Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fiddles, cowboys and the end of the world

“It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” So goes the REM song and, I wonder, are we the generation that “feels fine”? Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned. An emperor, but a single individual nonetheless. But do we all have our own personal versions of Nero's fiddle, as our own world burns?

I mean, not to be pessimistic here, but the world seems to be fucked, to put it mildly.

Oil is spewing out from the ocean floor in amounts so huge that there must have been a few words on it in the book of revelations. They hauled the oil man in front of some old fat men to demand an explanation. Why weren't you more cautious; why didn't make sure that things were safe; why didn't you foresee this disaster? He mostly stared at them, the answers he gave useless and empty. What he was really thinking is “I got caught out, that's the difference.” He then remembered the hookers, the cocaine and the yachts. “A great couple of years, despite what's happened,” he thought.

Sean Fitzpatrick was probably thinking the same thing when he read the Stars' front page headline one day. “Hang the Bastards”, coupled with a picture of him with a number of other “unsavoury types” (previously known as “savoury types”). With his head down, he promptly left the shop with a newly found fear for the common man.

I'm not one to believe in Karma, but I'm sure Seany does now. Whether or not he was the one to flush Ireland's economy down a shit-stained abyss which we are told we now find ourselves in, I'm not so sure. But he is the symbol, the scapegoat who has taken the brunt of it.

Thus ends my Sympathy for Seany (was that a Rolling Stones song, I hear you say?). Suffice to say, he probably shouldn't be hanged. As for the other assertion the Star made, well, I'll let you be the judge of that! “Bankers, the lot of them.” Rhyming is fun!

The politicians tell us about Lehmen and his brothers, followed by eyes which roll heaven-ward. But there is something to be said for the problems faced by the Empire of Uncle Sam.

America's imploding. Palin's still on the scene, stoking up the flames of rage in people who would probably have been wearing white robes with pointed hoods half a century ago, back when it was in fashion. You see, they have this president who is trying to create a socialist dictatorship. He wants to set up death camps through a hedious behemoth that he calls 'Health Reform'. And he's not even an American! The rest of them think he's the messiah, positively devine. Born of a virgin (erm), on the 25th December (eh), visited by three wisemen (umm) ... I'm thinking that Mr. Obama is feeling a bit like Brian right now (and not either of those Brians). But remember the advise that Brian got, up on the cross, when all hope was fading. “Always look on the bright side of life”. Cheer up Mister O!

Then again, he has continued two inherited wars, and is thus implicated in the on going agregation of the Muslim world in the much touted “Clash of Civilisations” (the funny thing is, I think the book came out before the Sky News televisual war-enthusiast's wank-athon). And, boy, was it talked up! The cowboy came onto the stage and told us all about an 'Axis of Evil', 'Us and Them', and 'Hearts and Minds' (though I'm not exactly sure whose he meant). The whole thing was a bit surreal, as if a wild west movie suddenly gained a certain kind of reality and hauled itself up, only to play itself out on the stage of world affairs. Cowboys and Indians! Yeeha!

Enraging the Middleast may seem like a good idea if you grew up in Texas where your father told you petrolium-soaked bedtime stories as a child, but it did not go down too well over there. No sireee!

In listing the woes of the world, I'd like to put a special word in for “aspirational” media. By interpreting the proverb “the grass is always greener on the other side” in the completely wrong way, they have managed to ratchet up general societal anxiety to a point where it's impossible to be worried about far off things because you're already too fat, don't earn enough, or just don't meet that imaginary pinnacle of perfection, which is always referred to using only the vaguest of terms. Convenient.

Isael/Palestine, Global Warming, North Korea, Third World Poverty, the descent of the West, the rise of China and the Internet all deserve a special mention as things which will possibly collude in bringing about “the end of the world as we know it”. But does anyone really care?

I must admit, my own general interest in these unprecedented world events have been side-lined by the world cup, combined with the sun and alcohol, and “I feel fine”.

Sort of ...

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