Sir Thomas Lucy and his Family - Cornelius Johnson (1593 - 1661)
I don't know what 'family values' means, any more than I know what 'hard-working families' means, except in the toadying political sense. this thing - the family (the developed nations Christian nuclear model) - the supposed bedrock of society, is really just one mythical construct overlaid on top of another - the myth that romantic love evolves into family responsibility by a process of a sort of effortless osmosis. sure, it happens - we're hardwired to make it happen, willy nilly, but the development of those quintessentially familial parenting skills is predicated on the ruthless laws of biology, not myth, and the instinctual process is both accretive and merciless: any flaws in the bond between the parents will be urgently exposed, sooner rather than later, as if highlighted in neon red in the ongoing code - for either debugging or deletion. and - the silence on the universality of this experience is deafening - it's only the depth and potential for damage of those flaws that's variable. their existence is absolutely inevitable as long as we continue to believe in Hallmark love as the precondition of reproduction, and the received response of going into denial - cocooning the flaws in a cage of parentheses in the vain hope that it'll shield the syntax sufficiently to allow it to function - is to enter a hopeless cul de sac, the only comfort being that it's one that's populated, at least, with the familiar. we all begin by believing that there must be a family out there somewhere that works, where, after the programmed process of social reproduction has been achieved, there is an equal division of care, trust, mutual respect, fairness and tolerance, as well as love; where, whichever individual member's point of view you choose to interrogate - mum's, dad's, or any of the kids, you'll find an honest agreement that, for all the negotiations, the compromises, the mistakes, their value as a member of the family was equal to everyone else's. there must, surely? but what are the chances, really, of applying this particular definition of family values - ie of each member of the family being of equal value within the family unit - when the concept of equality in the larger social sense is so compromised by the Realpolitik of the world we're obliged to inhabit? very, very few people believe that all men and women are either born equal or are entitled to an equal share of the world's common wealth. we might be moved by an Irish millionaire pop singer's impassioned commitment to winning a Nobel prize the eradication of world poverty, but no further than would limit the perceived depreciation of our personal freedoms that would be incurred by giving up, what, half a percent of our net disposable income? and no-one who has acquired wealth - by whatever means - could possibly be persuaded (unless they lived in Scandinavia) that they had a moral and social responsibility to share the better part of it with those less fortunate. the social contract is a flexible entity, by definition - a continuing trade-off between individual rights and responsibilities. as in families, so in society: more rights entail more responsibilities, and fewer responsibilities always entail fewer rights. the corollary of this, however - that more responsibilities deserves more rights, is infrequently, if ever observed, nor can it be, as long as the fundamentally hypocritical adherence to a notional 'equality' that has no real basis either in law or belief remains unchallenged.
the only recent election that history will demonstrate to have mattered took place last November, and the world is the loser to that second (in recent memory) rape of democracy by a caucus of cock-strutters who have set the global political clock back by centuries.
'dialogue' as it might be understood by a playwright or screenwriter - ie an exchange of words between two or more individuals that contributes to the illumination of character or event or contributes to the unfolding of the action - is not on the agenda with these people - despite its constantly appearing - as a word - on any agenda to do with the furtherance of their single-minded objectives. their ears are deaf, their minds closed, to anything other than what they want to hear - the universal, voiceless affirmation of their power and wealth, and the universal, voiceless submission to whatever means are necessary to sustain it.
such autocratic contempt for the electorate and the electoral process is, essentially, unopposable. existentially, however, it is not, and, such is the sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in, since all reasonable means of opposition to the will of these madmen is effectively vetoed by their illegally mandated deafness, the unreasonable options are the only ones worth adopting, if only experimentally.
as far as this little election of ours goes, its irrelevance couldn't be demonstrated clearer than in the funny-bunny antics of Michael Howard - man of the peepel - basing the entirety of the Conservatives campaign on persuading the FFF (the frightfully fearful and actually fascists except we don't use that word) to vote their way. hate foreigners? vote Conservative. we'll keep them out and send all the wogs back where they came from, then Britain will be Great again and everyone will be rich. simple. sorted. it's the lobotomised behaviour of an opposition party traumatised by its own realisation that it's moved from top dog to jailhouse bitch in less than a decade.
so they're dead.
the lib dems are on their way, but I anticipate some frantic back-pedalling next time round when they realise that they've got to change their (very sensible, quite attractive, but fundamentally unelectable) manifesto to include some serious tax-cutting and military supporting and US-arse-licking promises in order to function as an effective opposition (which, with luck, they will have become by the end of next month - tee hee).
meanwhile, in this one-party state we've presently become, the only question to be asked is: does the UK belong to Dubya or to Europe? the answer's blindingly obvious: we belong, most demonstrably, and in the most brutal sexual sense, to the America of George Dubya, but we actually belong, in the most pragmatic and historical and semantic sense, to the Europe we have used the Napoleonic blockades and the Channel as an excuse not to belong to for more than two hundred years. somehow, the argument for marrying into Europe needs to be tarted up so that it can match the sort of passion involved in the resistance to US-domination.
meanwhile, I'm most effectively managing to stick to my resolution not to take any notice at all of what is going on in this election campaign. I shall vote, on May 5th - of course - because to not use my vote is tantamount to pissing on the graves of those many many men and women who fought - literally - to obtain it for me, in the belief that I, in common with every citizen, should be entitled to an equal say in the running of my country as the aristocracy and the landed gentry. I have no illusions whatever, though, about what the outcome is going to be, nor that the so-called 'protest votes' of those disaffected Labour supporters like me and my ilk will have the slightest effect in 'sending a message to Tony'. Tony and his ilk are way above listening to messages they don't want to hear. he's been taking his lessons as well as his cues from his master (see above) for far too long. we, too, are ineluctably bound for another five years of the same old same old.
so (with a certain sense of relief, I have to admit) I've been turning the page and/or switching channels (or simply leaving the room) whenever the subject is raised in the media, and I'm absolutely certain that, in my absence, nothing has been or will be said on the subject worth listening to.
which brings me back to my point about the irrational alternatives - specifically, to the existential ones.
I recall first encountering the notion of disempowering someone through ignoring them in the novel Terra Nostra by Carlos Fuentes (in my opinion one of the greatest novels of all time) in which the mad, ascetic King Felipe II of Spain meditates on accidentally overhearing a servant's momentary muttering of rebellion:
"El Señor did not dwell upon this enigma beyond a well-remembered maxim of his father the Prince: Give the most beggarly of the beggars of this land of paupers the least sign of recognition, and he will immediately comport himself like a vain and pretentious nobleman; do not dignify them, my son, not even with a glance; they are entirely without importance." (translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden)
all men are monarchs now, and in the case of these most contemptible liars and thieves and clowns who have the shameless audacity and risible conceit to declare themselves our current 'leaders' I suggest this mantra: they are entirely without importance - I do not dignify them with my recognition.
if something as corrosive and inimical to human life as the papacy were found in nature, it would have to be synthesised by Northrop Grumman and licensed for sale as warheads to the defenders of democracy everywhere. after two hundred and sixty-four attempts spread over two thousand years at persuading the world that there's a god in heaven who'll see that everything will turn out alright in the end, you'd think the world might have cottoned onto the scam by now. but hey. one more fluffy puff of white smoke and the whole thing starts rolling all over again. obedience, stoic suffering, uncomplaining acceptance of the status quo, a militant intolerance of divergent ideas and beliefs, but especially the condition of dogmatic obedience to the priests interpretations of the word in the book is something most of the major religions have in common. but a pathological disgust with sex in general and a spastic hatred of non-virgin or non-reproducing women in particular is the ingredient that leaves the jesus priests peculiar take on salvation with a distinctively odious historic stench, the long-lingering reek of countless witches living pyres. over a billion people worldwide, apparently, subscribe to this faith. for the great majority that will be a thoughtless cultural event, like being born with dark skin, but for some, there will have been consideration, meditation, enquiry, and choice in the matter. there are mysteries within mysteries that are not meant to be understood - like why buttered toast always drops face down, or why we drive on the left, or why examples are always delivered in threes, but why anyone in their right mind ...