About David Stringer

Writer. Football for @Squawka & @Bornoffsideblog; reviews; unpublished fiction, unfilmed scripts & more.

The Leaky Wiki: Developing World Objects to The Label ‘Developing World’, Finds it Patronising

Continuing my effort to repost all my material from The Leaky Wiki, the latest post is from January 2012. It’s not particularly topical, and if I’m honest, it’s not one of my best, but as it’s not topical at all, it’s aged well. I think that’s lowered expectations sufficently.

You can see this in it’s original context here, or carry on reading.

Developing World Objects to The Label ‘Developing World’, Finds it Patronising

UN_General_Assembly_hall by Patrick Gruban       Taken from Wikimedia CommonsIn a staggeringly short five hour speech at the UN yesterday, the ambassador from the recently re-named Developmentistan criticised the terminology used in defining the wealth of nations.
“It is about time you know how we feel about you in the west,” he announced from the podium, speaking in that unusual manner where individual syllables were pronounced slowly and slightly oddly, as people of his nation do. “You are so full of yourselves! Oh, we have reached a good point, you aren’t as good as us, and must be arbitrarily judged by our standards at any given moment. I mean, give me a break!” He paused dramatically, and wiped the sweat away from his brow. “You still have children dying in poverty, despite having the medication right there in your own country. How about you get down off your high horses, and realise that we are people too, just like you? Wouldn’t that be a nice thing to do?”

The country was renamed Developmentistan last month, in what has been widely construed as some sort of sarcastic jibe taken too far. Many media commentators have pointed out that roadsigns, hospitals and airports will have to be renamed and relabelled, at massive expense.

Sarcasm analysts believe this is the most expensive sarcasm related incident since a producer on the set of Waterworld angrily joked ‘why don’t we put Costner in charge? After all he’s a BRILLIANT director! He did SUCH a good job on The Postman!’

“At least when you called us the ‘Third World’ you were honest about how you saw us,” continued the ambassador, as he drew towards the end of his five hour speech, remarkably short by UN standards. “At least that was good, honest condesencion. We knew where we stood with that kind of attitude! We knew that you saw our society as inferior not only to your own, but to the communists who sent millions of their citizens to death camps! But now… Now….” He paused, looking very slowly around the hall, as if he was perhaps trying to make eye contact with each of his fellow ambassadors, perhaps to induce feelings of guilt in them. “Exactly what makes a country developed? Hmm?’ He paused, once more. “I bet you don’t even know where my country is, do you?”

The Leaky Wiki: Rick Perry speaks out against women, friendship in the military

America can be a scary place. In America, corporations are considered to be people, people who speak via the medium of money, and are allowed to refuse to pay for their employees’ healthcare for religious reasons.

It’s also a country where, in 2012, a major Republican politician, while running for President, could say that gays are weird, on camera, on purpose, and expect it to help rather than hinder his challenge for president.

Scarier still, he was probably right.

Continue reading

The Leaky Wiki: Keith Olbermann’s Wife Forces Him to Help out Around the House, Named as ‘Worst Person in the World’

Reading satire written years before, it turns out, can mean that what was once topical is no longer memorable.

Do you remember what Current TV was? Probably not. There’s a decent chance you don’t recognise Keith Olbermann, who, to a British audience is probably best described as a real world equivalent of The Newsroom’s Will McAvoy. You can view a sample of his work on youtube - he later left MSNBC to start a new news channel, which is where I (fictionally) came in.

Continue reading

Strangest Search Terms 3: The Last 18 Months

This will be the third in a series, in which I continue ripping off an idea from 101 Books. If a search term brought you here to my blog, I can see the phrase that brought you here. Obviously I can’t connect it to you personally, but this is a useful method to find what the people who turn up here want.
It also gives me the opportunity to laugh at the weird terms that led here.

It’s about eighteen months since I last wrote one of these, so a few weird search terms have built up in that time.

          there are downsides to looking this pretty samantha brick     
          daily mail samantha brick there are downsides to looking this pretty           
          samantha brick there are downsides to looking this pretty     
          samantha brick article there are downsides to looking this pretty      
          samantha bricks      

It’s now over two years since I wrote a piece about a ‘famous for being a bit of an idiot’ Daily Mail journalist turned celebrity TV contestant called Samantha Brick, but she keeps popping up. All of these are separate search terms, all near the top ranked of my search terms over the past year.

          neanderthal modern clothing

Unfortunately, I’ve not got pictures of this, but the idea does sound inherently hilarious. Neanderthals are from the distant past, but modern clothing isn’t – what an anachronism!

          how to make transformers paper bonecrusher

 But if you make the robots out of paper, then what’s the point of the movies? They’re only there to sell toys, you heartless parasite.

          graham westley spoof blog

 Graham Westley is a football manager who walked out as manager and owner of Farnborough for a better deal at Stevenage, allowing his former club to collapse; used a Daily Mail article to praise himself for turning around Preston’s ‘cancerous environment’ when they were on a run of 1 win in 12 and shortly before he was sacked; and texted players in the middle of the night to give them the team news and motivational messages. As far as I can tell, there is no Graham Westley spoof blog, but there should be plenty of material for it.

          robot dreams read by michael

It’s a good book – a collection of some of Isaac Asimov’s best robot stories. Unfortunately the recording I have of the stories being read is by a guy called Nicholas, so I can’t help out there.

          huddersfield prostitute

 I was hoping to keep my day job compartmentalised from the blog.

          wales from space

I’m choosing to assume that there’s meant to be a ‘h’ in there, and that this is some sort of cartoon where the whales talk, shoot ray guns and trade quips based on the species of each whale.

          early episodes of friends are better

 I definitely agree with this. And, like this searcher, I also like to type random things I believe into a search engine, just for the validation. Things like ‘blue smarties are the best smarties’ and ‘Picard is a better captain than Kirk’.

          sitcom slippers

 I also like to co-ordinate my clothing with the genre of TV programme I’m watching. I’ve got a nice scifi hat, and a great set of western socks.

          bananas behaving badly

Damn bananas. Constantly coming down the stairs, often in pairs.

          bear grylls slash rps fanfic

Bear Grylls is the host of a nature show, and slash fanfic is a genre that creates a romantic coupling between characters who don’t normally pair up in the show or book they’re in. RPS is a… rocket propelled shotgun? Is there a less disturbing option there?

          lego people with guns killing

 I’m not sure that this exists, but given the success of what Michael Bay’s done with the Transformers franchise, there may well be a dark and gritty live action reboot of this year’s cartoon movie just around the corner.

That is, unless the death of civilisation comes beforehand, which is a distinct possibility.

The Leaky Wiki: Leading Tea Party member sceptical over the existence of ‘America’.

As previously mentioned, I’m currently re-uploading the pieces of satire I wrote for The Leaky Wiki following that site’s demise. The whole project is inspired either by vanity (that people NEED to be able to see the jokes I wrote over two years ago) or laziness (why should I go to the trouble of writing new material?) but both are good reasons.

The latest re-upload (which you can see in its original context via the Wayback Machine) was originally published in December 2011, and makes fun of those silly Colonials, who think that you brew tea in a harbour.

Leading Tea Party member sceptical over the existence of ‘America’.

Boston_Tea_Party by WD Cooper Uploaded by Cornischong              Taken from Wikimedia CommonsJoe T. Plumber, one of the leading organisers of the Tea Party, has today expressed his disbelief over the existence of America.
“I’ve been skeptical over President Obama’s birth certificate for a while,” he revealed in an exclusive sit-down interview.
“After all, you can’t blindly believe everything you’re told. Yes, there may be masses of legal documentation, a birth announcement in the local Hawaiian newspaper at the time, and witnesses who remember him as a young boy.” admitted Plumber.
“But, even given all that, it could be some kind of con – his father would want him to be involved in the greatest nation on Earth. And, how do we know he’s not playing a long-con, like in those Ocean’s films? How do we know he’s not a Kenyan Muslim terrorist bent on destroying America? You can never be too safe.”

Plumber is a man who loves America, so much so that he regularly dresses in cowboy boots, shirts in the colours and patterns of the American flag, and similar patriotic apparel. Plumber, formerly Michael Edwards, renamed himself when he first took an interest in politics in January 2009, choosing the name of his favourite Founding Father.

“All of that got me thinking – what else am I not sure about? People say we put a man on the moon – but we just have to take NASA’s word for it. It’s not like we can go up there to look about, is it?”
This uber-patriot was now in full flow, giving an argument he had clearly had to give many times before, given the opposition to his line of argument.
“In fact, the more and more I thought about it, the whole American revolution thing started to seem a bit iffy. I mean, think about it – a young nation stands up to the greatest empire in the world – and wins? That’s just the kind of crap Hollywood would make up. Sure, there’s loads of documentation, thousands of books and articles written about the events – but all that exists for Obama as well!
“In fact, how do I know you’re not a lizard man, part of a vast conspiracy that secretly runs the world? I bet you can’t disprove that right now, can you? Here, let me cut your face off.”

It was shortly after this point that I decided I had all the quotes I needed for the story, and left, with only minimal scarring to my face.

The Leaky Wiki: 2022 Qatar World Cup NOT Chosen as a Result of Bribery

The Leaky Wiki, a satirical website which I wrote for between 2011 and 2013, eventually fell apart, somehow unable to make huge profits despite internet sarcasm being in high demand and low supply.

Using the Wayback Machine I’ve combed through the wreckage, recovering what was mine, which I’ll re-publish here on my blog in the coming weeks and months.

My first piece for The Leaky Wiki came back in November 2011, a distant time, very different from today, when there were questions about why Qatar had been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. It’s like another lifetime entirely.

 

Qatar World Cup NOT Chosen as a Result of Bribery, Leaked Emails Show

2014_FIFA_Announcement_(Joseph_Blatter)_6 by Marcello Casal Jr.                Taken from Wikimedia CommonsShocking emails have been leaked today, which show that Qatar was chosen as host of the 2022 World Cup, not because of bribery, as had been previously widely assumed, but because FIFA delegates genuinely believed them to be the best choice as host.

Critics have pointed out that the bid was plagued with problems as Qatar had no existing football infrastructure, and the heat regularly reaches fifty degrees Celsius in the summer. Sepp Blatter even announced that they may play games indoors, and alternately may move the whole competition forward to January.

‘It just made sense that Qatar was chosen because of bribery,’ commented one leading Premier League footballer, who asked to remain anonymous. ‘I mean, I’m no brain cutting person, I struggle to keep track of which Page 3 girl I’m banging. But even I know that when choosing the hosts, it makes sense to make sure the players will be able to stand up during matches.’

These new revelations have shaken what little faith there was in an organisation that has elected Sepp Blatter as it’s president 4 times, with many administrators wondering why Qatar would be chosen were it not for financial self-interest.

‘Qatar has no football history or infrastructure,’ said one leading English FA administrator. ‘I’m the guy who keeps suggesting we put David Beckham forward as part of our bid teams, despite his sounding like a ten year old girl, and not a very bright one at that. But even I can’t understand how the delegates can be so stupid. We had all thought that the fact that we were promised more votes than we received for our bid was a betrayal, but I’m starting to think that the delegates didn’t realise our ‘donations’ to their domestic football programmes were meant to be an implied bribe. Honestly, I have no idea how you’d work with that kind of person.’

In related news, other emails leaked at the same time reveal Saudi Arabia to be a frontrunner to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

IWSG: Can Satire Go Too Far?

This is my entry for July’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group, a monthly ‘blog hop’ with the intent of giving each other feedback and encouragement. The full list of participants can be found at the Insecure Writers’ home site.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Yesterday I published a satirical blog post, titled A Modest Proposal for Dealing With the Muslim Problem and Relieving Tension Between the Races of the Earth. You may recognise the format (of the title and the prose) as being drawn from Jonathan Swift, but there’s still the risk of what I wrote being taken at face value.

Continue reading

A Modest Proposal for Dealing with the Muslim Problem and Relieving Tensions between the Varied Races of the Earth

Over recent years, it has become evident that the Muslim and Christian races are deeply divided. It is widely known that Islam is a violent and barbaric religion – why else would there be a need for the term ‘jihad’ – a word literally translating as ‘struggle’?

Christian inspired patriots by contrast, hold nothing but the purest love of the one true God in their hearts when they attack mosques, refuse to bow down before fictional lions and remove headscarves of Islamic women, hoping only to aid their adaptation to our most gentle land.

The impact of inter-racial and inter-religious tension is now so widespread in modern Britain that the decent people of Albion find it nigh-on impossible to walk the streets without having a machete, meat cleaver or similar sharp blade thrust in their direction by a violent barbarian.
According to a report from ONS, in 2011, across Britain 3,885 died in falls; 1,938 in transport accidents; 210 by choking; and 8 by accidental suffocation in bed – by good fortune a mere 0 died in terrorist activities that year, doubtless a statistical anomaly which will not be repeated.
It remains to be seen how many people died by each of these causes in 2013, but the Woolwich Lee Rigby murder means that the number of deaths inspired by Islamic extremism is at least one, with a full statistical survey of the undoubted carnage still to be carried out. Perhaps the Muslim problem may pose even as grave a danger to the British people as their own duvets.

Continue reading

I’m Back!

Remember me?

For a variety of reasons, I’ve put the blog on hold for a while, not managing to find the time to write anywhere online for the past four months, and only writing fiction irregularly. The reasons include university work, trying to organise a short film, and doing research and plotting for both a series of short stories and a screenplay. One of the initial themes I had planned for this blog was to write about my writing process, which I intend to do more from now on.

All writers are frustrated by their own incompetence.

All writers are frustrated by their own incompetence.

There’s also a bunch of things that I literally haven’t done for more than a year – looking at story structure of old films, in depth analyses of specific episodes of TV shows, so on, as well as reviews and the like. I’ve done more research than writing recently, and I’ve missed the satisfaction from getting things finished.

Continue reading

I’ve Finished Writing a Short Story – Now What?

This is my entry for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group – a monthly opportunity for aspiring writers to have a whinge about the roadblocks we’ve came across while developing as a writer, and to offer each other support and advice. You can pay some of my fellow IWSGers a visit, and sign up yourself.

.InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Between December and February I wrote a short story, from beginning to end – a 7500 word Victorian era mystery. Roughly halfway through February I reached the point where I was happy with the finished version – the period details felt authentic to me, there’s a conflict between characters, and facts held back from the characters and the reader are slowly revealed as the mystery unravels.

Since then I’ve shared the ‘finished’ version with a few people, and received bits of feedback to refine it slightly, but I’m not sure whether to go one way or the other. The additions will mean expanding what I’ve written, but I was trying to stick to a word count for a magazine’s submission guidelines, and I’m already significantly over.

Generally I’m more inclined towards aiming for traditional publishing than self-publishing (either in hard copy or as an e-book), as I’d prefer the greater publicity of an established audience (in this case a magazine) and I’d prefer to have the publicity dealt with by someone who specialises in that area (for a novel). But on the other hand, there are practical considerations that mean I might not be able to publish my ideal version of the story… even if it’s accepted.

Part of the reason I’m wary is because of an experience with an earlier finished manuscript. In March of last year I completed a short supernatural story that I called The Eternal Hunt, which I sent to a few magazines for publication – they all either rejected me or didn’t reply. I’ve thought about self-publishing my latest story as an e-book, maybe through Smashwords or something similar.

For now, I’m working out a second story led by the same characters. Maybe I’ll be able to cannibalise some of the character elements for the second story, as a way of making the first story shorter without having to eliminate things from the larger world I hope to eventually create. And more importantly, I should strengthen my idea of what themost important parts are of the stories I’m trying to tell, which elements of the larger world and themes are most important, and whether there’s anything I can get rid of entirely.

I’m aware of the importance of compromise, and it may well be that the magazine make editorial changes that improve the story. But there’s also the possibility that the interests of the magazine in question and my story may come up against each other. An editor of a magazine that publishes short fiction will naturally want a story of X thousand words that enthrall and entertain their readers… but fitting into that limit will probably be more important to them than having the thematic depth and character insight that I want it to have.

Given that this is my IWSG entry, I’ll throw the comments section out for advice. Those of you who’ve self-published, would you go down the traditional route if you could? And have you faced the challenge of having to cut something you really like to fit a word count?