Reduce your carbon footprint! Eat less meat! Recycle!
I’m sure you will have encountered similar messages in the media. And you may have been struck by the sense, as I was recently, that while our individual choices are important, we are essentially rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic, if the world’s biggest climate culprits don’t get involved. And not with green-washing and PR exercises, but with real action to end the obsession with profits and growth at any cost.
Stan Lee, beloved creator of the Marvel universe, passed away this week. In his amazing career he dreamed up scores of memorable superheroes and villains. Sadly we cannot rely on any colourfully-costumed crusaders to rescue us from our current predicament. In fact it all gets rather complicated when we realise that the menace we are facing is… us. You, me, the guys who run the corporations, banks, the politicians, (especially the politicians) all of us are the bad guys in this storyline. And, perhaps, the good guys too. Continue reading
The world is quite an absurd place, mostly run by criminals, thugs and at least one ridiculous but very dangerous sociopath with a fake tan.
As remotely-piloted drones blow up civilians thousands of miles away, we obsess over the best yoga positions for pets and finding the right brand of organic, gluten-free toothpaste. Each day, a dozen more species disappear as we gorge on ‘reality’ TV shows featuring Z-list celebrities being eaten by giant mutant crabs.*
It’s no wonder that comic book adaptations have become so popular on the big screen, when real life often seems like a plot from some dark dystopian tale, where super-villains vie for world domination as the very fabric of society threatens to unravel. Who then can resist a team of troubled heroes with perfect teeth, super-human powers and snappy one-liners, saving us from the devils of our worst nature, and the worst perils of Mother Nature. Of course in most comic books, it’s easier to tell the heroes from the villains. Continue reading
Something I read recently set the creaking gears in my mind to whirring and grinding: it was a reminder that each of us was the author of our own lives. Not an Earth-shatteringly new idea perhaps, but it had me pondering both the degree to which it is true, and also the implications of such a role.
There are numerous factors that make us the person we are: our genes, gender, sexuality, race, upbringing, social position, wealth, education, and the chance circumstances of one’s early life must all play a part.
Clearly an orphan, growing up in poverty in some war-ravaged corner of the globe, will have a very different experience of life and very different opportunities to the privileged offspring of comfortable upper-middle class professionals in a sleepy Surrey village. So we are certainly not all starting from the same place and with the same degree of literary freedom, when it comes to the authorship of our own tales.
I love odd coincidences and weird moments of synchronicity. Recently I heard / read something that reminded me of Laurie Anderson’s track (and surprise hit) ‘O Superman‘. It’s been a while (1981!), so I looked up the lyrics out of curiosity (Memory can play tricks). It seems disturbingly sinister and prescient now:
“….This is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes.
They’re American planes. Made in America.
Smoking or non-smoking?
And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
completion of their appointed rounds.
It’s all finally beginning to make sense now. Fidel Castro‘s death is clearly another piece of the puzzle. A thorn in the side of the real Illuminati who run the world, he had to go, so a deal was struck to elect billionaire buffoon Donald Trump by nefarious means (Destroying Clinton with FBI smears, misinformation campaigns, mind control chemtrails, Russian hackers, etc, etc). In return Trump used his wealth and contacts in the Russian underground , business and showbiz to begin the final phase of a global takeover and remove all opposition. With Brexit secured, phase one – the collapse of the European union had begun successfully.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”
Hollywood has a long obsession with heroes, from the early westerns to the latest spandex-clad Marvel super types currently dominating global box offices. They mine common themes of heroism: self-sacrifice, justice and the importance of big muscles when biffing baddies with bad attitudes.
Of course not all heroes rely on brawn – some are brilliant scientists, some are brilliant and super rich and others are just your average Joe/Josephine who got bitten / zapped or otherwise transformed into yet another saviour figure with a bizarre ability and costume.
The dystopian world of the undead is a truly terrifying vision. They shuffle along mindlessly, all grotesque faces and guttural grunts, falling upon any flesh they find and devouring it in an horrific display of terrible table etiquette.
But even if you choose to avoid the big city-centres on any given Friday evening, you cannot help but see where George Romero or the writers and producers of TV’s excellent The Walking Dead series found their inspiration.
We now have a whole new category of accidents becoming commonplace in the modern era: a category that one could well label zombie-related injuries. People roam the streets distracted, their eyes glued to mobile devices, and frequently fall under cartoon-style steam rollers, over cliffs or into piranha-infested rivers. Well, they definitely bump into lamp-posts and trees anyway.
Read part one and part two of the story.
The situation looked grim – the demonstration outside New York’s Hall of Science was turning into a riot as more and more of the city’s thugs and crazies arrived to join in the melee. Salma was down, injured, Spark almost out of juice and Ray Flint – Rational Ray – seemed to be missing in action.
Will the forces of idiocy prevail? It’s time to find out..
Spark crawled across the grass to Salma’s side. Blood trickled down from her temple, giving him grave cause for concern. Her attacker, a hulking brute with shaved head and swastika tattoos was still close by, but just out of his reach. Perhaps he could manage one last stun before his battery ran flat. Where in the name of fuck was Ray?
Read part one of this story here
Raymond Flint – Aka Rational Ray – and his trusted robotic companion Spark are en route to New York’s Hall of Science in Queens, after a series of texts from Salma Rivera – Aka Reason Gal – had alerted our hero to the increasingly hostile protests going on outside the building. Although a number of prominent friends and colleagues from the world of science were attending a meeting inside, it was the safety of those on the outside that concerned him more.
Raymond Flint, known to millions from his radio shows and books as Rational Ray, walked to the window and gazed down at the milling crowds in the street outside his building. His once fairly secret address was now besieged by the legions of the dumb. Bearing crudely made signs and bellowing barely-literate nonsense, they had become a daily irritation in the life of this quiet and unassuming science advocate and former martial arts star.
To many of his fans he was something of a superhero, a label he rejected, on the grounds he was neither super, nor especially heroic, but they seemed to need him to be one, so he was rather stuck with it, for now. The tagline Bruce Lee with a PhD also made him cringe, but it had become a catchy slogan for many.