this is not really a blog post, just some sentences I am using to try and work something out. You may want to leave now. Merely Burble.
When I was young and hair my was lustrous, did I imagine that with age would come greater certainty. Was I more sure of the world at 15 or 45? I was never that sure of anything, apart from the diseases I thought I had and that those people over there in the cafe were laughing at me because of my shoes, hair, walk or face.
Everyone else seems so sure. Are they all discreetly hiding their imposter syndrome, or do they really know what they know?
Maybe this scepticism was a bad idea.
It is the cocksureness (I prefer cockcertainty, but that doesn’t seem to be a word as yet) that I keep knocking my head into that is swelling my uncertainty about nearly everything.
So many arguments where facts are stated and never backed up by evidence.
So many universal truths that can only be traced back to rumour or misheard pub talk.
(Culture Wars: The Media and The British Left is a very good compilation of how those 80s staples like “they have banned black bin liners for being racist” sprung from).
I have been accused of being arrogant and smug for asking people where their opinions came from. Last week, someone accused me of criticising and dismissing the work of an individual who I had never heard of (nor did I know of their work). When I asked the accuser why they believed that I believed what they thought I believed, they flew off the handle, they started swearing and taking great umbrage.
When I was told some alarming foreign aid statistics that seemed improbable, I was told that I was an idiot for not knowing about them, and if I couldn’t find these statistics, I should look harder. I searched and came up with nothing. I was then told that everyone knew they were true and the fact they didn’t exist anywhere and could be backed up by nothing did not change their veracity.
Today, I read of there is a launch of an Anti-Feminist party, as we all know, men are the real victims now and “Feminism is a hatred, and it should be a badge of shame”. Misogyny is apparently very rare and… oh, I have to stop typing now, I must force myself to believe this is all a grand parody that will have a delightful absurdist reveal. I have to presume this man really believes what he believes. His reality is granite solid, he is certain of his truth.
I was asked to write a reaction piece on the Hebdo murders and free speech, but I could find nothing but banal and obvious observations, so I declined. I could think of nothing that I might say that could contribute, not even in a pay per sentence scenario.
I am only typing this to try and diagnose my illness, to try and locate the the thought blockage and decide whether it should be flushed out or if a sharp burst of a bicycle pump up the nose will shift it, or whether it should stay write where it is – a needed wall that should have been built some time ago.
I feel I should have opinions all the time.
“I haven’t tweeted anything for ages, quickly, think of a view of the world that can fit into 140 characters. Now monitor the reaction – was it an opinion that stirred or has it shriveled up and died on contact with the web?”
“Damn, that person’s opinion on the thing I was opinionated on has been favourited more than mine.”
What purpose this slurry pipe of my perpetual opinions? Is it just to air my brain before it festers and rots in fluid of aging, septic thought. Is the internet predominantly a trepanning tool?
How deluded am I? When people have created such impervious bundles of barbed wire around what they must and will believe, what is the point of butting in?
I think it is time to read Neil Postman on Media ecology, which he described as looking into “the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival” – but will trying to understand really help, or should I just read less and drink more?
If you are not in London, information on my forthcoming gigs in Didcot, Bedford, Swindon, Glasgow, Salford, Swindon and on, is HERE
And info of USA gigs HERE
And Australian tour HERE