JULY

The way it is right now, it is difficult to write. Each day seems to throw up another event of catastrophic proportions, of violence. I have so much to say, but then wonder whether I should be adding to all the clamour and noise of the world, which is already bewildering, maddening, insanity-inducing; like a constant hammer to the brain; making us dazed, exhausted, and discombobulated; sometimes I feel my skull will just be split open from all the thinking; the sadness; the deep exasperation.

Where to start?

I may as well start with the place that I am from. On Thursday, as we all know, the sometimes amusing, but ultimately recklessly irresponsible and pathetically shameful and embarrassing prime minister of the UK resigned, leaving a shambles of economic rubble and general aroma of fiasco in his wake. Ultimately, despite all his verbal dexterity and buffoonish public school boy charm – he was basically incompetent and incapable of telling the truth, making a mess of the country that my family and friends live in, living only for the narcissism of being in the top position in the land and the megalomaniac caprices that this enabled him to act out willy nilly – he eventually could no longer maintain the mendacious house of cards, could cling to the railings of 10 Downing Street no longer ; forced to resign in ignominy —- oh that Etonian arrogance and sense of entitlement ; how I remember when I was at Cambridge and surrounded by these supercilious, puffed up ex-alumni from rich backgrounds and being unable to connect to a single one of them on any level whatsoever; a sense, almost, of planetary difference: that we were divergent species: that I couldn’t even talk to them with my more regular comprehensive school biography with its self-doubt and worries about the future ; because, at the end of the day, no matter the pomposity and verbiage and pretending to care, let’s face it, the upper class Tories despise all those of the lower classes and patronize them just like playthings, indifferent to their multiple sufferings; a viciously tiered and cold-blooded system that is all just about constant reinforcement of their cushy, inbred privilege. If they leave the nation in tatters with millions unable to pay their fuel bills, who cares. They will still always have their houses in the country. The masses can eat shit.

One utter liar out of the way, awaiting his presumably similar replacement in the conservative government, headlines flashing about this all Thursday – the war in Ukraine now just a mere backstory —– we wake up with blue skies on Friday only to find out that the ex-prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, probably the most recognizable Japanese person in the world, has shockingly been murdered at close range at a political rally in Nara; killed live on TV in front of the media. Whether you like his politics or not, and I didn’t, it makes no difference to the appalling sense of carnage and disregard for human life; it was a horrific way to die, and this seems to be the general theme of this year so far: BRUTALITY. A total disregard for the sanctity of human life. Someone shot through the throat and in the back, obliterating his heart, constructed with home made artillery by some ex-military weirdo with yet another grudge; dying on camera; slaughtered on Youtube (Neither D nor I have looked at the footage of this moment : yet : I am tempted, because like everyone else I have a prurient side, but right now it feels wrong. I don’t want to be another internet bystander gorging on death: and how much death there has been so far in 2022……)

It is horrible.

R.I.P.

This country is shocked to the core.

But this is just yet another horrifying incident in a terrible, terrible year of guns and weapons. Death and destruction, all the time. We are becoming slowly inured to the plight of Ukrainians now; accustomed to it; the tragedy overshadowed by the other looming nightmares of each passing day. The war has been constant since February, but its influence seems to be spreading through the air like tentacles; like a virus. The air itself feels violent, somehow ( or is this just me ? )and it has become almost scary to just to check the news, even if I am almost ashamed to admit that the constant shootings in the USA are also now something that I tend to have a familiar, accustomized reaction to. Apologies to those litth ji few who might find what I am about to say offensive, but whenever there is a new massacre, and they will be endless, unfortunately, despite my obvious horror and immediate sympathy for those involved and connected, at another level I also don’t entirely care. You might say that I am bored. I shut my brain off. Deliberately. Oh, I think – another one. Oh well. That’s a terrible shame, but at the same time, no one else in the world has this problem and I think, dismissively to myself, it’s ‘up to them’ (which it is) : that if this allegedly democratic country actually wants and allows this, then this is what they are going to get. It is just so obvious and predictable. Of course there will be gun massacres. It is not even in the very least surprising. Of course. It goes without saying. I act to myself as though I refuse to be affected by it. ‘Fucking idiots’ I chant inwardly. But deep down, none of this self-preserving attitude, trying to protect my own sanity by trying not to from think about the 26 people being gunned down in a classroom when I am a teacher myself – little kids’ heads being blown off as they are doing their lessons, organs mashed like pomegranates, teachers becoming bullet threshed martyrs when all they were doing is their job and looking after their charges – I don’t think that any of this means that I have become insensate and cruel – it actually just prevents the trauma of hearing about it penetrate too deeply into my very delicate psyche. I am sure you are the same. There is an accumulation of horror, and it is becoming hard to take. So I have to switch off. Of course I do care about it momentarily, reading about it on the train platform on my smartphone as I am about to go and teach my evening classes, but then I just sink into a deeply negative closed off coma of interiorized, blank, inertia.

Because – and sorry to labour the point – this is the obvious result of a —- to the rest of the world totally incomprehensible —- love and appalling veneration of guns. The more you have, obviously the more killings and deaths. And unless, as a people, you really try and do something about this issue, then it is only going to continue to get worse, and these ‘tragedies’ will become so commonplace that we will eventually just turn the page of the newspaper without even reading about the all too familiar details – the way we are going, we are all just going to become more and more desensitized to everything, cut off: (it also deeply pisses me off, I have to say, that while America constitutes only 4.25% of the world’s population, it has this heart-fuckingly domineering, brain-washing ability to pound our global consciousness down to such a profoundly depleting degree; every new outrage plastered over our minds and into our consciences at new volumes of fury and irreconcilable difference that something I just honestly want to retreat for weeks on end and just close down and it’s not even my own country).

Thank God.

Despite what I am saying here – it’s been a while since I’ve done a full blown Black Narcissus rant – let me try and breathe for a moment before this looks like total anti-Americanism – I have to say that we have just, in the last month or so, had a couple of typically hedonistic and super-American weekends.

Even if, psychologically at least I don’t think either of us is particularly well, in truth, and because doesn’t all of this, as well as the burn out from the pandemic, just somehow seep into your bloodstream and brainstream like black poison? : I myself have become increasingly sociophobic and unable to stand being with people for any real amount of time; the main reason for much of the tension and the relationship turmoil on top, rows so terrible that it has seemed that we might be breaking up…… Yet somehow, on the 4th of July,. I couldn’t resist going by myself – somewhat sarcastically, perhaps, initially at least – to see ‘Top Gun : Maverick’ at the US military base city of Yokosuka (only 11 minutes by train from Kamakura and a different world) but also an always contrasting stimulant- multicultural, more relaxed, and with great burgers – watching some stars-and-stripes flag-waving down by the sea by the battleships and submarines after coming out of the the undeniable, total exhilaration of Tom Cruise’s incredibly thrilling action blockbuster in which he single-handedly saves the future of cinema on the big screen); amiable soldiers in uniforms mingling with the local citizenry; country music sing-a-longs at George’s Bar……..we might feel like fish out of water walking by, but I still enjoy being in Yokosuka sometimes because, let’s face it, at the end in spite of everything, America itself is exciting. And therein lies the rub. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t all be glued to the TV shows we watch, be mesmerized by the films, dance to the music, intoxicated by the sheer blustering, money loving jingoistic power of it all.

Two weekends ago was an even more unique opportunity to truly immerse ourselves in America, and boy were we immersed – we actually got lost on base – illegal there- and spent hours in the middle of the night trying to get out, wandering around eerily quiet avenues with flags draped outside every door taking photos – I am surprised someone didn’t just shoot me from behind the curtains – D eventually having to dangerously flag down a car, the occupant and driver very surprised to find these two unaccompanied aliens just wandering around the Lynchian city (the base is a walled city; a world of its own; cut off it was truly surreal). We had had a lot of fun dancing, but I didn’t feel safe. I knew there must be guns about. And eventually, as we were escorted to the exit in a military car driven by its naturally very suspicious owner, and our release papers were examined, we were let out. I felt such relief.

It was also, as it happened, the day of the ‘Supreme Court’ s ruling on Roe vs Wade. As we went up to the west of Tokyo area where the base is located were absolutely reeling. But it was also, that very evening, excitingly, an invitation to – yes, you are reading this correctly – a drag queen vogueing ball on the Yokota military base – a paradoxical opportunity I felt I simply couldn’t miss despite my reservations about corona, as it felt historic, unlikely, bizarre, even, and probably the way things are going, never to be repeated. It was quite a night. Amazing. But the more fun and enjoyable details of that can wait until another post.

Our host – because naturally you can’t get on base without a lot of security clearance and with a direct sponsor – was himself a military serviceman, who, in his off-base extra-curricular time had recruited the legendary drag house Haus Von Schwarz from various club nights in Tokyo and was a huge fan of Y, , the mother of the house (D’s film co-director and best friend). Ironically, given the magnitude of the political moment in America, as we climbed into his air-conditioned car we found out that he was really quite high profile in the ranks, showing us videos of welcoming Biden on his recent visit there as he was one of the co-ordinators of the proceedings, as well as none other than the great-nephew of the most famous Christian evangelist of them all, Billy Graham. As a frightened gay boy growing up in a very hostile, right wing environment ,he had spent his life at permanent political loggerheads – to say the least – with his fundamentalist family back home who were all undoubtedly celebrating the court’s decisions, ululating in tongues and cupcakes at the culmination of their life’s work, something that was totally intolerable to him in every way in every fibre of his being and though we had only just met, the gloating that he knew was going on : he was unable to conceal the fact that he was very deeply distraught at the lack of freedoms this new ruling entailed, obviously shattered, barely holding it together as we waited in the extreme heat – 38 degrees and almost complete humidity – to get the correct papers to be escorted to the venue – a ballroom – where the unusual, and initially rather tentative, event was being held.

I am now entering thorny territory. Possible cancellation territory. So I will have to choose my words carefully. On the volatile topic of Roe vs Wade, I must begin by saying that I believe that abortion is an extremely delicate issue and that I can totally understand both sides of the argument : friends on social media who declare a fetus is not a human being I disagree with philosophically; to me, it obviously is, just at a different stage of development in the human cycle. Denying this humanity is like saying that a 100 year old person near death is also not a person with a valid life. In this sense, I at least understand the reason why so many people are vehemently against it, but it has also become, like most political issues, way too black and white. But at the end of the day, at least the way I see it,a person’s own body cannot be controlled by another person. Childbirth cannot be forced on someone. Abortion is a terribly fraught, devastating decision for most: I have friends who have experienced it for a variety of reasons and it has left virtually no one unscathed (to my knowledge); I have supported these friends when needed (though I think for most women it is a private matter, as it should be, categorically not the state’s business), as I have also supported a friend who was almost pressured into having the procedure but in her heart knew she didn’t want to go through with it; it was her decision. Ultimately, I personally believe that taking away a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body reduces the female majority of the population to mere inseminated livestock; walking incubators of wanted or unwanted babies with no control over their own destiny as individuals : it could even be argued that it is a form of slavery. And that some of the most backward states in the US – usually the most pro-slavery in the past – would take away the right to abort a child even in the case of child rape and incest – forcing that girl to gestate something inside her born of hatred and violence, devastating her in the process and in all likelihood destroying the life of the child itself – is completely unconscionable. In the purported land of ‘freedom’, it is a cruel joke.

And yet, although I think that there should be a total separation of religion and state, I can still understand how Roe vs Wade can be seen a moral issue, dependent on a person’s individual’s own religious or ethical beliefs. Like Shariah law, where homosexuals are thrown from buildings, and adulterers stoned to death publically, thieves’ hands chopped off, I can accept, to a certain extent, that clerics, who adhere to extreme interpretations of religious texts and somehow control the countries they originate in, truly, in the depths of their beings, believe that they are doing the right thing by creating laws that punish the ‘sinful’ in what I may personally feel to be a totally unacceptable and barbaric manner: the point I am trying to make being that whether I agree with it or not, I at least understand the original impetus for it. As a gay man who has struggled with many issues connected to being in an oppressed minority and a painful childhood as a result of it, the issue of LGBT+ rights is obviously very important to me, to put it mildly, and I plan to write about this at length from the perspective of personal experience; how for the same-sex couple nothing could be or feel more natural; that the opposite – being forced or expected to be with a person of the so called ‘opposite sex’ is deeply unnatural and quite simply, wrong for that person), but even with this said, I can understand – intellectually, in a way, at least – the objection to same-sex unions from people who believe that this ‘unholy union’ somehow violates and pollutes a ‘saintly’ institution, that of marriage, one that has existed for millennia between male and female in all cultures across the world, and that has been ‘perverted’ by the new non-traditional interpretations: I also understand that more conservative people, used to the traditional gender divide, find all the new identity politics disturbing and difficult to understand; feel threatened by it: big changes are afoot in how human beings express themselves; how much they can tolerate being put into boxes and categorized; trapped in stereotypical roles that feel wrong for them at the cellular level; but it is all undoubtedly happening too fast for a great number of people clinging to the past: and hence the current backlashes. It is a constant push and pull. As civil rights have always been.

I think what I am leading to is this:

IF – and this is a very very big if: IF I felt that the Supreme Court’s decisions were based on purely ethical/moral/ religious thinking; that the basis of the ideology were heartfelt ‘Christian’ values (very important to put Christian in inverted commas, because only a tiny percentage of so called Christians are actual Christians – as if Jesus would support guns! As if Jesus would support racism (NO: you actually can’t be a good person and be racist; it is an inherent contradiction in terms; Jesus was about compassion and forgiveness; love), then I could, despite my personal indignation, perhaps at least accept the essential integrity of the foundations for the legal decisions being made to take away our rights even if I myself think it callous, barbaric, judgmental and inhumane. I do believe that the majority of the Taliban believe firmly in the way that things are done in Afghanistan, for example, and I despite my own repugnance in their regard, I have much more respect for them than I do the Supreme Court, which is instead based fundamentally on the DOLLAR.

The court’s decision to expand gun control in the US, as well as preventing change on climate action (what? God not only hates the queers but also Nature? (!!!!) has blatantly exposed the corruption and evil at the heart of the supposedly just institution as well as its prime motives and blows all veneer of religiosity out of the water : ultimately, let’s face it, it is all about money, and protecting the rights of the rich. Conglomerates. Businessmen. Despite the wild west origins of America, and its long history of profound thirsting for the freedom of the individual and the need for physical security in such a vast, aggressive place, the fact that the highest institution in the country could make it easier for people to carry guns at this precise moment – so soon after the massacre in the elementary school in Texas – is more mindboggling and shocking to me than the overturning of Roe Vs Wade – unbelievably insensitive and morally wrong – and brings me inevitably to the thorny subject of Gad.

Gad is how I pronounce the word ‘god’ when I want to emphasize the deep disgust and hatred I feel for the invocation of a supposedly divine deity by those who co-opt this omniscient entity for their own materialistic greed. God is one thing: I am an agnostic: I don’t know what I believe. I am open to the idea, but am nobody’s fool. ‘GAD’, on the other hand, pronounced the American way, can go fuck itself. Nothing is more repugnant to me that the image of Donald Trump ‘praying’ to Gad with evangelists in a mega-church from a few years ago; corrupt doesn’t even begin to describe it. There are no words for the hollowness, the cynical, satanic emptiness; the creature who I believe is responsible for so much of what is going on in the world right now: even the death of Shinzo Abe, for all we know, could have been inspired by the orgy of gun death in the States, which is a tendency, a trend – America influences everybody, Japan too – much as the Joker stabbings in Tokyo last year were ignited by yet another sad loner watching a Hollywood Marvel movie and seeking the death penalty as his punishment (a trend here; people too cowardly to commit suicide by themselves in this weary and isolating world we are living in and instead inflicting non-ideological carnage on other people in order to receive the highest punishment by hanging). Look at the picture above; a gold machine gun being displayed at a Houston conference of the NRA, in my view the most vile organization that exists on the earth. Look how delighted, charmed, captivated the audience is by this gun : the woman to the right of the man holding it clasping her hands as though she is having a profoundly religious experience and feeling joy at the words of the sermon, of the priest. Instead, though she might have grandchildren who could be mown down at any given moment by the latest unstable young man who could storm into the playground and shoot her granddaughter’s eyes out, she is actually rejoicing here in the manufacture of a gilded machine gun. It defies belief, and I think this is the most nauseating picture I have seen all this year – and there have been many (this was in the New York Times yesterday) – including the charred and tortured corpses of Bucha. This is, for me, by far the most sinister.

During the ‘presidency’ of Donald Trump, due to my rabid opinion pieces on here where I almost lost my mind with rage, I would sometimes get into arguments with my parents and other people about this man; they insisting that I was exaggerating, overreacting, when in fact I feel 100% vindicated and think now instead that I was probably understating what a truly monstrous impact that man had, a bloated malignant narcissist who will soon be president again of a country that has gone completely and absolutely crazy (“FUCKING Trump” said our host on the base; he is responsible for all this!!!!!! , and he is right); from the hundreds of thousands of deaths from corona – all you needed was masks, just look at Japan – but that leering, orange monstrosity, embodying the sickening slogan in the rifle ad at the time of this page – CONSIDER YOUR MAN CARD REISSUED – ripped his off on the presidential balcony like the cartoon character that he is and jeered at those who just wanted to protect themselves, helping to create a million deaths in the ‘united’ states of america as well as directly influencing the disastrous policies of so many other places like Brazil as well (I pray that Bolsonaro, who is even worse, will be ejected soon; please -just another plundering, hate-filled bigoted vandal); his appointment of ultra-right wing supreme court judges directly impacting the gun laws in a free-for-all-fuckfest that will only benefit the shareholders of firearms manufacturers who are laughing all the way to the bank; a truly terrifying situation in which all Americans over the age of eighteen will be able to wander around with guns, legally, backgrounds unchecked, in a world that is increasingly troubled, toxic, too loud, too disorientating, confusing, overwhelming and debilitating, making it all too easy for any one of us to become sick with mental illness and thus, when the time comes, just shoot at random, just because.

No. Despite some of the hedonistic, perfumed fun times that I have been having – which I will write about later, as I can’t and don’t want to sustain this tone, which I just felt I had to try and get out of my system a little before I go out to do some filming – creativity the antidote- things truly do feel rather cataclysmic to me right now. There is a real ‘end of days’ feeling. A sense of things going very very wrong.

28 Comments

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28 responses to “JULY

  1. Hmmmm….
    As an American I never truly realized how insane American culture is until I lived away from it. Recently, a tribal man came in my front door, walked through my house, and entered the kitchen to ask me for a drink of water. No knock on the door, no holler howdy, or even rattling the front gate. It was 9AM. This is not an everyday occurrence but certainly not unusual here in Nepal. I let out a yelp of surprise standing there in my nightclothes, he laughed. I gave him a glass of water and told him he could be shot for doing such a thing in my country. Often in rural tribal villages they don’t even have doors. He looked with awe at my huge American refrigerator, flat screen tv, cats wandering about, and dining room table with chairs. He thanked me and left. Talk about culture clash.
    Aside from being an accidental superpower, America always has been and will be craziness. I am convinced of it.
    Abortion is a medical procedure that should be decided upon by a woman and her doctor. I was shocked when I suffered a miscarriage early in marriage and was made to carry the dead fetus for 2 additional weeks to see if it would “naturally abort.” After that torture, by law in “liberal’ California my physician had to describe to me in detail how the skull of the dead fetus would be punctured and the pieces would then be pulled out with a hook. I did not need that on top of the tragedy I was already going through. I was practically hysterical. This is how cruel America is to its women. I have no idea what medical or moral purpose that misery served.
    Recall all the assassinations, kidnappings, riots, and hijackings of the late 60s and 70s. Maybe the 80s & 90s were truly halcyon days? Seems like it has been nonstop mayhem since 2000.
    I don’t know what to say about Boris & Trump, you’d think even their dumb, entitled asses would know there are cameras everywhere nowadays?

    • Bibi, I just wanted to acknowledge the dreadful ordeal you suffered, which you shared in your comment. You are so right — what a cruel, horrible thing to do to a woman who is already in a medical crisis. It is lucky you yourself survived, unlike the poor woman in Ireland in a similar scenario, who did not (Dr. Savita Halappanavar). I am American, and this country has become increasingly cruel to women, children, immigrants, poor people, etc. That trend really took hold in the 1980s; I’m old enough to remember that cruelty wasn’t openly embraced and advanced like this before then. I and many others do as much as we can to push back, but it feels as if we get one step forward, and two steps back. Gotta keep trying, though.

    • Bibi, I also suffrage a miscarriage and remember they brought me to the part of the hospital where all the mothers with new babies were located as they know I was losing the baby. I thought how cruel of them to bring me to area where I could heal the sounds of the babies knowing full well that mine was already dead. Even though I ended up having three successful pregnancies in ensuing years, I will never forgot the cruelty of the night i miscarried.

    • Unhindered fierce acuity as ever. I am sorry you had to go through the experience with the miscarriage: it sounds truly awful. Also now, those that do have one will immediately be under suspicion of murder – I know there are extreme factions that even want the death penalty for those that have had an abortion.

      I would usually never tackle such a sensitive topic because it arouses so much anger on either side: here I just wanted to say that I at least totally understand both view points, which in some spheres could immediately get me cancelled. I am glad I can talk freely here and open up the discussions without immediate condemnation.

  2. Eric Love

    You probably cannot imagine what it’s like to live here right now, ruled by a Supreme Senate (formerly Court) appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote by millions, and confirmed by senators representing a minority of the population. A failed state.

    • It does have that feel.

      Somehow I hope that a more balanced democracy will eventually emerge, but everything is just SO bifurcated right now – it is one side or the other: I wish there were more nuanced debate available.

  3. David

    You mentioned an “end of days” feeling. Unfortunately, I think it’s going to be more like endless days of suckiness, for lack of a better word. It’s going to be a pile-up of climate catastrophes, of failed states, of food insecurity, of fuel shortages, of mass migration due to the climate crisis, of mental health crises….I don’t even want to think what’s going to happen when long covid and its collateral effects come a calling and puts a strain on health care systems around the world… Buckle up, everyone.

    The politicians in the USA know that major climate crises are coming. They know that many young people are becoming nihilistic and lawless as they view a dying planet, a planet that holds no future for them. There’s a huge YOLO (you only live once) stance among the youth. This scares the shit out of politicians and shareholders of corporations. They want the population to be scared, desperate, and vulnerable: NOT nihilistic. Scared and vulnerable people can be cogs and drones in the capitalistic machine. Nihilists will stop producing. Nihilists will stop REPRODUCING. So the Supreme Court revoked Roe vs Wade as a means to keep vulnerable people producing vulnerable children, children who will then grow up to serve capitalism. That’s the purpose of the US government now: to keep the wheels of capitalism turning. Pure and simple.

    But mother nature has the final word. The climate crisis is going to make all of our normal ways of living a thing of the past. Governments around the world are reluctant to take the extreme measures necessary to mitigate the further deterioration of the world. Why? Because the extreme measures that are necessary will lower profits for shareholders. And shareholders, who quite frankly, rule the world will never go for that. So they want us to be like 75% of Ukrainians in February of this year, before the invasion: “oh, Russia will never invade.” “It’s just an exaggeration.” “Everything will be OK, just turn off the news.” “It’s not so bad. It’s just Russia doing military training at the border.”
    Yeah, and look what happened…..
    As I said, buckle up.

  4. Katy

    As a female citizen of the United States let me gently remind that nobody is truly pro abortion. It is never a decision a person or a couple take lightly and it is surely entered into with an incredible load of emotional turmoil and guilt. Me and many of my fellow citizens are pro choice. We do not have a pro life movement in this country. It is a pro birth movement and that is an entirely different kettle of fish. We enjoyed an assault weapons ban for 10 years and it worked! It was allowed to expire during the Bush administration and has not been truly considered again by any legislative body. Late stage capitalism is not pretty and most days I wake up and do not recognize the country I am living in

  5. Katy is right. People who support choice are no more “pro-abortion” than they are “pro-root canal.” Both are medical procedures that are done to prevent further and future impact on the patient’s wellbeing. Both should involve private choices made by patients in consultation with medical professionals, imho (TBH, having had three much-wanted children, I don’t see an embryo as a person equivalent to a centenarian any more than I see an acorn as the equivalent of a 100 year-old tree. Just my opinion).

    Also, saying this as gently and respectfully as possible — the hypothetical 100-year-old person near death still does not have the legal or moral right to demand the use of another person’s body, or their blood or bone marrow, or their organs, or even the organs of a dead person. Nor can those be demanded on the centenarian’s behalf by someone else, including the state. Potential donors of blood, tissue, and organs have the absolute right to choose whether or not to proceed, even if the donation (e.g. of blood or bone marrow) would have little or no impact on them and even if the recipient has completed the treatment needed to receive a bone marrow donation and can no longer produce his or her own healthy blood cells.

    Okay, I’ll step off my soapbox now and won’t engage in debate on someone else’s blog!

    • No no – this is the whole point: I LOVE the discussion as it clarifies things for me and differing opinions are very stimulating – I get your point about the acorn. This rant was not intended as a monologue, and I am very grateful that anyone has even responded to it.

  6. Filomena

    Neil, although I live in America, I agree with everything you wrote in your post. I often wish that my immigrant Italian family had just stayed in Italy. They came here for a better life and perhaps it was better back then, but it certainly is not that way now.

  7. Z

    Despite the sheerly wretched nature ot the topics, as ever, the musicality of your every thought hits my mind at wonderful angles. I have been waiting expectantly for one Neil Chapman’s firey report on the hot garbage that is current global affairs! Not disappointed in the least, you have paraphrased many thoughts I share in such a brilliant way.

  8. Living in the states is becoming less and less tolerable. Not to mention how crazy the world is becoming. Where does one turn? It is all just so frightening. With all the gun violence here I am terrified to just walk outside of our home, and not just because of rising Covid numbers again. It is becoming more and more likely one will be shot in a random place. It is insanity!! I am just cocooning myself in my fragrances, and ordering more. just to try and cope with it all. It really is becoming too much to deal with, but one must trudge on.

  9. Hanamini

    Z expressed it in a way I cannot, but that I absolutely agree with: “the musicality of your every thought hits my mind at wonderful angles.” This was a raw outpouring of feelings and it is what many of us clearly welcome in your posts; makes us feel we can trust what you say, and that’s important. My US in-laws (who were British but became American many decades ago) are having thoughts; it’s sad. Can’t agree with you about every part, though. Venal interests are easier to sway than religious convictions; the latter may be purer (in the holder’s mind) but more firmly held and therefore more damaging when they affect basic human rights (those of women or gay people, say). I could never use the word ‘respect’ in connection with extremist, bigoted delusions, no matter from what group or country (be it the Taliban or the Westboro Church). That’s not to say I have any more respect for those Supreme Court bastards. Hope you have some ways of enjoying the good things we can still enjoy (my smell is back!! after a bout of Covid), and some glimmers of hope; Japan, the UK, the US are still such wonderful places in many ways, although everything has an underbelly. And it’s good to talk about it, and resist in whatever ways we can.

    • Beautifully put.

      Yes, you are right : ‘respect’ is not quite the right word.

      And yet, wildly differing though our entire life views are, I could respect Mike Pence, just for the basic integrity of his fascistly conservative views – at least he BELIEVES it – whereas with T it is just….excrement

  10. Hanamini

    Yes, I do see where you’re coming from. And I am wrong about one being more damaging than the other—both equally damaging—but perhaps there is hope in leading the money-driven by the nose in another direction, whereas extremist convictions are harder to change, as they’re less rational. My personal opinion, of course. Thank you always for the interesting thoughts; a nice antidote to bullshit (which the UK is drowning in at the moment, courtesy of of our own gaggle of nutjobs).

  11. Cody

    Try actually living in this hellscape with these people.. it’s worse than you can imagine.

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