blame thatcher not bbrown

People are obviously getting increasingly pissed off with this credit crunch thing, and especially at the fact that companies are still making profits, albeit reduced ones, when the working classes are being asked to tighten their belts. Frankly this angers me too, but it isn’t so surprising when you think about it: private companies are designed to make profits. They have done nothing wrong, and the government cannot stop them.

The mistake was privatising the service industries. If they had remained in the public sector, brown could now step in and artificially buoy them against this global economic downturn. But no. the Tories privatised them, so they will continue screwing us. Ironically enough, because of this we will soon re-elect the party which caused this mess in the first place. How short-sighted can we get?

interesting article

I must admit this guardian article has given me considerable pause for thought. Things are indeed going wrong under new labour – a lot of people are becoming disenfranchised with it, forcing people to swing to the far right. This isn’t just happening here, but in Europe too. It certainly is a worrying trend: the labour back bench is sharpening knifes, the bnp are winning more and more seats on councils, and David CaMoron is measuring the curtains of number ten.

Personally, I’d chose the Tories over the bnp any day, but I’d prefer it if labour got a new leader, a fresh start, and sent CaMoron back to the prep school from whence he came.

true or false or both or true

One of the best things about going home for the weekend, apart from the food and the chance to watch top gear in comfort, is getting to read the new scientist. I could read it in the library at university of course, but it’s not quite the same. This week, there was a feature on reason itself, which interested me greatly.

There seem to be places where science and philosophy merge or overlap, and indeed spread into politics. It occurred to me, while I was reading, that questioning the essence of reason in itself betrayed a political bent. For one to ask such questions in the first place, it is necessary for one to assume that there are no absolutes, only perception. This is, of course, a movement which began in the enlightenment: the movement away from the idea of absolute truth.

Yet it occurs to me that this is, in and of itself, liberal. Had the forces of conservatism prevailed, we would have such to the old beliefs concerning true and false, and the enlightenment would never have happened. Ideas concerning the flexibility of truth, perception, etc are liberal ideas. But this is where I got into a muddle.

As I understand it, liberalism decrees that every point of view is equally valid, from whence it follows that there can be no one absolute truth. Conservatism, on the other hand, states that there are absolute truths, that we should stick to old values, and that concepts such as right and wrong do therefore exist. I wrote several years ago that this causes a paradox: if all viewpoints are valid, then conservatism is valid, but conservatism states that there is only one true viewpoint. Conservatism is essentially incompatible with science, then, ass they are both making opposite claims. If, as roger Penrose pointed out in his article, that we can no longer be absolutely sure that two and two make four, how can we be absolutely sure of anything at all? But then, how can we be sure that conservatism isn’t a good idea? If we can never be sure of anything, how can we be sure that we can never be sure of anything?

[matt scratches head] I guess the only solution is democracy: go by what the majority of people believe to be true (however ridiculously gullible and narrow-minded the majority are). Truth can only be determined by perception, and perception is both individual and relative. But if most people state that they believe in the idea of an absolute truth, then, under the standards of democracy, the concept of truth exists. Most people say that two an two is four, but it is possible that each time that sum has been done, people have got it wrong, however extremely remote that possibility is. We cannot go with the majority either. In a way, for one to say that there is no absolute truth, one must invoke a concept of truth, so both positions are equally valid. Truth does and does not exist simultaneously. Ergo, both conservatism and liberalism are equally valid.

This is all rather confusing. Time for me to get on with stuff though. I would, however, appreciate feedback.

perspective

There can be no doubt that yesterday’s bi-election in Scotland was the death-knell for Gordon brown. As much as I loathe that weasel CaMoron and his imageobsessed Tories, I cannot see any way out for labour. The thought of an election turns my stomach with fear but I now think one is probably imminent. If only people would see CaMoron for what he is; more and more people are turning back to the Tories. If only they had the brains to realise that, under the Tories, the situation would be much worse.

Yet I suppose I better keep some perspective. I was just checking the bbc website, and I read in the history section that on this day in 1939, ‘Nazi Germany begins the systematic ‘euthanasia’ of disabled children, killing many thousands.” While I may hurl abuse at the Tories and their leader, I know they remain rational.

Then again, if only others had enough perspective to realise how much better off the country is than in, say, 1996! They wouldn’t be so enamoured with CaMoron then!

fan culture

I must say that, even though I’ve had multiple distractions recently, I’m finding my research as fascinating as ever. It has, of course, taken something of a diversion recently, into fan culture. I must say that I find the discourse of the fan hugely engaging; it isn’t too far removed from that of the cinephile, and yet it is also very postmodern in the way it merges media. Yet there are places where the two discourses overlap, too: they both fixate on the contingent, for example.

I sometimes think I’ll be at university forever. I’m in two minds about this – part of me says I should move on, to find bigger pastures, as most of my friends have done; on the other hand, the environment here on campus is pretty much ideal for my needs: secure and safe, but allowing me the independence I need. What is quite certain though is that I’ll be here till December finishing my thesis. And then? Who knows? Maybe a PhD, either here or another university. I certainly think that what I’m doing has a PhD in it, and frankly it makes sense from the perspective of my needs.

apology

In the light of Beth’s own response to what I wrote yesterday, I’d like to apologise. It seems I grossly misunderstood her words. She corrects me: ”I am happy and confident all the time, this includes when I go out with my friends from mainstream school and do ‘normal things’.” …which is as it should be, and I must stop talking shit. Sorry beth

George Lucas in Love

I know it breaks my non link posting rule, but this is the work of genius. I’ve been reading a book on star wars fan’s and online communities – the fan-scholar being, in my opinion, every bit as engaged with his subject as the cinephile – which referenced several fan films. I was watching some, and George Lucas in Love seems too good not to share. It’s just chock full of intertextual references; one can tell that it was produced by a cinephile.

bianual worlds?

I find Onevoice, as an organisation, reparable. What it does in supplying a support framework for kids who use aac and their families, by bringing them together with role-models, is utterly pronominal. And yet there is something which isn’t quite right.

I was sitting,, yesterday afternoon, to a talk by a young voca user called Beth. Beth has the new lightwriter, and is bright as a button. Yet she described Onevoice as ‘her world’, a place where she could feel strong and confident, the implication being, of course, that outside of the biannual Onevoice events, she was not so confident.

This frankly worried me. I would guess that it isn’t just Beth that feels this way. Why should the worlds of such kids be so small? Why should they have to wait six months or so to show their true selves? You know me – I like to think I’m pretty confident enough (indeed, my confidence often seeps into stupidity) but it strikes me as unfair that kids like Beth should feel so constantly in the minority that she becomes shy.

I would like to tell her that ‘her world’ is ‘our world’; it exists everywhere. The fact that she uses a lightwriter is part of who she is, but only in the way that her brown hair is part of who she is. I fear she has restricted herself, as many do, to the sphere of her disability, which rhetorically exists separate from the mainstream. Thus, to her, ‘her word’ only exists twice a year.

I am glad Onevoice gives people confidence. But it mustn’t end there. It makes me sad that I don’t really know the solution.

1vpice summer 08 1

I won’t write much tonight. I just got in from Onevoice. My old friend lee took me, and we both enjoyed it. As I say, I found such work very for filling, and it as good to show my old school friend another aspect of my new life. Anyway, I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow, for now I have dinner to get and stuff to sort.

damn scallies

Tuesday afternoon something weird happened on my way to Chester; I’ve been in two minds over whether to record it here, since I don’t like dwelling on such matters. It is, however, very pertinent to this blog.

I was on the twenty, sitting quietly, on my way to Crewe. There were two boys at the back of the bus – they must have been about 16 or 17, in baseball caps and tracksuits. You know the type: scallies. I noticed them giggling at something, but thought little of it. The giggling, however, persisted. After a while the lady in front of theem turned around and told them to shut up. It was obvious then that I was the butt of their joke.

I am not used to being laughed at. Stared at, perhaps, but not laughed at. I suddenly felt angry. Am I comic? Am I so inferior to them that it inspires mirth? I wanted to throttle them; I wanted to tell them I have a degree, which is probably a damn sight more than they’re going to get (yes, I know I’m stereotyping here, but I was pissed off). That was the first time anyone has actually laughed at me, without me doing anything to cause it, and I did not like it one bit.