The paradiastole is a relatively unknown figure of speech, but one which can be cuttingly witty when used well. It can be used as a compliment or a put-down. It often involves using words that are almost synonyms.

I can use it as a compliment by comparing you with me such as “I am downright stingy, but you are frugal and thrifty”.

Then I can flip it into an insult by saying “Look, I am a thrifty person, but you are just mean”.

The word comes from the Greek “para” (beside) and “diastole” (distinct).

The paradiastole comes into its own in a job interview. For every strength you identify there is a negative connotation, and you should explore what that could mean.

I am very focused on the detail and bring a high degree of accuracy to my work“. Sounds good? The interviewer may read this as “I am an introvert who is anally retentive about the smallest error in punctuation and I take forever to complete anything for fear of making a mistake“.

In many interviews you will be asked to identify your three biggest weaknesses. The standard approach to this response is to rephrase them as positives. “One boss told me I was a dreadful chatterbox, but I was the one who built relationships around the office, so when we needed a favor he would ask me to approach the person.”

Boris Johnson is currently touting a paradiastole in the form “I thought it was a work event, not a party“.

Shakespeare wrote sonnet after sonnet extolling the wonders of his mistress. One day he got bored of that and penned this entertaining roast, but I wonder did he ever actually deliver it?

Sonnet 130: by William Shakespeare

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
if snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
if hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
but no such roses see I in her cheeks;
and in some perfumes is there more delight
than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
that music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
my mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
as any she belied with false compare.


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Tragedy of the Commons

The 19th Century Economist William Forster Lloyd introduced us to the concept of a tragedy of the commons in the following passage which you can skip if you want the summary below: “If a person puts more cattle into his own field, the amount of the subsistence which they consume is all deducted from that which was at the command, of his original stock; and if, before, there was no more than a sufficiency of pasture, he reaps no benefit from the additional cattle, what is gained in one way being lost in another. But if he puts more cattle on a common, the food which they consume forms a deduction which is shared between all the cattle, as well that of others as his own, in proportion to their number, and only a small part of it is taken from his own cattle. In an inclosed pasture, there is a point of saturation, if I may so call it, (by which, I mean a barrier depending on considerations of interest,) beyond which no prudent man will add to his stock. In a common, also, there is in like manner a point of saturation. But the position of the point in the two cases is obviously different. Were a number of adjoining pastures, already fully stocked, to be at once thrown open, and converted into one vast common, the position of the point of saturation would immediately be changed“.

In Summary: If I own a field every cow I add leaves less grass for the cows already there. There is a limit to the benefit of adding stock. But cows on the commons are not stealing from my cows, they are stealing from my neighbours cows, and making me rich.

The Tragedy of the Commons explains why a tribe will kill the last Mammoth when they can eat only a fraction of the meat. If they don’t kill it their neighbours will, and their neighbours grow strong as they grow weak.

The Tragedy of the Commons lies right at the heart of the insane capitalist economic “forever growth” paradigm which is destroying our planet. Rich people saying “If I don’t take it someone else will”. Common goods include everything from oil and coal to the fish in the sea.

The fish are a perfect market to study. Scientists measure the supply of fish and warn of stock collapse. Fishermen strive to catch what fish remain. The stocks collapse. It has happened in many fisheries all over the world and yet we do it again and again and again.

When Governments attempt to regulate fishing the fishermen become apoplectic with rage. They claim their living is under threat. In fact the Governments and Scientists are doing their best to preserve a living for the fishermen by slowing the rate of depletion. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could regulate fishing to the point where stocks were actually on the increase?

In North-Western Europe we demolished the Herring Fisheries. Increasing industrialization of fishing between 1945 and 1970 removed 97% of the herring stocks. The rapidly rebounding fish has recovered but nowhere near it’s levels at the end of WW2. With the loss of herring the fishermen went further and deeper after Cod, Haddock, Hake, Salmon, Tuna and Whiting damaging all these stocks. The deeper fish take far longer to recover than herring do. As each fishery is ruined the fishermen must travel farther for less palatable fish. They are going to the Arctic for Horse Mackerel and Pollack.

If you read the news you will see fingers pointed at “Chinese Ghost Fleets” (they sail with transponders deactivated so they can’t be tracked) and slave crewed ships from South-East Asia, Russian Factory Ships, everyone who is not us. We are told they are “stealing our fish”. That is a distraction.

To attempt to control stocks regulators have imposed fishing quotas. There are stories of fishermen on the high seas pulling in a massive trawl of a fish for which they have no quota. So they ring around the other boats in their network to buy the quotas so they don’t have to dump the catch.

If you have a small boat with a small quota, and the regulator cuts the quota this can leave you in an impossible bind. You cannot catch enough fish to keep your boat on the water. You don’t have a living. The only option available is to sell your quota.

Only the larger boats have the capital to buy up the quotas, and the big owners get bigger and bigger as time goes by. It is the same economic condition that led to Land Estates in the Roman Republic falling into the hands of a few senators. The small farmers were pushed off the land and into the cities. Their labor was replaced by slaves. We saw this consolidation process in the Bread Market. Multiple smaller bakeries lost their business and in Dublin Johnston’s, Mooney’s and O’Brien’s bakeries became….Johnson, Mooney and O’Brien.

Today in Iceland and England a handful of millionaire families own the vast majority of the fish quotas.

The tradeable nature of these quotas has not gone unnoticed on financial markets. Wall Street financiers have started to set up offices in major fishing ports. Once venture capitalists start trading in “fish stocks” you can be guaranteed that they will bring massive pressure to bear on governments to loosen regulation. They will make big short term profits at the expense of the fish populations. The end consumer will be the ultimate loser.

I can understand if you are a fisherman with a small boat that “Regulation” is a dirty word. But the stringent regulation of catch and strong management of fish stocks is vital to protect the fishing industry. The day a Wall Street Financier owns your quota is the day you become a slave.


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Happy Burns Night

If you plan to celebrate the birth of Robbie Burns do remember this poem below and avoid po-faced pipers and wannabe lairds in their approved clan tartans stabbing haggises with claymores. The man of independent mind laughs at all that! Toss away the poetry book and sing a song instead, raise many a glass and kick up your heels. You don’t need dancing lessons to reel like a dervish.

A Man’s a Man for a’ That; by Robert Burns

Is there for honest poverty
that hings his head, an’ a’ that;
the coward-slave, we pass him by,
we dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
the rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
the man’s the gowd for a’ that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;
gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
a man’s a man for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
the honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
is king o’ men for a’ that.

Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that,
tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
he’s but a coof for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
his ribband, star, an’ a’ that,
the man o’ independent mind,
he looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
a marquis, duke, an’ a’ that!
But an honest man’s aboon his might –
guid faith, he mauna fa’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
their dignities, an’ a’ that,
the pith o’ sense an’ pride o’ worth
are higher rank than a’ that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
as come it will for a’ that,
that sense and worth, o’er a’ the earth
shall bear the gree an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
it’s comin yet for a’ that,
that man to man the warld o’er
shall brithers be for a’ that.


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The Marketplace of Lies

A Study by MIT Sloan School of Management found that it takes six times longer for a true story on Twitter to reach 1,500 people than it takes for a false story to reach the same number. Lies spread six times faster than truth on social media.

It was Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, pictured above, who postulated the balancing effect of the “Marketplace of Ideas” as being the best arbiter of ultimate truth. His dissenting opinion in Abrams V. United States (1919) was a reversal of his previous stance in championing the right of the state to censor free speech. Much of the current freedom of speech legislation arises from this minority opinion.

What Holmes suggested was that we flawed humans, in the moment, make many conflicting arguments. Some of these arguments are outright falsehoods. Many are made in good faith, believing them to be true, but time and circumstance prove them to be false. The Government is no better than the individual at seeing into the future. As a result censorship by the Government merely impedes our journey to the ultimate truth of an issue. Just as Government interference in Markets can have negative impacts so too can Government interference in the “Marketplace of Ideas”.

This theory assumes that the marketplace of ideas operates in the same cloud cuckoo land as the Capitalist Nirvana of a Perfect Market. In a pure open market where capitalism operates perfectly demand and supply are matched and prices are optimized. This market assumes free movement of goods, no barriers to market entry and exit, and full information of the market is available to all parties. The Internet was supposed to be the perfect market. It is not. Market players manipulate their websites to ensure that full information is not available to all customers in all markets. Many barriers to the free movement of goods and production inputs still exist.

Just as the perfect market has failed to materialize the perfect “Marketplace of Ideas” is a myth. Twitter and Facebook have become a marketplace of lies. But before you blame the North Koreans or Russian Bot Farms bear in mind that the MIT study screened for these factors. When they removed bot accounts from their study the imbalance remained. It is human beings who are spreading the lies.

One theory I have on this is that the spread of misinformation online operates exactly like the “Alliance of Evil” in the United Nations. Honest actors in the UN tend to campaign for reform in an overt manner, largely independent of each other. If a group of honest actors have the same agenda it tends to be a matter of serendipity. Not so with dishonest actors. A dictator who values religious freedom will defend the rights of another dictator to suppress religions because amongst the members of the “Alliance of Evil” there is a quid pro quo at work. They band together using vetoes to avoid censure and protect their sovereignty, in the process excusing disgusting acts of discrimination and oppression.

On the same basis we see the Alt-Right, the anti-Vaxx lobby, the Gun Lobby, the Pro-Life Lobby, Tea Party Republicans and Fundamentalist Christian Religious groups banding together in the USA. The “Pro-Life” people are defending the rights of the “anti-Vaxx” people not to wear masks, to refuse vaccine and to refuse vaccine to their children. They band together to support each other’s agendas, meaning that they spread each others lies.

The honest actors in the market are far less likely to spread stories from other lobbies. In Ireland I remember quite a lot of friction between the groups campaigning for Gay Marriage and the Pro-Choice camp. The latter felt that their support for Gay Marriage was not being reciprocated when the referendum on the 8th Amendment was held. If the Pro-Choice group started spreading fake news it would be perfectly likely that the LGBT~ groupings would refuse to disseminate lies. Honest actors tend to be honest disseminators of information. They will pause before hitting the retweet button.


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Abyss of Lust

One of the first acts undertaken by revolutionary governments is to control media. Ireland was no exception to this rule. From the foundation of the Free State in 1922 increasing pressure emerged on the Government to censor publications. Against his expressed will the Minister of Justice Kevin O’Higgins formed the “Committee on Evil Literature” in 1926.

In 1929 the “Censorship of Publications Board” was established by the Committee and they began the process of banning some great works of literature. The very first book banned was written by an Irish author, Liam O’Flaherty. The House of Gold is a polemic against the “Gombeen Men” who seized control of Irish politics following the rebellion, and the Catholic Church which supported them. The book is a criticism of the very men who banned the book.

O’Flaherty was the kind of man who should have been the future of Ireland, an intelligent and precocious intellectual who attempted to recruit volunteers to the Irish rebellion in school and at university. He enlisted in the British Army and served on the Western Front where he was injured. He returned as a card carrying communist. After the War of Independence he was involved in an attempt to establish an Irish Soviet which lasted all of three days. Ultimately he was disillusioned and disgusted by politics and left Ireland for the bright lights of Hollywood, and a successful writing career.

His rehabilitation as an Irish writer meant that we all read his short stories in school. The Sniper, his most famous story, is internationally famous as it is easy to read for students of English, and has a powerful ending.

The House of Gold has benefited from the relaxation of Ireland’s formerly punishing censorship control. Now you can read the tale of the Priest who laments “Lord have mercy on me. I am being swallowed in the abyss of lust. My will is weak. Take this apple of evil from my sight.” The apple of evil in question is Nora, the unfaithful wife of the local Gombeen politician. Spoiler alert – the priest shags her anyway. 100 years on we just don’t find that at all surprising. How innocent we all were to be shocked by the affair of Bishop Eamon Casey, which now seems mild in comparison to subsequent child rape revelations.

If there is a point to this post it is this: any regime that does not tolerate criticism is highly suspect. If the criticism is not valid it will not stick. If it sticks there is something badly wrong. We should all listen carefully to our harshest critics.


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The Nile is a fitting place to contemplate eternity. One of the earliest civilizations was born on its banks. The enigmatic sphinx has been observing the sun rising in the east since the days when rain fell frequently on the Giza plateau, and it is the oldest known monument made by man. Older than the pyramids. The span of years from the building of the first pyramids to the reign of Cleopatra is longer than the distance of Cleopatra from us.

Until the Aswan High Dam was constructed in the 1850s the Nile Flood fertilized the desert every year. I have a history book written before that came to pass, which introduces it’s material in the context of the continuity of that event.

The Nile flows languidly through the desert from the Sudan in the South to the Delta in the North. It is a simple matter to drift down river on the flow. The prevailing wind blows from North to South, ideal to carry a sail upriver. The feluccas have plied the route since time immemorial, since the days when their hulls were made of bundled reed or papyrus stems.

The mythical sources of the Nile remained a mystery until the last century. The Ancient Romans knew that the annual flood arrived down the Blue Nile from Ethiopia, but the treacherous gorges denied them a route to that source. It was only in the 1850s that Burton and Speke travelled to the source of the White Nile in Lake Victoria, but even they could not agree the truth of that. Confirmation that the Kagera River is the longest source only came about in the 1990s.

The religions of Egypt embraced the River as part of their myths, the sunrise, the sun ascendant, the sunset, death and rebirth. The cycle represented by the humble dung beetle in the form of a scarab. Traditions that were passed on to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I long to sit on that river bank and contemplate the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

An Old Man on the River Bank; by Giorgos Seferis

To Nani Panayíotopoulo: Cairo, 20 June ’42

And yet we should consider how we go forward.
To feel is not enough, nor to think, nor to move
nor to put your body in danger in front of an old loophole
when scalding oil and molten lead furrow the walls.

And yet we should consider towards what we go forward,
not as our pain would have it, and our hungry children
and the chasm between us and the companions calling from the opposite shore;
nor as the bluish light whispers it in an improvised hospital,
the pharmaceutic glimmer on the pillow of the youth operated on at noon;
but it should be in some other way, I would say like
the long river that emerges from the great lakes enclosed deep in Africa,
that was once a god and then became a road and a benefactor, a judge and a delta;
that is never the same, as the ancient wise men taught,
and yet always remains the same body, the same bed, and the same Sign,
the same orientation.

I want nothing more than to speak simply, to be granted that grace.
Because we’ve loaded even our song with so much music that it’s slowly sinking
and we’ve decorated our art so much that its features have been eaten away by gold
and it’s time to say our few words because tomorrow our soul sets sail.

If pain is human we are not human beings merely to suffer pain;
that’s why I think so much these days about the great river,
this meaning that moves forward among herbs and greenery
and beasts that graze and drink, men who sow and harvest,
great tombs even and small habitations of the dead.
This current that goes its way and that is not so different from the blood of men,
from the eyes of men when they look straight ahead without fear in their hearts,
without the daily tremor for trivialities or even for important things;
when they look straight ahead like the traveller who is used to gauging his way by the stars,
not like us, the other day, gazing at the enclosed garden of a sleepy Arab house,
behind the lattices the cool garden changing shape, growing larger and smaller,
we too changing, as we gazed, the shape of our desire and our hearts,
at noon’s precipitation, we the patient dough of a world that throws us out and kneads us,
caught in the embroidered nets of a life that was as it should be and then became dust and sank into the sands
leaving behind it only that vague dizzying sway of a tall palm tree.


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Fatal Arrogance

(c) National Army Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The loss of a British Column to the Zulus at Isandhlwana is considered to be the worst defeat of a modern professional army by a native militia in history. The British Army regularly coped in asymmetrical conflicts where they were outnumbered ten to one in India, in the Sudan and elsewhere. The resilience of the “Thin Red Line” was legendary. But from time to time English exceptionalism turned to arrogance with fatal consequences.

At the core of the failure at Isandhlwana was the bizarre decision by the commander, Lord Chelmsford, to waive standing orders which required construction of a trench. Chelmsford thought it was too much work for a mobile column. But they could have opted for the Boer practice of constructing a Laager. The Boers victory over the Zulu at the Battle of Blood River in 1838 was made possible because they circled their wagons and chained them together to form a stout palisade. Some 41 years later the British Army did not feel it needed to take such precautions.

On January 22nd 1879 the British Scouts spotted some Zulu warriors and gave chase. They rode into a valley to find 20,000 warriors sitting silently in their regiments. The Zulu plan was to attack the next day, but their early discovery triggered an immediate reaction.

The British numbered just over 1,800 men but of these only 800 were top of the line British Infantry. They had a contingent of 500 Africans who were poorly trained and poorly armed. It was the 800 Infantry men armed with the top of the line Martini-Henry Breechloading Rifle who were to provide the backbone of the defense. The British line was spread slightly thinner than usual, but for about one hour, supported by rockets and two artillery pieces, they held back the tide of attacks. Then a disaster began to unfold.

As they ran out of ammunition the troopers would slip back to camp to stock up and return to the firing line. The rifle cartridges were stored in stout wooden crates with the lids screwed on. The Quartermasters did not have enough screwdrivers to open the cases fast enough. They also insisted on following standing orders, only issuing the troopers with a fixed ration of bullets, and recording the issue. A queue developed as the troopers waited helplessly for their allocation of ammunition.

As the soldiers were slower and slower to return to their places in the firing line gaps opened. The remaining troopers were unable to hold the line and the Zulus over-ran the camp. This is where a Laager would have provided a fall back position.

While the Zulus won the battle it was the British who won the war. But it is significant that in any subsequent encounter with the Zulu the British did not deploy the “Thin Red Line”. They used entrenchments or at the very least a fighting square.

The other key change arising from the battle was to dispense with screws on ammunition crates replacing them with quick release clips.

I finish with a somewhat enigmatic poem of South Africa by Michael Mott. The Seferis in question is George, the famous Greek poet, born in Smyrna and exiled by the division of Greece from Turkey. The Asphodel is a Greek symbol for peace after death, a funerary flower. He served as a Greek ambassador to South Africa during the 1940’s. Tshaka was the most famous Zulu king but he was long dead when Isandlwana was fought. South Africa today is made up of 9 provinces.

Seferis Among the Agapanthus; by Michael Mott

Ambassador, always, to the griefs of Greece,
you claim these flowers your own in second exile
by calling them the ‘asphodels of blacks’.

Blue darkened with violet blue, or white,
not quite the colours of your flag, the root
a lovecharm for a Xhosa bride, the flower a guide

to everlasting exile. Stems like shafts
mark out a silent Iliad, Tshaka with no Homer,
the wetting of the spears at Isandlwana

and all the levels of the dead before the Zulus.
Nine buried Africas prop up Pretoria’s streets
of offices and jacaranda trees, typists, fans

that shave the air in butchers’ slices, ticking
off time not spent in Athens, or near Smyrna,
hours of the asphodels, whites’ agapanthus.


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Close enough to toss a ship’s biscuit.

Most people with a rudimentary grasp of history will know the broad arc of the story of the rise and fall of Napoleon. The British celebrate his defeat at the hands of Lord Wellington on the field of Waterloo. But in truth the British Hero was the legendary Lord Nelson. It was the Admiral who smashed the Republican French fleet at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

Napoleon only became Emperor in 1799 following his adventures in Egypt. His first order of business was to arrange a naval invasion of England. He quickly realized that his navy was not up to the job.

Nelson proved his mettle again in 1801 at Copenhagen where he smashed the combined Danish and Norwegian fleets, preventing them from falling into the hands of Napoleon.

Then Nelson triumphed again in 1805 by defeating the combined French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar, where the hero died in battle. But his legacy was not done. Nelson had secured British control of the seas. What French naval power remained was blockaded in French ports. Only the odd frigate would run the blockades to seek glory on the high seas.

This meant that when Soult led his army against General Moore in 1809 and drove him to La Corunna the British Navy was waiting to extract the British Army from Spain. What followed was the Peninsular War. Supplied and delivered by units of the British Navy General Wellesley was able to field a British Army in Spain and Portugal. By maintaining footholds on the Peninsula the British were able to give hope, and tangible support to the rump Government of Spain. They supplied local militia leaders to fight the “guerilla” the “little war” against the French.

Spain became Napoleon’s Vietnam. It bled his forces dry. He over-extended into Russia, lost his “Grande Armeé” and like mongrel dogs gaining boldness in a pack the nations of Europe came together to pick over the corpse of France.

But it could all have been very different. What if there was no victory at the Nile? What if the French Fleet remained intact? What would have happened in Europe if Britain did not rule the waves. The United Kingdom owed it’s dominance of the sea to a week of gales and storms around the coast of Cork in December 1796.

Theobald Wolfe Tone had persuaded the Directory in Paris to support an Irish Rebellion. He led a 43 ship fleet including 17 ships of the line. They carried an army of 15,000 French and Franco-Irish Troops. Had the weather been kind the main force would have landed in Bantry Bay. They would have raised the country in rebellion and moved rapidly to take Cork City.

Cork is one of the finest natural harbors in the world. It was a vital supply point and safe haven for British Shipping throughout the Napoleonic Wars. The ships guns were supplied with gunpowder from the mills at Ballincollig. Their larders were filled with an abundance of food from the countryside.

With powerful French Fleets in Cork and Bantry Bay the Royal Navy would have been in a difficult position. Instead of chasing the French Fleet in the Mediterranean they would have had to subdue Ireland. With such a powerful army from France there is every possibility the Irish Rebellion would have been successful. The subsequent affair in 1798 was risible in comparison. The French landed only 3,000 men in Mayo. The rebel communications broke down and the uprisings were localized and sporadic. The British Army was easily able to cope.

Wolfe Tone wrote of 1796 that they were close enough to toss a ship’s biscuit ashore. It is interesting to look at the Napoleonic Wars from this perspective. No victory at the Nile. No Copenhagen. No Trafalgar. Spain easily subdued by the French. A powerful continental fleet able to restrict Royal Navy operations.

Today it is likely that the Irish, and most of the civilized world, would be fluent in French.

Seamus Heaney, “Wolfe Tone”

Light as a skiff, manoeuvrable
yet outmanoeuvred,
I affected epaulettes and a cockade,
wrote a style well-bred and impervious
to the solidarity I angled for …

I was the shouldered oar that ended up
far from the brine and whiff of venture,
like a scratching post or a crossroads flagpole,
out of my element among small farmers.


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Media Storm

A disgraceful scene outside Tullamore courthouse as Jozef Puska was led away to Cloverhill prison to await trial for the “alleged” murder of Ashling Murphy. See that word “alleged”, that is important. This is an innocent man. Innocent until proven guilty. This means absolutely nothing to the rabid lynch mob of xenophobic nationalists who are using this situation to further their grotty little agendas.

Only seven days ago a different man had his home stoned by the same crowd of bigots, as the Gardaí questioned him over the murder. That man was found immediately guilty by the mob, but it turned out he had a good alibi and was released.

The lynch mob and the media circus go hand in hand, feeding off each other, as they root around the darkest corners of the internet for incriminating dirt. Don’t believe anything you read about Jozef Puska in the next month, because it is likely to be fake news. The juicer the detail the less likely it is to be true.

The Xenophobes immediately leaped on the fact that he is described as “a Slovakian national”. The Slovaks are not claiming him.

The #NotAllMen brigade are breathing a collective sigh of relief that the suspect is not Irish. It gives them permission to say this is a foreign issue of culture and that Irish men are not like this. Wrong! Irish men are like this. Male chauvinism and misogyny are hallmarks of mainstream conservative Irish culture, North and South, Protestant and Catholic, Nationalist and Unionist. Just ask any woman.

The Schrodinger’s Immigrant cohort have leaped on the revelation that Puska is in receipt of disability benefit. Just to clarify: these are the people who hold immigrants in two simultaneous states like Schrodinger’s Cat. The immigrants are at the same time stealing your job while living on state benefits.

Puska lives in a three bedroom house, we are told. In the middle of a #HousingCrisis with an entire generation of Irish Millennials finding it impossible to afford a home how did this suspect get one? You will hear more conspiracy theories on this one.

The court has granted the suspect free legal aid and the services of an interpreter. The anti-immigration lobby are already making noises in this regard to the effect that you, a tax paying citizen, are denied these services that are handed out willy-nilly, like snuff at a wake to immigrants. They will point out to you that your taxes are paying for the defense of this man. Fester, fester, fester.

At this very moment his social media accounts are being trolled and maybe even hacked in an effort to draw out more poison. If he has a third cousin who once visited the middle east you will hear rumors of terrorist connections. If his wife’s cousin’s father in law was born in Columbia we have the makings of a drug cartel. The possibilities are endless and the beauty for conspiracists is that none of the accusations need to be true. Like the proverbial pillow torn in the wind the rumors fly like feathers into the dark recesses of the internet, impossible to find them all and even more impossible to put them back.

It is all a world away from the deep respect shown for Ashling in vigils held around the country. People of Ireland – Stay Classy! Let the man be tried in the courts, not in the court of public opinion.


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Poe: The AI Hotel from “Altered Carbon”

Sarah Helen Whitman (neé Power) was born on this day in 1803. Six years later, to the day, Edgar Alan Poe was born. Whitman was an occultist, a spiritualist and the closest thing the 19th Century had to a Goth. When she read the stories of Poe she was smitten, drawn immediately by his dark, macabre tales of horror. They exchanged love poems, became engaged and had a date arranged for the wedding (Christmas Day 1848). But it was not to be. It emerged that Poe was pursuing three other mistresses at the same time, one named Annie Richmond, the second was Sarah Royster. The third, and the love of his life, was the demon drink. His death in 1849 appears to be the end of a magnificent bout of drunkenness after which he was found on the street, incoherent and wearing somebody else’s clothes.

A doxology is a hymn of praise to the glory of God. Along the lines of “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever Amen”. The purpose of a doxology was to elevate the Christian God above the Emperors and Kings of men. In Western Europe only the Holy Roman Emperor was considered a “true” emperor. When a Queen like Victoria adopted the title “Empress of India” it was simply to impress the subject populations of places like India. Kings and Queens were two a penny in the East, and you needed an Imperial title to establish the right degree of subservience.

Kings and Emperors frequently make use of multiple stacked titles to impress visitors to their court. The current Queen of England is: Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

Sulieman the Magnificent at the peak of the Ottoman Empire was styled : Sultan Sulieman Han, Sovereign of The Sublime House of Osman, Sultan of Sultans, Khan of Khans, Commander of the faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the lord of the Universe, Custodian of the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, Padishah of The Three Cities of Istanbul, Edirne and Bursa, and of the Cities of Damascus and Cairo, of all Azerbaijan, of the Maghreb, of Barkah, of Kairouan, of Alep, of the Arab and Persian Iraq, of Basra, of Gaza, of Raqqa, of Mosul, of Parthia, of Diyâr-ı Bekr, of Cilicia, of the provinces of Erzurum, of Sivas, of Adana, of Karaman, of Van, of Barbaria, of Abyssinia, of Tunisia, of Tripoli, of Syria, of Cyprus, of Rhodes, of Crete, of the province of the Peloponnese, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, of Anatolia, of Rumelia, of Bagdad, of Kurdistan, of Greece, of Turkestan, of Tartary, of Circassia, of the two regions of Kabarda, of Georgia, of the steppe of Kipchaks, of the whole country of the Tatars, of Theodosia and of all the neighbouring regions, of Bosnia, of the City and Fort of Belgrade, of the province of Serbia, with all the castles and cities, of all Arnaut, of all Wallachia and Moldavia, as well as all the dependencies and borders, and many others countries and cities.

It’s quite a mouthful. With God competing against such power it was vital to point out that God ruled over everything, for ever and ever. So it is dangerously close to blasphemy that Whitman includes a doxology in her sonnet to Poe, offering him her very soul.

To – ; by Sarah Helen Whitman

Vainly my heart had with thy sorceries striven:
It had no refuge from thy love, no Heaven
but in thy fatal presence; from afar
it owned thy power and trembled like a star
o’erfraught with light and splendor. Could I deem
how dark a shadow should obscure its beam?
Could I believe that pain could ever dwell
where thy bright presence cast its blissful spell?
Thou wert my proud palladium; could I fear
the avenging Destinies when thou wert near?
Thou wert my Destiny; thy song, thy fame,
the wild enchantments clustering round thy name,
were my soul’s heritage, its royal dower;
its glory and its kingdom and its power!


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