Views from the sidelines of a non existent culture war.

Another week in the non existent culture war and the causality count rises but not so much that you need to drag yourself away from your ethically sourced, vegan, decaffeinated latte and your instagram post about saving the whales. And I’m not saying whales don’t need to be saved. Please don’t turn me into a whale hater because the truth is a bit more complex.

Truth invariably is, lacking the moral certainty of the sound bite or the mantra or the outright lie.

“Women aren’t being silenced,” they say, “especially not cishet, white, middle class, suburban mothers, whose language and sense of entitlement is rooted in their anglo saxon colonist heritage.”

“You haven’t read “White Fragility?”” they ask, their face the same shade of shocked as when your ma figured out you weren’t going to mass of a Sunday. “Too fragile,” I quip, irony lost to a crowd of humourless hecklers who have been told to laugh is like to lynch.

“Ok boomer!” they say, in a refrain that would be ageist, if ageism was a new age sin. “It’s not really mocking the elderly,” they explain, “only the greedy, gammon types, with their racism and their ignorance and their pathological refusal to boycott Wetherspoons.”

“We don’t ban books,” they say, “we ban bad books. Bad books are literal violence.” Any attempt to speak of the relativity of the term “bad” is mute, like when you try to tell your aunt that her local priest’s a flasher.

“If you don’t take the knee,” they say , “then you might as well put holes for eyes in your bed sheets and tattoo a swastika on your arse.” Whilst racism itself can be characterised by limitless macro and micro aggressions, anti racism has but one calling card. Bend down, then back up and cool off with a vitamin enriched natural spring water, infused with potassium and zinc.

The non-existent culture war is killing critical thought and replacing it with mindless mantras and pointless gestures. A generation raised to believe that disagreement is violence and difference is hate, damning itself to implosion from within as the real world rejects its 2D version of humanity, where people are caricatures and political thought is a concept that must be contained.

The non existent culture wars, where the privileged came and conquered the concept of “civil rights”, repackaged them in recycled paper, added some rainbow ribbons and stamped on a fist, before refurbishing them and selling them back to the kids, raised on the internet, that weren’t buying any revolution that was not televised.

And so it came to be that big corporations and big governments stood in solidarity with “civil rights” and they all mouthed the same slogans and advocated for the same stuff, in some countries. Ain’t gonna sell no jeans in Saudi with a rainbow flag, Levi’s. No computers in China with a free speech logo, Apple.

And the absolute genius of corporate civil rights is how little they cost, once you remove class as a signifier of need. Want to increase sales? Ramp up the social media output using the words “love” and “change” and “difference”. Improve staff morale? Hire a team of “divistery” experts that expose the outright ordinariness of most of your workforce and make them feel bad for decisions they neither participated in or benifit from. Damn sight cheaper than them an 8% pay rise, or putting in a room for breastfeeding, or putting the structures in place that address actual inequality in the workplace.

And with unions not fit for purpose and women’s orgs decrying women and anarchists censoring books, the corporate take-over of political ideas, they had no business stealing, is almost complete.

And here, in the dying embers of a democratic process, I stand on the ravaged remains of a traditionally left leaning Scotland that is arching further right, beneath the strain of a non existent culture war and I can’t help but be grateful.

How much worse would things be if this culture war was real and not only in the heads of racists, white supremacists, neo nazi netmummers, religious right, zealotry, football watching, God fearing, Wetherspoon’s drinking, brexit voting, Churchill worshipping, colonist mindset thinking, pie eating types?

Before Q

Before Q, we were okay. Before Q, you were okay. Yeah, we argued, sometimes, like people on different pages of the same book. And then Q came along and burned all the books ‘coz reading is for losers and Donald Trump rocks (even with covid).

Q was the game changer. Like a last stage cancer it spread over our friendship and the globe, simultaneously, covering the uncertainty of the moment in a layer of virtual treacle trapping humans like flies as they sped round targeted sites looking for answers. And you were taken, in an instant, and now they own you and your mind belongs to them. And it’s very sad.

And not just for you and me but for all them and all us Q’s created as it cuts through families and society with the same precision blade. Q doesn’t want stable followers, he can’t sustain them, and luckily for him, he doesn’t get many.

I’ve personified Q as a male. Fact is no-one’s sure who or how many Q is. We know where he came from – the chans (4 and 8), the online equivalent of those late night bars you’d never willingly enter when sober, and the chans are unequivocally male and misogynist and white and racist and anti sematic. They are a virtual playground for the kids that were too weird (think burning cats not been really good at maths weird) to have friends.

And origins matter. Especially when the tale they tell is so tall, and is their a taller tale in the history of tall tales than Donald being the chosen one?

And what a stroke a genius to make it about children because everybody’s for children and against paedophiles, except the paedophiles, obviously. So which are you a Trump supporter or a paedophile? And how the fuck did we get here because the question makes no sense? And that’s what Q does. Murders common sense.

And after that it’s like talking to a cultist. And everybody knows you can’t talk to cultists. But nobody thinks their friend is going get trapped in a cult until they do.

Irish Eyes

I’ve been obsessing about people obsessing about Q for months now. Since lockdown began. Within weeks of containment, I had already started to receive private messages with links to badly produced Sci-Fi movies masquerading as documentaries. The first one I watched was about the Titanic. Lots of symbols. Lots of Jews. Lots of soundbites and eerie music and a sub plot about global domination being furthered by the Titanic’s deliberate and tactical sinking. It disturbed me enough to reject the next dozen or so links I was sent.

By then, everybody and his Mother had turned political, picked a side and showed a willingness to throw aforementioned Mother onto a fire, for the sake of a cause. Any cause. It was wild. People who had previously posted kittens and kale recipes were suddenly posting provocative political statements and demanding that all who disagreed be culled from their friend’s lists.

It was deeply unsettling. As a politically engaged individual, I had long dreamed of a world of mass political engagement but I never imagined that dream would come true and turn out to a horror fantasy of epic proportions.

See, political engagement comes with a price. You gotta be informed. Without information, it’s just mass theatre. Right now, nobody is informed. Only the most informed of us know how uniformed we are. The least informed of us, and their ranks are swelling, claim to know the most. They have a direct line to truth, all of us sleepy heads can’t grasp.

Because I’ve always been a bit of a header – Irish slang for mentally unstable – I know a larger amount of the uniformed than is healthy. This point was brought home to me sharply when I was sent a D.M. of a speech at an Edinburgh rally, tasked with the ambitious slogan of ‘Saving Scotland’. The speech was by Dolores Cahill , an Irish scientist of international renown that has renounced science in favour of saving the masses from Bill Gates.

So I watched it and it was fairly predicable. Them bad. Us good. Us, for the purposes of this speech, were those who gave her a platform, who clapped and supported her, shared her speech, advocated for her release when she was detained on return to Ireland and now cajole MSPS to #debatedolores and suggest any who won’t is a coward.

Us, on a weekday, when Dolores is not saving foreign countries from themselves, is a non foreigner, an Irish person. Because Dolores’ day job is trying to save Irish people from foreigners and carbon tax and the normal rule of law in certain areas that she aims to have the army take over. The political party she helped set up and chairs is Ireland’s UKIP.

So I say this to those of you, who I knew in a previous life, who think I need to awaken and face society’s dark truths. How dark must it actually be if the messenger is an angel of multi-cultural death? How depressed do you have to be to find salvation in an Irish racist?

And for those of you who were taken in by those twinkly eyes and the lilt, you should know it’s not half as enticing when it’s the only accent you ever get to hear…