Tuesday, 18 April 2017

THE MOTHER OF ALL WEEKS

MAY DAY MAY DAY! IT'S EASTER AND THE WORLD IS GOING CUCKOO!

I wonder when the last time Easter was so chock-full of news, like a confectionary egg bursting with cream? Perhaps in 1916? Maybe I am naïve, but it seems the past week has been nightmarishly busy with lots of dreadful things being decided or done by awful people. The fact that more than a few of them claim to be "Christians" only makes it all the more confusing.

Anyway, Trump went ahead and exceeded the ego limit. He dropped the Mother of all Bombs - a MOAB - a sadistically OTT bit of TNT that was pure theatre, and is even described by the US military as "designed to instil fear in the enemy" - which sounds like terrorism to me. Anyway, this bomb, even too big and nasty for Dubya to use in Iraq, got blown up over a mile radius. We can only imagine how many innocent farmers and shepherds were destroyed in that instant. This blog approves of some calculated, precision, targeted strikes, in just wars, but such broad-church blasting is ungenerousoly expansive. It is murderous sprawl and dumb as shit.

Then in Turkey the dictatorship tightened its grip, when a "slim majority" decided to let their leader become a ruler and stay on until 2029. He immediately used the referendum to justify bringing in the death penalty for traitors. Given that his definition is very wide indeed, we may start to see the sort of execution levels we get in China and the USA - worrying for a NATO ally. Trump of course congratulated the dictator-in-waiting.

I almost forgot the ongoing Korean Missile Crisis, which pits two megalomaniacs - either as ludicrous and dangerous as Dr Evil - against each other, and could still lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths if a war breaks out. Given the defiance from North Korea, and the "mad dogs" around the President, anything could happen. I myself suspect a Nixonian (Kissinger-created) doctrine of "the madman" is being deployed, to bluff, but the brinksmanship is pretty close to the edge.

And today, the British PM announced a sudden election for 8 June, in six weeks, to solidify her weak majority to go for Hard Brexit. Oddly, for a person dedicated to democracy and not playing games with politics, she is refusing to countenance any TV debates. One hopes a coalition of anti-Brexit MPS will gain a foothold, but Corbyn continues, bafflingly, to support this move (which breaks the understanding the fixed term would lead to a 2020 GE), after backing Brexit to the hilt. He is a quasi-quisling, it seems, or delusionally convinced he can somehow defeat the Tories on their own turf - strong governance.

I think there is more, including the very real possibility a very extremist person will soon be leading France.

I suppose the 1960s were crazy like this.  I can't quite remember a time since then quite so fraught as now.



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

HOLY WEEKS

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BREAK AN EGG AT EASTER

Several major religions are observing solemn, important festivals this month - holy days, holy weeks. Eyewear's team will be taking some time off, to be with their families and friends, and reflect, in their various ways, on this time of returning light.

Meanwhile, we have seen, in the past few days, inhumanity at the heart of our capitalist system (where it has been, hidden, for too long) - the decision to drag a doctor, bloodied and beaten, from a United Airlines plane he had lawfully bought a ticket for is yet another instance of the total decline in compassion and empathy rooting itself in a business-led model that ignores the value of life beneath the numbers.

Publishing, too, is not immune. Too often, authors, agents, and publishers, seek to profit from relationships that would be better off pursued for higher aims, of art, solidarity and creativity. Sharing is not much part of this dog-eat-dog Darwinian world, that pushes each against the other. It strikes me as one of the last paradoxes artists and writers avoid confronting - that the people who serve them (agents) utilise ruthless tactics worthy of a Hedge Fund manager, too often.

Business. Well, yes - but whether one is a vast airline, or a small press, a large agency, or a new author, we should seek to turn the work week away from a Cavalry of whips, jeers, taunts, blood and stones.

Yet, the Easter message is, Christ walked in that infernal district also, to paraphrase Lowry, once-read, less so now. Each of us to bear some measure of indignity and cruelty. But let us withhold the pain for others as we see them stumble past. Let's help people get to their work, patients, family, loved ones, their homes, in peace.

It is increasingly obvious that the mortal realm is bright and full of pain, as a songwriter once said. But some of that light can be from a simply warm day, when so many people clearly just want to lie out, or play, or spend time with those they care about. Simple cares, in a dark world.

No message here, really, but the age-old one - try and be kind to others. And yourself.

We will be back, end of April.

THE BEST OF 2017...

Aim High, more often Year-end Best of lists are invidious, and, also, these days, ubiquitous, to the point of madness. But we have love...