It's been a week of great frustration. There's an Irish proverb about a house with a broken roof, where a man explains that when it's sunny it poses no problem, and when it rains the weather is too bad to fix anything. In most countries, that would be a charming fable. In Ireland, it's the basis for our goddamn abortion law. It was only a matter of time before Ireland's myopic policy on the matter got back in our face, but nobody was expecting it this quick. Much least the legislators who crafted it, or the doctors implementing it.
In the States, the terrifying developments in Ferguson, Missouri (resident population: 21,000. Black cop population: 3) show a scene you'd hope was long gone. Not only is police brutality not long gone, but police brutals are cynically covering their ass, overseeing curfews and arresting journalists while weaponed up like a bunch of Gotham City street punks.
Over in London, the frustration over the situation in Gaza was lent a down-the-rabbit-hole situation emblematic of the whole regional problem. The Jewish Chronicle published a humanitarian appeal about Gaza, raising the sad but inevitable opprobrium from the usual places. The JC then responds by apologising, saying that they were publishing it as a straight up humanitarian appeal like they would anywhere else in the world, and stressed that they did support Israel's latest attempt to make Gaza the finest rubble created by a western democracy. Which, as editorial policies go, is like The Sun raising money for Justice for the 96.
It's paragraphs like that that would probably get me blackballed by former MP and transatlantic irrelevance Louise Mensch. Earlier this week she took a stand against people who use the phrase Zionism, on the basis that it's used in a conspiratorial, anti-Jewish sense. Which is fair enough, except she'd press the block button on the founder of Zionism too. Assuming she recognised him. In fairness to Mensch though, her record on religious nuance has never been the tops.
Speaking of nuance and attention to detail, the good folk of Downton Abbey have got themselves in hot water over the bottled stuff loitering about in shot. But to their credit, they got ahead of it. with a response that was both charitable and evian self-deprecating humour. Greggs had a good day at the PR office in the face of adversity this week as well, as they exchanged jokes, Simpsons references and general good humour in reaction to a small but vital slogan change online.
President Obama too knows how a smile and a gag can counteract all manner of bad press, but he denied the opportunity for a photo op with a football helmet because, as he explained himself, "You don't put stuff on your head if you're President". That rule is also known as Dukakis' Law. It's probably wise for other reasons; with matters in Iraq getting more and more gruesome and the agenda being overcome by the terrible (and woefully proliferated pictures of) death of James Foley, it's probably better he keeps his mind clear.