The parallels are scary, the apathy is the same - Tactical Ninja
Apr. 11th, 2013
10:20 am - The parallels are scary, the apathy is the same
Yesterday afternoon, post-interview...
Me: How did it go?
Him: No clue. I have no basis for comparison, remember?
Me: Fair enough. ;-)
Kid always was kind of literal. Also, it's weird how both of us were thinking a lot about his Grandma yesterday. Milestones, I guess. Hmm.. anyway, he'll hear on Monday. Fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, last night I dreamed that I took the kids of which one is my godson (yes, someone was misguided enough to ask me to be a godparent) to visit friggasmuse, who has three children and another one coming. Our task was to clear her spinach patch of 'spikers' - tiny rodents that look like little hoppy hamsters with horns. This involved crawling through the spinach on our bellies, commando style, making loud yelping noises. Has to be done twice a day, apparently. So, um, friggasmuse watch out for spikers in your spinach patch! And then, because there were babies, there was poo and it all turned a bit icky and reminded me why I'm glad my offspring is pretty much an adult now. Yep.
A book of fairy tales, no less. It's from my childhood, and is this one - All But A Few by Joan Aiken. I bought it second hand recently because I read these stories to death when I was a kid, and wondered if I'd feel the same about them as an adult.
Long story short, I do. And I'm also struck by how Very Very British they are. They were written in the 1950s, and have that archaic style of language that combines the ridiculous with the understated - "Presently, Jane began to feel very queer, and looking down, noticed that she had somehow grown a long, scaly tail. Being a cheerful sort of girl, she was not upset, and carried on her way whistling, after carefully replacing the snuff box she had knocked off the occasional table." That sort of thing.
I haven't encountered that style of language outside of a particular kind of children's fiction written in the UK prior to about 1970. And it seems I spent a lot of my childhood reading that sort of thing. It kind of reminds me of my Dad, too, in that the stories are much more about the story than they are about the ending. Joan Aiken's endings are often a short, trite paragraph that seems tacked-on because you have to put one, and after this fantastical adventure of storytelling leading to some kind of climax, it's kind of deflating. As if she's more interested in the characters and what they did than how it ended. I mean really, who cares about what happened to the haunted terrace at Gramercy Chase after the unicorn and the raven did their race along it and set fire to all the choir books and got on the national news? I mean really, how do you finish that?
Anyway, I'm struck again by her ability to build characters and convey emotions in her writing, and I'm wondering if she wrote any adult fiction that anyone here would recommend - and if it has the same magic. Anyone?
Meanwhile, I've read a few things about Margaret Thatcher this week (perhaps not surprising), and as I've read them, particularly the descriptions of her policies, I'm struck by the similarities between those policies and the ones our current government espouses. Check out Wikipedia:
Lowered direct taxes on income and increased indirect taxes - check.
Reduced expenditure on social services such as welfare, education and housing - check, check, check.
Cuts in higher education spending - check.
Increased unemployment - check.
Extractive industries (oil especially) as the saviour of the economy - check.
Reducing the power of unions - check (particularly student unions).
Undermining employees' rights - check.
Sacking shitloads of miners - check.
Sale of state assets against the will of the people - check.
Attempts to change the voting system to allow easy retention of power for current government - check (MMP referendum anyone?).
Never mind the increased surveillance, misuse of urgency to pass laws without scrutiny, cronyism, retrospective law changes to legalise shady doings by government agencies, amnesia on dodgy dealings, and moves to make it possible for the military to act against the population in times of protest.
So, um - where is the outrage? Or do we have to wait till John Key is dead before we express our anger?