40. Screens and moons

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The waxing moon often makes me wonder.

The luminous female orb was about five days away from full on Friday night, as I cycled home, nearly shivering from the cold. Went out without a warm jacket on a long bike ride with brother Neil. Just wanted warm food and bed once indoors, but sat with Maureen and watched some ITV.

Never a big TV watcher, I find commercial channels more and more intolerable, due to the 5-minute advert break every 15 minutes. I tend to leave the room. Anything to avoid the vacuity. Load or empty the dish washer, put some washing away, clear up the cat shit. I don’t want any of the stuff advertised. And hate the underlying propaganda that quietly railroads viewers into the constricting notion that normality is being a consumer.

What sent me to bed was an advert for X-Factor. It showed Robbie Williams waltzing in, hair slicked back, as if he was a gladiator. I felt desolate and very depressed….I guess we all have different entertainment tastes. But can’t ever imagine liking X-Factor without a lobotomy.

The down lasted about 36 hours. It was really awful by Sunday morning, when I lay in bed thinking I would have to make an excuse and go out, to avoid a crowded house in the afternoon.

Knowing how much the blogs have helped, I sat and wrote the stuff about being a Boy Scout. Halfway through the gloom had completely lifted. Amazing. So good afterwards to see Maureen’s family, and I loved playing host to a small birthday party for Maureen’s great-nephew Harley. Here he is, the little darling.

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Two thoughts. Firstly, there must be something very fundamental to my wellbeing in excavating my past and telling it truthfully. I have had counselling twice, but this way allows creativity and leeway in the narrative. It feels just right.

Secondly, the negativity that flows into our living rooms. Tuning into BBC avoids the adverts, but still I find myself brought down. For example, what is with the constant diet of murder? Did somebody request a series of detectives that have to behave increasingly lop-sidedly to gain our attention? I crave dramas that offer great story-telling mixed up with topics for critical thinking, rather than tired new twists on criminality.

These three topics should be dramatised, for starters:

*The history of money, and how financial systems inevitably funnel wealth upwards. Why bankers are never jailed for financial crimes. Let’s show how the House of Rothschild used the fastest information to dummy the financial markets in 1815, when Napoleon met his Waterloo. Or the insider trading on American Airlines and United Airlines share prices the day before 9/11.

*The ever-growing volume of plastic in the sea, even as new petrochemical plants continue to be built globally. Shower us with fictional crusaders striving to reverse the disappearing flora and fauna, winning legal and reputational battles against the industries which are pushing life as we know it towards extinction. It might help.

* The strong probability of other sentient life in the universe. Bring on the hero scientist who looks into the evidence in the Mars atmosphere of a nuclear explosion half a million years ago. Who and why? A look at panspermia theories.

What about the scope for documentaries and dramas on the paranormal? Instead of mind-shrinking things that go bump in the night, or the hysterical skid-marks of ‘Most Haunted’, let’s delve into the growing seams of data on near-death experiences. Consciousness, telepathy and intuition. The CIA has run remote viewing programmes to get into the minds of dead Russian spies, in its quest for an information advantage. Great dramatic material. There are standing stone sites and old buildings all over the UK that resonate with potential. A British X-files? Anything to get people thinking out of the box.

Then there is the news. Dear oh dear. Beyond credulity in its remorseless claims that insane things are sane. Strip it down to the underlying messages. War and violence is always how it is. Nothing we can do. Escalating poverty and homelessness is also unavoidable, and mass surveillance is necessary. Just the way of the world, my news-addicted friend. Keep arguing amongst yourselves about Brexit.

And by the way, censorship of dissenting ideas is for the common good, because they contain disturbance and hate. And only the deeply defective would believe that the two party system isn’t serving us. Escalating police militarisation, and rising tensions between nuclear superpowers are utterly normal. Same goes for stripping the earth and poisoning the air and the water in an economic system which requires infinite growth. It’s absolutely fine, and bears no relation to looming ecological disaster. Even if it did, the Royal Family are rounded and benevolent individuals, and the Pope walks with the saints. We really love these people.

If you question any of this, you have mental health issues or are a Russian propagandist working for evil-super-genius-criminal-mastermind Vladimir Putin. Look, here’s a story about a cat with three heads. Cheer up. Good weather tomorrow.

For me, the worst is when I see a politician arguing every couple of years that the citizens of a Middle Eastern country will need to be bombed, because they require freedom and democracy. Newsreaders keep a straight face as they relay this specious wisdom, which has never yet worked. In my head I rise off the ground, kicking hard and physically removing the heads from these newsreaders. A pile of worthless newsreaders accumulates, and I dwell on the mass media propaganda strategy recommended by Joseph Goebbels:

 “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

 Full moon coming on the 24th. Hoooooooooooowl.

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