Thursday, 23 June 2011

Jetpacks, Jerks and Rip-off Merchants

It's time once again to describe yet another fine argument I've got myself into about war, the future and conspiracy theories. I don't relish these discussions but I do attack them with gusto when they arise. They normally happen over at Steve's pub and are normally fuelled by innocent drinking games, two much real ale and the imbibing of obscure shots known only previously to the proprietor. Last night was no exception. A perfectly lovely occasion (Shannon's 18th birthday) became a war of attrition around midnight when the all-too familiar discussion about all-modern-warfare-being-about-oil ensued.

I am of the opinion that an awful lot of wars are not exacerbated by the IMF and global industrialists wishing to cash in but by people having genuine grievances against the actions of the people that govern them. Often they are about one religion not liking another religion. Often they are about a nation fighting back against another nation's imperialist aggrandisement. When other nations join in (particuarly the US and UK) we are fed the same line that they have only got involved because of the presence of oil. The Falklands War - Oil. The Gulf War - Oil. The present horrors in Libya - Oil. The current train of thought suggests we are helping out The Libyan people because there is profit to be made by a positive outcome. This is the only reason we're there. Conspiracy theorists will maintain that we are not similarly helping the Syrians because there's no oil there. I happen to think we are not helping The Syrians because their government have been mad bastards for years and that delicately placed as it is, piling into Syria would quite possibly lead to a genuine world war and even we're not that daft as to be encouraging another one. The last World War (in Europe at least), I would argue, was against Nazism.

Nazism was a rather unpleasant thing and although its early doctrines may well have been based on equality, it was a particular brand of equality that only really included white people - and white Christians at that. Last night's argument was about the factual accuracy of six million Jews being slaughtered in the holocaust, who exactly had coined the phrase "holocaust" and further, what were their motives. I will simply say that my position was simple: regardless of precisely how many people were killed/supplanted/robbed by The Nazis, it was enough to warrant the allies trying to do something about it. Furthermore, whether you use the term "holocaust" or another word of your choosing to describe genocide , it was still exceptionally evil and I'm glad the right team won. To then berate the Israelis for the situation in Palestine is for me, churlish. It's another argument for another day and there is no more room for anti-Semitism than there is for anti-anything else, thank you very much.

This man looks like Blakey from "On The Buses", who was also a bit of a tool

Oil, it would seem, is the root of all evil so it would additionally seem sensible to stop being bothered about it. There are various organisations/pressure groups/cults that look for ways to live without the Black Gold. My own town of Letchworth is a "Transition Town". Their basic edict is for us all to become as self-sufficient as possible to ease the weight we place on the world's economy and thus ease its pressure. It's very sensible and although I occasional call "Transitioners" the rather less progressive "Bloody Do-Gooders", I know it has worth and take pains myself to be as globally aware as possible, sourcing foods locally and not using my car any more than I have to. Transition Town is looking for a solution to what will happen when "Peak Oil" occurs. "Peak Oil" is the point when we genuinely begin running out of Texas-T. We are not prepared for it, but there are those out there who have solutions. One such group are "The Venus Project". Their vision of a renewable-energy driven, Godless, greed-less and money-less future is fascinating and they themselves accept that it's not going to happen quickly. Their argument appears to be that we have to educate our youth NOW, so that they can educate their youth accordingly to finally reach a point where we all love each other and share our skills willingly on a non-profit basis. They also have a nice line in things like potato-fuelled jetpacks and the ocean's currents powering our iPhones. All of these things are freely available on the net and are food for thought. Take them with a pinch of salt though, like anything else. One man's conspiracy theory is another man's conspiracy.

One Man who cannot be accused of having his own stuff is the bloke I discovered this week to have nicked a song of mine and has possibly been using it in his act for over a decade without my knowledge. I'm not going to name and shame him. I'm not even going to say which song it was, just that I've been in touch with him after being alerted by a fellow comic and the situation appears to have been concluded with a "cease and desist" order. I hate to say "Watch This Space" but I have a feeling this is not the end of it. I mention my own issue because my friend Jim Tavare is currently involved in a far bigger issue for a comedian, that of identity theft. Someone has not only stolen his material but appears to have stolen his look, his act and even the design of his website.

Jim is left, the other fella is not right

My previous blog suggested that nineteen out of every twenty people are, ahem, not particularly nice. This is a big problem for Jim and I wish him the best of luck in his attempts to get the man stopped. The 19/20 theory is also a rather bigger problem for societies held hostage by their own leaders, nations being crushed under the weight of a global recession and victims of modern holocausts in places as far afield as East Africa and Tibet.

Whilst writing this blog, I have received a phone call from the local constabulary telling me that there is actually no cctv footage of me getting punched in the back of the head in an unprovoked attack a few weeks ago, after all. This means that it is unlikely to be pursued any further without something of a minor miracle. I think I saw my assailant in Letchworth Town Centre yesterday afternoon. He was on his bike. He is probably not more than seventeen years old. I think it very unlikely that he will ever teach his own spawn about the merits of recycling, the dangers posed to us by aggressive bigotry or "The Zeitgeist Addendum". He'll probably nick him a pimped-up Corsa for his fifteenth birthday and send him out tramp-burning.

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