Wednesday, 28 October 2009

How I (accidentally) got the BNP to confess they are causing climate change

Recently, I accidentally strayed into the world of investigative journalist. This is an unusual thing to do, so let me preface it.

I am just coming to the end of my Neuroscience PhD, so have been busy over recent months. I also do stand-up comedy, whenever I can. I’ve been doing comedy for over 4 years now, and now that my time is freeing up, I decided I should make more of a go of it. And sometimes, the quickest way to the top is by catching a ride on the bandwagon.

The BNP have been in the news a lot recently, and as such have been subjected to much satirical and comedic analysis. Who am I to swim against the tide? That’s how you end up beached. I’m a fan of the beach, but let’s not confuse a metaphor. So I decided to write some BNP based jokes.

I’ve heard recently that the BNP sell party merchandise such as T-shirts via an online shop. This both amused and worried me. But then a thought occurs; Are the garments made in the UK, or abroad, like most garments these days? If it’s the latter, then the BNP is giving money to foreign countries, which seems counter to their policies. If it’s the former, judging by the reputation of the British textile industry, anyone who buys one will probably ‘send them back’.

However, my scientific side wouldn’t let me make any reference to this without doing the research. So I explored the online shop, which is a veritable treasure trove of twatness, complete with an entire ‘Gollies’ section. However, I found no sign of the information as to whether the merchandise was locally sourced or not.

I had to know. The fact that it wasn’t mentioned suggested that the merchandise was made abroad. They wouldn’t pass up the chance to add a ‘100% British’ logo would they? But I won’t make accusations without evidence. That’s their game, not mine. So, setting up a new email account (I don’t want to end up on any lists myself), I emailed the address provided. In order to avoid seeming like someone taking the piss, which what I planned to be, I decided to be well mannered but poorly educated. The ideal BNP target; polite, but thick. Here is the genuine email I sent. All spelling mistakes are deliberate.

ME: Hello
I was browzing your online shop. Tho I like all your merchandize, I was wondering, are your shits and others merchandize all made in
Britain? I want to check before making a purchaze

Less than five minutes later, I got this reply.

SHOP: We've been unable to change Britain's climate to grow cotton locally, hence the cotton for the shirts comes from overseas.

May I assume that your computer, car, and appliances are all made in Great Britain? I'd just like to check for consistency, and make sure you're not being hypocritical.

All the best

I guess this is why most customer service centres are based overseas, if the typical British response is to berate anyone who makes an enquiry. However, much to my surprise (and everyone else’s I’d imagine), it turns out that the BNP are deliberately causing climate change. That’s not a wise thing to tell a casual enquirer, I thought. More on that later.

The last point is fair, I would be hypocritical if I was making a genuine enquiry. Is it wrong to lie to strangers? I always thought it was, but then I remembered how the BNP recruit people, so I thought British Monkey see, British Monkey do.

ME: Hello again

Thanx for reply. I see your point. I try to buy British where I can. I bought this PC from my brother and hes from the same town as me.
I dont have a car, cant afford it, but will get a british one if I do.
Ill ask my mam where all our other stuff comes from when she gets home from work
Thanx again

Like I said, polite but thick is what I was going for. I threw in a few, by my standards, obvious jokes, so I didn’t expect a response. 5 mins later, my expectations were dashed.

SHOP: We do the best we can to source local merchandise that is affordable, but it's not always possible.

All the best,

I was getting the impression that this person was bored. It usually takes several days for a response from an online retailer, and I’ve had 2 within 10 minutes of my first message. I guess the silent ‘majority’ that the BNP claim to represent are happy to make their own shirts out of old Klan uniforms and immigrant blood. Or something. So, now that I’ve started…

ME: Thanx
Also, do you ave to pay by credit card? I dont ave one yet as im not 18 for 2 years and its my dads birthday present so want it to be a suprise

I wondered, are the BNP willing to take money from a naive, semi-illiterate teenager?

That was a pretty stupid question, as it turns out.

SHOP: You can pay by cheque or postal order made out to @!@! The address is Blah blah blah avoid getting sued etc. The only problem is that it will take longer and might not arrive in time. When is your dad's birthday?

They did give me the actual address of course, which seemed foolish. I don’t like leaving a question unanswered though, even if they are addressed to someone who doesn’t exist. So…

ME: Not for while yet, so thats ok, was just looking now because Im suspended from school.
He doesnt get out for another 3 weeks anyway, so its cool I think

So, I’m a misbehaving, poorly educated teenager with an incarcerated father. Or possibly he’s in hospital. What advice would they give a person like me? Surely they would advise against me spending money on their hatemongering merchandise?

SHOP: OK, that's no problem then. I'm sorry for the tone of my first email. I get tired of journalists causing trouble.

All the best to you, and keep out of trouble!

In my defence, I’m not a journalist. In their defence, I am a comic doing research that will be used to openly mock them and their ideals. Is that better or worse than a journalist? And the BNP told me to stay out of trouble. Anyone see any problem with that? What do the BNP define as trouble?

So, as a result of my self-inflicted obligation to back up my meagre jokes with facts, I now have written statements from the BNP that they are actively contributing to climate change and will continue to do so until Britain’s climate is altered (in order to support non-native organisms, ironically).

Supporters could argue they aren’t being serious. But why say it in the first place? It’s the sort of comment that would seriously get seized upon in the world of politics, which they vehemently claim to be part of. If I were a journalist, this would put food on my table for quite some time.

Supporters could also say that I’m interacting with someone who’s not responsible for speaking for the party. I would disagree, this person has to deal with enquiries from the general public, and if they’re more indicative of a typical party member then I’d say their statements are more valid, not less.

What if it’s true? The BNP are actively attempting to destabilize the climate? This could be corrected by my own system, where instead of fossil fuels, we burn the BNP to generate electricity, providing bountiful energy (if Nick Griffin is indicative, they’re all large individuals) while cutting down consumption, giving whole new meaning to the term ‘White Power’.

But more sinisterly, my hapless ‘probing’ reveals that the BNP are happy to take money from ignorant children, with incarcerated or ill parents.

If I wasn’t anti-BNP before, I am now. And I was before, so now I am more so. All I wanted to do was avoid making false claims like they do, and I ended up concocting a whole new identity and background in order to lie to a stranger. I’m not proud of myself, but then any blow against the BNP is worth it, I feel. They do far worse, I’m sure.

It seems the BNP are wary of journalists and politicians, but have no fear or concern for comedians. I like to think I’ve shown that, even if it was an accident, this is an oversight that they’ll end up seriously regretting.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Alternative Alternative medicine

I used to write in this a lot didn't I? Strange, I forgot I had it recently, hence the quiet spell.
Anyhoo, how are you? Fine? Good, I'm glad you're not dead or anything.
Recently (well, several months ago now) I read Bad Science, by Ben Goldacre. In the world of rational, cynical, scientific individuals who are annoyed/enraged by the complete misunderstanding and unnecessary attacks on science by the media and others, Ben Goldacre is king, although he doesn't use as long-winded suppositions or descriptions as I do.
I won't go on about the book here, suffice to say it's brilliant, but there's nothing I can't say about it that isn't explained and described better in the book itself, so buy it, read it and cut out the middleman. But it did inspire this blog post.
One chapter deals with alternative medicine and homeopathy in particular. One of the main negative traits of those who promote, and more importantly sell, pseudoscientific treatments and 'cures' is the complete absence of adherence to the scientific process. Science genuinely needs criticism and analysis in order to advance, as Bad Science often points out. However, any attempt to criticise or even question the techniques of alternative scientists is met with outrage, attacks and, worryingly often, legal action in response to 'defamation'.
Bad Science describes several admittedly low-key ways to respond to this sort of quackery. However, I've thought of my own way. Alternative medicine basically relies on making up a non-truth but explaining it in a scientific way, and people believe it. Don't know why.
Here's my approach. I argue that we should make up as many alternative therapies as possible, write them down somewhere official, and then when someone else thinks of the same approach and attempts to use that method to heal people (meaning, exploit gullible people for financial gain), sue them to buggery and back for stealing your idea. Or at least ban them from using it.
So, purely as a preventative measure, here are my alternative alternative-therapies.
It's well established that the arrangement of your surroundings can make you feel good, and imbue a sense of wellness. Well, imagine how much better you would feel if your internal environment was correctly arranged? Modern life and the intrusions of modern medicine have enforced a disharmonious arrangement on our internal organs, but a brand new therapy now now allows you to place your vital organs into a healthy, harmonious configuration. It's no joke. Don't believe me? Well, how much better does it feel when you re-arrange your external organs manually?
Sadly, the genitals are the only external organs available for manipulation to the untrained, but a number of techniques are available, all administered by a certified BurnettSolutions (tm) organ manipulator for a variety of bargain prices, all guaranteed to make you feel at least 67% more well once the immediate pain and soreness that results from forced organ adjustment has worn off. These include
Kidney Synchronosis - £25
Liver Morphotosis - £45
Spinal Space contrarotation - £60
Brain-Skull repositioning - £100
Heart cavity Resetting - £150
Colonoscopic refinement - £3000
And many others. Book now to ensure you exist in a well balanced environment, inside and out.
It is well established that water retains a memory for all the active components that have been dissolved in it, and this is often used to treat illnesses. But the water on this planet has been around for millions of years, so who could possibly know what has been in it at any point? Homeopathy can only go so far, but our brand new techniques, pioneered by BurnettSolutions(tm), actually break down the structure of water itself through an advanced technique of 'electrolysis'. Water is reset to its original, primordial state.
All ill health in modern society can be traced to the consumption of contaminated water, so by purchasing your water from BurnettSoutions(tm) you can be among the healthiest people on Earth, providing you avoid all contact with non-reset water of course. Available from just £49.99 litre, re-set water prevents ill health, cures illness, and the special electrolysed reset water (£79.99 a litre) even contains residual electricity, giving you a spring in your step and more energised blood to aide respiration.
Everyone knows that food grown in volcanic soil is better than standard food. And people who live on or around volcanoes live longer lives (barring eruptions). Clearly, the energies of mother Earth itself are infused into their diet, and now they can be for yours too. At just £9.99 a sachet, you can now add the minerals and nutrients of materials that are 100% guaranteed to have been part of a high energy natural process to your very own soups, sauces and salads (but not in soft drinks, the poisonous caustic properties of these tend to denature the active elements).
Simply purchase your £9.99 sachets from BurnettSolutions (tm), or £18.99 for the extra dense materials which provide even more energy and goodness to your system, and add them to your meals. Obviously, the raw energies of the Earth are too much for some people, so you may not feel benefits straight away, but any ill effects are purely due to your body adapting to the new powers it is being exposed to. Embrace the Earth, it's the best idea you'll ever have!
Autoelevatory therapy
"On top of the World". "As high as a kite". "Up, up and away". All positive sayings. And have you ever noticed the top athletes train at high altitudes in order to achieve the best performance? What do all these things have in common? That's right, Height!
Humans evolved from tree dwelling creatures and mountain dwelling life forms. Since we crawled out of the primordial seas, we've always aspired to get higher and higher. Clearly, our bodies crave to be higher than all others. This is why tall people are so much happier than short ones and midgets.
Our social and physical ills can be traced to a lack of height in our daily lives, but help is now available. BurnettSolutions (tm) now offer specially designed autoelevator slip-ins for your shoes. These painstakingly designed elevators (£59.99 each) fit snugly into your everyday shoes and mould to the natural shape of your feet, but raise your average height by crucial inches in a manner utterly dissimilar to that of high-heels or platform shoes. Unless your ideal body height is greater than that provided by the autoelevators, you will feel a noticeable sense of well being and health that can only come from being 'high'.
Will add more when I think of them. Or please, add your own in the comment section. Join the cause!
(Also, for the cynics, here's what you get for the money.
Organ-Shui = A rather aggressive, inexpert massage.
Neo-Homeopathy = Distilled water, with a dash of lemon juice. 2 dashes for the electrolysed type.
Nutrivulcanism = Wood ash, with added grit for the denser sachets.
Autoelevatory therapy. = Two large lumps of wax, the kind they use for ear plugs).

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