Ched Evans: A mirror of our society?

 

 

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Regardless of what’s been said about the controversial Ched Evans case, it does hold a mirror up to all of us and it ain’t pretty.

We’ve all seen very drunk people on the streets after a night out, even been one of them ourselves. I have to admit, that at times, I’ve looked at drunks falling over, vomiting or pissing in shop doorways, with something like disdain. Have you?

This disdain turns into something uglier when young women are the drunks. There’s a residue in society mindset that still thinks it’s somehow shameful. What’s worrying is that’s endemic even amongst those younger than I.

We have to ask what happened to us? Why does a drunk/drugged and vulnerable person, over-ride what should be our natural, human, instinct to help them?

It’s as if a drunk becomes less than human and if they fall under a bus, lie in a gutter choking on their own vomit, or are sexually taken advantage of, it is somehow ALL THEIR OWN STUPID FAULT. We absolve ourselves of our empathy or responsibility to help someone vulnerable, male or female.

If the vulnerable drunk was your friend, your sister, your partner; would you feel differently? Haven’t you ever scraped a friend off the pavement, taken them home in a taxi and made sure that they came to no harm? Did you judge them? Were they suddenly sub-human for having a drink too many?

I didn’t think so.

Let’s imagine we are observing the girl in the Ched Evans case.  She was considerably drunk. She was in her teens. Witnesses said she fell over several times, in the middle of a crowded Kebab shop, in the street and she squatted and urinated in a shop doorway.

I can’t help wondering why no-one had the humanity to help someone in such a state, someone who was so obviously vulnerable. Is it that disdain, again? Who are we to judge? What would we do in that situation?

Unfortunately, she ran into a predatory man. Rather than help, he saw an opportunity. He took her, in a taxi, to a hotel room booked by his friend Ched Evans. She left her bag in the taxi and he had to go back for it. We’ve seen her unsteady on her feet in the hotel lobby CCTV.

Tellingly, the man texted his friend, very simply: “I’ve got a bird”.

If we examine those words, it gets very disturbing. The girl is not seen as a person. She’s already a “thing” that has been “picked up” on a street. She is a “kill”, he’s the successful hunter.

She’s a flesh and blood wanksock that offers no resistance. She’s a slut, fair game.

The man takes full advantage, he says she was willing and enthusiastic. We don’t know. Whatever happened, he treated her with no empathy or respect. She was just an “easy fuck”, so out of it, she remembered nothing waking alone and naked in the morning.

During this sexual act, Ched Evans comes back. He lies to Reception to get a key and lets himself in. He knows his friend is there “with a bird”.

Two other friends attempt to film the sexual action on their mobiles, through the window.

Ched sees the woman just like his friend did, a hole to be fucked. He thinks he is entitled to “hop on” for “sloppy seconds”. She is not a human being. She’s a sex doll.

If she was seen as a person, he wouldn’t assume she was “fair game” being naked and in a sexual situation with his friend. He afforded them no privacy. He assumed the spoils of the “hunt” were to be shared.

Afterwards, he snuck out through the fire escape. His friend left her behind, too.

It’s a horrible, sordid, story.

Empathy, humanity and respect for another human being was conspicuously absent.

Terrifyingly, there are people who see this as a perfectly acceptable situation.

If we imagine the girl had met a different fate, if she had crossed paths with a decent, humane man, woman or group, she could have been put into a taxi and arrive home with nothing but a hangover.

When and why did we lose kindness and respect towards each-other? Are decent, kind people a species of human on the brink of extinction?

The rest of the story is even worse. The girl concerned has been bullied, threatened and publicly humiliated.  Presumably, the men and women expressing such vitriol towards her would find it acceptable if a similar fate awaited them, a member of their family or friends.

But that would be different, wouldn’t it?

 

Little thought, lazy content and a missed target

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My new earrings

 

Journalism – death by a thousand blogs

I’ve noticed some annoying trends on the type of websites keen young interns post articles on in a bid to land a ‘proper’ job in journalism.

One of these is “Thought Catalog” whose content, whilst trivial, links to invidious right-wing conservatism, the special kind portrayed in Fox News.

This sort of thing isn’t my usual reading material, I’ve gone way beyond “20 things not to say on a first date”, although it strikes me that an awful lot of these sites love, just love, “lists”.

Lists, lists and more lists

“Lists” are a lazy thing to write and brain pap to read. They tend to confirm the reader’s limited view of the world and the ‘writer” doesn’t do much “writing”. Unsurprising, then, that they are churned out like grisly bargain sausages, no meat and all gizzard; which brings me to the reason why I discovered “Thought Catalog”.

A young misogynist writes

One of my Twitter contacts posted : “13 Things a Woman Can Do To Be More Attractive to a Man” – renaming it “13 Ways To Attract A Misogynist” – which got my attention. So I read it. The link is here:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/john-smith/2014/06/13-things-a-woman-can-do-to-be-more-attractive-to-men/

Now that you’re back and, perhaps like me, are reeling a bit then trying to convince yourself it’s a clever piece of satire, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not.

If you haven’t already, take a peek at the comments, you’ll find they are even worse. Yes, there are people who think like that roaming the earth in 2014 AD.

If we look at this from the point of view that it is developed under the shadow of an unholy conservative agenda, not only is it more sinister, but it also starts to make sense.

Who is John Smith?

I’ve tried to discover more about the “author” (I’m using that term as if it takes an “author” to write the safety warning on a bottle of toilet cleaner) and, it appears, that “John Smith” is a, not very original, pseudonym.

I can imagine a pen portrait if him very easily, though, as his type abound on the interweb posing as “journalists” as does his equally talent-free female counterpart.

He’s in his twenties. His mother works. She may even have a career. This has blighted little Johnnie, in so far that he fears that female attention is somewhat diffident, distracted and scarce. Life has since confirmed this.

Feminism has ruined a young boy’s life

Johnnie sees “Feminism” as this big bogey woman who has blighted his life.

“Feminism” allowed the girls at school to study with and outperform the boys.

Feminism created female confidence and independence which enabled the girls to be more selective about the men they dated.

It also allowed men to be their friends, on an equal basis. The girl’s could hold their own, so to speak.

Feminism educated these girls about their bodies and enabled them to express their sexuality, even allowing care-free or ‘predatory’ behaviour.

This all proved too much for little “Johnnie” and his ilk. They were the “beta boys” left behind. The wallflower wilting at the prom.

Subsequently, he has never forgiven womankind. Nor have men like him (see comments).

Johnnie is naive enough to think that all this female behaviour,that reinforces his deep-seated inadequacy, is a recent phenomenon.

He thinks it’s all down to that awful, unattractive, feminism.

Johnnie had a dream

He’s swallowed the myth that, in the cozy past, we were all like Doris Day, adding our “Womanly Touch” to our pastel coloured kitchens, whiling away the hours until the big, strong, hubby calls “Hello honey, I’m ho-ome”!

We’d fix him a drink, kneel to take off his shoes, hand him his slippers and a pipe and listen with admiration as he recounted the trials, tribulations and small victories of his bread-winning day.

Is it cruel to tell him this has never been true?

Johnnie’s dream is shattered

Johnnie, bless him, has NO idea what is in a woman’s mind.

That said, many men have been fearful of that since the Dawn of Mankind.

Every Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion has been very afraid of women, one would think that the entire litany has been designed to deal with that fear.

At least the old religions had Kali and the Triple Goddess to afford some sort of acknowledgement of female power. Even this has been perverted over the course of time.

So, it’s not “feminism” that is little Johnnie’s problem, it’s fear of women.

Johnnie wrote to the world about it

Fear is written all through his fantastical “13 Points” – let’s take them in turn:

1. Stay In Shape

Viewing a woman as an “object” is one pathetic way of trying to diminish her power.

If men can control her body, they feel a little less fear. If that body can be made less womanly, slimmer, hairless and more pre-pubescent, again, it’s less scary.

I love the pseudo commanding tone he uses, as if speaking for all men, it’s very “little Napoleon” and exposes his anxiety about female sexuality beautifully.

2. Lay Off The Body Modification

The last thing young Johnnie wants is a woman in charge of her body. A woman with the confidence to express herself in any way she chooses. A woman who has rejected the fearful male stereotype of controllable, acceptable, femininity and who has the temerity to make her own choices. See (1) it’s the same issue.

3. Make Your Own Money

He contradicts himself deliciously here. He fears his inadequacy to “keep a woman” (because he can’t achieve that he-man ideal for himself) and is very conflicted about her earning MORE (despite the gender pay gap, many of us do, these days) it’s OK as long as…wait for it…she “refrains from throwing it in his face like some form of one-upmanship”;or should that be one-upwomanship?

His Freudian slips are showing.

4. Be Feminine

“Men want to date WOMEN, not men with vaginas” Note he doesn’t explain what ‘femininity’ is, he doesn’t know, too scary. But he’s inadvertently let slip a phobia about transexuality. A common issue with those uneasy with their own sexuality. Bet he’s freaked by LGBT in general.

Also, is one to assume his “masculinity” has credence – one doubts the efficacy of such, given what’s gone so far?

5. Be submissive

“This kind of overlaps with being feminine” Ah – a clue!  We’re back to the fantasy Doris Day scene again. Shall we tell him, girls, that women are never ever “submissive” unless we choose to be and, what’s more, the entire point of the myth of femininity is that woman has, for millennia, controlled men by doing little girlish favours in order to obtain what SHE wants? “Oops, silly me, I’ve accidentally got pregnant/spent all your money/lost your car etc.”

6. Sex Life

He’s given up on the idea of the perpetual virgin, or so he says; but note the glaring admission that women are not to be sexually experienced, just a “little” experienced, in a monogamous relationship, but heaven forbid anything more adventurous. He uses the very quaint term “the town bicycle”!

It’s that fear again. The fear of being subsumed by a sexually voracious, ever-hungry vagina. Poor, sheltered, small town boy. Such sexual insecurity, bless his little cotton socks!

7. Be Intelligent

You must be able to “flex your mental muscles”, apparently. The thing is, any woman who hasn’t had a full frontal lobotomy wouldn’t WANT to have anything to do with him. Ah well, back to the fantasy…

8. Be Child-Free

The fear of fecundity! It has been said that the insecure man fears the power of a woman to give birth (or not) because it is something they have such little control over. Guys like this must be freaking out about donor sperm. Even Cleopatra put a pebble up her noo-noo to avoid a bun in the oven.

The other classic phobia is “cuckolding” which he inadvertently admits by saying it’s such a turn off to deal with another man’s child.

Cuckolding is as old as human/animal kind. When we lived in tribes, it didn’t matter too much, the point was to reproduce as often as possible. The “Alpha Male” may have fought for “first dibs” but, the presence of other spermatozoa  increased the chance of pregnancy and ensured continual gene pool improvements.

He’s scared of a lot of things, little Johnnie.

9. Be willing to cook at least three times a week

Again, our little friend has had to scale back his fantasy, just a little. Maybe it’s because his working “Mom” used to leave the pot-roast for him to heat up after school; or maybe she didn’t cook at all?

Poor little man craves the comfort of a surrogate mother SO MUCH, being “fed” by a woman must be a painful longing for him. Weaned too early, perhaps?

10. Put down your phone

Heaven forbid that you might have interests and other people apart from “Your MAN”! Remember the earlier scenario, when Doris patiently listens to hubby’s boring ramblings about his day, with what appears to be rapt attention? Johnnie is crying out for some of that.

Some poor girl must have made the mistake of dating him once, perhaps out of pity, perhaps unknowingly, but whatever the reason, she must have felt her brain shrivelling up with boredom as Johnnie droned on and who can blame her – she texted her mates to arrange her escape. Many of us have been in that unfortunate position.

Johnnie, if a girl is glued to her phone, she is NOT interested in you. Have we cleared that up? Good. Let’s move on…

11. Ease Up on the MakeUp

Johnnie has been looking at the women’s magazines on-line again! He’s seen “The celebrities that are unrecognisable without their make-up” articles!

He’s scared again. Scared that he’ll meet a woman who, when she gets home, takes off her hair, eyelashes, teeth, chicken fillets and cache sex and REMINDS HIM OF HIS MOTHER! Or father..whatever.

12. Stop Cussing!

Not long now, readers, I’m getting bored with Johnnie, too.

Here Johnnie shows his bible-belt upbringing. “Mama said ladies don’t cuss”

Fuck me. The bible is bereft of juicy Anglo-Saxon, but I reckon it got lost in translation around the time of King James, another milksop, so afraid of women that he toasted thousands as ‘witches’.

I like to think of Revelations as a big “Fuck you, you’re fucked”  – but, of course, I’d never call anyone a cunt in polite company. Well, not unless my ire was raised. I expect I’d call Johnnie a cunting wanker, though.

13. Stop Hoarding Guy Friends

Oh dear. Here’s that insecurity again. Johnnie is very worried that if he ever gets a girlfriend she’ll be shagging other men behind his back. You’re right, Johnnie, she will.

Finally, you’ve got to love the boy’s attempt at a pre-emptive strike at the criticism he knows is coming his way (because it has always, always, been so).

Bet he didn’t expect this though?

There endeth the lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel vs Palestine – a pacifist’s view

imageI’ve had enough. The world has had enough. I hope the parties involved have had enough. This is an ongoing, hopeless, conflict and no-one will win.

I am a very ordinary person, sitting here in an English county. I have no special knowledge of the situation. I’m tired of seeing dead children and I’m aghast at what appears to be indifference from our so called “World Leaders”. Human life on both sides is sacred. Everyone has the right to live in peace.

I want you to imagine something impossible for a moment. Imagine that, on a temporary basis, we have an ordinary, unbiased, uncorrupted bunch of people running the UN. An idealist fantasy, if you will.

Leaders of both sides stand before us.

(I forgot to say, this group of people in the UN temporarily have unilateral powers.)

We order Israel & Palestine to split the country down the middle. 50/50 in terms of fertile land, resources and access.

This is a non-negotiable border. Any attempt to breach it is an act of war against the rest of the world & leaders will be brought to justice

Both parties must acknowledge the other’s right to exist.

Religious sites must be held as neutral ground. No settlements will be allowed in those areas, within a defined perimeter. These will be policed by an external force.

The border will be policed and managed by a neutral international force. Armed to the teeth if necessary.

Free access through the border for reasons of commerce will be allowed.

We now have two independent states, on the condition that both are run by moderate governments.

Extremists of all flavours will be tried for Crimes Against Humanity and punished accordingly.

There will be a global embargo on arms sales to either party. There will be an amnesty on all war crimes to date. We start from now, towards peace.

All weapons of mass destruction will be put out of action and all arms destroyed.

The only foreign aid allowed into either country will be utilised for commercial and humanitarian purposes.

Both states will require equal basic infrastructure, access to energy, water etc – this will NOT be in the power of external countries.

The Israeli settlers must return to Israel. Under force, if necessary. Otherwise they are deemed extremists and dealt with accordingly.

Provision of aid for them to set up new homes will be provided, with the same facilities available to Palestinians, Christians, Jews or any other as needed.

Foreign Governments will be banned from interference in either state. That goes for any monetary ‘support’ which encourages war. Humanitarian funding will be directed to areas where needed.

Any foreign lobbying related to political interests in the region will be outlawed. Any foreign donations to MP’s or Political Parties will be illegal.

Jewish people will have the right to live in new Israel and displaced Palestinians will have the right to return to the new Palestinian state.

Any neighbouring powers seeking to create unrest will be dealt with locally by the Arab League and the UN. There will be a policy of humanitarian support only.

Racist propaganda will be banned. Children will be educated neutrally with no political or ideological bias. Religion is a private matter for each family to decide.

In summary:

2 state solution

Profits made from war directed into humanitarian efforts.

Permanent lawful borders

Strict adherence to pacifism, punishable internationally

Support in rebuilding phases

Freedom for all citizens

 

Naïve, I know. But a nice thought. If only….

In through the “poor door”, poor things.

imageThere’s been a lot of well-intentioned furore about the social segregation of rich and poor in the development of some upmarket inner city “luxury apartments” recently.

The problem seems to centre around 34% of “affordable housing” being included in a “luxury” development in Commercial Street, London and the fact that those residents are excluded from the 5 star hotel like lobby and the associated expensive concierge services, which cost several thousand a year.

The housing association, who run the “affordable” housing side of things, eschew the high service charges and charge low rents to people who need low cost housing and housing benefit due to their circumstances.

In an ideal world, we’d all have affordable housing, but with the sell off of social housing, an ongoing housing boom and an increasing earnings gap between rich and poor, it isn’t going to happen.

Ken Livingstone instigated the ruling that new developers in London had to ensure that part of their development allocated homes for local people either on low salaries or benefits, in order to ensure that rich ghettos were avoided. Great ideology of equality, but the reality hasn’t turned out quite as expected.

The wealthier residents have issues with the poorer residents and vice versa. It seems to rub both groups up the wrong way.

I was homeless at one time for a year and I lived in horrendous conditions without sanitation or power in a disused building with a transient group of others.

As time went by, the conditions worsened and it became a health hazard for all residents, including the need for fumigation and the building’s eventual demolition.

I applied to a housing association and was given a 6 month tenure on a very old 2 bedroom terraced house with another occupier.

It was semi derelict, with the downstairs area full of rubble, broken floor boards and vermin and the upstairs just about liveable, once some heavy cleaning, decoration and sealing up the damp areas were dealt with at our own cost.

It wasn’t the nicest of places to be and in an impoverished part of London with poor transport links. We never felt entirely safe.

I still thought I was lucky and having a fixed abode, I quickly found employment, even though it entailed an hour on the bus there and back. I could pay the low rent and all the bills and other charges associated with it.

Many years later, I lived in a so-called “luxury” block, paying a massive service charge and mortgage, to have fellow residents blank me if I said “Good morning” in the lift.

The worst of this was the one London block I lived in, when there was a major fire in the flat above mine and the other residents didn’t even bother to knock on people’s doors to alert them as they went past!

The endless quibbles about parking and use of the communal gardens were also a delight! I’ve never lived in proximity to such a vile, self-centered, unfriendly bunch.

Why would anyone want to share a tacky, blinging, marble lobby with people like that? And pay dearly for the “privilege”?

When I was homeless, If I had been offered a brand new flat in a central location, with a secure entrance, a lobby that was cleaned & maintained and secure postboxes and a serviced lift that didn’t smell of piss, I would have been delighted.

The housing association tenants of the property in the news (1 Commercial Street, London) are not, however. Why? Because they have to use their own side entrance, lobby and lift. They are claiming it’s “unfair”!

The residents who DO have the swanky lobby with a 24 hour concierge desk which offers everything from collecting dry cleaning to booking taxis, theatre tickets, letting tradesmen in while you are out and whatever else a concierge does – costs a whopping £5k a year. Those residents also get a parking space and a different place to put their bins – but pay upwards of £500k for a studio flat!

You have to ask who’s being ripped off here? It’s not the housing association tenants!

Every place in the world has its rich and poor and for millennia they have lived in different places according to what they can afford to pay.

To get the level of support the affordable housing tenants get is a quickly diminishing and civilised ‘luxury’ in this case – especially given how many people are forced to live in dilapidated and dangerous estates or cramped bed & breakfast accommodation.

So, having seen both sides of this personally, I feel that, in his case, those residents doth protest far too much.

A game of two halves

It’s the first match of The World Cup. Team A and Team B are playing.

Within the first minute, a player from Team A does a spectacular dive in the penalty area and rolls around in apparent agony, holding his foot.

The Ref approaches.

“What happened?” He said

The team A player said: “He tried to break my ankle with an illegal sliding tackle!” as he pointed to a player from team B.

“But I was a hundred metres away from you!”protested the Team B player.

None the less, the referee awarded a penalty to Team A. The crowds in the stadium howled, it was so unfair.

Team A scored and ran behind the goal to enjoy the reaction of their ecstatic fans. The player who had been awarded the penalty, approached the Ref again.

“If that happens again, you’re going to have to deal with it MY way”

“Um…OK” said the Ref.

He knew the player was not only rich and influential, but his father was in charge of FIFA.

The match carried on, but a few minutes later, a player from team A was rolling on the pitch as if his entire leg had been severed without an anaesthetic.

The Ref approached, nervously.

The agonised player sat up, blinked through his tears of pain and said:

“He tried to break my leg and I didn’t even have the ball.”

The player concerned, spread out his arms, looked up to the sky (as they always do), gathered his team-mates around him as witnesses and said:

“I was no-where near him.”

The fans were whistling and getting angry at this delay in the game, the physio was fussing around the injured player with his magic sponge and, as usual, the suspected broken leg was miraculously healed and,with a slight grimace, the team A player ran off up the pitch.

“See! I didn’t touch him!” protested the accused player from Team B.

The Ref was about to blow his whistle so the game could continue, but the captain of Team A tapped him on the shoulder.

“It’s MY rules now” he growled.

“Remember?”

He was right in the referee’s face. The Ref looked to his linesmen for support, but they had turned away.

“What do you want?” He whispered.

“I’ll deal with it.” Said the Captain.

He went over to the accused player, wrapped his right leg around his, then pushed him forward. There was an audible crack as his shin bone broke.

Nobody could believe what had just happened. But they did nothing.

There wasn’t a physio to come on for the player, so his team-mates carried him off the pitch as a substitute was hurriedly readied.

As you can imagine, the first half continued in such a fashion and Team A annihilated Team B while constantly accusing them of cheating.

The Ref was so shocked and in awe of Team A, that he turned a blind eye (it’s an important skill they teach at the Referee academy).

The half time whistle was a relief for everyone. Especially Team B and their fans.

They discussed how they were going to deal with the appalling behaviour of Team A and whether they could get FIFA to ban them from the tournament. Surely people all over the world could see what they were doing?

The Players from Team B reluctantly returned to the pitch. Due to the high level of injuries, they had used up all their substitutes and knew that they couldn’t lose another man, especially as Team A were 4 goals up.

They switched ends. As Team B tried to get in position for kick-off, each were approached by Team A players.

“This is OUR end of the pitch” the Team A players said.

“But it’s the second half, we change ends, it’s the rules!” The Team B players replied.

“Not any more, you don’t” said the players of team A.

Team B, excluding the goal keeper, were corralled into a corner of the pitch by their own goal and surrounded by menacing Team A players. They couldn’t move.

The Ref was now nowhere to be seen. He had left the pitch.

The Linesmen watched from the sidelines.

The Team B fans were silent.

The Team A fans shouted threats at them and began throwing things.

The Team A striker took shots at goal again and again, but rather than scoring, he aimed the ball at the goalkeeper’s face.

Eventually, the final whistle blew. On the dot of 90 minutes. Not a second allocated for injury time.

The score was Team A 36 – Team B 0.

Team A was Israel, Team B, Palestine. The Ref was American and the linesmen were Europeans.

Think of Gaza as you watch the World Cup Final tonight. They’re playing for their lives.

An open letter on Men’s Rights

 

Circulated at Arizona University by Men's Rights Activists

Circulated at Arizona University by Men’s Rights Activists

Dear Men’s Rights chaps,

I’m writing this open letter to you because it’s clear than no-one has explained to you the benefits of a benign Matriarchy.

I’ll try to set out the key points so that you can come to your senses and see for yourselves how much your life could be improved.

You might get laid, for starters. With your newly defined status as sex objects, even if you are ‘plain’ by most standards, there will be a woman or women that wouldn’t mind “giving you one”; particularly if you take the care to pretty yourself up and wear clothing we find ‘provocative’.

You’d find a whole new range of careers, too. You could be the assistant to a glamorous business woman, a nanny to some challenging children, a nurse or primary school teacher – all delightful ways to put you in touch with your nurturing side. You won’t be paid or valued much, but think of the personal satisfaction!

If you are deemed conventionally attractive, you might find a role as a call boy, a model, an erotic dancer or a porn star – you WILL be well paid and have lots of opportunity for sex – wouldn’t that be nice?

If a wealthy woman takes a fancy to you, well, you’ll have a fantastic lifestyle. Imagine shopping with your friends all day and enjoying exotic holidays, while your looks last, of course. I’m afraid there won’t be any alimony, because we will have abolished that, but you’ll have some fabulous memories to think back on; once you are traded in for a younger model.

As for being ‘butch’, of course this will be encouraged. We still need you to do the sweaty, grunty stuff your genetics designed you for.

If, on the other hand, you are ‘good with computers’ as so many of you activists seem to be, there will be jobs for you, as well. You can take care of all the admin, while the women are out doing the important stuff.

We’re not sure that you are responsible enough to have a vote, because, after all, you made a mess of the world while you had the power; but don’t worry your pretty little heads about that.

You can learn to cook, clean and look after the kids and running of the household in addition to your full time job, it’s challenging, but you can have it all! Aren’t you lucky!

There will be education,of a kind, open to you, mainly focussing on your support skills, manual trades and homemaker training – you’ll be in the company of your fellow men, so you can indulge that tribal instinct of yours with breaks to run about and get sweaty with a ball.

You’ll have to make the most of it, though, because in twenty years or so, we’ll be making you redundant. Once we’ve milked the brightest, fittest, attractive and most compliant of you of your sperm reserves, you will, in fact, be obsolete and because so many of us will abort boy babies, your numbers will diminish, but no matter, enjoy it while you can!

You will, of course, be expected to live up to impossible ideas of physical beauty, but think of it as a hobby, that will last you all your life and utilise those hunting instincts of yours to find the best plastic surgeons and clothes designers to make you attractive to women. It’ll keep you pretty busy!

So, all in all, what’s not to like? So stop tweeting nonsense, or creating silly little websites and come to momma. You know you’ll love it, you dirty little bitches.

Yours patronisingly,

 

Madame Wilde

Scroungers, Strivers and Schadenfreude

imageI haven’t been able to watch more than a minute of Benefits Street. The reaction of those who refer to the people featured as “thieving scum” etc pushes me to a place that’s beyond anger; a sort of deep disappointment, hopelessness. I know they will never be convinced of another point of view, unless it happens to them.

I was homeless once. I had to queue in the dole office to get a benefits cheque as I was ‘of no fixed abode’. There wasn’t any drugs, drink, or mental illness involved – I had to get away from home due to my mother’s spiralling violence and abuse.

I was young, innocent, frightened and not streetwise, in the least. My story could have had a very bad ending. I was one step away from hopeless.

Some friends of friends had a squat in London, so at least I wasn’t out on the streets; but I remember the grinding cold, the continuous ache in my bones and hunger. After a while, my nutrition was really bad due to lack of funds. I bought spaghetti, oxo cubes, cheap bread. There were no food banks back then.

Strangely enough, I was safe. Safer than I had been at home. The guys in the squat were bikers, who had a strong moralistic code. They would even send me off to stay with their mothers or grandmothers if they had a party. They looked after me like a band of hairy, greasy, leather clad, big brothers.

I never begged, but strangers were still kind. The chip shop owner used to give me food. The people at the local pub allowed me to use their bathroom, the bakery used to slip me a loaf about to go stale. Sounds Dickensian, but this was only a couple of decades back.

We all got ill. With no heating or hot water, it’s an effort to keep clean (although I bathed the best I could with a basin of water every day). The cold air was the worst, it got into your lungs and carried any passing cold right into the trachea. I got asthma eventually, after a series of chest infections. It’s a weakness I still carry.

I looked like a waif in an army greatcoat far too big for me, woolen hats, Dr Martens and layers upon layers of clothing over my jeans. A long way from the immaculate beribboned child I once was or the flamboyant art student I was but a few months before. Fashion was long gone.

I got out when things changed. The population of a squat is a transient one. As my surrogate brothers moved on, new people took their place.They were mainly middle class rebels, with a bit of money, which was spent on drugs.

Soon I felt unsafe. I managed to get a decrepit, half derelict house in a rough part of London through a housing association. Downstairs was uninhabitable, dark, damp and full of rubble. I didn’t want to think about the rats. Upstairs was as bright and clean as I could make it, with donations from friends, skip diving and junk shops. It was an address, at least.

I finished my studies, got a job and everything changed. I was one of the lucky ones, well educated and with the will to turn my life around.

After a few years of working my way up, I was running a small company, turning over £4m a year, with a share of the profits. I had tens of thousands in the bank, which I spent.

I could buy anything I wanted to. A sports car. Luxury holidays. Dinner at the best restaurants. Cases of Champagne. Cocktails in the swankier bars. Designer clothes – a massive apartment, decorated to the highest specifications. Lending my friends large sums of money. Frequent weekends away for my friends. It was a manic circus around me.

It was all so meaningless. Just wrapping paper. All that money kept me distant from my friends in different jobs, the teachers, the care workers, the actors, the struggling designers.

I didn’t want to hang out with people like me, I didn’t like the middle class rich, all babies, property, school catchments and tennis clubs. I had nothing to say to them. I still don’t.

Maybe it’s because I have seen both sides of the story, I feel happiest somewhere in the middle. I decided to work part time a few years back, but 4 days a week quickly became 7 and, although I wasn’t earning anything like I used to, I was still highly paid compared to many of my peers and partners.

It burnt me in the end, all that ‘striving’. All I ended up with was a great deal of “stuff” and mental and physical exhaustion, which is a kind of living death.

Now all I need is enough to get by. I can live luxuriously enough on half my last salary. I know that there’s always a story behind hardship, most people aren’t feckless ‘scroungers’, they have got trapped. And it’s no fun, I can promise you that.

It only takes one turn of the wheel of fate and it could be you.

Maybe we should try sympathy instead of schadenfreude.

Into every life a total fuckwit will fall

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Out, out, vile jelly – where is thy lustre now?

Goneril, King Lear, William Shakespeare

I played Goneril years ago, complete with real bull’s eyes for the “putting out Gloucester’s eyes” scene. It was fun, particularly when chucking the eyes into the audience afterwards. I had a supply on special order from the butcher for the run.

Shakespeare’s naming of the sisters was interesting, Goneril with the allusion to gonorrhea, a deadly disease in those times, Reagan, which sounds harsh, but really should have been derived from syphilis, to continue the theme, and, of course, the vapid Cordelia – a name foisted upon many a middle class daughter.

I’d personally love it if the middle classes would name their offspring after villains instead – “Meet Goneril, Judas and little Satan, our children”. But I digress. This is supposed to be about poking someone’s eyes out.

The reason this grisly scene comes to mind is that I have just dispensed of a total fuckwit I have known for a while after one transgression too many. The reason why this is connected to poking eyes out is the old Irish saying that sums up this person beautifully:

They’d steal the eye out of your head then come back and spit in the hole.

Many of us have been unlucky enough to have had toxic fuckwittery in our lives. As we get older, we become better at spotting them coming over the proverbial hill and avoiding them. This time, I didn’t. Why? Because I’ve been too wrapped up in sorting out my own life and, of late, have been feeling very upbeat, positive and very tolerant of other’s peccadilloes. Until now, that is.

I’m particularly vulnerable to sociopathic narcissists. Having been raised by one, there is a subconscious familiarity in them that I often can’t see through. I get sucked into their orbit and before I know it, I’m making excuses for the first red flag of warning that appears, then the second and then puzzling about the third, feeling uneasy for a day or two – then BLAM – I realise I’ve got a fuckwit on my hands.

Why this doesn’t occur to me immediately, I don’t know, perhaps I’m being far too tolerant for my own good? But despite people like this, I don’t want to become a suspicious cynic, unable to let anyone near me. There are more good people than bad, after all.

I’ve known this particular fuckwit for a while. I’ve been very nice, particularly understanding. I’ve used all my powers of empathy to make rock solid excuses for their appalling behaviour. I’ve felt sympathetic, caring, compassionate and taken in a series of untruths, plus a big dollop of rudeness and selfishness – which I charitably put down to extenuating circumstances.

I’m not a vengeful person, but I’ve let myself get REALLY ANGRY once I realised the scale of manipulation that had been taking place. The inferno of rage has burned inside me and I let it get to white hot stage without taking any action, whatsoever. Rage is very cleansing and better out than in. I don’t fancy being someone’s bitch in Holloway, either.

There’s little worse than being taken for a fool. I am not, however, the vengeful kind. I know this person has treated many others in a similar fashion. All I have done is to send a dollop of ill intent out into the universe and if all the people they have wronged have done similar – they will find out, in time, that Karma is indeed a bitch.

The next step is to excise the toxin. This is a surgical procedure that removes the fuckwit and all their attendant paraphernalia out of your life. A quick and final cut, they are discarded and will never be engaged with again.

This is difficult when fuckwits work with you or are somehow entangled in your life, but in this case, it is someone I don’t see that often, so the kill is quick and clean.

Afterwards comes the relief. It’s as if a rucksack full of rocks has been dropped from your back. They are gone and can do no more harm.

Tempting as it is to warn others, I won’t, because that would be allowing the toxin to spread in me, which isn’t worth it.

Begone fuckwit, I am free of you! (Although I’d have enjoyed poking you in the eye)