Modern religion at it’s ‘best’

I think I’ll just flag this up tonight, simply because it’s such a perfect illustration of the hypocrisy of modern religion. A texas televangelist refused to let people effected by hurricane Harvey take refuge in his multi-billion dollar ‘church’ for fear that they might damage the building. I find that staggering and utterly disgusting. A man who professes to be christian, who makes huge amounts of money claiming to speak for god, would only offer people shelter after his initial refusal to do so was reported on national television. What else do you need to know about these evangelical tosspots?

The schism in society

I’m afraid I must agree with this article. Brexit has made Britain a hostile, divided nation. Since the referendum, we seem as a country, to have been torn in two, with 48% of us despising 52%. I’m as guilty of it as anyone: every piece of news makes me resent those who voted to leave even more. I wonder how they could be so stupid; I wonder how they could allow theirselves to be fooled by such obvious, manifest folly. Yet this cannot go on – we cannot continue to hate eachother.

The problem is, I think it will. As the shit really starts to hit the fan, the resentment will grow. The remain group will get more and more angry that their warnings were ignored, while the outists will get increasingly defensive and start to thrash out as their dreams crumble and their lies are exposed. It will reach the point where they start denying reality, even when it becomes so obvious that it will be like arguing day was night. We’re already beginning to see this happen as the leavers start to blame everyone but theirselves for the disaster they have brought about. Those they fooled into voting for brexit will either admit their mistake or become equally defensive, refusing to admit what to anyone else is patently obvious. This will cause a schism in society, a schism which will just get wider and wider as the reality of last year’s folly sinks in. Half of us will feel they have been proven right yet are powerless to stop the coming catastrophe; the other half will feel unfairly blamed and resent having been duped, their mighty act of defiance falling to pieces just as the experts predicted it would.

Oh how we’ll all soon wish that last year never happened.

The Unbrexit

I am still off the booze, but I might have to suspend my abstinence to visit this pub. The Unbrexit is a newly-opened pub in Ahaus, Germany. It’s an english-style public house complete with carpets and real ale, and is a reaction to the current brexit farce. It ”claims to be ‘the last British place remaining part of the EU.’ With English football on the TV, lager, and fish and chips, it’s the perfect refuge for Britons in Europe.” I love it. At least someone is still laughing – mind you, this absurdity is fast reaching the point where there is not much else one can do.

man with cerebral palsy told he cannot pass journalism course because he cannot do shorthand

I just came across this piece from Scotland, and I am suddenly appalled. A nineteen year old man with cerebral palsy has been told that he cannot pass his journalism course because he cannot do shorthand. I find that absurd: he’s fine at everything else, but because he cannot physically write using shorthand, he can’t pass. That’s a bit like me failing Film Studies because I can’t physically handle a camera. That this sort of thing still happens these days is frankly utterly ridiculous. Do any professional journalists still use shorthand these days anyway?

Time Team on Shooters Hill

Lyn and I were out yesterday in the local parks enjoying the sun when I decided to take her to the place I mentioned here, simply to enjoy the view with her. It’s a nice stroll up Shooters Hill, which we would both enjoy. It went well and we had a lovely time. After I showed her the view I’d found, Lyn guided me into a nearby park which had an even better view. When we got home, out of curiosity I decided to tap ‘Shooters Hill’ into youtube to see what came up. I found this Time Team episode. It’s from about 2008, I think, so before I got here; but it goes into the history of the area. Shooters Hill was a major road the nazis would have used had they invaded in 1942, so it was heavily defended. The program looks for and finds the remains of some of those defences. I find that fascinating. The program actually shows some of the places we passed yesterday, so I may pop back up there later to see if I can find any of that history myself, now I know what to look for.

The State

A few days ago I came across an article on the bbc’s website about The State, Channel Four’s recent four part drama around Isis. Everyone seemed to be praising it and saying how gritty and realistic it was, so I decided to give it a watch. The events it concerns are still quite current, so I was interested to see what it had to say about them. I just finished giving all four episodes a watch, and must say I am quite intrigued.

I’m in two minds about it. I found the Mise-en-scene somehow too clean and sanitised. No matter how gritty the film tries to be, it still looks like a commercial tv program. The use of things like computers, the internet and mobile phones gives the piece too much of a western aesthetic. While people out there must of course use such technology, it seemed oddly at odds with the brutality the piece was trying to portray. It was as if, no matter how hard it tried, the film couldn’t escape the fact that it is a western interpretation of what is happening in the middle east.

Moreover, the actors feel less like desperate freedom fighters and more like…well, actors, fresh out of drama school. They were trying to portray half-crazy religious fanatics; they seemed too sane, and not unhinged enough. The situation they are in is absolutely brutal, yet they still felt to me like westerners. Don’t get me wrong: this is indeed a brutal piece of television, definitely worth watching; yet it couldn’t escape it’s status as a piece of western art made, presumably, by western, highly educated people, trying their best to depict a scenario from the outside. At times it felt like a history or geography lesson, with characters going into passages of exposition, seemingly tagged on for the benefit of the viewer. These jarred with the flow of the piece, and almost seemed included just to demonstrate how much the writers knew. On the other hand, I like how Arabic terms were given on-screen definitions. In films like these, one must balance the need to educate with the need for verisimilitude, and unfortunately I don’t think this one quite struck it.

I did indeed learn quite a lot from this film, as i’m sure many people did; yet something about it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t gritty or dirty enough – there wasn’t enough sand or dust. The hospital scenes, for instance, could have been filmed at our local NHS: such scenes did not feel like depictions of a hellish, impoverished hospital in some bombed out Syrian city, but like something from Holby City. The problem might have been that this was a television program, and I did not feel as drawn in as I might have had this been a piece of cinema. Others have praised it for it’s grittiness and realism, but although it certainly tried to depict the brutality of what is currently happening in the middle east, to me it didn’t seem real enough. It felt to me like just another television drama, it’s script full of cliches and it’s characters nowhere near politically or religiously radical enough. To my mind, the audiovisual language used was too conventionally televisual when perhaps, given the subject matter, it should have been more full bodied, weighty and cinematic.

I feel bad about saying that though, because what this program was trying to achieve was quite monumental. Very few of us can possibly imagine what is happening out there right now. For Channel Four to try to amend that is praiseworthy. This was it’s attempt, as best it could, to show us a horrifying reality; yet it would appear that that reality, that Real, might be just too horrifying for it to truly show.

All I really need

You know, you can see all the bands you like; you can meet all your heroes and shake hands with all your favourite film stars; you can eat in the best restaurants and drink all the top class wines. You can visit all the beautiful landscapes on earth. You can do whatever you like, but I know now that all I need to be truly happy is a nice long walk out with Lyn. I realised that this afternoon, as I trundled behind her through Greenwich Park. In that moment, as we steered our powerchairs under the ancient trees, the whir of our motors mingling with the birdsong, I felt truly content: if I wanted to be happy, that was all I really needed.

Was brexit a backlash by non-graduates?

I’m not sure whether or not I’ve mentioned this on here before, but it’s a pet theory I’ve had for a while. Can the current cultural conflicts of brexiteer vs remainer and trump supporter vs sane person have their roots in the recent increase in university graduates, and a rebellion against that perceived intellegencia by those who were left behind? Fed up of being talked down to and told what to do, people did the exact opposite of what the experts said; might that have been an unintended effect of more people going to uni? The authorities apparently want fifty percent of us to be graduates: I can’t help wonder whether this has created a feeling of resentment by those ‘left behind’, those who chose to work instead. As often happens in a tiered system like that, this lead to mistrust and resentment. People deliberately rebelled against what their supposed betters were telling them and voted in the opposite way to how they were advised, even though it would completely screw us all in the long one. How else can you explain such foolishness? An unexpected consequence of the creation of a generation of graduates may have been a mistrust of academics in the other half of society.

Brexit fanaticism is reaching a dangerous point.

I was apalled the other day when I saw that a group of researchers from Cardiff had started to claim that Brexit could turn out to boost the economy. I didn’t write anything about it on here because I don’t know that much about economics, but it seemed like it ran directly counter to everything everyone else has been saying. I knew too that the outists would pounce on it, claiming it added validity to their spoutings that all the other experts were wrong and that Britain would be fine after it leaves it’s nearest, biggest market. My gut said that was utter bollocks and this report should be ignored as the utter tripe it is, but I had nothing solid to base that on.

Now, however, I do. According to this independent article, that study should never have been published, much less pounced upon by the likes of the bbc. It’s lead author, Patrick Millford, has a history of making such claims, and has been refuted and shown to cherry-pick evidence many times. He just gave his outist friends what they wanted to hear with total disregard for intellectual honesty. He has at least allowed them to claim that the jury is still out on the impact of Brexit: it could be good or bad.

Only, it isn’t. The vast, vast majority of accredited economists – and anyone capable of thinking clearly, for that matter – can see what a disaster Brexit will be. The shit is already starting to hit the fan and we haven’t even left yet. The problem is, tripe such as Millford’s allows the outists to cling to their beliefs, refusing to accept the truth even when it becomes as obvious as day and night. We see the same bewildering behaviour in Trump supporters in America. No doubt they’ll now claim that this Independent article is biassed and that millford is right; Brexit is reaching a point where facts, no matter how demonstrable, do not matter, and the brexiteers will continue to claim they are right an everyone else is wrong no matter what. It has now reached a dangerous point psychologically, the fanaticism behind it almost religious, and we should all be getting pretty worried about it.

Backspace as back is back

Just a quick techie note today. I’m a big fan of using backspace to go back in my web browser, and I’ve been using it for ages. It’s a lot easier than faffing around with my rollerball when I want to quickly return to the page I was just on. My new mac didn’t have that function though: apparently the guys at Chrome had had loads of complaints about it. It was irritating me though. Luckily a quick search resolved the issue. There is an add-on you can install to restore the function, which you can find here. I can now go back to my heart’s content.