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If you hate it so much... - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
If you hate it so much...
Really, this has to be one of the most depressing threads I've read since internet discussion forums were invented.

In other news, this morning as I was on my bike, waiting to turn right on to the Botley Road, a bloke leaned out of the window of a passing car and bellowed at me, just a huge animal roar, a shaggy head hanging right out of the window to shout better. It was loud and close and sudden enough that it made me jump (though hopefully not visibly, and certainly not enough to make me fall off a stationary bicycle). Why do people do this? I just don't understand. I grok the getting-a-reaction thing, but they were gone too fast to see a reaction (though I suppose I could have shaken my fist at them as the car sped off). And no, "because they're idiots" is not an answer; the world is full of idiots and not all of them bellow at people out of car windows.

It feels as though the world has got a lot more hostile, more aggressive and bristly and jostly. More people shouting and swearing over the tiniest thing. From an accidental jolt in a crowd to "fucking fuck you" in the space of a second; rights and rants and heaps of hate. I don't want to overdramatise it, I don't want to speculate about causes, I'm not taking a holiday to Daily Mail Island, but sometimes it feels like the world's awash in misery and stupidity and violence, and any way to retreat from it feels like escapism, and there is absolutely no way to change it or fight it or lessen it. Has it always been like this? Have I only just noticed?

And 'having my say' here is probably part of the problem, or at least it's certainly not part of the solution.

Current Mood: where did it all go wrong

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pjc50 From: pjc50 Date: March 7th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)
The first is a consequence of politics being presented in the media in terms of adversarial zero-sum redistribution between identity groups, plus a little bit of the second: when people feel that everyone around them is out for everything they can get, they take on that attitude themselves.

The second: below a certain point on the social scale, behaving like that has no negative consequences... it's not in any way new, it's just spontaneous bullying, but it's easier to get away with now.

Someone did something similar to me - a random primal roar - at a shopping centre at the weekend. I was so surprised I didn't react at the time.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: March 7th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
In reverse order, you having a moment on your LJ is part of the solution, because you're not being ranty and horrible to inappropriate recipients, just bewildered and sad.

I don't think really the world is more awash in misery and stupidity and violence: think back to the "golden age" of Elizabeth I, and consider the stocks, public executions, bear-baiting (badger-baiting), heads on pikes, the rack, the collar, the boot, hanging 12 year olds for the theft of a loaf of bread, child labour, bugger-all medical care outside the monasteries, death in childbirth, smallpox, leprosy, the Plague, laws against what clothes you were allowed to wear, glass tax, indentured servants, press-gangs, and the beginnings of the slave trade. Fast forward to the Victorian era and child prostitution, cancer of the scrotum in six year old chimney sweeps, no recourse at law for raped women unless they had two men to vouch for her (sound familiar??), maiming industrial accidents with no compensation from the employer and no social care other than from charitable societies, the Poor House, domestic violence being given lower fines than dangerous driving of a carriage, no married women's property or suffrage, food and drink adultered by lethal chemicals, untreated sewage everywhere, urban poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism, and women finishing shirts (for example) for one penny the dozen doing piece-work at home. Juveniles under 16 could no longer be executed from 1908 with the Children's Charter.

Progress, at least in the UK, then...

I'm sorry you were roared at. That sucks. And I find that life goes through awful phases where Society seems to be falling apart. Which is why I recited that litany of historical woe: I know it well, I use it to remind myself that things were objectively worse in general for a greater proportion of people than they are now...

oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: March 7th, 2008 01:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
women finishing shirts (for example) for one penny the dozen

Aye, but a penny really WAS a penny in those days.

Edited at 2008-03-07 01:01 pm (UTC)
barnacle From: barnacle Date: March 7th, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know what you mean.

Having digested Thatcherism---dyspeptically---while currently eyeing up with no great pleasure that enormous plate of environmentalist roughage that we're going to have to chew through at some point, then perhaps society has to pass some sort of post-absorptive bolus before we can all pull up our moral trousers and move on (can you tell I'm off the antacids?) There might be no clear motivation for everyone becoming harder-edged except as some unintended, deep-rooted consequence of twenty-year-old social mores.

Jungian. Cryptocapitalist. Spandrel. Can I say "spandrel?" How about "cocker spandrel?"
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a spandrel".

barnacle From: barnacle Date: March 7th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
[rapturous applause]
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: March 7th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear me. The cocker spandrel. The king charles spandrel. The (alas! extinct) Norfolk spandrel.

The clumber spandrel!

oh dear me
hairyears From: hairyears Date: March 7th, 2008 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's especially depressing is that there are two truths there: one, that the working classes (and the excluded underclass beneath it) are ignored and treated with contempt by the middle class and the elite. And two, that the workers do not unite: it is easier to be divided, white English against Pole, and all against black, than to form an effective political movement that would improve their cultural and economic status.

The cynical part of me suggests that someone foments and fosters these divisions.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: March 7th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's really depressing is that people are treated throughout as if they were not individuals with deeply personal choices to make, which is where transformation actually lies, but as members of classes for which 'effective political movements' for or against other classes are seen to be solutions for the human condition.

Personally, I can't define my 'class': some of my not-distant ancestors were peasant farmers and immigrants, some family members are manual workers, some are professionals, I grew up with not much money but lots of education. I have been well-patronised by other individuals of several races and colours and creeds: does that make *them* elites?

Morals and behaviour transcend politics.

someone foments and fosters these divisions. That'd be the Devil, I reckon.
From: ewtikins Date: March 7th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nognognog* What you said.

individuals with deeply personal choices to make, which is where transformation actually lies,

I have noticed (with much dismay) that a seemingly large number of people do not seem to make a connection between their actions and the consequences, for themselves and for others, of those actions. It isn't that they are shirking responsibility or trying to blame others, it's that they don't see the connection in the first place, as if they've given up on looking at the world and trying to make it better or never learned to do that in the first place.

I have no idea where this comes from, or indeed whether it's just imagined.

Personally, I can't define my 'class': some of my not-distant ancestors were peasant farmers and immigrants, some family members are manual workers, some are professionals, I grew up with not much money but lots of education.

Me, too, at least to an extent (although much of the perceived scarcity of money when I was a child was due to unfortunate spending and investment decisions rather than lack of income).
pjc50 From: pjc50 Date: March 7th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
*agree strongly*
hairyears From: hairyears Date: March 7th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

The BBC do not appear to cater for me, either: economically I am very conservative indeed, but somewhat left-wing in my social views and very liberal indeed in what are quaintly called my 'moral' beliefs. Apparently, I must be a raving lefty in all things - means of production to one-legged gay skateboarding lesbian armadillos and the rest of it - or a verkrampt right-wing servant of capital with the whole Ayn Rand agenda foaming out of my ears. The concept of a thought-out set of views, rather than a tribal allegiance, is incompatible with the BBC presentation of politics-as-Punch-and-Judy, and this poisons all their coverage of public policy and business.

So what is there to say about the current BBC coverage? It's another sort of human zoo - or a safari, with upper-caste BBC suburbanites wearing all-too-visible pith helmets (drenched with patronising politeness and prejudices to keep their delicate brains from overheating) as they venture into the fightening and alien jungle of post-industrial England.

I expected little better from them: documentary televison is an underfunded branch of entertainment and we should be glad it still exists at all.

someone foments and fosters these divisions.

Would that it was Old Nick indeed. An observation from the Reconstruction era and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, the anti-Jewish violence in Russia and Poland, or from the formation of the nastier 'street politics' end of the Unionist movement in Ulster has shown that it is consistently the landowners and the industrialists who finance and shelter the organisers of inter-ethnic or inter-racial violence in the slums.

Uneducated men are easily manipulated, and all too easily set at one another's throats when they see a 'race to the bottom' in their conditions of employment. With careful media manipulation - and well-targeted violence against union organisers and 'communist agitators' - they will never question why it is that the competition is so harsh, and they are trapped in an ever-worsening market.

It's closer to home than you might like to think: a close look at who attends the Monday Club's dinners might tell you something about our overclass and the political and legal umbrella thet the BNP - and others - have enjoyed. Admittedly that umbrella is fragile - laws are enforced and the Police are improving - but money and a sense of political legitimacy are made available from on high to violent criminals in Dagenham and elswhere.

Bet you won't see that on the BBC.

pjc50 From: pjc50 Date: March 7th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not so much ignored as treated like animals - that is, represented politically mostly by older, middle class women who don't have to go near them but hold a romanticised view of their lives largely gleaned from TV, plus a small group of unhinged bomb-throwing revolutionaries. (Yes, I have been reading Polly Toynbee lately)

What makes you think that everyone would be better served by more class warfare (70's vide) rather than more unity, or at least a social continuum, as in the original Bevinist vision?
hairyears From: hairyears Date: March 7th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I doubt that we would be better served by class warfare; however I am defeated by my dismal view of human nature and the ugly fact that the social continuum is a fantasy.

We not only an unequal society, our schools are reinforcing a society of divisions - not a continual variation - and it is only a matter of time before a histogram of educational achievement is as clearly bimodal as that of Brazil OR Louisiana.

Further, I believe that we are fundamentally tribal, and a 'class' of people define themselves by their rejection of the middle-class aspirations and repect for education; just as firmly, if not more so, as all too many of the middle classes define themselves by accent, manners, and a desire that Tarquin and Miranda shouldn't play with nasty children from the sink estate.

Such divisions tend to worsen in times of economic stress. Including mass immigration - and it's not just unemployed labourers who feel that their jobs have been taken by foreigners; just listen to the managerial classes disdain for lazy English school leavers and the usefulness of Polish labour: partly true, perhaps, but not so true as to mask the ugly prejudices.

Pessimist? Moi?

Edited at 2008-03-07 05:17 pm (UTC)
oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: March 7th, 2008 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Anybody who gets this kind of stuff regularly ever logged it against phases of the moon?
celestialweasel From: celestialweasel Date: March 7th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
As 'speak you're branes' said, 'They may as well have written “Did your crop fail this year? Did you know the old woman on the hill is a bit different to you and has a strange pimple? Do you think she cursed the crop? BURN THE WITCH”.'
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: March 7th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing with the idiot in the car would either be two idiots playing a vying game or one idiot with poor impulse control passing on an anger from another incident. Either way, your connection to the incident is extremely tangential, and the idiots in question are in the damaging-themselves-and-others position, but, thankfully -- not your problem! You win.

February is a bad time for people getting uppity and antsy I find. Taxes are due, everyone's getting the spring stirrings but the weather's still dark and horrible and we're still full of coughs and colds. Word from my mum: never make any important decisions in february.

lnr From: lnr Date: March 7th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's March.
truecatachresis From: truecatachresis Date: March 7th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, indeed, that is so awfully depressing, but also aggravating. I just read some more of it, and ended up shouting at my monitor about the idiocy of one commenter.
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