Leeds United chairman Ken Bates has been accused of racism for describing his successors at Chelsea as shysters. As far as I'm aware, the word has no anti-Semitic connotations; in fact, "shyster" is a Yiddish word and, oddly enough, people who speak Yiddish aren't all that prone to using anti-Semitic epithets. Is Bates being accused of racism simply for appropriating the language of his opponents? And, to be frank, if I were an anti-Semite, Leeds would be the last place I'd move to. It all sounds completely meshugge.
Also... following on from the Old/New Media musings I posted yesterday, a fun piece from the Graun about how Hollywood is bypassing print critics in favour of internet-driven word of mouth. But interestingly, they only seem to do this for popcorn schlock; films aimed at people who can read without moving their lips still get the old media treatment. Maybe with print critics, you know the opinion is coming from someone who has seen at least one film that is either a) free of CGI; b) black and white; or c) foreign.
And, in the skateboarding duck slot, the story of the Filipino judge and the three imaginary mystic dwarves reaches its conclusion. For further details, read his blog.
As I said in the last post, I usually blog about stuff, rather than about myself. Not that I have any problem with old-school, diary-type blogging, or confessionals, or reminiscences, or those that give intimate details of one's own sexual exploits. (Is there a word for those? Blogjobs?) It's just that I'd rather write about Belle and Sebastian, or Kandinsky. Or even Ken Bates.
But, for a change, two bits of moderately personal importance. One is to note that the guy who's being held in connection with the JonBenet Ramsey case was arrested about 50 metres from my front door.
The other is rather less lurid and, to me at least, far sadder; the death of Campbell MacKay. Campbell was one of my English teachers at Appleby College in Ontario, 20 years ago. He directed me in his never-to-be-forgotten, Mafia-themed production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; he got me reading Joyce and Beckett and Burgess and Larkin. When people talk about inspirational teachers, you get the image of Robin Williams doing John Wayne impressions, and kids standing on desks. Campbell wasn't like that. He was a grey-bearded, chainsmoking, clarinet-playing Glaswegian, with the lugubrious demeanour of a slightly hungover bloodhound. He was one of the best teachers I've ever had, and I've been lucky with teachers. He was also a kind, funny, clever, gentle gentleman. Tonight, a glass will be raised.
"But you could not have a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could."
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man