Yesterday didn’t go as planned. Just after I blogged about intending to spend my day drawing, I got a delivery through the post. It was some hay fever tablets I’d ordered after finally accepting all the weird symptoms I’d been experiencing the last few weeks (sore eyes, sneezing, pressure in my ears) were explained by the ridiculously high level of pollen at the moment (linked to reduced car pollution, which normally binds with pollen and pulls it to the ground). The upshot: about 1pm yesterday I took one Benadryl. I could have saved some money by just running into a cupboard door.
The symptoms of my hay fever did ease and, yes, I feel a lot better today, but I don’t for a moment believe the back of the box where it says “rare cases of drowsiness have been reported”. I must be rare. Exactly one hour later, I was asleep in my chair. That never happens. Anyway, the fugue lasted most of the day. By the time I went to bed, I was wide awake so I could fully appreciate the 31 degree temperature in my room. Crap night’s sleep.
Have I mentioned before how I hate summer? Hate it. Despise it. Would move to Sweden for the summer months if I could. Anywhere where I could feel the odd Arctic blast.
A podcast today, though not sure what’s also planned (please let it be thunderstorms). Looking at the news, it’s all the predictable ping pong politics. The talk of the day seems to be a long interview that the actress Maxine Peake has given to The Independent. In it, she calls for the downfall of capitalism, says a few sharp things about Labour, and repeats the claim that US cops have been trained in Israel.
It’s the stuff that either side can leap on but none of it seemed that controversial. Nobody knows the future but the downfall of capitalism has never sounded that likely to me. What she said about Labour is by-the-books leftish talk about the struggle of compromise and whether the harder Left can tolerate a man like Starmer (or Blair before him) who they do not like. Even the stuff about Israel didn’t immediately sound that toxic. I’d noticed a piece on Amnesty International’s website, that claims that the militarization of America’s police force has links to the rapid growth of the security sector, where Israel leads the world. Yet perhaps it’s broader than that. It might be more gestural: Israel being cited because they’re the stock villain of the Left. The problem with the ‘I’ word appearing anywhere is that people leap to the assumption that it’s antisemitic. As with so many of these arguments, where you stand (or sit) seems important to how you read a headline. It’s too early in the day for me to unravel all of that. (Links to Israel are disputed [Here] and asserted [Here]. But like I say: much too early to unravel the facts from the falsehoods.)
What I did notice in my brief browse through the headlines was that one of the most vocal opponents of Peake, spouting all kind of militaristic patriotic bullshit, led to an account where they predictably labelled themselves a believer in “classical liberalism”. It’s become something of a game I play: guessing which accounts will use that formulation to excuse the racist, anti-immigrant, Anti-European, pro-England-cos-we-killed-Hitler nonsense. One in five is my usual score. There are a lot of them out there. I drew this cartoon a few months ago but never found a reason to post it. I have now.
But going back to Peake, the key word that’s being overlooked is “actress”. A person’s profession shouldn’t automatically discredit their arguments, but nor should it generally do the opposite unless that professional is relevant. Perhaps this is a flaw of capitalism, that bit that needs modifying to make the system work better. We have to stop caring about what famous people think. I notice Philip Schofield is now advertising We Buy Any Car. Always surprises me that these deals still work. James May or Jeremy Clarkson, I’d understand it. But Schofield? Feels a bit like asking the Pope for advice about buying your next skidoo.
The last thing I noticed was the headline about a white actress quitting a Netflix animated series where she’d been voicing a black character. “Black characters should be played by Black actors” ran the headline. In the current climate, this gesture seems timely and well made, yet I know it will only drag out the old “James Bond can’t be black arguments”, which bored me long before the last Bond movie sent me to sleep (and I hadn’t even been taking hay fever tablets). Myself, I really don’t care either way. I’ve got used to a world in which Hamlet can be female (Peake again) and Dev Patel can play David Copperfield. In this case, however, I think it’s a little bit more complicated than that. The cartoon’s diversity was disguising a lack of diversity in the cast (The Simpsons had the same problem). This then becomes a case of hypocrisy and, god knows, we need far less of that in the world.
Speaking of which: Robert Jenrick, Marxism, and the business affairs of a former porn baron…
But, no. Not going there. I have to prepare for a podcast.