The Null Device
A Dutch filmmaker who made a controversial film about violence against women in Islamic societies has been murdered in Amsterdam. Theo van Gogh (a relative of the painter) was shot and stabbed to death whilst cycling in a park. A collaborator of his (liberal Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who fled an arranged marriage and is an outspoken critic of human-rights abuses in the name of Islam) also received death threats, and is under police protection.
Momus on the grouping of things, such as beliefs or aesthetic preferences into indivisible packages; from shrinkwrapped ideological packages such as liberalism or conservatism (i.e., assertions such as "if you believe that abortion is wrong, you'll also believe in the death penalty") to musical and aesthetic tastes (and all those web-based programs which attempt to predict which music you'd like on the basis of what other people who share your tastes do).
The Rockall Times (named after the windswept North Atlantic island of Rockall) is a sort of British version of The Chaser, with stories like Bin Laden video fails to wow critics ("The Times said it "lacked intellectual rigour", the Telegraph slammed bin Laden's performance as "lacklustre" while the Mail on Sunday used stills from the performance to illustrate the dangers of predatory, swan-roasting Albanian paedophiles."), Suicide bomber decimates London radio station ("Playlist destroyed, one dead") and Clairvoyant channels John Peel's tribute fury:
"Has my legacy taught them nothing?" Peel allegedly said via his Romany conduit this afternoon. "Everyone knows Teenage Kicks is my favourite single. Unfortunately, I've heard it 317 times since 2pm last Tuesday and it pains me to say this I'm beginning to go off it a bit. There are thousands of records you could play to pay me tribute not that I entirely deserve all this, mind, it's all a bit embarrassing from Beefheart to the White Stripes. Or the Fall. I really like the Fall."
Unsurprisingly, the world of politics has not been slow in eulogising Peel's legacy to popular culture. When asked whether Peel's championing of Progressive Rock, Belgian Techno, Grindcore, Gabba, Lithuanian speed garage and world music had influenced their formative musical tastes, every MP we quizzed replied "Er... yes, absolutely. Did I mention how much I like Teenage Kicks by the Buzzcocks?"