I’ve never been particularly justified in my actions, but I certainly do not remember what I did to get me locked in solitary. I mean, there were certainly several things that could have gotten me stuck here before; blaspheming to sister Jude, sneaking around at night with the soul purpose of causing mischief. But no. They chose to put me in here because I was helping Kit Walker bake bread.
It’s quite possibly the most unusual, unfair excuse to punish me, but they did it anyway. They ushered Kit into the room next to me, and I could hear one of the guards yelling something about relations between inmates here. That must have been what this is about, which is utterly ridiculous considering Kit and I are friends, nothing more. In Kit’s opinion, at least.
We’re completely alone down here, and Kit and I have been yelling through the walls at each other. The conversation started as Kit’s profound apology for getting me locked in here. I laughed in reply, assuring him that it was completely fine and that’s I’d rather spend time down here with him than have to listen to sister Jude’s long-winded explanation as to why we’re troublemakers.
Kit’s been quiet for a while now, and I imagine that everyone upstairs is going to bed, leaving us completely alone for the night.
“Kit…?” I say quietly, pressed up against the wall. There’s no reply for a while, but I hear some shuffling on the other side. I whisper his name again, louder this time, and hear a quiet, “yeah?”
I smile in relief; I most certainly don’t want to be trapped down here with nobody to talk to.
“Nothing, just wondering if you’re awake.” Oh god, did I really just say that? I’m not even one for cheesy one-liners at the best of times. Kit laughs, “well don’t worry, Y/N I’m not gonna sleep tonight.”
“Yeah, me neither.”
“Hey, maybe when we get outta here we should smash everything up in the common room, they’d just have to put us back in here, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” I blush at his compliment, smiling a little before replying to his utterly bonkers idea.
“That is without doubt the stupidest plan you’ve ever made, Kit Walker,” I pause, “but oh my lord, could you imagine sister Jude’s face if we really did do it.”
We both laugh at this, picturing the horror which would instantly cover her usually tight-lipped, frustrated face. Then Kit goes quiet again, and I wait for him to say something.
“You know, I really do like you, Y/N.” He ponders after a while.
“I like you too, Kit?” My reply is phrased more like a question, and I’m curious, now, as to where this conversation will lead.
“No, I mean I really like you.” I hear him sigh after he says this, and don’t know if it’s one of stress or relief.
“Oh, Kit, I-”
“I know, you don’t feel that way about me. That’s fine, really.” He sounds upset now, and I don’t reply. I just think. I should tell him that I like him back, but what would it cause? If any of the staff found out, we’d get whipped, or put back in here… Or worse.
But if I don’t admit it to him, our friendship could be destroyed, and he’s the only almost sane person in here.
“No, Kit. I was going to say I like you too. In the same way.” I can feel my hands shaking as I say this, even though I know the outcome will - for now, at least - be positive.
“Really?” He asks shakily.
It’s finally morning, and I can hear the bustle of the morning routine upstairs. Someone’s coming down here, and I hope to god that’s it’s not sister Jude - I’m still entirely unprepared for one of her lectures. To my pleasant surprise, the person who opens the heavy door to my room is timid sister Mary Eunice.
“Alright now, Y/N, sister Jude says that’s punishment enough, so you can come back upstairs now,” she says gently. I follow her out of the door and wait as she opens the one to Kit’s room, repeating her short monologue to him. He walks out of the room, meeting my eyes as a smile graces his face, deepening the dimples that rest in his cheeks.
We walk behind sister Mary Eunice as she leads us back up to the common room, where I can already hear ‘Dominique’ playing. Kit must see me roll my eyes, as he takes my hand in his and we stride into the room together.
Tumblr, Twitter and the world should be appalled. Yet, at the same time, they should be howling with laughter. The reason? Gishwhes is coming. Kinda like the Mishapocalypse, which I’m SURE everyone on tumblr knows what it is by now, GISHWHES is taking over. Well… maybe not as visible as the Mishapocalypse but still, pretty darn hard to miss.
GISHWHES is the greatest invention made by man. By this man:
Yes, it is what it looks like: The man is utterly insane. Complete bonkers. But let me tell you a secret: All the best men are.
And this guy, he is the best. :)
GIshwhes has begun people. Watch out! Join us! Have fun!
Did you ever write down something big and conclusive on your thoughts against the suspension of belief theory of storytelling vs. the performativity one? I can't actually grasp exactly what the latter on was about.
I’ve not; I occasionally think about whether I’d enjoy writing a book of narrative theory, but I’ve always concluded that I would not right now.
Then again, I’d have said that about eschatological philosophy around a year ago, and we all know how that turned out.
Very briefly, though, I wouldn’t use “performativity” - I’d use Aristotlean, or mimetic, if you want something fancy. Basically, Aristotle’s Poetics - which is the foundational text of narrative theory in a way that Aristotle simply isn’t in any other field (It literally invents plot structure. By which I mean it actually hadn’t existed before Aristotle fucking codified it.) - proposes that the reason we like narrative and are moved by tragedy is that we are fundamentally drawn to imitations, or as he calls it, mimesis. Narrative is compelling because it looks like a depiction of human life. The fact that it’s not actually is precisely what’s interesting about it.
One consequence of this view is that suspension of disbelief is actively going about things the wrong way. Our disbelief is the point. It’s what makes it a specifically narrative pleasure, as opposed to a reaction to actual human events. We don’t suspend disbelief - we create an investment born out of our desire to look at things that imitate us. It’s the same reason the Faces in Things Twitter is delightful, basically.
The main advantage of doing so is that you don’t have to create this stupid toggling back and forth between two modes of interaction that suspension of disbelief requires. You can maintain the same interpretive schema the whole time.
And it doesn’t actually lose you any criticism, because Aristotle’s notion of plot structure - which again he actually fucking invented - demands that events form a mutually reinforcing web of likelihood and necessity. Or in other words, every plot beat has to either set something else up or pay something off, and most have to do both. So if you want to complain that the moon being an egg is bad plotting, you can just say that nothing in the first half of Kill the Moon sets it up or makes it likely that this is the sort of world where it might happen. You’d be wrong, of course, because the science of Kill the Moon has been utterly bonkers throughout - it’s only been the iconography that’s even remotely hard SF. This is a show that was hanging out with Robin Hood and blowing up spaceships with golden arrows four weeks ago. But you can still do it in Aristotlean terms instead of saying that it’s “unbelievable” as though a blue box that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside and travels in space and time isn’t.
So it’s basically better in every single way, and anyone who’s talking about suspension of disbelief is talking about how stories work in a really facile way that’s fundamentally prone to tripping itself up and elevating a critic’s personal taste into universal law.
Chips n gravy n bitter class hatred, crap shagging in bus shelters, accidentally falling out of a window in order to impress a girl and then getting her arrested, watching cockroaches climb up the wall, being such a nice person since you started taking them drugs, more crap shagging in bus shelters, the north will rise again, dancing off your tits on E, shagging a lampost, weird ugly NHS prescription glasses, dramatically pointing at things, and Sheffield, seriously, so much Sheffield, more than you or I or anyone remotely reasonable could possibly take.
Yes, it’s Pulp week!
This is Jarvis Cocker, and he wants you to know that he’s not Jesus Christ but he has the same initials. Random people I know as well as friends of friends keep seeing him on the London tube and sending me mocking pictures reminding me that despite my depressing ability to end up in the vicinity of famous people I admire and then humiliating myself publicly to a level to which even Jedward could probably not aspire*, I have never had the opportunity to do this to/in front of/around Jarvis Cocker. AND I NEVER WANT TO. And the latter aspect of it would probably matter, to a more stable individual, but the universe seeks to deprive me of dribbling on Jarvis Cocker’s (amazing) shoes, and I’m irrationally annoyed about it.
Anyway, that’s Jarvis Cocker, the poet laureate of shit shagging and terrifying proletariat invective disguised as toop choons. He is the frontman, lyricist, and chief driving creative force behind Pulp, and as such the lynchpin of most of what we’re talking about this week. He is also known within Britain for possibly unwisely deciding to do an impromptu stage invasion during Michael Jackson’s utterly bonkers messianic performance of “Earth Song” during the 1996 Brit Awards. This led to hilarious scenes that were almost beyond satire – although this didn’t stop many people trying – of him being dragged offstage after wiggling his bum at Michael Jackson, the camera, and the bemused audience, and then to trained solicitor and anarchic madman Bob Mortimer of Vic and Bob fame acting as his representative during police questioning. (Told you it was bonkers.) BUT NO MORE will you know him solely for what he has insisted always was a spur of the moment decision that involved him actually mooning no one, ever, despite many reports to the contrary. JARVIS COCKER’S BARE BUM WAS ALL IN YOUR HEADS, YOU PERVERTS.
It will feature cameos from my Miserable Northern Childhood**, the Situationist International, photos of my hometown looking like a pile of dogshit, photos of my hometown looking like the glorious socialist utopia it rightfully is, Archigram, Rimbaud, New Labour, Old Labour, New Old Labour, Who Even Knows Anymore Labour, me harping on about shite almost no one cares about, me harping on about shite literally no one cares about, and Britpop, unfortunately. I wanted to do this in the first ‘real’ week of the new year because what better way to start another trudge towards the grave with a band that’s right there with you, YOUR DEEP-SEATED SUSPICIONS ARE RIGHT, YOU DID WASTE THE LAST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE, YOU WAZZOCK. Also I’m good friends with Emma Jean, who finished the year by writing (excellently) about Marina & the Diamonds and who is a tough act to follow, and the symmetry of this pleases me, both in terms of friendship and subversive pop music bookending. STOP DANCING, HUMAN. NO WAIT KEEP DANCING BUT SOB, SOB IN TIME TO THE BEAT. YOUR LIFE IS MEANINGLESS AND YOU DROPPED YOUR KEBAB IN THE GUTTER AND NO ONE LOVES YOU AT ALL.
Up first, the song you’re all here for: Common People!
*I once met Courtney Love and essentially had what amounted to a protracted three year nervous breakdown condensed into thirty minutes. Never again.***
**Which may turn out to be much less miserable than advertised, but invariably much more Northern than you could possibly imagine.
***Yes, in case you were wondering if I was being flippant here, I’ve had several actual for-real nervous breakdowns, and I’m still not sure if any of them were as melodramatically inherently stupid as PHYSICALLY FORGETTING HOW TO SPEAK when Courtney Love asked me what my name was. Neverrrrrrrrrrr again.****
****I desperately wrote most of this week’s entries crying in my pants at 4am to Totally Wired by unexplainable British band The Fall***** cos it makes me write fast, despite assuring Hendrik that I would absolutely be a sensible person and do lots of work in advance. I think you can probably tell. And if you couldn’t, SHIT. I totally just gave the game away, didn’t I. (“Have you been up all night crying in your pants while writing about Pulp?” asked my best friend, IN THOSE EXACT WORDS WITHOUT EVER HAVING READ THIS yesterday morning when I rang her, #truelove)
Okay, this is the second movie in my Karl Urban marathon. It is another 2000 New Zealand film. I have to be honest this is one of the most confusing, utterly bonkers film I have ever scene. The overall plot is good but about half way through it starts getting very confusing, but is still enjoyable.
This movie has a lot of confusing elements, it cuts from scene to scene rather quickly which can be disorientating because sometimes there has been a time lapse but you won’t know that for another few minutes. At one point Rob (Karl’s character) takes off Lucinda’s (Danielle Cormack’s character) dress off she just disappears, which she does again in the final minutes of the movie. Also, near the beginning of the movie there are a group of guys in their bedroom that steal their quilt (which is explained later but at the time is fricking confusing).
The acting is good, and the cast is great. You get to see Karl’s naked ass in a vat of milk which is a bonus. You also get to see a lot of shirtless or trouser less Karl, and he wears a farmers boiler suit which is pretty hot (and I have one!).
There is a dog, that goes around in a card board box until the last 5 minutes of the film because it has agoraphobia, which is hilarious.
Overall, a funny, bonkers movie which makes you laugh and you get to see half naked Karl. It is a good watch for when you want to have a giggle, let go and watch a feel good nutty film.
Kissing Prompt #21: Jealous Kiss Pairing: Ladynoir Summary: It was absurd. Marinette was jealous of herself. Word Count: 521 A/N: I’m sensing I’m going to write something seriously angsty. I really, really do. Thank you for the prompt! :)
It was absurd.
Completely, utterly insane.
But it was true.
Marinette was jealous of herself – or, more like, the
Ladybug part of her was jealous of the Marinette part; which made no sense
whatsoever since she was in love with Adrien,
and Marinette wantedto actually
It was all that stupid cat’s fault. Of course he had to go and flirt with her as Marinette, and not
Ladybug. Again. What she didn’t
understand was why she was so…
jealous over it, when in the past she’d only been exasperated and a little
annoyed over it. She loved Adrien. She hated
it when Chat flirted with her.
So why did the fact that he was flirting with her (as
Marinette) make her blood boil?
“You called, My Lady?” A familiar voice purred into her ear,
and she looked at him, for once not bothering to push him away. She wasn’t sure
why she had called him exactly; other than she had the vague notion of
confronting him about his flirting… except that was ridiculous. They weren’t
dating for one, and it was in his nature to flirt with every girl he met. She frowned as she reached up and absently
stroked one of ears. His hair was soft; exactly like how she imagined Adrien’s
would feel like, minus the silky texture.
His smirk slid off his face, and he swallowed hard. She
watched his Adam’s Apple bob. “Err… Ladybug? I may kiss you if you keep… doing…
that…” He trailed off slowly, his cheeks flushing a slight pink. Hers did too. “I
mean it. I’ll…” She leaned forward, and his eyes closed halfway. He looked
nervous. “Are you feeling all right? I mean, you’re not sick or something? Right?”
Really nervous, she
noted. He was usually a smoother talker than that.
She pressed her lips against his, and he stiffened, turning
into a marble statue. That was when she remembered Adrien. She loved Adrien and here she was… kissing her partner. What in the world was wrong with her?
She jerked away. “I’m sorry!” she gasped. “I—”
And then he put his hand on her mouth, effectively silencing
her. “Will you yell at me if I kiss you right now?”
Yes. Her head
said. But she shook her head, though she was not really sure why she was
shaking her head when she knew she should
yell at him. After all, she was in love with Adrien and this—this was despicable.
She couldn’t believe she was doing this
His lips suddenly slide over hers, and she lost her ability
to think. Her heart started to do a strange staccato
rhythm and she slid her hands around his neck, standing on her tippy toes
to get a better angle. His hands wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer
to him. Closer, closer, closer…
He pulled away, pressing his forehead against hers for a
split second. “I—I have to go.”
And then he turned on his foot, leaving her standing there
alone in the dark. She hadn’t heard his stone beep.
If your neighbor told you that the Saudi royal family had wired $681 million to his personal bank account and that they expected nothing in return, you’d probably conclude that was not the full story and be left a bit baffled.
This is something like what Malaysians are going through now, after revelations that Saudi royals wired Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak $681 million — with Najib citing the Saudi “donation” as part of his defense in a corruption inquiry.
Sure enough, on Tuesday morning Malaysia’s attorney general cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in accepting the funds.
To even begin to follow this saga, you need to see the history of Malaysia’s truly strange corruption scandal — which remains very far from resolved. So here’s a brief, simple guide to one of the world’s wackiest scandals: how it began, what we know, and how it ties into some bigger global issues.
The origins of the scandal: a shady sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB
The story begins in 2009, with a sovereign wealth in Malaysia fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Najib, who had just taken office as prime minister, created the fund to “borrow money so it could attract investment and stimulate Malaysia’s economy,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
But while 1MDB was good at borrowing money, it wasn’t so good at actually investing it. According to the Journal (the outlet that has broken almost all of the big news on 1MDB), “some of its projects, including plans to develop oil fields overseas and a mine in Mongolia, haven’t panned out.” In early 2015, it skipped payments on the roughly $11 billion it owed in debt to foreign investors.
This is what initially kicked off investigations into 1MDB. Last year, the attorney general’s office convened a task force — including the national police, the central bank, and Malaysia’s specialized anticorruption body — to investigate 1MDB’s finances.
In early July of 2015, Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail announced something big: The probe had uncovered paperwork suggesting that $681 million had been transferred from 1MDB’s coffers to Najib’s accounts between March and May of 2013.
The investigation also uncovered evidence that Najib had received a smaller sum — $14 million — from a government-owned company called SRC International. SRC was a subsidiary of 1MDB until 2012, which is why the investigation stumbled upon evidence of corruption in what’s now a separate company.
Najib denied stealing any money — but he did some things that sure made him look guilty. In late July, he fired the attorney general for “health reasons.” Najib also canned the deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, who had criticized his handling of the crisis.
Malaysians were furious. In the last weekend of August, somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000 people took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital, in anger over the alleged corruption.
That same August, the national anticorruption body announced yet another surprising finding: evidence that Najib’s mysterious $681 million cash infusion hadn’t come from 1MDB. Instead, it came from an unnamed Middle Eastern monarchy, later revealed to be Saudi Arabia.
The biggest question, then, became the following: Did Najib’s massive cash infusion come from robbing the taxpayers blind via stealing from 1MDB — or from a mysterious, though not necessarily illegal, gift from foreign monarchs? The main scandal has been officially resolved — but nothing has really been cleared up
The Tuesday announcement, from the Najib-approved attorney general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, represents the conclusion of official government investigations into the issue of the $681 million.
At a press conference, Apandi said that the $681 million “was a personal donation” from the Saudis to Najib. Moreover, Najib reportedly gave $620 million of it back, which demonstrated to Apandi that everything was aboveboard.
“I am satisfied that there was no evidence to show that the donation was a form of gratification given corruptly,” Apandi said in an official statement, as reported by the New York Times. He failed, however, to explain why the Saudis decided to give Najib so much money.
Apandi also concluded that Najib had not done anything improper with SRC, finding that although SRC funds had been transferred to Najib’s accounts, Najib hadn’t known about the transfer — and any money he personally spent came from the Saudis.
Yes, that is a very strange explanation.
How could it be okay for the prime minister of Malaysia to get $681 million for no reason he’s willing to state publicly? Why on earth would he give back most of the money? What happened to the remaining $61 million? And how could he not even notice $14 million appearing in his account from SRC?
These questions remain unanswered. According to the BBC, Apandi announced that “no further action would be taken” against Najib. “This decision effectively clears him,” the BBC’s Frank Gardner writes.
But while Najib may be out of the woods on formal prosecution, he’s hardly clear on everything. For one thing, the opposition doesn’t believe the prosecutor’s conclusion, and won’t be letting the $681 million issue go. “This can only happen in fairy tales,” Rafizi Ramli, an opposition party politician, said of the attorney general’s story in the Malaysian site Malaysiakini.
According to the BBC, four different countries — including the United States — have investigated 1MDB (in some cases freezing assets) on corruption and money laundering charges. The fund is also still deeply in the red, with some of its money still unaccounted for by investigators. It’s selling off assets to try to solve its debt problem.
And 1MDB isn’t Najib’s only corruption problem. He and his family have long drawn criticism for their extravagant lifestyles. The New York Times reports that the Najibs, according to American investigators, may have conducted potentially illegal real estate dealings in the US that helped bolster their wealth. The investigation focuses on Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, a movie producer whose company is behind films such as The Wolf of Wall Street:
The inquiry, being run by a unit of the Justice Department that investigates international corruption, was said to be focused on properties in the United States purchased in recent years by shell companies belonging to [Najib’s] stepson, as well as other real estate connected to a close family friend.
The bottom line, then, is that 1MDB and Najib are both still deeply troubled — even if the immediate risk of Najib’s prosecution on corruption charges has receded.
What are the Saudis doing with this apparent “donation”?
Here’s perhaps the strangest outstanding question in this whole strange affair: If Najib did get $681 million from Saudi Arabia, what the hell did he get it for?
The Saudis certainly aren’t telling anyone. They refused to confirm Apandi’s account of what happened, saying on Tuesday that they would launch their own investigation into the matter.
The most likely theory, according to the BBC’s Gardner, is that the Saudis were attempting to help Najib win the 2013 election. At the time, the Malaysian opposition included the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), an Islamist party with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“PAS is held up by the Muslim Brotherhood as a model of a successful Islamic party that can win elections and rule,” Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief executive officer of the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs, told Al Jazeera in 2013.
Between March and May 2013, when the money went into Najib’s accounts, the Muslim Brotherhood looked like an ascendant revolutionary force — it had won elections in Egypt and governed after the 2011 revolution, which the Saudis worried might encourage further Islamist insurrections throughout the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia itself.
Moreover, Malaysia has longstanding trade ties with Saudi Arabia, and has been a recipient of a great deal of Saudi economic investment, so the Saudis have a special interest in preserving a friendly regime there.
A “high-placed Saudi source” told Gardner that Saudi Arabia saw PAS as a Brotherhood front, and thus wanted to help Najib stop it. “The purpose of the donation was simple, said the Saudi source — it was to help Mr Najib and his coalition win the election, employing a strategic communications team with international experience, focusing on the province of Sarawak, and funding social programmes through party campaigning,” Gardner reports.
If true, this theory would help explain one of the weirdest parts of Najib’s story: the idea that he gave $620 million back. If the Saudi donation was essentially designed to create a campaign war chest, and Najib only needed to spend $61 million to win reelection, then it could plausibly explain why he would return the remaining $620 million.
But while that may not be illegal under Malaysian law (according to Malaysia’s attorney general, at least), it’s still pretty troubling. When reporters at the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal found, last year, that the Clinton Global Initiative had received donations from a number of foreign nations, it created a major controversy for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The fear was that either she or her husband was being improperly influenced by foreign nations.
Now imagine that instead of smaller donations to a charity, the money was $681 million directly to Clinton’s personal accounts, meant to fund her campaign. Imagine again that the money came from Saudi Arabia, a dictatorship with one of the world’s worst human rights records. People would lose it, and rightly so.
That’s what appears to have possibly happened in Malaysia. It suggests that Saudi interference with foreign powers isn’t just limited to funding rebels in conflicts like Syria or helping out fellow autocrats like the king of Jordan. The Saudis are perfectly willing, it would seem, if this theory of the money is correct, to help buy elections to prop up a friend.