Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sir Humphrey strikes again, Nobel Fun

1. Special Tax Rules

Its that time of the year when people who have a Phd have to fill in forms though they are penniless and the rest of us just have to have faith in Sir Humphrey. Which means that Bill has been pouring over tax guides (which apparently have been greatly simplified this year) and here's a gem on page 2:

Self-Employment: There are two kinds of self-employment pages - short ones and full ones. If your business is straightforward and your annual turnover was less than £64,000, you can probably use the short pages. If your business is more complex, your annual turnover was £64,000 or more, or you need to make some adjustments to your profits, you will need the full pages. (Names at Lloyd's of London have their own version of Self-employment pages)

Needless to say, I am most interested in the last line. How the fuck does one get to be a Name at Lloyds? And more importantly, how many of Sir Humphrey's minions were involved in the making of tax forms specially for these Names at Lloyd's of London?

2. Nobel Fun

Adam Kirsch over at Slate on the ignorance of Swedes:

Horace Engdahl, the academy's permanent secretary, made that clear this week when he told the Associated Press that American writers are simply not up to Nobel standards. "The U.S. is too isolated, too insular," Engdahl decreed. "They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining."

It did not take long for American writers to rise to the bait. The Washington Post's Michael Dirda pointed out that it was Engdahl who displayed "an insular attitude towards a very diverse country": It is a bit rich for a citizen of Sweden, whose population of 9 million is about the same as New York City's, to call the United States "isolated." David Remnick noted that the Swedish Academy itself has been guilty of conspicuous ignorance over a very long period: "You would think that the permanent secretary of an academy that pretends to wisdom but has historically overlooked Proust, Joyce and Nabokov, to name just a few non-Nobelists, would spare us the categorical lectures."


What does distinguish the Nobel Committee's favorites, however, is a pronounced anti-Americanism. Pinter used the occasion of his Nobel lecture in 2005 to say that "the crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless" and to call for "Bush and Blair [to] be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice." Doris Lessing, who won the prize last year, gave an interview dismissing the Sept. 11 attacks as "neither as terrible nor as extraordinary as [Americans] think," adding: "They're a very naive people, or they pretend to be."

As you all know, I love Bamse and and find Kirsch's way of paying no attention to Swedish insults totally amusing. But well, lets admit it, even Bamse can be a little silly sometimes. How else can one explain Roth?


Tabula Rasa said...

hmm. what exactly has bill been pouring? not something inflammable, one hopes.

Veena said...

TR: I always knew this was going to happen one day. You have grown up and become JAP.

blackmamba said...

TR, I am not sure you know this, but Veena thinks Bill will grow up to be you. And she always thought you would grow up to be JAP. So someday Bill would grow up to be JAP.

(don't ask me how or why though).

Hope that helps :)

Veena said...

BM: Come on now. I can't take all the credit for this who-grows-up-to-be-whom. Ask BG how much of it you made up.

Come to think of it, that was supposed to be a post no? Will have to dig that up and post soon.

Space Bar said...

post post. i'm bored and need to be entertained. soon.

Veena said...

SB: Not soon. Will attempt later in the day. This is from last year so need to remember stuff and make up the rest.

Also, its one of those things that sounded totally hilarious when we were making it up (it even had our usually dismissive listeners BG and Bill laughing their heads off) but don't think it will work in a post. BM - perhaps you could do some visual aids to help?