Triggering

I read earlier that Donald Trump’s son has now written a book called Triggered, apparently about ‘owning the libs’. It was mentioned at the end of a Guardian article about Trump’s state of the Union speech, by all accounts (well, all that count) one of the most aggressive, vitriolic, hate-ridden tracts of absolute bullshit ever spouted. It occurs to me that that just about sums the modern political right – particularly the American Right – up: they seem to want to wind those of us on the left up. They want to wind us up; they want to do and say things which they know will infuriate us. Why?

They seem to think it’s a sign of strength and dominance, but the truth is they do it because they cannot counter our arguments in any other way. Culturally, the liberal left now has the upper hand: we now live, for the most part, in multicultural, inclusive societies; everyone has rights and we are all, theoretically, equals. Any form of discrimination is frowned upon. Those are liberal, left-wing values that the vast majority of people now just accept as the way things should be.

Only, there are those who still don’t: those on the right who refuse to accept they have lost the argument. The problem for them is, they have no counter argument, no way to oppose the logic underpinning tolerance and acceptance. Deep down, they know everyone is equal and discrimination is bad, but they still want to think of theirselves as superior, so like children deliberately misbehaving, they break the rules to cause a reaction. These straight white males resent the diminishing of the social dominance they think should be their birthright, yet lacking the intelligence to understand the logic underpinning modern egalitarianism, they lash out by saying and doing things they deep down know they shouldn’t. They have no other way of countering liberalism other than to wind us up.

Theirs is a simplistic, immature worldview. After all, it takes a certain level of intelligence to see beyond one’s immediate needs to realise that, when we see ourselves as members of a wider society which we can contribute to, everyone benefits. By working together as equals, by contributing to society through taxation or otherwise, we can make the most of everyones abilities, irrespective of class, background, education or whatever. Put this to a conservative, though, and they’ll just accuse you of spouting Marxist propaganda, without being able to give any sort of counter argument. They would rather hoard their wealth, not caring about others, and lacking the intelligence to see the wisdom in working as a community, or indeed to realise they are only in the positions they are in through blind luck and selfishness. Thus when their social positions are threatened, their only recourse is to lash out with jibes and insults, baiting and enraging us rather than trying to engage with our arguments.

They may think they’re being big or brave or clever by spouting all this bilious bigotry, but like trolls on the internet, it betrays a deeply insecure person at odds with – and resenting – modern society. What they say may enrage us with it’s arrogance and bluster, but we must remember that they say it, not because they think they actually have a chance of resetting social values, but to lash out at a world they do not understand and feel disenfranchised by. Their bluster and arrogance are displays of power these men think they should have, but are in fact signs of deep insecurity, inadequacy, and an inability to accept, or comprehend, modern, liberal society.

Top of the mornin’ to ya

I just read that the Irish are now petitioning the EU to have Irish English replace British English as it’s primary working language. Of course, a lot of jokes abound about having to begin sessions with the phrase ”Top of the mornin’ to ya”, but the  gist of the argument is that, now the uk has left, switching to Irish English would be the most convenient because it will mean the least change. All the documents etc can stay in the same language. But I must admit my initial reaction was, wouldn’t the French be dying to convert the EU to french? We all know how proud the french are of their language*. But then you have to ask, why not German, Dutch, Finnish or Spanish? It would mean the European Comission having  to make an essentially arbitrary choice, so I suspect they’ll continue to use English. Plus, that will make things nice and easy for when we re-enter.

*French is already one of the EU’s official languages anyway.

Why I went to Peckham

I went to the Peckhamplex cinema in Peckham on saturday. I’ve been  going there quite a lot recently: It’s one of London’s leading independent cinemas, in the heart of one of it’s most  vibrant, fascinating suburbs. I really like Peckham, with it’s intoxicating mixture of cultures, high street thriving with colour and music and chatter from across the globe. You could ask why I go all that  way (two quite long bus rides) just to go to the cinema, especially when there are at least three cinemas much closer. There is something about this small cinema, screening films which mainstream cinema chains like Odeon don’t, which sets it apart: something about it’s small screening-rooms of less than a hundred seats, full of people  there out of a genuine interest in film, which makes the longer journey worth it.

Given that I watched The Irishman on Saturday, you could also ask – and I can already hear my parents doing so – why I would go all that way to watch a film I can watch at home on Netflix. But the experience is simply not the same: watching a film at the cinema makes it an event – something  you go specifically  to do. Watching a film on your computer, at the same desk where you  work, check the news  and browse Facebook, turns it into something different. Watching a film  becomes something less special and more throw-away: something to be done five or ten minutes at a time, before pausing it and doing other things. It strips film of it’s aura and turns it into  something you just watch to pass the time, like watching sort clips on Youtube. I’d  rather still award film the dignity it deserves.

This new mode of viewing interests me, though, especially in the way it contrasts with the type of cinephilia writers like Bazin and  Keathley describe. It’s completely new, brought about by new technology, so I don’t think much has been written  about it yet; but  I think it’s worth going far deeper. I’ve started to make a few notes on the subject, but   I can see this project potentially becoming something thesis length.

Better stay home

I’ve decided to stay home tonight. Part of me really wants to go up to Westminster and take my frustrations out on the p’tahks celebrating there, but what good would that achieve? I’d probably get abused, even more angry, and/or arrested. Better just stay home, chill out, and crack open a few beers.

I’m so furious it scares me

I truly doubt that I have ever felt  as angry as I currently do – it’s even effecting my sleep. After watching Laura Kuenssberg’s recap on the beeb last night of how we reached this point, it is clear to me Brexit is  a crime. I am incandescent with rage. Because of lies and deceit, we are now about to be dragged out of the greatest, most noble union of nations. Whenever I think about it, my body becomes hard to control and my limbs shake in fury; for a few moments my rage becomes white hot and I want to seek out and destroy the bastards behind this calamity, even though I know that would ultimately achieve nothing.. To think that so many utter, utter morons still support this abomination makes it even worse. I’m so furious it scares me, and I  don’t know what to do about it.