Yelling At The Radio

My rough rule of thumb for writing a post is if the topic, when covered on the Today Program on BBC Radio 4, caused me to yell at the radio. Today I yelled and was then reduced to mumbling dementedly.

The sharp decline is cosmetic surgery was being covered. All was fine until they decided that, presumably, for balance, the advances in  makeup and associated use techniques should be used as a reason.

This is when the yelling started. The expert  merrily explained how someone can radically change their look using various products and techniques. I am a complete loss regarding the idea of an industry perpetuating the idea to women (I know, they are targeting men as well now) that their appearance is somehow lacking and needs changing. The Army calls this camouflage and uses bolder green tones. The aim remains the same, deception.

Apparently, hiding the ageing process is key. Expertly applied makeup can take ten years off you at a stroke. FFS.  We are terrified of ageing and the inevitable conclusion, death. This fear is so ruthlessly exploited, and many people seem to have, unquestioningly, bought into the idea. The entire beauty industry revolves around first making one feel that somehow your appearance is falling short and that good makeup can hide these apparent inadequacies. Still deception. First of the self and then of others.

I can hear the argument being trotted out that it is a woman’s right to choose. Indeed it is. They wouldn’t even have to face this dilemma if the feeling  hadn’t been created that deception is necessary. I look around at university and see young women who have swallowed this pill and are slathered in makeup. Why does this make me mad? Partly because I have a 14y old daughter. She is pretty balanced (has a grumpy old man) but I know she is subjected to a barrage of messages that normalise the idea that there is an inherent inadequacy in her appearance. But, fear not for there will be a YouTube channel that can show her how to cure this fault.

Come the revolution, anyone who works to create a consumer demand by preying off fear and creating feelings of inadequacy  will be the first to be put up against the wall and shot.

 

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Death Comes To Us All

No, this is not about murdering bullies. I was going to try and up the mood a notch after the last few posts with the woe is me theme. Unlucky as when I was tootling home from a very satisfactory swimming session (trying to stay fit and be a coffin dodger myself) when I hear this amazing young woman talking on Radio 4 – if you are in any doubt it is the most amazing radio station in the world – about death. She is a palliative care doctor in her early thirties and was diagnosed with some filthy cancer a few years ago and is now confounding the statisticians by living well past her sell by date.

Although she knows that she is now, in old doctor chart speak, CTD. CTD is shorthand for Circling The Drain and is not written with any mocking, just a factual observation that death is very near for the patient concerned. In the mollycoddling PC world that we live in today I am told that this is discouraged to the point that doing this could lose you your job. Pity, because it is quite a clever and amusing TLA in the world of death that doctors mostly exist in. My personal favourite though is DTS, as in Danger To Shipping, to describe someone who has become, how do you say this delicately, I can’t so extremely obese will just have to do. Pejorative to fat folks apparently. The fact is that there are few things within ones gift to control. Being fat, or not, is one of them. Same as smoking. But I digress. Back to the imminent arrival of the Grim Reaper.

I think this woman – Dr Kate Grainger – is doing a great service. She tweets, has written a few books and is generally interested in ensuring that an inevitable process is made comfortable and the mystery that some people are determined to cloak the process in is stripped away . Death is an inexplicably taboo subject and I can’t see why we need to avoid it. The terms deployed to camouflage death are numerous and baffling. Passed, passed on, gone to a better place (really, a crematorium or hole in the ground is always better?), no longer with us (no shit, I thought they had popped out for milk?) and so on. If I have to use a silly euphemism for death then it has got to be “shuffled off this mortal coil”. Brilliantly English way of getting the point over whilst dressing it in a bit of wit.

Dr Grainger has plans to Tweet her own death as a way of making death more socially acceptable. Bravo. It’s a free world and she is getting the PR and bringing the issue to forefront. Follow Kate at @GrangerKate . Wish her luck, give her strength, say goodbye. It’s natural and you have the opportunity to improve the lot of a fellow human. Good eh?

I may be being a little flippant, but I do realise and have experienced the emotional trauma and loss that a death of someone close, that death comes freighted with all manner of pain and suffering. That too is natural. I still don’t think we need to pussyfoot around the topic.

Although there is no need to bash on and on about it as your friends end up marking you for a morbid bore. Oh wait…, never mind. Oh yes, that’s it, one of life’s few certainties is death. And taxes.

Catholic Church in Crisis?

Erm, not in their minds. Imagine if you will the following scene;

Whilst kneading my bread at 0800h, I was listening to R4 Today and Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is being interviewed about the latest revelations regarding the MTF antics of his Scottish counterpart. All Jon Humphreys was trying to do was get him to frame it in a “this is now” and then explain what will be done by the Catholic Church about it, now. There was this almost inability to deal with the issue in the context of now. JH was getting frustrated, as was I and I imagine many thousands of other listeners.

Then it hit me. The Catholic Church is such an old institution that this current sex scandal – that seems very real and now to most of us – is the merest of blips in the long existence. It is so much easier to bat away the concerns of now when they are framed in a context that goes back centuries. Additionally; these scandals pale into insignificance compared to, say, The Inquisition. If I had a choice as a victim I know what I’d choose.

So Murphy-O’Connor has developed the ability to manage the fearsome Humphreys with ease. When God is on your side and you are steeped in centuries of history then the Humphreys inquisition is nothing.

Blovember #12 – Two Certain Things

Death & Taxes

If you are Starbucks, Google, Microsoft or Amazon – and many others I am sure –  then apparently the latter barely applies in the UK. In a cunning wheeze you don’t actually trade in the UK so report and pay tax on very little apparent trading activity. I have a hard time blaming the companies as they are operating legally within the law. We all know the law is an ass so I hold HMG accountable for poor rules. With a properly structured tax system the dodges wouldn’t be possible and there wouldn’t be the discussions, which in true John Humphrys style, seem to imply deep guilt on the part of the practitioners. Where does the BBC get its left-leaning reputation from?

Apparently the British and German Chancellors are talking about a sales-tax to prevent companies hiding behind off-shore shell companies. Oh yay, again it is the consumer that pays  for the failings of the government. Remind me; what exactly is VAT at 20% if not a sales tax?

Rather than the rules being changed to state that if you conduct business in the UK then you are required to report ALL of the business carried on within these borders we receive a fudge. Now I’ll get to pay sales-tax on products from firms that already pay tax in the UK. Double bubble for the government, again.

At least death will be a sweet release from all this taxation nonsense and we can all be certain of that. For those unfortunate enough to stay alive then R4 is covering Nadie Dorries on IACGMEOH.
14.11.12 – Just read this: http://www.futurebook.net/content/amazon-dock Very good