Monday, 26 November 2012


Handy visual emetic - from

Are you a caring person?

I’m not – not in the modern, prissy sense of the word. Claiming to care about ideas, abstractions and features of the natural world seems to be a peculiarly modern take on the ancient game of sanctimonious one-upmanship.

If we're playing that silly, puerile game, I’m happy to admit that I don’t give a fig for the planet, environment, oceans, equality, health, coral reefs, elephants, wildlife, rain-forests, the Arctic, the Antarctic, the Amazon, endangered species, habitat loss and of course climate change.

"Come now, Count. You used to shoot lions in Algeria."
"But why?"
"Why? The sport - the excitement - the danger!"
"And no doubt to free the country from a pest?"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

Not quite my take on lions, I'll admit, but times change. I am more concerned about corrupt governments and transparency. I see these as rather more practical problems, perilously close to real people who may indeed be forced to do something tragic - such as wasting their entire lives.

Corruption would be a good place to begin for the would-be carer, but the environment is easier and more suited for impressing children with the faux gravity of these distinctly political matters. The environment is easier to discuss around the dinner table without the need for lots of boring research, technical background or even common sense. Or common humanity for that matter.

Because of course it is quite acceptable for adults to be embarrassingly childlike over all matters  environmental. In fact it appears to be compulsory, especially for would-be celebrity bottom-feeders - if you'll excuse the expression.

I’m not so sure we have the stomach for teaching children about corruption and transparency, valuable though the lessons might be. Particularly when we have some good examples close to home.

The BBC lying to us about climate change for example. That would be a cracking start for a child’s real-world education - or maybe the mendacity of our politicians. I can’t see it happening somehow.

Duffuse, impersonal caring is the modern way. Caring about things that don't matter and not caring about those that do. Apparently it makes one a better person.

Which leaves me out I suppose.


Angus Dei said...

About the only thing I care about at the moment is eeking out an existance, the rest of it will have to take care of itself...

James Higham said...

The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

Not one of his best.

A K Haart said...

Angus - cheer up, Christmas is coming (:

James - no, it's a late one written in the third person which to me doesn't feel right.

Demetrius said...

Wasn't Carrie the name of Mrs. Pooter? She certainly cared, although Mr. Pooter did not always fully appreciate her concerns.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - she was - lovely book! I particularly like the bath-painting episode.

Anonymous said...


Yes, I recommend it!

A K Haart said...

David - ha ha - I think I'll leave that in!