Friday, January 04, 2008

The Fifth Rider Signals The End of the World

Back in the middle-ages there were plenty of times when lots of people believed the end of the world was nigh! And who could blame them? Plagues, wars and more tended to put your mind in that place. Death, famine, war, pestilence: The four horsemen stalked the land, and now there is a fifth;

And so to Britney, arguably the ur-trainwreck. Ill-advised marriages, breakdowns, rehab, knickerless exits from cars, custody battles, videorazzi chases, public insobriety episodes, head shavings (right) - she's ticked them all, and remains an enthralled world's most popular internet search term. Is this kind of celebrity the fifth horseman of the apocalypse? Well, a pregnancy test found in a room Britney had recently vacated was sold for $5,001. It was bought as an advertising gimmick by a casino that also paid £25,000 for William Shatner's kidney stone, and whose spokesman said: "It's hard to put a price on Britney Spears' urine." "Sooner than you probably think," noted the peerless US gossip blog, "the capitalist exchange of items that have passed into and out of Britney Spears' possession will be the dominant mode of commerce in our society...

This pale rider signals the end;

In December...figures connected with U.S. torture practices spoke out....Damien Corsetti, a former private in the U.S. Army who served as an interrogator in Kabul, Afghanistan (and was nicknamed the "king of torture" and "the monster" by his colleagues at Bagram prison), gave an interview to the Spanish paper El Mundo, describing the beatings and torture techniques used there. ("They tell them they are going to kill their children, rape their wives. And you see on their faces, in their eyes, the terror that that causes them. Because, of course, we know all about those people. We know the names of their children, where they live -- we show them satellite photos of their houses. It is worse than any torture.") He also claimed that 98% of the prisoners, as far as he could tell, had nothing to do with either al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and observed, "In Abu-Ghurayb and Bagram they were tortured to make them suffer, not to get information out of them." Both men denied themselves torturing or mistreating anyone.


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