Women on the Panel

Thing’s change, times change, society changes, but that does not mean we should not analyze the cause and drivers of this change. And so with much trepidation, I will grasp the nettle on this one. Why are there suddenly women on premier league soccer panels?

Only a few short years ago the panels of professional soccer was an exclusively male preserve then, then in the last 2 years, we see women appear. No man, or indeed woman would have failed to notice this when they first tuned in to watch a match on Sky or BBC. Many however would be very careful with their reaction, as to even pass a remark on this change in tradition would incur the wrath of the diversity generation.

But I, in full honesty was thinking why is there a woman talking about elite football on my television for the first time? and more importantly, why does this get on my nerves?

To make an argument about who should be on football panels is to first ask who is not on football panels. Taking Match of the Day as an example, the show has been anchored by Gary Linear for some years now. Gary was a professional footballer who played at an elite level for club and country. The panelists down through the years can boast similar credentials, and they were never picked from outside the playing pool of the premier league or the old first division. Managers sometimes made an appearance, but again elite credentials were mandatory. And so the formula was in place stretching back as far as I can remember.

Now just because they were great players does not make them experts on football, in fact, many great football brains were never great players, and indeed the army of soccer journalists from around the world were not great players either. But journalists were never invited onto the panel, and managers were a rarity. The formula was men with experience of playing at an elite level commenting on other men playing at the same level. This was the unspoken contract, a current professional will be lauded or criticized by fellow pros, who went through the same process.

So we come to the later part of this decade when gender, race, and identity have become something that permeates social and corporate structures throughout the western world. What started on American campuses as striving toward equality and inclusivity has become a frantic drive to level all of our gender roles into some sort of last century irrelevance. The fact is lots of women watch and enjoy sport, and lots of women know plenty about it too, but so do lots of men, and they are not invited onto panels of “experts” because, under this format, to give your two cents, you need to have played the game at this level.

So why are there women on the panel? without stating the obvious, there is no comparison between women and men’s football. Yes, they are playing the same game but at vastly different levels. It’s like comparing Jimi Hendrix to a session musician.

To follow this to its logical conclusion, would a man who played for a semi-professional team in England’s lower league reality be taken seriously if he was giving his opinion on elite professional football, on the TV, on the panel? course he wouldn’t, Graeme Souness and his pals would laugh in his face! How the hell would you know what it’s like to play mid-field in top-flight football?

And yet this same semi-professional player and his average third division team would comfortably beat the best female teams in the world. Now the reason for this is again, obvious, but how can a woman who plays professional soccer in ladies league really give an opinion on a game that is light years ahead of the one she plays every Saturday.

If her opinion is equally valid, and if we have ripped up the old system of male pros on male pros, then why not get a journalist or lower league players involved. But this is not what this is about, this is about gender and politics, and diversity and corporate culture, that is distorting common sense all over the place.

The reason why there are women on the panel for the first time is that there were no women on the panel. It’s really no more complicated than that. And up until recently the reasons for this were perfectly understandable, but not in this new world.

Greta is coming to America

This week Greta Thunberg will travel to the USA to attend the latest in a long line of climate summits stretching all the way back to the early 90s. She will tell us about how bad everything it is, again, and we will listen, again, and again we will ponder, well what do you want me to do about it?

What does Greta Thunberg want? What does extinction rebellion want? We know what it doesn’t want, it doesn’t want humans to go extinct, well guess what? nobody does, and yes it wants humans to start respecting the planet and to take steps to tackle climate change…great, we are in complete agreement. Now can we admit there is a climate emergency? sure thing, let’s do that, in fact, let’s get all the politicians and all the celebs and the 1 percenters to put this front and center as the thing we all must do something about. Great, we’re there. NOW WHAT? Let’s promise to go carbon-free by 2050 that sound’s like ages away and we can get back to our lives and that will shut these hippy’s up…but what’s this they want action now! ok, what action do you actually want?
Lets put some meat on the bones here. Anyone with a brain knows we have to do something about climate change, but exactly what do Greta and the kids want? I suspect they want a world that looks like the one we live in now, minus climate change. You know that one, the one with power, supermarkets, clothes, transport, heating, medicine, music festivals, the internet. I highly doubt they want the one that we had before we started burning fossil fuels, you know that one, the one where living past 3 was your first major achievement in life.

The problem with ER is that they are a movement with morality on their side and sod all else. There is simply no version of this civilization that can survive without energy and materials provided by fossil fuels. The technology simply does not exist. They aim to tell the truth, well you’ve just heard the truth. This notion that we can quickly transition to renewable energy to power civilization is science fiction. Even if it was possible and we mobilised in a WW2 style effort, it would still take decades. Windmills that are far from carbon neutral, and solar are not the answer and account for 1 percent of global energy production.
Then there is transport, the vast majority of cars run on petrol and production is ramping up in India and China. Then there are trucks.
Trucks, the big ugly noisy things they keep out of cities, are the hidden worker bee of our civilization, everything you consume was brought to you on a truck, and they are all powered by fossil fuels. One week without trucks and international trade would collapse. Carbon neutral is a myth. Greta can go to New York on a pink unicorn get a clap and call for change but she might as well be asking for and end to war and famine and injustice. This remember, is a country, whose democracy was bought by corporations years ago, its a country that turned healthcare into a profit engine, a country whose legislature is powerless to do anything about gun crime, and whose citizens are getting systematically fleeced by a small corporate elite. They, the elites will do nothing, unless they are forced. And that’s the plan, Gretta and the green movement will force them, and let’s say they do get these most despicable bunch of bastards around a table of love what do you propose?

The inaction on climate change is not and never has been based purely on greed and ignorance it was and is based on the lack of a realistic alternative to fossil fuels. Oil is the lifeblood of modern civilization as we know it, to turn away from it will kill the patient. Rebel! against who? reality? Tell the truth.

ER are right we are killing the planet, but they are asking us to transition to some fuzzy utopia where complex societies somehow transition away from the integral systems on which they operate. This type of change could only be forced on humans, and the type of force necessary is I’m afraid blunt force trauma. No democratically organized society is going to vote itself back to the middle ages, it simply ain’t going to happen. Humans adapt, that’s what we do, remember there were people on this planet that faced climate change before, we are not the first, but then there were millions of humans, not billions. At a time when the world has never been more connected globally, our shared crisis has arrived, and we are beginning to wake up to this fact. Even in the depths of WW2, there were places on earth that went untouched. But this is different, we are global now, massively interdependent, the largest most sophisticated house of cards every constructed all connected to wifi.

I suspect the 2020s will be the decade of consequences, the rate of physical change to the environment is astonishing, with literally billions of tons of ice being lost in Greenland this summer alone. The last of the coral reefs will surely be dead, the loss of biodiversity will continue, and on top of this with the 10 year lag of carbon yet to be released into the system, we should hit 2 degrees by mid-decade. The artic will be gone by then too, in the summertime, according to the Harvard Professor who identified the hole in the ozone layer in the late 80s. This will intensify carbon and methane release in the tundra regions, which will dwarf man-made emmsions.

It is entirely possible that the United States as a construct will not exist in 2030, if climate change really kicks in and hits food production hard then it would not surprise me if social unrest with armed citizenry will gather their resources and reject the federal system. If this seems far fetched remember the world, we all lived in pre-2008, it ended quite abruptly, and suddenly the madness seemed so obvious, and let’s not forget the world where Donald Trump could not be president of USA.

I want to be optimistic, and I want to get behind change, but if at a march somebody shouts What do we want? and the answer is….well this, but without all this climate change. Because honestly, that is what we want, we want power, we want hot water, we want to fly and eat, and go online, we want to look at nature through a window at night, all cosy in our heated homes, because it’s cold out there. Modern life for all its problems is wonderful. However the ten thousand ton elephant in the room is this version of civilization, is a cod, we marvel over our technology, our smartphones and razor-thin TVs, but the simple truth is our means of power remains the same as in 1850 more or less. Fossil fuels are a drug and humanity has been at a huge party fueled by them, but the party is coming to an end and the kids know it. It will end sooner rather than later, and it won’t be a global movement that ends it, it will be the unavoidable debt being called in by mother earth.

I think we're alone now...

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Theodore Parker

The adult mind when it finally forms itself at varying ages from person to person, is defined by what we call maturity. Maturity comes in many forms, taking responsibility for one’s actions, respecting others, putting the good of the group before oneself, are some popular examples, but some very mature people down through the years have displayed none of these virtues. Is maturity more just the human who has stopped dreaming and seen the wood for the trees. Is the person best acquainted with the true nature of reality bound to the most success? Hard workers for me are the ultimate pessimists, in that they leave very little to chance, and hard workers change the world.

As I transition into middle age I wonder will I become the one of the men I worked with in my youth, in their cotton work shirts tucked into M&S trousers, turning up to work day after day, grinding it out, before returning to a mountain of bills, and a wife who has become like their best friend they occasionally fuck by accident after a few cans.

I wonder at what point did they realise, yep this is it, I have looked my last on youth, it was fun, but I am not a famous comedian, author, singer, footballer, I didn’t set up my own business and travel the world, this is it. Or maybe you tried, like so many with stars in your eyes you chased your dreams safe in the knowledge that it is possible, of course, it is, it is possible for somebody, but when did you realise it wasn’t going to happen for you, that reality is not like the movies, in fact, that’s the very reason we go to movies in the first place.

You are not special, you don’t deserve anything for being a good sport, your break isn’t just around the corner.

And yet the human mind is designed with optimism to the point of delusion at its very core. At first, a hugely important factor in our evolution from hunter-gatherers to farmers, to artists and engineers. But this inherent optimism was never a respecter of reason and logic, it may have inspired voyages of discovery and advances in science and learning, but it also rendered whole societies captivated by charismatic despots who they believed knew all the answers until they were exposed or died.

But were they exposed by some moral universe? The last just War, as it is known disposed one vicious, charismatic pervert, but this was largely because a by a more ruthless, less charismatic psychopath by the name of Joe Stalin made it happen. Yes, the free west stormed the beaches of France but without the brutality of the eastern front, this was by no means a foregone conclusion. In reality, a brutal flare of up of evil was eventually snuffed out by more brutality in greater numbers, and not by the goodness of free men. If Karma means beating evil to death, then yes you could say this was a just war.

When I was a child our local church was robbed and some money stolen. Who could risk such a crime? I thought, who would dare risk angering God for a few quid. Of course, as the years advanced and maturity set in, this was, of course, the musings of an innocent. But maybe it is relevant.
What stops all of us from acting on our base instincts is our internal morality, our own private church, with its own dictums and doctrine. We all have one, and when we rob our own church we feel bad.

But not all of us have an internal church, some of us engage with reality, and reality has no church, and they know it. They will do whatever it takes to make their reality as good as it can be. And of course, as the world is a cosmic comedy at heart, these instincts have given rise to the greatest most comfortable time for vast swathes of the population of planet earth. Capitalism while enslaving millions has also given rise to some truly great times, all made possible by a devout focus on the material world. The system that so richly rewards the unethical and the selfish, has taken us to new heights as a species. Until of course we get to the Elephant in the room. Balance. Justice, evil, good and morality might be the purvey of the individual conscience but balance certainly is not. Balance is pure brutal physics a binary dimension of yes and no, of life and death with no particular opinion either way.

And so when the ethical people of late 20th-century earth lobbied the leaders of the free world to do something on climate change, it was with good intentions, with maturity, you might say, with right action. They almost swung the balance, almost. Regan’s election in 1984 put pay to any hope this moral uprising would gain the ascendancy and we continued in an inexorable slide into hothouse earth.

I wonder when the last humans roam the earth in despair, over the ruins of their once great civilisations, in this century, will they muse over this bitterest of conclusions. When all is said and done, It was people without good conscience, people fueled by greed darkness that drove us to this abyss. There was no guiding God after all. For all our great philosophers, cathedrals made of stone and glass, golden Buddhas and beautiful songs, it was all really just in our own minds all along. Just the same beautiful optimism that took us from the trees to the fields, nothing more. There never was a moral universe, as much as we tried to find one, there was just balance between love and self-interest, and in the case of one highly evolved monkey on a jewel of a planet, self-interest was always going to be it’s undoing. And when the last human dies, when the last mind who ever wondered about its workings goes with it, will the universe itself in all its vastness just become another tree in the forest that nobody heard fall.

Is this our last world cup?

As northern Europe in general, and Ireland, in particular, enjoys its 8th week of good weather, very rare, we now have the world cup come along and join the party. The world cup, the big boy, no tournament comes near. No other sport can gather such a high standard of participants from around the world as soccer.  Soccer or Football is truely the global game.  This is a feast of nations, it is a global event, global, like the internet, global, like climate change, global.

As the corporations do their best to distract with their moving billboards pitchside, that green rectangle, where all eyes are focused still has the capacity to play out the dramas it always has. It is real and it is organic and it is human. It is wonderful, sport is wonderful. However, the beautiful game is drenched in money, not always for the worse but increasingly I see the sponsor devouring the host.

When news broke some years back that FIFA had awarded Qatar the world cup a collective groan was uttered from most football nations around the world. FIFA now finally had revealed itself for sale to the highest bidder.  The oil rich country with precisely zero football pedigree will host the world’s most important football tournament in 2022.

Why not give the middle east a go you say? Fuck the middle east I say! these lands that time forgot. They make worshiping a book authored by a paedophile warlord the focus of their reality and are mostly intolerant of the values of the modern world. This, of course, is just the start, Qatar a country where institutional racism is par for the course will spend as many lives from its subhuman workforce as needed to build the stadia. This is before we mention the heat, June and July in the middle east is brutal.  So it is planed that the players and peoples of the world will gather in air-conditioned stadia in June 2022, or maybe not, maybe it’s Jan 2022, or is it ? who knows maybe we can disrupt the seasons of every European and South American League.

The more I try to picture this scene the more I find it fanciful. This oil world cup will also be the largest, as FIFA dilute the competition evermore, to, in their words, unite the world, but clearly its dollar bills again. I think it no more fitting a place for capitalism to finally unravel then in the fossil fuel factory of the world. I don’t want this to happen of course, I want the party to continue, but it can’t, no more then a footballer can play forever, time simply waits for no man, and the laws of the universe are coldly and quietly imposed as they always have been. This party is getting more raucous by the year, and it will end, the lights will go up and the needle will leave the record.

Every 4 years we meet then, as a globe, and play football.  But 4 years is a long time as those of us who have been watching have discovered.  The icecaps are hemorrhaging ice, the great barrier reef is withering and dying at rates barely imagined only 2 world cups ago.  What would wake the world up to the seriousness of our plight, the cancelation of the world cup. 80 years of tournaments, running in tandem to the great expansion. We know it won’t last forever. I don’t want it to end because when it does, it is never coming back. But can I see team lining up in air-conditioned stadia in Qatar in 2022, for some reason, I can’t. I hope I am wrong.

 

Sergio Ramos and the reality fish.

I recently discovered the music of Dua Lupa a beautiful young English singer, she was born to  Albanian parents in London in 1995, as war ripped through the Balkans.  1995 is a year I remember well and so I am late to the party when it comes to Dua, but I can be forgiven for not being down with kids as I approach middle age.  Her star has now risen to the point when she warmed up the crowd in the champions league final on a balmy Saturday night in Kiev.

This introduction of music into the final is the latest in the follow the yanks agenda within the powers that be of Uefa, who are intent on ripping the last vestiges of authentic character out of the game of football.  However, I don’t blame Dua as she did her best in a faintly ridiculous routine in front of people there to see a game of football. I don’t blame her because I like her. She is a beautiful, talented, and well-spoken girl who radiates what I can only describe as niceness.

Not everyone is lucky enough to reach the age of 22 with a soul as intact as Dua, at her age I was wearing out my radiohead cds, getting drunk, and shouting at the TV.

I watched several interviews with her now and my opinion is that this is a lovely down to earth girl who while beautiful, has another light that shines from behind those looks, which makes a welcome change from the vacuous, nothings posting to Instagram from the beach or harping on about what they had for dinner.  The girls got a nice personality, and personality goes a long way…but do not for a second think that rule only applies to nice personalities.

Mohamad Salah has a nice personality, he is liked by his teammates and fans alike, he plays with a smile on his face, and has been bringing joy to the western and Arab world for a full season now.  The whole Liverpool team in fact have, even by rival clubs fans been described as likable, they are a team that played with a smile on their face,  with a joy, and with an honesty.  But alas on Saturday night, with the world watching, life in all its calm cruelty put called the cops and broke up this little party.

Because you see life doesn’t give a fuck about your happy moral narrative, not one fuck does it give about, karma, and justice and all the other lovely human inventions that we have bestowed upon the universe. The universe is vast, and silent and cold, and on a little patch of grass in Kiev, on a little blue planet ,one man knew that more than anyone else, and that man was Sergio Ramos.  Sergio you see is a scrapper, he knows that we are all the descendants of scrappers and in nature, in harder times, it was win or die. Sergio Ramos, who knew exactly what he was doing when he arm bared the best player in Europe. He knew as he gave him a hug, when Salah knew his race was run. He knows now as he heads to bed for a long uninterrupted sleep with his 4th champions league medal framed and mounted.

He knew, and in doing so he deprived the entire world of the spectacle. There’s a new kid in town, after 10 years of Messi and Ronaldo we have a shiny new player, who seems nice , and pours tons of his own money into making his home town a better place his countrymen. He’s a breath of fresh air in his prime, playing in champions league final on the cusp of a world cup, he deserves this, we deserve this. You deserve nothing! With Salah dispatched to his ruined season,  Karius did the rest.  This was the final of the champions league, to play in one is a moment of supreme timing and good fortune, you have but a brief window, for your body to allow it, and then you will face every obstacle from every other player vying for your place in the final. This is not just about tonight this is about life, opportunity, it’s about all those nights we missed out, and consoled ourselves that our chance would come again, and sometimes it does, but often times it doesn’t. We forget in time, but there always that ache of what might have been.

It is with this knowledge that people mature, the floating nature of our 20s sharpens into focus in our 30s as we feel the sands of time erode our flesh and alter our minds.  Hard work is not a product of people thinking it’s going to be ok. We will never be able to escape our primal need to place story, structure, and morality to our lives,  we will always dream, and so we should, but know that people like Sergio Ramos don’t dream they will things into existence devoid of conscience, and sleep soundly that night. This is how the modern world was created, and I think we all got a nice reminder of that on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Muppet Manifesto

We are told and we tell ourselves, believe in yourself! We are told to keep going. We are told to be positive. We are told these things because this well-meaning advice is almost impossible to argue with. We are also told this because people really don’t want to listen to your bollix, and “talking about it” has an expiry date.

It drains the listener and reminds them that we are just a spec of dust in a vast meaningless universe, wondering whats for dinner, and when can I next have sex again. But these principles place a rational frame-work upon creatures of emotion, they are timeless coping mechanisms. The Daddy of the three is believe in yourself! It is the force behind the staying power it will take to be hardworking and positive. A lack of belief in yourself leads easily to despondency which in turn takes away your optimism which eats into motivation….and then your back on the sofa suffering and ruminating over past mistakes.

Happiness is a choice we are told, again this is almost impossible to argue with, the logic is sound, you choose how you react to situations, in most cases you can really create your own reality just with a sunny disposition. People are drawn to such people because they seem to make life more fun and manageable.

Popularity, I have observed, is based not on people liking you, it is based on people wanting to be like by you. You become a high-status individual, people think this guy is cool, and he likes me, that increases my self-worth and my status in the group. The seriously charismatic will have this effect on many people, and often times it’s based on little more than insincere, transitory charm. And yet we fall for it every time because why belief in myself? when I can have this person believe in me, this person who seems to have it figured out. This is where the charismatic now enter the realm of persuaders with people willing to do their bidding to please them. There is a spectrum of charismatic people of course, from some genuinely nice people all the way up to Adolf Hitler.

What the popularity dynamic and charisma illustrates is just how hard it really is to believe in yourself, to really love and accept yourself. And those with a deep sense of themselves are very lucky, in the same way, that someone is lucky to be born with good looks. This, of course, is an uncontroversial statement, but to say someone is lucky to be born with certain character traits or lack of them is problematic to some people. Learned behavior is certainly a factor, but as I get older I am coming to the more hopeless conclusion in that so much of yourself operates outside your control, including your judgment which radically impacts your life.

To be very smart, to have great judgment and keep things simple often go hand in hand. Men and women of action are often very binary in their thinking, they deal in the currency of cause and effect, binary action and how reality behaves. Not the why, but the how. They believe in themselves for good reason, reason, being the operative word here.

Believe in one’s self is surely something that requires evidence.?
Where does any belief come from if not evidence? and what if all the evidence tells me that I am far from capable, and despite, years of getting back on the horse, defeat after defeat a clear dull pain is forming in the pit of my soul where belief goes to die. Yes there is always hard work, but successful people don’t just work hard, they make good decisions, they make them, see the result of their good decisions, and now have evidence that they can use to fuel their self-belief. Making bad decisions, over and over again, of course, leads to the opposite, and this is over time extremely damaging as it adds to a large pain body for the relentless conciseness to ruminate over.

And what is a man but the sum of his choices? It is no coincidence that women find confident men attractive, this is the pure survival instinct for her and her children. A capable man, he works hard, but above all he makes the right choices, he sacrifices when he needs to, he makes time for relationships when he needs to, the more success he feels in his life, the happier he becomes, the happier he becomes the more success comes to greet him, after all so much of life is based on relationships both personal and professional. Who wants to hire, date or socialize with a person who lurches from one disaster to the next and is a constant cycle of collapse and recovery. Nobody does. And this is not lost on the suffering idiot, which in turn adds a few more bricks onto the load they are carrying around. This is not a life worth living. Carrying around past defeats, an utterly fragile ego summoning the fake courage to face another challenge until it is hauled back by the past under the stress of its first inspection.

A Human mind needs two things above all, purpose and to be needed and valued. Self-esteem is almost entirely based on this. Now to the outsider who is drifting looking for purpose, but working with the genetics and upbringing they received, and who has with all the seriousness they could muster, made decisions based on the reality they understand to be true, and were wrong, over and over again. And there were inarguably wrong, they felt every bit of it, evidence added to evidence that after careful consideration on numerous occasions you surmised that 2+2=5, final answer. Eureka! Enlightenment! you are a muppet.

This is a painfull moment, to fully embrace that the data doesn’t lie, despite how much your every optimistic unconscious will spur you on there is an inescapable elephant in the room. Your very core judgments are incompatible with you having a stable life.
Your truth, is continuously being exposed to your opinion and your opinion is wrong. Devastating as this is, your mind will spur you on to adapt and change, and you will, but can you change the very core of yourself? overtime you may find you can’t and when this process goes through several cycles of rising and defeat, that’s when the darkness sets in. You can delude yourself or you can face some harsh truths.

You were born this way, and no amount of environmental teaching has been able to change this. Own it, and avoid any situations where you will need use your muppet brain. Find somebody who isn’t a muppet and get their advice. Suck in the pain that pride will stab you with, fuck pride! all of those people who whispered the word muppet behind your back over the years, they are not all wrong. They may be pricks, but they are not wrong. Own it you’re a muppet. Now, what are you going to do? Find something somebody will pay you for, do it, do it well and that will probably be enough. Belief in yourself? no you’re a muppet, you’re here because your a muppet, don’t believe in yourself do what the successful guy is doing, copy him, he has a far better operating system.

This will require a complete departure from your beautiful self,
But God made you this way and you’re great! tell that to the ugly people at the disco. Nature is cruel, and you are endowed with what you were born with, and most of it is unchangeable, yes you can tweak at the edges, learn new skills, but judgment comes from within, and if the inner veers toward the muppet, then do not listen to that muppet. That is the same muppet who will whisper poison in your ear when your lying in bed prostrate after your latest defeat. Obviously, some muppets are bigger than others, to be born a big muppet is a tough life, you are the gay al beano in the black village, getting bullied and spat on. People get kinder when your older but you will always be a muppet. One clause god has placed into the muppet conciseness is perhaps a degree of kindness. Most of the time as you words stream out of your muppet hole and your muppet deeds manifest themselves in whatever theater you will temporarily be tolerated in. In the midst of you being fully present in your own muppet operating system, you will, of course, be oblivious to your own muppetry. Just as a fish doesn’t know what water is, a muppet doesn’t understand reality, and by reality I mean the realities of reality like being able to look after yourself. This is an alpha muppet, a stage 5, with the ability to completely fuck their own lives, and do it sober.

Ask yourself am I a Cat 5 Muppet? or am I a functioning muppet, don’t worry there are many functioning muppets, but it is their ability to manage and curtail their muppet instincts that presents a central paradox, when you know you are a muppet do you cease to be a muppet? I say no, but you may just be able to survive and then tolerate some light ridicule from non-muppets.

I hear the voice of pride, presenting me, confidently walking toward some goal, handsome and purposeful. Pride, where the fuck where you when I needed you? hiding under the fucking sofa that’s where, when the chips were down the ghosts won the day.

Enlightenment is painfull. Compare yourself to the successful, fall short, make many bad decisions, over and over again, you have been born a muppet, I’m sorry, I know this is difficult to accept. But you have many years ahead of you if you can control the spread of your muppetry and hopefully it will not be passed on to your children, if you can find a woman who will marry a muppet, you will of course, if she is also a muppet, in which case your kids will almost certainly be muppets, which is a bitter inheritance.

It’s a dark road a muppet has to walk, dark thoughts broken only by the sound of slamming doors and burning bridges, the soundtrack of the past played on a scratched infinite record, called don’t let the light in. There is the light of course, but the life of the muppet is not secure, and so a future will look much like the past except it will be accompanied by loss of youth. Not for the first time, the muppet will curse the day his parents bought a terraced house, and envy the granny flat a fellow muppet enjoys only doors away. Perhaps to grow old there would not be a bad thing, as your yellow muppet fur looses its luster, you could almost pass for a fully formed grown up, but the muppetry would still be there in thought and deed not to be curtailed with the dying of the light. In a final act of defiance against this pitiless cycle, a muppet may fight back and write a muppet manifesto.

Muppet Manifesto.
Do not believe in yourself. Do not be yourself. Know yourself. Yourself is what got you here, washed up onto a beach the child of hundreds of bad decisions, suffering almost constantly. Your thought and deed and words are from another planet, another realm, where funny means different things, were common sense is a form of genius. Your judgment is that of a muppet, forgive yourself, this was flagged in primary school, and again in secondary, perhaps we could have stopped the bleeding at that point, but your muppet mold has hardened and water runs via the path of least resistance. Don’t be bitter either and when faced with a disappointed lover or employer, ignore pride, pride is fighting for the sake of fighting, simply say “I’m sorry, I am a muppet, I was born a muppet, and I will most likely die a muppet”. If your lover is a muppet and you can connect with your own code of muppetry and one of you can hold down a job then you may be able to survive. As for a boss, perhaps he is an equal opportunities employer and you can shame him into hiring at least one well-intentioned muppet. Or you could kill yourself but you should wait until your at least 45, depends, find out what age smart people kill themselves and do that.

How and when are you going to commit suicide?

When asked about all the horrors she experienced during the holocaust, an elderly Jewish survivor of a Nazi concentration camp simply said “hunger”.

Stripped of everything that elevated them above animals the Jews reverted to their base instincts, the strongest of which being self-preservation. The concentration camps of Poland, filled with defeated souls, tried desperately to live another day, and many doing most anything to be allowed to do so.

Survivors spoke of and an angel and demons phenomenon. When people put under such much stress either became angels, compassionate and caring, or demons those who lost all sense of morality in an effort to stay alive. I suspect you know people right now in these times of plenty who would fall into either camp. Some choose not to spend another day in such conditions and took matters into their own hands by simply walking over to the electrified fences and committing suicide. Such is the power of hope over reason, and our base instinct to stay alive, this was still a relatively rare occurrence.

People endured sleeping on wooden bunks in either freezing or boiling conditions, they risked death at every moment, they looked forward to being worked to death or to be gassed and yet they persisted. But all of these things were as nothing in comparison to hunger. Hunger, real hunger is something most people in the global west have never experienced, we take for granted a steady supply of food from breakfast to dinner, our only issue is what to eat not where to find it. One only has to skip breakfast and lunch to get a reminder of how the modern body reacts to hunger. Very soon, no conversation will take place again that doesn’t have the attainment of food at its center. You will experience a constant headache as your blood sugar drops, you will think only of food, as your body begins eating itself in a slow torture until you finally waste away and die. I for one would rather avoid that fate.

The internet has ensured that there is almost no news as important as the next news, and the noise is drowning out almost everything. People are largely oblivious to what is going on, millions of women watch the Kardashians, and I hate them for it. I hate the trivial vacuous nattering bimbos and their planet eating lifestyles. It is to anyone with a brain, however, just high empire. It has happened before, a culture so far removed from the realities of life that it loses all sense of decency. Food, this will be the leveler. Let’s see what happens when global food supply collapses. I hope the Kardashians starve to death or are kept alive as sex slaves to a mad max style overlord who has managed to make a go of it in post-collapse LA.

This will happen. Heres how. Watch the artic. The ice in the drink at the top of the world. We need the artic. There has never been a planet inhabited by humans without one. It regulates the weather of the entire globe. Global warming is most accurately felt at the poles, this is causing havoc with sea ice and ocean temperatures. We have lost over 70% of the sea ice since 1979, and at this rate, we can expect to have an ice free arctic in the summertime in the next 5 years. The president of Finland on a visit to the Whitehouse explained to Donal Trump the seriousness of this situation. Trump explained to him that he is in charge of looking after the interests of a small fabulously wealthy and corrupt clique in charge of the world’s most powerful military. And they have no interest in listening to anything that disrupts business as usual.

These same bastards have no doubt built bunkers under their vast mansions and will probably be around seen human extinction. The rest of us will see what happens when billions of humans are suddenly put under pressure for their food, water, and security. Those same people who wish Europe to welcome in all the poor refugees will be volunteering to man the machine gun turrets on Spanish barbed wire beaches. Watch 45 sub-Saharan men of fighting age jump out of a dingey and scatter and tell me how it makes you feel.

One one hand I would like to see how this plays out, and maybe I will be able to for a while until the power goes out, and then demons come out at night. The idea of trying to defend my loved ones against the biggest knackers on the block doesn’t appeal to me. I will monitor the situation closely but as of now, I’m thinking a large bottle of good whiskey and a deck of sleeping pills. Please write in with your preferred method of suicide when the collapse comes.

Why do nerds like Starwars?

I remember seeing Braveheart for the first time, I was 16, and I watched it in a cinema in Coolock. That is where my seat was, that is where my body was, but my mind and my soul were quickly somewhere else, and they stayed there for the full length of the film. I was captivated, the raw power of story put to image and sound, manipulated me, and caused me to feel what it wanted me to feel. The film ended, the collective consciousness of the audience returned to their bodies, and the lights went up. I remember noticing the absolute silence of the people as we shuffled the door and into the lobby. People returned to their cars and their lives slowly over the sticky lobby carpet, lost for words to describe how good that piece of movie making actually was. Like with all great art, it took up residence in my brain for many months afterward, and over the following years, I must have watched it a further 10 times. Although I saw some superb and probably superior films since Braveheart, it will always be, for me, the blueprint for a simple hero against all the odds story, expertly told.

Star Wars, I never got, the first ones when I was a kid, were good, they were fine, they were fun, but even back then I always remember the geeky kids, the ones who played with action figures rather then with footballs seemed to love it with a passion I never understood. I remember people buzzing about the new ones in the late 90s and then being disappointed, what I never got was adults who gave a fuck about Star Wars? it is a kids film that geeks think is cool.

Then came the 2015 installment, I really liked JJ Abrahms re booting of Star Trek, and fell for the marketing. I paid 10 euro and took my seat. This was everything that Braveheart was not. This was two hours watching Disney executives raping a 17-year-old waitress over a pinball machine. Their enlighted script writers covering the windows and doors and writing their modern take. Female lead, check, token black guy, check, get Carrie Fisher out of rehab, check, tell Harrison Ford his grandkids need the money, check.

These cunts will not rest until every last golden egg is wrenched from George Lucas’s 40-year-old goose. It was a sham, a phony, a trick, it was a shake down, it was awful. I walked out of the cinema, past 4 nerds, excitedly exclaiming how great they thought the movie was. If I had a flame thrower I would have happily emptied both tanks, but why? they had a good time.

I held on to a bit of anger about the whole thing, and realized a few things. Nerds have always pissed be off because far from being gently folk who hang around on the edges of the buzz, they are binary ruthless little cunts without ever noticing. And now they are taking over the world. Their latest installment is out for chrimbo. Any shred of cool that existed in 20th-century characters such as Han Solo or James Bond for that matter is now the plaything of the nerd, and he hasn’t got a fucking clue. From Bond to Star Wars we are treated to hollowed out, soulless corporate paint by numbers films. Can somebody please explain to me why people keep paying to see this shite? and can you actually blame Disney for making a balls of it, they literally could have shot Star Wars on an iPhone4 in the Phoenix Park, got the CRC drama soc to play all the roles and the nerds would still pay to see it! Spoiler alert Star Wars is crap.

Everyone's a winner!

Joe Canning, James McClean, Conor Murray, Katie Taylor, Jason Smyth, Michael McKillop, Katie George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal.… Sorry, who are the last 4? They make up 30% of the nominees for the Irish sportsperson of the year 2017.

They are para-athletes. Which raises the question, in my mind at least, do they deserve inclusion with Olympic gold medalists, All Ireland winning hurlers and elite rugby players? These are awards for excellence, and I wish to take nothing away from their individual achievements but you simply cannot put them in the same category. There is quite literally no comparison. And no comparison should be drawn. Up until relatively recently, this would be obvious to all concerned. So what is with this rise in sentimentality? and does it distort some very basic home truths about life? Or am I out of step our new kinder inclusive nicer society.

Of course, I am not, I choose to call bullshit, In my view, the rush not to offend or exclude is diluting the very fabric and principal of achievement. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our caring new society. The labor party in Ireland has long since absconded its duties to the average workers of this state, and instead pushed hard for easy wins like gay marriage, meanwhile supporting the privatization of our water supply. The virtue signaling extravaganza that followed the gay marriage referendum result was embarrassing, with politicians lining up for a photo in front of the rainbow flag. I voted yes, if the gays want to be miserable as well, then let them, they won’t follow the rules of marriage, they will both be off “Golfing with the lads” in no time, gimme a break. The key point here was this was an easy win, a quick policy change that will make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside. Well done chaps! But here’s the thing, the vast majority of people in Ireland are not gay, and don’t rightly give a fuck if gays get married or not, and that was shown to be the case.

What we do care about is areas of this society where compassion is badly needed, and when I say compassion, I mean fairness. JFK famously said “Life is unfair” when being asked about issues surrounding the Vietnam war. And it’s true, life is not fair, decent people have to make it fair, as fair as it can be, with good governance, they must provide guidance, through laws and rights that speak and protect a healthy society, that is the basic idea anyway.

In America some have moved so far away from this ethos that they resent any form of income tax, they are, however, late to the party, the billion-dollar corporations dislike paying tax even more and move mountains to avoid paying any at all! The Irish government, needs the jobs, for sure, but if SME’s Ireland’s largest employers behaved like Google and Intel regarding tax they would be jailed. Sentimentality and fairness seem to extend to easy wins like gay rights and the para Olympics but not to the greater malaise, that has so far caused mindless revolt with Trump and Brexit.

Social justice the buzz word of the now, in the past, meant people marching for fair working conditions, housing, healthcare, the right to vote, maternity leave,.. the good stuff. Now with social media social justice seems obsessed the causes of minorities while doing little to affect change on the real issues affecting society.

The root causes of a rejection of the status quo in both Europe and the USA are casino capitalism and globalism. Our government and many others, seem uninterested in stopping its resurgence despite it being the cause for the horrific crash of 08. And we all remember how fairly the mess was dealt with.

But the voters are again distracted by feel-good nonsense, and the nice society rhetoric. And it is not just in this country, in the UK we have seen this over the top sentimentality increase in the past 20 years, with an almost fascist adherence to all things poppy in November, to minutes silence in half the matches in the season. People argue over rights of transsexuals to be gender neutral and you go, girl! support for Kaylyn Jenner. Meanwhile, disasters like Grenville tower exposes where the real need for social justice lies.

The reality is those with the power of this new caring world are just as uncaring as they have always been. But now in our new caring society, we are distracted with issues like gay rights, women’s football, and anti-racism campaigns. The politicians are just as trapped as we are in this system that has gradually disempowered most of its members. Trade unions now seem like a quaint idea for people in the private sector and now the working classes are treated to soul-destroying prospects in the form of Amazon’s work-houses, the gig-economy and zero hours contracts. And if you do want to get out of this rut via education they’ve just hiked the prices of that up as well.

The ongoing window dressing is wearing thin, what really counts in a society, is a level playing field to achieve and raise a family. The western governments move in the 90s to get women out to work has all but reduced most western families to half what they were a generation ago. The Irish government basks in the glow of their soundness with the gay marriage referendum, mean-while, these policies attack the very fabric of society, marriage, and peoples ability to bring up children. There is a recovery especially in Dublin, but wage stagnation is an issue despite increased costs of living especially rent. What is required is actual government policy to put some sort of fairness back into a market hugely slanted in favor of the landlord, so far they have tinkered on the edges, and this is not by accident.

For anyone who wants to see where this road leads just look at America, it leads to working poor, and the decimation of the middle class. People so demoralized they vote for a con-man. Pissed off Irish people with huge rents, high costs of living and low wages are tired of this bullshit. Yes its a not Africa, but we worked hard for generations to make it this way. Gerry Adams and his band of spoofers will be getting lots of new seats, and Fine Gael will only have themselves to blame. This is where virtue should come to the fore, but instead, we see it with easy sentimentality, in this case with the Sportsperson of the Year awards.

And I am sure it is not lost on para Olympians either, considering they are not mentally disabled. When their names are called out during the awards, and cheers rain down from people who have never heard of them, I suspect they may feel how patronizing this really is. How hollow, how phony. I am sure most people are proud of anyone who competes for their country, but to compare these people to the best we have is insulting. By doing this, you are treating them like special children.

We all know they don’t have any chance of winning, why? Because they are not elite athletes. Some have disabilities so bad, that there can’t be more than 10 people in the world in their event who take it seriously. Most para-sports are broken down into a huge number of subdivisions, due to the massive difference in disabilities and abilities of the athletes. So nominees aren’t even the best at their sport, they are 1 of maybe 20 para champions in that event. Is this a harsh observation?, no, life is not fair, some people have it worse than others. It is a shame that they can’t compete on a level playing field with our top athletes, but that is a mixture of bad luck and bad genetics.

I am in the same boat as they are. I would love to be a professional footballer, but I lost out in the genetic lottery. I don’t expect sympathy for this and I play on my own para soccer team. It is called the over 35s division 7, which is about all I am capable of.

This wave of bullshit began in 2012, when the British were hosting the Olympics and Paralympics. They went overboard with their coverage. BBC was chief culprits. Front page news every day in their sports section. RTE followed suit. And they felt the need to continue ever since. Now we are getting articles about a wheelchair tennis player ahead of stories about Roger Federer. How many people are reading these stories? 100s? Maybe his family and friends.

Let’s stop patting our selves on the back for our more enlightened society when the truth is we have many better issues we need to be nicer about, how about support for working families, protection for renters, not to mention carers of disabled people. Cut the bullshit and put your virtue into things that really make a difference to the majority of ordinary people. Fair enough?