Monday, October 23, 2006

Notes

I continued to blog, in some shape or form, whilst in Bournemouth.

Copied and pasted from my lappy:

Junya told me how difficult it is to become a Japanese citizen, how difficult it is as a foreigner to own anything (such as a business or property) in Japan or for gaijin to get work.

Of course, here in the United Kingdom, the answers to those questions are quite different.

I am a very left wing, liberal man. I really am. I don’t question my political leanings. I know myself inside out. Or do I?

Memories of Japan and Jack Straw’s recent comments have made me question myself.

I am a liberal man in a liberal country. Britain (the state, not its people), being a liberal country welcomes foreigners regardless of age, gender, race, religion or sexuality. Sadly, many of the people we welcome into our bosom are not so liberal. They are quite conservative. What happens when the numbers of these conservative people reach such a point where our liberal society is diluted? We are no longer a liberal country.

A catch 22 situation.

Another catch 22 situation: to maintain our liberalism, we stop welcoming such people, namely Muslims. We are no longer a liberal country.

I hate to overuse clichés and metaphors, but I’m thinking of a rotten apple. What will become of the Untied Kingdom? What will become of me? Am I no longer liberal? The very idea fills me with horror.

My only conclusion can be this: Like communism, liberalism is a very good ideal, but in practice it does not and cannot work.

--

What’s the point in living if you don’t have a dick? I’d really like to ask Dr Freud that question. I remember a documentary, which I saw on TV a while ago. A circumcision operation went horribly wrong. The boy’s penis was entirely burned off. A doctor told the boy’s parents to raise him as a girl, which they did. The girl felt he was a boy. After much turmoil, the girl becoming a boy, he killed himself.

Obviously there is no point in living if you don’t have a dick.

--

When I was a boy, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a writer or a painter. I thought I could do both. I could write a book and paint the pictures. Then my teacher told me that adult books don’t have pictures. She said I’d have to choose.

I distinctly remember this being the first active and personal choice I ever had to make and on my own terms. I didn’t want to make it. I felt I had to.

I wish I could go back and visit that seven year old boy. I’d tell him that no-one has to do anything, let alone make choices. I’d also tell him there are plenty of adult books with pictures. I’d tell the boy he could be a children’s writer, too, and that his teacher is a twat.

You can do anything you want to, dear reader. You can be ironic, you can be serious. You can be yourself or you can pretend to be something or someone you’re not. It’s entirely up to you. You can do, say or be whatever you want.

Choices: you don’t have to make any.

--

My Mum’s mind is working is a very strange way. She wants to prepare things days in advance, I think, in case she forgets about them. She’ll cook a meal intended for Friday on Monday. I told her this is ridiculous, it’ll go bad. She said it won’t and it will save her doing it on Friday.

Why can’t it be done on Friday? She says it’ll be one less thing to do. She can’t get her head around the fact that it is still a task, no matter on what day it’s done.

This behaviour worries and scares me.

Another thing. There is a pear tree in the front garden. It’s wild, over-grown and inhibits ones route along the path. It’s laden with rotten pears. She tries to palm them off on anyone who’ll listen. She won’t eat them herself. Neither will anyone else. When I say I’ll cut the tree down if she wants, or, at least lop most of the branches off, she tells me it’s a good tree, she eats the pears and everyone she knows appreciates her giving them. I respond:

“The pears you are able to pick rot in the fruit bowl, the ones you can’t lie scattered and rotting all over the garden and I’m yet to see anyone take any of the pears you offer them.”

She just shakes her head.

My poor Mother is, I think, becoming irrational. One day she’ll fall on that path and all because of the tree. I’m so tempted to simply take an axe to it.

--

Do you believe in time travel, dear reader?

--

I’m not very au fait with Christianity, but I do have issues with the I am the way, the truth and the light business.

Why does every religion believe itself to be right and all the others, wrong? No-one and no religion has a monopoly on the truth. My bedspread is yellow. It is also blue and also red. To say it is blue is, in fact, true. To say that it is yellow is also true. To say it is not red is untrue. To say it is yellow, blue and red is true. It is not confusing. All statements are true.

I’ve got five digits on my right hand. Whether one of them is cut off or not does not affect my hand in any way. My hand is still my hand, it hasn’t gone anywhere.

All religions derive, I think, from an internal human desire to be a good person and to understand all aspects of the self. The way religions develop depend on geographical location and culture, I think. They’re like the fingers. A desire to be a better person and to know where you’ve come from and where you’re going is like the hand.

Religions are like the fingers on my hand, an idea of a God or supreme being is like the hand. If you accept the hand, you have to, dear reader, accept all the fingers. Their simple presence makes them true, though they have no monopoly on that truth.

--

Still on the topic of religion, please answer me this, dear reader:

How is it that a self-proclaimed Christian man who is President of the USA does not ban guns, especially after recent events? Are Christians not supposed to turn the other cheek?

Also, whether it’s one hundred thousand or six hundred thousand deaths, how can Christians like Tony Blair and George W Bush carry on calling themselves such? Did Christ not tell his followers to love their neighbours? Which religious figure advocates killing your neighbour? Aren’t Dubya and his poodle more suited to Satanism than Christianity?

I thought one of the ten commandments was Thou shalt not kill. Would someone please remind Mr Bush about this and tell him that there is no Thou shalt be a hypocrite commandment.

Thank you.

--

I’ve had an idea for a Rumours Of Whores song. Only the first couplet:

Tony won’t budge
And Cherie’s got a grudge

Don’t know how to expand it. Will be thinking. We’ve never done a political song before. I wonder what Shane will make of it. I have to work some more on my song about the Pope. I’ve got a working title of simply Benedict. Though I might change it:

Hail Mary… (spoken)

I’m locked in a palace
With hundreds of boys
I treat them all
Like my favourite toys

Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man
Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man

Our dress is flamboyant
We like it that way
And people have told us
It’s really quite gay

Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man
Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man

Do what I say
But not what I do
Dare to contradict me
I’ll excommunicate you*

Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man
Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man

When I get that feeling
I want alter boys kneeling
When I get that feeling
I want choir boys kneeling**

A condom’s forbidden
Now do what you’re told
And you don’t have to worry
If he’s not very old

Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man
Dirty old man
I’m just a dirty old man

*I’m considering replacing this line with:

And it’s curtains for you

Will have to think on this. Also, not sure if it flows very well. It doesn’t really tell a story and sounds jumbled. Or is it me?

** This is a Sexual Healing rip off. Do you think it works, dear reader? Do you think we can get away with it?

--

I have a notion that all hatred is born out of jealousy and envy.

I came back from London this evening after spending a fabulous time with Janette, Kyle, Gabby and Robin to find my Mother watching Question Time on BBC1.

I could immediately tell that she was over-excited, even enraged. She spoke at the television rhetorically and in an acutely sarcastic manner, tutting, almost constantly. She told me that Muslims could say exactly as they pleased but we could not, indeed, if we did, we would be thrown in jail. I reminded her that Jack Straw was still a free man. I should know better than to wind my Mother up. She flew off the handle, telling me she’d had enough of the Scottish way, the Scots forever acting as though they were right and everyone else were wrong. Then she cut to the chase, telling me the English government kept the Scots, throwing money at them left right and centre so that they could build a new parliament and look after their elderly population for free in nursing homes while here in England people could not afford to go into nursing homes and died, alone at home, in the cold because they couldn’t afford to put the heating on.

The Scottish budget is worked out using the Barnet Formula. The Scottish Executive decides how to spend their budget in exactly the same way as departments in England decide how and on what to spend their budget. The Scottish Executive sees fit to look after their elderly population by giving them free personal care whereas the UK government and Ministry For Health see fit to spend it differently in England.

There is no such thing as an English government (though I feel strongly that there should be) and England does not keep Scotland. Indeed, considering the revenue from North Sea oil, it could be argued that Scotland keeps England. However, all taxation from the whole of the United Kingdom is collected centrally and distributed accordingly.

Some people may see the Barnet Formula as unfair, but I feel, with Scotland having a more rural population, it costs more to treat the Scots in an equal fashion as the English.

I hate racism and hate anti-Scottish sentiment from the English (although my Mother is not English at all) as much as I hate anti-English sentiment from the Scots and all other forms of nationalistic abuse. It does strike me, though, that this abuse is all about jealousy as is most other forms of hatred.

--

Some phrases I’m not sure about:

She was a female lady.

They were murdered to death.

I’ll have a couple or two pizzas.

Universal Catholicism.

I ain’t got no money.

The sound of silence.

I decided not to make any decisions.

--

Is there any virtue in empire? If so, where did it lay in the foundation, execution and development of the British Empire?

As with any story, there are two sides. On one side is the story of democracy, education, broadened horizons, civilization, discovery and the exchange of values and ideas. On the other side, we find war, death, murder, tyranny, invasion, humiliation, slavery and the stifling of individualism, culture and indigenous language.

Is one side of that metaphorical coin ever worth the other?

I suppose it’s a matter of opinion.

But I simply cannot see how even only one death could be worthwhile in exchange for education, democracy and discovery, especially when those empire builders teach the conquered peoples that all life is precious.

It seems Mr Orwell’s point that all men are equal, but some are more equal than others runs through many aspects of humanity and was never more apt than when it came to empire.

I’d like to say I’m proud in the development and execution of the British Empire, especially its legacy, but I cannot be, simply because of the fact that the people who created it have blood on their hands.

The British Empire, although shameful, should not be forgotten. Lessons should be learned. Empire builders today should be mindful of the fact that their way of life is not the only way of life, that they are not superior to all the other different peoples of the world and difference should be celebrated, not oppressed. Empire should not be built on slavery, death, murder or assimilation but on the beliefs of freedom; freedom of expression, of thought, of speech, of movement and above all, it should be built on self-determination. Empire should not be about one nation looking after its interests and becoming wealthy by their actions, but by stronger nations taking a parent role with weaker nations, they themselves in the role of child, making the whole world a wealthier place in terms of health, education and freedom from oppression. The paradox, of course, is this: how can empire mean freedom without imposition? I think the answer lies in inviting states to join with others, others who are able to bring about real and long lasting benefits to nations who seek to benefit from that union with the blessing of their peoples.

All hail the European Union!

Now, if only it’s mechanisms were truly democratic. Do you think George W Bush knows about the lack of democracy in the EU, dear reader? If he does, is it only a matter of time before he invades?

19 comments:

Moncrief Speaks said...

You have given us a great deal to ponder here. Truly fabulous, on an international scale.

Anonymous said...

Section 1: I am reminded of an article from what I think was the Independent. Apparently, your country has processed claims for refugee status for Americans. If Americans are coming to the UK to suck off your social programs, you’ve got a bunch of suckers in your gov’t. Don’t feel bad, we’ve got the same problem too.

I am also reminded of a frequent cry from conservatives: If you liberals claim to be so tolerant, why are you so intolerant of conservatives?

Section 5: Yes, I do believe in time travel. I’m not sure however, you would be able travel within your own universe however. So it’s a yes and a no. For you can travel in time but you’ll end up in another universe’s continuum and will never be able to return to your own.

Section 7: They have little to do with each other. And on that note, why would you hold a Christian to such a high biblical standard? Can a gay man be a Christian? Surely not, if he has to literally interpret the bible. Same for every person on the planet.

Last Section: I’m sure that the U.S. gov’t is well aware on how undemocratic the E.U. is. That is, when they first try to get an idea on what exactly the E.U. is. As far as President Bush, I don’t think he cares. Remember, the only thing he cares about is the United States. As long as the E.U. is not a threat, there isn’t any serious concern whether it is democratic or not.

RIC said...

Don't you worry, Minge, because he certainly doesn't. His Trojan horses are all over the continent since long ago...
Wonderful post! Lots of «stuff» to reflect upon.
Thank you so very much!

gab said...

welcome home gorgeous xxxxxxx

Tom Gaylord said...

i am exhausted after reading that epic post!

Lex Ham Rand said...

Oh my goodness you had a lot of very thoughtful things to say, there, Minge.

I'm glad you took the time to type it all up and to upload it to your blog. Many of my favorite bloggers are hanging it up or posting infrequently - good to know I can still dial up your fabulous blog for some thought-provoking text.

I hereby bequeath Fib Sunday back to you! Until your next vacation, that is!

Minge said...

International Minge, that's what they call me.

I cannot accept that Americans think anything of Dubya when he's a liar. Clinton's job was on the line because he lied. Why isn't Bush's job on the line because he claims to be a Christian? I just don't get it.

Andrea said...

Truly, you are all that AND a bag of chips!

Minge said...

Don't forget the saveloy!

;)

Kapitano said...

Try knowing something about Muslims (and communists) before you speculate on their impact.

Your television is not a reliable source.
---
Choices are easy to make. Most of them are easy to unmake. It's realising the latter that's difficult.
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No one has defined precisely what time is. When someone does, you'll be able to decide if it can be travelled.
---
Religions derive from the need of the powerful to justify themselves, and the wishful thinking of the powerless.

Two incompatible delusions, from opposite ends of the social scale, welded together.
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Did you hate bullies at school because you were envious of their ability to inflict pain? Or because they hurt you?
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If you hate racism why do you mistrust all muslims?
---
Building an empire consists in making war on people to make them peaceful, opressing them to make them free, destroying their economy to make them wealthy in yours, and educating them into forgetting that you've done it.

If you want to free people, give them the ability to free themselves, and hope like hell they do something sensible with it.

RIC said...

As a linguist I believe I may be of some assistance. ( iv) and vi) are phrases; the other are sentences.) So here it goes:

i) She was a female lady. (Female implies sex; feminine, behaviour, attitude. "A female woman" almost means a nymphomaniac…)

ii) They were murdered to death. (The verb "murder" implies the end of life for the action's patient.)

iii) I’ll have a couple or two pizzas. (Either you'll have a couple (some) pizzas or you'll have two, and not only one or three. "A couple of" doesn't mean "two". Cf. German "ein paar" / "ein Paar".)

iv) Universal Catholicism. ("Catholicism" etymologically means universality, even if you disagree…)

v) I ain’t got no money. (I haven't got any money / I've got no money.)

vi) The sound of silence. (Metaphorically you can also say: "The silence in that room was deafening".)

vii) I decided not to make any decisions. (Or "I decided to make no decisions".)

Minge said...

I do know a little about Muslims and communists, but not enough to make a decision, an informed one at any rate. I still don't know if there is an answer to this question, let alone a right or wrong one. I was just thinking aloud.

--

Divorce is a piece of piss these days.

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I think time is just a method of measuring space between events. It's simple. However, moving backward and forward between those events isn't so simple. How?

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I agree with you wholeheartedly about religion. Note that when the power of the Roman Empire was on the wane, they adopted the growing power, Christianity, to maintain power over people, in a palace, with a permanent guear and flags unfurled.

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I hate bullies because they take advantage of the weak.

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I don't mistrust all muslims. I mistrust everyone without exception.

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I genuinely feel empire is wrong, but not sure if a coming together of states with concent is wrong. Help!

Minge said...

Ric, thanks!

I'm still unsure about them all. They're all phrases I've read in books or heard in films/plays over the years. I don't know if they're great or terrible.

RIC said...

That's totally a different thing. Being great or terrible has nothing to to with grammar or linguistics, but with feelings. That's another department...

Minge said...

Help!

Anonymous said...

To quote a song from the band Rush: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

Minge said...

Who are you, Mr(s) Anonymous?

Ajunt said...

ME!! lol I didn't have an account!!

Minge said...

You do now!