Posts Tagged ‘humanity’

Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff

November 15, 2015 Leave a comment

I’m currently reading some of the works of Harvey Pekar, writer of American Splendor, whose words are the title of this post. One passage in particular struck a cord – although written 4 decades ago it still has more relevance than ever. Pekar wrote a piece on his being called to perform jury service and how his criticisms of the justice system saw that he wasn’t called to serve, and the consternation they caused among the judiciary and prosecution lawyers.

That night I thought about the so called justice system in this country and got madder and MADDER. Rich people like Nixon and Agnew go free while some poor people get years in the slammer for committing far less serious crimes.

These right wingers bitch about all the crime in this country. But they don’t have any idea about how much some of their values have t’do with causin’ it. America is a country where competition rather than co-operation is praised, where it’s thought that society will benefit from people being set against each other.  America is a violence loving country where people like John Wayne.. are considered heroes and heroines. America is a country where the successful man is thought to be the rich man, where honesty, diligence, outstanding scholarship and artistic achievements that bring no financial reward are looked upon with indifference.

America is a country where it’s considered OK and even clever to break the law as long as you can get away with it. Richard Nixon wasn’t disgraced because he was dishonest. People had known he was crooked for a long time, he was disgraced because he got caught.

Add these factors up and it’s no wonder you got people who want money and material luxuries and are willing to use illegal means, including violence, t’get them. If they’re caught, they’re considered losers, but if they get away with it there’ll be plenty of people in this country that’ll praise ’em.

What I like about Pekar is that he is a man of strong principles because they are right – he doesn’t do things to be seen to be doing right or as a better person. The piece that follows the jury service story tells of a colleague who sometimes gives Pekar a lift home. The colleague is praised for her selflessness and how much she cares for other but Pekar’s main theme is how he sometimes has to wait for his lift because she is helping out someone else. This pisses him off. It’s a consistent theme in his work, his petty annoyances and near solipsism when dealing with other people.  In being so honest about himself he indeed exposes the complexity of life and of those who live it. Who knows, the selfless co-worker may have gone home, kicked the cat and shouted at the telly about immigration. Or maybe not.

Anyway, I really just wanted to post his words on justice. So, erm, yeah.

Read some Pekar, and fuck the justice system.

Harvey Pekar-9

Categories: comics, Harvey Pekar Tags: , ,

So here it is…

December 23, 2011 3 comments

Things were very different this time a year ago. Fucked over by corrupt management and chased into my pit by the Black Dog, I jumped at Christmas as a chance to be elsewhere. I saw it as an alternate reality, a bubble where normality was excluded and I, conversely, could be ‘normal’ for a while as everyone else entered the otherness of the festivities. The snow helped as it changes the world we live in. Some simple precipitation making everything look and sound different, somehow better. At least until it hardens, goes slushy, and makes getting anywhere or doing anything a pain. Then it finished and I spent the limbo we are plunged into betwixt Christmas and New Year deciding to take redundancy – I had no option, the actions of my employers were endangering my health. I loved my job and worked with fantastic people, but I needed to take back control of my life.

I wish that I could go back a year and tell me that I was definitely making the right choice at the time. It certainly didn’t feel right for most of this year. Yes, I rid myself of the daily attack on my sanity that my work had become, but it was replaced by the numbing mix of unemployment and depression sprinkled with an ever present feeling of anger at what had been done to me.

But I did make the right choice. Things haven’t improved at the old place from what my friends still there tell me and I was right to get out. Two weeks ago I started my new job and I’m loving it. I’m earning considerably less and it’s not in housing which has become almost vocational for me since the mid 90s, but I’m still in the public sector and providing a service I very much believe in – the help I provide is perhaps less tangible, but it’s still essential as our footfall of 1000 people a day shows. And my new colleagues have welcomed me and made me feel at home in a very short space of time. The work is more physical than I’d anticipated but there’s a satisfaction from coming home tired after a days work, and the routine it provides does my mental health a world of good. Yesterday evening I did a printout for a girl of about six or seven, a few minutes later her father sent her scampering back over to me and with a huge smile she thanked me and wished me a happy Christmas. A simple thing that can make a moment in your day sparkle.

And so it is that I’m entering the festive bubble from a much different angle this year. For the first time in nearly three years I feel something close to personal happiness, and I’m extremely grateful for that. I’ve been going to work, went to see Daniel Kitson on Wednesday, saw friends last night and visiting another tomorrow, and none of it is a strain. I have no illusions that life or my illness won’t throw more obstacles in my way, but for now, y’know, fuck that shit.

I’m still angry, though, on a personal level at my ex employers who I may still take legal action against, but very much more so on a general level at the shit that’s been thrown at us over the past year (over the past few decades) in the name of neoliberal capitalism. Perhaps I should be grateful for the fact that the various campaigns and networks I have taken part in (mainly through the Twitters) have provided me with an alternate focus when not working, but such an angry focus. It has also inspired me to write – 30-odd blog posts this year, mainly on matters political with the occasional divergence into self analysis such as this one.

I may be ‘alright’, Jack, but as a society, as a world, WE are not. This is why I will continue to fight with and support those trying to make things better and life liveable for us ALL. I will continue to campaign with and write about Occupy, Broken of Britain, Save the NHS, housing, UK Uncut and trying to change the system, not work with the corrupt and morally bankrupt one we have in place. Futile? Maybe. Idealistic? Maybe. But we’ve gotta try, haven’t we, we’ve at least got to do that.

So here it is, Merry Christmas, Solstice, Saturnalia, Channukah, however you’re being festive at this time of year. Stay funky, good people, I’ll see you on the other side!

Dedicated to all my friends, real and cyber, and all others who have helped me, made me smile, informed me and just generally been somewhere there over the past year.

I’m Leftacus!

December 21, 2011 1 comment

It seems that…

despising racism makes you left wing

hating homophobia and transphobia makes you left wing

questioning how having a home has become monetized to such a ridiculous extent makes you left wing

opposing welfare cuts that will harm and in some cases kill makes you left wing

showing that inequality still exists within a patriarchal society makes you left wing

campaigning against religious intolerance makes you left wing

being angry that celebrity somehow confers immunity from criticism when lazy insults are aimed at groups in society makes you left wing

reading and learning about subjects in order to put forth (semi) coherent ideas makes you left wing

pointing out that it’s morally wrong (if not ‘legally’) for so much tax to be ‘avoided’ makes you left wing

constructing an argument that if that tax had been paid we wouldn’t be so fucked makes you left wing

stating that regardless of party colours the last 30 years have seen neoliberalism, corporations, the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank running our lives in accordance with the desires of the few and not the needs of the many makes you left wing

not just accepting such a state of affairs and getting on with things makes you left wing

to be Ryan Giggs or Gareth Bale makes you left wing… oh, wait, hang on…

Anyway, an editorial in The Guardian today accused ‘left wingers’ in the unions of damaging the negotiations over public sector pensions. Cameron and his cohorts regularly use the term as an insult, as does the majority of the media. It’s becoming the equivalent of being called a liberal in the US: a vague and reductive catch all term used to insinuate either a cloud cuckoo idealist at one end of the scale, a domestic terrorist at the other, and an extremist in general.

Am I left wing? Economically? Yes. Socially? It would seem so. But at the heart of my anger, campaigning and ‘radicalism’ is the simple desire to see people treated correctly. I just want to be a decent human being and get annoyed when I see actions that are not decent. I can’t help it. Stupid idealism!

My name is Andy and it seems I am a left winger, sometimes extremely so. It’s a cross I’m willing to bear.

La luca continua…