Things to avoid when you’re anywhere near me.

There are many irritating things about modern living.

In order to save some time in the future, here’s a short and incomplete list of things that irritate me.

Avoid them and we’ll get along just fine.

  • Over-entitlement
  • Platitudes
  • Wilful ignorance
  • Expectation of empathy
  • Demands for respect
  • Bandwagons
  • Opportunism
  • Professional victims
  • Populism
  • Religion – all of them
  • Clichés
  • Hand-wringers
  • Virtue-signallers
  • Shallow thinkers
  • “Inspirational” stories
  • Trial by social media
  • Instagram “models”
  • Assumptions
  • Under-analyses
  • Bureaucracy
  • Videoing things instead of watching them

And finally…

  • Lists.
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Brexit is about irrelevance.

There’s always a danger in over-simplifying, of course, but to my mind it’s really quite simple. Brexit is about how irrelevant people deal with their irrelevance.

Leavers have reached a crisis point and cannot deal with it any more. The massive insecurity that they feel at being irrelevant manifests itself against those they falsely see as oppressing them – the establishment: especially the EU which is full of “bloody foreigners”. They cling to trite little slogans that promise relevance, like “taking back control” and other bullshit, as though they’re survivors of the Titanic. They have no idea – absolutely no idea – how to cope with their empty, shallow lives, so they’re lashing out now that they’ve been enabled by lying chancers like Farage, Johnson and Rees Mogg.

Remainers, on the other hand, are dealing with our irrelevance much better. We know we’re a knackered old has-been of an island at the arse end of Europe that nobody would really miss if it sunk, so we’re making the best of it by wanting to be a part of something bigger. We’re content with paying to be a part of the club and the club is happy to put up with our belligerent bullshit so long as we do so. We’re not threatened by them and actually quite like being asked occasionally what we think about stuff. It’s nice being in the club because we can pretend that we’re important even if deep down we really know we’re not.

I think that it really is that simple.

Brexit: The Uncivil War

Brexit: The Uncivil War – I loved it.

Yes, it was utterly depressing in its portrayal of the cynical manipulation and mobilisation of an uneducated, unengaged subset of our population by a corrupt conspiracy of vested interests.But as a drama, it was riveting.

“So this is it? This is what we have become?” as the mob is released was one of the most tear-jerking lines I’ve ever heard.

The huge underestimation of their opposition by the arrogant and entrenched powers-that-be is a sobering lesson as is the hidden strength of those who can tap directly into populations, by-passing media and politicians alike.

Not only was this good drama, it should be required viewing as a lesson in modern civics.

From Hero to Zero in Six Short Years

Re-watching the one hour BBC special “The Golden Games” about the 2012 Olympics.

It’s painful – physically painful.

It recalls a time, just six short years ago, when this country could hold its head up high and be proud of itself instead of head down and ashamed.

It was a time when we showed the world how to do it right instead of be a model of how things should not happen.

It was a time when people of vision created and shared something unique and truly magical instead of withdrawing behind hatred and insular arrogance.

It was when we said to the world, “Come join us, it’ll be fun” – and it was, instead of telling everyone to go away because we don’t like you.

It was when tens of thousands of like-minded people gave their time and energy for free to help our city and our country look good and to give everyone else a great time instead of railing against our neighbours and withdrawing from everything that means anything.

It was when we had influence and power and showed how to use it for good instead of being a mean-spirited nobody hiding in the dark fringes of civilisation.

It was a time when being British wasn’t embarrassing.

I miss that time, just six short years ago. I miss it terribly.

Straight Actors in Gay Roles

The BBC published a story about actor Darren Criss who announced that after playing the gay character of Andrew Cunanan in American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace, he wouldn’t be playing any more gay roles because it deprives gay actors of that opportunity: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-46660373

This really – and I mean really – pisses me off.

Apparently, when you are acting, it’s okay to pretend to take on any of the attributes of someone else *except* their sexuality (and, presumably, their skin colour).

That’s some sort of half-arsed “reserved power” that can only be exercised if the actor shares that specific attribute.

Utter bullshit.

That is NOT what equality is about.

Frankly, it’s fucking patronising and I hate that sort of condescension with a vengeance.

Revolving Doors and the Future of Humanity

If there’s one thing that convinces me that humanity has reached the end of its growth process and is now at a complete evolutionary dead end, it is our inability to deal effectively with an unpowered revolving door.

Tower Bridge has to employ people – at quite a generous hourly rate – to stand outside and ensure that visitors don’t just stand there, feebly waving at the “Push” signs on the door, or try to ram their entire family of five obese adults into a single door compartment, or try to push it in the wrong direction, or decapitate themselves as it revolves.

As anyone who has read my Facebook posts over the years will know, my opinion on the capabilities of my fellow humans has never been terribly high.

Watching the planet’s most advanced species get totally and utterly stumped by a few pounds of rotating glass door has sunk it to a new low.

Disastrous climate change can’t happen fast enough in my view…

Where did all the adults go?

The New York Times asked why people put all the gory details of their relationships onto Instagram. They asked what it was for. I happily supplied the answer:

I can’t be arsed to wade through the article or its advertisements, but the answer your question about why is simple: Validation.

Since everyone these days seems to have a mental age of 13, validation is very important. It is vital to be seen to be a caring, humane, complete person. Far more important, of course, to be seen to be one than actually be one. Being seen to be grown-up enough to be in a relationship is a vital part of that.

“Admire my maturity! It’s all on social media for you to see. Wonder at my complex life as I lurch from self-made crisis to self-made crisis with all the grace and style of a fish on a dockside…”

So desperate are these simple-minded folk for approbation, applause and approval that they miss the point by a country mile. The only people noticing their desperate narcissism are others with similar stunted growth. People who think that reality television is real. People who define themselves by the reactions of others. People who live and die by the “Oxygen of the Click”.

This self-propelled circle jerk of inanity is great for the low-end advertisers who prey on these people, and it’s also great for everyone else out here because it stops these irritating little people talking to us. “Have you seen my Instagram page?” “No.” End of conversation.

I work in a public space, so I get to view close-up the behaviour patterns of flocks of humans. A large group of several dozen waddled past a couple of days ago, every one of them glued to their phone screen. One specimen even had two – no exaggeration.

A quick check online confirmed my fear – it’s Pokémon time again and the Pokémorons are all out in force, hunting the little collections of coloured dots that exist only on their screens and in their minds.

Several years ago, I realised that this planet’s most intelligent species was manufactured by Apple and Samsung and it is carried around by its dumbest.