I listened intently, but couldn’t help thinking ‘one door closes…’ and said to him and those present, that dropping out might be the tonic they needed to do something different, something creative themselves.
Blanked. No response. As if I wasn’t there. Time for reflection.
I had a similar experience many, many years previously when in my 20’s. Two ‘academics’ [I was one myself for four years, teaching at Master’s Degree level] discussing politics. Can’t remember what I said, but the comment invited them to move outside the confines of three cheeks of the same arse [Tory, Liberal, Labour]. Their reaction? As above.
I’ve seen this played out continuously everywhere all my life. It’s called many things, starting with cognitive dissonance. But read on.
Today [May 4th 2014] Anne and I walked past the beautiful, majestic and expansive [in terms of land] Malvern College. Jeremy Paxman [famous political commentator in the UK] went here two years earlier than I went to an old Grammar school in Cheshire. I cannot do justice to the setting and buildings of this place. It is breath-taking. Fortunately, they own acres of land turned over to playing fields in Malvern thus preventing ‘development’ and retaining green space in this greenest of towns.
If you, at the age of eleven, went here, or like another Jeremy [Clarkson] went to Repton School, how could you not feel a sense of entitlement, superiority, an appreciation of beauty, and a conscious or subconscious urge to want to preserve this way of life? You could only ultimately become ‘fireproof,’ a term used to describe the self-perception of Eton graduates.
Cue our subsequent visit to a very fine café in Great Malvern. Pick up a copy of the Sunday Times and Observer. Read about the latest ‘pop sensation’, someone called Lorde. Notice that the Guardian is putting on ‘master classes’ on new technology such as ‘Google glasses’ [and other transhumanism by the back door shit] for sleeping yuppies. Read about the lives of the rich and famous. Wait with baited breath for next week’s Sunday Times [and some idiots pay to access this on line?] rich list, and gorge yourself on envy, disgust, contempt and/or feelings of inadequacy.
You can also weep over the fact that ‘international criminal gangs’ are substituting cheap and occasionally poisonous trash for real organic food, expensive whisky and other ‘fine’ fayre.
Then later in the same pompous rags, see harrowing pictures of ‘ragheads’ massacred by drones, ‘our boys’ and ‘insurgents’ in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. And respond just as the Vice-chancellor and academics. Avoid any nano-second's thought of irony.
You see awakening to the ‘reality’ of what’s going on the world requires lifting heads out of the three-cheeked arse, the playing fields of Malvern College and the glossy bullshit of Sunday magazines.
It means wanting the Malvern College model for every child in the world. It means ‘conserving’ a privileged way of life will no longer cut it in future. It means some of those on the Sunday Times rich list will be dispossessed of their material wealth by those above those at the top of it in a similar, but much more dramatic way than those ‘plebs’ who default on their mortgage payments.
But above all, it means the glossy, fairy-tale world of the printed media, and the casual acceptance of ‘the way it is’ will be soon gone for ever.
Will you be one of the ones to mourn?
PS. Why the picture of Sir Stiff? Check out Elm House, his treatment of former colleague Jet Harris and the word ‘hypocrisy’ in the dictionary. And I can't help feeling there is something about going to Repton has had a bearing on Jeremy C living very close to UK head hypocrite and PR man Cameron. Maybe an Observer 'reporter' might make a story out of it...