Friday, 28 January 2022

Black Looks

“Doctor, I need to lose some weight”

“Don’t eat anything fatty.”

“You mean cut down on the fry-ups, eat fewer chips?”

“No, you weren’t listening. I said don’t eat anything, Fatty.”

The joke could have been written for Ian Blackford, the corpulent, quivering, jowl-bedecked, mountain of human blubber who makes a fool of himself every week at Prime Minster’s Questions.

In response to the usual inane inquiry from the SNP’s Clown in Residence, this time about ‘birthday cake gate’, the Prime Minster responded with a quip about who had probably eaten the most cake. Blackford – hypocritically, no stranger to breaking lockdown rules himself – was immediately supported by howls of indignation form the opposition benches, as the government rolled in the aisles.

I can’t be the only one who finds it odd that the side (the same old, illiberal, left) whose entire line of persuasion relies on making the ordinary shameful, who criminalise thought itself, is regularly enraged when others do the same. Boris Johnson was accused of what they call ‘body-shaming’, or what the rest of us see as ‘telling the truth’. (Ironic, given that he is being harangued for apparently – quite obviously, in fact – doing the very opposite.)

Fatty! Spotty! Smelly! Weirdo! Freak! The playground insults that, for the most part, spurred individuals on to improve their game are now considered hate crimes. The over-close scrutiny of the vanishingly small incidents of actual harm has become an industry. This industry seeks to define and divide. Every childhood slight has become a legitimised excuse to seek reparation; every insult is now a trigger for mental frailty and a lifelong excuse to do nothing to help yourself.

I very much doubt that the lard-arsed Braveheart gives a shit what Boris said, beyond the extent to which it might be weaponised, but the incident reminds me of a trope often erroneously attributed to François-Marie Arouet  (Voltaire): “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Of course, today, that could mean almost anybody.

Ian Blackford was not available for comment

The only people you ARE allowed to criticise – and without restraint, it seems – are old white men, preferably English ones, so clearly they cannot be in charge. (Oh, god, we’re back to the lizards again, aren’t we?) So, carry on carping; we can take it. While you’re getting angry over nothing, at least you’re not getting in the way of old, white, Englishmen trying their best to fix the society that you broke.

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