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I try to avoid the news as much as I can. The kind of anger it produces – an anger that cannot possibly materialise the desire for which it stands – is ultimately just a corrosive, melting away whatever hope one has for the world. The position I take is one of informed apathy: I know what sort of thing is likely to happen, I can do without the details. Of course the cops break the law, they’re a gang of thugs hired by the State to keep order. What do you expect? Of course politicians lie and CEOs line their pockets while impoverishing society. That’s what they do. And if you cut one down, there’s ten more to take their place. And, of course, the discussion in the ‘free press’ circles round and round the absent signifier of structural causation – like those little horses on a merry-go-round – individualising blame, producing and directing anger towards those who – whatever the ethics of their personal choices – are ultimately only carriers for their social function. If this particular pseudo-controversy manages to depose the Garda Commissioner he’ll be replaced by another fucking cop. You can skim a layer of shit off the top of the tank, but there’s always more lurking in the depths waiting to float to the top. Some victory.
What should be obvious, but somehow isn’t, is that ‘popular anger’ is not some primordial force entering politics from the outside: it’s actively produced by the political conjuncture. We’re invoked to be angry here and not there, in this way and not that, at this individual and not this structure, and to consume our own anger through the mediation of the press in ways that are never allowed to amount to a meaningful collective challenge to power.
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'What a rubbishy arrangement sex is,' said Leonard Browne. 'And I don't just meant the machinery of it, though that's stupid enough in all conscience. A projection upon one body is labouriously inserted into a hole in another. It's the invention of a mere mechanic, and a very fumbling and unimaginative one at that. I remember when someone told me about it at school I simply didn't believe him, I thought it couldn't turn out to be something so totally grotesque. Later on when I had more of a stake in it I persuaded myself otherwise. But now that it's all past and done with I can see it again for what it is, a pitiful awkward ugly inefficient piece of flabby mechanism. And consider flesh too, if it comes to that. Who could have dreamed up such stuff? It's flabby and it stinks as often as not or it bulges and develops knobs and it is covered with horrible hair and blotches. The internal combustion engine is at least more efficient or take the the piston rods on a locomotive and it's quite easy to oil them too. While keeping flesh in a decent condition is almost impossible even leaving aside the obscene process of aging and the fact that half the world starves. What a planet. And take eating, if you're lucky enough to do any. Stuffing pieces of dead animals into a hole in your face. Then munch, munch, munch. If there's anybody watching they must be dying of laughter. And the shape of the human body. Who but a thoroughly incompetent craftsman or else some sort of practical joker could have invented this sort of moon on two sticks? Legs are a bad joke. Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle.'
She had now no memory of what had been said, only of that terrible air of suffering. She tried to remember how much it had irritated her once. Tallis was framed for suffering. Let him suffer. She must remain cold and hard and purposeful and vile. She must keep sharp and rigid her intent to survive, whatever cries were heard, whatever blood was shed. So long as I can keep it all completely dismembered, she thought. Keep everything small and separate and manageable. Frame no general picture. Do not wonder what he is doing now in the kitchen. She thought, and her consciousness seemed to reel at the effort, I simply must not give way to that ghastly heart-breaking tenderness, that animal feeling. For this moment, I must have no heart strings and no heart. She felt giddy. It was as if love or terror or something were trying to thrust itself through into her mind. She felt a pain which was curiously like sexual desire. She knew that in a moment she would be in tears.
Tallis pulled his legs up and leaned back. He could not think without a table. Better give up and sleep now. Get up early and finish lecture. Better not thoughts now. Sleep. Unbeing. No point in kneeling down, folding hands, muttering. Self-abasement, prostration, licking the ground and wriggling through. Tears and sex. God, what a muck-heap my mind is, thought Tallis. He closed his eyes and tried to breathe slowly and regularly. Words came without volition, sinking very slowly through his mind like pebbles. Words out of some lost and ancient past. Lighten my darkness. Tiddy pom tiddy pom tiddy pom from up above. The perils and dangers of this night. With his eyes still closed he uncurled his legs and turned over to lie prone on the bed, burying his face in the pillow. That peace which the world cannot give. There was light somewhere, cool precious light, somewhere quite else. The pillow smelt of dust and age and grief. It was an old pillow. It had attended upon life and death and birth and was tired of them all.
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Fight to a Finish - words by Siegfried Sassoon, pictures by Clifford Harper
Out Comes Stanley by Barney Farmer and Lee Healey. Published in Viz Issue 124.
A classic comic strip.
Nay point hoping for the best. Ye could spend yer life doing that; hoping. If ye were gony sit about hoping then okay, go ahead, but that’s all ye’ll do, know what I mean, it’s like waiting, ye’re aye waiting. Waiting rooms. Ye go into this room where ye wait. Hoping’s the same. One of these days the cunts’ll build entire fucking buildings just for that. Official hoping rooms, where ye just go in and hope for whatever the fuck ye feel like hoping for. One on every corner. Course they had them already: boozers. Ye go in to hope and they sell ye a drink to help ye pass the time. Ye see these cunts sitting there. What’re they there for? They’re hoping. They’re hoping for something.
God dammit, I think I’ve actually made myself properly sad by listening to the Just Joans Christmas EP. There’s a good reason why I haven’t listened to the Weakerthans for a while.
Source: SoundCloud / TheJustJoans
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