Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Miscellany: 4 July 2007

- I watched some of the Fox News coverage of the Glasgow Airport attacks over the weekend. Bless them. Mad as hatters. Didn't even know what country Glasgow was in. Geraldo Rivera seemed more concerned about the disruption to his holiday in Ibiza this week - and there's an image - but actually, he may have his priorities straight there.

It's difficult to get too worked up about this. It's been almost two years since the UK's local terrorists managed to pull off anything at all, and they botched it almost completely. The IRA were a much more credible threat than this. And the tone of the newspaper headlines pretty much reflects that. The Daily Record's front page headline this morning is a tabloid classic:

Headlines like that are not the hallmark of a successful terrorist campaign. Nor is the full article. Is the hero cabbie fearful of the prospect of another terrorist attack? He is not. His priorities lie elsewhere.
"The police took all the clothes I'd been wearing so I lost my Nike trainers. They're a good pair too."
Not unreasonably, the cabbie was also slightly aggrieved when he returned to the airport the next day to pick up his taxi, and discovered that he'd been given a parking ticket.

- On a related note, here's a genuinely interesting article from Register contributor and ex-bomb disposal officer Lewis Page, who is thoroughly unimpressed by the calibre of today's terrorist. According to him, even if they'd managed to wire the bombs up properly, it would have been pretty trivial.

Petrol, gas etc make for an excellent photogenic fireball which you can normally be quite close to without ill-effects. ... Many people seem to think that any kind of fire or loud noise will become deadly if you add nails. ...

If these guys at the weekend really were anything to do with al-Qaeda, all one can really say is that it looks as though the War on Terror is won. This whole hoo-ha kicked off, remember, with 9/11: an extremely effective attack. Then we had the Bali and Madrid bombings, not by any measure as shocking and bloody, but still nasty stuff. Then we had London 7/7, a further significant drop in bodycount but still competently planned and executed. ... [Now] the jihadi threat has seemingly sunk to animal-lib levels.

Perhaps a bit sweeping, but he makes a fairly convincing case, at least as far as domestic terrorism is concerned.

- Changing the subject entirely, over at Newsarama, Marc Guggenheim discusses DC's strategy of false-soliciting his Flash as an ongoing title beyond the point when it was actually due to be axed:-
I was told that my run would be five issues... I did lead people to believe that my involvement would be open-ended, but that's pretty common in comic books these days. For example, when I had my first run on Wolverine, Marvel was the one saying that my commitment was going to be open-ended, when my run was only slated to be six issues. I think that's just common practice among both major publishers these days because of solicitations. And it's just better for sales if they don't publicize arcs being closed-ended.
Of course, inaccurately-solicited books are returnable, which publishers don't like. But Guggenheim seems to be suggesting that in his experience, Marvel and DC have a deliberate policy of making the solicitations accurate, but then completely misleading retailers in what they say elsewhere. A neat device to subvert the returnability clause, perhaps, not that the publishers have ever adhered to it very strictly in the first place.

Mind you, there's a legal term for inducing people to enter into a contract by making statements that you know to be false. And the outright false solicitations of two issues of Flash that were never going to exist aren't an entirely trivial point, because they're still inducing retailers to tie up their budget on non-existent DC books when they could be spending them elsewhere.

If I were a retailer, I'd be getting a little edgy about this trend.

- Happy Independence Day. In tribute to Scooter Libby, I'm tempted to put in the video for "Running the World", but it's not work-safe (on language grounds). Here's the link. Instead, let's have Gogol Bordello. They're even American. Well, American-ish.