Saturday, 30 October 2010

Vote with your mind as well as feet

I have to admit that, only infrequently, have I been moved to vote. I refer not to phone-in-at-your-standard-network-rate couch participation in those popular television talent shows, rather the political process. Electing representatives. This stems not from apathy, but an increasing suspicion that such an act is more and more merely symbolic. Ostentation. People fought, they say - your relatives - in wars for your right to vote. Firstly, genetic science would suggest that those fighting against my recent ancestors were also, conversely, slightly distant-er relatives of their opponents, since we are all, in a very real sense, related by a handful of common ancestors. Secondly, is it churlish to point out that, by logical extension, they also fought for the right not to vote or, indeed, to be blissfully ignorant of any voting opportunity that may nominally be afforded to them in their eligibility to participate in absentia? Thirdly, does voting really represent the sum-total privilege and duty that engagement in democratic freedom requires? Necessitates? Isn't it also incumbent on our representatives, as well as ourselves, to ensure that the democratic process, as typified by the election, doesn't become a tool for maintaining the status quo? That it is not a merry-go-round for the self-interested profiteers and the adulation seeking ponce?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Judging before

In progress (or may be I'll leave it unfinished)

Some speculated, back in the early twentieth century, that racism would finally be banished from society as the different peoples of the world increasingly came together - both sociably and, more crucially, sexually - thus gradually erasing any superficially distinguishing racial features and, as a consequence, any judgements based thereupon. And this predication came true, to an extent, in hindsight. But what those earlier speculators did not - could not - factor into their predictions, was the exponential proliferation of fake tanning lotion, predominately amongst the more prosperous and visibly paler minority. Indeed, through some cosmic irony and the gradual osmosis of certain hitherto unknown toxic tanning agents, a genetic mutation occurred leading, together with interbreeding, to a universal tarnished cooper-bronze skin appearance. Now it is arguable whether, as a result, racism presently is any the less rampant than amongst our pre-millennial fore-bearers and this reading lies on untangling a certain linguistic confusion.

A racist is one who believes, due to some pseudo theoretical social-biological construct, that a specific subset of the world population are inherently inferior to others (it is interesting to note that those forming such theories are almost invariably not amongst the so-called “racially deficient” themselves). Actually, most people accused of racism are not in fact, strictly speaking, racists - lacking the prerequisite intelligence to form anything so sophisticated as a theoretic paradigm of racial inferiority - they are “merely” prejudice. Or, to put it another way, their prejudicial ignorance is often less egregiously formulated as that of the race superiority theorist. Perhaps this is merely a linguistic turn, surely the focus should be on the hateful and often violent consequences of such prejudices, no matter their ill-informed theoretical window dressing? And certainly that should be foremost in our minds. However, the subtly of prejudice - literally to “pre-judge” - often gets overlooked in the more crudely applied epitaph of “racist”. Understandably so, because, everyone is prejudice, to an extent, sometimes by force of circumstance given lack of knowledge, other times as a socially convenient (lazy) way of grouping and interacting with people. We are predisposed to look for differences; we also look for similarities. These attributes or social markers need not immediately manifest in terms of colour, race, religion, but as cues to social status, cultural mores, neighbourhood symbols of wealth - car type, the relative condition of lawn manicure, being a "respected" member of a select hierarchical group or organisation -

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Never trust a whore

"Never trust a whore who says they don't want money. They all do. What they mean is they want more money ... much more."

William Burroughs.

Now I'm not against competition, however the term “competition” has somehow become welded by proxy to the phrase “free market” and that special juxtaposition is supposed to engender in the receiver-centric receptacle - that is, you - the idea of a golden meritocracy built on a Utopian vision of an egalitarian assault course ensuring its pursuant the promotion of the fittest. Or most worthy. Think about that. Conjure in your mind's eye, if you will, a parade of the richest, most powerful men – yes it's largely (fat) men – that have risen to the top of the social soufflé and then ask yourself: are these people really the strongest, most intelligent, agile and adaptive and creative representatives of all that is finest amongst our species? No. They're usually squat, smart suited, penile dysfunctions with peroxide trophy wives whose imaginations are inversely commensurate to their ability to fiscally extort the rest of us.

Plus ça change (plus c'est la même chose).

Thursday, 21 October 2010

There be vampires

The letch – all charm to the point of noxious asphyxiation – worked up his prey into docile supplication. The account of his unhappy, unfulfilled, married life and in-the-face-of-it stoic “single” parenting - given his millstone, psychotic, prescription drug addled wife - pranged the alcohol atrophied sympathetic reflex of the young lady who threw back her head in “that's-so-out-of-order” shakes, revealing the prominent and, as yet, unpunctured jugular veins carrying the bruised bluish de-oxygenated blood back down into the still beating heart.

Monday, 18 October 2010


Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.
Knowledge is not intelligence.
In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected.
Change alone is unchanging.
The same road goes both up and down.
The beginning of a circle is also its end.
Not I, but the world says it: all is one.
And yet everything comes in season.


The universe is the configuration of all the possibilities. How could it ever be less than everything?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The city from the hill

The sun detonated on the horizon sending supersonic shadow waves across the landscape and auras marked the haloed shapes of day-familiars as they exhaled in relief. And all was brilliant and bursting and immediate to see in the hidden conclaves of silently burning retinal after-images. And below all the lights of the city - the cars, the street lamps and open factory and house and office and shop windows - from a distance, married the overhead mirror of stellar armatures forming constellations mapping the encroaching nuclear night. And, at least for a moment, there was delight. Twilight.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The wrong outrage

I'll proof this later, but in the meantime ...

I leisurely imbibed a few light ales last night and retired to the cosseting powers of my duvet per chance, not to dream, but to get a good night's sleep. Awhile transversing through the routine transitory period of dizziness, spinning walls and then the blackout of sleep, I switched the radio on. A phone-in show. And they were discussing some video console game that - as far as I recall - afforded the opportunity to scope the world from the vantage point of an angry insurgent and gun down coalition troops. The callers, for the most part, a demographic largely composed of the over forties, were, not unexpectedly, horrified by the prospect of teeners getting their kicks from pretending to kill "our boys". Of course, every one of them righteous arms-bearing defenders of our freedoms, to a man - and the odd women - were heroes to them. Unquestionably. Then a kid phones in to suggest that many of the other, more “mature” callers, were “blowing things out of proportion” (an unfortunate turn of phrase in this context to be sure). It's just a game. A bit of fun. No one gets hurt. Actually killed. It's just a game.

I don't really care for video games, nor particularly the dubious taste and pandering to stylised violence they represent which, incidentally, was, in all probability, part and parcel of the marketing hype that created such appetites in the first place. I'm not saying it's a non-issue. Only, it's not the only issue here: the bigger fish in this goldfish bowl debate is why our troops are out there invading other countries in the first place? Once we get past the wildly exaggerated and overblown claims of an immediate and present danger to our citizens (or subjects) and the laughably naive assertion that, in order to bring democracy and freedom to the oppressed people of the world, we blow the shit out of their infrastructure and then send in the invading armies, what have we got? Now I'm no pacifist, if there's a real threat, of course, there's time for talking and a time for taking action.

But here's the problem, there's no real threat of invading armies and occupational rule, the real threat isn't so much to our cherished freedoms, but rather to the corporate interests of our co-opted governance structures: their interests revolve around protecting and expanding their neocolonial market share under the guise of "geopolitical strategy" and/or the securing of access and extraction ("plunder") rights to the world's natural resources. AKA "The Great Game". And they can get away this because of the implied threat their behaviour is that that to challenge such an ideology, is to undermined the access to the very goods, services and materials that support your - our - way of life. More accurately: lifestyle. In fact, the real enemy, at least as far as they are concerned, isn't a bunch of angry insurgents - they're sometimes a nuisance and others, a useful distraction – no, the real enemy is you. Asking difficult and uncomfortable questions, especially of yourself.

No wonder “the kids” can't relate to the wider significance the scenarios in these games are a symptom of - they feel no connection to those “fighting” on behalf of them to defend their “freedoms”. That “connection” has been obfuscated through ever-changing justifications, postulations and rationales that bare little resemblance or comprehensible relevance to their lives. Freedom, by-the-way, is also freedom to play video games and carries the concomitant commitment to act responsibly and to take charge of and review your attitudes and behaviour. May be the best way to dissuade our children from playing these games - and increasingly "adults" – is to teach them that and show where the adults got it wrong.

As a footnote: I should also add that a lot of these violent stimulant video games, except with the guns and bombs pointing the other way around at the "insurgents", are used for training purposes by the forces.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

In progress

It's a kind of anniversary for me today. So I've decided, arbitrarily, à propos of this – what is in effect, for the few people reading this, largely an irrelevant and ill-defined event – to journey down ole memory lane. Specifically, my childhood. To calm the nerves of the congenitally skittish, don't worry: no graphic details of a youth subject to inappropriate advances of a perverse and sexual nature towards my innocent former corporeal, orifice orientated existence will be made (largely because they didn't happen and, even if they did, I can't see how to exploit them for commercial gain from saying that they did). Having said that, I do feel they – my memories as I recall them – do convey a betrayal of sorts: a certain degree of exploitation. Deceit, if you will. Albeit, well, loosely intentioned. To get to the nub of the rub: it concerns the misrepresentation of adulthood, to the youth. The idea of responsibility. A mantle to be inherited via a, as yet to be definitively defined, passage of rites. Now, may be it's me, but I was given to understand that at a certain point in existence, though vaguely delineated by scholarly research, you reach the Rubicon of youth and crossover into the fully fledged world of adulthood, together with all that mysteriously implied. The awesome maturational pledge of the educationally ripe: the reasoned and seasoned outlook of adulthood. A taking of precedence over the juvenile distractions and obsessions of youth into the realm of responsibility. But no. My discovery on crossing that so-called “one way” bridge, dear reader - though somewhat based on an ad hoc repertoire of anecdote and incident - suggests youth and adulthood are a convenient administrative fiction and we cannot simply rely on the conventions of age and status to take the place of the actual, demonstrable, mutual realities of charge-taking.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The X Factor

Pray for my soul. I just caught a glimpse of one of those manufactured “talent” shows. I couldn't help thinking about those wastes of flesh, those hollow victories against the chaotic forces of entropy who have unwittingly brought the universe just that bit closer to heat death.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Dance of the dead fingers

Like some demented drip
at the desk, drumming
in alternating diddles
metered out
I hear you tapping
and the banality that bore you
bore me, rigid
otherwise, I might have gunned
you instead
rather than later

Friday, 1 October 2010

Torture porn

I was reading today one of those thinly disguised “broadsheet” tabloids, when I happened across a story concerning a functionally retarded couple (socially speaking) who thought it would be entertaining to suspend their offspring - a toddler, no less - with gaffer tape from the living room wall, together with his favourite juice beaker. Just out of reach. At least the partially functional retard might have had the wit not to record the scene – along with their evident amusement and delight slapped across their slack jawed features - on a digital camera and then proudly display the resultant graphic memorabilia to a work colleague, who would then go on to report them to the relevant authorities. But no. That would require the recognition that some people would view this behaviour as shameful, even if that response was absent from their personal emotional repertoire. And do you know what? No you don't because I have got to that bit yet. The pictures of this poor toddler, reproduced in high definition for our comforting sense of moral outrage and condemnation, reminded me of those form Abu Ghraib: soldiers' thumbs-up over dead human bodies, grinning and gurning faces over humiliated, stripped and tortured humans – together with the reminding realisation that humans were doing this to themselves. But then the reassuring thought – unbidden – came to me that, if this idiocy prevails, it can't be long before it brings about our inevitable self-willed extinction. But that's me: always the optimist.