Wednesday, 16 December 2015

That’s a rat that is

I’ve been ill for a couple of weeks now, but I'm just about over it. Nothing serious, but an apparently endless cough tends to depress the vital forces somewhat. So what has this to do with rats?

It goes like this. Not so long ago while out walking we saw a great big rat scuttle across the Cromford Canal towpath. Not an unusual sight but unmistakable and that’s the point – rats are unambiguously ratty. That’s a rat that is.

Being mildly ill made me think of that rat because when a chap muses away the day, certain things tend to pop through the mental haze with enormous clarity. The more gloomy aspects of life can become stark and wonderfully clear. Not so much a case of enhanced consciousness as having the time and inclination to dwell on these things. There is no need to trawl around for suitable words because things are as they seem to be - that’s a rat that is.

The sheer wanton crappiness of the BBC for instance. The humongous unbridgeable gulf dividing what the Beeb is from what it ought to be. Considering the vast sums of moolah it has to spend, the iron grip it had for decades on UK mass media and the resources at its disposal, the BBC falls far short of where it ought to be. As with rats, BBC deficiencies are unmistakable.

Cameron’s untrustworthy tactics on the EU referendum are the obvious wriggling of a political spiv faced with the oafish intransigence of an EU which doesn’t give a rat’s arse about the reform hole he managed to dig for himself. He’ll get what he’s given and knows it. We know it too because the whole unedifying game is as obvious as a big fat rat scuttling along the political gutter.

It’s no mystery. Rats look like rats. As yet we haven’t been conditioned to mistake their ratty nature by calling them something less uncompromisingly ratty. 'Sewer pixies' for example. No doubt if we’d been conditioned by politically correct pressures to refer to rats as 'sewer pixies' we’d become horrified by the word 'rat'. Calling someone a rat could even become a hate crime to be tut tutted over by the BBC, the Guardian and unattractive intellectuals with soft hands and softer heads.

It probably is a hate crime already, but until I see a flashing blue light through the curtains, Cameron is a rat, the BBC is full of them and the EU is where they build their nests.


Demetrius said...

Unfair to rats. There are many people born in a Year Of The Rat who according to the Chinese theory on this have some of the finer attributes of the rat. Rats are survivors from whom much can be learned. In our recent past, had it not been for our own rats, tac sign The Jerboa (a desert rat) we might not have our present comforts.

Sam Vega said...

Sorry to hear that you have been under the weather. Me too, but isn't it great when some of the zest returns and the world starts looking less awful?

About ten years ago we had an Ofsted inspection at the college where I was working. As these things lead to riches and glory for college principals, no effort had been spared in preparations. As well as all the forged paperwork and the lies drilled into staff, the buildings and equipment had been polished. Litter picked up, clutter removed, graffiti expunged, and new posters and faked student work pinned to noticeboards.

I had been assigned an inspector, and was giving him a preliminary guided tour. I was wearing my best suit and a professionally obsequious manner. We paused in the main reception hall. From out of nowhere, the biggest rat I have ever seen scuttled across the hall behind him, and paused about six feet away. Scaly tail, questing whiskers, and a very glossy coat; clearly well fed and confident. The inspector picked up my surprise, and obviously wanted to turn round, but didn't, out of politeness. I continued my rehearsed lines about our wonderful new buildings and our stringent Health and Safety, while the bloody thing sat up on its haunches and did ratty things like scratching with its back foot and combing its whiskers with both paws.

It ambled off before he could see it. I sometimes wonder if it had been disgusted by what it saw us doing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you are off your oats, hope better soon.

Now I think if it is food for the mind you want try a MOOC. I follow a couple that are pretty hard going (for a dimwit) and are also free. Names like Stanford, Harvard and CalTech are in the frame and very good undiluted tuition. UK unis are not so liberal, they often charge and tbh I have not tried their free offerings - they looked a bit like a BBC 2 offering, no real meat. Here is the rub, the BBC is forced to chase ratings 'cos some dorks in HMG have been on kiddie wink level management courses, the price of everything etc etc. As with so many problems the Treasury is at the root.

@Sam, I hear dire tales about Ofsted, perhaps you should have said 'good morning inspector'.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - crikey I hope I've not branded myself as rattist.

Sam - that would make a good blog post. I'll use it if you agree.

Roger - Matt Ridley thinks traditional universities are doomed, partly because of online developments such as MOOC. Imagine the power celebrity lecturers would have though.

Sam Vega said...

"Sam - that would make a good blog post. I'll use it if you agree."

Of course. One day I'll get round to starting my own blog, now I'm officially retired...