Monday, 8 October 2012

A letter floods in

As a radio programme used to say, a letter has flooded in. 2 actually. Emails. From people who do not engage with this blog but who are apparently interested in what I write. (I send out copies) One came and I left it. Now another...

The first asks why when I am so able to express myself elegantly (their word) and fluently do I write here vulgarly, obscenely, aggressively etc. Why do I keep referring to bodily fluids and masturbation.

Good questions.

I have trouble with a lot of words of abuse because they are sexist.

Masturbation seems to me a useful metaphor. It is the individual seeking their own satisfaction to the exclusion of all else.

My friend, the late Alaric Sumner, used to ask me why I used wanker as a term of abuse. Wanking was, he said, a wonderful thing to do. Sometimes he would add that it is the safest form of sex. He'd had more than his share of grief from lovers so it may be that, when he said that, he was meaning more than sexual transmission of disease.

I agree with all that and I accept that I indulge a little in self-loathing when I use the term. It's taken me a while to see that.

And yet, if you have ever had the odd fortune to be around someone bringing themselves off as part of an activity which does not include you, then you will know the odd view it can give you of humanity.

From there (and other directions) it is not far to a perception of bombast and rhetoric as a kind of private pleasure.

Then there is a more abstract approach whereby I have referred to Onan as the father of modern administration. Now a bible reader of my past acquaintance has taken me to task quite vigorously for equating what Onan did with masturbation.

It is, colloquially, how the name is used; and, as I understand it, from Jehovah's point of view, it was much the same in one way – personal pleasure before what we should be doing.

Calling someone an onanist has another advantage in that they may not recognise the word and one has a chance of shouting it and running for the door before they respond, perhaps violently.

All over the country millions of employees are saying How may I help you? as a part of procedural acts which have no chance of being any help. Managers are responding to what they call issues, because of course there are no problems, which will not work.

I am tired of mentioning noisy children, and I bet you are fed up with it, but that's because there are so many of them. There is one here now. It is SCREAMING. The adults with it are making it worse because of their behaviour. They are damaging the child. They are spoiling this space for everyone else with their insouciant selfishness.

The cafe does nothing because they come in to spend money. The rest of us suffer.

Most persuade themselves they don't mind because they have been trained to fear the kind of anger I feel.

Quite where these arrogant inanities get their sense of entitlement from, I do not know; and I would happily see them postnatally recycled; but they are quite clearly, in the language community in which I grew up, wankers; just like those with the authority in the cafe management, in the lawmakers

As to shit. I do understand. But we are given shit to do, to eat, to think.

I take the point as a stylistic problem. If that's all I say, it is boring.

I'll think about it.

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