Good God, it Looks Bad

I’m glad I generally ration my news intake: Richard Rohr, a (very liberal) Catholic monk whose daily readings hit my inbox in the morning, says that it’s good to restrict one’s news intake to no more than an hour a day. I think I’m doing quite well on that score; I look at the headlines two or three times a day and maybe check out one or two stories; I get a Guardian on Saturday, and that’s about it. Generally when the news comes on the radio I switch it off – either because it’s too darned depressing or because I can’t stand to hear Johnson or Trump’s voices. As for TV news, I’m nowhere near it, haven’t been for a long while, though I occasionally listen to a slice of PM on Radio 4.

The point of the news is supposedly to keep us informed of what’s going on in the world. But does it? Disregarding political bias, of which there is not a little, there’s an overwhelmingly negative slant to everything that’s reported. Even when you get the odd good news story there’s generally a ‘but’ at the end of it, as if they can’t resist warning you that life isn’t all roses, there’s plenty of guns out there as well.

Right now aside from having some kind of global nuclear war, the news could hardly be worse. We’ve got Covid deaths exceeding one million worldwide (though C19 has a way to go before catching up with the Spanish flu in 1918), we’ve got appalling leaders in countries like Britain, the US, India and Brazil, and behind and above and beyond all of that we’ve got climate change which we’re doing not nearly enough to halt, never mind reverse. When faced with all this, despair seems the only option.

But! as Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita, strong men know not despair. Let’s imagine he meant women as well – which he probably did, and consider this. I don’t think Krishna was advocating toughness or bravado, nor was he suggesting we bury our heads in the sand. I think he meant that the world, the universe, God – call it what you will – is always so much vaster than we can imagine. My own take on it is that Gaia will take do whatever it takes to heal the earth; rather than us destroying the world, it will destroy us. If we don’t learn our lesson. But I take heart from what happened during the early days of lockdown; the clearness of the skies, the dolphins coming back to Venice, the air pollution practically zero. I’m convinced – and I mean no disrespect at all to those who’ve lost people in this pandemic – that Covid is here to teach us, the human race, a lesson. We must do better – and soon.

Of course our glorious leaders show no sign of getting with the programme – but Johnson and Trump will soon be gone. The earth will continue.

Kirk out

My Bad What?

Yesim’s last night was great, as usual:  I did a Hilaire Belloc poem entitled ‘Henry King, who chewed string and was early cut off in dreadful agonies’.

Then in the second half I did one of mine.  Entitled ‘For Your Good’, it’s a rant about sloppy language.  Now, I have no objection to slang – in fact I use it and appreciate it, and much of it is highly creative; not to say vibrant – but what I object to is when people just cba; they simply cannot be arsed to exercise their tongue or their brain and utter a complete sentence.  John Humphrys (yes, that one) has written a book about it as I have mentioned before:

The epitome of this sloppiness, to me, is the phrase ‘my bad.’  I hate it!  For some reason it gets to me more than any other truncated expression – and when something gets to me there’s only one thing to be done, and that is to write a rant about it.  So here it is.  I won’t give you all of it, but the poem begins like this:

For Your Good

The incompleteness of the sent-

it sends me into shudders;

though realising what you meant,

it lacks grammatic rudders,

so as you blunder into shot

so I must thunder, My bad what?’

What is it that is so ungood?

etc.  The rant goes on for six verses and ends with an exhortation to remember that we are all Shakespeare’s children.

There was a wide variety of contributions including the usual appearance from Rumi, a story about Krishna, a couple of Anglo-Saxon riddles from Mark – appropriately enough since he is himself an Anglo-Saxon riddle – lots of jammy music, and an utterly delightful child reading a poem about eating the earth (which was a lot less disturbing than it sounds.)

In the afternoon I got the wok out and make sweet and sour mixed veg.


And that was Sunday.

Kirk out