Article by Beth Porter
Wittier voices than mine have been challenged with sharing online summaries of the current human condition. To wit the above parody doing the social media rounds.
I don’t just mean the daily to-and-fro of global covid-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths; nor what’s become a competitive jostle to win the coveted trophy: We Got The Vaccine and We Got It First. So yah-boo-sux to you.
On and on we scurry to read the latest before a new media dump lands upon us. This constant stream of info has acquired its own epithet: churnalism. A network [solo as well as amalgamated], churning out barely developed ideas, primarily designed to fill space and justify advertising revenue… or as self-promotion.
“You hypocrite!” I see you finger-pointing. And, yes, I recognise my own hypocrisy. This column is presented in an online publication, after all. Though I fancy there’s a difference.
As ever, I’m pledged to stand back, get a wider view, dare to ask unspoken questions. I never presume to have answers, but always seek to stimulate debate from a fresh perspective. As a journalist and socio-cultural analyst, that seems more logical. It’s the three-step process of social as well as scientific method: 1. Identify the ingredients 2. Design and test a hypothesis, offering informed debate 3. Synthesize the results, apply, and declare a proof [however open to future refutation given new facts]
In case anyone’s in doubt about my personal vision, it’s only by pooling our intellectual resources that we have any hope of navigating the slimy mire of the present. We’re like those fashionable French aristos, picking our way through shit-filled boulevards, balanced on high heels, wearing powdered peri-wigs to protect against fleas, and reeking of perfume against the stench of the plague.
We’re currently at Step Two.
Talk to the Hand
Yes, our species has emerged from more destructive threats than we face at the moment. Although we’ve never been the fastest, most coordinated, best-sighted or most effective in the nose and ear department, we do possess an uncanny ability to adapt, whatever the circumstances. In that, we’re rivalled by the several species of ubiquitous cockroach. Their survival success over millennia speaks for itself.
But surveying the landscape that’s scarred the planet over the past decade, we Great Britishers have been queuing up to take sides. The goading spurs of our so-called leaders drive us to a phony word-war.
We’re increasingly obdurate, heels dug in, alienating friends and family, re-defining loyalty, and finally losing sight completely of the consequences of our choices.
No matter which way we turn our respective telescopes, deep divisions appear replicated on every continent. It’s only the few who seek out other points of view in an attempt to understand why and how we’ve become so ideologically competitive.
The majority, sadly, immured within walls which vindicate our prejudices, continue to regard ideas as commodities rather than as a means of genuine exchange. Holding up the barrier of the unhearing Hand is a sure-fire guarantee of entrenchment, and, like a faulty virus mask, allows the scourge of neo-fascism to leak out, infecting us all.
It’s a Numbers Game
One thing’s for sure… we’re re-assessing our own numeracy. This isn’t the forum to rehearse the pros and cons of the two headline grabbers of the past decade, namely Brexit and the Pandemic.
But we’re surfing a wave calculated in trillions, billions, millions, and ultimately humble hundreds… all transparent as water, all breaking on the shore and seeping into the sands of misinformation. The sand’s in our eyes good and proper.
We can shout and carp about immigration, or fail to untangle the threads connecting testing capacity and actual results. But it‘s the attempts by paid and vested-interest squawkers to quantify often contradictory figures that bamboozle us little people into our current dilemma.
Work from home. Go back to work. Take public transport. Drive if you can. Go to school. Unless you’ve got symptoms. Then everyone out. Wear a mask. Unless you’re exempt. Go shopping, but stay at home. No talking, no singing, no mingling. Unless you’re shooting grouse. Or badgers.
“Do what you’re told,” we’re told. “Otherwise we will rip the clothes from your back. Count to six, it’s simple. If not, pay that fine. If not, off you pop to jail.”
It’s The Law. Ooh, scary! Following rules is what we’re traditionally so good at. Yes, but, ahem, pardon me for asking, but please, sir, can you just clarify… “Shut up, you rabble, or we’ll send out The Big Guns!”
Did I mention the E-word? Here in the UK, and ever sooner in the USA, elections loom. Far more dangerous than the numbers game is our naïve delusion that voting defines democracy.
Despite documented examples of corruption by candidates all over the world, we put faith in some out-moded trope. The power balance may inch this way or that, but the power never really shifts.
In the UK it’s primarily a class issue, whatever the opposition rhetoric. Across the pond the only swamp being drained is some sliver of truth. And the very latest documents released at the time of writing, prove that it’s the major global banking institutions which have been in league with criminal gangs based on every continent that are funding our societies with laundered money from the drug trade and hushed up slavery.
When governments resort to borrowing, quantitative easing, and other adjustments to keep an economy bouncing, that’s billions upon billions of dodgy dosh. No wonder it’s known as filthy lucre!
But, yeah, sure, let’s believe those loud-mouths blaming immigrants for all our troubles. And that includes the outright lies about the origins of the Pandemic.
Excellent work by labs plotting the genomes of certain mammals has traced the virus to bats. More than 1200 species of this versatile beastie account for about 20% of all the mammals in the world.
Let me say that again. Bats comprise a fifth of all the mammals in the entire world!
In the run-up to 2020, bats carrying covid-19 turned up in South Korea, Hong Kong, and other south-east Asia countries. Some carcases found their way into the wet-meat markets of China. So to call it the China virus is not only an outright lie, it’s as stupid as naming the flu pandemic of 1918 the Spain virus.
We certainly don’t hear POTUS referring to it as the Bat Virus!
The clear advantage of his demonisation and his baying followers is to seek control of the trading arrangements between the UK and the EU, which are being closely monitored by the White House. The art of the deal? More like Dealers Choice along the Vegas strip!
Meanwhile, real people are dying. Millions of ‘em.
You’re Dead To Me
Not only people are succumbing to the virus. The constant scramble to re-boot the economies of the world has also taken a tragic toll on habitats.
Sir David Attenborough’s cogent presentations probably need to be piped into every home on a daily basis, but most especially be required viewing by every policy maker and government representative around the world. There cannot be a voice of greater conviction than his.
He understands in a visceral way how the ill-conceived and short-term measures we’re all facing pale into insignificance when compared with the future of a wounded world. Perhaps, even, a planet that has already fallen over the precipice.
Attenborough speaks such sense about the importance of protecting bio-diversity; about the direct connections between every living thing and its place in the function and structure of life on Earth.
He knows that with the death of the last Galapagos giant tortoise, or the decimation of healthy acres of lush rainforest to produce palm oil… it is our future under threat.
That’s why he’s so keen to support the initiatives of Extinction Rebellion. He’s wise enough to understand the importance of ripping off the ineffective band-aids that can never staunch the bleeding wounds of political policies. He’s humble and modest enough to hear the fresh, new ideas that can coalesce into positive ways to make our common home available to all.
He admits he may not live to see such fundamental change, and he believes there’s still just enough time to reverse the destruction already set in train.
As nations struggle to breathe, airways inflamed with the current corona virus and plastic micro-particulates, can we really allow the proceeds of filthy lucre and corrupt political options to destroy what they pretend to protect?
If you continue to focus on the diversions, you literally are dead to me. I say with selfish sadness, so am I to you.
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This post was written by LPJAdmin