Let The Accommodating Begin

We have all heard the words of Lord Aston in 1887, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” True then, true now.

In the stunned aftermath – at least in the liberal intelligentsia – of the US Election result the thing that caught my attention was the amount of Republican politicians that were, at best, ambivalent about The Donald before his win.

There is no doubt that he terrified and confused them. On the one hand, apparently one of them as a rich white man yet on the other, he had the propensity to say worrying things in a scary shoot-from-the-hip manner. Whilst The Donald, seeing power came from embracing a more right-wing christian position (Guns, good. Abortion, bad, etc) he lacked a filter. That scares these folks, for what lurks underneath? More importantly: will it compromise them to be too close to a man who is emotionally akin to a hand grenade with the pin out?

Watch what happens now, for it has already started. The power obsessed, self interested, Republican establishment are all scrambling to (re-)establish themselves at the right hand of the amazing new leader. One who speaks to change and represents the suppressed voice of the downtrodden underclass of America etc etc. What a guy, what a visionary, what an extraordinary change agent and what a stunning bullshit artist.

What they see in Trump is a man whose victory is merely the figurehead vehicle to dismantle any social advancement seen in the last 8y. Bye bye Obamacare (it is terribly unfair you know, affordable healthcare), bye bye Roe v. Wade (gotta insert punishment in here. After all, a good grabbing by the pussy is hardly sufficient for defiling one’s own body against the wishes of god, even if it is The Donald doing the grabbing). Bye bye same-sex marriage. I mean, seriously, that is just sick and against the natural order of things. Love has nothing to do with it in the deranged christian view,. Marriage is about a woman being a procreation machine, and you just can’t make more people if the fags get in on the act, ergh.  Climate change: can’t say bye bye to liberal bullshit can we, we can but dismantle the ideas that are perpetuated by people trying to neuter the great benevolent nation that is the USA. Oh yeah, free trade agreements like NAFTA are just liberal bullshit too, designed to disadvantage the great benevolent nation. And so on and so forth.

Brace yourselves for a tide of Trump lovin’ by the right-wing fence sitters now he has made it. An undignified rush for plum jobs will ensue, as memories are not helpful things to have in politics. At last, getting off the fence will provide these poor people with well deserved crotch comfort and at least someone is getting some relief somewhere.

 

 

Why Trump Will Win

The words ‘President Trump’ are some of the most repulsive and terrifying ones imaginable. Nonetheless, I think it will happen. If you haughtily cock your head and allow the merest hint of a Billy Idol sneer then you are one of the reasons why.

In my earliest days of selling I remember the old adage that you never called someone else’s baby ugly. It can have a face that looks  like it has been chasing parked cars, but it is still beautiful to its mother.

Trump appeals to the masses. That mass of people that we, in our intellectual bubble (that is you, you can read, you’re reading this ergo you are intellectual to them, plus you know what ergo means) simply don’t understand.

These people  lack identity and Trump’s message resonates with them. He knows this and he assures them that they can identify as American again and that he will make America great again. They will be great. Many have never been great, feel overlooked, neglected, passed over, victims. Well, no more. With ‘The Donald’ at the helm America will be great and they will be great once more.

Whether that can be intellectualised away means nothing to them. Donald has told them what the problem is and has promised to fix it. A nice and clean message from a guy that talks their language.

The intellectuals think that this is stupid. I agree. There is no sense in the demented ramblings of this egotistical sociopath. However, what I think Does. Not. Matter. Whatsmore, I and my ilk are not the gun-totin’, immigrant blamin’, downtrodden minority . This not so small minority votes too and they are voting Trump.

Hilary isn’t peddling a heady cocktail of freedom, identity, God and whiteness. Oh no, she is a criminal elite that sucked the fine United States into this mess. Her and that pseudo Kenyan guy that made it into the White House. They are the people to blame according to Trump.

If there are more who swallow the rousing ‘yee-hah’ chorus of identity, greatness and blame, than us thoughtful folks then tough shit, common sense loses. In the meantime we can wrap ourselves in our intellect, make snide remarks about egomaniacal racists etc and write articles in magazines that the Trump voters never read, and cometh the day we’ll all be wringing our hands and setting the Internet on fire asking how it could have all gone so wrong.

The answer is you. You sneered at ‘those people’ who couldn’t think like you can. You called the dang baby ugly. It is more than scary: it is quite possible. Brexit anyone?

 

Not Much Then

My ambition is to win a funded PhD. Simple, low-level, not much. Just the hardest thing I have ever done.

It is easy to say it and sometimes hearing myself commit is an appropriate spur to action. I have now publicly nailed my colours to the proverbial mast. To this end I was going back and forth with a soon to be tutor and they kindly produced this simple guide for me:

<

A PhD proposal should look along the lines of:

Rationale

• What’s the problem

• Why is it problematic

• What, therefore, is your Central Research Question

Aims and Objectives

• How will you answer this question 

• What are your sub-research questions

• What is your interesting angle

Research Context

• What is currently said in the literature?

• Where is the hole?

• How will you fill it

Methodology

• What methodological strategy will you employ?

• Why is that the most appropriate way of conducting this type of research

• What is it you will get out of doing this and why is this the most appropriate way to answer this question?

• How will you limit risk?

Personal Impetus (optional)

• Why this project?

• How will your UG diss and MA build into this project?

>

So, nothing much really. And I need to have this all nailed by Christmas. Which is why I intend to move to Sheffield in a rented room and become slightly monkish.

Up All Night

I can’t be the only one that snaps awake in the middle of the night and then can’t get back to sleep for worrying? It never seems as bad in the morning, which begs the question why it feels so worrying at 0200h? It is sometimes hard to tell if it is just bad dreams or actually lying awake. Am I being glibly dismissive now when I ought to be worrying more?

I got bad news yesterday regarding a scholarship I had applied for. I am not bitter, it was hard fought and I didn’t get it. Move on. Still, I can’t help but think what 10k would have meant to me. I wonder if that was what pinged me awake. I can’t remember.

Why, after the obligatory visit to the loo (Over 40 so it is always a good tactical move) I expect to lie down and just zonk out. That is how it used to happen. Someone has changed the script; I didn’t get the memo.

Dom

PS: I love nature. But birds, 0314h to start chirping? Wtf? Part of my irrational thoughts were devoted to devising a silent  toxic mist making machine to gas you little fuckers. Just saying.

PPS: If a prospective employer comes digging about, and surely they will, then this is how I roll.

Decoupling Eugenics From Race Class And Gender: Can It Be Done?

Is this even possible? I believe that with the advances in genetic (I use the term broadly) science the human race has gained a credible means of insight into the how and why of many inherited diseases. If eugenic practice was a voluntary undertaking where, regardless of one’s race, class or gender, the state offered equal access to all to discover more about their genetic predisposition, so that they can choose if they want to breed, that would be a good thing to eliminate some diseases.

There are many  many issues with this utopian view of choice being in the hands of the people. There are many issues and to touch on a few: Firstly, wealth is an issue. National wealth in the form of countries means that this would only be possible in some parts of the world. In others the richest could do this and the poorest could not even dream of it. Secondly, education is key. What is the point of clutching test results that you are unable to contextualise, analyse and render you liable to irrational influencers such as theists or racists? Thirdly, unless there exists (and there still doesn’t) an equality of the sexes then the more powerful, – usually us men – could exert a greater than 50% influence of a decision making process. Finally, until we look at ourselves as one human race then it is unlikely that eugenics will lose its Nazi/Racist/Sexist/Classist taint.

Eugenics is a fine theory for improving the health of the population but it is fraught with impossibilities that we, the people trying to improve ourselves, bring to it. Introduce me to someone who isn’t prejudiced. We are all prejudiced to a greater or lesser extent, so we are condemned to try and learn to be satisfied with who we are. Warts and all.

 

 

In which I mourn apostrophes

Musings from the sofa

So, I’m recruiting at the moment and it’s something of an eye-opener. The covering letters have been ghastly, to the point where I think there must be an automated covering letter generator, into which prospective employees load a few generic skills. Then they push a button and the generator vomits forth a few paragraphs of meaningless business jargon in seemingly random order. Still, at least they’re helpful in weeding out those who can’t be bothered to sort out even glaring errors.

If I have survived this trial by verbiage, I’m next faced with the CVs of doom. Time after time, hopeful candidates reference their ‘GCSE’s and A-Level’s’. It is, of course, difficult for me to imagine that anyone who can perpetrate such a horror has actually obtained so much as a cycling proficiency badge, let alone a degree and a couple of years of work experience. My colleagues tell me…

View original post 326 more words

Being Assaulted

Last night I was assaulted in my own bed, and it was great.

C. 2230h I was busy achieving a semi-comatose state when I became aware of a disturbance. All of a sudden the covers were whipped from me and with a fearsome thump a body landed in the space beside me.

Now I was awake and in the gloom I realised that I was in for a bit of a hard time. Right beside me was a thrashing, kicking, snuffling thing, breathing noisily through its mouth. My brain eventually worked its way through the syrupy gloom of sleep and I realised. It’s Héloïse.

I am too tired to care plus it’s kind of sweet I tell myself.  She proceeds to make herself comfortable and sod me. I eventually wrestle some duvet back, explain is some rather base language that I am not there to be elbowed and kicked, for what it’s worth.

I make it to 0430h before I start to toss and turn, woken because someone half my size and strength has managed to appropriate about 85% of the available duvet and mattress real-estate. It’s like the shifting front in WWI and I reclaim a bit more ground, though I know it will only be a temporary thing and with the weary resignation of Mr E Blackadder I eventually concede defeat and rise for coffee.

It’s wonderful and I hope that Neverneverland envelops Jericho, she doesn’t age and keeps coming to snuggle in my bed from time to time. Sadly, I know it is unlikely to happen that much more.

 

 

The Faint Whiff Of Desperation

The term is over, I have some time on my hands and I don’t really meet many girls that I’d like to date (none, truth be told) at my college.

[Before you suggest I look inwards: Ruskin girls are, broadly speaking, a bit too much of the roll-ups, ill-considered radicalism and the generally overly hirsute variety for my liking.]

Whilst sitting at my desk I was conscious of hearing a Match.com ad on Spotify, whilst into a heavy Def Leppard session. Why not, I thought? After all, all you are paying for is someone else to use a technology platform to aggregate a bunch of folks in the same boat. Sounds very logical in the cold light of day and it reduces the chance aspect somewhat as it is merely an aggregation and basic sorting service. But oh no, it isn’t that. It is a way of collecting all the people we don’t even realise are out there into a seething mass of weirdness. That and a few of us fringe normals. Like moths to a lightbulb the weirdoes seem to have flocked here.

But before I explain about what makes them weird, the Match.com people need a mention for their callous exploitation of the eagerness of their customer base. They must coin it in so monetising their service is not hard when you charge people looking for love. After all, I paid up but now keep hearing this in my head – “I’d buy that for a dollar“. Visions of the Match team laughing at yet another hopeful.

The platform feels about five years out of date – a lifetime in Internet terms –  and little thought or investment in the GUI has been made. It is clunky, inconsistent across platforms and a pigging nightmare to use. It remembers little, refreshes in an untimely manner and shows a general contemptuous towards customers. If Twitter, Facebook , iTunes or Google were even half as bad they would have tanked by now.

I want to up my chances of finding a similar person to me. One that I gel with, have fun with etc etc. I am, however, pragmatic. This is reducing the randomness and increasing the odds, sure, but expecting something different because a bit of tech has been involved? Many of the people on this seem to think that the magic of the silicone chip is either to be feared or it gets invested with power it doesn’t actually have. Let me e x p l a i n … computers are just really really really fast calculators that handle Ones and Zeros at speeds you can’t imagine.  This means we can give them more complex tasks like removing the non-sport participants from my search, calculating BIG sums fast etc, that’s it.  They cannot match you with The One. The whole vibe feels pre-scientific revolution when belief in magic was a big thing.

But back to the weirdoes though. I have emailed with and met a few of the normal ones and they have shocking stories to tell regarding the guy to girl requests. From total strangers; please could you post me some tights that you have worn and haven’t washed? Please can you send me a picture of your arse, just your arse? Please can you send a photo of you naked and smoking? And so on and so forth. I didn’t think I was particularly shy or repressed. However, I am sadly lacking in a decent brass neck so I can’t imagine treating a woman in such a degrading manner. I cringe. I guess that is what comes from being raised largely by my mother or perhaps it is just manners?

I have yet to meet someone face to face that I have really hit it off with. I have made a couple more like-minded girlfriends, which is nice. I do not go into an encounter expecting the magic of the silicon chip to have sprinkled the Internet fairy dust around ensuring that if the computer says we are compatible, then there will be sparks, fireworks, swooning, tumbling into bed locked in a sweaty embrace etc etc. (I think I may need to go and lie down for a moment. Do excuse me)

I can’t speak for other chaps but allow me to dispense a little advice regarding some of the pitfalls when creating profiles. This is not exhaustive but just my own simple observations from one week of using the site:

  • If you are on Match to find a partner then how about making an effort with your profile?
    • Pictures – decent full length ones. We are all judges of others by appearance first. We all have a type. This is science speaking.
    • Put several up. No picture = no look. Simples.
    • Not grainy selfies that have been screwed with in Instagram. What are you trying to hide and why?
    • More than three pictures. Really, lack of openness starts alarm bells ringing.
    • Focus – obviously a novel and elusive camera feature for many. Blurry = hiding stuff.
    • Fill out the entire profile. it’s what it’s there for. I am an atheist. If you are a devout Catholic then lets both smile and move on. I do not appreciate being hooked in to find out you are, in my opinion, a lunatic.
    • Use the phase, “to be honest”. I’d fucking hope so. Now I am left wondering what you may not be being honest about.
    • Curvy is not how I’d describe clinically obese. Athletic and toned does not count if you think seeing a piece of exercise equipment from afar occasionally means you are an athlete and Very Attractive? Not vain at all are we?

 

  • Here is selection of a few of the astonishing remarks on some profiles:
    • I basically work to live – hmm, illiterate AND boring. Goody.
    • Curling up in front of a log fire – if suburbia had this many log fires then I’d expect to see much more smoke belching from suburban chimneys of an evening. Just to be clear this is in the top five most overused clichés.
    • I don’t like reading books – goes well with the next one…
    • I love watching soap operas. KMN for both.
    • I’m possessive – this reads, “and in my spare time I refine my bunny boiling apparatus”
    • My friends say etc etc – possibly my all time pet peeve. If you lack the ability at 40 to be self-aware enough to write about yourself and instead have to rely on a biased audience for comment then shame on you.
    • Basic grammar mistakes. They and they’re etc etc… If you are wondering what the others may be, then it’s you.
    • Eating out – who doesn’t enjoy a nice meal out? Do you mean Nando’s or Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons.
    • And travel – oh my god, trying to sound so very cosmopolitan by levering travel in. Travel is good and it broadens the mind but nearly every profile has it and most read like a list of places to go before you kark it. Just sounds a bit contrived.

At the risk of sounding even more like Mr. Angry – and I had to work myself into a proper froth to write this – do fill out your profile, don’t lie, don’t obfuscate, don’t try to pretend to be someone you are not, put some decent informative pictures up. What do you expect if you are crockfulla shite? Similar respect is likely to be accorded in return. It’s just a pre-selection service. Get over it. And when I make the effort to send you an email after trawling through the scammers (oh yes, you are very obvious), sparsely written, and grasping ones then at least have the decency to send a one-liner saying thank you for making the effort but no. Back to manners I guess.

 

PS: Some good comments – read on.

Revolutionary Secrets Revealed

It’s not often that I’ll throw food away that I have bought, especially cake. However,  I think I may have unwittingly stumbled on the secret weapon that the Ukrainian people have used to prosecute their revolution.

To explain; today there was a food fair put on by the various Oxford International Societies so as a loyal member of IRSoc I scooted up there to show solidarity, by eating their food. Having done a lap of the hall to see what was on offer I decided to eat from stalls representing places I have never been. I settled on a Jamaican Lamb Patty that was gorgeous but lacked authentic hot sauce (wtf?) to drown it in.

Having a bit of spare space in my tummy I sidled over to the Ukrainian stall and partook of a delicious herring and beetroot w. potatoes concoction.  I was then further seduced by the sight and sound of a Sour Cream Cake that had an impressive layered construction, so I parted with a further two quid. I didn’t realize that it is actually intended for disabling armoured vehicles, such was its density. Initially I thought it was a rather parsimonious portion for my £2. How wrong I was as the plate sagged in my hand and the plastic fork splintered when I tried to cut a piece off. However, I wasn’t going to let a mere mechanical failure deter me from eating my cake so with some effort I hoicked the piece up and after several mouthfuls conceded defeat and binned it. It made a rather disturbing thump when it bottomed out in the bin.

As I left the last thing I saw as I glanced over my shoulder was the sight of some poor chap trying to lift out the bin-liner to replace it with an empty one. Poor chap, it looks like several people before me had had the same idea. His back, my tummy.

Classroom Madness

It is hardly original taking to print (kind of) to bitch and moan about ones teachers, but then it is rare that I have ever been accused of being original. I’ll get over it. I am a few days from 45, divorced, had my mid-life crisis (despite my legitimate reasons nothing screams mid-life crisis quite like a Porsche, apparently) so am quite used to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

We have this one lecturer that is v. old skool regards method. One gets the feeling that the methods they employ today are the same as when they started teaching 20 odd years ago. I am reminded of the question, “how many years experience do you have?” and the reply being, “twenty years”. What is not explained is that it is really one years experience repeated twenty times.

With this tutor it is very reminiscent of O Level history again.  All very  surreal as there are six hours a week of mostly being talked at and being given a rainforests worth of handouts. The handouts are all on different coloured paper and have the same typos that were there from the day they were labouriously re-typed from chosen texts.

I think they were told at some point to be more interactive. However, this clearly doesn’t sit well with them and discussion is never allowed to deviate from the strict parameters they have set  for the day. Conversations are abruptly terminated citing an unacceptable deviation from the topic . This new-fangled interactivity piece just had to be shoehorned into their old schedule thus reducing time for breaks, lunch and boring things like that. On top of all this they spend half the class looking like they are on the edge of a nervous breakdown, pacing up and down, jingling their change and doing unspeakable things with their prosthetics.

I can never decide whether I am sympathetic  to their inner-turmoil or am just going to enjoy watching them slide over the edge and wobble off their perch in some faintly macabre but compelling spectacle where they start humming loudly, shaking and bleeding from the ears before their head explodes in a gory mess.

As it is a university, I think we should be learning through exploration, discussion, disagreement and consensus. Much like our other tutor does, to great effect. What makes this wildly odd and eccentric behaviour tolerable is that underneath the seething surface madness they are really really very smart. The advice they can give has been very helpful. So when the nutty professor behaviour  gets me down I force myself to think of this…