Jail For Offensive Slogans? I Am Spartacus.

*WARNING – This Post May Contain ‘Offensive’ Material.

People are being jailed for Facebook postings, tweets, and t-shirt scribblings.  Some guy got the jail today for writing “offensive” slogans on a t-shirt.  So much for freedom of speech in jolly old Britain.  I work every day with old people who think they fought in a war to protect things like freedom of speech.  Am I alone in thinking something has gone far wrong?  I used to share a flat with a guy who wore a Cop Killer baseball cap.  It was some US hip-hop artist’s song, Ice-T maybe.  Changed days now.

And so I have launched a counter offensive on Twitter 😀   Care to join me?  The right to free expression is an important one.  It should not be restricted and defined by the Powers-That-Be.  How long before they round up and jail Frankie Boyle?  The writers of Family Guy?  Are we going to start banning books and records cos some people find them ‘offensive’?

I hardly use Twitter, but for this I thought, fuck it, it might as well be useful.   Join me at @johnthegasrobb.

Maybe it’s just me and I’ll wake up in the cells in the morning…..

“8 months in JAIL for “one less pig, perfect justice’ on a t-shirt? How much for tweeting #NoMorePigsPerfectJustice? #FreedomOfSpeechTweets”

“8 months in JAIL for “one less pig, perfect justice’ on a t-shirt? How much for tweeting #FuckYouYouFuckingCunt? #FreedomOfSpeechTweets

“8 months in JAIL for “one less pig, perfect justice’ on a t-shirt? How much for tweeting #SavilesShrivelledKnob?”

Jail 4 ‘one less pig…’ on a t-shirt?? How much for #nomorepigsperfectjustice or savilesshirvelledknob? #freedomofspeech #IAmSpartacus #bbcqt”

Jail 4 ‘one less pig…’ on a t-shirt?? How much for #hairyfannysandballs? or #gofuckachicken? #freedomofspeech #IAmSpartacus”

Jail 4 ‘one less pig…’ on a t-shirt?? How much for #YourMumTakesItUpTheGaryGlitter? #FreedomofSpeechTweets #IAmSpartacus”

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A Gift, From Me To You.

A conversation I was having with a chap on Twitter this evening inspired me to make a list of 5 books that I think you may enjoy.  Books that I love and treasure, and ones that I think everyone should love and treasure.  Call it a wee gift, from me to you.  They are in no particular order, though the first book is the one I recommended on Twitter this evening, and the one that prompted this post.  I hope you enjoy them.  This may, or may not, become a regular feature.

Fup, by Jim Dodge.
Fup, is quite simply a wonderful little book.  It has a duck, a boar, a gentle giant making fences, and an immortal grandfather who spends his days distilling Ole Death Whisper whiskey.  I first read this book on the train between Glasgow Central and Wemyss Bay, and devoured it in less than 45 minutes.  It’s a book I haven’t read in a while due to giving all my copies away – they don’t come back – but it still has me smiling like a loon just thinking about it.

Sombrero Fallout, by Richard Brautigan.
Richard Brautigan is one of my very favourite authors.  I think it is tragic he is seemingly not very well known.  Sombrero Fallout is unlike anything you will have ever read.  It is surreal, absurd, profound, concise, bittersweet, and quite beautiful.  It is the tale of a writer’s lost love, and of an ice cold sombrero that falls to earth bringing chaos to a small town in America.  Brautigan has a style all of his own, short sentences that deserve to be read out loud for the pleasure they bring as they trip off the tongue.   All of his books are fabulous, but this is my personal favourite.

The Good Fairies Of New York, by Martin Millar.
This is a book that took me by surprise.  It was sent to me by a good friend of mine in Scotland, a guy who I would think the last person to recommend fairy stories.  But this is a fairy story with a difference.  It’s a story about two kilted, punk fairies on the run from their clans in the UK, who end up in New York.  There is sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, fighting, and more crazy fairies than you can shake a stick at.   With one of the most memorable opening pages I have ever read, this is another book that made me laugh out loud, a lot.

Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut.
Kurt Vonnegut is quite possibly my favourite writer, and Slaughterhouse 5 is probably his most famous book.  It is a satirical black comedy, with a dash of sci-fi, and personal memoir thrown in.  It is ostensibly about Vonnegut’s experiences as a prisoner of war in Dresden at the end of World War Two, but it is also very much more than that.  This is a book both funny and disturbing, horrific and humane, serious and surreal, which should be required reading for armchair generals everywhere.

Hunger, Knut Hamsun.
This is an incredibly intense and powerful book about the travails of a desperately poor writer trying to make enough money from day to day in order to live.  Rarely have I had such an emotional involvement in a character.  Here is man who’s pride leads him to the very edge of starvation, a starvation that is somehow made palpable for the reader.  The test of a good book, for me, is in it’s memorability.  I have only read this book once, about ten years ago, an ex-girlfriend has my copy, and I can still remember the emotional rollercoaster it put me on as if it was yesterday.  And by no means is this an irredeemably bleak book, it has many humorous episodes too.

Lonesome No More!

Everyone should have a new middle name.  And everyone should read Lonesome No More.
Get your own new middle name here
My new name under Kurt Vonnegut’s Lonesome No More! scheme is:-
John Hollyhock-17 Robb

Hullo there fellow Hollyhocks and Seventeens.  Now “Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.  Go take a flying fuck at the moooooon.”