Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Book Greed

Book Greed

Where books are concerned, I must admit I have committed every sin possible under the sun - except folding corners in to mark pages. I put them face down instead, also remove dust jackets and put them away while I read, and then forget to put them on.

   Faced with books to read I am like a hungry, greedy person faced with a feast. I grab, I ingest too quickly, get indigestion, and then go back for more.

   The last month was a bad month with me and books. Maybe it was the last three months. The madness started with the Booker long-list and descended rapidly into the short-list. Some years the Booker is a huge disappointment; this year I cannot complain. Or did not till they selected the winner. I found the Saunders novel or ghost story, Lincoln in the Bardo impenetrable - the only one that defeated me.

   At one time I had four on the go simultaneously - Autumn by Knausgaard, Ali Smith's Autumn, 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster, an outsider, The Golden House by Salman Rushdie and for light reading, Crow Girl  by some Swedish person with an unpronounceable name. . Alongside I also devoured some passing poetry. Crow Girl is going slowly, surprising as I like Scandiwegian crime stories. Instead I read an old favourite author, a Backman novella And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. Backman is inimitable. And profound.

   Now you know why my writing never really gets done.

   I find I have no discrimination where books are concerned. I'll read anything if I am book-starved. Like the weekend in Blantyre when I ended up reading advertisements in a newspaper.

   I have made a decision though. I will NOT read a book I am not enjoying, just because I started reading it. LIfe is too short at eighty-two to waste on imaginary disciplines. I thought Paul Auster would be abandoned - it was so long. But I enjoyed it. His style is always engaging and though I could manage to learn less about the sexual exploits of American teenagers, Auster was a quiet late-night indulgence. I could not hold it up in my hand in bed, so ended up buying both book and kindle copy. But it is a book I would keep in my collection.

   This is not meant to be a book review, but I liked Roy's latest book The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. She flies a few flags but I think these are flags I would fly myself.

   What next? Do some writing is the correct prompt.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Following up on Tyranny - our very own special kind

Following up on Tyranny - our very own special kind

Here in Britain, the once-great, we are perfecting a very special, home-grown form of tyranny:

   Some of it is class-based, and who knows better to wield that invisible soft-truncheon than us? I ponder - the so-called upper classes: what do they have in common? 
   First there is that cut-glass accent, for which you attend special schools and submit to all sorts of atrocities, caning, separation from parents sometimes as early as at three or four years old, bullying, which becomes a way of life, which you can learn and use to torture other new-comers when you have become a senior, predatory masters and seniors who believe buggery is part of the culture and will do no harm...

   All these atrocities happen in other places too, I'm sure, but the captive situation of the poor sods has been well-documented in English literature.

There is the Tory sense of entitlement. Theresa May believes she has to carry on being Prime Minister even when she is failing on all fronts. The Tories believe governing is their birth-right. How dare unremarkable, slipper-wearing, Jeremy Corbyn, who can't even knot a tie properly (and Cameron's mother has to advise him about sartorial matters) even contemplate becoming Prime-Minister? And getting to No 10? Unthinkable. That more than becoming a Prime Minister, after Cameron (who has sold our European Heritage to please his back-benchers, absconded in a unholy hurry.) Thank God we did not lose the Scottish referendum as well.

   There are people among the Tories who believe that even Boris Johnson ( who can't be bothered to do his homework before he opens his mouth and puts his foot in it,) Rees-Mogg, who thinks rape is hardly the fault of the rapist, and Gove (who thinks Weinstein is a joke rather than a historical calamity.) are all suitable candidates to become Prime Minister. We'll keep Jeremy -unt out of this account because I'm sure even the Tories will not tolerate him.

   I think Mrs May believes she is not accountable to anyone. If the Parliament votes against the sorry welfare package called Universal Credit, let the M Ps hide in the toilets till the vote is over. And pretend it did not happen.

   If the European Union makes mince-meat of our bargaining positions and laughs at us publicly, let's ignore them. We just have to hang on to power. And not answer any questions or give anyone too much information.

   We can always bribe the D U P.  Give them another two billion if they raise their little worm-heads.

   Forget the food-banks, the NHS down the chute - how many Tories know what hunger feels like? How it feels to have no NHS on your side when you are old and ill? I'm old and I realise I should have got old a long time ago. Not just now.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Multiple Faces of Tyranny

The Multiple Faces of Tyranny

Once upon a time, I thought I knew what tyranny was, but now the many faces are confusing me. I am unable to distinguish tyranny from just mere cussedness.

   There is China to start with, getting more and more prosperous by the day, and retreating politically to some 17th century despotism. The young tried, once upon a time, in Tiannamen Square, to get past that, but did not succeed. You can't succeed with young uprisings, without the police and the army on your side. Remember our 'take-over-the-square?'

   The uprising in Tahrir Square, Cairo, was betrayed too. They got rid of one ruler but succumbed to another from of despotism.

   And Amm-er-ica? 'Make Ammerica Great Again.'  This clearly involves a great deal of lying, sacking anyone who disagrees,throwing out people of other hues, reneging on welfare...

   Turkey? Clearly straying down a path of one-man rule.

   What about India then? When Modi turns a blind eye to the police being complicit in the injustices against the Muslims/ Christians, I call that tyranny. The exercise of power without accountability. Hopefully India's democracy will show Modi the door in the next elections.

   Also what is this Hindutva nonsense about slaughtering cows, eating beef etc? Surely it is up to each family to decide what is cooked in their kitchen? Similarly, why should any government concern itself with the sexual practices of consulting adults in their own private space?

   Tyranny at the workplace, sometimes, but not always in the form of sexual harassment, is familiar to many. This is not just in the media and entertainment world. I was a common, garden teacher and had to fend off my share of unwanted groping men and their nonsense-talk. 

   Then there is the sub-culture in an office. Everyone knows how it works, but it is not written down anywhere. It is defined by what you have to do and who, or which group of people, you have to please, to progress in your work.

   Within the family also a kind of tyranny rules: among partners who threaten or shout at their wives/ husbands, children who terrorise parents by refusing to abide by any rule that makes it possible to share a home...

   Which of these shall we call tyranny, and which just bad behaviour?