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ONE THOUGHT goes off in my own mind every time some crackpot Muslim jihadist explodes himself: that mofo just blew himself (and innocent bystanders) to bits gleefully, to rush to Heaven and reap his reward of 72 virgins; 72 virgins! As a reward! As Robin Williams (I think) said, “Anybody who thinks 72 virgins is a good thing clearly never actually had one”. You could accurately call the jihadist mindset a firetrucked-up perspective. Read more
Ode to Grenfell
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him – Mark Antony
OUTSIDE the media, few people know or think much about the Guardian Media chairman, Grenfell Kissoon, and even those within the industry think little of him, but I’m hoping that, by my writing this honest appreciation, everyone will know him for what he is; few individuals encapsulate human choices, and their consequences for the soul, as starkly as Grenfell.
Since he began running the Ansa-McAl radio stations in 1994 – and instantly turned loss to profit, by slashing costs like Freddy Krueger slashes throats – Grenfell has stamped his authority all over the companies, and the people, under him.
Idealists – and, sadly, I’m one, but I’m learning realism pretty quickly nowadays – often delude themselves that newspapers are different from most businesses because readers choose a daily because of a heartfelt sense of connection: they trust us.
But Grenfell has always known a newspaper’s success is not based on its language, but its arithmetic: save a pile of money on rent – or on columnists’ wages – and you are on the way to profit. Grenfell changed the Trinidad Guardian, the oldest, most respected paper in Trinidad, in exactly the same way Rupert Murdoch changed the London Times, and won exactly the same powerful reaction from his readers and employees.
GOD ALONE knows when last I prayed. I want to believe that the last time I did it even half-seriously– or quarter-seriously, or one-eighth seriously, or one-sixteenth – was at university, 30 years ago, when, every May or June, after liming on Paradise Beach for the preceding two-and-a-half terms, I would beseech the Almighty to let there be four questions on each paper based on the two measly topics I could manage to revise in the two days before each exam. (God unfailingly prevented me from failing, indeed, allowed me to graduate with honours.) Read more