........................................................................................ - a weBlog by Snowy and me.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

File Under Mental Ill Health; A History

When I was a child I was never just a child
was also labelled 'maladjusted'.

At the time I could never work out what the term meant. 

Whoever I thought to ask, asking seemed invasive,
it invite being rebuffed 
and the subject of the question
changed in front of me to save who I asked embarrassment. 

Going into adulthood I remained privately confused.
The nearest I could get to the term 'maladjusted'
was to write of my youth that I had 'mixed feelings' 
whilst everyone avoided what those feelings were.  

A second problem was having no idea
how the label had attached itself to me, 
and not knowing what my mother
-the person I felt cared for me 
most
-
thought of how the label stuck?

I dare not ask. I knew that if I did
and time was set aside for me to be
paid due attention, 
the conversation
would be so 'confidential' and laden
with twisted similes 
that neither she nor I
 would understand what we had said
before the four walls swallowed whole
the conversation we had to deny we'd had
after it was over and I was none-the-wiser. 

I guessed that my father had dismissed the phrase
before he ever heard it;
 he dismissed most ideas
and all mental health labels out of hand. 
He would suggest nearly no ideas himself 
but consistently damn others given the chance. 

Did Mother reluctantly agree with the label? 
And in whose stars was it more the fault? Hers or mine? 
And why were adults never 'maladjusted'? Why only children? 

In the 1960's mental health provision/definition was scant in adults. 
In children 'maladjusted' was the most common term to describe 
the character of a child who displayed any number of behaviours 
that openly disrupted the limited adult attention span
or tested the tight adult social order 
where such behaviour
was not criminal, just difficult for adults to understand. 

I drew the conclusion that it was a term about children 
designed by child psychologists for social workers 
to use on the parents of the children who were disturbed
by bullying in school and beyond, where the psychologist
had ideas about what was 'normal' that
 parents did not.
But the alarmed parents had to be given a label
that justified putting their children 'in a boarding school'

Some bullying children were also labelled 'maladjusted'. 
But mostly it was bullied children who attracted the label, 
and got the dud schooling/lack of understanding 
that went with it in the England of my childhood. 
 

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

The Best Revenge?

The best revenge must be the coldest and most detached.

What could be colder than being a slave,
being made to buckle under,
in a system where you have no redress
-all the laws about your status
apply to those who buy and sell you,
or merely use you for your labour.

So instead you invent a saviour
who gives you strength to endure
this duress, and whose superhuman
mindfulness and obedience
gives you, through Christ,
the triumph in this life
via the freedom from slavery in a Heaven,
that slave masters don't have to believe in
-life on earth enslaving others is enough for them.

If Heaven is the righteous revenge
over so many cold empires
for ex-slaves who died in obedience
to God and his servant, Jesus
then how cold must Heaven be
to be the proper revenge
on slavery and empire
that it sets out to be?      

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Radio Plays I Will Never Hear (2) The Prostate Dialogues

The Prostrate Dialogues
or, 'two arsehole listen to each other
for the first time in their owners lives... '.

In this radio play two men will be in bed together
both will be talking voices positioned
at the centre of the stereo image
when they, and the listeners,
hear two other voices that come
from further apart in the stereo image,
they start talking over the central voices,
these are the voices of their arseholes.....


A1; You know these men, they don't listen to each other.

A2; And they never listen to us.

A1; Especially when it comes to what is good for us.

A2; It is almost like we are part of their unconscious.

A; With all the sensitive nerve endings we have 

and the taboos about us you may be right abut that.

A1; Some say we talk a load of shit.

A2; That is not us, that comes from somewhere further inside the body,

the stomach and intestines I think, I blame the men for eating too much....

A1; How often do you get an itch?

A2; You mean how often do I need a good rubbing?

A1; I suppose so, I had not quite thought through the implications 

of what I was asking about, yeah.....

A2; More than you might think actually, and certainly more often

than he thinks (points to the one of the couple nearest him in bed), 

Anything would do it, I would not care what it was-for a good rub

and a bit of pressure more often, women never have this problem....

A1; Agreed, but they don't have us they don't have prostates, they get other itches......

A2; Like thrush you mean?

A1; I was thinking a bit more positive than that...... 


To be continued/updated......


Where men on stage talk to men
who listen whilst sat in theatre seats
and between them they relate how it feels
to have something women have not,
that is a source of non-procreative pleasure
which has given them orgasms beyond measure
and how some have had cancer, and had it removed.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Democracy, The Economy, And Disease

In this year of economic meltdown
one of the questions that has been asked less often
than it should have been
-though it remains germane to our present day circumstances-
is 'What did the would be fascists of a century ago
make of  the so-called 'Spanish Flu'?

The answer is not that surprising. 
The more people the flu killed
the more the Nazis liked it,
and in the longer term,
coupled with the discouragement
of a big economic depression
it aided their electoral chances,
as many more of the young with leftist views
died of the disease than died
who were prepare to vote Nazi,
if only for the restoration of the economy.      

Sunday, 27 December 2020

New Lies For A New Year

Today I learnt a new term
for politicians who defensively lie
about their political opposition,
though I knew how the lie worked
before I learnt the term; 'strawmaning'.

The lie works the following way
Politician A 'I propose proposition X'
Politician B 'You do know Politician A that Proposition Y won't work?'.

In this verbal process Politician B simultaneously
misrepresents and discredits Politician A's proposal
and criticises the now distorted idea for being weak,
furthering giving themselves credit for being right
and making their opponent seem wrong
whilst avoiding sharing what might have been
an internally consistent position all along.

This process has both driven and confounded
the negotiations for Brexit from the beginning
and along with false assumptions in the UK
about how absolute absolute rule in the UK ever was
has brought politics and representative democracy
to a stand-still where the gain-sayers of whatever is proposed
stop all they dislike, and produce no position of their own.   

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Reflections As An Adult On 'The Season Of Goodwill'

Why is it that so many who are used to feeling
that they are part of the human race
though how they are entertained
by films and TV all year round,
that boredom and loneliness make
such highly compatible helpmates
to each other that they multiply
when the human entertainments
industry goes stale and runs dry? 

Friday, 25 December 2020

Mathematics Made To Look Easy


























         Mathematician Henry Segerman showing

            how a linear third dimensional plane 

               is only a projection of the curved 

                fourth dimensional space time

               and providing the nearest image

                that I want to see that looks like 

                    a Christmas decoration.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Be Wary

in this 'season of good will'
of sharing too many
of the shaggy dog stories
people told you in your youth
in the interests of false cheer
-they could make your coming year
one long progress towards
the wrong inspiration,
dedicated to the wrong aim....

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Signs Of Greater Age (48)

Dystopian visions that once entertained us
by alarming us when we were younger
on older age become quotidian realities. 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

For A Cleaner Future Start With A Cleaner Present

I noticed the other day in my news feed
that China is a world exporter of solar panels,
and thus they 'were making the planet cleaner'.

Oh yeah? Exporting greener goods
manufactured by dirty means,
is not what preserves a planet better
-it is starting the job of cleaning the planet
and exporting the rest of the job for somebody else to do.

The factories in which these Chinese workers
make the solar panels do not run on solar energy.

The homes the workers live in,
in the one party bully-state that is China,
do not come home to cleaner air
to add to the glow of green living.

They prefer the comfort of burning fossil fuels,
though they might stretch to having filters
fitted in their chimneys to capture the carbon,
and stop filling the air with poison fumes
that their ancient traditions were made of.

A Solar future for industry and electricity from the sun
is not a scam, and no other future will be as sustainable.

But until we start clean we won't stay clean.

Until then the making and selling of solar panels
will be mostly designed to win trade wars
whilst pretending to be the future,
and failing the present. 

Monday, 21 December 2020

False Jeopardy

Is the emotional state we are living in
whilst we live with Covid 19.

The virus is real, it can be caught
and getting it can be lethal.

Which is why it matters that we stay in
when there is nothing outside
that we actually need, see also
the positive effects of hand washing
and the wearing of face masks.

But before Covid 19 changed our world
where were we? In year ten of austerity for some
and luxury-like-there-was-no-tomorrow for others.
Where our lives were not aimless, but our aim
was looking for where our aim had gone
since austerity had moved it on
from where in front of us,
when we felt we had choice
over what to do with our money.

Now money still flows
bur the meaning of spending it has changed,
because where we go to spend it
is now seen to be anti-social.
Where we spend it has to be managed;
we can't have all of society like that.

Society has to have figures set apart
-policemen of different types-
even as society shrinks from asking
'Who are the police?' and 'Who police the policemen?'.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Do Androids Dream Of A Happy Christmas?

The Voight Kampff test is a fictional test 
designed to discern whether
what appears to be a person
is an android or a human.
It was written about in Philip Kindred Dick's
'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep ?'
which became a key source of drama
in the film 'Blade Runner'.

In the rush to be cheerful
where we end up being false
I wonder whether the model
of Christmas we have developed
as a season for pure selling
I wonder how many of us
could prove, or fail to show,
how human we are for taking the test?  

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Friday, 18 December 2020

No Sore Winners Here, Please...

What makes me mistrust the media
is watching millionaire politicians
appeal to the ordinary, poorer, voters
by claiming that they never receive
a fair hearing in the interviews
that it is their duty to submit to,
between enriching themselves.

The voter they seek support from
is often the 'poor' born again Christian
who lives in a small town and sees few people.
S/he goes to church to hear the preacher
zero in each week on human suffering,
and from the comfort of their pew
the suffering they recognise first
and can least fix is that of the grumpy rich
who so can't accept the idea of loss of any sort,
who surround themselves with 'yes' men
who are bound by their submission to fail
when the world says 'No' to the leader
and they can't convince their leader to hear.

This ruse by the wealthy to present themselves
as the victims of the media worth the little man's support
works so well that it looks like an electoral miracle.
And it would be a miracle were it not all pre-arranged,
a rigged fight where the wealthy not only arrange
to become pretend-victims in interviews,
they become the commentators on how
they did not get enough of their own way
when they should have got a lot more,
whilst other people live on much, much, less
for witnessing this long drawn out process.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Change A Letter, Change A Life

The difference between DNA
-deoxyribonucleic acid-
and DNR-do not resuscitate-
is just one letter
in an already short acronym. 

But it is also the difference
between an overlong long life
and an easeful departure.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Greenwash Is Us

When global oil companies
talk about 'Net Zero Emissions',
and parrot other government targets,
in their latest youtube adverts
that set out to infantilize the viewer,
the viewer might not be scared,
but the planet should be....


Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Some Protests Go Back A long Way

this one goes back to the mid 1970's.
Often protests get repeated because
the cause of the protest remains intact.

I will not be eating the rich,
apart from how indigestible they are,  
I would prefer to remain a vegetarian.

 

Monday, 14 December 2020

Pleased To Meat You, Hope Guessed My Name....

'Chlorinated chicken is just the tip of the iceberg...  '
or so Radio 4 tells me, and there is already
much more below that fetid water-line
in which this metaphorical ice cube is floating,
amid highly unproductive multi-national trade talks.

If the tip of the iceberg is chlorinated chicken
then some of the rest is salad, and not just iceberg lettuce
but the bags of mixed salad leaves on supermarket shelves
are yet another everyday product that UK folk buy,
which are washed in weak bleach before being bagged,
to preserve the physical substance of each leaf,
whilst destroying all their flavours,
lest the consumer get a zest for country life.

It used to be a funny to say that the food
that people bought was so full of preservatives
that the manufacturers put the chemicals in
to makes folks live longer, but now it is serious
and what we should be doing is making amends
through trade for the historic lack of welfare
that the animals we reduce to a meat experience. 

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Homosexuality In Africa?

Like everyone else with an email inbox some very odd stuff lands, seemingly by itself, for me to read. Often what lands are petitions for rather woolly Liberal concerns.

But some of what comes in has some logic behind it.

Homosexuality-homosexual behaviour and identifying as homosexual, lesbian or trans is illegal in 70 of the 198 countries in the world.

The African continent consists of 56 countries. In over 30 of those countries homosexuality is illegal which makes 'Africa' a juicy target for liberal white folk and for some Africans who believe that they can reach out beyond their own continent, to where homosexuality is legal.

The defence that those countries that ban homosexuality have is less a defence of homophobic custom, e.g. repugnant norms such as men sexually assaulting lesbian women to 'make the women heterosexual', and more a challenge to those asking them to change.

Those with homophobic laws condemn their critics with phrases like 'New liberal colonialists', which make decriminalising being gay sound retrogressive whilst defending old colonial laws which the new free Africans adopted, never knowing what sort of laws they were.

The argument back, for anyone who wants to make it- is that Civil liberties are indivisible for full citizenship; if these free African countries want to throw off all the colonial legacy, as part of their autonomy, then they should throw off the logic of the toxic science of the Empires of old-their social divisions based on eugenics.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Is The Structure Of Your Days A Luxury Or Necessity?

For the poor, the forcibly retired, the sick,
and the otherwise economically inactive
that is not even a question.

The people who advise them
and help those 'without'
at least have the structure
of advising those not like them
by which to separate themselves
from a lack of structure in themselves.

How many of us have looked with contempt
at social workers for their trying to do good?
Next to mainstream church clergy
they are the people who are most recognised
for propping up pointless structures. 

But beyond that the personal, spiritual,
the reasons for needing routine
are that routines support rituals
and rituals give shape to life,
take rituals away,
or make the ritual seem pointless for one or all attendees
and life is no longer seems to be alive,
instead it becomes a series of circular non-adventures.

Friday, 11 December 2020

My Fourth Christmas Card Of 2020

Edward Burra (British,1905-1976), Frogmen, 1959-61. Watercolour, gouache and pencil on card, 30.5 x 22 in 'for a more watery Christmas' is what it said inside.

 

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Sceptics Inc

Here at Sceptics Inc we believe
that the bigger the lie,
the easier it is to spread it
through a media where everyday
the checks and balances
are designed to green light
the most exaggerated claims.

The more truthful the truth
the fewer people understand it
or care that it's truthfulness
is well preserved
by how few people know it.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Framed

When words define us,
and a lack of words
define us even more
then what can we share
that will not raise more a
false commentaries about us?

In theory actions speak louder than words
but words are what frame our lives with
and the frame determines the picture. 

Monday, 7 December 2020

Sunday, 6 December 2020

The Existential Angst Of Following Orders

Every time I see the small notice on the screen
that says 'Tick this box to prove that you are not a robot',
and I see the box beneath, I get tremors of guilt and fear;
if I follow the instruction then how much nearer
does my obedience in attempting to pass the test
take me towards being the robot
that I am trying to prove that I am not?

If I disobey the instruction I surely lose
the chance to disprove how near I might be,
or might not be, to being the robot that I disbelieve I am.

Given that the process I am following
is a done by robot, or a programme,
then how does this programme or robot
know that it is a programme/robot?
If it does then it knowing that makes sure
that it is more than some obedient machine?

The damning self righteous comment
that the allies made about the military
under the control of the axis powers
after World War Two was drawn from
the mouths of the military of the condemned side
'We knew nothing, we were only following orders'.

'Free Will' is a subjective idea
that we approach in fear
of our own contradictions.  

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Books Vs Politics?

The book publishing industry
has done very well out of President Trump
with many of the fifty four employees
he has sacked having a riveting story
that agents and publishers believed
that the public were keen to read.

And with Joe Biden on the Horizon
another crop of political books is surely due,
not least from Joe's many departing rivals
who Trump has had neither the time
nor the attention span to notice soon enough to sack them.

All this leaves me wondering
what this latest developments suggest;
are we seeing the politicisation of the world of books
to the point where apolitical books get rarer?
Or will we see the rendering the political world more bookish?
More politics which are more historical, where the longer view is taken?
Sufficient to include speculative fiction as a possible guide to this world?

Writers of apolitical fiction don't need to worry,
there will always be room on the shelves for them.....


 

Friday, 4 December 2020

My Second Christmas Card Of 2020

'Meditation 3' by French artist Kevin Lucbert (b 1985).
Find his personal website, including links to short films
he has made, here.

 

Thursday, 3 December 2020

The Zero Gain Sum That 'Representative Democracy' Has To Dismantle

The Rev'd Thomas Malthus
thought he was good at his sums
but he wasn't, and it his chums
in the then-new Conservative Party
who later became the chumps
for following his mathematics,
amid the Corn Laws crisis
whilst trying to 'buck the market'
in the value of land and basic food
for their backers' personal gain.

The 2020 Conservatives are 
The Party for Wealth and Private Ownership.

For their all being wealthy enough
to all be highly privately educated
they will divide those poorer than them
between the worthy-whose labour
directly benefits the party or it's donors.
and the unworthy poor-who the wealthy
talk about, as if the were all scroungers
for whom the last use the rich
have is to use them as scapegoats.

But in this age of universal franchise*
the poor still have one thing that the Tories
will always need-their votes in general elections. 

Malthus would have had a heart attack
at the idea of the universal franchise.

But he would have felt a lot better
when he saw how well voting intentions
could be massaged into submission,
for that ring of political certainty.




*In the UK this has been in operation since 1928,


Whilst there have been parliaments in England since the year 1259,
Scotland since the year 1326,and Ireland since 1297, and whilst
the English parliament became the UK wide parliament in 1707,
with the Irish Parliament liquidating itself in 1800 and joining
the UK parliament, the history of the constituents of all four countries
being enfranchised to vote in a representative to represent them
at the high table of government has a much slower record of reform. 

In 1780 only 2 % of men in England and Scotland had the right
to vote, and constituencies  were severely unbalanced,
These parliaments were places where feudal economic values
and social systems were hammered into shape and made to work
by whoever was most military minded. 

Only with the third reform act in 1870 was every male householder
added to list of voters, and that still left out men who were names
were not on the deeds of the houses they owned, or women,
and the secrecy of the ballot box was not enacted until 1872.
Even in the twentieth century the British were slow to catch up,
female heads of households got the vote, in 1918, women over 21
got the vote in in 1928, MP's were paid a wage for the first time
in 1937, allowing poorer people to get elected to represent
people like them in their constituencies for the first time.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Any Way The Wind Blows

Business and politics are full of 'blowhards',
alpha males steeped in the what is barely legal,
trying hard to make sure that only they are heard
as they push to get only their deals done.

When they get on their soapbox nobody feels clean
and even fewer know what to do about it, after.
They leave people itching to act and yet trapped
by the words that they are driven by.

Only when the blowhard goes silent
because he (it is is usually a he)
has had to take his time to draw breath
can everyone start to ask themselves;
'How much does he actually mean it?'  


'The Love Of Money Is..... '

It is said that 'election campaigns are fought in poetry
whereas governance happens as prose.'.

If that is true, for even a few countries
then there is no poetry like the money
raised to fight a campaign with.

And if huge amounts of money
is as poetic as country can get
whilst choosing who should be in office
then it does not matter who is elected
the country is well past being redeemable.

Government that loves only money
whatever the prose style of it's rule 
is the new root, more entrenched, of all evil.

  

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Picture Set Of The Month - December - Ships In The Desert.

These are ships that have been abandoned
and left in the Aralkum Desert.

The Aralkum desert was not always a desert—
dry and rugged as it is now with not a single soul
roving its surface. The wind from the violent dust storms
picks up the salty sand that now covers the ground. 
In fact this area was once the fourth-largest lake in the world.

Fifty years ago, the Aralkum desert was known as the Aral Sea.
A lake half the size of England that sat between Kazakhstan
 and Uzbekistan. The sea was home to a fishing industry
 that produced 50,000 tons of fish which fed more than
 100,000 people across nine different countries.

Now the ships provide shelter for the ships of desert
-the camels who seek shelter from the sun.













 

Monday, 30 November 2020

And Breathe Out?

Christians have been lambasted
for their unscientific stupidity
in these Covid 19 times,
which have laid waste
to the liberal consumer economy.

But what disbelievers of Christianity
don't take in is how Covid 19 strikes
at the very symbols that the faith is built on.
E.g. How the tactility of a hug shows
the depth of a personal greeting.

If  our lives are founded
on how God breathed into us
then how can it be that our breath out
has now become so poisonous to others?

For believers it is like having to re-learn
what 'The Fall' means, all over again
-an infinite immovable existential angst
which is more than 'A mental health problem'.

Those who disbelieve say they follow science,
and yet their science has little effect on politics,
society, social status, and how we are made
to spend our money are all made to work.
All have a contrarian logic built into them. 

Without the right to be contrarian
societies shrink, and we feel trapped
by our new inconsistency,
when we should have known
that society could always be like that.

Sunday, 29 November 2020

My First Christmas Card Of 2020

An art deco design created in 1930 by Edouard Benedictus
(1865-1930) the man who rather more usefully
invented safety glass, glass that does not shatter
when it breaks, not that he knew what it was going
to be used for in future when he invented it.
 
  

 

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Mental World Health Crisis; A News Update

Following the process of the latest US election
now being final and complete,
the latest pandemic is now digging deep
into the voters who voted for any of the six
candidates/teams who stood for president.

America's latest and greatest gift to the world
is Continuous Hyper-Partial Attention Deficit Disorder
and it is coming to a television and computer
near you today, with the latest media reports
on what your government is doing for you. 

Friday, 27 November 2020

Schrodinger's Dumpster

But many a human being is like this too,
as we find with the consistency of their charity. 

Thursday, 26 November 2020

The Government Washing Machine

Between the laundered money,
and the spun government claims,
it should be no surprise to us
how clean our government is, of virtue.

Miss misinformation
is good enough at housekeeping
that she knows the most
about what she is doing
when it appears that she does not. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Note To My (Now Long Distant) Mother

When we invest in another person
we rarely recognise the shape
our investment will take
in who we have made it,
until long after they leave us.

But rest assured-every investment reaps it's own dividends.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The Point About 'Fake News'......

    ...and the rumour mills
about this or that party leader,
is never just that the story is fake in itself.

The point is that the story generates
further rumour and further doubt
like a fire that, once lit, never goes out.

The oldest fake news that most people
half-know about is 'The protocol of the elders of Zion'
a patchwork of documents put together by anti-Semites
circa 1900 to suggest that the Jews,
a people then without a land, had a plan
for taking over all of the world.

Discredited as it is,
in the twenty first century it is easy to find.
Just look online....

 In the UK in the 1924 'The Zinoviev letter'
was cooked up by White Russians
as an instrument against the Bolsheviks.
It was in turn taken up by a mistrustful British Secret Service
against the first elected Labour government.
It was a lie, but it was a lie that stuck
because of mounting domestic fears
and failing international diplomacy. 

In the present day, business confidentiality
and money that launders itself through property,
are what fuels the present day rumours
of which politician is secretly tied
to which government, other than their own.

Who wrote the lie? And who did they write it for?
Which of the politicians enemies-at home or abroad?
should be the points that should be answered
in an effective and free press. 

But by the time the story is that clear
neither the politician nor their enemies,
or the popular press, want to hear any more
of what was never even slightly true in the first place.

Monday, 23 November 2020

All Because Coloured Lives Matter....

all of which goes well beyond language
and proves how we blight ourselves,
then we curse other people
through the language we use
without ever realising we were doing it.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Norman Vincent Peale

was never my idea of a writer
and his ideas about spirituality
were implicitly pale and racist.

Not for him the grit of being black
and inch by inch taking back
your sense of agency
from a wealthy white culture
that boxed in non-whites
with laws where the poor
simply had to be stronger,
to endure the privations
that white folks heaped upon them.

Peale has now gone down further in my estimation
his were the sermons that young Donald used to hear
in the church that the Trump family attended every Sunday.

As an adult Donald now believes in golf more than in God.
His Sunday Service is on the course on his own,
with club and ball, his security at a distance from him.

There is where finds his respite from the burden
of his property empire with all it's debts
and from being the leader who has to be
his own press agent whilst president
because the press agent is the presidential staffer
who the press expect to see most
whilst the person that the people
should know most is their president. 

It is one of the 'what if's' of history
to ask what candidate Trump would have done
had he not won the presidential hole-in-one
of being elected the first time he stood?

Would his being made to wait to stand again
have improved him as a man and as a governor?
Would he have become more patient?
Nobody could begin the guess the answer.

Winning first time and serving one term
has done him no favours whatsoever.  

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Celebrification

noun - the conversion of a society
where real people once did everyday things
without having to be filmed doing them,
and the film made public for all to see,
to a society where computers and machines
replace a vast amount of human labour
which downgrades many purely human skills
and the cognition required to maintain them
and remakes said activities as activities
to be watched by the many and done by the few
 in a celebrity obsessed, uncontrolled, media
where passive submission by the many to the few
is the very model of obedience to an orderly governance.

A half life is still viable in the celebrified society,
as long as the machines that humans rely on still work,
and the masses don't care who or what governs them.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Beautiful Land

'I think [that] having land
and not ruining it is the most beautiful art
that anybody could ever own' - Andy Warhol

Where that leaves anyone
who owns one of his art works,
which is worth $o $o much
because of an inflated art market
is open to a rueful retrospective smile......   

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Social Isolation

Requires us to be as tough as mountain goats.
Where we are not just tough on each other
   but often tougher on ourselves as well. 
 

 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Why I Don't Watch Television News

It is not just the lies sold as truths,
or the interviews where politicians
go on the channel to sell us contradictions
that the news channel had no choice but to sell
through the contracts the channel had to sign
about the questions they would not ask
for the leader to appear on their media.

No, what makes me turn off,
mentally at first but physically second,
is the bleached grief of couples
who are interviewed at length
on uncomfortable looking settees
who are reduced to cliches by the camera
as they talk about how they miss
their missing loved one, now gone,
due to a careless government and Covid 19. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

In The Land Of Gerrymandering

they prize what the call 'democracy'
as if it were their own invention
rather than the flawed process
only half recorded by history
of what some city states
in ancient Greece once did.

Yet even as they laud and praise
the ability to choose via the vote
they celebrate even more
how regularly elections are rigged
to produce dishonest winners.

What the praise disguises is how close
the honest loser was to winning the prize
before the winner won the election.

Very few American presidents
have been chosen by landslide majorities,
or even won the majority popular vote.

US Presidents like to ignore how their new role
is more the result of a legal settlement
than the triumph of some new consensus
in which they are merely first among equals. 

Monday, 16 November 2020

Boiled Motherhood

How well I remember the food
that I was served when I was young,
the soft texture of which
was meant to encourage me to eat.

I also remember Mother selecting stories
to tell me to keep me walking beside her
when I was young. Stories of her being single;
where the single life was a challenge.

When I look back I regret that I did not think
to ask her more thoughtful and harder questions.
In this way I played my part in our resisting
a more durable and deeper held maturity.

Motherhood was like over cooked food;
it was about making women seem soft,
the easier to make boys use weak reason
so as not to be a test to their parents.

Fathers needed their distance
to be seen to be 'the good provider',
and wives were often more resourceful
than anyone was ever admitted them to be
or little boys could begin to recognise.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

The Normality Of Strangers

And many people don't know
that they don't know themselves,
which makes accepting strangers
for who they are, at face value, 
more tricky than anybody dare guess.

 

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Democrazy (2)

When we lend our votes
to autocratic leaders of parties
who care more about the engineered vote
than those who choose to vote for them
it is not just some rhetorical act
on the part of the individual voter
of shared and normalised masochism
but also the death of individualism
that we say that we seek to uphold.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Why I Will Never Be A Heterosexual

The heterosexuals I grew up among
were as happy to talk down to children,
as they were to anyone they thought to be inferior,
about loyalty between partners within a marriage
as they were to secretively excuse male adultery
due to excess alcohol, as if the addiction
to alcohol itself were not also a form of adultery.

The heterosexuals that I grew up among
were not just homophobic, but sexually phobic,
reducing themselves and each other and marriage
to the process of a breeding machine which was careless
about what it bred. Whether that was people or values.
Their complexity was way beyond their expectations. 

They were ignorant about what sexuality is
and how it was and is a key part of everyone's life.
What they said about homosexuality to anyone
who thought about or felt they had cause mention it
was that 'It is just a phase', as if by batting it away
it would cease to exist in their world,
when whether they talked about it or not,
when same sex attraction is part of every world. 

What this little phrase hid was many centuries
of hysteria and denial, where mis-recorded histories
hid men and women who tried within their limits
to use their sexuality as an accepted part of themselves
for the good of those they saw around them.

As for me, I have learned to live with a sexuality
where I am better off being practically asexual
because my experience of heterosexuality,
the majority culture I can't avoid being part of,
has made me unfit for intimate and trusted use
by the secular, hypocritical, family values
that I have to accept that I grew up with.

   

Thursday, 12 November 2020

If The Caps Fit.....

The difference in a tweet
between 'LAW AND ORDER'
and 'Law and Order'
is not merely a question of assertion,
where the CAPITALS (CAPS) used
assert an insecure authoritarianism,
that the more agreeable
lower case does not express.

That factuality of the lower case
puts the trust with the reader
rather than wreaking
of the weakness of the leader,
and both messages have their effect.


Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Unpatriotically Yours

From the diaries of Edward Elgar who lived comfortably,
materially at least, for a further fifteen years
after the November 1918 Armistice.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

A Life Of Two Halves?

The person I trust most in this life
has a misanthropists outlook
where with consistent rigour
he finds the worst in human behaviour
and sees it as if it were the norm.

Half the time I know he is right,
I accept the same media as him,
along with some sources he refuses,
and what he believes is easily confirmed.

The rest of the time I accept
that I try to be a qualified optimist,
where the limiting parameters
of my optimism are limiting indeed.

I don't know which half is truer
or precisely where in me
the divider between the two lands.
What I settle for is that at my best
I create around me and a sustainable life
that allows for others to be both chippy*
or happy, and accepts that others are entitled
to find life in the depths of despair.

Between the extremes
I would like to be their escape
from the depths of human hypocrisy
when life Fucking Well hurts,
particularly when others say
that the hurt 'is healing and wholesome'.


*as in 'having a chip on his shoulder'
-a sense of guilt or the fear
of having stolen something,
the chip being a piece of wood
that at a chippie/carpenter steals
from their employer.

Monday, 9 November 2020

What The News Does Not Tell Us

For the last ten months
there has been one major subject
that has been classed as newsworthy;
the progress of the Covid 19 virus
through the world human population
with it's corollary; the change in the economy
when people have to keep their distance
from each other in order to be 'safe'.

But every time I hear the latest figures
of who has contracted the virus,
and who has died from it I do not pray
'I thank thee Lord I am not as other men'
but give thanks for the unmentioned number
of people who don't have the virus
and have gone about their business
with care and consideration for others.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Radio Plays I Will Never Hear (1); 'Alan Turing This Was Your Afterlife.'

The radio play I would like to hear is one
where the ghost of Alan Turing (1912-1954),
the pioneering mathematician who theorised
the idea of mechanical computers is taken on a tour
of the human inventiveness that his creation has since unleashed.

It was not his fault that he was both a gay man
who was happily serially sexually promiscuous
who was also deeply caught up in cold war secrecy
for having been a leading scientist during WW2.
It was this toxic combination that made his 'suicide' inevitable.

Since the Babylonians, information has been a means to power.
The machines that Turing theorised could be created
meant that much more information could be collected
about a far greater numbers of people
than had previously been imagined.

Before Turing 'Computers' was a term applied to people,
often women, who counted things, e.g. votes in an election
and did calculations for (usually male) accountants.
The machines he worked on during WW2 decoded messages
and were not concerned with collecting mass human data.

All that would start when the first computer
was booked by CBS News in 1952 
to predict the outcome of the Presidential election
and even then the pundits distrusted the result
though the computer prediction proved correct.

Even they next use of 'big data' in America
by the Democratic Party in the 1960 election 
did not make the use of computing machine
catch on for popular consumer use, and the UK
the computer was most used to settle the accounts
of Lyons Tea Shop, and Lyons were more taken
with teacakes and tea than with computing.

When they got out of computers to focus
on their core business of tea shops
they were only the latest to miss ,
and not recognise, the future.

Fast forward to 1969 and The Pentagon
invented the email as an internal messaging service
without telling anyone else. The world found out
decades later, long after Microsoft was founded
and changed the world with it's skilled machines
which are still taking the communication of life
further than previously computed to be possible.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Friday, 6 November 2020

'Marriages Are like Pianos....

....they go in an out of tune', as Virago author Sarah Waters
well observed in in her book 'The Paying Guests'. 

Waters was right. Pianos and marriages play many tunes,
and are much subject to warp and weft of life.

What they play is often enhanced
by the vast accompaniment
of our poorly understood role
in serving mother nature.    

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Whose Side Are We On, And Who Is 'We'?

Today is the day the English celebrate
'failed democratic reform day', when in 1605
a Catholic 'terrorist gang' led by an English mercenary
who had been fighting the (Catholic) Spanish
planted explosives in the cellars of the House of Commons.

The English being the hypocrites they are
they don't know what they are 'celebrating'
that the gunpowder was put under Parliament
or that it was discovered and the plotters arrested
before the reforms it would start could take place.   

The English, who like letting off fireworks
whatever the cause. or lack of it,
use this date to 'entertain children'
with bonfires, simple food, and fireworks
neglect their history as if dates and sides,
and old laws and old prejudices, no longer mattered.

Representative democracy is a recent invention
that only arrived with the full franchise in 1928,
and when for the first time MP's were paid a wage in 1937,
thus allowing poorer candidates to stand.

But already the idea was being prepared to be lost
in an amnesiac media where what the news said yesterday
was being prepared to be forgotten by tomorrow.    

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Invisible Pride

The new Right Wing populists
want to permanently end
what they call 'virtue signalling',
where when particular newscasters
who have a notable media profile
outside of their place of work
and being over-friendly with the viewer.

I heartily agree, which is why
I want not to see poppies on the chests
of any news presenter this November.
Let us leave official patriotism to royalty
and the new right wing populists;
as if they alone are virtuous, let virtue
be the main reason that they serve us. 

By all means give money to the charities
hat support the veterans of the many wars
fought for king and country past,
where we all  sought to be civilised
when the battles were over but  don't wear a poppy.
Follow the advice of Jesus;  'Do your good deeds in secret'. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Democrazy (1)

The biggest winner in the competition
to become the next president of the USA
 will be Capitalism, the only choice
left for voters will be which candidate 
will work with Capitalism better than the others
or creatively resist capitalism, 
for the sake of a sense of community,
given how Capitalism operates on individuals.  

 

Monday, 2 November 2020

God Does Have A Sense Of Humour

That we can trust in when times prove hard.

He made a germophobe 'the leader of the free world'
and left loose a virus that it very hard to stop
for said leader to limit the spread of, to keep afloat
his economic hopes in the year he hoped to be re-elected. 

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Your Halloween Friend For Life

Because for William Burroughs (1917-97)
when 'Nothing is true [then] everything is permitted'
- a phrase which describes to describes the present,
and maybe departing, President of the USA
who, whatever he does, is going to cast a long shadow.   

 

Friday, 30 October 2020

You Are Who You 'Own'

or who you depend on for your wealth.

When slave owners accepted 'compensation'
from governments for the loss of their slaves
it was not just the ultimate in property values
repeating themselves over the value of humanity.
 
Those compensated became immeasurably wealthy
twice over again when they invested their wealth
in the trade in goods from the countries 
where former slaves remained tied to the lands
where before they had been owned as slaves,
this time owned by the debts 
that made them indentured labour.
 
In completing this cycle
of ownership without responsibility
the new 'traders' in human misery
became the ultimate passive citizens
of where their wealth came from.

Active citizenship of where the wealth was made
would have meant the rich dividing their riches
among the ex-slaves who had made 'the traders' so rich.

No such investment was forthcoming.

The truest solution for all those once colonised
was an independence via 'The Commonwealth'
where those peoples and countries could start again 
to rediscover what being invested in actually meant.


Thursday, 29 October 2020

Charity, Cynicism, And Self Interest

The difference between the worthy poor
and the unworthy as they were in the England
since the founding of the welfare state
was rarely one of self-identification.

However poor and dependent anyone was
everybody identified themselves as worthy,
as compared with the unworthy poor
who were always somebody else who lived far away.

But there was a guide to the difference
between the worthy and the unworthy;
the worthy gave to these shops
thinking their gifts, however worn and used,
still had enough life left in them yet,
whether such life was there or not.

The unworthy would be the buyers
of this clothing, the ones with worn lives
looking for life in the goods they could afford
which they hoped would have just enough wear left in them.

To always be the last to buy those clothes
before they were fit only for the bin out was a duty;
how else were we to hide the poverty of our ambitions?   

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Are Friends Electric?

In old age you bet they are!
Because that is when stillness
means the need for a warmth
that comes quickly and to order
from outside of yourself. 
  

 

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Sympathetic Magic

One habit I have s an adult that I cannot stop
is that when I finish using my laptop
and press to turn it off  I will wave it goodbye.

Logically I know I don't need to,
and the laptop does not care what I do
but still the idea that there is something live
that I have been interacting with
that i only know in part
but that part I must respect
comes from a scene I was part of
a long time ago.

I was baby-sitting some children
and their parents had set them
a video of the BBC 1950's series
'Andy Pandy' to watch. As the show
drew to it's close Andy waved goodbye
and the children waved back
I liked that, enough to want to
repeat it, with computers when I use them.

Who knows when they turn their screen off
what they are saying 'Goodbye' to? I don't....