I had always thought the Pope an unlikely ally in the fight against paternalistic values, especially as for many he is the ultimate "Papa". So I was surprised to see him comment this week that, despite feminism, too many women are still victims of contempt and injustice. Maybe he's just got round to reading The Female Eunuch, or perhaps he's been nobbled by a radical nun. Whatever, perhaps it's time for women to capitalise on this new-found liberalism from the Vatican and get the Pope on a few marches. That's if we're not too busy being pregnant all the time.
Shops selling new technology boom and bust at an alarming rate these days, in the face of our ever-changing demand for more sophisticated gadgets. I wonder whether the people who work in such places are struggling to keep up with the intellectual demands of all this change, because they all seem to be morons who have no idea what they are talking about - nor care. I have become frustrated to the point of near violence with the lads who work in mobile phone shops. They're quite happy to sell you a load of cack without batting an eyelid - if you can get them to serve you, at the risk of interrupting their fascinating conversation. (You may be thinking that any twanny who owns a mobile phone deserves this sort of treatment, but it's dead handy to have when I'm on my own in the car and also for phoning ahead to the Chinese takeaway for a large portion of number 54.)
A friend who recently bought a computer was given the wrong accessories, the wrong advice, the wrong everything. I'm surprised he actually got the computer and not a large turnip. It is a cliche that computer nerds and technophiles have no social graces, but the apparent lack of interest in, or knowledge of, their subject places these shop workers high on the list of those most likely to be exterminated in my New Year's Honours List. I don't know why the baddies in the new Bond film are bothering to try and destroy everything electronic in the UK: between them, the manufacturers and retailers are making a good job of it on their own.
Incidentally, it is amusing to watch the actors in the confused, anachronistic pile of pap that is the new James Bond film talking seriously about their roles. So the baddie can crush people to death with her thighs? Given her name is Xenia Onatopp, they should have me. I could have just sat on them.
The consolation I had when my fave team Crystal Palace went dahn into the First Division was that I would be able to watch them on terrestrial telly, being unable to bring myself to line Rupert Murdoch's wallet a bit more. I now discover that he has got his sweaty little mitts on the Endsleigh League as well. Is it good for footie? Balls.
France is about to restrict the expansion of vast shopping centres that ring cities. Small shopkeepers are being driven out of business. We have a similar problem here. In London, there appear to be Ikeas at the very corners of the city. I've never been to Ikea, but friends tell me it's hell at the weekend as desperate shoppers vie for parking and consuming. Why do we want to flock to worship at the altar of Scandinavian furniture en masse when we can't stand each other the rest of the time? I'd rather have less choice and a bit more breathing space.
Teenage mags hit the headlines this week as TV Hits was withdrawn from Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda. What could have offended them so much? The double standards of teenage magazines that tell young women to respect and think for themselves and then force boys, fashion, boys, diets, boys, make-up and boys down their gullets? No. They're all up in arms about fellatio. Why should that be any more shocking than letters from girls aged 13 asking whether they should have sex with their boyfriend? Any orifice in that game is much the same as any other, in my book.
The sexual act is splashed across every tabloid from here to kingdom come. Parents who are concerned about their child's sexual awakening seem to me to be far outweighed by the many that couldn't give a toss. These magazines are responding to what they see to be a demand. Who can blame them, given the climate elsewhere? The shrinking of childhood now into just a few years is what depresses me. This same debate will blow up again in 10 years' time, I expect, but next time it won't be a teenage mag, it will be the Beano.Reuse content