Month: August 2015

The Way We Speak

You know what? I fucking hate the language we use to describe some of the most important and complex issues. There’s a vocabulary that’s been adopted to “take the edge off” the nastiness and difficulty of what’s happening around us.

For example, desperate people fleeing war-zones for safer places are “migrants”, not “refugees”, while Brits fleeing Barnsley for more leathery skin are “ex-pats” not “migrants”. immigrants can be “illegal” while still apparently registered and claiming state benefit at a much higher rate than a native Brit. Such are the tricks used by government and media – and subsequently the people of the UK – to skew the coverage and make cracking down on the foreigners more palatable.

Take, for instance, this obsession every politician seems to have about finding “humane ways of dealing with the migrant situation” as though their first thought was simply to hack them down with a rusty machete until there’s nothing left but a sort of purple mush. I’ve grown up to hear the word “humane” used mostly when referring to animals, not people. We have “humane” farming methods, “humane” puppy breeding programmes and even “humane” slaughter. I’ve never heard the word “humane” used in relation to a human being until recently. Implicit in the word is the arrogance that humans should be treated with more respect and care than “lesser beings”. To treat an animal humanely means to give them more respect than an animal would usually deserve.

So what the hell are we talking about “humane migrant policy” for?! Shouldn’t ALL policy dealing with human beings be humane as standard? If there were millions of stray dogs making moves on the Channel Tunnel every night then humane would be the kind of word used when talking about the man with a high-powered rifle sent in to “deal with them” while they slept. But these are people we’re talking about! David Cameron might think them a “swarm” but he’s a prick and hasn’t a shred of decency, along with the rest of his party.

When news broke this week that over 2,500 sick and disabled people who had been declared “fit for work” had died within weeks of having their support slashed the government told many different TV and radio stations that they didn’t have a minister available to discuss it, such is the arrogance of this sickening shower of selfish reptiles we’ve been lumbered with.

No, you’re right. I’m not very “tolerant” of David Cameron and his gang of upper-class thugs. But then, that word means something different too, doesn’t it? Britain likes to pat itself on the back for its “tolerant” stance on gay rights or even the “migrant crisis”. But the truth is that the word “tolerance” is as sickening a word as “humane” when talking about human beings.

“Tolerance” suggests we are simply putting up with those we’re tolerant of. We’re tolerant of the gays because what else could we be? It’s frowned-upon to be openly hostile anymore, isn’t it? So putting up with them will have to do. Isn’t that what the word “tolerate” means? You might “tolerate” a buzzing fly in the living room until your show has finished, when you’d swiftly smash the fuck out of it with a newspaper. “Acceptance” isn’t a much better word, hinting at a battle lost; a people beaten down.

Though maybe that’s just it! The kind of people who speak about fellow human beings – black, white, straight, gay, British or not – using words like “humane” and “tolerant” ARE the losing side in an ongoing battle. They are dinosaurs hanging desperately on to the ability to say Gollywog and not get punched, for what reason nobody knows. The people who talk of “humane ways to deal with the migrant crisis” are either thinking of the people in Calais, or those dying in the Med, as animals or are pandering to voters who do. And no. I’m not very tolerant of those people.

Sometimes I’m sad about the state of the world. Sometimes I find hope in the fact that there are loads of people who, like me, aren’t racist pricks. But mostly I’m ashamed to breathe the same air as someone who would describe a fellow human being in such dehumanising terms. As far as I’m concerned these people are the lowest of the low and the people at Calais are a hundred times better than them.

RHLSTP!

You may already have read that me and my wife have been watching Castle for a month on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Every time we go to play a new episode the service tells us that, for as little as £19.99, we can BUY a digital download Season Two to watch whenever or wherever we like (despite that being exactly what Amazon Prime is giving us anyway). That’s not bad value; 24 episodes for £20. That’s less than £1 an episode! Not bad, right?

Rich-002

Well this is even better value: We’ve also been watching Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast for years. Over an hour (usually) of hilarious and genuinely revealing interview chat with a comedian (usually) per episode. The episodes are available as audio podcasts absolutely free of charge, have been for a while. They were also available to download (for a small price) as videos. Shamefully, I only ever bought one.

But now there’s a way to get them all on video! Richard Herring is “Kickstarting” his next series of RHLSTP – as he did his last – and, for as little as a quid, you could have access to hours and hours of interviews. That’s less than 10p an episode when spread over the series. Less even than that! But why limit yourself to just a quid on the Kickstarter? If you want to pay a quid, go to GoFasterStripe and buy one of Rich’s contributory “I Paid A Pound” badges. If you’re backing on Kickstarter then pay more and get perks!

There are some awesome goodies up for grabs and as soon as I can I’ll be backing him myself. Why not take a look at what’s on offer here and check out the videos Rich has already generously made available for FREE on his YouTube channel, here.

Honestly, it’s the best fucking show on the internet. You won’t regret it.

Castle

Castle-Season-2

I haven’t been very well lately. I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease which resulted in me only being able to walk short distances, with the aid of a stick. This led to me spending much more time in the house than I’d have liked. Being cooped up in the house 24/7 has been a nightmare. Add to that that this last two weeks have easily been the most stressful of our lives and a picture emerges of me and Aimee having a generally miserable time of it. Luckily we’ve had Castle to keep us distracted.

Castle is one of those formulaic American crime comedy-dramas where there’s a cop and a quirk. This show’s quirk is that the cop is Kate Beckett, homicide detective driven by the desire to solve her mother’s 20-year-old murder, and her sidekick is millionaire novelist Richard Castle, who is shadowing Kate as research for his books which feature a character based on her. It’s the kind of show that “themes” its episodes: There’ll be a case involving a father and the long-lost daughter he never knew he had while, in Castle’s life, he’ll be dealing with questions from his daughter about who her absent grandfather was and why Castle has never sought him out.

Sure, it’s a bit cheesy at times but, boy is it good fun! There are seven seasons of the show on Amazon Prime Instant Video right now, with an eighth season in the pipeline and in the month I’ve been unable to go anywhere or do anything we’ve burned through three whole seasons, clocking in around three episodes most nights. We’re loving it! Stana Katic (the one with the knot necklace at the end of Quantum of Solace) is amazing as Kate, a vulnerable yet no-nonsense woman in a man’s world. She bursts out of the screen. Castle is played by ex-space-cowboy Nathan Fillion with all the likeable arrogance and grudging charm you’d expect. Slap on a supporting cast which includes the cutest daughter in history, an hilarious mother, two competent-yet-comedy cops and a whole host of oddball crims and you’ve got yourself a show that we can’t quit.

No spoilers please, but we can’t wait to see if Beckett and Castle’s will-they-won’t-they relationship will be a will or a won’t. The characters in this show are so, so easy to root for. While I’ve been in health-based confinement I’ve looked forward to nothing more than cuddling up with my wife and chuckling through the next chapter in this great show! If you haven’t already, give it a go.