Sunday, September 04, 2016


Keith Vaz, the vain and oleaginous Labour MP, has been 'outed' by the Sunday Mirror as a user of 'male escorts'.

The story is typically sordid.
"Labour MP Keith Vaz paid for the services of male escorts, the Sunday Mirror has reported.

"The married father-of-two paid for the men to visit him one evening last month at a flat he owns in London, it claims."
It looks like he's in political trouble.
"He also described it as a "privilege" to be the chairman of the select committee, which monitors crime and drugs policy, for the past nine years.

"I will of course inform committee members first of my plans when we meet on Tuesday. My decision has been based entirely on what is in the best interests of the committee."
The Express takes up the story,
"The paper revealed footage that showed the MP meeting with two Eastern European male prostitutes, who he told his name was Jim and he worked as a washing machine salesman, for sex eight days ago."
But in liberal bubble-land where disgust and shame barely register, I don't quite see why this is so problematic.
  • Homosexuality? Check, OK. 
  • Sex workers? Check, OK.
  • Party Poppers? Check, OK.
He appears to have done nothing illegal.

So why all the fuss? Jeremy Corbin, being consistent, says it's "a private matter."

I wonder what The Guardian will make of it.


[Trigger warning: link below not safe for work; generous use of four letter words, asterisked here]

Peter Watts discusses at length an interesting dilemma:
"Did you know that Blindsight contains 73 instances of the word “f***” and its variants? I’ve recently been informed of this fact by a high-school teacher down in a part of the US that - well, in the name of protecting the identities of the innocent, let’s just call it JesusLand.

"The ubiquity of “F***” -  not just in Blindsight but in other contexts as well -  carries a number of ramifications. For one thing, it implies that the characters who use it have better vocabularies and language skills than those whose mouths are squeaky clean. It also means that they probably have a greater tolerance to pain.

"And in the case of this particular teacher -  here in the Twenty First Century, for chrissake - it means she could lose her job if she taught Blindsight, unexpurgated, to her advanced English class.

"Apparently high school students in her part of the world are blissfully unfamiliar with this word. Apparently all sorts of calamities might ensue should that precarious state of affairs ever change."
Blindsight is a fascinating book, looking at deep conceptual questions of evolution and consciousness. In the conservative south of all places, the cuss-words would be the least of it.

The reason I mention Peter's little anecdote here is buried deeper in his post.
"As it happened, Omni had recently stuck my name on a list of “Greatest Sci-Fi Writers of All Time”, right up there with Orwell, Wolfe, and Le Guin. It was completely bogus, of course— my name doesn’t belong anywhere near those folks, not yet at least— but somehow it had slipped in, and maybe that would be enough to classify Blindsight as a “classic”? No?
I just love this little piece of authorial vanity. It's called humble-bragging, no?

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