Sunday, 13 November 2016

Sunday Summary // Heavy on the Contemplation | Creatures of a higher order

Dear FOQ

... Yes, you should probably worry about how cheery this post will be when I kick off with a video of Leonard Cohen (!) I will try to intersperse this Summary Glummary with enough gifs to dissuade you from turning to drink (although I won't object to you reading this bloggo with a cheeky vino for company).

Current mood – this girl:

It's almost impossible to stay upbeat these days. to find positivity in the day-to-day storm of flying faeces that seems to bombard us, from the fall-out of the referendum (I refuse to use the B-word; it's an aberration of language) to That Election, to more celebrity deaths this year than it seems possible to tally up, to various situations closer to home over which we feel we have lost control.

It can so easily feel as though there is absolutely No Point making any definite plans for a future, or fixing on anything worth looking forward to, because we as a species have made such misguided choices that we have lit a fuse under our own backsides and we're not moving fast enough to get out of the way.

... Bleak much?

I just ... cannot even these days.

I just can't understand anything.

I can't understand how we have progressed so far in some ways, and devolved in so many others. Not that I have the option to spawn any time soon but even if I did ... would I want to subject any child of mine to the world as it is, and all the suffering therein?

How are we supposed to teach positive values when those in charge of our countries have questionable values, and when war and suffering come as standard in the news every day. Shouldn't we have moved beyond that now?

Here's the thing: There are still trillions of us left – 'us' being thinking, passionate beings – refusing to believe that this is how we've turned out as a species even after everything, and yet, where is our power?

Post-referendum I tried to share some small snippets of positivity in the Face of Doom, and for a while it worked; and even now I'm looking for the Upside in this situation, the Voice of Reason, but every time it sounds, it is quashed by someone else's Voice saying, "Oh, that's just how it is; democracy, human nature, blah blah blah."

But if we accept how things are because That's How They've Always Been we will never initiate change.

The irony is, that while we have been dumbed down as a species to the point where people can't even spell the word 'our' in the context of protesting that we should 'take are country back' the workings of the world have become much, much too complicated.

{Why yes, those are the opening credits of The Big Bang Theory}

I'm not going to get too political because, well, I'm not clever enough to understand the intricacies of politics; but that's part of the problem.

Politics is so subdivided that it's impossible to understand exactly what each party's stance is. What's left? What's right?! (In the real world I can't actually tell my left from my right most of the time so I'm of no use to anyone, really.)

All I know is that when I see Caroline Lucas speaking I want to hug her for her compassion and common sense, then move to Brighton Pavilion to be part of her constituency. But that's my stuff.

And I'm clearly too stupid to understand why people are claiming that democracy prevailed over the US election.

Folk are telling those who voted for Clinton (or would have voted for Sanders had he stayed in the race) to Stop Whinging, this is the Will of the People, in much the same way people told those who voted to Remain in the EU to Stop Whinging.

But neither was a fair outcome as far as I can tell; common sense and fairness would decree that The Person (or the Proposition) With the Most Votes is the Person in Whom More People had Confidence, who made promises that they could keep and see through, who was seen to be acting in the best interests of the greatest number of people regardless of demographic differences; and That Person Would then be Given the Relevant Position.

Admittedly, there was a comparatively minuscule margin between the votes either way, so in fact, the populace had not much more confidence in one individual than another.

(And let us not forget that over 40% of the vote-eligible population did not vote. Maybe that was a sorry sign of apathy. Or maybe, just maybe, that 42.4% honestly didn't know which of two fairly uncertain choices to align themselves with. Sound familiar?)

Anyway. I digress.

At some very early point in our collective consciousness, way back in the heady mists of time, even in biblical times, we decided to fight amongst ourselves, maybe just to give ourselves something to do, and because reviling each other's differences takes less effort and consideration than celebrating them, or indeed identifying what makes us alike (i.e. our ability to survive the human experience); our differences are not to be commended or considered, but to be torn down. The Other is still to be feared and misunderstood.

The fight has been carried on to digital platforms as much as it exists in Syria and all war-torn places, and it's sickening to see.

Social media forums should consider disabling comments until such a time as people realise that they cannot make disgusting, ignorant, CAPS-LOCK-ANGRY remarks on posts and articles and get away with the threats they leave there.

Except, of course, that they can, and they will until these forums are more strictly policed.

We as human beings have so much potential and we could do so much good on this planet, but we have defaulted to conflict and nobody has ever stopped to think, actually, "war, what is it good for? Huh! Absolutely nothin'." Oh, well, if they have, they have been powerless to put a stop to it once and for all. (With apologies to Edwin Starr.)

Conviction in one's opinions and beliefs is good, and of course we're never all going to agree on everything.

But conflict and fall-out comes when we refuse to believe that anyone else's conviction could be as strong or as credible as our own.

We can be as passionate as we like, but until we accept that those people who believe something different from us are as passionate about those beliefs as we are, we're not going to progress.

If you watched the video at the top of the post, which is a fairly ropey video recording of the late Leonard Cohen performing If It Be Your Will (probably my favourite of his songs, thanks in huge part to Pump Up the Volume) in Warsaw in the mid-1980s, you will have heard his opening words:
"I don't know which side anybody's on any more, and I don't really care. There is a moment ... when we have to transcend the side we're on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order. That doesn't mean that I don't wish you courage in your struggle. There is [sic] ... on both sides of this struggle men of good will and that is important to remember. ..."
And those words are as poignant now as then.

That man really was a true poet, wasn't he.

Narcissistic as it is to quote oneself, this is my blog and I'm going to do it: on Friday, in the wake of news of Leonard Cohen's death, I considered (on that hugely diplomatic and open-minded forum we call Facebook) that "2016 has largely been about taking the genii from us [Cohen, Bowie, among many, many others] and handing the fools all the power."

Friday morning was a Pinnacle of Bleak, friends.

However. However, a very wise man (hello, Brian Jenkins!) remarked, in a Leibniz stylee, that "everything is for the best in this the best of all possible worlds // and it is up to us to make it so" to which, ol' Glumster here bemoaned how powerless and incredulous we felt ... "We're not," said Wise Brian; "We need to understand and engage."

So, maybe we do feel like everything is out of control. But if enough of us feel that way, maybe just maybe there is momentum to make a positive change. If we no longer accept that this is how things are going to be, and question, and protest peacefully, then maybe things will be all right. This happened, after all.

I leave you at this juncture with another small glimmer of hope sought on Twitter, by author Claire King:

{via here}

Right. Back to the fluffy stuff.


This week, I have mostly been ...



The Book Group

... Meh.

It completely lost its direction towards the end of series one and came back as an entirely different proposition in series two.

A full rewatching of Father Ted is now on the cards. I need something silly and whimsical.

{Well, if Mrs Doyle insists ...}


Pump Up the Volume (1990)

Way back when (let's rewind by twenty-one years), in my disconsolate sixth-form days, when I was angry about everything, I played this film on a loop. (As ever, this trailer does not do the film any favours!)

And I played the soundtrack on a loop. (It was the first CD I ever bought. I still have it. It still pleases me. I did have to hunt down the original Leonard Cohen tracks, If It Be Your Will and Everybody Knows separately as they weren't included but the soundtrack still rocked my 17-year-old world.)

Laying aside the fact that the styling of the film is oh, so early nineties (oh, Seth Green-from-Buffy and that monumental ginger mullet – below, left!):

there is much in this film that is still applicable now.

Which, I suppose, might tell us exactly how little has moved on society-wise in twenty-six years. Maybe the technology is dated; but, set now, Mark/Harry would probably be a podcaster rather than a shock-jock; and his message would be the same.

{After the last Bake-Off, Paige struggled to find anything else worth
watching on telly. Ergo, microwave pyrotechnics were the next
best thing.}

Doing a lil' bit of ...

While my sanity and busy life schedule, dahlings, is currently unable to accommodate Official NaNoWriMo time, I have however been inspired to carve out small pockets of time for Unofficial NaNoWriMo-ing. Which is still quite tricksy on the daily commute; and since I seem to give myself an impossibly long list of Things to Do when I get home of an evening, writing gets bumped right down the list of priorities. But when I get to it ... it feels good. Really good.

I even bought new cartridges to mark the auspicious occasion.


... Y'know what?

That's actually it.

That is all I have done aside from cultivate ennui and despair.

But wait! What doth I see on the horizon? Why, it be birthdays! The birthdays (both on Thursday) of two remarkable yet very different ladies (with 33 years between them):

and for River ...

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight

One verbal • one visual

Fortnightly Web Finds
{Piglet in sweater-sock-squee combo | via here}
  • And while the John Lewis ad is cute an' all, the M&S Christmas ad gave me All the Feels. Gawd, I'm such a sucker. | on YouTube via M&S

  • Finally (with thanks to May for sharing this with me), this is amazing: While My Guitar Gently Weeps played on a ukulele (by a young man named Jake Shimabukuro) | on YouTube:

Stay safe, think positive.

qb xx

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