Through the looking glass

rocket-ship_lge

I’ve just about recovered from the shock of seeing our American chums (or the half of them that bothered to vote) elect an evil clown as president. Coming not long after the Brexit fiasco, it feels like all the rules of the universe are now open to question and anything is possible. Tomorrow my bus driver might be a duck, the sky may have turned green and all the fish could be strolling around town in tiny berets, affecting a French accent and taking selfies in front of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
George Carlin

It’s one of those periods when whole nations seem to go a bit gaga and do something that had just months earlier seemed inconceivable. I took the news quite badly, and I’m not even an American citizen. But my US chums on Facebook and WordPress seemed equally aghast. What new folly had they sunk to? Were they, as one cartoon suggested, competing with Britain for the ‘dumbest nation’ title?

Since the shock election outcome, I’ve been learning a little more of the motivations and attitudes that elected an arrogant, racist TV celebrity billionaire to the biggest job in America. It’s so easy to fall into a black and white, simplistic mindset where one denounces the Trump voter as a racist imbecile. I was certainly at that point a few days ago. But when you grasp what Hillary Clinton represented in the minds of many voters – the status quo of a political elite totally out of touch with ordinary people – then their choice starts to be slightly less baffling. Perhaps.

One commentator pointed out the fear that many white people experience as the demographics of their country shifts them slowly towards a minority position. And of course economic hardship and job insecurity are always rich seams to be mined for the skilled opportunist. So Trump rolled into town with just the right rhetoric and insane election promises to push their buttons. He won hearts, not minds, a lesson the left is slowly beginning to absorb both in the US and back in my EU-abandoning homeland. All us liberal lefty intellectual types got our bottom spanked, again.

I say intellectual in the sense I read books with no pictures in, and sometimes even finish them. I occasionally sit through long and baffling art-house movies. I once owned a beret. I am certainly no academic though and my formal education was fairly brief and superficial (Art school). But I can at least now stroke my newly acquired beard thoughtfully, take off my glasses, and with furrowed brow attempt to understand the metro public service announcements.

The advent of the ‘super-moon’ could have been a final omen, a portent of the ‘end times’ so beloved of certain religious extremists. I certainly noticed my hands seemed more hairy the past few days, and yesterday I had a strange desire to rip out the throats of passing strangers with my sharp fangs. But I put it down to typical Monday morning blues/hangover, and grumpily went about my day without too much throat-ripping or howling. No more than the usual amount.

Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
Niels Bohr

It’s always impossible to predict what’s in store for us, despite what the astrology nuts and the crystal ball fondlers would have us believe. These recent global events may signal a general downward spiral of western civilization, a coming zombie apocalypse, or perhaps a visit from a amiable alien and his robot chum, keen to deliver a message to “Get your shit together Earth people, or else” Or words to that effect. (Remember the phrase “Klaatu barada nikto” just in case).

It may of course simply be another bumpy patch of road, where we hit our collective heads on the roof a bit and feel queasy for a time, but eventually find ourselves back on the motorway, cruisin’ towards that bright future of unlimited leisure, perfect virtual reality simulations and trusty robotic servants at our beck and call. A world powered by unlimited clean energy and completely free of Justin Bieber records, due to an administrative oversight that sends him and his entire music catalogue to Mars. Or Pluto. Anywhere else really.

In a multiverse (surely my most overcooked chestnut) every possibility might play out. Trump might start world war III in one, achieve world peace in another and be a cheese-eating chihuahua’s bad dream in a third. Clearly we’ll have to wait and see how this all pans out.

As for me I have my own challenges ahead – finding more paid work, trying to avoid any lycanthropic misdeeds and planning the referendum on whether to keep or lose the beard at the end of the month. It’s an important decision and I’m hoping that voters across the world will help me make the right call. Third time lucky.

 
©Text copyright Jason Lennick 2016. All rights reserved.
 
Picture: Space X
 
 

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21 thoughts on “Through the looking glass

  1. Great post, Jason. Humor is very valuable at a time like this. I remember listening to a podcast featuring an interview with a British veteran of WW1. He said that in the trenches, humor and comradeship were the only things that kept him going.

    The recent presidential election and Brexit were both disasters from my point of view, and although I take the point that racism wasn’t the only thing driving the decisions, I do think it’s fair to say it was certainly a significant contributory factor. As I think I may have mentioned before, this year has often made me feel that we really are living in a multiverse and we just happen to be in one of the less likely scenarios.

    Still, there are always positive things that could happen in the future. The possibility you raised of all Justin Bieber’s music being sent to Pluto cheered my mood somewhat. Perhaps one of the bus driving ducks could be trained to pilot the spaceship.

    Anyway, as I said, I thoroughly enjoyed the post. (P.S. I’m very glad to hear you didn’t rip anybody’s throat out. I don’t really approve of that kind of thing.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers Bun, that means a lot. I’m pretty sure without humour we’d all go a bit bonkers in these dark days. Hopefully those of us with any glimmer of decency or sanity remaining can pull together to oppose the divisive rhetoric of the hate-mongers. And maybe also crowd fund that Bieber to Pluto mission. One small step for man…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, we don´t have to be heavily intellectual to form a common sense opinion on our world events.
    Just to proof it a here is a brief storm on the beard pulling/stroking topics:

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The guy in the video above is spot on. It is the failure of the Left that Trump is soon to be in the White House.

    Vast swathes of those who voted for Trump (and Brexit) should be natural, core Leftist voters: poor, uneducated (stupid?), powerless people. So why did they vote the way they did? Because the Left no longer attempts to address their problems.

    Part of the definition of ‘poverty’ is the lack of opportunity, so of course poor people get poor educations. Poor people might find it difficult to understand to real reasons for their predicament, or be unable to articulate well, their frustrations.

    Perhaps the middle-class Left should stop dismissing them as racist bigots, and look at what lies beneath their ignorant, angry rants. Fear and helplessness?

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    • Yeah he makes a lot of sense in that video and I’m seeing more of this type of thing these past few days. Trumpageddon and Brexit could be valuable learning opportunities for the future, assuming the shower in charge don’t manage to start WW3.

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  4. I for one can only scratch my head as to why the “little people” actually believe a mega-rich, self-absorbed bully with a history of misusing others only to enrich himself has the slightest interest in them. One look at his tax plan expresses it perfectly; a bone for the little people to get their vote and a thick steak for himself and the 1%, at the cost of a huge budget deposit. And it’ll still be business as usual in Washington, you’d have to change out congress and evict the lobbyists for that to change.

    As for the video, while it has some truths, it’s full of logical inconsistencies and is as much demagoguery as Trump’s rantings. His words may call for debate, but his tone is pure anger, which has no place in a rational discussion.

    Sorry for the soapbox.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Trump knew the weaknesses of his rivals pretty well, and capitalised on them. It seems many people would have voted for pretty much any alternative to ‘business as usual.’ But clearly there are lessons to be learned and at least the market in emigration services, nuclear shelters and hard liquor should see a boom time.

      The video guy was playing a role to some extent, rather like Trump. But we do need to engage and rethink how we approach such challenges in the future to avoid more catastrophes like this.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think there’s any need to be head scratching – I know these people – they simply have not been educated. Most are perfectly nice really, but they have no means to defend themselves against being manipulated.

      The video guy; perhaps like me, he’s a disgruntled socialist. He’s still able to express anger, I’ve just given up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know these people too, some are in my own family. And yes, they are perfectly nice, as are the majority of the conservatives I know. I’d also be wary of just lumping conservatives into the “easily manipulated” category, liberals can be too – remember all the folks disillusioned because Obama wasn’t able to follow up on his original Hope and Change theme? Folks who think Bernie walks on water? I don’t think it’s strictly an education thing, I think it’s more confirmation bias – people believe what they want to believe, ignoring inconvenient facts. Highly educated people are susceptible to that too.

        Spewing anger, violence, and even some forms of protest are counter productive, and distract from the actual problems. What we need now is a magnifying glass, likely media based, that scrutinizes actions taken (by either party) and presents them in full context, with as little bias as possible. Fact check to the max.

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      • Think a wire got crossed somewhere? I wouldn’t call the people I’m talking about ‘conservatives’. Just poor, working class, poorly educated people (and hence easily manipulated). They should naturally be core Labour voters in the UK, but they no longer are (because of Blairism).

        I’d define an educated person as someone who is able to recognise attempts at manipulation? Same with recognising their own susceptibility to confirmation bias. Would there be any point in education otherwise?

        Your solution – wonderful idea, but it ain’t never gonna happen. Fecebook, Twatter … Daily Mail?

        Liked by 1 person

      • A beard is like a pet. You have it, try it and if it behaves as you like it , it can stay on your face, so enjoy it. For many of us, it serves as a statement, like a flag or avatar, sometimes a mask. Definitely makes you look less of a banana.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel sorry for all the american people and the rest of the world. I won’t miss democracy and liberty but never ever will miss beards thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Like

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