Always on My Mind

What the last couple of days has demonstrated, at least to me, is that history is becoming more subjective with each passing event, and this is a problem.

Why anybody is surprised that Roseanne’s fucked up is beyond me. That’s pretty much how she has plied her trade over the entirety of a career which, let’s face facts, has never just been quiet and safe. The difference between Then and Now, of course, is the speed at which she fucked it up for everybody else on her TV show. Cancelling something with ratings that high within a week of the offence is, quite frankly, a game changer.

History, you see, is awfully subjective when it suits the people involved. For example, a man was yesterday jailed for contempt of court over filming outside a Court where filming and reporting was banned. This man was already on notice, and had been warned that if he repeated his actions, there would be jail time. This was a discussion topic on Friday in this house because of the shared video that was made and sent to Facebook, by which time conspiracy theories were blooming.

Except, the truth remains intractable. Watching random Twitter antagonists fuelling the fire of this yesterday and being beaten down with facts by British legal professionals was, quite frankly, a joy to behold. History may yet be an interpretation of what you as an individual consume, but parts of it remain, and always be nothing to do with you, however fucking hard you try to get involved.

There’s also a fuss in the Gaming World about Battlefield 5 right now, which no longer counts as ‘realistic’ historical fiction because there’s girls in it with prosthetic limbs. I’m fairly confident that even though these games may look and play as ‘realistic’ that was always where their similarity to actual war summarily ended. Lots of games get glamorised to pull in players and then end up fucking themselves royally because there’s no where left to go. You can only bleed so much cash out of an idea. Then, it needs to be put aside, and everybody should move on.

Except film and TV studios and game companies don’t like taking chances on the new. They prefer safe, proven warhorses which pull in cash. That’s why Ms Barr got her TV gig back, after all. Making fun of Hitler didn’t ruin Mel Brooks’ career, so really, what was the worst that could have happened…? I think, what yesterday proves, beyond a doubt, is that if you currently wanna sail against the conventional tide of public opinion, there’s a decent chance you’ll need a bigger boat. Also, your legal standpoint will have to be fucking bulletproof.

Maybe, as the influence of instant opinion continues to evolve, more individuals will grasp that trying to please everybody is a waste of time and it might be the moment to concentrate not on what makes money, but what is actually enjoyable.

If Not for You

foxnews

I would struggle, in my group of friends, to find anybody who considers that the current President of the United States is either a) a good man or b) good at his job. This is not a blog post about what is, however. This appeared from the ‘alternate history’ part of my brain a while back, and I feel bears repeating to a wider audience. Even if you live in the world where the Orange Twat can do no wrong, it is undoubtedly the case that his arrival in the White House has caused other things to take place, a lot of them inherently positive long term.

The question I want to ask therefore is this: would the following have happened if the Democrats had won in the US, or is it Trump’s arrival that has caused their exposure to be unavoidable?

    1. Would #MeToo have come to pass in a Clinton Administration? 

      I’ve given this a considerable amount of thought in the last couple of weeks, and it is a tricky subject to balance internally. In the UK, it was a year after the death of Jimmy Saville in 2011, when an ITV documentary exposed his predatory sexual behaviour, before this previously taboo subject became all that the media was interested in for some time. The number of known US offenders that remained untouched by prosecution at that time remained significant. There was insufficient momentum to carry the movement forward, and not enough popular support to overturn the distractive power of money and influence.

      When Rose McGowan took Tarana Burke’s hashtag and changed the entire landscape of US acting, she did so as a direct response to one man who, it transpires, had condemned many women’s careers. That man, yet again, is not an exception in the landscape of entertainment, far from it. However, culture values and ideals in the US were, before October 2017, shielding him from prosecution. It is the same outlook that Trump himself extolled in the famous ‘grab her by the pussy’ video that (presumably) was leaked before the 2016 election in an attempt to derail his path to the White House.

      I have to wonder whether these accusations would have seen the light of day if sexist and misogynist behaviour had not become so critically and commercially unpalatable as is now undoubtedly the case. Would a movie like Wonder Woman have succeeded so strongly were women not looking for strong, powerful role models to inspire not only themselves but the next generation of women? Was the time simply right, or did the placement of a man who advocates treating women as objects shine a light on the inherently unacceptable practice?

    2. Would Climate Change be so significant were not for Trump denying its existence? 

      This issue is less black and white in my mind, but all the more significant. Climate change is not going away but by the Republicans’ decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord… well, it’s like the American’s have effectively wiped their hands of their part in condemning the rest of the World to a slow, painful death. I suspect that had the Democrats come into power it would be less of a story, however, and that’s probably a bigger issue.

      Trying to pretend that something does not exist is a sure fire way of making you look stupid. It doesn’t just make the President seem like a twat, that then reflects badly on the entire country when the rest of the World is aware there’s a problem, except the elderly bloke in charge isn’t listening. It is particularly galling when the organisations set up to help monitor and preserve what’s left of the World that’s not been royally fucked are effectively stripped of power and, in some cases, rendered obsolete.Climate change doesn’t go away unless EVERYBODY pulls their weight. I don’t think Trump gets the blame here, but he’s certainly not helping.

    3. Would North and South Korea be talking to each other were it not for the President’s actions? 

      This is my favourite piece of Alternate History, playing out right here. There’s Russia over there declaring it has nuclear missiles that it could target anywhere in the World but there’s more concern in the Far East over what North Korea might be about to throw into the mix as an emergent Nuclear power. Considering how close they are to the Chinese? Yeah, there’s substance to that concern.

      Trump’s actions, especially via Social media, could easily be seen as a reason why the two countries have decided to start talking to each other again and not to the West. After all that détente at the Winter Olympics, and the charm offensive the North waged (and largely won) with the South, popular opinion on the ground is going to matter a lot more than the rhetoric of Washington. The question remains: would it have happened were it not for a man with a Twitter app on the other side of the World dictating policy in 280 character bursts?

      Personally, I think in this case Trump’s actions caused the consequences we’re seeing play out. Whether that’s true, and what the larger consequences will be regardless, are probably the most concerning aspect for me in this whole thought exercise.


    As someone who spends a lot of time considering ‘what if’ in fictional circumstances, playing the game in the Real World is often a quite frightening reminder of how close we sail to complete destruction as a race. These problems aren’t going to go away, and regardless of who remains in power it is up to us to try and find practical solutions that begin in our everyday lives, and in the ways we interact with others.

    What needs to happen is more thought and not less.