Sunday, March 2, 2008

News round-up: Yout's, the NME, and bottled water

The continuation of my news smörgåsbord:

Unfairly targeting youths? (Part II)
1. Yesterday, I discussed Rowan Williams' bleeding-heart message of tolerance for gangs of kids, his argument being that it is the fault of intolerant adults, in addition to uncared-for cityscapes, that causes hostility and gang mentality in young people.
But the Archbishop of Canterbury is far from the only nutter out there who thinks that yout's have a right to cause distress to we cold-hearted, intolerant grown-ups.
The reaction the Children's Commissioner had to the Mosquito is a good case in point.
The Mosquito is a small electronic box that emits a pulsating, high-frequency buzz of around 80 decibels that only those under the age of 25 can hear. The noise is so annoying and distracting that it deters kids from hanging around the fronts of shops. When used outside shops or on street corners, the Mosquito has proven effective as a kid-gang deterrent.
Well, don'tcha know, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the aforementioned Children's Commissioner, branded the Mosquito an "indiscriminate weapon" responsible for the animosity that exists between the young and not-so-young. He aims to rid the country of Mosquitos and has enlisted the help of the human-rights group Liberty.
In pure Williams-esque, Aynsley-Green said that the Mosquito "demonises" yout's and that "it is a powerful symptom of what I call the malaise at the heart of our society."
Er, so kids hanging around in front of shops drinking, smoking and making pains-in-the-ass out of themselves aren't the malaise, you see. No, it's we adults—especially those store-owning goons—who are at the heart of the problem.
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: "These youths deter customers, intimidate staff and commit vandalism and violence." Oh, Mr. Lowman, surely you jest. You're just being intolerant!
But, alas, it's no wonder Aynsley-Green feels moved on behalf of troublemakers as he is your typical limosine liberal. Aynsley-Green lives on a leafy street, protected by high walls, dense hedging and a sturdy gate. He gets paid £130,000 per year for telling adults in the real world how mean-spirited they are.
But, dear reader, it gets better.
In a desperate move to tackle the problem of youth drinking, children caught with alcoholic drinks risk receiving a criminal record. Nothing will probably come of this as this Labour government is infamous for making promises and failing spectacularly to deliver. But, when Home Secretary Jacqui Smith revealed that she and other ministers were looking to give police expanded powers to remove alcohol from under-18s and brand them with a criminal record, those of us not living in ivory towers thought, "good!"
Of course, there are those out there who were aghast at this. Alcohol Concern's Frank Soodeen sniffed, "We are concerned about the unnecessary criminalization of young people for drinking. The fact is that large numbers of kids are getting their alcohol from older friends and relations."
It is true that mush-headed parents are letting their children drink and they should be prosecuted for it. To Alcohol Concern's credit, they are pushing for such a law.
But it's the deterrence factor in punishing children that will be most effective. These yout's are going to end up with a criminal record for something-or-other anyway, so what does it matter that being caught with alcohol by the police is the cause for their conviction? Prevent the kids from binge-drinking, prevent a significant amount of crime.

NME: Nitwitted Moronic Exhibition
2. I urge my readers to boycott NME, the New Musical Express. When it comes to cluelessness, these guys are in a league of their own.
Their Hero of the Year award was Pete Doherty. Apparently, they bestowed the award on Doherty for his attempt to give up hard drugs. That's the only reason I can think of.
Question: Why should we give anyone an award for trying to kick a habit they should never have taken up in the first place? If you're on drugs, get off them because you know it's the smart thing to do, not because you feel you should be rewarded for it.
God only knows how many wayward youths this trilby-hatted shithead has inspired with his bizarre on-stage antics and his high-profile drug-taking. For all the talk about what brilliant music he writes and what Lord Byron-esque lyrics he pens, nobody apart from a handful of his fans have actually heard his work with the Libertines and his current band, Babyshambles. The reason Pete Doherty is so famous is because he once went out with Kate Moss and because his drug-taking is legendary. Twice a week, there's some story in all the papers about Doherty and drugs.
Doherty is also infamous for promising to go straight, but he's been in and out of rehab countless times. The rehab center has installed a revolving door just for him. After one rehab stint, Doherty filmed himself injecting heroin. And, just a day after winning NME's Hero of the Year award, Doherty sported a bleeding nose which he laughingly blamed on a kitten scratch. If "kitten scratch" is the druggie's latest euphamism for cocaine, then I believe him.
The fact that the NME awarded, in the words of The Sun's Gordon Smart, "this bleeding, bloated, greasy, drug-addled junkie" a Hero of the Year award is disgraceful beyond compare.
And guess who their Villain of the Year gong went to, pray tell? None other than George W. Bush. Quite aside from the predictability of the pop-and-rock industry condemning Bush, while happily ignoring despotic world leaders who are far worse, why does the NME nominate rock stars for Hero awards but politicians for Villain awards? That makes no sense. What does the President have to do with rock'n'roll? Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were also nominated for Villian of the Year.
Further proof that the entertainment industry actually thinks it speaks with an intelligent voice on politics.
Further proof that the NME and its readers are clueless twats.

Scams in a bottle
3. Bottled water has to be the biggest scam to be thrust upon the consumer since ... well, plastic bags.
Whenever I see someone with bottled water, I think "what a pretentious idiot." Those who drink bottled water actually think they're cool, their bottle of water is their way of announcing to the world, "Hey, look at me, I'm drinking mineral water! I'm on such a health kick! Am I the shit or what?"
Of course, in the truest style of the gullible idiot, these same people probably think drinking bottled water is all they need to be healthy. Bottled water is our elixir, our magic potion, our cure for all ills.
For those of you geniuses who think bottled water is the greatest thing since the wheel, consider what this article has to say:
"Water is water. What gives the different bottled waters their particular characteristics is the minerals and chemicals that they pick up in their passage through the ground; and they will pick up any and all. Most of the water is taken from a rural environment. This means that to be safe to drink, what happens on the earth through which they flow must be strictly controlled. For example, cattle and other animals excrete waste material. Ground around springs should not be used for grazing. Over large areas, there should be no pesticides or herbicides used. Do these areas get the degree of control they need? Nobody knows - there is no information."
Water is water indeed. There is no—I repeat, no—difference between the mineral water in the disposable plastic bottle and the water from your faucet that you can fill a Thermos with. Acutally, there is a difference: Guess what you aren't getting from bottled water that you will get from tap water? Flouride. You know, that stuff that helps keep teeth strong and healthy?
As with the plastic bag, people have been conned into thinking they can't do without bottled water. Companies like Perrier worked hard to convince us that tap water was unhealthy, not to be trusted. Drink our water instead, they told us, and you will be pure! The Financial Times wrote in 1974 that it would be a waste of time to market bottled waters because only cranks would drink it. Bottled water turned out to be a great success—which leads me to believe that there are millions of cranks out there.
Relax, I don't support a ban on bottled water. Let the market decide. I just think the whole mineral water phenomenon is sad. I can only hope that the media keeps pounding home the message that bottled water is one of the greatest cons of the twentieth (and twenty-first) century, and that people will start listening.
If you're not interested in helping to preserve the environment, then at least save your money. Why on earth people would pay to drink what they are already paying for at home is beyond me.
Of course, didn't a wise man once say that the bad taste of the public (American or otherwise) could not be underestimated? I rest my—and his—case when it comes to the curious success of bottled water.


kristen said...

Um, is the above free advertisement?

Love it Dragon. It seems that the youth are getting more of these civil rights (so, what about the rights of store owners to be free from delinquent teenagers?)

I think the NME needs to go to rehab (perhaps to the above mentioned place?) And Pete who? I only know of him for his disastrous relationship with high-profile model Kate Moss (nice of him to drag her down, too) and his frequent run-ins with law enforcement. What a loser. Complete insanity to pin him as a hero and Bush as a Villain. Goes to show how neurotic the musicbiz and Hollywood are. MORONS.

I only drink bottled water for convenience. I actually reuse the bottles multiple times.

Nightdragon said...

LOL, I have no idea what the drug rehab thing was all about. Somebody did a Google search or something, came across this entry and, obviously without reading it, assumed that I have a drug problem! My oh my, you've got to love some people.

Misty said...

Love this! Bottled water is such a waste, and its great to see people finally taking notice. you can get more information about bottled water and the damage it does on the environment at