Stupidity rages

I am feeling very angry of late. Angrier than I usually feel. I don’t like anger much as an emotion, because it doesn’t seem to achieve much other than waste your own energy. But I have to admit despite my dislike for this emotion, I am prone to experiencing it quite frequently. Never before have I been as angry as I now am. I thought perhaps it was due to the devastating disappointment I have felt in response to the way some people I care very deeply about have behaved. Perhaps it is the remnants of overwhelming heartache. The discovery that a family member is very ill. The sheer amount of shit I have had to put up with in every aspect of my life this year.

While these are, I’m sure, contributing factors to my sense of world fatigue –my intolerance levels being at an all time high – I don’t think they quite explain the explosive anger I feel. No, I think the anger is due to the fact that the world seems to be in the grip of the greatest level of stupidity I have ever encountered. Examples (and some of these deserve and shall in time receive a dedicated post):

  • The unbelievable commentary (mainly from men) on the reproductive rights of women. The sheer number of stupid comments that have come out over the last couple of weeks is horrifying.
  • The fact that the protesting miners in South Africa are now being charged with the murder of their fellow strikers even though they were shot and killed by police. Jacob Zuma’s inability to see how fragile his leadership is in the wake of Malema’s seizure of political opportunism is staggering.

See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/31/south-african-miners-charged-murder

  • A super trawler may be allowed to enter the waters of Tasmania where it has been approved to catch 18 000 tonnes of redbait and makerel annually

See: http://www.smh.com.au/national/dutch-supertrawler-hits-another-snag-in-bid-to-fish-20120830-253hp.html

http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/stop-giant-fishing-trawler-in-tasmania/

  • Some ass at the Republican Convention threw peanuts at an African American CNN reporter, saying, “This is how we feed animals.”

See: http://www.smh.com.au/national/dutch-supertrawler-hits-another-snag-in-bid-to-fish-20120830-253hp.html

  • The fact that Paul Ryan has been given an even greater voice in American politics, contributing to the explosion of Far Right values in ‘mainstream’ political discussions. Just as a reminder: Ryan was a co-sponsor of Todd Atkin’s “The Sanctity of Human Life Act” that views the fertilized egg as having the same constitutional rights as a human being. This would mean that all abortions, including ones following a rape or for medical concerns (like the mother’s health) would be illegal and would even mean certain contraceptives like the pill would be unconstitutional because they prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. What century are we living in?
  • I haven’t even mentioned the asylum seeker debacle in Australia, for fear of taking years off my life, but for a summary on some of the most stupid opinions voiced on this issue just watch Go back to where you came from on SBS. Michael Smith and Peter Reith deserve special mention in the stupidity ranks. This issue, of course, deserves many posts of its own. For now, I’d just like to draw your attention to the fact that Australia’s foreign aid might be used to fund the building of detention centres in Nauru and on Manus Island. There aren’t words for the level of disgust I feel for the Australian government if this is to be the case.

See: http://www.sbs.com.au/goback/

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/greens-condemn-aid-money-paying-for-pacific-asylum-centres/1006086

http://www.globalpovertyproject.com/pages/developmentnotdetention

I’m not claiming to have the answers for a lot of these issues, but what I do wish is that the rhetoric used and the debates we are having could have moved on by now. The fact that we are even debating the rights of a woman to choose is astounding to me. The fact that a trawler the size of the MV Margiris could even be considered acceptable to enter the fishing waters of Tasmania is dumbfounding. The fact that the asylum seeker debates still rages on in Australia…no words. And that homosexual marriage is still considered illegal. My god, people, what are we talking about?

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The relativity of grief

What is it about grief that you can’t get outside of it? That other people can’t get inside of your grief? Try as they might to understand with the best of their abilities and the best of intentions it seems an impossibility. While ‘inside’ the grief I’m currently experiencing for numerous unfortunate events that have occurred in my life of late, I cannot get outside of it. I want to. I want to have perspective. I think about the people of Syria, their suffering and I think I have no right to complain, I have no right to sadness, that my grief is a form of selfishness too awful to contemplate and still, I grieve. The sadness and pain still sits heavy on my heart and mind, weighs me down, when really I know how lucky I am, how full of love and opportunity my life is. I always thought perspective would keep me sane and sound, but ‘perspective’ is not enough to get you outside of grief.

People say trite things like: the world never gives you more than you can handle. I have no response to this other than this is the biggest load of shite I have ever heard. It seems to justify the suffering of others by congratulating them on their ‘strength’. I feel about this religiousioethical bullshit the same way I feel about Karma. Life deals some people a bad hand, mostly this is undeserved, looking for metaphysical explanations for this is not helpful.

I don’t have answers for grief and suffering, but a friend made me aware of this the other day and it really caught my imagination:

http://www.raptitude.com/2012/08/what-others-leave-for-you-to-keep/

Poetic Procrastination

I’m attempting to write a paper about mirror neurons, economics and literature and it is not going particularly well. Time is running out, but still I just want to retreat into poetry for awhile. When I was in San Francisco last year, I had the opportunity to visit City Lights Bookstore. And while the staff were the typical snobs that unfortunately frequent beautiful bookstores (something about working in a beautiful and famous bookstore makes these people take on a persona of achievement and success based entirely on their workplace. They’re kind of like those awful snobs that work in high-fashion retail, you know, the Pretty Women type?) it is true that this shop deserves its place in history. It’s an incredibly special place, and with the Brautigan and Laura Riding I brought home, I got hold of the latest Robert Hass. Almost a year ago and I still haven’t managed to read it! Such sadness. But I share with you this poem, one of my favourites from his collection, Time and Materials:

The Problem of Describing Color                                     

If I said – remembering in summer,                                 The cardinal’s sudden smudge of red                                In the bare gray winter woods –

If I said, red ribbon on the cocked straw hat                      Of the girl with the pooched-out lips                        Dangling a wiry lapdog                                                        In the painting by Renoir –

If I said fire, if I said blood welling from a cut –

Or flecks of poppy in the tar-grass scented summer air                                                                                      On a wind-struck hillside outside Fano –

If I said, her one red earring tugging at her silky lobe,

If she tells fortunes with a deck of fallen leaves                                                                 Until it comes out right –

Rouged nipple, mouth –

(How could you not love a woman                                                                                                         Who cheats at the Tarot?)

Red, I said. Sudden, red.


Middle-class trauma

So following on from the police injustice I suffered yesterday, I dreamt, last night, that I was walking down a street and some plain-clothes policeman stopped me to fine me for wearing no shoes. And I was like “hell, there’s no way I’m not wearing shoes in public” (turns out I has a Hick’s accent in this dream), but then I looked down at my feet and they were indeed bare (maybe I transformed entirely into Hick, after all). I begged and pleaded with the man, but he would have none of it. He kept telling me how the law was there for my own good and I needed to take care of my feet. I walked off in shame and spent the rest of the dream trying to find my past-lover to give him a hand-embroidered (not by moi) tablecloth, but he was doing a very good job of ignoring me while wearing aviator sunglasses (fuck knows what’s going on in the dark recesses of my mind).

Needless to say, I’m feeling rather traumatised and now can’t cross the street without thinking someone’s going to jump out of the bushes and shout: “Freeze, its da Po-leese”