Saturday, 4 October 2014

Sympathy for Goliath


It is very heartening that I seem to receive more comments wishing me well when I mention some illness or anxiety, and I am very grateful for all of those. It shows that we do really seem to care about each other, whether or not we have actually met, and the interweb is awash with empathy. You are the sort of people I like to hang around with.

I have never found the sight of someone falling over in the street at all amusing - schadenfreude does not make me feel any better about myself, and slapstick does not make me laugh. If anyone gets physically hurt, then all I feel is instant empathy. Why do people want to watch all those videos on You Tube which have titles like, "This is going to hurt!" or "Wing-Suit failure ends up with broken leg!"?

I may display a lot of negative tendencies, but psychopathy isn't one of them. Whilst sitting in Paddington Station waiting for the train home, I watched the last few seconds of Saddam Hussein's life on a giant screen, when a bunch of blokes in trainers and baseball caps slung an inappropriately thick and coarse, hemp rope around his neck as he spent his last words on haranguing an opponent, calling him a 'coward'.

Say what you like about Saddam Hussein, he was brave to the end and never missed an opportunity to get his point across. I felt a strong wave of sympathy for the old tyrant as the screen went blank for the actual drop, temporarily forgetting the surviving Marsh Arabs left high and dry in one corner of Iraq.

Somehow, the fall of the mighty is sadder than the demise of a gentle giant, and I have often morosely wondered how a disgraced politician is getting on during his first night in prison, away from his family in their luxury home. As I turn the light out in our compact but adorable city apartment, I go to sleep worrying about a millionaire villain, also trying to sleep on a small cot in a confined space.

If I were an actor and needed to be able to produce tears at will without resorting to glycerine eyedrops, then there is one mental image which would work every time. It is of an obesely fat man, locked in a room and quietly sobbing because he is hungry.




21 comments:

  1. Yes I am sure you are right Tom, we do care about one another. We may only be virtual friends, probably never likely to meet, but I have got really attached to the folk I blog with on a regular basis - and that includes you. So chin up, get stuck in at whatever it is you have to do - and good luck with it.

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    1. I make sure the milk has been taken in every time I go past your place, Weave.

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  2. I have often felt like this but keep it to myself because I suppose I feared being mocked/treated with derision. I am glad you said it. (I am referring to your words about the fall of the mighty not the caring we show on blogs for one another, although that is nice too).

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    1. Yes, it's an anti-mob thing, I think.

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  3. We have much in common Tom. And, I thought I was the only one who felt sorry for Saddam at his last moments. I have changed though. I used to feel bad about everything; I kicked a beetle off a pier once and a fish quickly ate it. As I get older, I have become more cynical, harder and less forgiving. I don't like that.

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    1. If you can forgive yourself for kicking the beetle off the pier, then you should be ok. It's funny how it's those little things which stick with us, and get bigger as the years go on.

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  4. Empathy has been much on my mind of late; dealing with people who have it, people who don't. I'm liking the later less and less.

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    1. We all have to deal with the latter more and more - someone worked out that to be in a modern managerial position these days, it helps to have psychopathic tendencies.

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  5. Lots of words in my head in response to this post.....just not very good at typing them out. So I won't.
    I will say that I think you have a very sweet heart.

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    1. It's the pictures in your head which have the biggest impact.

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  6. I also have never laughed at someone falling down or spilling their lunch tray in the high school cafeteria. And I do think that we are all fortunate that we are kind to one another here on the interwebs and in real life.

    I used to take hours coming home from delivering newspapers in the morning when it was raining, because I had to pick up every single worm off the sidewalk so no one would step on them.

    But I don't feel that much compassion for a Madoff in prison. Someone like him hurt so many people.

    I am brought to tears more by the destruction of an old historic building.

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    1. There are lots of people who I would find it difficult to have any compassion for if they were finally punished for what they have done, Tony Blair being the most obvious and the most needy, but he is still busy winning accolades and making money from his misdeeds. Old buildings are important because they seem to have soaked up all that humanity in their existence.

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  7. Saddam's demise was far more dignified than that of Gaddafi. Neither of their ends gave any pleasure to most folk.

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    1. Both of them ended up being caught in holes, like rats, but at least Saddam underwent a full medical before he was handed over to his executioners.

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  8. Ahhh, I'm going to be the party popper … Not about appreciating each other and such, but about Saddam. There are some people who are so rotten and bad to the core and their actions are so atrocious that the worst SHOULD befall them. I have no sympathy or empathy for either Saddam or Gaddafi. May they rot in hell.

    I sound quite angry but if we could actually speak to each other in person, you would see that I am not. No raised voice, no nostrils flaring, just my opinion.

    Was off the web for a day, so good luck with your new endeavors!!

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    1. Oh that's a shame, I was enjoying imagining your nostrils flaring.

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  11. like hydra cut one head of 2 will appear.

    there is enough hate out there. everyone who takes the time and reads about one another for any length of time will become mildly attached to people and genuinely care if they are sick, ill or upset. it is what separates us from the animals.

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    1. You are wrong. Animals become more attached than even humans do to their captors after long abuse.

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