Where Reason came to Die…

I’m two weeks in to my latest round of lockdown blues.  This one’s longer than the last few and harder to shake.  ‘We’re all going to die!’  I’m still thinking, only that’s my lines from an old script when we were all going to die before black lives mattered most urgently before black trans lives mattered even more before anti antisemitism was rooted out of the Labour party by a bloke that can’t tell the difference between clumsy criticism of Israel’s power structures and Jew hating.

Obviously, as a non-Jew, I shouldn’t have an opinion on what constitutes antisemitism.  I certainly shouldn’t conclude that conflating Israeli politics with the Jewish people is inherently anti Semitic, but there you have it.

It’s getting harder, though, to think for myself, and even harder to motivate myself to explain my thoughts.

Intellectual discourse is at an all time low, and the bar was never set that high to begin with.  It’s only a couple of millennia since we believed the world was created in six days by a judgemental maniac with a zero tolerance policy to disobedience – Abraham had to be willing to kill his own bairn, didn’t he?

We’re not savages, any more.  We had the age of enlightenment, hadn’t we?

But all that was so very long ago before the box in the corner, that our parent’s worried might lead us astray, and before the hand held devices we worry are damaging our children’s minds.  And before the thought police patrolled the corridors of every virtual group we dared to enter, in the vague hope of finding somebody, somewhere, that thinks the same as us.  And just like there was no room at the inn for the pregnant Mary, there’s no place at the table for the free thinker, and no donkey to carry them to the next best location.

And when I say them I mean plural and you can shove your linguistic mind games where the sun don’t shine.

And also your fear of science.  I’ve seen it before.  All ex Catholics have, assuming that there was such a thing as an ex Catholic.  ‘Coz religion and science can’t really co-exist, they are inherently suspicious of each other.  And if your gonna fly in the face of most reasoned people better hope your sources are better than Flat Earthers.

Or not.  Sources aren’t important.  Statement’s are.  Say it loud, say it proud, and whatever you do, don’t stop and think about what it is you are saying.  Curiosity not only kills cats, it literally turns women into human beings.  And nobody really wants a Mother, that is human, washing their underpants, reminding their information starved brains that they’re a lazy fuck.

And speaking of laziness, if you’re gonna sell conspiracy theories then at least buy the good ones.  To that end, any ideology with Trump as the end game is playing you for a fool.

Only I don’t say any of it, because there is no-one to listen.  Not really.  Sure, you can shove stuff on line, but what difference does it make?  We’re all going to hell on a handcart and my vague twittering ain’t gonna save us.

Or maybe, as per ‘The Good Place’ , this is hell.  We’ve all died in an event so catastrophic that we’ve wiped it from our collective consciousness and here we are in the afterlife, reaping what we have sowed.  An eternity of virtual self righteousness and out of context biblical memes, which is a kick in the face for the heathens who always reckoned God has no sense of humour.




The Shaming of the Shrew

Yesterday afternoon, absentmindedly, I tripped and fell into the comments section of a Edinburgh based social media group.  I’m okay, still a little shaky and following my doctor’s advice – to stay the fuck away from Community facebook pages.  You may think it’s extreme to call an emergency doctor because you’ve suffered a bruised ego, but that’s how entitled I am.

My website calls me Triona, but lately I’ve been called Karen several times.

I thought about putting up a copy of my birth cert, blanking out bits and showing enough for people to see I’m not Karen, and then I realised they didn’t mean it literally.

Like when a woman is called a whore or a cunt or a bitch, or in more recent times, a terf.  These words aren’t meant to suggest that a woman referred to in these terms is an actual prostitute, vagina, dog or feminist.  They are simply shorthand for misogynists who want to express the universal language of woman hating, in easily understood terms.

And every generation has their own words, but the millennia old tradition of putting women in their place continues.

It’s too late for me to avoid the Karen label.  It is as inevitable as the terf label that proceeded it.  Too mouthy.  See?  In my defence, I was born this way and despite the many successive attempts of the system and violent men to shut me up, I continue to have opinions and to voice them.  But it’s not too late for you. Here are my top tips to avoid being labelled Karen.

(1) Don’t ever express an opinion in a public setting, be it real or virtual.

(2) Whenever possible, avoiding leaving the house, as this will minimise your chances of being overheard, unwittingly, saying something no longer sayable.

(3) In the privacy of your home, stick to talking about stuff you know and avoid all controversial subjects. Most subjects are now controversial so try to keep conversation in the present tense around action words.   For example, you might say, ‘I am doing the laundry.  Do people mind gathering their stinking socks and stained undergarments and leaving them in the washing basket?’

(4) Avoid Mumsnet like it was a recently revived wing of the I.R.A.  Beneath those recipes for fruit scones and advice links to government benefits, there lurks an underbelly of resistance to the whole scale takeover of Womanhood.  Nothing gets you called Karen quicker than resisting the whole scale takeover of Womanhood.

(5) As some of you will have jobs that necessitate leaving the house and compel you to converse about controversial subjects (almost everything) try to be the listener more than the talker.  When you speak, acknowledge your privilege, ignorance and all round gratitude that you’ve been given a voice and then use it to amplify the experiences of people that aren’t you.  Never, ever, centre yourself in any discussion, even with your shrink.

(6) If, as part of your job, you are expected to research your discipline, be aware research has evolved significantly.  Where once it was a pre-requisite to have a well read, intelligent view of a subject, now less is more.  Knowledge will be a handicap and sharing it a surefire, short route to a new nickname.

(7) Woke words evole quicker than conspiracies about Corona, so best to always follow another’s lead.  Underpinning any work focused, compulsory communication should be the clear understanding that words kill, literally, and wokeness kills the meaning of all words, figuratively.

(8) Are you confused yet?  If not, I don’t think I can help you.  Confusion is good, use it to keep you off balance and fearful.  The more afraid you are, the more you will self censor and not add to the workload of the oppressed, who have to take time away from fighting big oppressors – the state, the police, the government, their parents – to explain to you the devastating consequences your micro aggressive behaviour – hogging the office heater- has on the life expectancy of the indigenous tribes of New Guinea.

To summarise, erase from your mind any pre-conceptions of your powerlessness based on your own life experiences.  You may never have been able to get the fucker to pay child support, but are so omnipotent that if you retweet a J.K. Rowling comment, a gender non conforming child loses their wings and the whole world becomes a shade darker.




Tribalism in the Digital Age

‘If you think in any any way differently than me about anything I choose to care about, in any given moment – Unfollow me now.’  I read for the eighteenth time, this morning, from people I sort of know and strangers on facebook.  There’s no danger I’m unfollowing anyone who disagrees with me politically because political beliefs are transient and facebook likes are forever.

It’s not easy being anybody, anywhere, right now.

We’re all scared, except those of us too young or too stupid to appreciate the fragility of human life.  We’re all frustrated.  We’re all worried about a future we can’t see or even imagine.  We’re stuck in the present and we are a people who have very little practice living in the now.  We’re all binge surfing, connecting with like minded people and consolidating our limited understanding of events by agreeing with those who agree with us, and challenging, arguing with, and eventually telling those who don’t agree with us to ‘Fuck off.’

In between this we sleep, in order to keep our energy levels up so we can repeat the cycle the next day.

This is our new normal.

That polarised lifestyle that social media sold us with our free subscription is all we have now.  You are with us or against us.  You are on our side or you are on the side of moral corruption and spiritual denigration and worst of all – you are in danger of losing followers.  There is only two ways to think about anything, our way or the wrong way.

The pandemic was the perfect breeding ground for our latest round of them versus us.  What were your priorities, economic or social?  Did you want to save lives or save the stock market?  Were you one of the ones stupid enough to believe there was a virus?

And I was and I am.  I witnessed capitalism beaten into retreat in the West, for the first time, in my life-time, and I witnessed the housing market (the cornorstone of inequality in every society) grind to a halt.  And I knew a vast and deadly plague must have been unleashed on humanity coz money doesn’t stop making itself for no reason.

And it was hard on everyone, but especially the media who found themselves selling less papers than ever with only one source for content and an unchanging narrative.  Those on the left championed restrictions of movement for the greater good, those on the right outlined the case for reopening the economy cautioning against the long term effects of increased financial insecurity amongst a stir crazy populace.

The closest we came to agreement was that Dominic Cummings was a cunt with 71% of us reaching that conclusion, after watching his press conference.  We were robbed of any resolution on this shared belief because Dominic Cummings is a well protected cunt.

But the fiasco that united us is but a fleeting memory, now, as dystopia moves on and kicks down the door that is racism and live streams it across the globe.  And it is uglier and more garish than anything we had previously thought it was, and we have more time to think than ever before.  And we also, now, have something to think about that isn’t endless boredom and death stats at the top of the leader board.

And before you could say ‘Stay Alert – Control the Virus’, a global uprising against racism was in full swing, and it should have been a euphoric thing for those of us who want a systematic end to racial oppression, but the pandemic loomed large over the gathered crowds and will now spread in the very communities it has already disproportionately affected.

And as I stay at home to save lives, I feel so very sad.  Nuance is dead and there is only one way to see things.  It is not possible to believe that black lives matter more than any cause, even the cause of their own oppression.

And who the fuck am I, with my Celtic complexion, to whitesplain racism?

The papers who, last week, told us to stay put under pain of death, literally, are now telling us to take to the streets in our thousands and chant the slogan ‘I can’t breathe’.

And, as I stay at home, I’ve slowly come to accept the only lives I’m saving are that of me and my boy.