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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

281. Racism / Sexism - why do many privileged white men not see it?

Alan Howe of The Australian – helped me see why they don’t see - new rexism.

What do you call that super toxic blend when racism is tangled with sexism and nestled in the wire wool cocoon of free expression, vigorously defended by privileged white men?  It ought to be called ‘Rexism’ but there was a fascist party in Belgium in the 1930s called Parti Rexiste. I’ll use it anyhow as the word works so well on so many levels.  Rexism – is so much more than the sum of its parts as the Serena Williams cartoon and the reactions to it attest.

In the UK privileged white men reliably roll out to support our racist ex foreign secretary Boris Johnson every time he is racist (see two posts back). Many (usually older) privileged white men don’t seem to get that their views may just be informed by never ever having experienced the sorts of vile behaviour which go with not being white or male or privileged (or in positions of privilege). And when you synthesise sexism and racism the results are diabolical.

I recently wrote a two line letter concerning that racist/sexist cartoon of Serena Williams. Very surprisingly there was a bounce-back personal email response from Alan Howe of The Australian broadly informing me that racism is in the eye of the beholder…

What struck me was that he seemed to have no idea that his own perspective might have something to do with being a white male in a privileged and relatively powerful position. And – as if that point needed underlining – The Jamaica Observer published the concise letter
Their editor did not feel the need to contact me to tell me how/when to think.

This is all of our brief exchange -

Alan Howe - responding to the letter - 12th Sept 2018
It [the cartoon] is neither sexist nor racist. Only someone looking earnestly to be offended by something - anything - might come to such a conclusion. I am a migrant to Australia myself and like millions of others I have found it only to be a land of tolerance and acceptance. It's probably why so many people of so many colours and creeds - uncountable millions of them - wish to live here.

Hi Alan,
Thanks for your interesting response.
I doubt the Aborigines would agree with your take but we are not talking about the whole of Australia but a cartoon aimed at someone who is a sports star at a very high level. It was clearly drawn because it would draw as much attention to the cartoonist as the subject and it makes clear play of both the female and black stereotype.
If you can find an equivalent of a white male sports star at equivalent level after one major bust up I'd like to see it.

Alan Howe
“One major bust up”? No, her bullying follows the pattern, perhaps of a lifetime. Her cheating is conceded. Her unpleasantness obvious. Her skills undeniable. The same cartoonist lethally dealt with Nick Kyrgios’s shortcomings days before, his exaggerated Greek features raising no offence anywhere on the planet. Think about it. 
Dear Alan
I get that you are a white man and I am a black woman but I don't need to be told when to think about it...

My suggestion was a person of similar rank so - not NK and also - perhaps you could read around the subject of racism and misogyny - the weight of the problem depends on the history behind the bigotry. I'm not suggesting that some Greeks haven't had it rough (Odysseus) but come on...

Alan Howe
I founded Australia’s Immigration Museum. Next time you are in Australia you should visit it. Every country gets stuff wrong, very few get it so right. The museum is our evidence- and it is emphatic.
ER - congrats - but I think you just descended into 'some of my best friends are black' territory.

AnyHOWE  this was fun but now I have to go downstairs and visit my 92 year old neighbour Betty for some good political debate.

G'day mate

Alan Howe
No one I know qualifies nor quantifies their friendships by colour or creed. It is not an Australian thing. Not that I am Australian. I wish Betty well. 

I’m sure Mr. Howe is a nice, if somewhat pompous sounding bloke – even if he is far from ‘woke’. However, even if you take a simple statement like ‘cheating accepted’ – the opposite is actually true. Serena Williams has been tested more than any other tennis star to the point where many regard that as racist.

The Serena Williams cartoon is absolutely rexist. I did email my own doodle (see above). Alan Howe did not respond or comment…

Q. Why do many privileged white men not see rexism?
A. Words 4, 5 and 6 of that last sentence.
Try – blog 165. The Penisic Era or 187. British Boarding Schools Breed Posh Psychopaths.
Remember to – check out my books; adult novels, dystopian sci fi novella, environmental poetry story, adventure trilogy for young readers, little reader’s picture story book and my sortofautobiography – here -

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Brexit needs a 25th Amendment…

Resistance –circa 2018 in America rests not on backbone, clear thinking and bravery but walking on eggshells around the US president because he’s BONKERS. This is like giving someone a cup of tea on the pavement because they’ve been hit by a truck when there is a hospital around the next corner. Why don’t they just go for the 25th Amendment? Then I got to wondering if this could work for a weird destructive political phenomenon like Brexit.

The anonymous op-ed in the New York Times claiming to be from The Resistance in the White House is at least funny – sort of. TAR – the Trump Administration Resistance. (OK you come up with a better acronym) Pahleeeeease.

There is a real way to resist and this isn’t it.

Political or social resistance does not involve hanging on to your position and large public salary and writing an anonymous op-ed to a famous newspaper about how you snuck a few sheets of paper of the bad baby president’s desk. Accept that Trump is deranged as we all seem to – say so out loud - and get the ball rolling with that part of the constitution that was put in place to deal with this very problem. The 25th Amendment was precipitated by the murder of J.F.Kennedy (although there had been previous incidents of a presidential vacuum for a variety of reasons – death, ill health, mental impairment) and was enshrined in 1965. It is a cover-all for a president who cannot fulfil presidential duty and includes if, like Trump, the pres is a lunatic. The 25th Amendment is the solution. Use it America.

Mr Anonymous needs to realise that real resistance involves some personal sacrifice. Check out perhaps the French Resistance during WWII. The self-proclaimed hero of TAR has clearly never seen Le Silence de la Mer or Casablanca.

But maybe we all need to think about resisting. Isn’t everyone just being ridden over by anyone with power and money and by giant corporations and mind-bending media? Frankly if Elon Musk is what unimaginable wealth and corporate power looks like we should all be even more worried than we are.

These days – if you want to resist it is still the case that you need to sacrifice a little. Not your life, like the resistance fighters of old but – maybe – some shit you don’t need. Sacrifice some laziness. Stop updating your phone every 12 months. Stop feeding the fuel tanks of airlines by ‘nipping abroad’ twice or thrice of four times a year for a break from your stressed life. Unless of course you want to go visit a refugee camp for a month so you can find out what real stress is. Stop watching shit on the TV and buying shit and eating shit and accepting the shit in the gutter press. Stop allowing the distraction of reality TV to blind you to what is happening around you. Stop blaming everything and everyone else for what is wrong in your life. Stop shopping in shops that refuse to employ your fellow human beings (see blog 218. Lidl 0 – Barack Obama 1).

That is real resistance circa 2018. Dump just needs to be sectioned and all his spineless, corrupt, self- serving enablers provided with orange jump suits also (they clearly like orange). Then they can be incarcerated for a long time for the crime of being gutless in the face of blatant corruption, racism, sexism, vile brutality against children etc etc etc.

From this side of the pond, the SS Britannia continues to take on water having been deliberately driven onto the rocks of Brexit but the gross blob I wrote about last week seems – I think – to have mis-stepped and is not as close to being PM as he thought he’d be. Interesting!
It is fascinating to see another country equally in the midst of a political mental, moral meltdown. However, as further moves are taken to ensure the speedy demise of our nation it is cold comfort to look across the Atlantic and find that there is a democracy, bigger than our own, that has self-harmed to such an extent.

Access Hollywood – tick. Kids in cages – tick. Fraud – tick.  Treason – tick. And that’s all before breakfast. Prior to lunch there’s blatant racism and white supremacy and tinkering with global annihilation whenever there is too much focus on Trump’s tax returns or treasonous behaviour.

Ultimately – despite his attempts at embalming while still alive – even if Trump does manage to turn the US into a fascist dictatorship he will – eventually – die… America will have to relearn how to be shocked at appalling public behaviour but much of the current shit will go with him. Not so Brexit.

If, somewhere hidden in our unwritten constitution, there is the equivalent of a 25th Amendment for Brexit - would someone please find it in the next 198 days...

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

279. Boris Johnson & the Catastrophic Ignorance of Privilege

The wilful ignorance that led to Boris Johnson’s infantile, damaging racism last month emanates from privilege. This matters because the mega gobshite is plotting to become Britain’s next prime minister and in this world where the second-rate, the bigoted and the dysfunctional rise, it could happen.

As I am not a psychiatrist I'll by-pass the elements of his behaviour that smack of personality disorder. However, the ignorance of a man who has had every advantage money can buy is an enigma that should interest us all. Johnson’s sense of entitlement precedes the colossal dray of his ego like a six legged cart horse wearing large, immovable blinkers. 

The UK opposition is in meltdown with Jeremy Corbyn lost in the miasma of his own mediocrity. Prime Minister Theresa May’s grasp of ‘now’ was disastrously displayed when she tried to dance with children in a South African school. Our Head Girl was wooing a continent the UK has historically raped, exploited and manipulated in a ludicrous attempt to counter the imminent annihilation of Brexit. She jerked about as if she had a slipped disc and was trying to shit standing up (see my letter in The Guardian last week)  She did us no favours.

Boris Johnson reportedly had the connivance of repulsive spoilt-baby-president maker – Steve Bannon when he dog whistled the UK racists with his nasty anti-Muslimism name calling in August. He now apparently has tactical support from the man who managed Theresa May’s campaign – Lynton Crosby (Australia - we’ll never forgive you).

Johnson’s is not the spiteful Farage variety of racism. Even the teachers at Nigel Farage’s private school recognised his bigotry and apparently wanted to bar him from prefect duties.

Boris Johnson’s racism, like the man himself, is sloppy; he simply doesn’t see the problem of using racism to get what he wants. Other people just don’t matter that much. Respect, like duty, restraint and obeying the law, is for little people. His is not the dog-shit-through-the-letter-box variety of racism or the knife-at-a-bus-stop kind or the someone-to-beat-up-after-the-pub sort. It’s not the anonymous racist hate mail type that I experienced as a city councillor in the 1990s. The potential consequences, for his victims, of platforming further random hatred towards an already put-up-on minority were not at the forefront of his mind when he dripped more xenophobic acid. ‘What’s in it for Boris’ was.

One of the oddest comments from the plethora of privileged white men, who came out (again) to defend Johnson’s petty, poisonous, bigoted comments about women in Burkas, was the one claiming that Johnson could not be a racist because he’d been mayor of London, one of the most diverse cities on the planet. That’s like claiming a doctor couldn’t be a murderer (anyone heard of Harold Shipman?) or that someone with responsibility for children could not be a paedophile (examples - too many to mention). It was a non-argument. However, it’s easy to see why his cheerleaders are running out of even vaguely credible excuses.

I do not bother with Re Smogg’s drivel. Our resident Dickensian stick insect did the maths and realised he’d not be the one to land an available Tory leadership slot so the best thing was to suck up to the next most likely candidate.

Rowan Atkinson? Maybe he was trying to outdo his elder brother, a failed would-be UKIP leader. Don’t know don’t care.

Andrew Mitchel of Plebgate? He has form when it comes to thinking there is one rule for himself and another for the plebs so, as a Johnson apologist, he can also be yawned off.

In better times, Johnson’s racist language would have been career ending. Similar utterances by someone lower down the social food chain might lead to a criminal record. From the racist slur of President Obama to comments that reeked of judgement so poor (in Myanmar where he was reined in by the UK attaché) you wonder anyone would leave him in charge of their cat never mind a country’s global reputation. He was, however, appointed Foreign Secretary after the Obama slur and, during his mercifully brief tenure as the UK’s top foreign representative managed to make the fragile Zagahri-Ratcliffe situation much worse. Johnson dropped another casual clanger, putting the British-Iranian mother in increased danger – wrongly and provocatively stating that Ms ZR had been training journalists.

The dull, older, privileged white men who repeatedly rescue Johnson from his own utterances try, and fail, for nuanced argument. The two-dimensional pups who just want their names in the news claim – ‘it’s just Boris being colourful’. The latter argument might work if he was some fat ugly bog-eyed ignorant drunk yelling at passers-by from a park bench. But he’s a fat ugly bog-eyed ignorant potential leader of the UK at one of the most perilous times in British peace time history.

Johnson’s racism, incompetence, corruption (Garden Bridge anyone?) vile person, lack of dignity, lack of interest in anything but himself etc. are acknowledged. What is not flagged up often enough is the obvious extent of his wilful ignorance.

Ironically, Boris Johnson’s extreme, almost tangible ignorance comes from his privilege and not despite it. I’ve seen it many times. He is, like many of his ilk – as shuttered and uncomfortable with the variety of human existence as a poorly educated young thug with dysfunctional parents who has never been further than the crumbling edges of a down-at-heel inner-city estate. Except, the latter might understand more than Boris Johnson of the range and gift and beauty of human variety.

I have written many times about just how badly Britain has suffered from the curse of entrenched privilege. I’ve reminded readers that it is not just that Trevor-poor-but-clever doesn’t get on up where he could serve our country well, Tim-rich-but-dim gets up there and exposes us to his inadequacies. And oh boy, where Johnson is concerned, those inadequacies are endless…

(For the moment we’ll leave Tania v Tamara because that’s a whole other banana).

Yes, not everyone from privilege is bound by it. Some have insight and self-awareness just as some manage to escape poverty, prejudice and lack of opportunity. But Johnson has embraced the protection and career projection of privilege with unprecedented voracity and self-serving, reverting to the buffoon whenever he tires of pretending to be a statesman. But he cannot be both.

Frequently, his sycophantic excusers paint Boris Johnson as a court jester. He is not. The role of the court jester was often to say things the courtiers could not say. In other words the jester had licence to speak truth to power. It was not the jester’s job to pick on the most vulnerable and give them a kicking to please the mob.

Johnson is not even interested in his own tribe. They should consider that next time they are ready to scuttle out and defend him. When, in the context of Brexit, he said “fuck business” he meant fuck everything. Fuck everything apart from what is good for Boris Johnson. If the UK continues its chaotic slide from manufacturing David to 3rd rate unstable, service-based economy – see blog 202 The TAT economy – what is it and should we be scared? Johnson will not care. It won’t affect him.

Our 2018 world is a grimmer place than it need be. Even nations with calm sensible mature individuals at the helm stand only some chance of turning things around. Those run by fat brats with bad hair, bladder-sack skin, massively inflated opinions of themselves and the moral rigor of delinquent lab rats after a botched lobotomy, stand no chance.

Never was there a clearer UK example of someone socially disabled by the wilful ignorance of privilege becoming such a destructive social force. Trump is the larger contemporary parallel and the vile white supremacist Steve Bannon – reported to be coaching Johnson - has already made that connection. If Johnson were to become PM, it would mark a low point in post-war British social political history which would make Theresa May look like Gandhi.

Blog posts should be back to normal shorter length next week meanwhile, remember to check out my books – thanks

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Returning next week…

I thoroughly enjoyed my long bloggy break as you can see...

Caught up with pals, had a family gathering in Whitby (no flying abroad for this green brown girl). Survived a whole afternoon with my ex-in-laws at my grandson’s birthday party, got my youngest daughter ready for university. I got a few more letters in the press which keeps my hand in and helps me let off steam and amazingly I resolved a 4-year-running dispute with my crap ex-energy supplier. I did this by giving up on their ‘customer services’ department and contacting their press people instead informing them that there would be a granny with a banner outside their office when life returned in Sept – telling anyone who cared to read my prose that npower was a bit shit. Hey presto - suddenly everything got sorted.

Why am I wearing that frock? Because it cost £1 at my favourite charity shop and I have to wear it somewhere...

I’ll be back Tuesday blogging next week - 3rd Sept with a fuller than usual first post for Autumn. And I may soon have news of my new one woman show - depending on rusty confidence levels.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Brexit is forcing Britain out of the socio-economic Goldilocks Zone

I know, I said I was off until September but I felt like sharing this essay with you.

Just as with the cosmos there has been a socio-economic Goldilocks zone for Britain. This marked a period of peak prosperity and sort-of-equality when life was good for the majority of the population rather than for almost none (as in a lot of developing countries) or for just a tiny minority (as in an increasing number of countries). Britain’s Goldilocks zone could be pinpointed as starting roughly between the establishment of the NHS in 1948 and the cessation of post-war rationing in 1954. But it is ending. Prematurely in my view. Brexit is catapulting us to the outer reaches of the G-zone.

A significant measure of the, previously slower, trajectory would be the introduction of student tuition fees in 1998. Countries with both wealth and a modicum of equality do not regard education as a pay-for privilege. Rather they see it as a universal benefit to the nation. As an indicator of the proximity of the end this makes a better marker than, for example, the rampant selling off of national assets into private hands. That would be causal rather than a social marker.

The 2003 illegal Iraq invasion is more complex as it could be causal and a marker. As a cause it plunged Britain into the international moral dark from which it has never recovered. As a marker, surely, following the idiot Bush into the disaster of Iraq was a sign of weakness that could only come from a country led by a zealot who knew his country was fading. The concomitant results of that global disaster echo today in Middle East insecurity, global migration and the fear, xenophobia, racism and rise of populism that culminated in the newer national disaster of Brexit.

As with many crippling events in history – when you are down it seems Fate will give you another kick just to show that things can always get worse. After WW1 there was the incorrectly named Spanish Flu (it was called that only because Spain was the first country to own up to the gravity of the problem) wiping out more humans than the ‘war to end all wars’. So – after the mad Bush / Blair adventure in Iraq in 2003 – we got the 2008 economic implosion – another global disaster that, like the invasion of Iraq and herpes, keeps on giving.

Brexit has already pushed the UK further to the cold outer reaches of the Goldilocks socio-economic zone faster than any other contemporary political phenomenon and we are still between the referendum and the event itself. Many large corporations acted on their pre-referendum plans to abandon the UK. Some financial institutions have just moved their headquarters out of the UK but others like Diageo the Scottish drinks maker, have moved manufacturing. A couple of years ago I ran a creative writing project for employees of Diageo. Those who attended the project - which was linked to the redevelopment of our local park – were lovely people, happy in what seemed to be good jobs. I am not in touch with them but hate to imagine them receiving redundancy notices. Then there are the mass shop closures affecting people further down the food chain. Some, like ex- employees of BHS - asset stripped by Sir Philip Green (yes still Sir – they never took his knighthood) - will not even get their pension entitlement. Others simply find themselves applying for the increasing number of zero hours contracts that make up our flaky economy. 

When the concerns of Airbus and BMW – both big UK employers – were recently put before the then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, his response was “Fuck business” and we have. But what Johnson showed with that ejaculation, was that Brexit is nothing at all to do with what is good for Britain. On June 23rd 2016 the self-destruct button was pushed and the lunatics are quite happy about it.

But the EU referendum result was also a marker. It was the result of fear, ignorance, xenophobia and a willfulness to believe implausible but attractive lies. It resulted from a certain mass hysteria that smelt the decay of under-investment and mismanagement and wanted to hurl itself back to a faux 1950's rather than try and steer a path that could have kept Britain within the precious zone for an extended time – albeit in the outer reaches.

Those who could see that the path to prosperity lay clearly in co-operation and being part of something bigger, were drowned out by those wearing the rose-tinted spectacles of yesteryear. They were out-voted by the soap-opera addled democratic dabblers who rose up to hurl themselves, kamikaze-like at the referendum voting booths in June 2016.When we needed a leader there wasn’t one. The rise of the mediocre (another sign of relapse and political prolapse in my opinion) meant there was no Captain Kirk to guide The UK Enterprise, just a series of entitled ‘c’ list ditherers taking turns at the helm. I’ll not waste my keyboard hits suggesting there was/is an opposition.

Britain’s assets are stripped either by overt privatisation or the insidious leeching of public money into private hands via government contracts to private firms or public/private 'partnerships'. Thanks, Thatcher and Blair (Vince Cable only served up the last morsel when the Post Office was massively under-sold) A few crazy optimists have applauded the return to public ownership of a couple of failed rail franchises. But, as I said to my teenaged daughter, that’s like someone stole your bank card, cleared out your account and then returned the bank card. Would you be happy?

Britain used to be wealthy. That sense of wealth and well-being is most in evidence when there is a certain level of equality. Fairness is second only to economic prosperity in underpinning the socio-economic Goldilocks zone. With the partial sharing of wealth, hand in hand with a sense of better opportunities for all (there have never ever been equal opportunities.) we experienced the possibility of an egalitarian society where most people were OK. We were in the Goldilocks socio-economic zone. Wiping out that hard won almost-equality bruised and battered Britain in ways that were never imagined.

The significant part the gutter press have played in all this would require a separate essay. For decades, much of the mass print media has kept up a steady anti-EU drum beat accompanied by a discordant guitar twang vilifying the vulnerable, all overridden by the bad vocals of xenophobia.

We have creeping privatisation in the health service where we had rampant joyful privatisation of the public utilities. We have a degraded education system with rotting over stuffed schools where staff do more monitoring and admin than teaching. We suffered an unnecessary banking crisis fuelled by greed (which has always been with us) and a lax, indulgent fiscal system which barely regulated the new financial monsters and then bailed out the 2008 disaster with money from the very people who had already been ripped off - the tax payer. The system systematically, socially and financially and politically disabled British subjects. The speed of decline – the trajectory and momentum forcing the UK out of the socio-economic Goldilocks zone ratcheted up / went nuclear (take your pick) so that the UK seemed as if it could plummet no faster without dragging our backbones through our rib-cages. And then we got Brexit.

‘Brexit is about reclaiming our borders’ went the cry. Really! Anyone ever heard of the internet? ‘Brexit is about protecting British industries’. Really!  Then why, when in office, did Cameron veto French and German attempts to protect EU countries from Chinese steel over-production? And so on and so on. Despite the spin, the referendum, as opposed to Brexit, was about one thing only – Tory infighting. And the noise in the Tower of Babel which is Tory party HQ, helping to speed us on our way to ruin – is still about Tory party infighting.

Yes, Farage was there to oil the wheels of the big red Brexit bus of lies and Corbyn was there to ensure that no one barred its way, beautifully doing absolutely nothing. But it was mainstream politicians who turned down their thumbs when the Maximus Britanicus lay bleeding from superficial wounds and the grunt with the heavy rusty spear of dumb-ass stupidity stood over him. If they’d turned their thumbs up, the crowd would have booed but after a while they would have gone back to their low-grade griping from positions of comfort and ease.

And – talking of the Roman Empire (were we?) empires do always collapse from within. I have, on my blog, alluded to this before and we are no different. The colonies have all but gone (my own maternal family come from an ex-British slave nightmare – and before that – somewhere in Africa obviously). The ability to rock up to any country on the planet and plunder its wealth and murder its people is vastly reduced. But the jingoism and xenophobia remain like a virus in the blood. Britain is like a senile old bloke slobbering and incontinent and toothless who still tries to grab the (Polish) nurse's bottom while she is clearing up his shit – and thinks she likes it...

We could have been the empire that didn’t do it – self-destruct. With the horrors of the Second World War and the equality of mass death fresh in memory, a socio-economic Goldilocks zone was entered by the people of the British Isles. Even those at the bottom of the pile began to feel that they could be part of whatever prosperity blessed this country. 

By 1964, the year I was born, it was less unusual for ordinary people to go to university and leisure time began to be enjoyed by all not just the idle rich. I was lucky enough to attend higher education not once but twice, first to get a Ba Hons degree in English Literature & European History and then again to study Law a decade later, qualifying as a solicitor. I did not grow up thinking education was a luxury because I was born at the shiny zenith of the Goldilocks zone era and was a parent before it became obvious that forces were working to actively eject us.

Now I look around me at the devastation wrought by greed, privatisation, corruption, unnecessary and illegal war, the rise of populist politics and the anaesthetic of celebrity culture and the disconnect of one human being from anther with high function mobile phones and social media - and I realise we are in the very outer limits. I am not entirely sure when we got here. It is easier to spot when it began than when it might finish.

There is still some porridge left but it is just starting to resemble congealed gruel.

If I had to take a stab I’d say Goldilocks got it in the neck with the dreadful, socially destructive Miners’ strike (class battle) in 1984/5. I vividly remember the horror of being caught up in a march that got violent while I was a student (first time around). By the 1990's Goldilocks had started to bleed out badly. She has been on life-support since the turn of the century. Then, sometime between 2003 and June 23rd 2016, the machines keeping her alive malfunctioned.

Now there is barely a pulse.

Thank you for reading.
On this blog also check out a very short post 79. Piketty’s Stylish Statement of the Bleedin’ Obvious. And if you would like to read a short, entertaining sci-fi version of ‘where we go from here’ do check out my novella 
Zero One Zero Two paperback or e-book -

Thursday, 7 June 2018

That ‘logged off’ feeling.

Luddite that I am (see blog 53 – I suffer from P.A.N.T.S ) I still need a real break from the STUFF like everyone else (as you can probably tell from last week's post) and even from the kids and grand-kids. 

My little piece of heaven earlier this week, prior to getting stuck into some new projects involved -

a.       – a rucksack with legs

b.       – waking up on a Scottish beach up the coast from where I live

c.        – and then I was truly – ‘logged off’…

OK - Now I really am taking a blog break til September.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

278. From Fear to Eternity.

(This is the last post 'til September. I may post some random stuff but not the regular Tuesdays which will be back in a few weeks)

From  Here to Eternity – the iconic (and debut) novel by James Jones – published in 1951 – deals with a pre-Pearl Harbour military compound and the compressed, convoluted lives of those contained in that strange mini world of bullying, social subversion, sexual repression and dishonesty, violence and tangled relationships.

The 1951 book is far more raw and risqué even than the film and that, with its famous ‘racy’ surf scene and blatant acceptance of complex sexual relationships, was regarded as ground breaking.

This post - From Fear to Eternity - is both a new and an old story about what is happening right now in this world. The sex isn’t racy (or Stormy) it’s drab and grubby and predictable and the plot is not raw and risqué so much as corrupt, corrosive and devastatingly destructive. Somehow, despite all the accumulated knowledge of the ages of the many civilisations that have existed since the ascent of man, we seem to have embraced a new era of ignorance and venality. Along with that has been the descent into fear – the kind of fear that leads people to follow men with loud voices who offer easy solutions to problems that don’t really exist.

This juxtaposition of fear and ignorance has, in the past, led to many things –not least the rise of despots and crack pots – from Hitler to Franco from papa doc Duvalier to Duterte and Urdogan and Trump. They, in turn, happily stoke the very fear and ignorance that got them to the top in order to consolidate their power.

But maybe – soon – we will reach the point where the problem is so big, the fear so deep, the ignorance so wilfully embraced that there is no going back.
In the words of The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss– “the mess is so big and so deep and so tall we cannot clear it up there is no way at all”

This is not just because these pigs wallow in the mess and benefit from the chaos but while they have all the attention, many things that cannot wait for our energies to be applied are left unattended to – the economy, the environment, poverty and disease and health, war trauma and so on and so forth.

Sadly it may be ignorance and fear that drives humankind into the premature eternity of extinction.

We may be approaching the moment where the confluence of stupidity, wilful ignorance, deliberately stoked fear and disarray with the disregard for real problems creates that perfect storm from which humanity cannot recover.
If we have – it will – most definitely – look something like this –

Zero One Zero Two is my actual vision of where we are headed (not the sci fi space parts – which are purely for entertainment – Elon Musk is not going to get us ‘there’ and he is the only one with the combo of fantasy and money). This is, in my view, how we will end up at The End.


And on that note, I will be taking a break until September.
I know – all the informed opinion is that breaking from posting your blog is not a good idea but there is STUFF to do including getting my youngest off to university and getting together a new one-woman show (possibly). Plus it’s not like there isn’t a serious back catalogue for you to dip into if you get bored. Here are some suggestions -

WE once aimed for better for the working class -  blog 10. My One Night Stand with the Ghost of Bill Farrell
Sleepwalking to Armageddon - blog 12. Armageddon Will Not be Televised.
The magic parts of family life - blog 22. Drink Driving with my Dad and Other Happy Memories
Killing innocent civilians by the book - blog 43. Killing Them Softly
Self-explanatory - blog 50. Ed Miliband – Political Semolina
On the death of Nelson Mandela who I met in Glasgow – blog 63. Nelson Mandela – If not a Prophet
We have got our priorities wrong – blog 97. Viagra – Yes. Effective Cure for Malaria – No!
The whole social disconnect thing – blog 113. The Crap Gap Club
Losing our humanity - blog 147. More Less Contact is Making us Horrible
Back when the really shit people were just a bad joke – blog 167. Donald Trump and Katy Hopkins Scientifically Explained
Before he was promoted to Foreign Secretary – blog 184. Boris Johnson Racially insulted President Obama
Then we kind of descend into the mire of Brexit and the nightmare of the toxic Trump presidency with some exceptions - blog 236. Does Edinburgh Need a Tree Museum?

And – if that’s not enough, bearing in mind what I’ve written recently about how Brexit is colliding disastrously with a Britain stripped of assets by decades of privatisation and the reversal of hard won post-war working class gains – here is a brilliant New York Times article on austerity Britain, proving that a little distance can give you a rapier sharp perspective. EVERYONE should read this.