a doomed world and moreover a pain in the arse

Posted: April 6, 2011 in politics

Sometime in January this year I was at home drinking coffee and reading my Sunday newspapers, having a quiet morning. I was with my family in Galway, a family that goes to mass on Sunday mornings. But many families in Ireland, perhaps most, would have other things to do. Members of my social class in my country in my region of the world were relaxing with the Sunday papers, papers full of stories, problems and diversions directed at us specifically, and really hitting the mark.

The Sunday Times, Murdoch wearing his middle-class hat, was spread out all over the table in overlapping supplements. I can’t remember what was in it, any more than I can remember which Simpsons re-run was playing at 6 on a given date, but it would have been the usual stuff. Scientists have found out something pointless and slightly funny; our Brave Boys in Afghanistan killed 50 smelly muj the other day complete with a cutting-edge animation, a diagram, of the firefight. New biography of dead person reveals fascinating XYZ; this other book is too pretentious to enjoy; this film is formulaic; this film is the best of the year, a revelation; someone you may have heard of is doing something you may care to read about; X columnist is talking good common sense as usual, Y columnist is talking outrageous crap and knows it, and everyone knows it, but he does it well. OOH, an artsy excuse for bare tits in the magazine. But my family is present. Best not look too long.

There would have been some actual news, between the ads and the fuzz. These items are presented like puzzles, just like those on the crossword and Sudoku pages, to filter through your opinions, stripping it all down to find an answer. If only people like me were in the news, people like me and these journalists, instead of all these idiots with AK-47s and beards, these fat politician sleazebags, these stupid American Jesus-freaks. We’d sit down and reason it all out.

The tone is reassuring; identifies the problems, pressures of office, not enough investment, bad leadership, hmm hmm. Inequality, but what can you do? Bonuses should make bankers better, not richer. Oh, that’s good. That’s good. He’ll have to take on the unions, of course. The President, the Queen, the Prime Minister, Us, The West. Smart Sunday-morning people like me can solve the world’s problems with simple strokes of our intellect: the Sunday paper transforms me into a god. All this goes really well with a cup of coffee and a bar of dairy milk.

We’re post-Christian, post-ideology, we live in post-industrial countries, we’re post-class, post- war, post-human, meta-human, pseudo-human, extra-human, infra-human, ultra-human, SUPERHUMAN. We’re beyond all that. Ten steps from reality. The massacre on page 4 of the news section has as much to do with me as the massacre the academic talks about in the review of the history book in the Culture supplement. We’re post-national; reading this paper it doesn’t matter that I’m not British, I might as well be, the tragedies in our country’s past are now history, let’s cry and shake hands and hug. What? No, there’s no peace walls near my house. There’s newspapers like this for people like me and my friends; there’s rags with HUGE headlines, and tits and racism for those… other… kinds of people… But enough of that.

There were stories about the Eurozone crisis, I remember that, and on the radio they said that across the Arab world individuals were burning themselves alive.


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