Turn left till you’re right/Brief Musings
Of late I have become privy to a bewildering phenomena touched on by my tiger-phobic compatriot Ross. In short, the ‘left’ or ‘my lot’, have become a collective of individuals who have ingested entirely too many dung-fermented mushrooms. However, instead of expanding their minds the fungus has done something much worse, it has permanently warped their reality.
From a young age I have taken a great deal of interest in politics and those who know me personally would gladly flag up my noisy, lefty, keyboard strokes which have left right wing cockroaches crippled in my wake. I’m the type of lad who regularly checked my height markings at age 15, counting the moons until I could finally manage to grapple and busily leaf through a canopy of the guardian’s pages on the tube. Yet the change in the nature of the left has left me hurriedly tucking my copy of the guardian out of vision defensively for fear of being grouped with the New Left.
So what has changed? Initially I had thought that the change was wrought by a shift in my political leanings, these brought on by excessive whisky consumption and complaining. This is only partly true. The majority of the blame lies in a more universal problem. People with any political allegiance are prone to sensationalism but the self-righteous anger of the left has compromised much of the staple signposts for leftys. In place of the empathy, tolerance and understanding is supreme devil’s advocacy, elitism and a level of outrage that blows all common sense out of the water.
The Guardian unwittingly has become the home of the snobby who attach themselves to individual causes like lucid (LSD popping) limpets. Comments sections are now riddled with a terminal case of one-upmanship exacerbated by the “recommend” scoring system. It has devolved into the adult equivalent of a pre-pubescent gaming forum full of 360 and PS3 trolls/fanboys (the line is blurred). I am aware of how sensationalist this is so I shall pluck just a few examples of the nonsense from the web of fuckery;
In regards to rapper Common and Maya Angelou’s brief ‘falling out’, which was resolved by the time this was published:
“Common is a huge fan of Angelou’s” notes the article – “he has obviously never read any of her work…”a commenter says assertively.
In the same article after one commenter suggested the reader listen to Common’s critically lauded LP “Like Water For Chocolate” (which the respondent clearly has not heard):
“Anyways, it´s not superb in context of most good music, never mind superb stuff such as Strange Fruit.” Who mentioned Strange Fruit?
On an (crap) editorial on Nigeria’s issues with Boko Haram one commenter feels it is apt to compare London and Nigeria:
“I’m so glad that our politicians are ‘enriching’ our land at a rate that will soon see us enjoying the multicultural utopia Nigeria currently enjoys.” Clever.
On the same article:
“If Christians were doing this the tone of the article would be completely different”. Wait, I thought we were discussing the plight of the Nigerians!?
On a harmless Charlie Brooker ‘travel’ article:
“Can I be one of the first to make a derisive comment about how Charlie is now doing smug travel columns.” Chomping at the bit!
And it goes on, and on, and on like the beat of the latest BBC Radio 1 smash. There was once a time that I trawled through internets comment sections to be enlightened by other genuine points of view. Instead, this has been replaced by people who rigidly uphold a point of view and copy and paste it into different, unrelated threads. The words they unsuccessfully attempt to ram down one another’s windpipes never quite results in the desirable end of a fatal choke.
Last summer, on a fairly sunny afternoon in snazzy Woolwich, me and my Dad sat in Starbucks as he listened to my (failure of a) plan for the future. During the many times in which I sidetracked him one conversation stuck out. I asked my Dad of his opinion in why the ‘intelligentsia’, the Guardian readers, could not actively influence our society. No sooner than I had finished the question my Dad snorted, “fractured, there is just a great deal of bickering among the middle class left that ends up with them getting nothing of note done”.
Broadly speaking, in many ways the left has lost its ways both in the working and middle classes. The political playing field has been shrunk tinier than the Brittania Stadium as Rory Delap winds up one of his trademark throw ins. There has been no muddying over the last twenty years of the Tory agenda, even as David Cameron attempted to rebrand the Tories via The Big Society, there was nary a whiff of policy change. Labour, as we all know became New Labour. But during this extended period of Lefty wilderness, the Left, in paper form, have merely become disjointed; without clear ideas, without unity and with a readership who do not seem to believe or practice ‘traditional’ left wing edicts. The Guardian (minus the sports coverage) often smells much like a glossy-mag for homemade breadmakers.
People often say that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps, but this is a view that can only be ascribed in hindsight. Or can it? Arguably, we repeat this phrase to comfort us in uncomfortable times during the present. Malarkey could be called upon its credence as it can be said that ‘things just happen’. This is true but conversely, everything that moulds us up until today or what might mould us tomorrow has an active role in shaping who we are. Without things happening we would not be as we are. Thus we can always give reasons for who we are today based on who we once were, perhaps. That said, is our destiny shaped by a limited form of reason? Once we are born are our paths shaped by the spheres of influence which are nigh on guaranteed at birth? Musings for another time…