... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

281: In which I temporarily become a Royalist

“Checkmate Kate, you’ve taken the king” - banner being waved in the crowd

Pundits talked worriedly about our cynical age, or lack of deference and respect for tradition, and regular readers of this blog may consider me a cynic.  I consider myself to be a sceptical optimist, but that’s another matter entirely.  The point I’m working towards, is that I have thoroughly enjoyed this whole Royal wedding from start to finish.  As I write now we are waiting for the couple to make their balcony appearance.  I suspect that had I followed any of the media hype leading up to today, I would have been bored shitless of the whole thing weeks ago.  Fortunately it all passed me by and today has been the first point in which I have paid it any attention.

Charles and Diana were married the same year as my parents; William was born just a few months after me; and now William marries the love he met at university as I make preparations to marry my university love.  We are like proper bros (as in “...before hoes, not the highly respected groundbreaking pop band).

Now as I continue this post, a day has passed and I can look back on the events of yesterday separated from the emotional involvement.  The scale of the whole wasteful, mass-fawning swept me up with the excitement and the emotion.  The Royal family became human; not untouchable deities, or posh unwanted arseholes.  Charles was the proud dad and the Queen was everyone’s grandmother.  Everyone was wearing bizarre multicoloured and oddly accessorised clothing.  A Lancaster bomber flies overhead flanked by a Spitfire and a Hurricane Hawk.  Pundits tediously wibbled on and on about peoples clothes, instead of telling us who the guests were and why they were there.  The Beckhams...wtf?  The maid of honour was distracting in a low cut dress.  The bride and groom looked nervous and happy; you know, like actual human people... amazing.

I’m endlessly fascinated by the Royal habit of not having surnames like us commoners.  Windsor is not the family's surname; it is the House name, and has been since 1917 when George V changed it from the too German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.   We learned that William’s full name is William Arthur Phillip Louis, and his wedding present from his little ol’ granny was the titles Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Barron Carrickfergus.  Kate is no longer a Middleton; her full name is now simply Katherine Elizabeth, Duchess of Cambridge.  She joins the House of Windsor, but due to not being a blood relative of Prince Phillip, she is not a member of the much more excitingly named House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

I can now look back on yesterday, slightly confused as to how excited I was by it all.  I felt strange new feelings of national pride, jingoism, flag-waving, communal mania... now there is an almost unpleasant hangover lull.  It was the wedding of people I don’t know, suspect I wouldn’t have anything in common with; people who probably wouldn’t cross a courtyard to pour champagne on me.  It was fun while it lasted, just stay away from The Mail.  Not because it will be full of the wedding for the next million years, just as a general rule of thumb; stay away from The Mail.

By the way, the couple looked very happy; best of luck to them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

280: In which I post many videos of Murder Ballads.

Illustration by Arthur Rackham of The Twa Corbies
Murder Ballads are a traditional folk music form depicting a murder and possibly also the events leading up to and after the event.  Possibly the most famous folk song in this genre is Bob Dylan’s Hurricane which I haven’t included here as copyright stuff is keeping Dylan off YouTube.  Hurricane tells the story of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter who was wrongly convicted for a triple murder.

The Wikipedia article on Murder Ballads is pretty short, but sums the whole thing up fairly well, and if you want to read more, many were collected and researched by some fellow called Francis J. Childs (1825-1896), and published many years ago as the Child Ballads (wiki).

It’s not a subject I can pretend to know much about, but I do know what I like, and simple grim tunes about death seem to be right up my street.  And I’m not the only one.  Look at the popularity of hip hop, from N.W.A. to whoever the kids are bumping to nowadays; swearing, and rip=rapping about guns, n all that.

For all the right reasons I have collected together a huge swathe of YouTube videos representing many different Murder Ballads, and of course including two tracks from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Murder Ballads album.  Gorge yourself to death on all that follows:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

279: In which I pretend stuff I like is art.

or non-traditional art forms that have filled my obsessions, 
created my character, entertained me all my life, 
and fully influencing my contemporary attitude to art.

1: The Music Video’s of Marilyn Manson (mostly pre-1998)

The album artwork and related videos and other media released with 1996’s album Antichrist Superstar.  This was, to date, the coolest thing ever, and still may be.  The music is mechanical, maniacal, melodic and majestic; perfectly produced to just the right level of raw, hideous... perfectly, perfect in every way.  The videos are Joel-Peter Witkin photographs come to life; twisted bodies, prosthetic limbs, sexual deviation, hell on earth.  Antichrist Superstar is the best thing ever...  Enjoy the videos for Beautiful People, Tourniquet and Man That You Fear.

...except for the video that started it all for me.  The 1995 mini-album Smells Like Children begat possibly the best cover version ever, and my favourite music video to this day, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).  Manson paints his naked body black, dons a cowboy hat and rides on the back of a gigantic pig, Twiggy Ramirez ponces eerily in a stripy thrift dress, Madonna Wayne Gacy spooks about baldishly; there are wedding dresses, doves, stilts, multicoloured clocks sprouting from Manson’s head, and the chest mounted microphone stand.  It's style over content, but what style!  Forget Antichrist Superstar; this is the new old new best thing ever...

2: The Album Artwork for Insane Clown Posse’s Jokers Cards set

Six Jokers Cards (i.e. albums) complete an epic story arch of violence and heavenly redemption, using imagery of clowns, carnivals and magic as metaphors for religious allegory... and stuff...  The first five albums – Carnival of Carnage, Ringmaster, Riddlebox, The Great Milenko and The Amazing Jeckel Brothers - are excellent in terms of originality, production and overall style; the sixth Jokers Card is split into two albums; The Wraith: Shangri-La, which is patchy at best and marks a significant fall in quality; and Hell’s Pit, which is wall to wall embarrassing shit.

The basic rule with ICP is this: if it’s produced by Mike E. Clark it is probably great especially if released before 2000.  If it is produced by anyone else and is released in the last ten or so years, it is highly likely to be shite (with a capital shite).  The album artwork is minimalist, unique, and striking.  Here it is:

3: Asterix comics

I was never a massive comic book fan; of course there was the Beano and the Dandy, then later there was Tank Girl, Judge Dredd and surreptitiously obtained Viz.  There was no Tin Tin, and certainly no super heroes; X-Men, what a pile of shit!  But the constant for as long as I can ever remember has always been the crafty Gaul Asterix and all his buddies; Obelix the invincible giant and his trusty dog Dogmatix; the druid Getafix who brews a magic potion which gives the Gauls their superhuman strength; Vitalstatistix the chief; Cacofonix the tone-deaf bard; Caesar the Emperor of Rome; some unfortunate pirates, and a whole host of other recurring and one-off characters.

Amazingly there are still loads I have never read, but the ten or so I own I have read repeatedly for about 25 years.  My favourite bit is in Asterix the Legionary where our heroes join the Roman foreign legion and find themselves training alongside people from all over the ancient world.  There is some great word play and visual jokes involving ways of representing other languages, an interpreter, and various cultural misunderstandings.  And there is an ancient Egyptian called Ptenisnet, who speaks in hieroglyphs.

278: Judith with the Head of Holophernes

Judith with the head of Holofernes
So I, Kevin Bradshaw the Only, have uncovered the presence of Lucas Cranach the Elder, the weird German Renaissance artist I mentioned in my last post (five minutes ago).  One of his images really struck me and made me wonder what the story behind it was.  I still don’t know, but I gather it is a biblical story from a book which exists in the Catholic bible, but not the Jewish Testament or Protestant bible.  A rather striking young lady, with mangled robot fingers, wields a big sharp axe a sword of shining steel tempered in the fire.  She gazes dreamily into the middle distance, ignoring us and giving no heed to the severed head whose hair she grasps.

Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes
She is Judith (Jude the Obscure?  Her details to me are obscure, but she is not that Jude who is of course a man...), and the poor debodied bloody-necked chap is Holofernes.  Who the hell is Holofernes?  Well, who is this obscure Judith, and what kind of a name is Holofernes?  Spellchecker agrees with me on the Holofernes issue, don’t you spellchecker?  Yes you do.  Would you prefer Holophernes?  No, me neither.

Judith with the Head of Holophernes, bySimon Vouet, (Alte Pinakothek, Munich)

She is a Jewish woman, beautiful and brave, who has a cunning plan to defend her people against the evil Assyrian army.  She adopts the disguise of sexy spy and enters the camp of the enemy general, and evil servant of Nebuchadnezzar II; yes, you guessed it, it’s Holofernes!  She wins his trust with promises of secret information about the Israelites (and some Vitalite).  Rather than rousing his suspicion, she roused his, you know, his manly man bits.  She entered his tent where he lay Too Drunk To Fuck, and unceremoniously slayed (slew?) him.  Somehow she makes her escape, Holo’s head in her possession, and returns to her friends who congratulate her on a bet well won and pay her that fiver.  The Assyrians are hopeless without their leader and do one, and the Israelites are free to make up weird stories about boats and attempted infanticide.

Judith with the Head of Holophernes, byCristofano Allori, 1613 (Royal Collection, London)

It’s not exactly a classic story; you know, it’s not bad for its time, but it hasn’t exactly captured the public’s imagination.  It seems however that a small number of artists have been taken enough to dedicate a canvas and their precious time.  It’s obviously not true, and not just because it’s in the bible, a book not exactly known (amongst thinking people) for its accuracy and truthfulness.  Even religious people of various groups think it is a story; historical fiction; non-canonical.  In a thousand years Dan Brown’s steaming vat of pen piss The Da Vinci Code may be argued over whether or not it is canonical to the Abrahamic world of literature.  At that point the Bible will have grown from just the Old and New Testaments to encompass the Koran, the book of Mormon, the script to The Life of Brian, a child’s letter to Santa, and a map of Paradise, Newcastle.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

277: In which I travel from Dystopia to Venus.

Absentmindedly trawling the internet for ideas and images to form a blog post or two.  It’s quiet a little journey I’ve been on, wading through the mire of google images and Wikipedia articles, and have arrived at an interest series of twists and turns; plenty of pictures too.  Starting off by trying to locate the name of the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song that Harry and Hermione dance to in that cringeworthy scene in Deathly Hallows pt. 1, I discovered a detail about how the Ministry of Magic scene contains a reference to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.  From there I went on a search for images related to dystopian fiction.

Dystopia is a vague concept seemingly related to all sorts of nightmare visions of the future, ranging from robots taking over, all out war, mind control, fascism, malevolent and benevolent dictators, etcetera, etc, &c.  Often dystopias can be masked by a surface veneer of utopia; everything appears perfect, but look closer and all is rotten.  Like in Demolition Man.

A Terminator and a big gun
Part man, part machine, all cop; The future of Law Enforcement.

Then logically we take a look at the peaceful beauty of utopia, far from the terror of the Morlocks, MDKs and mimetic polyalloy.  It’s a world of tra-la-la’ing around the maypole, joyous comfort in our nudity, free from worries of war, disease, hunger and poverty.  Monetary systems are no longer needed and all our needs are fulfilled, our goals are realistic and achievable, and our bellies are full.  We are doing pretty well for ourselves.

from The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch 

Utopian flying machines, France, 1890-1900 (chromolithograph trading card).
“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at” Oscar Wilde
The Golden Age by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

So now I’ve discovered an artist totally new to me; Lucas Cranach the Elder, a German Renaissance painter and printer who lived from 1472 ‘til 1553.  Completely new to me, but an instant favourite.  Just look at his signature:

Yes, he may have been a little strange.  I can easily imagine his name cropping up in the dark ages of Bathilda Bagshot’s weighty tome A History of Magic.  His pictures I have seen this evening are bizarre and beautiful; they seem on the surface like so many others from their time, but something about them seems just a little off.  As a result they are unsettling and I can’t put my finger on exactly what is going on there.  They are just weird ok.  Don’t make me explain it.  He also liked Venus a lot, but then again, how can you not?

Venus and Cupid, 1508

Venus in a Landscape, late era
Duke Henry IV, Duke of Saxony, yeah nice clothes mate
This is clearly a post more about images than words, so I’m going to stop babbling and let you look at the pictures, and the hardcore among you can explore the links I have gifted you.  If you click on them you will magically be transported to another island in Internet Ocean.

276: just heard about Poly Styrene RIP

So what should I write about?  I feel I should force a vitriolic defense of Zines; zine is not a dirty word, it is another artistic medium in which good and bad can be found.  P.S.  that was not the vitriolic defence, t’was merely a passing comment.  I love zines, but sadly others don’t.  This whole thing of speaking in code with something in mind is not a good idea, and I don’t wish the blog to head in this direction.  The post-meeting drinks have left me drunk and, as a result, prone to half-blind blobbling gibber.  Apologies to all opposed to any form of wibbling blobber, or gabbling gabba.

I tell thee; it’s bloody typical.  Last post I claimed to have no idea what I was writing about, and then went on to an anti-monarchist piss-take of Wills Vs Kate: a Match Made in Heaven.  Yet today I’m sure I had something planned out, but bugger me if I can remember what it was.  

Flippancy can sit aside for the time being as I have just discovered that the awesome incredible, raw and perfect punk singer Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex has just passed from cancer.  The big C claims another of humanities greats.  I first heard X-Ray Spex thanks to my uncle who blasted out Oh Bondage, Up Yours.  From now until forever Oh Bondage, Up Yours will be the perfect Poly Styrene vocal, as well as being the only total-punk non-Johnny Rotten vocal.  I’m usually adamant that if it’s not Pistols, it’s not Punk.  Few names change my mind, but X-Ray Spex are one of them.

I’m sorry this isn’t a proper tribute, but I’ve only just heard the news.  Poly meant more to many people than she did to me.  Her family, friends and fans new her better than I did, but I feel the loss of her talent... and her awesome punk voice.  Bind me, tie me, chain me to the wall, I wanna be a slave to you all – Oh Bondage, Up Yours!!!!!!!!!!!!  Or to quote some YouTube poster – Oh Cancer, Up Yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you haven’t noticed I’ve actually been being trying to raise money for the Christie Hospital charity through JustGiving using the power of my tireless dedication to blogging (I’m tired).  If you care to do some basic research you will discover that only my mum has been kind enough to donate to my charity of choice.  I chose Christies because it makes such a difference, works hard towards a cure to cancer, and is in my constituency.  Please donate if you can by going to my JustGiving page.  Thank you and good night.

Click here>>>>>>>>>> to donate: http://www.justgiving.com/KevinBradshaw

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

275: bank holiday stress; need a few days at work for a rest

These long bank holiday weekends are tiring things.  Four days of socialising, drinking effectively non-stop, eating nothing except spiced meat, potatoes and gravy, burning in the sun; and all that after two days of exhibition openings, burning in the sun; and all that after two days of exhibition openings.  I’ve just slept through Singing in the Rain, for about the twentieth time.  I see the start, I see the end, but all the stuff in the middle is a mystery, like what they put in hotdogs.  I must warn you now that I am extremely sleepy and have prepared no theme for today.  So no interesting article, no amusing rant, no... None of the rest of it.  So if you want to bail out now, don’t be embarrassed; I won’t be annoyed.  There are other things for you to read.

David Icke's totally plausible theory 
Three days back at work, for a nice rest, followed by another exhausting bank holiday.  There’s the bloody royal wedding, which I’m not invited to.  William is the same age as me yet looks about ten years older.  You’d think with all his money and clandestine lizard power he’d be able to get some stem cells injected into his face.  Perhaps he has and their main effect is to keep him in vaguely human form.  Or it may be that generations of inbreeding can make people go old and bald before their time.  The cost of one of their fancy-schmancy embroidered wedding napkins would pay for my entire wedding, plus the honeymoon, a large house, and all the food, holidays, and education to raise five children into adulthood; it’s a scandal.

I struggle to comprehend the fawning, cap-doffing, merchandise-buying obsession with the royal wedding.  No idea where it has come from or what purpose it serves.  99% of our lives no one gives a shit about them.  There was an embarrassing public howl of hysterical, self-pitying bleating when Diana popped off this mortal coil.  There is absolutely no interest what-so-ever in the Queen’s speech on Christmas day; in 29 years I haven’t seen it once, and I suspect there is a fair to middling chance that neither have you. 

Phillip and Camilla even moved the day of their wedding so the television coverage wouldn’t clash with Pope John Paul II’s funeral; this is bizarre beyond belief.  The British monarchy is an inherently anti-Catholic institution, and the Pope is a twisted little nobody.  The only reason for the change in scheduling can be a desperate admission that our own royal family rank so low in our minds that we’d rather glimpse at a picture of a box containing the corpse of an over-privileged bigot.  The next step is rescheduling a royal wedding so as not to clash with a particularly gripping episode of Coronation Street.

Anyway, good luck to them, but you know, stop making so much noise about it.  They are just people, and the only real privilege they deserve is to be first in line for the guillotine.

I never meant to end this post with a call for bloody anti-monarchist revolution, and I didn't.  It was a funny joke.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

274: Why lie? I want a beer.

hundreds & thousands
It’s very hard to blog when I am not on my own.  I’m currently at friends’ house after spending the afternoon spring cleaning the garden in preparation for Monday’s big barbeque.  Jerk chicken is being prepared, I have a cold Belgian beer, So You Think You Can Dance is on the gigantic wall-mounted television, my fiancée is confused about how old she is, my one-year old godson is pulling on the laptop charger and climbing the stairs, and the general level of conversation is shouting.  I have a plan to be involved in a technology/art exhibition which may involve blogging relentlessly at a busy exhibition, responding to the visitors and all that is happening around me.  Seems like it might be incredibly hard work; I’m struggling... I know some noisy women people.

The difference between millipedes and centipedes has nothing to do with billions, millions, hundreds, thousands, or hundreds and thousands.  Millipedes are usually sort of round and centipedes are usually sort of flat.  Millipedes always have two pairs of legs per bodily segment, and centipedes always have one pair of legs per segment.  I hope that has cleared that all up for you.  I’m glad that’s sorted.  Just to reiterate, this is a millipede:

And this is a centipede:

Got that?  Good; I’m glad that’s sorted.  Now let’s get on with it.  Whatever it is.  But, don’t these minibeasts know this is two thousand and eleven?  We should be on billipedes by now; or at least tri-millipedes.  Erm, yeah, whatever.  It really is difficult to write with all this noise.  Music blasting from the next room, the TV is now screaming Britain’s Got Talent, the baby is screaming for food and banging stuff on the floor, his mum has the worlds loudest speaking voice, and all I can think about is the zoological distinctions between similar creepy-crawlies.

Dear god, I give up; bloody racket.  I climbed up on a roof before to unblog unblock a gutter and discovered a large patch of grass growing on the tiles.  If I was so trite as to think like this, I could have whipped out my camera and photographed it; started a series of arty photos about plants growing out of rooftops and through the cracks in walls and pavements.  Unfortunately I’m not an A-level art student, so that doesn’t seem like such a good idea.  Or, like Michael Landy, I could destroy everything I own including all my books, money, art and clothes, then spend months drawing portraits, followed by months drawing weeds.

But then what?

273: Bite It, You Scum

Were you in the garden of The Met bar in Didsbury today (22nd April 2011) at 5 or 5.30pm?  Are you a clumsy lumpen dredge of human waste?  Did you lunge into the path of a poor soul carrying a tray of drinks (1 bottle of wild berry cider, one pint of cloudy cider, one pint of Sam Smiths, one lemonade, and one overpriced bag of potato scabs), sending all into the air in a downpour of ice and liquid?  Did you arrogantly look the, rightly pissed off, person up and down and then turn back to your friends?  Did you apologise?

No you didn’t, did you.  You clumsy shite, you spilt all my drinks and didn’t even have the manners to apologise.  I poked you in the shoulder and said you’ve just knocked fifteen quids worth of drinks on the floor.  Your reply, what do you want me to do about it?  What do you think?  Have you ever been in a society before?  An apology would be nice for starters; a sincere one.  If I thought you gave a shit then you might have been able to claw back from arsehole to clumsy thicko.  My fiancée said, if that had happened in Ireland you’d have got a sincere apology and twice the drinks bought for you.  She’s right as well, and I’d likely have made a new friend.

You could start by buying me some drinks, you prick.  “I haven’t got any money.”  Really.  Really???  You should be ashamed of yourself.  Yes it was an accident, but it was clearly your fault, and any decent well-mannered civilised person would be embarrassed and contrite.  Apologies at least, and preferably getting a round in are without doubt, the done thing in this situation.  You are less than half a human being.  Your testicles are peanuts, and your cock is a cross-eyed parasitic worm.  Your spine is an old whore’s-bath dish rag, and your breath stinks like one.

I wish the blood vessels in my vengeful eyeballs to lurch out and choke your unapologetic throat.  I wish upon you the demon hell spunk of GG Allin to fill you with its poisonous piss disease.  May the tips of your fingers burn; you try and try to reach your severed manhood as it sinks below the surface of the deep fat fryer.  May the debt for your sins pass on to every generation that you begat, and may your firstborn spurn you from the age it can speak.

You need special medicine to live.

Phew... Sorry everyone.  I'm glad that angry rant is out of my system.  These sorts of things can cause terrible problems with high blood pressure, twitching eyes, and nervous disorders.  I've even gone back and toned down the language.

Friday, April 22, 2011

272: What's so Good about it :)

Codex Magliabechia
The Aztecs (or Incas, Mayans, whatever) were a primitive, vicious and barbaric people.  They ruled their masses with fear and blood.  Prisoners were sacrificed; thousands at a time, in days long massacres; spilling blood to appease a monstrous and jealous god.  What disgusting behaviour.  No way to run a society, and what shallow and stupid beliefs.  In modern times, in the culturally advanced Western world, no one could possibly believe such drivel.  And what a pathetic little god; what kind of god would want thousands of lowly prisoners blood as payment?  No, a real god would want only the blood of one sacrifice; the blood of his only son (who is also him, and a holy spirit, but they are one, and three, but just one, and Christianity is not a polytheism honestly, it is definitely a monotheism.  One god, not three!  And forget about the Virgin Mary, and all the saints, angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones... it’s definitely a monotheism...).

a cherub
So now we have the correct religion: Christianity.  It was still dreamed up by barbaric and ignorant people, and used to control through fear (of death, of punishment, of banishment, of torture), guilt, and blood.  It is still based entirely around human sacrifice, except this one ups the ante by making that human a GOD.  And his sacrifice is YOUR FAULT, because you are a dirty unclean original-sinning human, with sexual thoughts and a range of emotions.  Now this sacrificed is relived on a regular basis, with cannibalism thrown into the mix; through the miracle of transubstantiation, during the Eucharist/Holy Communion a little biscuit morphs into the actual flesh of Christ, and a drop of wine becomes a foetid jug of Jesus blood.  This is eagerly and gleefully devoured by the faithful.

God the Father, Julius Schnorr

This new god is still a sadistic, torturous, murderous, genocidal, infanticidal, homophobic, racist, tyrannical, jealous, cruel and unusual, ultimate dictator, but now he loves you.  You can avoid his punishment by accepting and believing the fact that he sent his son down to earth to die for your sins.  He is all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, and everywhere at all times.  Hang on a second... if he is all powerful why can he only forgive us by torturing and murdering his only son.  Surely he could just forgive us?  Could it be that this monster with a long history of causing death and pain, actually wanted to beat and crucify his only son?  Did he get some perverse sexual thrill out of it?  No of course not; how dare I suggest such a thing.

The Judas Kiss, Gustave Dore
Or maybe god’s motive in this stupid roundabout way of forgiving our sins was to set up his old rivals, the Jews.  If indeed Jesus had to die for our sins to be forgiven, then it follows equally that Judas had to play his role too.  For Jesus to die, his location had to be revealed to the Romans by a friend.  If the story of Jesus is true, then Judas is equally a saviour and a hero.  He helped create our salvation, and has been repaid with disembowelling, hanging, and being the motive for two millennia of mindless you-killed-Jesus anti-Semitism.  It looks like this was that loving god’s motive all along.  He unnecessarily orchestrated this whole ludicrous, bloody facade in order to divide (and conquer?) his believers.  What a cunt!

Cristo crucificado, Diego Velazquez

Crucifixion (16th Century) , Theophanes the Cretan
The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson ("He is sick to his empty core" -Christopher Hitchens)