Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shut your fucking wordhole!! It's Ear Time.

I was reading a new blog today, something I haven't done in a while, and the writer was talking about how he knows there is no god, as opposed to 'timid' atheists or rationalists, who merely disbelieve, or who know they don't know. I think based on his rather black and white definition, I was one of those timid ones, that amused me.

It was a very well written piece though, the law student in me liking the source-quoting, the 'close the gate' method of returning to his original point, and he even gave a half-hearted attempt to understand why people would have opinions contrary to his own.

Then the comments...

Now, I'm as open-minded as the next guy I hate the rest of the world as much as the next guy, and I always have something to say when people make massively broad statements such as 'I know there is no god'...even if I agree with 90% of what he said.

I was thinking that maybe I'd point out that his assertion that evolution was fact and not theory was erroneous, as the 'theory of evolution' is merely more plausible than sky-wizards and thus has greater scientific credence. I might also have pointed out that atheism isn't timid, it's more precise in scientific terms, science 'being aware' of the fact that it doesn't know the answer as opposed to religious fundies who accept creation theory as explaining a 'truth' how the world came about, and this writer being paradoxically as incorrect as them in proclaiming a universal truth about the creation of the universe.

(Yes, I do find it hard to fill the hours when I'm away from my girlfriend.)

I was considering how best to word this (I thought) rather eloquent riposte, when I scrolled down the comments page and saw that the nuts had got there first.

Anonymous wrote: YOU ATHEISTS ARE ALL MAD!!! If there's no God, HOW DOES THE SUN ORBIT THE EARTH??

I sat back, absolutely dumbfounded. fucking way, this can't....please no...

Then I saw that it was sarcasm, and nearly wept with relief. Life was good again. It was a blogger linking to his online store of atheist t-shirts. I threw a crust of bread at the unconscious hooker on my floor and smiled as my fear dissipated.


It got me thinking though...mind-thinking. Why is it nowadays that people will discourse on a topic about which they know nothing?

When did it become okay to just 'have a go'? When did the world become so arrogant as to believe that everyone is an expert on a topic and has a valid point to make?

Post your comment:
Anonymous says: I attended a one week crash course on the ethics of biochemistry so I can talk with exclusive domain about a topic that people have endlessly debated for sixty years.

Anonymous 2 says: No WAY man!! You're crasy, My bibel tutor told me that biochemistry is what makes hommosexualls and asians, don't mess with God's plan!!!

Anonymous 3 says: Yeah, I half-read an online article about stem-cell research on a right-wing newspaper's website. YOU PEOPLE ARE SICK!!

Anonymous 4 says: I went to an obscure liberal arts college that none of you could afford and we had a very productive coffee-and-humous round table discussion of the moral consequences of stem-cell research. We agreed it's necessary for scientific development. I took philosophy for a semester so I know what I'm talking about. Lol.

Anonymous 5 says: Whats stencil research???

God Lover says: Bless you all, I pity you.

Anonymous 6 says: You know who else used stem cell research? Hitler!!!!!


I mean, when did it become the norm for people to fool themselves that they had an expert opinion on something they've overheard in a pub?

I used to watch a lot of medical dramas (before I pawned my TV to buy chloroform and a handkerchief) but I'd never assume I could perform a tracheotomy.

I COMPLETELY agree with the concept of freedom of speech by the way, please don't think I'm advocating some restriction on people's right to voice opinions. I just wish people didn't kid themselves into believing they were an expert on everything they've read, seen or heard.

It happened to me the other day, and I literally didn't know how to respond. My girlfriend is moving house soon, and she and her flatmates are looking at houses in Northwest London. In fact, one of the places they're considering is Maida Vale, about a mile from where I used to live and somewhere I used to go running. It's one of the most expensive parts of London for property and I mentioned this, along with the fact that the Tube gets really slow in the mornings.

"No it doesn't"


"I've been on that line before, it's really quick."

I was trying to point out that the two lines which service the entire area get extremely clogged in the mornings, as opposed to the east of London where there are more rail lines. Also, I mentioned that one of the lines gets closed every third weekend, thus increasing the pressure.

No, no listening there.

Now, I had lived there, knew the area well and could offer some practical advice, but the Flatmate knew better because she had heard otherwise from a friend. So what's the point?

In the Law, there is a tight control on what constitutes an expert witness. It's true for the Irish, UK and US legal systems. Not just anyone can come and give expert evidence. The court will insist on scrutinising qualifications, looking a practical experience (for say a fire officer in an arson case) scholarly articles and a whole panoply of other factors to to determine whether a purported witness knows what the fuck they're talking about...I'd love something similar in Real Life, like those regulators that stop a moped using above 150cc, or those machines that won't let the car start without a clean breathalyser test.

Because really, what's the fucking point of asking a question if you're not going to listen? Why does that whole fucking world close their ears until it's their time to speak and what the fuck has happened to our generation for us to believe that everything we read, see, hear or hear-from-a-friend-who-heard-it-from-some-bloke-who-overheard-it-down-the-fucking-pub?

So in future, if anyone asks me a question, I'm going to be really 100% accurate in my answer, or just not answer. Because when the entire world is so eager to talk, and no-one will listen to anything which is contrary to what they think they know, why fucking bother?

*end rant*

Saturday, September 25, 2010

So, I'm trying to break into radio...

So, following the train-wreck that is my legal career, I've decided that I want to pursue a career in radio. My parents, and their incessant desire for a 'plan' for my life, have been badgering me more than a pesky badger trying to convince a fisherman to give him his fishin' worms. In other words, very badgery indeed, and rather depressing.

Parents have that great ability to summarise what you do in negative terms. It's a skill that comes with being a teacher and trying to promote constructive criticism. Sometimes though, it's just fucking annoying.

"What's the plan, son?"

"Well, I want to work for a year, maybe try and get a part-time job and try and get some work placements or experience with a radio station before enrolling in a masters next year."

"So, you plan to bum about for a year?"


I won't even tell you what they say when I tell them that I'd love to someday write for a career.

Anyway, I'm trying my bestest, and I'm ploughing my way through work experience applications. The stations that I applied for today are....

BBC Radio
NME Radio
Capital FM
Fun Kids Radio
Heart Radio

...and that's just the London ones.

I also tried Jazz FM and Heat FM but unfortunately they don't take work experience folks. Smooth, non-job-giving bastards.

So, if I'm trying to get a job in radio and I'm not employable with any of these guys, then I might be slightly screwed.

Slightly? Totally.

In the pushing-Marlon-Brandon-up-a-potholed-hill-during-a-mudslide way.

Anybody have any hints or suggestions? Cos Marlon's looking hungry, and I smell of fried chicken...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From my notebook - Thursday 23rd September 2010

I am in an overheated Aer Lingus tube-with-wings watching a trickle of early morning fliers file past, as tinny Tchaikovsky is tannoyed from, it seems, every seam of the grimy plastic fuselage. I am in an exit seat, the extra leg room and worst-case-scenario responsibility compensating me for the fact that I am beseiged, three rows deep, by a party of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-English golfing couples.

Hatchet-faced women in pearls and dyed bobs call in cheery stings about the how good the wine was with dinner last night and the men, red faced and all organically yoghurty, unashamedly berate each other with staccatoed guffaws about the sand trap on the twelfth hole and enquire how their egos will ever recover from 'that' double bogie.

They are all wearing pastels, trews, tank tops and sweaters. I'm half-hoping to see a man with plus-fours and a tam o' shanter, but no. They all look like neon fucktards that were bought in the 'special and smug' section of the Early Learning Centre's golf aisle. The men have been dressed by colour co-ordinated wives whose crookedly bleached teeth speak of liquid wealth and a chronic lack of imagination.

I am in Hell.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy-Go-Fucking Lucky McPositive and the Fork in the Road...


That's the noise of a bad moment, a little percussive volley as my corpus callosum is rent in twain and my head explodes, brainz n' all, like an egg in a microwave.

So about 5 months ago (Monday the 12th April in fact) I wrote a piece about my ill-fated and toe-blistering initial attempt to get back into shape as part of my (woefully inadequately fulfilled) 101 things to do and haven't really written anything since.

A cynic would suggest that my pot bellied attempt to be less dough-like stopped my brain working for almost half a year, but I don't think that's the case.

Basically, I had an exam in June, but thanks to the dual forces of working two jobs, and being a lazy earfucker, I managed to fail...spectacularly. Then, after spending the summer studying...I failed again. And lost my job as a lawyer.


So that was yesterday. Now I'm one of the 99.9999% of the world again. I have no fucking clue what I'm doing with life.

Since 2008 I've been approaching my career as a lawyer who was going to become a writer at the first opportunity. It was comforting; financial security, quite prestigious, challenging and keeping with the 'artist' bullshit scenario that we all paint about ourselves in our minds.

That's the problem. When you spend enough time convincing yourself of a fact, it becomes all too easy to see it as a truth. Now I have to rethink some other things about myself that I though were true, like being a great lover, having the physique of a gladiator, or being an original member of The Sugarhill Gang.

So cut throat corporate law is probably not for me. Small-town Atticus Finchery maybe, but not the Michael Clayton red-braces-and-Porsche-Boxter type. Some cliché is coming to mind about heat and kitchens, but it escapes me.

So what now?

I think the next stage for me is a masters degree of some sort. I've been looking at either an MA in radio production or print journalism. I want to give the writing future an actual attempt.

What do you think? Become a nicotine/adrenaline headline jock or an NPR/Radio 4 type doing radio dramas and producer 'Gardener's Question Time'? Both sound good.