“There’s intellectual and economic elitism, and then there’s the elitism that grows out of the barrel of an AR-15.”
From: Chief Political Correspondent, Laura Facebook in Washington, Uncle Bogler in Boglington-on-Sea. ©2016 @laurasweeplace
I’m wondering if I’ve ever been a fan of anyone’s?
This morning I found myself thanking the Lord I don’t believe in for receiving unto His Simply Enormous bosom overnight, the Canadian poet and droner, Leonard Cohen, 82.
I know Cohen is a figure of profound significance to anyone who was at college in the 1970s whose boyfriend dumped them before they discovered they were probably gay and started to self-harm, but somehow he never got through to me – anymore than did the protean David Bowie, who also managed to rush out a gravelly farewell album this year before departing for that mystery island where foregone celebrities postgather.
I’d guess my life at that time was pretty well cotton-woolled with marriage, at which I wasn’t very good; career, at which I was (except the politics) and alcohol, which I have always consumed at what seems to me to be a frightening rate; a trail of wine bottles bobbing away to the horizon. Sadly there was a 45-year-long hiatus in my musical career, that I am only now struggling to make up for by performing whenever I can afford to pay anyone to come and listen.
I wished Cohen no ill, of course. His songs have been covered by artists as disparate as Madeleine Peyroux, Willie Nelson, Nirvana and – a completely outrageous and wonderful soul-punk version of the Suzanne dirge – Liane Carroll, and they have made decent music out of them. ‘Allelujah!’ is one of the most re-recorded songs in history, for some reason.
The world needs poets, however mournful, and to lose one is like some nasty kid somewhere has said: ‘I don’t believe in fairies’, and another one drops down dead.
Cohen seems to have had a pretty decent time of it, shacked up on his Greek island with a procession of beauties. His career trajectory followed the standard showbiz path out of Odyssean mythology, complete with years wandering in the wilderness and the great comeback tour. We can celebrate the life well-lived.
No, it’s rather that he has at least momentarily diverted the attention of the world away from the monstrous Trump and his shit-kicking win in the US presidential election – an outcome I was dreading having to find something original to write about, hence the delay of several days before rushing into print on the coattails of a bunch of bleating-heart Guardian writers desperately trying to make sense of a rapidly expanding Universe.
I’m struggling to find the Post I wrote a couple of months back, where I argued we should all find good things to say about him, just in case. It seemed to me that the angrier, more sneery and more fearful we, the Liberal establishment, got about Trumbo and the Dumbfucks*, the more likely he was to get the sympathy vote. We seemed to have forgotten that he was at one time a gun-control Liberal Democrat and friend of the Clintons.
And while people are agonising over why the polls and the media got it so wrong, again, I’m sorry to say that’s precisely WHY I’ve been going around looking worried and telling people he was going to get in. It wasn’t rocket science, you didn’t need to be Nostradamus to see that too many people wanted to ‘send a message’ without any thought for the likely consequences, the impact on the unknown world beyond Muncie, Indiana.
The one thing you can’t call them is The Silent Majority. We’re never likely to hear the last of them. But I’m sensing that this has, literally, trumped the divisive bitterness and depression engendered by Brexit. No longer weeping openly and rending our garments, people where I live – surrounded by UKIPpers, we voted solidly here to Remain – are going around meekly with dazed smiles on our faces, being nicer to one another than we’ve felt in a long while. Even the weather’s been sort of okay, too.
Personally, were I keen to smack a politician and overthrow the smug neoliberal postwar globalised consumer-capitalist corporatist babyboomer elite, etc. consensus, which of course I am, so that decent, honest working-class folk facing social and economic oblivion can have more 50-inch TVs and sofas and bottles of Chardonnay and day trips to New York, I still wouldn’t prefer to live in a small area of the country ruled by the toughest alpha-male off the local housing estate, his vicious Malamut-Husky crossbreed dogs, his drug connections and his bullyboy mates.
That’s unfortunately what you get when you throw all your toys out of the pram at the same time, rather than working for change through the existing flawed systems. I think I could manage more easily to live through another eight years of Blair, or even ten years of Thatcher, than have to survive head-down under some opportunistic, dead-eyed warlord; God forbid, one with a bad case of religion.
There’s intellectual and economic elitism, and then there’s the elitism that grows out of the barrel of an AR-15.
The triumph of Trumbo is in that sense to be celebrated: it teaches that there are indeed worse things in life than the prospect of a long, slow slide into insular obscurity, trapped on a small rocky outcrop with nothing to entertain us but the endless yarping of the ghastly saloon-bar bore, Farage. (Did he really say what he’s reported to have said on Talk Radio, that he had better be there to protect Theresa May in case Trump made a grab for her? Did he really say that? Is there any prospect of God receiving this radioactive sludge unto His Enormous etc. anyday soon? Like a more sympathetic planecrash than the last one he bounced out of, hopefully?).
You can push your parents only so far, before they stop your pocket money.
*I’m entirely uncertain, though, what to make of the 26% of Latina women who voted for this Mexic-cleansing, pussy-grabbing, three-times married, non-Catholic, billionaire orange slug. Maybe he just reminds them of their husbands?
Who’s in charge?
“Brexit and Trump promised political control to people who felt their lives had little of it, who were furious at the gulf between their political rulers and the governed and mourned the social cohesion of the past, and whose voices were not heard much in the media.” – Ben Wright, BBC Political Correspondent
To be honest, I’m getting a bit tired of liberal metropolitan elitists wringing their hands and pretending it was all their fault for not listening to the Great Unwashed British and American People sooner.
When exactly was this era of equality with the rich, and ‘social cohesion’ they all want to get back to? How many TV channels were there? Could you go shopping or watch sport on a Sunday?
By ‘political control’, what does Wright mean? Put these people in control and all you’ve got is mob rule, they have no idea what they want (more 50-inch TVs! More sofas! More free stuff!) or how to go about getting it. This is 2016, not 1790. It’s ve-ry com-pli-ca-ted. And, in fact, they’ve been voting for more of the same: only with added nasty. There’ll always be politicians, it doesn’t happen any other way.
Their ‘voices were not heard much in the media’? Which media, for fuck’s sake, have the LMEs been listening to and reading?
From Fox shock jocks and Farage’s phucking phone-in on LBC to grisly opportunistic chauvinist shitbrains like Dacre of the Mail, Cavanagh of the Sun, whichever escapee from Broadmoor edits the Express – the Hopkins creature, Limbaugh, Kyle, TOWIE – the media is absolutely seething with the maggots of phoney patriotic working-class revolt and dumpster values, while pretending to be as dumbed-down as it’s possible to get and still be allowed to operate machinery.
All this, and only 29.9% credit? What more does the working class want? Politics is so over! Everyone now has fuller, faster representation direct to the providers, courtesy of Twitter, Instagram and Big Data – the new predictive text of human demand.
The truth is, the massive wobbling arse that is the new post-truth, anti-liberal politics today has nothing to do with metropolitan elites and Brussels and immigrants, they’re just handy shorthand for: ‘We’re bored, we want another war’.
“The gullible and poorly informed British are almost certain to vote in 2017 to leave the European Union, in the mad belief that the country will do better without “interference from Brussels”. I can’t be certain what effect there will be on the economy, but the motives of the right-wing corporatists who are plotting this schism are clear: they do not want the kind of fairer society Europe stands for. The UK, by virtue of its imperial mythology and insular mentality, is fair game to start the break-up.”
– The Boglington Post, 28 May, 2013