Tuesday, 20 April 2021

The things he couldn’t alter


Pepperleigh always read the foreign news — the news of things that he couldn’t alter — as a form of wild and stimulating torment.

Stephen Leacock - Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (1912)

How the blue blazes does a chap keep up with the news these days? The mainstream stuff appears to be aimed at lunatics and village idiots but I’m sure there are not enough of those to make up a good sized media audience. The whole thing is something of a mystery.

In my case skimming the news at top speed while metaphorically holding my nose is mainly about finding silliness for blog posts. Yet I’m as sure as I can be that the entire mainstream audience isn’t doing the same. Or is it?

Maybe it is all about entertaining nonsense because the genuinely serious aspects of daily life have largely evaporated. We have clues that it may be so because of the absurd exaggerations we constantly see in climate change, energy politics, sustainability, racism, gender politics and now the coronavirus debacle.

Things we cannot alter. Things they cannot alter. So we entertain ourselves with nonsense where we pretend things can be altered. Or fake scares. Or tits and bums. Maybe that’s all it is. 


Sam Vega said...

What we can alter, of course, are policies, quangos, and the direction of discourses. If a person manages to make a small change to any of these, they are indeed a modern hero.

A K Haart said...

Sam - it's as if there has to be something like a critical mass before anything happens, as if individuals can't make it happen apart from a few monarchs and dictators.