True grit

Broadsides from the pirate captain of the Jet Set

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Back in the good old days, the common belief was that the climate was determined by a large number of gods, with Poseidon in specific charge of the weather at sea. Poseidon could be a hell of a shit at times, torturing poor sailors for years, starting with the wily Ithakan king, Odysseus. Still, people built temples in Poseidon’s name in order to appease him, some of which still stand, as in Sounion, east of Athens. I have often worshipped in Sounion, as the temple is the last civilised thing one sees while sailing to sinful islands like Mykonos. My prayers have always been the same. Please, pretty please, Poseidon, help me find a beautiful blonde German girl with big tits in Mykonos, one that also gives it away like a Frisbee... you get my drift, Posei old boy... Surprisingly, Poseidon has at times answered my prayers, but less so recently despite the moolah I leave at his house in Sounion.

Be that as it may, when major religions began to believe in a single god, Poseidon’s stock went south quicker than you can say Enron. The majority of the people now ascribe to a theory of weather based on cloud formations, air pressure, wind velocity and other scientific mumbo-jumbo that my Greek brain cannot comprehend. The trouble, of course, is with the minority of people who think God gets around a lot and is responsible for, say, Katrina — not the one with the big tits in Mykonos, but the one that hit New Orleans. Now, I ask you, how in hell can anyone be so dumb as to believe that that white-bearded Almighty decided to punish those poor folk of New Orleans because they drink a lot, smoke too much dope, fornicate non-stop and have children out of wedlock?

As Niall Ferguson wrote in the Telegraph, ‘Natural disasters have no moral significance...and, please, let’s not call them Acts of God...’ If anyone should be punished by God it is not the poor who fornicate, take dope and drink, but those sons-of-bitches who pray for more Katrinas — the hurricane — so they can gouge the last remaining pennies from our pockets for their lousy oil. We all know that Rockefeller and Getty were prize gangsters who should have been shot at dawn for greed, but they are great benefactors of mankind in comparison with the present bunch of faceless scum. In a civilised country, like the one just visited by the sainted editor, the president would invite these gangsters to dinner, then arrest them, put them inside a sub-freezing cell without any clothes on, and tell them to drop their prices as quickly as Jude Law dropped his pants with the nanny, or else.

The trouble is America and Europe are no longer civilised societies, just hypocritical ones. Oil executives belong behind bars, just as radical Muslim so-called Imams belong in quick boats heading for destinations down south. Big oil is looting with impunity while the overwhelmed cops and national guardsmen are trying to stop small-time looters from stealing TV sets. Chevron has pledged $5 million for relief. This is three seconds’ profits for the crooks who run Chevron — in fact, it’s an insult.

What I don’t understand is what is going on inside Bush’s head. Unlike most anti-Americans, I am not a Bush-hater. Far from it. He is a kind and decent man who was rolled by fanatical neocons determined to invade the Middle East. A totally incompetent Donald Rumsfeld — a man so arrogant he refused to listen to the military, who told him he needed at least 500,000 soldiers on the ground — has not helped Dubya’s case. Now is the time for Bush to call in his chits from big oil. Yet he hasn’t even mentioned the crooks. Most likely they have been calling in their chits, 75 million, for the last campaign.

Mind you, the world seems mesmerised by New Orleans, as if Katrina was the first disaster ever. We expect this to happen in the subcontinent but not in America, said a particularly moronic French woman over the weekend. That is when I lost my temper and told her about some Bismarcks and Wittgensteins and Schoenburgs in the closing days of the second world war. Berlin is one big rubble. There are no lights, no water, just silent emptiness. Missie Vassiltchikov, the great beauty, is writing in Berlin Diaries: ‘Alone with Gottfried Bismarck when Heinrich Wittgenstein dropped in for supper. He looks pale and tired. The papers are full of his exploits. The other night he shot down six bombers in half an hour...Loremarie Schoenburg and I were nervous when the bombs began to crash nearby, but the men refused to go down to the cellar and so we sat down to dinner instead...’

Compare this magnificent sangfroid with the hysterics of New Orleans and weep. While the ‘civilised’ Anglo–Americans were busy bombing women and children back to the Stone Age, the Bismarcks, Wittgensteins, Schoenburgs and Vassilt-chikovs sat down to dinner, not bothering with the cellar. Noblesse toujours oblige.