultural psychodrama, a psychomachia in medieval terms, has nothing to do with political division and all to do with a battle of darkness and light in a country driven solely by its economics into the shadows of intentions and actions, words and images. The measure of enlightened civility and just mercy is not the Dow Jones or the S&P 500. That measure birthed this president. The mud that made him is ours. He didn’t invent the darkness. – Joseph Natoli, 28 Feb 2020, from the counterpunch.org article Dispelling The Darkness

The stock market lost six trillion dollars this week. Pretty soon that adds up to real money. And of course that’s because of the coronavirus. Is this serious? Yes, it is. The CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, is now calling it the COVID-19, and you know a disease is serious when they give it a rap name. Will life change? Yes, it will. You just have to take more precautions now. Just assume everyone is infectious, the same warning they give contestants on The Bachelor…This would be a nice time, wouldn’t it, to have a president who doesn’t talk out of his ass, think with his dick, and eat with his hands. But we don’t have that. We have a president who thinks “I won an election where I got the fewest votes. I commit crimes and my lawyers go to jail. Reality is for losers!” – Bill Maher, 28 Feb 2019, from his TV show Real Time With Bill Maher

India’s ruling party will allow nothing to stand in the way of its Hindu-nationalist agenda…Mobs targeting a single religious group were allowed to run riot, unchecked by police. This is the definition of a pogrom…The message from the BJP is clear: Elect whomever you like. We are still in power. Call the police; they work for us. Appeal to the courts; we’ll neutralize any judges who don’t toe our line. Continue to dissent, and we will set the mob on you…Modi’s image as a pragmatic, business-oriented leader who has eschewed Hindu extremism now lies in tatters…All it takes in Modi’s India to marshal a mob is a word. And all it takes to turn the mob’s rampage into a pogrom against a religious minority is the complicity of police and state authorities. Yet, across India, brave citizens continue to occupy public spaces in peaceful protest. They know that all they have left to save their democratic republic is one another. They know that, any day, the mob can come for them too. – Mira Kamdar, 28 Feb 2020, from the theatlantic.com article What Happened In Delhi Was A Pogrom

Scotland hasn’t won much, not since Slimmer Of The Year said that it didn’t count if you lost a limb to diabetes. But Robert the Bruce scored a decisive victory by beating the English at Bannockburn, making the overall score one to seven thousand to them. For a place that practices a lot, we’re clearly not that good at fighting…Robert the Bruce remains an inspiration to many in Scotland, having lived to 54. In 1305 Robert the Bruce, taking refuge from battle in a cave, was inspired by a spider to spend four days trapped in the bath. Robert went on to defeat the English at Bannockburn and then Berwick. Even today as a mark of respect, everyone in Berwick continues to look defeated. The Battle of Bannockburn was perhaps the most famous of Scottish victories, closely followed by getting a London taxi driver to accept a Clydesdale Bank 20. Robert was a warrior, but also a cunning ruler who managed to use an alliance with France to capitalise on English fears of an invasion. Can you imagine if England had fallen under French rule? Right now from Newcastle right down to Plymouth, they would be speaking…louder English. Ultimately, France didn’t invade, possibly because they needed England as a vital safety buffer between their own and Scottish cuisine. Robert led Scotland to its first war of independence, 700 years before Nicola Sturgeon took on his mantle and his haircut. – Frankie Boyle, Feb 2020, from his BBC TV show Frankie Boyle’s Tour Of Scotland

When I look back on the last month or so of this tour, I see a Scotland that’s in quite a predicament, filled with wonderful, open, talented, generous people and owned by arseholes. About a quarter of the country is sporting estates given over to people shooting grouse, a sort of chicken in drag. I actually grew up on a sporting estate. We always gave someone a head start before we mugged them. Another problem here is this inaccurate idea we have of ourselves as a historically oppressed nation. In the late 18th century, Scots owned 30% of Jamaica. Now we own approximately 30% of our own furniture, and teeth. We weren’t colonised by England, we were complicit with the British Empire’s colonial endeavours, but have conveniently decided to redefine ourselves as another of its victims, a bit like Rose West hearing the police sirens and quickly burrowing under some paving slabs. Our history even before that isn’t really that of a proud nation seeking self-determination. Scotland was historically a thing passed around among the powerful in much the way that nowadays, they might pass around a sexy orphan. The long death of the union has led to Scottish culture being increasingly marginalised and patronised. When James Kelman won the Booker Prize, he accepted by saying “My culture and my language have the right to exist. And no one has the authority to dismiss them.” That is an incredible thing for someone to have to say, to have to insist on their own validity, their right to speak in their own voice. I think that in the years ahead of us there’ll be a lot of new Scottish voices charting us away from the cultural cringe and the nuclear missile-based status and the food banks and the religious neuroses and the difficulty that we have, let’s be honest, in allowing ourselves to find joy in each other and towards a new enlightenment, of which we’re well capable now that we’ve had a good, long rest. – Frankie Boyle, Feb 2020, from his BBC TV show Frankie Boyle’s Tour Of Scotland


  1. Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu brother,

    A very nice blog. I like all the articles you have quoted and watched the Bill Maher video as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but then again, I haven’t read a decent news article in a long time. Where are all the good writers? Who do they work for?

    Now, to more important things; when are we getting together?

    Qasim Alavi


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