Welcome back folks!
Well it’s been around eight weeks now since corona went viral and, through various acts of mismanagement, we in the UK are still under a form of lockdown. Though, to be honest, it seems more like a Common Sense Apocalypse rather than that hit song by R.E.M.
I mean, I get protesting, I really do. But, looking across the the pond, it makes me quite glad that we don’t have as visceral a Constitution here in the UK. One that we can change whenever we like, to do things we forgot to put in the original decree, that we can then use to bash all sorts of things over the head with. A physical document that actually encourages citizens to attempt to overthrow their government, by force if necessary, if they don’t like the incumbent one. I’m sure I’m paraphrasing here, but within such notions are borne the ideas that the people know best.
Well, if you’re like me, and you have ever interacted with the general public for any length of time, you know that’s just complete and utter nonsense.
It’s not that the idea is bad in and of itself. It’s just that people are. Or, to clarify, the general mass of people. And it isn’t even to do with knowledge, skill or intelligence. I’m not suggesting all the population are brain dead sheep. We have some very intelligent and knowledgeable people about. It’s more that theirs is the wrong sort of intelligence and that the source of their knowledge is spurious at best, and influences their decision making in all the wrong sorts of ways.
And the net result is a coronavirus mass ejection of common sense.
The problem is our collective intelligence, the idea of a common unconsciousness through shared experience. We all think we know what’s going on, and there is an in-built arrogance function in our skulls that teaches us some bizarre dichotomies in life – such as voting for our favourite politicians and then proceeding to spend their entire term in office tearing them several new arseholes for their failures in the job.
We bought our tickets, we knew what we were getting into. I think people just enjoy the trainwreck too much.
But back to what I was saying. Every political system is flawed, and every politician is vulnerable to the mistakes of human folly and nature. That’s a given, before you even factor in the unscrupulous and power thirsty among the elite of the world. But that by no means suggests that mass and mob rule is any better.
That is the confusing, and a little unsettling, conclusion I drew when I finishing watching Man In The High Castle. Loved the show, and I wont spoil it for anyone who might want to check it out, but in an alternate universe story where the axis powers won the Second World War, a lawless and cut-throat Neutral Zone between the Greater Nazi Reich and the Japanese Pacific states, is held up as a paradigm of virtue, justice and freedom. It was a message I utterly rejected at the show’s denouement, though that could be down to the fact that I hated the main ‘hero’ woman character and that Rufus Sewell is amazing, carried the whole show on his own, and I wanted him to win, even if his ‘side’ was one on the most despicable in recorded history.
My suggestion here is that people can get swept up in movements and their own self-absorption and can be taught to believe anything, especially if they are part of a larger group who all think the same thing. They feed off each other, and the fervour is self-renewing and increases in intensity by a matter if degrees with each cycle round.
One of my favourite quotes comes from Voltaire – ‘if someone can teach you to believe absurdities, they can convince you to commit atrocities’. It’s a powerful message that can be applied in all sorts of ways, I’m sure you can think of you own examples, the brainwashing of populations being my personal favourite. But if you extrapolate the message, it can be applied to this current situation. Or, put another way:
If you believe that self-distancing to prevent the spread of a lethal virus is an oppressive rather than sensible thing, rabble-rousers will convince you to take part in mass protests and street demonstrations, that will inevitably increase the rate of infection, killing you, me, and everyone we know.
Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration maybe. But I’m not going to go all conspiracy theory today. But my point here is that masses can be convinced of the most nonsensical things. Take my professional industry, the hospitality trade, and that fucking American service adage ‘the customer is always right’. Now, if any of you out there have ever tried your hand in this hard and undervalued sector, you’ve probably had those words spat in your face by an irate patron or two. Over my twenty years service I’ve seen and heard it more times than Clinton denied being blown by Lewinski. Fair play to the girl though, she kept her jizz-marked dress for posterity … it was almost as if she knew it would come in handy one day…
Hauling myself back from that tangent, let’s focus on that idea – The Customer Is Always Right. Let me clear this up at once – no they aren’t. We in the service trade just have to create the illusion that you are, so you can keep coming back to insult us time after time. The reason is that 99% of the time the customer doesn’t know enough to be right. And that’s my point here about the current crisis.
There is a lot of confusion, and misinformation, and propaganda from East and West, and fake news, and David Icke (??) and all sorts of mixed messages hitting us at all times. And a lot of the time it comes from the mainstream media. In the UK, all of our major media outlets are owned by approximately 5 or 6 INDIVIDUALS. Yes, I’m not kidding. You can do the research yourself. So, why is this a bad thing?
Well, to start with, not a single one of them is British. Two are Russian, one is Australian. But whatever their backgrounds, they are powerful, rich men and – like all oligarchies – they have an agenda. What is it? Who knows. But they control our print-based, digital and broadcast media. They can proffer their own personal message to the masses with their invisible hands, all the while greasing the politicians and the Establishment behind the scenes. Is this a conspiracy? Who can tell.
But it’s just utterly ripe for abuse.
And it is through his hypodermic needle that the mass of people get their information. It is neither complete nor free from a lacing of hidden agenda. But it stirs passions and people take to the streets to protest the genuine attempts being made to save lives by the NHS and honourable people in power. Coronavirus kills. It may not be as lethal as the Black Plague or Ebola, but it does pose a significant threat to certain groups, and if you are arrogant enough to flagrantly disregard that for your own self-need to rebel then you need to get the virus and suffer for it. Just to teach you a lesson in humility. Personally, I’m disappointed that it didn’t wipe out the chav element of society, the ones who take to a life of petty crime and contribute nothing positive to the world, apart from HIV through discarded needles.
Maybe in covid-20 eh? Fingers crossed, who knows what will be genetically-engineered yet. I live in hope.
I suppose I’m just lucky, to be able to sit here and get on my soapbox. I’m loving being in lockdown. As a fairly solitary creature, who has always been comfortable in his own skin and generally happier in my own company than that of other homo-sapiens-sapiens, this is bliss. Most of my recreation time is spent on solo activities (get your minds out of the gutter, you naughty, naughty people 🙂 !!), so with the blessing of a bit of sun it’s been wonderful.
I have also started a new writing project, my first ever crossover fanfiction. It will be my last foray into the world of Harry Potter stories, because after banging out at least 5 novel-length, 100’000 word-plus epics, I don’t know how much more I have to offer to the fandom. This new tale is a Potter/His Dark Materials crossover, and it’s a good bit of fun. I place Hermione with Lyra and she must find her way to Harry in a parallel world, whose background I have re-imagined too, and they will relive their Hogwarts years in much the same way, but with different causes and outcomes. Here’s the link below if you fancy taking a look. The chapters are short and punchy, and there are 6 at time of writing.
There is a method to this particular bout of madness, though. For I am using this as a vehicle to finally get my own novel onto paper, using the fanfic as a proving ground. I’m going to liberate myself of my perpetual self-doubt and second guesses. If I like it in the fanfiction, I’ll tweak it to fit my own story and just post it online to see if anyone else does. The first chapter is already up, click below to sample my word-smithing if that takes your fancy. And yes, for confusion, my new fanfic and my novel have the same title. It’s to try and trick my brain into thinking I’m writing the novel when I’m doing fanfic work. And if it works it will be worth the confusion.
My final point (sorry this has gone on a bit!) is that it’s been quite lovely to enjoy my beautiful city in the sun, as it does a passable impression of 28 Days Later. I might do a few more posts later that showcase more of my home town, just because I like showing it off to the world. The girlfriend and I have taken to using our exercise time for some epic strolls around Cardiff Bay, so I thought I’d whip out my camera and document the journey.
Thanks for reading, stay safe, and if someone tells you to inject disinfectant into your bloodstream just run away, kids, run away! Ciao for now.