It’s been a busy day. I wrote a new piece for Reaction, about the disclosures in John Bolton’s new book. Link here.
I’ve also added a link to that other book I shall not name over on my Books Page. It still feels weird putting this book back out there. I’ll probably regret it in the coming days. (The thing I’ve always regretted the most was the name but it’s too late to change it. I wrote the book well before #MeToo. It now has some unfortunate connotations but the reason I chose it was to create a character who represented pure carnality, which is precisely the point of the kind of comedy I’m attempting, where you push things to an extreme.)
Anyway, whilst I’m sitting here before I go and unwind by watching Brooklyn 99 (it is such a good show!), I thought I might as well let my fingers do a little extra work.
I thought tomorrow I might write about Raab and ‘taking the knee’ controversy but I’m not sure it’s worth it. Is there really much worth saying? The right-wing leap on his words and use it for their own ends, as a way to justify their opposition to the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m not sure why anybody would want to do that but, then, I agree that there’s a certain naivety about these popular protests. Racism is not going to be solved by one summer of unrest. Yet I also feel that there’s something deeply churlish about saying that too explicitly in certain contexts. It’s like telling children that Santa doesn’t exist. You might be right but sometimes it’s healthier to encourage certain habits, such as being good all year so you’ll get your presents. Saying, “hey let’s try not to be racist” seems equally reasonable, even if we know it’s not that easy.
Is there any harm in taking the knee? Hell, I’d do it myself. Unless, of course, I was being told to take the knee.
This is where it becomes tricky and I wonder if some footballers feel it when they take to the pitch and see their teammates get down on one knee. Not that I assume anybody would not want to do it but it does become a touch Miltonic. If God created everything, then he created evil in the world. In which case, didn’t he ensure that Man would fall? In which case, aren’t we all innocent and it’s God who is the Devil? William Blake famously said of Milton that he was of the Devil’s party but didn’t know (I’m paraphrasing). I guess that’s what he meant. If the knee is obligatory, then does it hold any meaning? Where does choice play a part? It then becomes a bit like clapping for the NHS or singing the national anthem. These things are meaningless unless they are optional.
It reminds me of something I saw on Twitter last week. It was somebody engaged in a chain tweet, where they’d pick five or six followers and asked them to express solidarity and declare that they’re not racist. I’m glad I was never picked. I wouldn’t know what I would do. I naturally feel my skin bristle with schemes like that. I can’t explain it. It’s not that I would have any problem saying I’m not racist but what comes next? How far down my list of potential sins must I detail? I’m not a killer. I’m not a thief. I’ve never flashed a nun. But then we get into the ordinary “bad thoughts” and if you know which improper thoughts I’ve denied thinking, you can figure out the rest, or, of course, you could just find them conveniently listed in my reasonably priced volume of erotic short stories, available at Amazon stores near you…
And, yes, I am quite pleased with how that came together at the end. Good night!
2 thoughts on “Late Night Update…”
Raab was posturing for the Tory leadership contest which will come sometime in the next couple of years (which he won’t win), and it was going down a treat on comments section of the Sun and Yahoo News. I did think it was funny the way that a load of left wing commentators were taking the piss out him for thinking it was out of Game of Thrones only to reveal they didn’t actually know the full story behind it themselves. You get a lot of that nowadays both ways.
A few years ago Newcastle fans started clapping for a minute on 17 minutes in tribute to two fans who were killed on flight MH17. First game of the season as a tribute, fair enough, halfway through the season it’s still going on as a minority of twats are abusing anyone who doesn’t join in. I stopped going to football in 2008 but if they had given me grief for not clapping I would have dared them to come down and try make me clap, being the calm balanced soul that I am.
When is Raab never posturing for the leadership? He’s an odd one — alongside Williamson — in that he almost looks the part. Then he opens his mouth and you almost begin to be thankful that Boris is in charge. Just to repeat, I said: almost.
Yes, a football crowd is probably not the best place to look for a wide variety of opinions expressed in a nuanced way. Key phrase I find myself using so often: both ways. The other one is: you can always expect some people to take things too far. Which is exactly the problem with these “spontaneous” displays of affection, gratitude, commemoration… The one that rankles with me is still the poppy, especially since it’s been politicised. It’s the assumption that a person hasn’t the right to their own mind and to wear or not wear it for their own reason.
“Calm balanced soul”. I wouldn’t have expected anything else.