Monthly Archives: May 2007

Naughty Fausto!

The Families Association Forum is frothing at the mouth about the fact that Italy’s Speaker at the House of Deputies, Fausto Bertinotti, friend of Castro, Carlos and, er, the Dalai Lama and just back from a rejuvenating spiritual break on … Continue reading

Posted in civil union, homophobia, human rights | 2 Comments

Protecting children, Polish style

In line with recent attempts by the Polish government to outlaw any mention of homosexuality in schools, a certain Ewa Sowinska, the crackpot person responsible for children’s rights in Poland (including, apparently, the right not be informed), has ordered an … Continue reading

Posted in crank, falwell, homophobia, poland | Leave a comment

Human decency

It isn’t often that the Italian government offers a lesson in human decency to neighbouring countries, but its decision to take in 27 migrants found hanging onto tuna nets after ten days at sea contrasts favourably with the refusal of … Continue reading

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To Moscow… and back (sharpish)

Among those putin putting the boot into gay protesters in Moscow yesterday were two Orthodox priests. Of course, deep down, what they’d really like to do is turn the other cheek. Right, boys? Right and left? I said turn, not … Continue reading

Posted in homophobia, religion, vladimir luxuria | Leave a comment

Commonplaces: Marriage

January 4 1976 Marriage is ultimately an agreement – or conspiracy – between two people to treat each other as having each the right to be loved absolutely. If there is not this understanding, there is no marriage; if there … Continue reading

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Revealed truths 3

This comes from The End of Faith, by Sam Harris: When the members of the ‘Heaven’s Gate’ cult failed to spot the spacecraft they knew must be trailing the comet Hale-Bopp, they returned the $4,000 telescope they had bought for … Continue reading

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Slowly slowly

Anyone who’s thought about humiliation knows that people can be brought to commit the most degrading acts if they’re taken to them stage by stage, little by little, chipping away at their self-esteem until there’s no trace of it left … Continue reading

Posted in berlusconi, blair, bush | Leave a comment

Mixed messages

A new TV ad for the Italian mineral water Ferrarelle features a pregnant woman. She’s drinking a glass of the water in question and as she drinks the action moves to the womb and we see the little hands of … Continue reading

Posted in gay | 2 Comments

A question of emphasis

In the context of a long and fascinating piece on E.M. Forster’s attitude to fiction in the LRB (10 May 2007), Frank Kermode comments: Discordances between the order of story and the order of the narrative can be methodically and … Continue reading

Posted in forster, lessing, religion, writing | Leave a comment

Suffer the little children…

A parish priest in Pescara, Don Lino Cisotto, has refused first communion to a nine-year-old autistic child on the grounds that he’s incapable of understanding the full significance of the Eucharist. I would have taken this as a sign of … Continue reading

Posted in church, religion | 2 Comments