Rantathon -- (part 1)

It's debatable whether or not ranting is good for my blood pressure. On the one hand, it's a period of intense simmering, followed by a sudden explosion of boiling -- that's probably not a great thing. On the other hand, it's better than sitting and seething away with quiet resentment.

Mostly I like to rant in the car. It's not that I get behind the wheel and think, 'You know what? I really feel like a jolly good rant.', it's just that 95% of road users are bloody idiots. In the interest of public health, I think the DVLA should issue me with a gun and carte blanche to shoot any bastard who has no business being behind the wheel of a half-ton automobile. It could be on a sliding scale: cut me up in traffic and I blow off one of your kneecaps. Sail blithely across a roundabout without bothering to look -- that's going to get you a Mr Orange. Park in a disabled space and you're going home in a body-bag.

That sounds fair enough, doesn't it?

And it doesn't just have to be road-based, I'm a public-spirited individual: I'd be prepared to go that extra mile and extend my services to supermarkets and high street stores too. Don't say thank you, smile, or even acknowledge the existence of the person who's just held the door open for you? Severe kicking. I'd get old ladies to help, they can be vicious when roused.

Anyway, I digress. Right now there are two rants bubbling away in the darkness of my internal thingumies*. Number the first is due to a toss pot on Breakfast News yesterday. The topic was factory farmed chicken versus free range. Not in a fight or anything, it's illegal to pit poultry in a battle to the death in this country, but in a debate about what is and isn't acceptable to eat.

There's a bit of a push in the media at the moment, with Hugh Curly-Wurly-Fearnly-Whittingstall** and Jamie Wide-Boy Oliver telling anyone who'll listen that eating factory-reared chicken makes you a cock-weasel. A point of view I wholeheartedly agree with. She Who Must Not Be Left Unsupervised With Sharp Implements and I have been off the battery-farmed chickies for about a year now. And it hurts... it really does. I used to love KFC. Mmm, all that succulent dark meat in the spicy battery stuff... just the thought of it has me soaking in drool. But I can't eat it any more.

Of course that doesn't stop me groaning with desire every time a KFC advert comes on the telly, which sends She Who Must Grab The Moral High Ground Whenever Possible*** into fits of, "Oh for goodness sake, no one's making you give up chicken are they? You can eat it if you like..." Which as all married men know is code for, 'if you touch another KFC you'll burn in the fiery pits of hell for all eternity. Or at least that's what it'll feel like by the time I've finished with you...'

My argument is that it's not a sacrifice if it doesn't hurt. When people give up stuff for Lent, they have to give up something they really like, otherwise God is angry with them and smites them with his vengeful gonads. The very fact that I'm willing to give up my beloved deep-fried chicken makes me more righteous, not less. And that means I've clawed back the moral high ground! Hahahahah! Take that, Evil Creature Of Darkness****!

But back to the topic in hand. The aforementioned cock-weasel (on Breakfast News), was arguing that he resented being lectured on whether he should eat factory chicken or not by 'celebrity chefs'. People should make their own minds up. Which is all well and good, but let's face it: most people who buy bog-standard cheap chicken don't want to think about where it comes from. Because it's not a very comfortable thing to think about, is it? 'If I buy this cheap-assed chicken I'm contributing to some horrific cases of animal cruelty. But it's tasty animal cruelty... Tasty, cheap animal cruelty... Oh the moral dilemma!'

This, however, was not what got my internal fluids simmering, it was when the newsreaders asked the bloke, "So if you had the choice of a factory chicken or a free range chicken, and they both cost the same, which would you choose?" and he went off on this rambling discourse about value for money. So they asked him the same question again, and once more he produced the kind of weasely obfuscation any politician would be proud of. His basic argument seemed to be, "Fuck 'em: they're only chickens."

Which was nice.

Rant number the second pertains to something said on the radio this morning, where 'Jordan' was described as "former glamour model turned number one, bestselling novelist". I don't even know where to start with that one. What annoys me more, the fact that anyone genuinely believes she's written a book (never mind a series of them)? The fact that some poor ghost-writer is doing all the work while she waltzes off with a dirty big cheque just because her name's on the cover? Or the fact that people actually buy the damn things? "You know, I don't normally read books, but if someone famous for nothing more complicated than getting her surgically-swollen breasts out, plastering herself all over the cover of every gossip magazine in the land on a weekly basis, and going on cheap and nasty reality TV shows wrote it, it must be good!"

Of course, taking a 'glass-is-half-full' kind of look at it, perhaps these people will then develop a taste for reading and go on to buy real books, written by real people rather than celebrity-endorsed products churned out by publishers looking to part the gullible from their money.

On the other hand -- maybe I'm doing this so-called Jordan a disservice? Perhaps she's an excellent writer who paid her dues by getting her norks out, so that she could bring her work to as wide an audience as possible?***** Maybe she's not the shallow, fake-boobed, publicity-junkie she appears to be? Maybe these are actually really good books and should be judged on their own merits, rather than slated out of hand by someone who's never been arsed to read one of them******. And maybe it really doesn't matter in the great scheme of things? Maybe this is just the current fad, and sooner or later society will grow out of this non-entity-celebrity culture?

But most likely, I just like to have a rant every now and then.

* Actually there's three, if you count my 'Kate Moss is a skanky ho' rant that happens any time those bloody Rimmel ads come on the telly. Let's face it, 'Rimmel' doesn't sound like a brand of cosmetics, does it -- it sounds like a questionable sexual practice. Possibly involving Brussels sprouts. Angus Deyton gets caught doing drugs and he can't find TV work for years. Kate Moss gets caught and gets her own line of clothes at Top Shop. What the hell is wrong with the world?
** Incidentally, you can add your 'Hell no!' to the Chicken Liberation cause, by going here and signing the on-line petition thing.
*** She's from Fife after all, she doesn't get that many opportunities.
**** It's a pet name.
***** Er... no. Her novels are actually written by one Rebecca Farnworth, but what the hell.
****** And never bloody will either. I tried to read The Davinci Code once, so I could enter into the debate on an informed level. Couldn't get past chapter three or four.