Monday, 9 July 2012

Dystopia revisited


Something very depressing occurred to me this morning - that all this industrial activity front and back, 24 hours a day, is just the commercial equivalent of fiddling whilst Rome burns.

I cannot say whether or not my spirits would have been lifted if I had gone to bed last night in the secure knowledge that Andy Murray had won the men's final, but the sight of one of a pair of nesting gulls on a nearby roof, desperately trying to cower from vicious (thanks, Sarah) attack by it's neighbours because it has a broken wing, did not help.  I don't know how it got back to it's roost when it cannot fly, but maybe it was broken up there - possibly by one of it's neighbours.  Red in tooth, claw and beak.

A broadcaster this morning drew a parallel between the current events in Syria and the atrocities committed in the 1870s by Ottoman Turkey in Bulgaria, when the slitting of the throats of innocent women and children was glossed over by a prime minister who was keen not to upset Turkey.  Benjamin Disraeli's lines were spoken by Andrew Sachs - the actor who played Manuel in 'Fawlty Towers'.

In the end, they all agreed that there are some international situations which you just have to sit back and watch - even if you can afford to get militarily involved.  Paddy Ashdown, the ex-soldier turned politician, has first-hand knowledge of this, when he donned a blue helmet and went over to the Balkans to stand by and stare as hundreds of civilians had their throats cut by an opposing tribe - knowing that they could be observed doing it with impunity.  Who needs the Peace Corps?

For 'Bulgaria', read Syria, and for the 'Ottoman Empire', read Russia.  Whilst the women and children are being slaughtered with Russia's blessing, two Russian oligarchs are currently fighting it out in London, squabbling over a few million dollars which they don't need - a fraction of the profits made by the biggest aluminium works in the world, the ownership of which is being contested by one over the other.  London's top barristers are making so much money from this, that the loser of the case will probably pay more than the sum contested.

The whole point of the radio program which had Sachs reading Disraeli was to show that there are events in history which continually repeat themselves, and we are supposed to learn a lesson from taking a long-view.  The lesson to be learned from any of this is that psychopaths have never - and will never - shed a single tear over the violent death of one innocent child.  The other lesson to be learned (too late now) is that - somehow - we have allowed psychopaths to infiltrate every aspect of international social life until they are now in such a position of global power, that there is almost nothing anyone can do about it, other than wait for them to die off and hope they do not form dysfunctional dynasties.

Happy Monday.


15 comments:

  1. It occurs to me Tom that there are similarities between that seagull and other goings on in the world.
    Our politicians may appear to be sympathetic when innocents are slaughtered (isn't it always the innocent who suffer) but as far as the Middle East is concerned then the key word here is OIL, not innocents.
    I thought Andy Murray did very well to get one set against Federer and I admired the way he gave it his best shot. Playing against a home crowd with the weight of their expectations on your shoulders couldn't have been easy. Maybe £575,000 softened the blow but I really don't think money was involved in his thinking here. Happy Monday to you too - if the weather is like it is here get your electric blanket out.

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    1. Oh, I'd forgotten about oil - or the lack of it.

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  2. Bloody hell I feel depressed now.

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  3. I read this and sadly agreed with your view and take on things... but do you know what...I just have to look away from the reality of the world's woes at the moment...I have to be the one that fiddles away on the palace ramparts when Rome Burns

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    1. Most of the time, so do I - this is why I am so keen on fantasy and escapism. Every now and then, I get filled with impotent rage which turns into something similar to depression.

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    1. I'd prefer some codeine if you've got it.

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  5. Perhaps we should all be ordering our tungsten coated collars, before the knife wielding hoards arrive.

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  6. I'll get back to you later about the rest of your post but a 'viscous' attack is mostly caused by honey or treacle. 'Vicious', darling. God.

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    1. Okay, I've read the rest of it.
      Bloody hell. And welcome, Monday morning.
      All I can say is that the psychopaths and sociopaths have always run the place, apart from a few freaks like Mandela or Marcus Aurelius.

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    2. And one more post from the antipodes ... my son in law (oh yes, I've hit new heights of respectability) visited 'the circus' in Bath last year. Apparently one of his mates lives there, son of a Croatian gangster. Like I said, new heights ... I'd love it if you could spin a yarn about the place for me, and him.

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    3. OK, smart-arse - just because your spell-checker is more intelligent than mine...

      Circus story on it's way. I think I know the boy in question anyway, and a sweeter kid you could not meet, though I will not be mentioning that household. Bath is a village.

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  7. Yep, the big picture is a stinking mess, isn't it. And, don't look at the gull, either. Sadly, nothing excuses us from paying the bills and getting dinner. So, I vote with John Gray.

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