You may have noticed me fretting recently about how worrying things were getting on both sides of the atlantic: here, of course, we have the travesty of Brexit, and in america they have the farce that is trump. But it now seems the days of both shambles are numbered: Labour is at last putting it’s weight behind a second referendum, and with the high court effectively calling the result of the first void, it’s only a matter of time before the damage of 2016 is undone. In America yesterday, Trump’s former lawyer branded him a racist and a liar; the evidence that russia interfered in his election is now irrefutable. Surely it’s now only a matter of time before Trump is impeached. Thus both obscenities are surely now coming to an end. At last, intelligence is making a come-back. The only question now is, which farce will end first?
George Orwell once famously told the tale of when the animals booted out the farmer and took over the farm, only to then become as autocratic as the farmers. Perhaps it’s now time for a new story, about another farm which suddenly decides not to trade with it’s neighbours, isolating itself, becoming poorer and poorer yet refusing to admit it’s mistake. It’s just an idea at the moment, but you have to wonder what old Orwell would have made of Brexit. I also think now is the perfect time for a bit of allegory: if the outists refuse to admit the obvious, perhaps we can get through to them by taking more subtle routes.
It doesn’t seem that long since the last time I wished my little brother Luke a happy birthday on here. Then again, it was quite a hectic year. I still don’t see that much of him – both my brothers are very busy these days. Even our conversations on Skype seem few and far between. I’ll just wish him a happy birthday on here, then, and promise a good catch-up when we can.
Late yesterday afternoon I came across something very interesting indeed on the bbc Iplayer. I had never heard of Jerk before, but, scanning the program pictures for something to watch, it appeared to involve a guy with cerebral palsy. Naturally I decided to give it a try, but what I saw has me in two minds.
The Guardian calls Jerk a dark comedy, but I’m not sure that does it justice. It stars Tim Renkow as a guy who seems to think his (mildish) cp is a license to be a complete dick. An american living in London, he uses a rolator, walks around barefoot and doesn’t get out of bed until his mum skypes him. Of course, any program involving a character with a disability is to be welcomed, but the comedy seems to derive from the idea that his cp lets him get away with being a total wanker. To me, renkow seems to be saying ”Look at me, look what a slovenly tosser I am, but I have cerebral palsy so that makes it ok.” I know we spastics need more representation in the media, but is this really the type of representation we need? I’m not sure I like being represented in this way, by some slobbish yank who thinks the fact he has cp means he can be a complete dick. I only watched the first two episodes and plan to get the rest watched in due course, but so far, I must say seeing someone use his disability like this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. After all, he’s giving all the tricks away.
The working title of the next James Bond has been revealed to be ‘Shatterhand’, but even without knowing anything else I think I can predict this one’s gonna suck. It’s now due for release in April next year, a full five years after Spectre, and, as big a fan of Daniel Craig’s 007 that I am, I think by then he’ll be way past it. I just can’t see him still having the energy he initially brought to the franchise; it’s also set to be Craig’s last film as Bond, so there won’t be quite as much onus on him to do a good job. Of course, I hope I’m wrong and that Shatterhand will be just as great as Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre, but at the moment I think I’m right to be pessimistic.
Something just happened which might well have me chuckling all afternoon. I was in the park enjoying a coffee when a group of young lads lead by an adult came up to the cafe. They were obviously having a break in their half term football lesson, and must have been about eight or nine. As often happens, I got a few stares, but I just ignored them and got on with my coffee. I laughed out loud though, when I heard one boy say to his friend “I saw him on Britain’s Got Talent!” With a VOCA user doing so well on national tv, I wonder whether being confused with Lee Ridley is something I ought to get used to.
I really can’t make my mind up about Shamima Begum, the teenager who left London to join ISIS. The way she now wants her UK citizenship back strikes me as hypocritical, to be honest: she left the country to join a group of dangerous religious nutters, but now they have lost their war she wants to come back and resume a normal western life as if nothing has happened. She made her choice to join this band of lunatics; to demand that is just forgotten about seems to me more than a little arrogant, as does the way she seems to think she has a right to say what is and is not just. Yet as soon as I say that I sound like all these right wing p’tahks who so appal me. She has rights, as does her unborn child – rights which cannot be forgotten about, no matter what this silly little girl has done. Were we to forget about those rights we would be no better than the religious, right-wing nutters who brainwashed her in the first place. What the xenophobic morons are currently saying about her is disgusting. I thus see both sides of the argument, and can’t make my mind up.
I came across this Guardian video earlier, and it does not make for comfortable viewing at all. “Since the Brexit vote in 2016 Ukip is no longer primarily concerned with attacking the European Union. Now led by Gerard Batten the party has started to normalise far-right ideas and has given roles to figures including Tommy Robinson. The Guardian’s Peter Walker asks how it happened and examines what it means for British politics.” Far right politics seems resurgent across Europe and America, and to be honest it’s becoming very frightening. Ukip is heading further to the right, the tories are following them, and Labour are useless as an opposition. Politics is a complete mess right now, but it’s a worrying mess because there’s no telling where all this is going to end up.
I really must say how much I’m enjoying Africa with Ade Adepitan on sunday nights. It is refreshing to see a disabled person host a high quality documentary program which isn’t specifically about disability. Of course, Adepitan’s disability comes into play at times, for example when we see him struggling to push his wheelchair down a rough path, but that is treated as incidental to the show. What comes through is Adepitan’s enjoyment and curiosity; it’s clear he likes exploring, and Africa really is a fascinating, misunderstood part of the world. At the same time, the fact that he uses a wheelchair adds another – I think very welcome – dimension to the show. Travel isn’t always easy for people with mobility problems I can tell you, and we see Adepitan encounter problems Michael Palin never has; but these are counterpointed by his clear enthusiasm for what he is doing. I think this gives the program just the right mix of wonder and realism. A great addition to sunday night tv, then. Let’s hope this is just the first trip of many Adepitan takes.