Been reading this book,
It’s pretty informative.
And it inspired the following poem…
Along with this little guy…
My youngest child, holding his newest toy,
Up overhead, like a talisman: a soft doll
Sewn in the shape of a turbaned genie,
Pronounced his wishes would the words
Only carry the power of the fable.
“I would have Geniousious – its given name –
Kill Putin, and make it not be able
To have any animal in danger of extinction.”
A sad assertion for a six-year-old.
Which sunk my soul deeper into my bowels.
From reading an outline of human history
From the fall of the Roman Empire to
The fall of the Third Reich, I could
Summarise the centuries of papal succession
Crusaders and invaders swaying
To and fro, back and forth over the soil,
Staining with flesh and blood the Earth,
Sweeping millions to their massacres,
In thrusting, thirsting, for supremacy,
In short sentences: shit happened
That never should have, had we only
Stayed on the savannah with mere spears.
The bastard causing my son such sadness
And the statement bringing me to tears
Is just the latest in a long list, I insist:
He is not alone. Regardless of their tone
The rest of the pantheon are playing
As if the planet is actually replaceable
Or simply a stepping-stone to the next
Star system they can subjugate.
Too late to save those of the second wish
From their fate: the genie would have to
Hold the secret of time, to travel back
To the time of tribes seeking new lands,
Stop seafaring, sledding, steel science…
The systems we created to control
Have slipped from our own, and seem
Destined to deliver us back our destiny:
We shall stumble, back to our beginnings
As just another species on a rock
Awash with water and organic molecules
Transforming from one shape to another
As all are eaten, even the ones with weapons,
Until our form of life dies out, along with lots
Of other sorts, and some others evolve, I surmise,
We shall suffer, I am grieved to say, son, for
We are already, sliding, and, Jesus wept,
Seem inept at dodging, not just bullets aimed at us,
But oncoming steam engines of our own devising,
From far off with a blinding light beckoning at us.
We sleepwalked into a new disease creation,
Let it clutch enough of us so it shall cling on
Like a long list of poxes yet to appear, but near.
The heat waves and fires washing over white houses
Have had no effect on our behaviour any more
Than the waves of refugees fleeing from its results:
Even now the crisis erroneously seen as rideable
Rather than a rising tide set to swamp.
The swimmers so far stamped upon by standers, yet,
Littering the sand, shall pile up like plastic:
Become numbers on an ever longer set of statistics,
Of deaths, in the desert resulting from our
Immoral immigration legislation, letting
Famine fell far more than the virus, multiples
Of anything we’ve seen over the millennia
Of Mongols and Huns and Hitler’s gas and guns.
The lessons of History seem serving only to
Prepare some for the suffering to come:
Send us into the trees yet green to gather up
The tiny glories all around us while we can;
Create a wealth of memories with one another which
Might help us weather better our dour destiny,
Hoping we’re able to die a natural death
From mere bad health before it all dissolves.
And if there’s a third wish left upon the table,
Let it be this: that my children stay off such lists,
And choose to spread ideas instead of seed:
Leave poems, not progeny, for words
Do not suffer such as sentient beings shall.
I haven’t even finished reading the book…
This is the page I am on now – coincidentally in a chapter on the Spanish Civil War….
I read this headline today in my local newspaper. It translates to “the Navarra shop owners are against Sanchez’s measures to save energy. Some foresee insecurity if the shop windows have no lights after ten pm.”
The photo caption reads “Complaints about the heat in the market.”
This photo here is some storm clouds gathering over the dry dry (and, as you know, quite extensively burnt) landscape I stare out over every evening as I sit and write.
I’ve posted this photo because there is a fucking storm brewing. The actual storms come stronger than ever, and they do little to help the thirsty land compared to the rain we used to have in Spain.
But also, it’s very beautiful.
And soon enough we might only see beauty up above the landscape, because the landscape will cease to be beautiful by itself.
That newspaper headline tells us how quickly that might happen…
We can not even turn down the AC. We can’t even agree to turn off the lights, the ones that aren’t even being used… (I wrote a poem about that, actually, which I must post some time.)
And that’s to just lower energy use by 15% so we can help the rest of Europe, which will have a colder winter than we will in Spain.
In a war.
How can we hope to avoid the worst of Climate Change in light of this kind of stupidity?
I, as you can see from the poem, fail to have much hope at all.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel like there are so things that need to be called out. Some might say it’s all just fun, but what kind of fun? The fun that makes fun of the weak, the fat, the gay; is that funny?
Spain is famous for being tolerant of the gay community, making gay marriage legal a decade ago. Almodovar made movies in the 80s and 90s that other countries wouldn’t have dreamed of putting out – at least the one I was in then.
But at the same time, there are lingering elements of chauvinistic movies of the 70s, where girls in bikinis were ogled by old men in tweed and cloth caps. And of stuff I for one just don’t want to see.
Two recent examples of, to me, unacceptable behaviour have been brushed aside by most people I’ve talked to, as just a bit of a laugh, not to be thought of as serious.
The biggest box office draw of the history of Spanish film industry – Ocho Apellidos Vascos, or “Eight Basque Surnames,” was on the telly the other week. I’d seen it in the cinema and had forgotten one of the things I hated about it.
In the first scene, a girl who’s a little drunk and verbally abusive is manhandled out of a bar while her girlfriends and the rest of the clientele look on as if that’s perfectly okay. Her friends don’t even follow her outside. Instead, she snogs the guy who dragged her out and ends up sleeping in his house (they fall in love at the end of the movie, so that’s okay…). John Wayne would have been happy in that role back in the fifties.
However, in my worldview, you just don’t fucking do that.
I’m writing and editing the second and third novels in my werewolf trilogy Silver Nights Trilogy, and the characters, though one female character calls them the poster boys for chauvinism, wouldn’t dream of manhandling a girl like that – unless she specifically requested it because she liked it.
And however funny the film might have been after that, it doesn’t make it okay. Not in a country with such a huge problem of violence against women, with hundreds killed every year by their current and ex-partners.
Scene 2… Make up your own mind…
The other example was just yesterday when we saw on the television, scenes of the president of the country on a football commentary show with his son, who seemed around twelve. It’s hard to his age exactly, say as minors aren’t allowed to be shown in that situation (where his parent is famous), so he was pixilated out. In the photo below, which I didn’t see till just posting this, he looks around ten or twelve.
What wasn’t pixilated out, however, was his dad slapping him twice across the head for giving a truthful answer about the quality of some video game, saying he thought it was rubbish. The blows weren’t hard, but instead of giving him a nudge on the shoulder or a light poke with a finger in the ribs, a slap to the head is a completely unacceptable thing to do, much less on national television, much much less by the supposed president (I say supposed, because he does fuck all, really – he says he can’t find time to be present in the pre-election debates, but admits he watches two or three football matches every weekend).
More than a year ago I wrote a blogpost about Jeremy Clarkson and dumping sheep carcasses, and I said we don’t to that shit any more – animal cruelty and racist comments are unacceptable, and give that another order of magnitude when it comes to dragging girls around and slapping kids around the head. If Jeremy Clarkson did it we’d be upset, but not so surprised (well, I am not actually surprised Rajoy slaps his kids; I am surprised, still, that such a guy ever got to be the leader of a country).
We all know that abuse victims go on to abuse others. Many of the aggressors against women were abused themselves as kids. I’m not saying that the son of the president is going to become an abuser, but it sends a signal to the country that it’s perfectly okay to give your kid a slap if you don’t like what he says. And there will be many who will put a bit more force into their slaps, and give a few more than two.
What sort of example is set? (Again, I’m not saying the president is any sort of example – he’s a fucking embarrassment, to be honest).
How do we propose to make a less violent society if we allow such incidents to go unquestioned, and uncriticised?
Perhaps I’m over reacting. Spain is paradoxically a fairly peaceful place – though I have to shout more in my school classes to be heard, and asking politely doesn’t get half the speed of reaction that a stern rebuke does, I don’t see the same number of fights and brawls that I used to see in Ireland. When a German newspaper article praised the Irish football fans for being a bright spot in the European games next summer, as they are so jovial and peaceful, I asked myself where those self same football fans are on a Saturday night on O’Connell Street.
It’s possible the chauvinism and abuse people see on the telly doesn’t translate to the street, but I don’t think we should have to hope that.