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February 06, 2014

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Phil

It is interesting that Murdoch or some faction of his court seems to have dumped on him

Also on Wendi, which - if the whole thing is cooked up - would be pretty damn cold.

Chris williams

And if there's one thing we've learned from the Murdoch camp over the last 99 years, it's that they put statesmanlike adherence to the truth ahead of vicious lies told to bolster their naked self-interest every time.

Dan Hardie

'this note allegedly written by a tough, wideawake woman of early middle years sounds like something concocted from the dimly remembered pseudo-oriental dialogue of the native love-interest in bad Vietnam war movies. '

Well, it could sound like that, but it could also sound like something written by somebody who was pretty drunk. Which is the kind of state you would probably have to be in if you're a tough, wideawake woman who is being temporarily dumb enough to provide written evidence that you're infatuated with your billionaire husband's most famous friend.

I've certainly had emails that incoherent from people who were native English speakers- usually sent to me at a suspiciously late time of night. And Graydon Carter is a very switched-on individual- you might not want his job, but very many ambitious journalists would kill to be editor of Vanity Fair. Carter has to realise that he is toast if he publishes this email and it turns out to be a fake, and I'd be amazed if he didn't check this thoroughly beforehand.

I'm not saying this is definitely not a forgery: we'll have to see if Wendi sues (if she does, it will probably be in the London courts rather than the US, which should be fun) and, if so, what evidence she has. But there's been no immediate denial from her lawyers or 'sources close to' her, which you'd expect from someone that high profile, and that tough, if she really was being set up.

dsquared

What it looks like is the output of a speech recognition program, from someone who's in the habit of reading their diary entries into their iPhone every evening:

"Whatever why (throat-clearing)
I'm so so (doubled word for emphasis, often done in speech by people who would never write it)
missing Tony. Because he is so so (again)
charming and his clothes are so good.
He has such
(speech recognition often misses 'a', particularly if someone's speaking with an accent that tends to swallow them)
good body and he has really really (verbal tic again)
good legs Butt ('and' swallowed, similar to 'a' before)
... And he is slim tall and good skin (makes sense as a list which she didn't know how it was going to end when choosing 'is' as the starter word)
. Pierce ('ing', swallowed)
blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. (repeated line, again common in speech
Also I love his power on the stage... and what else and what else and what else... (this was the bit that gave it away to me)"

Basically, read it out loud, making a little bit of an effort to do the accent, and you can see how it got done. Transcripts of things like company conference calls always look like this.

ajay

Basically, read it out loud, making a little bit of an effort to do the accent, and you can see how it got done.

It must be very, very strange to have to share an office with dsquared. Though this is probably an improvement on the time he filled the break-room fridge with hydrogen peroxide.

dsquared

Denis MacShane's out of jail, if anyone has a mid-tier thinktank they're needing to staff up.

Richard J

Already? wasn't he on a six (three) month sentence?

Alex

Actually, I work with a highly competent engineer, a native speaker of English, whose prose on any given Tuesday is significantly worse than this. God knows what it would be like under the influence of passion, or indeed drink, or for that matter dictation.

Dan Hardie

Stay classy, Dennis MacShane: '“It’s been quite a week for the celebrity prosecution people Keir Starmer was very keen on - the DPP,” he said...MacShane added: “Bill Roache yesterday, me today. It’s Keir Starmer’s little angels.”'

And, worryingly, there's this: 'MacShane, 65, said he had taken 350 pages of notes which he had written about his experiences in the South London jail.'

On the subject of Bill Roache, it's rather splendid to see at least one Lancastrian who isn't going to let anyone forget where Britain's most famous deceased paedophile came from: 'Actor Ken Morley, who played Reg Holdsworth in the soap alongside him, said: 'Another waste of public money...

'It is part of the Jimmy Savile witch hunt - this all followed the demise of the repulsive DJ from Yorkshire.'

Guano

"Released after six weeks in jail, former MP Denis MacShane accuses CPS of chasing 'celebrity prosecutions'"

Is MacShane claiming that he is a celebrity?

Phil

How did he parlay six months down to six weeks? I can't imagine he was held on remand before the trial - he wouldn't pose much of a flight risk (not without somebody else paying for the tickets).

hellblazer

Still can't get past the "pierce [sic] blue eyes" which seems like an oddly stock phrase to use about the supposed object of one's infatuation. Though dsquared's theory does make some of the other verbal patterns a bit more plausible.

Brendan

For what it's worth, the Chinglish sounds pretty authentic to me. Not to say that this is what Wendi Deng sounds like -- I'm sure it isn't -- but I'd be willing to bet that whoever wrote this has had at least some first-hand exposure to the English-language moonings of native female speakers of Chinese. Speech recognition might be one mechanism for this -- in which case, who knows; maybe it's genuine -- but I've seen similar things written down as well.
The only real giveaway here for my money is that a Wendi Deng/Tony Blair pairing is far too depraved to happen outside the world of slashfic.

godoggo

Was the voice recognition comment not kidding? I mean "Butt" with 2 t's or Ts or whatever?

Also, no, not authentic Chinglish.

godoggo

I'll take good English but drunk.

godoggo

Actually maybe could be real Chinglish on 2nd look.

chris y

The only real giveaway here for my money is that a Wendi Deng/Tony Blair pairing is far too depraved to happen outside the world of slashfic.

Also that Cherie would have bobbited him if there was anything to it, and she doesn't seem to have.

Dan Hardie

'Also that Cherie would have bobbited him if there was anything to it, and she doesn't seem to have.'

Bobbited- if that's your coinage, good work.

What I notice is that the email doesn't describe the unclothed Tony, or say how great he is in the sack. This is perfectly consistent with Wendi crushing big time on Tony but not making it into bed with him, as is the rest of the VF story.

And I have to say that fits with Tony Blair's personality, or at any rate what I like to think Tony Blair's personality is: if this email is genuine, he had to notice that Murdoch's wife fancied him, but he was quite happy to bask in the admiration rather than actually get physical.

Of course, it's pretty nuts to think you can have a billionaire's wife panting for you without that having something of a negative impact on your ability to be mates with said billionaire, and to tap him for cash, but that fits with past behaviour too. Anyone who has read, say, Jack Fairweather's book on the British occupation of Iraq will have noticed that one key characteristic of Mr Blair is his extraordinary ability to say 'Nothing can possibly go wrong here', when a normal person would be sprinting for the exit.

I'm still going with 'genuine' because this story is massively defamatory both to Wendi Deng- just out of a no-fault divorce from a billionaire, ie well able to fund a libel action in an English court- and to Tony Blair- and if anyone has the financial and legal resources for a court case, it's him. I don't think VF would have dared run this if they weren't sure it was true.

Alex

Thinking this over, if Murdoch (or his agent) leaked it deliberately, what was in it for them?

Obviously, spite is a motive, but whatever he says Wendi isn't coming back, and is literally laughing all the way to the bank. And this course of action also gives a long-standing personal enemy (Vanity Fair published most of Michael Wolff's highly critical writings on him) a huge win.

Is it to discredit Blair? Leaving aside the point that Blair might not have a reputation to discredit, what has he ever done to disappoint Murdoch? Ironically, the only way I can think he might have angered Murdoch is if he, well, shagged his wife or something. And trying to embarrass Tony Blair seems like a hard dollar, given what we know of his character.

You can construct a sort of "Dan Rather scenario" in which a fake was released specifically so it could later be denounced, as with the documents on George Bush's service in or rather absence from the Texas Air Guard. This would make sense as a way of getting one over Vanity Fair and generally projecting deterrence towards other media, with the fringe benefit of pissing off Wendi. But in that case, where's the reveal? Nobody's suing; nobody's howling "Fake!"; nobody's saying anything much. In fact, everyone involved is hunkering down in what looks very much like embarrassed silence.

Also, I wouldn't be much surprised if there's at least one Blair mistress in the past; it's precisely the sort of thing the political elite would manage to shut up about for years.

Alex

I wouldn't put much reliance on arguments from Cherie Blair's presumed reaction. This is pretty much the classic situation where even an intimate friend of hers, or indeed her husband, could be very easily surprised by her reaction. Even someone with a lot of information would only be able to predict with low confidence.

And we don't have a lot of information, or rather we don't have a lot of net information. We really don't know how their relationship works - it's a mystery rather than a secret - and a lot of what we think we know is disinformation - stuff put about by early 2000s Tories copying late 90s Republicans smearing Hillary Clinton, various low-content columnists' personal grudges, ambient sexism. Bullshit, basically.

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