Town vs Country: Someone has to Kill

My life has been roughly divided between town and country. I am equally confortable in either. Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s less chance of you being eaten in the country, which makes it a much more relaxing place to be.

Twas not always thus. It took us a while, but we managed to eradicate being eaten by dangerous animals from our “Don’t Do” list. We removed the apex predators, because they were eating all our food. So we killed them. Fair enough.

This means, then, that the responsibility for the food chain falls to us. I won’t explain how the food chain operates because it would be a fabric woven from assumptions and ignorance. It’s simple economics; supply and demand. Animal A eats Animal B which eats Plant C. If there are too few of Animal A, there will be more of Animal B, which means less of Plant C, which means lots of Animal B die from starvation or are eaten by Animal A. Animal Bs numbers decline and it all starts over.

We kill Animal A because Animal A confuses People with Animal B; besides, Animal B is delicious. Therefore, we need to control Animal B and Plant C to ensure that there are enough Animals B to go around.

Sometimes “control” means “kill”. Over time, some of these activities have aquired the title of “sport”, or “bloodsport”. This is where the problem lies. People think of sport as some people running very fast in a circle and whoever doesn’t get dizzy and fall over wins. What goes on in the country is not “sport”. It is Life and Death. Things are born, they fulfill their purpose, they die or are killed.

The vast majority of people in the First World have never been confronted with Death. It is alien to them. Death is something that happens to other people in far away places. It is not part of their Life, when in fact is an inescapable part. They do not believe that people have any active part to play in the cycle of Life and Death.

They do not think about the process of how food arrives in their mouth. At some point along the line, someone had to kill the cow, or pig, or chicken. Nothing that ends up in the supermarket died of natural causes. So everyone is complicit in Death. You create the demand, you sign the death warrant.

The people who work in the country understand their place. They understand that Death is an integral part of Life. What they do not understand is the reaction and attitude of people who live in cities who cannot understand the countryside.

City dwellers need country dwellers. They need them to give Life and to take it away. What they do not need to do is to question the methods. You can’t make an omlete with breaking a few eggs.

Behind Every Important Man

I’ve commented on the reversal of gender roles before; Women vs Men: The Worm that Turned, Men vs Women 1. It’s one of those subjects that polarises opinion, because you’re generally either one or the other2. And it’s a subject that will never die, because no side can understand the other’s point of view.

As I’ve said before, I think that women have always been in control, just in a different way to men. In ye olden days, men had committees and wrote bills and acts and went to war and had moustaches and let the women bring up their kids, in between doing tapestry and having dinner parties and stuff.

But I’ve always held great stock in the phrase “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”; that those who raise the next generation have the greatest influence on the future. From that point of view, then, it has traditionally been women who have held the only power truly worth having.

From my male perspective, I imagine that women – in some cases – are probably quite happy to let the men get all worked up about Clause 4b, subpara 13, and quite how they’re going to get the Leicester bypass built, what with all the tree-huggers and the negative press they’ve been getting, and get on with doing something contructive like teaching little Jimmy his Ps and Qs and about how he should hold the door open for people. As Mr Carey says in Bruce Almighty: “Behind every important man is a woman rolling her eyes”.

These days, however, we are all endlessly bombarded from all quarters with messages telling us how we should be, enforcing outdated stereotypes and sowing the seeds of new ones. The worst culprits are adverts for products that fall into the domestic field traditionally peopled by women.

Adverts for cleaning products invariably have some smart, modern – for which read sneaky and devious – women who tricks her barely cogent neanderthal husband – who she has inexplicably married – into using said product. He then proceeds to make a ham-fisted attempt at cleaning something, only to get covered in food / mud / water, at which point the woman – all pristine and twinkly – crosses her arms and rolls her eyes at the camera while neanderthal looks fat, hairy and clueless in the background.

I guess the hidden plus side for the man – and you’ve got to want to see it – is that he’s managed to get – and stay – married to a smart, modern, pristine and twinkly woman who will, after he’s made a horse’s arse of the housework, pat him condescendingly on the head and do it herself, leaving him free to escape to the shed and do whatever advertising people think men do in sheds.

But I guess that there is no chance of ever reaching equilibrium. Society functions on change. If society wanted equilibrium, if it was in someones interest, we would get it. But we don’t. So, oddly, society tends to oppose the ideals that individuals would cite as the necessities of a civilisation.

And, yes, I got all that from an advert for Toilet Duck.

1 I spy a constant. Evidently, my psyche is aware that there is a war on – and if there is, it’s a cold one – even if outwardly I would like the sexes to be equal.
2 Excepting those that are both, or neither.

Blogger’s Guilt

I do not post as often as I used to, that much is painfully clear. I have commented on this sad fact before on these very virtual pages. Mainly this is because I feel that, in order for a post to have any worth, there is a critical mass that needs be reached for the results to be useful; a sort of quantitative quality.

This editorial decision, and the aging out of the habit, means that while many posts are started, few are completed.

As I stumbled upon the somewhat dusty environs of the Palace during a rare foray into the deeper levels of my extended Bookmark hierarchy, I was hit by a pang1, the briefest stab of guilt. I felt guilty that I had not posted for so long.

But why? Why did I feel guilty? Do I owe teh internets anything? Are blogs some sort of nourishment? Am I depriving a router somewhere of the packets it requires to keep its routing tables updated? If I had a loyal readership, I would happily ascribe this guilt to the anguished pleas for mental sustenance falling upon the locked metal gates of The Palace.

I can only assume that the guilt comes from some part of me that is unfulfilled as a result, some mental spleen that has spent too long between vents.

Regardless, here I sit, typing this rambling discourse, in the hope that this imagined and undernourished organ is sated. And if it saves a router somewhere from certain death and makes it quicker for me eradicate injustice, all the better.

1Not a Pang, you understand; Pangs where eradicated from teh pipes back in the heady days of CSS 1. Many web designers met their digital end while adding marquee and blink tags, unaware that these tags were included, along with the Pangs, to eradicate these people from the pool of potential HTML authors.

Scratching that itch

One of the ways in which I help my duly protected citizenry (you) in the pursuit of awesome is the ruthless, cut-throat manner in which I manage their language skills – I correct them.

Basic communication is an important skill in surviving even the simplest first contact encounters with the local gentry, and so I do my best to equip you all as best I can and to right that which is wrong.

As such, the following are to be adhered to and absorbed post-haste:

  • Words that end “-ing” (the present participle action noun of a verb) have a “g” at the end of them. Use it. It’s a letter, the seventh in our Roman alphabet, and deserves to be pronounced along with the other 25.
  • Yes, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet. Among them are “y” and “o”. They go in front of “u” to form the word “you”.
  • With reference to the first point, you are no longer permitted to say things like “I itched it” for two reasons:
    1. Replacing verbs with their past-participle (or otherwise) gerund action noun isn’t big or clever.
    2. You didn’t itch it. You scratched it.
  • Here is the definition of gerund. Learn it. It is both big and clever to know such things.
  • When someone asks “How are you?” it is no longer permitted for you to reply “Good”. The question is not a query of your quality, reliability or general well-behavedness. You must replace “Good” with “I am well” or a similar derivative suited to the options open to you in your own colloquial lexicon*.

I go now to meditate further on the lexicographical misgivings of my charges (you) and will return to dispense further mandates when I find that I can no longer resist scratching that itch.


*Where “Good” is not among them