Google+ A Tangled Rope: 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Poem: Circumnavigation


Can your small room take the place
of a whole wide world?

Can you walk the arid deserts
of this threadbare carpet?

Can you explore the jungles
of all these dense memories,

then climb the highest peaks
of this forgotten furniture?

Can you search out beyond the horizon
of these so solid walls

and see far enough to glimpse
the life you know you should have lived?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The End Of The Race?

I said in this that it was part of a longer piece. Well, in response to this CiF piece I’ve finally got around to tidying it up enough for this place too.

Maybe we should dump the notion of race altogether. Race as a concept maybe made a sort of simplistic sense in earlier times when travel between continents was difficult – which was the reason why separate ‘racial’ characteristics evolved over time, but nowadays with all the ‘races’ mixing together (and having children with each other) the concept grows increasingly more meaningless. Take, for example, the American Presidential candidate Barack Obama, Who is often described as black, even self-described as such, when he is mixed race, or by the same self-definition could call himself white. So, when race becomes a matter of you are what you say you are, it then loses whatever objective meaning it was once thought to have.

When the left adopted ‘race’ as one of its causes, naturally it saw it as a collectivist problem with – therefore - a collective solution. Rather than wasting away – just as the state was supposed to do under communism, we find that race and race ‘differences’ become accented and entrenched by what could be called the ‘race-relations’ industry – just as the state apparatus became stronger and stronger under communism.

You would have thought that after things like the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution’ and apartheid and all the ‘ethnic’ cleansing, people would begin to question this 19th Century notion of ‘the races’. Although – as this is a blog comment – I haven’t bothered to research it, I do seem to recall that there is little or no scientific, genetic, evidence for any significant differences between the races. It is literally only superficial, skin colour, different shaped noses etc and a few mostly minor differences that make someone more disposed towards, or immune to, a few medical conditions and that is it.

Anyway, a few months ago, a C4 programme analysed the DNA of various British people and discovered that far from being pure ‘white’ there were traces of DNA from all over the world, which probably makes the whole idea of ‘races’ as more or less homogeneous entities a bit of a nonsense too.

‘Multiculturalism is just another word for apartheid. Rather than creating ‘equality’, it has ossified divisions, stereotyping people into ghettos. More examples: Black actors complain of only being offered the roles of pimp or drug dealer, black (or other ethnicities) writers complain of being condemned to only write of the ‘black experience’ and so on. Personally, I find the whole ‘role-models’ theory, weak and unconvincing. However, putting those doubts to one side for a moment – why should a young black boy have all his options restricted to just ‘black role-models’?

This race business has also helped to develop ‘victim’ culture where every failing can be excused as the fault of ‘the system’ that is biased against them. It has become so successful at tapping ‘liberal guilt’ that now others vying for power and influence such as ‘the Muslim community’ are trying to extend the victim status of race into religion.

‘Identity’ (assuming that there is any meaning to this concept too) should not be imposed from outside – whether by antagonistic or benign forces, it should be created from within – deep within by the individual.

Maybe the answer is not treating people as groups – white, black, Muslims Catholics, women, lesbians or whatever, we should see them, treat them as individuals – not lock them in cages of created ‘identity’.

This article here (now subscription only) by Rod Liddle says a few related interesting things:

If you insist to black children that there is something about the colour of their skin which marks them out as fundamentally, rather than superficially, different and then insist that they are part of a culture from which they cannot — and should not wish to — escape, then you are tacitly driving them towards criminality. It is no good later shaking your heads and saying no, no, boys, I meant James Baldwin and Maya Angelou. You cannot have it both ways. It is also a quintessentially racist approach, in as far as I understand the term — although one which has underpinned the now discredited policy of multiculturalism for the best part of 40 years.

We should sweep it all away. All the discrimination, all the cant, all the misplaced attempts to instil pride in people simply because they have a greater (or, for that matter, lesser) amount of melanin. Why do we need award ceremonies, for example, like Mobo — Music of Black Origin? Why are there so many awards for black people in the media? Aren’t these little jamborees by their very definition racist? Don’t they perpetuate the notion that black people are in some way separate from the rest of us and, worse, that they should remain so? Why do our schools have a Black History Month every October? Shouldn’t the history of black people inform the subject every month of the year?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday Poem: Shoreline

This week’s special offer!

For one week only!

A Monday poem on Tuesday!


But those were early younger days.
So eager, waking with the dawn
and old enough to walk alone
on down to the deserted beach.

I never searched for shells or stooped
to pick out pebbles, choosing them
by shape or colour, leaving them
wherever they had washed ashore,
to be discovered by those who thought
such things important or worthwhile.

It was enough to stand and stare
towards the far horizon's end.
To see then, all that could be seen.
I wanted that cool salty tang
always there in my mouth and nose.

I stood there in the morning's cool
to look out over the still sea.
It seemed as flat and smooth as glass.
A sheet to touch the horizon.

But, other times it churned and writhed
in great pain or tormented hurt,
attempting to escape the chains
of gravity, as seeing clouds
above it floating free of weight,
it grew so jealous of their freedom.

I stood up on that cliff to watch
the hesitant bright-coloured specks
as people spread out on the beach
in pointillist bright waves across
the virgin sands. The way they took
the silence of the beach and grew
new waves of sound to fling right back
against the slow retreating sea.

Their tentative colonisation
of shore and then the sea, destroying
the reasons why I had just walked there.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday Poem: Footsteps


I remember too much
and I remember nothing.
So many names have danced
through my longest nights.
So many times have been lost
between dreams and memory.
I grow older and I learn
the attractions of forgetfulness.

I see colours and I see shapes,
edges resolve themselves into form,
things capable of being touched.
I touch your face with one fingertip
and comfort myself with the illusion
that understanding can begin
with this one sensual act.

But we stand here like two strangers,
watching the rain falling down
on those streets we walked through.
Each hoping in our own way
that the rain will wash
those streets clean of memories.

So, when the sun does return
we can step out together
into a world made new for us,
and that each street will not echo
with the ghosts of our footsteps.