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Showing posts from October, 2012

The Thick of It: In the great tradition of foul-mouthed and bitter British satire

I have been thinking a lot about satire recently. This is partly because for only the second time in my life I am getting to teach a module on Augustan satire (one of my favourite topics). In addition though, it reminded me of a Twitter conversation I had with a couple of emminent literary gents about the satire of the latest series of The Thick of It. I was caught by the fact that one of these gents, writer Martin Wroe, was expressing exactly (but more eloquently) what I had been thinking myself - that the series appears to get darker each time, and in this series appears to portray all of humanity as posessing no redeeming qualities at all. When the infamously foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker accuses the leader of the opposition of having “all the charm of a rotting teddy bear by a graveside”, he could as easily be describing the show itself.
If you are not familiar with the series (which was turned into the feature film In the Loop), it caused a stir on its first series run in 2005…

Fornalism and Regulations

Today is turning into one of those days.  In the middle of working towards an institutional revalidation, pretty much my whole focus is currently locked onto a series of policy and regulatory documents in which I am writing all the various changes which have been agreed upon - which really means translating various minutes and discussions into appropriately 'regulatory' language which scrupulously avoids saying anything that contradicts a statement elsewhere in our regulations.  It involves laboriously cross-checking every sentence, and carefully scanning every punctuation mark to ensure that there is no obvious scope for misinterpretation.

The task is, frankly, mind-numbing - especially the week after I finally managed to dodge my way back into a classroom again, and had such a delightful time re-meeting old students and welcoming new ones.

One of the problems with regulations is that the mode of language which is used in them is so entrenched into a legalistic tone, that:


The Daily Mail 'is just a middle-class way to hide stupidity'