A Jolly Jaunt Through The Wrongs Of Humanity
I have a lot of shit; a staggering amount of fucking nonsense.
I own a complete set of golf clubs, with their own bag and trolley to wheel about. Most of the golf clubs are completely unused, even though I bought the set back in 1998. I think the 3 iron was once used as a "guitar" whilst pissed, and a few of the clubs were once used in anger at a golf driving range. Boredom is a strange thing, and I spent much of the late nineties bored out of my tiny paranoid mind. So, I had the bright idea of taking up golf. I bought the clubs and went to the driving range where I discovered that it was not the game for me in about, ooh, five minutes.
What is the opposite of being ambidextrous? Because, whatever it is, I am it. My left leg is for standing on, my left arm is for carrying things, anything that requires accuracy and skill is performed by the right side of my body. What this meant whilst playing golf is that I sliced the ball mentally. The only other guy using the driving range kept staring over, as every ball I hit went thirty yards forward, and about 150 yards to the right. I was endangering the cars in the car park. My left arm refused to get involved, the useless piece of shit.
I've never played since, so the clubs have sat in various cupboards, laughing at me for my inability to play a stupid game. I just sold them to a guy at work for 50 quid. I hope he sticks the clubs up his arse for kicks, that'll teach the petulant little fuckers for making me look rubbish.
I've also just sold a 17" monitor I don't need, over the work small ads system, to a guy who keeps calling me Allan. I get it a lot, people confusing my two names and calling me by my surname. I don't quite understand it, as Allan Glenn makes me sound like an astronaut. Anyway, if he calls me Allan once more, I'm going to kick him in the knackers.
The Daily Star newspaper makes me cry inside. Chris buys it every day, and passes it over when he's finished with it at lunch. A combination of scantily glad girls, thinly veiled homophobia, right winged views and the nightmarish imbecilic opinions of its illiterate fucking readership, it seems like a recruitment brochure for terrorist groups wanting to destroy the western way of life.
My "favourite" bit is the section were readers text in their views, and the paper prints a collection every day. They invariably fit one of the following themes:
1. Singing the praises of a young lady and pleading for a topless shot of her.
2. Slagging off asylum seekers and blaming them for all that is wrong with the country.
3. Stating that "poofs" are a "bunch of poofs".
4. Any text boasting about the texters ability for fighting, drinking or sex.
When texting, it is hard to articulate yourself, and a worthwhile point in a text can often be lost due to the limited scope of the system. However, if you have something moronic to say, then this medium is made for you. Even the greatest pieces of literature would be rendered moronic by typing them into a mobile phone.
Anyway, here are some example from yesterday:
"Tony Blar gay pin up. Whod want to be liked by that lot. Hetro & proud"
"If asylum seekers want to cum here should learn our language. Ozzy"
"Fern Cotton fit. Id give her one in my truck. 10 Inch Neil"
"Us mackem boys drink forever! Abi Titmus nice arse. Mackem Lads"
Every day, torrents of retarded shit, which attempts to force all the liberal beliefs out of my head and replace them with exciting visions of vigilantes slicing off the texting thumbs of Ozzy, Neil et al.
If I don't stop reading it soon, I'm going to end up bashing my head in against a wall until grey mush starts oozing out, and schlopping on the pavement.
Does the Daily Star follow the views of its readership, or do the readers take on board the points made in the paper and accept them as fact?
Which has got me thinking…
What part does society play in shaping what we believe to be right and wrong? Does our environment dictate our behaviour?
(where the fuck did that come from?)
Our moral compass is influenced by many different sources. We all have a sense of reason, an ability to consider what we do, and to determine if we can justify our actions to ourselves. The mind does not believe it to be wicked; there are always ways to analyse what you've done and to validate this with the way you see yourself.
But there are other factors that influence the way we act. Our parents, and our peers to a lesser extent, can manipulate our personality. As a child, with the ability to reason not fully formed, parental influence can shape the personality and morals of a youngster for the rest of their life. For all the rebelliousness of teenage life, it is common for a child to hold dear the beliefs that their parents do. It is not hard to think of several childhood friends who acted as a voice for their parent's opinions. I don't even have to look past myself. So many of the morals I have now have come from my parents. My sense of right and wrong comes from them. I undoubtedly would still hold some of the same beliefs if that influence had been removed, but the impact of your parents during your formative years obviously has a direct effect on your personality.
Yet, we are not clones of our parents. We reason as individual human beings. Generation gaps are obvious, especially if you look at the beliefs people of my age share with their grandparents. We grew up in different times, we have had different experiences, and in may ways have grown up in totally different Great Britains.
So, society and the environment we grow up in must have an impact on what we believe is right or wrong, whether this is overt or insidious, benign or malevolent.
My grandparents had rarely seen a non-white face until they were well into adulthood. They grew up in a country where it was still illegal to be homosexual. They grew up in a country where the woman's place was in the home. You were restricted by what your class, gender or occupation required of you.
Many times I've heard people from older generations say things which could be construed as racist or homophobic. I don't think it always comes from hatred, it comes from ignorance and fear of what they do not know. As we grow older it is harder to adapt to the changes around us. Words have different meanings and motives now than they used to. So whereas I find the word "coloureds" makes me uncomfortable, I know people who'll use it without meaning any harm at all.
Whereas I've probably witnessed more racism coming from the older generation, it isn't a bigotry that will die out with them. My childhood friends were riddled with it, and even though I believe it came from their parents and growing up in a virtually all-white and introverted town such as Fleetwood, I don't think they'll have changed now. One of the main reasons I haven't spoken to them in nearly ten years.
In a way, a key factor in the successful integration of immigrant populations into the UK is how keen newcomers are to adopt the British way of life. A well-spoken and polite middle class Afro-Caribbean man will be welcomed and accepted more readily than a fidgety, poor black teenager from a London estate. Somebody who will show a greater acceptance of the indigenous culture of a country is far less likely to be seen as a threat, than somebody who has religious beliefs that aren't understood, or who relates to cultural items that aren't understood. If you read the Daily Star letters page or just talk to people on the subject for any length of time, it seems that the thing wanted from people coming to this country is cultural subservience.
"We don't want any of your fancy foreign ways here, if you don't like the way we do things then piss off back to your own country."
"But, if you are lucky to be well-educated and appear non-threatening then you are welcome to our dinner party. Please come in and admire my wooden African ornaments."
So, a large part of the integration of different cultures came from the fact that it was a western society that new immigrants had to integrate into. You were accepted easier if you adapted to the current way of life. The threats people see are from those who have customs and traditions that differ significantly from the traditional.
Islam, Hinduism etc. are relatively new religions to this country. Numbers have grown over the years, but probably more importantly, society and the British culture have become more and more influenced by immigrant populations arriving in the country. Multiculturalism is a threat to many. The white and increasingly less religious population of the island found the beliefs of these people totally alien. Again, it is fear of the unknown. Most people are ignorant to what constitutes following any of these other religions, and it breeds fear and hatred of those we are not. Instead of learning to accept the differences, people get frustrated at other cultures for not accepting our ways, or for what they perceive as an exclusivity; an us and them mentality. Human nature involves being suspicious and resentful of those who do not act like you.
It has always been the case, and I believe that human nature shows no signs of changing for the better. The enemies and confrontations change through the generations, but there are always races or religions who are seen as threatening our way of life.
Human history is littered with attempts by nations / religions to obliterate those who differ from our way of thinking. We don't choose to learn from the past, we just queue up to repeat the same mistakes again.
We see WWII as a good versus evil struggle. I don't believe that the German or Japanese people are evil, or more wicked than any other nation. Evidence shows up the horrific crimes these nations perpetrated, but to write them off as just being the act of moral-less inhuman anomalies reduces the awfulness of what happened and pretends it couldn't happen again. Which it could.
What made German soldiers with families, and who felt love for other human beings, kill Jewish children without a blink of an eye? What made Japanese soldiers torture prisoners of war?
Surely the reasonable part of our brain would stop us killing children, regardless of if we saw them as an enemy? Why do millions of people appear to collectively believe in and perform acts that we see as abhorrent?
We find it hard to actually comprehend what some people will do to others. We shouldn't dismiss them as a handful of human beings. These people are the sons, fathers, and brothers of others, yet they killed others and found ways to justify this to themselves.
Throughout history, society has looked to blame its misfortunes on others. Germany after the First World War was truly a defeated country, riddled with division, rampant inflation, and looking for those to blame for its standing in the world.
It wasn't just Hitler who blamed the state of the nation on the Jewish leaders he saw that had led the country to defeat. The Nazi party spoke to a desperate people, and played on fears, suspicions and resentment that existed not just in Germany, but throughout Europe. The Nazi party gave the German people its backing to any prejudices and antipathy it held to the Jewish people. They were told that as they struggled to feed themselves and whilst their life-savings had been rendered worthless by economic problems and an out of control inflation rate, the Jewish people got richer. They were to blame for your misfortune, and any intolerant views you have are completely valid.
And people committed unthinkable atrocities based on these intolerant views. If the state backed it, how could it be wrong?
Back in 2005, the media spouts invective, blaming crime, taxes and terrorism on those who are "different", and less worthy of living on this island. The government doesn't outwardly declare that all Muslims are terrorists, or that all asylum seekers are "sub-human" scum, but in an effort to win your vote at the next general election they'll use terrorism and immigration as a problem which they care deeply about.
"The ones who are different from you are to blame for the fact that you are poor. Not us, oh God, not us. It's him over there, the one with the long beard and dark skin. He did it. Him!"
All around us, newspapers, television and politicians reinforce the prejudices of the idiotic.
A routine car accident where someone was killed is somehow made even more horrendous by the fact that the driver in the wrong was an asylum seeker. An old man is attacked by non-white youths, and even though this is wrong, the papers report it as if it is more appalling than the countless attacks on the non-white population of this country that happen every day.
Lottery money given to a gay/lesbian program! How dare they!
Hate! Hate! Hate!
Human nature won't change, people will always look to blame those who are different for their ills. With society always willing to pander to the views of the ignorant, and painting negative images of other races / religions or social standings instead of offering positives out of our diversity, is it any wonder that tolerance and understanding are rare commodities in the world, and generally always have been?