Inane Thoughts: Diary of a Frustrated Writer

Er, ok, so I’ve been slacking recently on the blogging. Is this a New Year resolution gone awry? Have I lapsed into indolent apathy already, at such an early stage? Hopefully my return to the blogosphere will indicate that the answer to these questions is “er, hopefully not”.

I’ve always been told that, when it comes to writing, you should stick to what you know, which means that I will not write a lengthy blog on my utter distaste for the current coalition government, as there are enough articles and opinion pieces out there, far more informed than my own in this regard. Sufficed to say that whilst I am appalled at the further privatisation of the NHS, the seemingly unnecessarily swift cuts and a host of other issues, I am not surprised. This is a cabinet that features a veritable smorgasbord of twattishness, most noticeable in fat-tongued, dough-faced millionaire Gideon “George” Osborne.

And with that insult goes the moral high-ground.

*blows raspberry at moral high-ground*

All of which brings me round to one of my New Year resolutions that I have just broken in the previous couple of paragraphs: to be calmer in the face of that which I find distasteful. I have recently been reading the book ‘Them: Adventures With Extremists’ by Jon Ronson; a book that is well-worth a read if you get the chance. I spent a lot of my time reading the book in awe at his ability to remain calm whilst listening to the often shocking opinions of the people he was spending time with. I cannot imagine Melanie Philips remaining quite so calm in the face of opinions that she finds disagreeable. Then again, she would have fitted in well with the type of person that Ronson was following around, as she accused GCSE geography exams of turning cats into homosexuals and claiming that triangles are anti-semitic.

I would really like to be able to calmly ask questions when speaking to people with opinions that I believe are extreme; trying to get to the bottom of why they believe what they believe, as opposed to what I normally do, which is either to tut and crudely hector the person, denigrating their ridiculous opinions, or, if the person scares me, then I just pretend that I haven’t heard what they said, or I make inane and neutral statements such as: “hmmm, well you can’t be too careful”. At this point the scary person usually looks at me as though I am a simpleton and says very little else. In my head, this then makes the score 1-0 to the scary person, by dint of an own goal. I may feel less fearful of being punched in the face or mercilessly teased for being a sissy, but it also leaves me with a feeling of self-loathing. Perhaps this is an inate problem with thinking of arguments in terms of scores (damn you, school debates!). The worst-case scenario in these situations is when the banal stock phrase ends up making me sound as right-wing and idiotic as the scary person. Here is an example of this situation:

Scary man: “Did you know that paedophiles murder swans and use them in their sick games. They should all be executed using a spoon.”

Me: “Well, you can’t be too careful.”

Scary man: “Exactly.”

At this point I have realised that in the scary man’s eyes I have fervently agreed with his horrible, ill-thought-through statement. I then feel an even greater sense of self-loathing. All of which leaves me thinking: what would happen if I confront these opinions head on, don’t think of these situations in terms of scores, and I ask the person spouting these opinions why they believe what they are telling me that they believe?

Well devoted reader, if I can muster the courage, then I shall take on this journalistic feat and let you know the (almost certainly dire) consequences. With any luck the consequences will be entertaining and not involve any kind of maiming or, worse, name-calling.

Oh, there will also be another re-evaluation of an album from ten years ago coming very soon. I’m thinking Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’.

Over and out.

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One Response to “Inane Thoughts: Diary of a Frustrated Writer”

  1. Claire Says:

    I can utterly sympathise with your plight. Confession: I date a Tory. Except, rather than emulating Jon Ronson and calmly dissecting their opinion, or even gradually getting more riled up as I rip into it, I often find that my hands go flailing wildly about as a torrent of inconceivable babbling shit comes out of my mouth. “What? How? What the? How the? Are you? F***! Why the f***! ARGH!” Having already ceded the moral high ground, I frequently then find myself in a moral trench of my own making as I flounce off the opposite direction. The hands never stop flailing.

    This year, instead, I vow to keep persevering with my unintelligible strategy. Really, it makes no less sense than some of the crap that comes out of George Osborne’s mouth.

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