In Sanity We Trust

...Broken News...
July 2006

Toilet Diplomacy

Frosty relations between Asian neighbours China and Japan have led to impromptu meetings in such unlikely places as the restroom in what is being labelled Toilet diplomacy. Controversial visits by Japanese P.M. Junichiro Koizumi to a war shrine which honours war criminals,are largely responsible for the deterioration in relations.

In 1978 the head priest at the Yasukuni war shrine made the decision to enshrine 14 class-A war criminals. Since becomming prime minister in 2001 Koizumi has made regular visits to the Yasukuni shrine, resulting in considerable ill feeling in the region, particularly from China and Korea.

Recent leaks from the personal diaries of the grand steward of Emperor Hirohito's household, attest to the wartime monarch's disapproval of the Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo because it honoured war criminals.

Left: Emperor Hirohito

The leaks come at an interesting time as Japanese politicians are attempting to justify the visits amid criticism from many camps.

One former dictator, currently on trial for crimes against humanity, had this to say:

"This case is not worth the urine of an Iraqi child."

Saddam Hussein on Trial


Orwellian Oldspeak

"Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary."

- George Orwell "1984"

palimpsest, n [L. palimpsestus fr. Gk palimpsestos scatched or scraped again palimpseston a palimpsest fr palin again + psen to rub, rub away.]
1. A kind or portion of writing material, as parchment or paper, so prepared that the writing could be erased. Obs.
2. A parchment, tablet or other portion of writing material, which has been used twice or three times (double palimpsest), the earlier writing having been erased; a manuscript in which one or two earlier erased writings are found; a codex rescriptus. This double or tripple use in early times of writing material was largely due to scarcity of such material. Valuable texts or fragments have been recovered from palimpsests by the use of chemicals etc.
3. A memorial brass having earlier engraving on the side opposite to that which is now exposed.
    - Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition (1961)

The Archimedes Palimpsest
A Prayer Book's Secret

"The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."

- George Orwell "1984"

Big Brother In China

Undoubtedly more than a few visitors to China will have perceived parallels between Orwell's dystopian vision in "1984" and the communist's overhaul of Chinese society. For one thing the state news agency, Xin Hua literally translates as "New China", though it is a homonym of "new speak". This develops an even more sinister overtone when considered along with the communists' restructuring of the Chinese writing system. While traditional Chinese characters are still used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other overseas Chinese societies, simplified characters are standard in China. The simplified characters were supposedly designed to encourage literacy though it can also be seen as a devisive means to sever connections with the past.

Chinese Media Culls Undesirable Characters


Syd Can't Talk To You Now

Roger (Syd) Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, pioneer of Acid Rock and a patron Saint of this website, passed away on July 7th from complications arising from diabetes. Syd's legacy for the most part derives from the Pink Floyd albums "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (1967), "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968) and two solo albums "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett" (1970). His output was limited in a temporal sense but his experimental guitar playing and compositions laced with psychedelic imagery centred around fairytales, spaceships and circus rides, would prove hugely influential.

Oh where are you now
pussy willow that smiled on this leaf?
When I was alone you promised the stone from your heart
My head kissed the ground I was half the way down,
treading the sand please, please, lift a hand
I'm only a person whose armbands beat on his hands, hang tall
won't you miss me?
Wouldn't you miss me at all?

Syd Barrett: "Dark Globe"

Download Wouldn't You Miss Me - The Best of Syd Barrett from   Syd Barrett - Wouldn't You Miss Me - The Best of Syd Barrett

During the early years with Pink Floyd Syd's mental state rapidly deteriorated to the point where he was no longer functional leading to an early retirement from the band. His decline was undoubtedly due in part to a huge intake of psychedelic drugs though may also have been due to some predisposition to mental illness. Accounts of his erratic behaviour at that time are legendary. In any case he retired from public life, moving to Cambridge to live with his mother and reverting to his real name, Roger. He was unfortunately hounded by reporters, fans and curiosity seekers long after retiring from the world of popular music. One famous reply to a would be interviewer was simply "Syd can't talk to you now".

The Syd Barrett Archives
Cambridge Evening News - 'My brother was not a recluse or a burden'

Syd Trips

Antidisamericanism: n.

The backlash against actions or comments deemed to be critical of the people or official policies of The United States of America.

The Song Remains The Same

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies (still)

While there are moves afoot to change certain Liverpool street names with slave trade associations, it appears that Penny Lane, named after slave ship owner James Penny, and immortalised by the Beatles song of the same name, will be exempt. The plan is not without it's critics, with some labelling it an attempt to recreate history. CNN

Apple iTunes

Left: Andy Warhol's "Small Torn Campbell’s Soup Can"

Sold back in 1962 for a mere $30.00, "Small Torn Campbell’s Soup Can" went recently at auction for $11.7 million

More commentary from Mark Vallon

Football Fever

World cup glory for 2006 lies with the Italians and while some players have been exalted others have been vilified. See how fast Zinedine Zidane can pick up a red card. As the world cup headed into Semi Finals phase we learned that the Beijing Lunar Village New Energy Science and Technology Co Ltd., the same company that tried to sell title to plots of land on the moon, are set to offer bags of "world cup air" to consumers.

Left: Women break a taboo by playing in public.

Women were to be allowed to attend football matches in Iran but the idea was scrapped as it proved too controversial.