Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde
ISBN 0745139302

Also available online here

It would be difficult to provide spoilers for this novel because most people know practically from the title the conceit of the narrative: Dorian Gray has his picture painted, the painting degenerates and ages while he retains his youthful good looks.

This is not a moral book although it is about morality. Victorian times were full of improving novels which would tell the reader to do good things and never do bad things. Unusually Oscar Wilde invites the reader to *think* about good and evil.

The main characters were all reflections of Wilde's personality. He had the same reputation as Lord Henry Wotton as a man who makes brilliant epigrams which are at variance with the moral dictums of the time.

He wanted to remain young and beautiful like Dorian Gray and he sought to be an artist in the field of literature as Basil Hallward is in the field of painting.

There is an astonishing homoerotic theme to the relationships given the Victorian world in which homosexuality was illegal and certainly no novelist could openly allude to it.

The victorian society was very like Dorian Gray with the appearance of innocence and the reality of corruption. Prostitution and drug addiction were rife in a society with apparently strict moral rules.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The reluctant cannibal

Boris Johnson is still refusing to apologise for his remarks about the people of Papua New Guinea being cannibals.

He thinks schoolboy jokes about Papua New Guinea and cannibalism are still funny. He was presumably misled by Flanders and Swan's "The Reluctant Cannibal" which contained the memorable line "If the Good Lord had meant us not to eat people, he wouldn't have made us of meat." Of course Flanders and Swan had wit and style and musical ability whereas Boris Johnson is Boris Johnson.

I can imagine an eve of poll election broadcast showing the Shadow Higher Education's more memorable stupidities - his attack on the people of Liverpool and his parlous performance on "Have I got News for You". In all seriousness is that what you want running the country? Is this the kind of thing the universities should be teaching?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Kelly Osbourne supports Tony Blair

Kelly Osbourne has spoken in support of Tony Blair as he struggles to maintain his well-paid job.

She decided to voice her opinion on the British Prime Minister as he is hit with demands to leave his position - many from his former close supporters.

"She told Contactmusic: "The way I see it, we've voted this guy in to run our Government and we can't just turn against him. It must be the hardest thing in the world to run the country - I know I couldn't. Poor Blair. That said, I always try to stay out of politics."

Perhaps she was right in her decision to stay out of politics. Tony Blair needs her support like a hole in the head. He is paying the price for his lies over Iraq. Thousands of others have paid a much higher price.

The latest rumour is that he will stand down when the weapons of mass destruction are found

Monday, September 04, 2006

Socialism 2006

Socialism 2006 is a weekend of discussion and debate hosted by the Socialist Party, taking place on 25 and 26 November 2006.

Socialism - is society still divided into classes, can socialism be achieved in a globalised world, could a socialist-planned economy save the planet?

There will be a wide range of seminars with lively discussion and debate.
3-5 pm Saturday 25 November 2006
10-4.30pm Sunday 26 November 2006