Sunday, February 18, 2018

On the neoliberal press

The Guardian has become quite scarily neoliberal. It's nothing much more than a mouthpiece for Israeli-US policy in the Middle East. Which wouldn't be such a bad thing if US policy wasn't so disastrous in that area.

Here's one example from the article I've linked to:

"Its former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, permanently upped the ante in 2005 when he allegedly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. His exact words are disputed, but the sentiment behind them has not been convincingly repudiatedby Tehran. Many Israelis remain convinced that Iran poses an existential threat."

This just isn't true but it's illustrative of how propaganda works. Ahmadinejad actually wasn't rabble rousing so much as waxing philosophical. He said that when contemplating Israel, one should remember that every nation is transient. In times to come, Israel would have disappeared, removed from the map like the Roman Empire. This is rather different from "calling for" its extirpation. Yes, of course, he delighted in Israel's eventual destruction, but he wasn't suggesting anyone do it. And of course Ahmedinajad didn't "up the ante". The US-Israeli security establishment and its mouthpieces in the press did so, by misrepresenting him. Not that Ahmedinajad did not have plenty of antisemitic things to say when he wanted to whip up a crowd. He did.

Ahmedinajad's words are not "disputed". They were actually very clearly and accurately reported (I believe they were actually recorded, which is how they became broadcast in the US). There's no dispute at all at what he said. Of course, he did say it in Farsi, which means there are issues of interpretation. And it's not true that Iran has not "convincingly repudiated" his words. They are faced with a problem. They cannot "repudiate" what he actually said because it's simply a philosophical musing of no real great import. And they cannot "repudiate" what Tisdall says he said because he didn't say it.

They have in fact tried both. They have made it clear that the whole "wipe Israel off the map" bullshit is a mistranslation. And they've said that they don't call for it in any case. Of course they'd like Israel not to be there. They'd like it gone. Just as Americans quite often call for regime change in Iran. But they do not call for anyone to make it so.

However, the point is, Tisdall can repeat this as fact. It is entrenched in the discourse about Iran. Many Israelis -- and many Westerners -- do believe Iran poses an existential threat to Israel. Close analysis of what Iran actually does in the Middle East will show that it doesn't really pose any threat of any kind to Israel. But most people don't have the time or capability for "close analysis". They can only give things passing notice and rely on "thought leaders" to tell them what the story is. Sadly, those "thought leaders" are all too often hacks such as Tisdall.

Well, what does it matter what some guy on the Guardian says? The problem here is that individual voices may not seem loud but they reinforce each other. Each voice echoes the others and builds a consensus. So the truth is now that Ahmedinajad might just as well have called for the destruction of Israel, because not only can Tisdall repeat that as though it were true but policy is built on that "truth". And worst of all, US leaders, either dilettante neoliberals such as Obama or lazy corpulent far right hacks such as Trump, begin from the consensus. In the case of Obama, I imagine he did know perfectly well what the truth was, but it's not the job of a neoliberal to challenge a consensus that supports his goals. This is something liberals might reflect on when they think about "progressive" leaders: someone who reflects back to you things you say is not necessarily challenging the status quo, particularly if what you say is no longer, or has never been, controversial.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Two sides

There are two sides to every story.

I am used to giving mine, only mine. And it's not even a story because I never really feel like expressing anything but pieces of it and not those few that are pretty either. And what is my story anyway? Nothing special.

I remember S wanted us to have a joint blog. Because that was the story we had together. Just a lot of words. But she thought it was romantic, innately beautiful and we should share that. I couldn't understand why she would want to make something private public.

But what a silly thing to think. Since that is what a blog like mine is. It wasn't always. It wasn't always the late-night phone call from someone you kind of worry about but not really.

I think the thing was, if I tell you what I feel, well, that's up to me. I know you can judge me for it. I wouldn't write it if I didn't accept that.

But if you tell me what you feel, it's not up to me to share that.

And that does sometimes seem unkind because anyone else's "side" is never any more than what I think about what I think they feel. It's never as rich to me, or to you, as what I feel. It's always filtered through my beliefs, my ideas.

And I do know that anyone who does see it filters it back through their own beliefs, their own ideas, and makes of it what fits in their picture. They'll never match. Even we ourselves filter our own selves back to ourselves, using the mesh of our view of ourselves to make our own expression of ourselves fit our own pictures.

And whatever S felt about the possibilities of this medium, it's just the empty noise of a note in a bottle, a message on your voicemail not a conversation. It does not mean anything. Sometimes, someone will have expressed anger to me that I only reflected one facet of a thing, or was wrong, or expressed only one aspect when there were more.

And I said, well, I write it for myself. It's like a sacred dance to expiate demons. You don't praise your god when you're killing the devil.

***

So when I think about her, I don't, as it happens, spend much of that thought on what's bad about her. I've had to try to make sense of things because chaos is so uncomfortable. I did leave Australia. It was humbling. I had failed everyone who matters to me in my life. Including her. She had enough unhappiness in her life, regardless who caused it. I didn't want to add to that.

Because I loved her. She is so engaging, funny, clever. When I think about her, I think about the things that created that love because they didn't vanish. There's no litany of complaints and fights. I expect most people have had relationships that broke down in rancour. That's relatively easy to cope with. You grow sour and the more anger you and they express, the more reason you have for that sourness. It's so much harder when it's not something you can understand.

I think about her dancing, laughing, joking. I think about the bobble of her head. I think about a world that is too private to say anything about, after all, and perhaps that is the problem. You cannot talk about love because so much of it is only yours. And even I have limits.

***

And I do think about what justice there is, because that is who I am. I think about what is wrong with me and what I can do about it. Sometimes I wish I could say, I have thought about what you didn't like, Ally, and this is what I've done. (And I don't write about it here because as far as I know, she doesn't want anything to do with me and that extends to reading this. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. What you say about something isn't necessarily all you think about it. When I cry because talking to Miggins hurts, part of why it hurts is that I failed her, that I am no good for her, that I want to fix that, that I am ashamed of it, that I do love her, that I love her mum, that I feel such great sadness that I lost the chance to build something for her with her mum, that I'm not very bright when it comes to fixing things and don't really know how I can get back to Brisbane so I can be part of her life, and then I think what good can I be in her life in her anyway and that is all like a merry-go-round -- and this is only five minutes, I spend much more time thinking about the future, what I can do, my plans and so on -- I don't write any of that here because if you care, I already tell you about it elsewhere.)

***

I'm not sure when it was, but a couple of months before Miggins was born seems about right, we went to Cleveland Point. I remember a sunny day but of course I would, it's so often sunny in Brisbane. We had chips out near the point. It seems like the end of the world, almost.

We talked in the sunshine. We did not have a harsh word, just chatted.

That's what I remember.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Today, every day, never

Great day. Started with a chat with my youngest daughter, who was trapped in her high chair, crying pitifully because she was forced to stay in one place and "talk" to a tiny man in a telephone. Still, it's an improvement on last time, when she waved goodbye to begin with and then cried inconsolably when I didn't actually go away. Facebook wished me a happy Valentine's, which made me want to deactivate my account and Plentyoffish showed me fresh matches, who will ignore me.

 And I sit here on a rainy winter's day because I was crippled with debt and ill health and had to beg my little sister for somewhere to live because my soulmate decided to pretend I was a bad person because I lost my job and couldn't support her dream but the government could so long as she didn't have any inconvenient husbands kicking around. And now I can't go back and fix at least those parts of my life open to being fixed because I spend half my wages -- barely more than the minimum -- on servicing the debts she helped run up and paying what I can to help support my children. Who don't want anything to do with me.

 So here's my self-pitying contribution to the day's commerce, which pretty much no one will read and absolutely no one will care. Why should they? Even I fucking hate me and they say love begins with yourself. Still, I have at least done what I can to begin to crawl back up the slippery slope again. I am well (ish) and I am at least paying the debts back and didn't renege. And I haven't quite given in yet. So there's that.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bitterness is my jockey

Sometimes I feel like a horse being ridden by bitterness as my jockey. I feel entrapped by the belief in deserts and it is like being crushed in the coils of a serpent pitiless and greedy of my breath.

You don't want to communicate with me but I did nothing to earn that. It's hard on a person because it is like a ruthless calculus. When people do you wrong, you don't want to talk to them, so if you don't want to talk to someone, they must have done something wrong.

But you left me. You left me with debts that were your responsibility. You left me homeless and without means to get a home. You took my child and you didn't bother yourself with that, only with your anger that I wasn't around to make your life easier.

But my life, what about that?

And I still feel the echoes of how good you could be, before you crushed the good out of yourself for what reason I don't even know. I feel like it didn't even sour because we didn't go sour. You just curdled.

And I don't care what lies you tell yourself or what lies you tell your friends. (Because you must lie. You cannot bear not to be the victim and I know you will have created victimhood to spill to others. Because you cannot bear not to be adored. But you don't want to be loved. They are different things. How was I to know? How was I to know what penury of the soul you want the world to live with?)

Having nothing is nothing. It's not knowing how to get anything. And the truth is, most people I know don't know either. If they lost their way of making a living, their "skill sets" would be worth nothing much at all. Just like yours. You talked it up but you knew it wasn't worth much.

***

You don't want to communicate with me but we have a child. And communicating isn't hard. I don't say anything to you. You play shitty games: you'll schedule the times you permit me to contact my daughter, then you don't bother letting me know the times you will allow it. Then you fake being angry when I mention that to you. You demand mediation then ruin the session by refusing to discuss anything. You just want paper that says you are right.

You are only right because there's nothing I can do. And if it was you, how would you feel? How would you feel if I had left you with thousands in debt that you can't pay, stuck without a home; if I made it impossible for you to be part of your child's life? How would you feel?

***

But you know, I feel like I pay you another part of me for it. I pay blood you didn't earn by feeling badly about it. I pay the cells of my body for the bitterness you have invoked in me. I pay the breath of my body for the sadness that love has become for me.

***

I do not hate you for it. Why should I? You are sowing enough hate not to need mine too. She will hate you just like her elder sister. When she knows. You think we are just puppets you can treat with contempt. You think she will love you for cutting her dad to bits because it made you feel good about yourself? You think she will love you for hurting her when she understands you've hurt her?

She'll hate you like everyone else who's ever loved you, like everyone who's ever needed you. You'd think you know, a child cannot shed the bitterness its parent grows in it. You'd think you'd have learned. But you think growing bitterness is your right.

So this is where I feel I have to shed it. I have to rid myself of it. However hard, I have to cut it away like the rotting sore it is. There's a point where you have to say, you are not worth hating, and even if that isn't true, it can become true if you have faith.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Ow

I was strong and confident and then I learned the hard way -- and almost no one does -- that confidence is made of privilege and money, and then I lost my job and boom! there goes my confidence.

Then my wife, whom I really loved so much, or maybe I just really fancied her, because let's face it, since her daughter binned her she wasn't great, but really, I can't tell, because I believe in the dream but I never can quite do the reality and what is up with that, anyway, she dumped me because I didn't have that job and she thought she'd make more as a single mum, and I'm stuck between I kind of appreciate her doing that and I'm heartbroken because it hurts like fuck.

So that's that, I'm not strong, I'm not confident and I'm fat and ugly and fifty and I live in my sister's house and I have no way home. I have skills I can only buy minimum wage with even though I'm like 90 percent of a genius but lacking the good 10 percent.

And I revisit my whole life and decide I really was a cunt but I'm never quite sure is that because everyone else thinks i'm a cunt or I really am and if I am how come I'm just not all that hurtful?

Anyway, no one reads this shit, but I'm sorry that E, or K or whatever I'm calling her this year, had a bad year. Should have chosen to be with me. It would still have been bad but there would be pluses. Do you not want to have real love before you die? And awesome sex? And don't lie that your husband does. If he did, you'd be more forgiving and you aren't.

And shoutout to A, who is faithful for so little reward. And to Lisa, who I don't know what, maybe the best way for her to give is at a distance but I appreciate it.

And yes, I'm lonely. Life's like that when you think you have something to offer and no one else agrees but I can still believe whatever I like. And I realise when you're sad and lonely all you can hope to attract is sad and lonely but if you're anything else you're just pretending and I don't really do pretending.

Anyway, fuck it, you don't care, I don't care.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Plunge

I woke up and it was like nothing was left. It's not that I can't remember. I was never there. It's like you can remember the skeleton of the melody of the song you once sang but the words are gone. Gone far beyond recovery, gone beyond recall.

I don't remember anything that was bad except I know you went bad. And I know I went sour but sour isn't bad if you like milk.

But I don't like milk much so why should you?

I don't remember becoming unkind and I don't feel it now.

***

I walked for miles through snow that felt colder and colder the farther I walked, the heavier it felt to walk through. I walked for miles sinking deeper and deeper, knee deep, hip deep, chest deep, until I couldn't see a path. I had frozen to the bone. I had frozen to the core. I had nothing warm about me. I had nothing at all.

***

I want you to know I am still the man I was. You just didn't know him. I don't know what you saw when you looked at me.

I don't know how I lost you so how can I know how to have kept you, how can I know what I should have been to have what I wanted.

It didn't ever stop being what I wanted.

***

I don't remember anything that should make you hate me. I'd know.
I don't remember anything that should make you want me to be so lonely. I'd know I'm sure I'd know.

I remember how soft your face is to touch. I remember how soft your body when I clutched and writhed and then we laughed and I do not remember anything that should make the last twining vapours of happiness worth nothing.

And I'd know. I'd sooner forget my own name than not know why I loved you.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Snake in a cave

What do we want other than to know and be known? And isn't love just exactly that feeling that we at least want to know the other and be known by them?

What hurts more than someone's turning their back? I cannot think of anything that hurts me more than isolation.

Sometimes you are talking and hear your own voice. And you know that you are alone, even though someone is listening to you. Or seems to be listening. Or is there.

***

Tomorrow, I have to discuss my child, my baby, with her mother. She won't be listening. She'll only be looking for angles to win, to crush, to hurt me.

I do wish it wasn't like that. I have been feeling more whole but it's not likely I will walk away from that feeling better about myself. I need to show a lot of discipline to keep emotion from controlling me, to stay rigid and focused.

It used to be natural to be with her.

***

And what hurts the most is she lies. No, that isn't the worst. What has hurt me more is to tell the truth to myself about her. To realise who she is and what she has been doing.

What hurts the most is I tell the truth. And sometimes it's like a snake in a cave; it only unravels itself slowly and you only see pieces at a time. Until there it is, the whole thing, laid out for you to examine.

I wish I would hear an honest answer if I asked, Can you live with who you are and what you've done? I wish she had not damaged everything I thought I knew about her.

Because I know about me. If you lie about me, I know that you are lying. If you tell the truth, I know it too.

***

There is nothing worse than not to be deluded. To have learned about yourself. Even if you only learn about yourself in pieces. And I know I haven't liked all the pieces. Any of the pieces.

***

It hurts that I still love her.