Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A New Year Resolution - of sorts

There’s an interesting debate about morality kicking off on the PTT Blog at Maybe it’s a kneejerk thing (end of the year, New Year Resolutions and all that) but I was thinking about the same topic last night, albeit in a lighter-hearted way guided by re-reading an old favourite, Quentin Crisp.
I was going to announce as my big New Year Resolution that I refuse ever to take religionists or politicians seriously again.’Get a grip’, I was thinking – concerned at the way in which my posts are getting grumpier. ‘Time to lighten up, mock mercilessly, point and laugh by all means, but don’t get so wound up over the immorality and hypocrisy of people we know are just rotten through and through.’
This time last year I’d decided that in 2008 I was going to meet the religionists and politicos halfway. Join with them on earnest committees to tackle homelessness, prison conditions, poverty or whatever and maybe, just maybe, there’d be a point in the middle where we could make common cause and talk.
I now admit that was a waste of time. They were, and will always be, nothing more than two-faced, triple-crossing neanderthals out to manipulate misery for their own ends. They cannot even spell ‘humanity’, never mind celebrate or embrace it.
Sadly, middle of the road humanists are little better. Either too scared to upset the neighbours or unable to stop looking at the world unconsciously in ‘religious’ terms.
Far better to play on religionist hypocrisy and hoist them by their own petards wherever possible. Chip away relentlessly at their pretensions to the moral high ground. Poke, point, laugh, run.
Do not get involved. Do not debate in arenas which they control. Pick a time and place when the odds are stacked in your favour, let them have it full blast and vanish before the smoke clears.
'Semiotic guerilla warfare' was the phrase we idealistic young media types used to bandy around. We understand how the media works, where stories come from and how they appear in the press. We know how to use images and words, and how to dismantle myths, spread doubt where belief is testified but insecurity lurks beneath the surface.
When posting the link to my old story about Pat Kneen and the Manx Death With Dignity campaign I realised something else too. All this concern about morality and seriousness, trying to engage with pathological liars on their own terms, and I’ve lost something.
That assisted suicide campaign, despite the (literally) life or death subject matter, the brushes with corrupt local government and law and so on, was a joy from start to finish. We lost all fear and hardly ever stopped laughing, and THAT is what I want to get back to.
In 2009 I'm no longer getting serious. I'm getting happy.
I just want to laugh ignorance off the planet.

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