Archive for May, 2010

A world of idiots

May 25, 2010

When I was little I assumed that grownups knew what was going on.  I always believed, without ever really thinking about it, that at some particular age you magically ‘become’ an adult, and all your silly preconceptions fall away and you are suddenly endowed with wisdom and a profound understanding of the world and your place in it.  (This just goes to show how ignorant I was as a child.)  In fact, I kept on half-heartedly expecting this to happen to me until I was around 19, despite the ever-mounting evidence that it never happens to anyone, ever, at all.

When I finally accepted that I was as grown up as I was ever going to get – and probably have been since I was about fifteen – it was actually rather frightening.  Because what it means is that we live in a world of idiots.  There is no such thing as ‘grown up’, there is just ‘older’, and everyone you’ve ever met, including teachers, policemen, judges, astronauts and presidents, is just an overgrown child with a fancy haircut who has got really, really good at pretending they know what the fuck is going on.  But they don’t, and neither do you; which when you think about it, explains rather a lot.

Watching the news is a great way to demonstrate to yourself that most people should probably still be in nappies.  Take, for example, the worldwide cacophony of pants-shitting which occurs every time someone whacks the name of an animal in front of the word ‘flu’.  It is a well documented fact that the ‘regular’ flu, which is usually seen as nothing more than a half decent excuse for a couple of sick days, kills up to FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND people a year.  Swine flu has killed 3,900.  Bird flu 263.  I’m not saying those 4163 people who died of ‘animal flu’ weren’t important, but I am saying: seriously, we have bigger things to worry about.  Wars, for example, during which we have taken many more than 4163 ‘precious’ human lives.  AIDS, which has been a raging epidemic since 1981 and has so far caused 25 MILLION deaths.  Swine flu is not number one on the list of things I might lose sleep over if I could be bothered to worry.  Just sayin’.

Here’s an exercise in terrifying yourself: take a look at the Wikipedia page “List of states with nuclear weapons”.  Even the ‘big five’ of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have a worryingly patchy history with each other.  The US, Russia, and China?  Sooner or later, some overgrown baby in a suit is going to start throwing his nuclear toys out of the metaphorical pram.  You know how occasionally you will pull on a door clearly marked ‘push’ for a good 30 seconds before you realise what you’re doing?  And how there’s someone in the office who you just hate even though he’s never actually done anything to you?  Yeah.  People just as stupid and reactionary as you are out there right now with their fingers hovering over buttons which could put humans somewhere below cockroaches in the running for most developed species on Earth (a position I sometimes doubt we ever held in the first place).  Also, if the though of another US/Russia cold war hasn’t caused you to pee down your leg, I have two words for you: North Korea.  North Korea – and China, come to think of it, although they are at least in the NPT – always give me the impression of sulky teenagers locked in their rooms.  You don’t know what the hell they’re doing in there, and the occasional smell wafting out under the door isn’t reassuring.

To me, good old George Dubya Bush was the ultimate example of why nobody, anywhere, ever, should be allowed to be in charge of anything bigger or more powerful than a donkey.  The guy couldn’t even master the difficult task of getting a pretzel from his hand into his stomach without choking.  He was also frequently referred to as ‘the most powerful man in the world’.  So he can’t eat without supervision and believed he was ‘misunderestimated’ – I’m not making this up, by the way – and that God spoke through him.  I always wondered what the Pope thought about that.

The scariest thing about Dubya was that people voted for him.  Perhaps, if you happen to believe Michael Moore, not as many people as the results showed, but nonetheless a large number of human beings genuinely believed that he was worthy of leadership.

Having said that, however, I think Barack Obama is the cleverest politician I’ve ever seen.  He could be lying through his teeth every time he opens his mouth, he could be Satan himself come to drag humanity down into the flames once and for all; but every time I watch him talk I felt like maybe, just maybe, everything could turn out ok, and the entire world won’t die screaming in a nuclear blast in my lifetime. 

Which just proves, I suppose, that I’m just as stupid as everyone else.

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Election related whingeing

May 11, 2010

When I was growing up – and even now, in fact – my parents would never tell me who they voted for.  They are apparently not unique in this quirk, with many of my friends reporting a similar lack of parental guidance in the political arena.  If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say they were Lib Dem voters, but this is largely because their silence comes across as a sort of sitting-on-the-fence attitude and I see the Lib Dems as a sort of sitting-on-the-fence party.  Which pretty much explains why I voted for them myself, actually.

This was the first election I have ever voted in (that’s one of the few sentences I’ve uttered recently which makes me sound young, by the way) and I must confess to having mixed feelings about the whole thing.  At first I considered deliberately spoiling my ballot or just not voting at all, but in the end it occurred to me that if I wanted the right to bitch and whine about the outcome, I had to do my part in creating the outcome; so I went along and officially parked my backside atop the Lib Dem fence, even though they want to be in the Euro and I don’t.  It’s not a political thing, it’s just that I’m bad enough with money as it is, and really can’t be arsed getting used to a new currency.

I admit that my decision to vote Lib Dem was not based entirely on passionate agreement with their policies so much as it was based on a desire to not vote Labour or Tory.  I don’t wish to get into a Monty Python-style “what have Labour ever done for us” session, but still, I haven’t been overly impressed by them over the last couple of years and I’m pretty pissed about Gordon Brown running for prime minister considering he’s already had a good old unelected go at it and fucked it up royally.  For the record, following the ‘bigotgate’ incident and his simpering, pathetic response to it – which strongly suggested he wasn’t sorry he said it so much as sorry he got caught – I believe every word of those rumours about him bullying his staff.  You have to be pretty desperate for approval when your only recourse is to trot your wife round the country with you so she can prattle on at everyone about how fucking wonderful you are – and on that subject, a note to Sarah Brown: I love my man too, but that doesn’t mean he could single handedly fix our well and truly bollocksed economy.  Get a grip.

As for the Tories, I just don’t like David Cameron.  I think he is a simpering baby-faced wanker.  I don’t like his face, his voice, or the way he cycles to work followed by a car carrying his suitcase and shoes, ostensibly to demonstrate how much he cares about saving the environment.  I don’t like his schoolyard bully style billboards lampooning Labour – I might not like Gordon either but for fuck’s sake, you are supposed to be ADULTS.  I don’t agree with some of his policies, but to be totally honest, that wasn’t the main reason I didn’t vote Tory.  I  just didn’t want to give David Cameron the satisfaction.  There’s a sort of sinister robot quality to him.  I’m not actually convinced he is human.

Another reason I voted Lib Dem is that they were the only part who I didn’t feel were condescending to me just because I don’t have a penis.  Although I don’t consider myself a feminist in the traditional sense of the word, I found myself thoroughly offended by the approach to women during this election, particularly by the press coverage dedicated to the sartorial war of the wives.  Does anyone really think my vote can be swayed by a comparison of Sarah Brown’s hopeless selection of frumpy skirts and cardigans and Samantha Cameron’s endless aray of Zara shoes and expensive maternity-wear?  They could have spent the entire campaign dressed as a potato and Lady Gaga respectively and I still wouldn’t have voted for either of their pet idiots.  I would have enjoyed watching the news a lot more, though.

Miriam Clegg, on the other hand, carried on with her own job as a high-earning lawyer instead of following her husband around the country like a drooling, demented lapdog, thereby earning a modicum of my respect.  There was none of this “vote for my lovely husband even though he leaves socks everywhere” horseshit from the Lib Dems, and I appreciated that.  (Another note to Sarah Brown: I had already assumed that your husband was an irritating slob, but thanks for confirming it.  Still not voting for him though.)

I was also offended by Labour’s concept of the ‘Take a Break’ woman, although this offence is really on behalf of my fellow members of the Vagina Club, because I myself am not a homeowner with kids, working full or part time in retail, and I do not read Take A Break, Closer or OK! magazine.  The label irritates me because out of al the attributes of such women, they have chosen to label them simply as culture-vultures, ever hungry for more glimpses of cellulite on the thighs of beautiful celebrities, stories of plastic surgery gone wrong, or interviews with chavs who got stabbed in the face with a bottle by their own mum who was sleeping with their boyfriend.  God forbid they should be characterised as mothers whose political concerns centre around their children’s future, or working women worried about how much tax they pay and the fact that they would be better off on benefits than contributing to society.  No.  These women are just devourers of shitty magazines designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, so clearly the best way to win their vote is to have the best-dressed, most accessible leader’s wife.  Now I’m all for democracy, but anyone basing their vote on the candidate’s wife’s wardrobe doesn’t deserve the right to vote in the first place.  (Incidentally, I know my not voting Tory just because I hate David Cameron’s face could look like the same thing – but I like to think of it as character judgement, which we all know is a valuable skill.)

The unexpected comic relief in this election has been the BNP’s campaign, starting with the protests over Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time, which I thought were pointless because if you want to turn people against the BNP, what better way than to let people watch Nick Griffin talk?  If his jowly face alone doesn’t give you nightmares about concentration camps then you should probably be a bit worried about yourself.  His party election broadcast was hysterical, from the framed picture of Winston Churchill on his desk to the ‘people on the street’ reading from autocues with expressions on their face which strongly suggested a gun pointed at their head just out of frame, to the cherry on the cake: the turbaned gentleman at the end, officially approving of the BNP on behalf of everyone who is not a middle-aged white English male.

On the other hand, though, I was starting to get a little tired of being harrassed in the middle of Southampton high street by placard-wielding reactionaries screaming about Nazism and waving pictures of Nick Griffin’s supremely unattractive visage under my nose.  I mean yes, undoubtedly the man is a bastard of the highest order, but do you really think there was every any chance of the majority of Britain wanting him in charge of their country?  It seems stupid devoting so much time and effort badmouthing someone who so effectively badmouths himself every time he opens his gob.

So finally, the result.  While I may have voted Lib Dem, I should make it clear that I never expected them to win, but I was surprised at how badly they did, especially after the ‘Cleggmania’ which followed the first TV debate.  At first the whole thing had a promising air of Rage-Against-The-Machine-for-Christmas-number-one about it, but I should have known that the majority of the people running around going “if everyone who wanted to vote for Lib Dem actually did it instead of picking Labour or Tory because they’re a safe bet, the Lib Dems might actually win” wouldn’t actually have the balls to take their own advice, but I enjoyed the, oh, three whole days of optimism it sparked.

I can’t claim to be any expert on politics (this is probably obvious from the hastily spewed mass of contradictions you have just slogged your way through – well done, by the way).  I didn’t even know what a hung parliament was until several days after we woke up to one, when I finally got round to looking it up on Wikipedia.  At first I thought I would have preferred a straight Tory win over this weird limbo which has somehow left Gordon in Number 10, but then I saw a few pictures of Cameron’s smarmy, gittish little face and changed my mind.  After all, from what I gather (from some half-arsed browsing of the BBC website while I probably should have been doing something productive), the hung parliament actually leaves the Lib Dems in a fairly decent position, because whoever wants to win has to get the Lib Dems on their side first. 

Mind you, I’m sure I can’t be the only moron confused by the following facts:

  • The Tories got the most votes – but somehow they didn’t win.
  • Labour didn’t get the most of least votes – but Gordon Brown is still prime minister.
  • The Lib Dems got the least votes – but basically whichever side they pick, wins.

I give up.