Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Layer 438 . . . Humour, Grim Reality, Hard Times, Resistance, Passivity, Complicity, Regime Change and Accountability

An old mate of mine suggested that these blogs are lacking in a sense of humour, and I can't argue with that. This is hardly comedy central. In fact, THIS is Comedy Central -


Alternatively, it's worth checking out Private Eye for humourous comment on politics and current affairs:


I like a good laugh myself, and the people at Comedy Central and Private Eye are the best in the business. Then there are the folks on The News Quiz - Sandi Toksvig, Jeremy Hardy, Andy Hamilton, Fred MacAulay, Francis Wheen, Sue Perkins, Phil Jupitus, et al. Unmissable.



Still bedding down is Channel 4's new current affairs '10 O'Clock Live' show on Thursdays, which features Charlie Brooker, Jimmy Carr, Lauren Laverne and David Mitchell. It's very amusing in parts.


Charlie Brooker's column in the Guardian is also a must-read.


Also Have I Got News For You.

In the interest of putting smiles on faces, Oxzen welcomes and will publish any contributions from readers in the way of witticisms, jokes, gags, japes and jests. No payment or reward, but credit and a name check will be given for any material submitted.


There's a real art to being funny about what's going on in the world. For the most part the news is grim. The coalition is still saying there's no Plan B. They're still determined to slash public spending far faster than is even remotely necessary. This week there's constant dismay about the loss of public libraries, which Tories clearly don't give a shit about. They never use them. Never have and never will.

And talking of giving a shit - Manchester council has said it will reduce the number of its public toilets from 13 to ONE. Joke!!

This morning there was news about corruption going on in the privatisation of air/sea rescue services. It's even come to this - outsourcing and profit-making from public safety and rescue services.

Bastards like Toby Young and Michael Gove are still thrusting ahead with their plans to privatise schools and education, and completely mess up coherent public provision - and to do it all through the use of public money. Same applies to health and hospitals, where all manner of people and professional bodies are saying the government's proposals are going to be a disaster , but it won't make a jot of difference; private companies will be allowed into the 'market'  to cherry pick the most profitable bits, leaving the rest of the health service to deal with the hard stuff.

There's a revolution going on - a Chicago-School hard-line political convulsion - and there needs to be a coherent and organised response to it. None of this is necessary, none of it was voted for, it's not beneficial to the majority of us, it's not pleasant, and it's not funny. Piss-taking alone won't solve anything.

When people say "So what did you personally do to resist this reactionary evil?" it won't be enough to say I looked the other way, or I ignored it, or I made fun of it, or even - I wrote about it.

What's the next worse thing to having your country over-run by a bunch of fascists in jackboots? How about having it taken over and run by a bunch of hard-line neo-cons for the benefit of bankers, oligarchs, landowners and City fat cats? How about having more and more public assets stripped and sold off for the benefit of the already-rich?

What's the difference between a Mubarak and a bunch of his chums doing the bidding of Big Money, Multi-Nationals and Big Finance, to the detriment of 'ordinary' people, and David Cameron and his chums doing the bidding of Big Money, Big Business and Big Finance? Not a lot. Not that New Labour were any better. So what do we do about it?


Why bother commenting on any of it, particularly for no obvious reward? I do ask myself this question sometimes.

Clearly the answer is that diarists, journal writers and bloggers write because they feel a strange compulsion to keep track of their mental, emotional and physical lives, and keep track of what's happening in the world. Primarily they do it for themselves, and it doesn't really matter whether anyone else reads it, or what anyone else thinks about it. Though feedback is much appreciated, especially when there are inaccuracies in the pieces.

There's also a desire to share with other people some of the interesting stuff that's available on the Internet, TV, radio, etc. I know I've had tremendous benefit from linking with what other bloggers and writers recommend by way of reading, videos, TV, and so on.

Take the situation in Egypt, for example. I now compulsively watch and listen to al-Jazeera to keep up with what's happening in Tahrir Square and throughout the country, and I like the fact that they have such a wide range of correspondents who report and comment on the situation both within the country and from as far afield as Washington and Australia. It's an additional bonus that citizen 'journalists' who have nothing to do with the major media organisations are also commenting on what's going on.

Who can forget the Baghdad Blogger and his ilk some years back?

It's a real pity that some folks don't have the time or the energy - or even the means - to share with others their thoughts on their lives and on the world from their own unique perspective. Does it really matter, though? Yes it does. Those who haven't discovered the benefits of personal writing really don't appreciate what they're missing. It's fine not to share it, but JFDI.

Waka waka.


This morning my son patiently explained why the banks should all have been taken into State control at the point when the whole system went bust - after allowing the banks themselves to go bust. He pointed out that they could have been up and running again immediately with the salaries of employees paid from profits - once their massive debts had been written off. He was very clear about the need at that point for the government to guarantee the modest deposits of ordinary customers. As for the ill-gotten gains and the huge losses of the billionaires and squillionaires and hedge-funders who are the promoters of the rackets and the bubbles and of casino capitalism in general - who gives a shit? My son's adamant that we would all be a lot happier if we settled for having less money whilst insisting we have more time for personal pursuits and better relationships.

He really gets it.

Why doesn't everyone?


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