Gonzo Opinion: Uncle Ranty Returns

Now I expect you’re all wondering why I’ve called you here today, and why I’ve sent the children away to go play a while. I’m afraid I have some bad news to impart, and some if you aren’t going to enjoy this. I’m about to be very unfair, but you have all brought this in yourselves, and as you all seem so keen on collective punishments these days, I thought I’d get started.

Let’s be honest, for all your complaining about racist comedy over the last thirty-odd years, you’ve just been paying lip service, and I’m afraid you’re letting your prejudices show in public rather than just behind closed doors. Now believe me, I get that a lot of comedy is cruel, it’s why I’ve locked the doors and those nice gentlemen in the corner are checking the battery packs on their cattleprods.

What we seem to have right now is a rather pernicious infection that has been quietly lurking in your systems for quite some time, not unlike a super-bug in a general hospital ward. The problem is that this won’t respond to some anti-septic wipes and some targeted antibiotics, let alone logic and appeals to human decency. We tried that, but your addiction to antisocial media and the delights of fascist press barons was a bit deeper than anticipated.

I, and quite a few others, have begun to lose patience with – well, let’s put our cards on the table here – our elders and allegedly betters being openly racist in public. Whether it’s on public transport or in library reading areas, or other public spaces, there’s a rise in muttering that displays some awful cognitive dissonance. Only this morning I heard a couple on the bus talking about how all these “lazy layabouts are coming over here for a free ride and housing, then working all hours for less doing the jobs no one else wants and buying up houses to fill with their families.” Do I really have to dissect this?

Now, I can see some of you starting to shake your heads and distance yourselves. He’s not talking about us, it’s okay, we can relax. Get back here, you’re just as culpable. How many of you challenge these conversations as opposed to thinking “well they’ve got a bit of a point?”, Or “If I keep quiet they’ll shut up and go away soon.” Come on. I’ll wait while you think about it. I literally have all day.

Now I have your attention, this bit is aimed at you. Don’t worry about the ones looking defiant over there. There’s no arguing with them. Many of them are already saying they’ll be dead before they have to deal with the fallout from what’s going on. Their nihilism has already marked them out of the game. You have no such excuse, and there’s plenty you can do. For a start you can stop worrying about being called a special snowflake. That’s playground taunts by the emotionally insecure as a projection to stop anyone criticising them.

What you can do is dissent. Choose your battle, choose your protest, and join in. You may have noticed a few protests around the place recently. If you’ve supported those in any way, well done, you’re ahead of the game. For the rest of you, gear up. This is why I sent the kids away. The biggest problem with this is that it’s infectious. You’ve already seen it in the antisocial media side of things. Kids learn from those they look up to, or grow up with – so if they don’t see you treating other humans like humans, they’ll learn not to either. They’ll learn to denigrate with a broad brush rather than calling out individuals on behaviour.

This is your chance, as those elders and betters, to challenge yourself, and your peers. Give the youngsters something to aspire to and learn from. It doesn’t have to be angry shouting in the street, I’ve got that covered, and if you’ve a speech impediment or social anxiety you’ll not do yourself any favours anyway. Write articles, research, fund movements – do what you can while staying safe. Be the better person, not because it’s legal but because it’s right. If you need rulebooks to tell you how to be a decent person, it says more about you than the flavour of the rulebook – secular or religious – that you believe in.

So, are we on the same page here? Stop being dicks, you are old enough to know better, act like it.

Right lads, open the doors and let the kids back in. Thanks for checking those cattleprods out, we’ll ship them out later. Mre B has a checklist of alternative ways to protest and speak up, so take one of their flyers on the way out. As they always say: “a one size fits all version of social resistance can be just as harmful as a one size fits all version of society”

Damage Report

I was reminded yesterday that nothing in nature blooms all the time, and so shouldn’t kick myself for not being able to do so myself. It’s a lovely little reminder to accept that there are just going to be days where things aren’t fantastic and it’s okay to acknowledge it.

For the most part I would generally accept the ups and downs of my moods as part of the joys of just being me, but it seems to be particularly relevant among the cavalcade of awful news that I’m seeing every day.

For my own stability I’m finding myself having to limit how far down the rabbit hole I go each day because it is starting to feel as if the image above needs to preface each dip into the news. Frankly it’s making me angry.

Perhaps then I’m somewhat bemused by the quiet range of reactions so far to the Uncle Ranty piece a couple of days ago. There’s either been applause or stony silence – which, to be fair, I’m totally used to. 

People who’ve known me a very long time may recognise the fiery speech of Uncle Ranty from more unstable days, but rest assured he’s well on the leash as a means of both expressing anger and playing with language. It’s been fun to write like it again, so I fully expect to see more Gonzo Opinion pieces down the line.

The silence as a response to it though? Really?

Gonzo Opinion: Uncle Ranty’s Lament

Right children, settle round, I have delicious facts and angry thoughts to bestow on your sleepy minds. I have watched from high rooftops while those who claim to act for you have stolen your birthright from under you, so now I’m here to put the half-bricks of rebellion and the Molotov cocktails of illumination back in your hands.

Who are you? I hear you muttering. I see you standing there at the back with your fashionably cute t-shirts and studied indifference. Get your arses down here and listen to what Uncle Ranty has to impart. Pay attention, there won’t be a test.

The enemy isn’t merely at the gates, they’ve been teaching you and your offspring; hiding behind ironic sneering and disaffected posturing to appeal to your demands for easy answers and fear of actually having to give a damn about anyone.

They’ve made a virtue of every base and craven instinct you swore you’d grow out of; and laughed at how much of a joke everything is so that you didn’t take it seriously when they started peddling their true intentions. You’ve given away your own outrage out of fear of being labelled ‘other’ without pausing to consider how arbitrary that label has become in their hands.

Are you angry yet? Why not? You have billionaires pandering to base instincts under the guise of offering a solution to problems they’ve made themselves. Then they appoint fellow billionaires who have profited from those problems to review and ‘solve’ that system while claiming to be in the same position as the people they’re exploiting.

Then the very thing they’ve lambasted their opponents for become the things they demand as their sovereign rights. Godsdamnit people. You’ve not only given the keys to the asylum to the inmates but you’ve put them in charge of hiring policies too.

So what can we do? Well at least some of you are asking that question. Look around you. Look at the living breathing people all around you right now. If you don’t know them or their ways then get in there and find out about them. Some of them are going to be arseholes, but if this situation hasn’t taught you there are arseholes everywhere then you need this rant more than I thought.

You’re more likely to find there’s something you have in common. I’m not going to give you trite examples like a love of cheese sandwiches or of the smell of the sea. I’m not going to pick up small details like sports teams supported or favourite tunes. No, let’s dare to poke the elephant in the room. You all have someone you love. If you’re lucky, it’s several someones of various relation – romantic, filial, parental, platonic, whatever.

Everyone has someone they love. Even the arseholes who have taken everything from you. Even these thugs and bullies know love, even if they can’t bear to admit that others do too. That’s why they feel so threatened by the love you hold in whatever permutation, flavour or complexity works for you.

They need to feel unique. They need the sense of control that love strips away to prove to themselves that they are superior. To acknowledge that others’ love and passion is equal is the scariest thing they can envision.

So they will build their walls, internal and external, and shout and posture. They will shut down debate by calling dissent lies. They will coin their own language and hide lies with alternative truths; and they will still be utterly shocked at your strength when you remember just how strong and loving and kind you are.

It’s your turn now children. Show them what real love and pride is. Tell them Uncle Ranty sent you.