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This will not be much. Thing is I have not really reacted to it up until now, as my mental “wiring” makes it rather difficult for me to form any kind of emotional response to events that aren’t happening right in front of me, and at the same time make it seem dishonest to try and feign one. Of course, I would like to hope that anyone I know in or around that area is safe. I offer my condolences to those who have suffered losing someone close to them in this attack. I can but imagine what it must be like to go out hoping for an enjoyable evening you were looking forward to for some time, only to have to be caught up in such a horrific incident. I might like to point out that, on the plus side from what I have heard, there have been some great positive examples of humanity being shown in people willing to go out of their way to help others. Including, lest anyone be prejudiced, from Muslims. This is certainly heartening

My main concern, as with any such attack, is the fall-out from all this. From the usual responses of hate or fear-mongering from the far right and professional shit-spewers like Katie Hopkins and the “final solution” tweet, and the anti-Muslim backlash that might result (it seems only hours after someone attempted to set fire to a mosque in Oldham, though of course whether it was connected, I dare not speculate). Or of the necessity of having the army drawn in to accompany armed police officers in patrolling key sites (perhaps slippery slope thinking this is one more step down the road to martial law). Or whether, with campaigning for the General Election rightly temporarily suspended, the Tories might try and gain capital from this the way the Thatcher government gained from the Falklands, in being seen to deal with this issue? (Never mind the possibility that cuts to police and security services in the regular sense upped the risk of this in the first place, and thus likely quelling any thoughts of the slippery slope nature). Is my saying this trying to make political capital out of the deaths of people? Perhaps, however at the same time do we pretend the aims of the bombers themselves are not political? That the inevitable fascist and far-right backlash is not political? That there are bound to be some people bringing up past associations with groups branded terrorist (rightly or wrongly is beyond the scope of this article and I dare offer no argument either way besides) to attack Corbyn and McDonnell with? That the nature of the government response is not in some way a political matter, subject to political scrutiny? Yes, there needs to be time to mourn, and time taken for the government to put in place some kind of emergency response, but as some people have said, it is almost like we are letting the terrorists get away with disrupting our democratic processes. 

In conclusion, yes, it is right to mourn. Fear and anger, moreover, are perfectly natural, understandable responses for those affected. But there is no reason to let go of what our true values are supposed to be, let the powers that be trample on our civil rights, or give in to misdirected hate or blame. And it is no reason for the rest of us to live in the abject fear some might suppose we should.

…is there a hole I can hide away in, call it Lyniezia, and ignore the whole thing for the next 2 years at least?

Or maybe better still, some meaningful thing I can do to benefit society and the world around me that doesn’t involve caring about either?

Any ideas? (Apart from the obvious, if you happen to be related to me).

… I will get round to writing a new post. And a lot of other crap.

Won’t *entirely* be about a man I will refer to only as Drumpf. He gets far too much attention already. But he will be in there. So will Brexit. And other crap. Would that it were that the world were a nice, easy place where one never needed to comment on awkward stuff. But there it is.

Or maybe I should just stick to the anime reviews and the Jenny Everywhere. (Which I wonder if it does not contain certain awkward stereotypes as is).

Well, this is a short post just to let you know that I am alive, well and hope to start posting more of my thoughts on this here blog. (Oh yes and, people who didn’t know I have a blog, I have a blog. ) WordPress tells me it’s been nearly a year. Of course, you’ll say, we’ve heard THAT one before, haven’t we? Well, true. But there have been ceertain other reasons besides my usual sheer laziness. One of which is perhaps a year of spending a lot of time worrying about certain faith matters before getting to the point that, all things considered, maybe it would be better off not having that faith at all. That is to say, I have come to the point where if Christianity (at least in the sense I believed it) is going to be worth following, it had better be true: its demands are so great that it had better be worth it, and there had better really be a God out there able to make us into the kind of people who can follow it. But, on closer examination of reality, how much of the evidence seems to point the other way? Just which claims, interpretations of scripture, etc. are true and which are not? Is this God everybody claims is really there and working in their lives, really there, or is it just all coincidence and tricks of the mind? All in all, I concluded, it probably was not. Unfortunately not all of my Christian friends might no about this, and I have also been hesitant to make it public. Partly out of fear it might upset the faith of some, partly as a lot would try to react with surpprise, tell me I haven’t really stopped believing or try to bring me back into the fold. Well, I have no objection to you believing what you want, if it is true for you then as long as it harms no-one else, I have no problem with it. But do not expect me to believe any longer. I hope perhaps to address this in more detail in future posts. In the meantime, I have this whole EU election thingy (even if it ends up being last minute again and affects nobody’s opinion or vote) and reflections on certain very nasty murders that have taken place in the last week or so. Not much fun, sadly, but needs comment. In the future, who knows? Maybe I’ll write that big ideal democracy post (my ideas have shifted on that), some stuff about capitalism (short: it has many shortcomings and needs to be replaced, eventually), and maybe more fun stuff like anime reviews, wry observations, silly rants about inane nonsense… oh yeah, and I forgot that Jenny Everywhere story.

Watch this space.

(In memoriam to the victims of the Orlando shootings, Jo Cox MP, and all victims of senseless violence everywhere.)

I would like to wish all of my readers a happy 2014, a year I hope holds considerably more promise than the tumultuous 2013 (and maybe, in my case, a job…)

Review of the old year to come, with possibly a little bit of ranting. I may just start from scratch instead of repurposing an old draft article I never finished, which I was going to use.

Well, the presents have been opened, the Midnight Mass has been gone to (at an old church I used to go to but left as wasn’t sure about it- but sometimes I bother to return…), and the relatives… haven’t arrived yet.

Still need to bag some for the others and write out the rest of the cards before they do.

And with the way things have been changing with benefits and the Jobcentre, I’ve at least had to search for a few more… it’s Christmas, beepit! But best to be on the safe side.

(Once I get any outstanding jobs applied for, I might just have a few things to say on that general matter…)

Well at least I got the June Christy CDs (currently playing in the background) and complete poems of Emily Bronte I was after. And a rather amusing “A Very Klingon Khristmas” book (yeah, one-time Trekkie here, sadly, who still watches it sometimes). [ERRATUM: I am told the Klingon book was from my sister, and the other presents listed were from my mother, when previously I had assumed they were all from my mother. This inaccuracy has been removed.]

(Who is June Christy, you may ask? By the seems of it, a now sadly neglected jazz singer. The fount of all knowledge tells all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_christy)

Well if anyone should be reading this and wants to share their Christams experiences, feel free!

And a surprisingly quiet one, but for the odd premature firework.

Well, it is technically Christmas, surely? Are there not traditionally 12 days of Christmas, ending on 6th January (Epiphany)? Of course it doesn’t mean we all need a partridge in a pear tree, but even so!

(And yes, I know I’m cutting it fine leaving it until now, but better late than never…)

I thought the second part of this post- which would have been the first part but for the fact I was a. basically too lazy and b. well, Christmas day isn’t exactly the ideal time for updating one’s blog- should be dedicated to decidedly Christmas-related musings. After all, there’s plenty of the utter madness this blog is partly meant to be about, in the practice of Christmas, and plenty of other stuff worth thinking about.

Of course, this time of year is so often derided for ending up being about exactly the opposite of what it’s supposed to be. If you’re Christian, you might well bemoan the fact that modern society has secularised things, and forgotten the bit where it’s basically supposed to be about, you know, the birth of Jesus, not about jolly bearded chaps and their red-nosed reindeer, and certainly not about the basic worship of Mammon, whereby people must spend inordinate amounts on presents, extravagant and gaudy decorations, food drink and so on, the shops beginning perhaps as early as September or October, and if you don’t, the gods of the economy will punish you with low growth, business failure and job losses. And if you so much as mention the Jesus bit, the PC crowd will jump down your throat because it might upset  Muslims or atheists, who probably don’t even mind. Whether or not you are a Christian, there are other concerns, too- the materialism also, the bit where it’s supposed to be about peace, goodwill and having a good time when often it is anything but- all the stress of buying presents, preparing Christmas dinner (I am sure my mother will have words with me on that score) and falling out with the family who come round to share it (so some claim).

Now it might be worth pointing out, that maybe Christmas is based upon pagan festivals after all- like, say, the Roman Saturnalia or perhaps the birth of the sun, the Norse Yule, and various other things connected with the winter solstice. Maybe when the church became established after Roman Emperor Constantine co-opted it (creating the Catholic Church and its Eastern equivalents in their present form) these things were simply Christianised, and it’s fair to say that we don’t know if Jesus was actually born anywhere near December- some suggest mid-September, say. My Presbyterian friends don’t bother too much with it, and don’t seem lacking in their Christian faith or witness for it one bit. Another guy- evangelical Christian from America, naturally (not to do down the nation, but it seemsthey’re always from America, this sort) appeared on TV, as part of a programme on theories of what the star the wise men saw was, trying to point to an astronomical phenomenon which did appear on December 25th- so maybe it was the date after all. Either way, traditionally it has become the date which celebrates Christ’s birth, and it is a time when some folks are still inclined to go to church and do the Jesus thing more so than at most other times of the year, so it can be a worthwhile witness.

There are secular observations I can add too. Firstly, the time we bother with Christmas. As I pointed out, it is well overdone in the commercial sector, often with Christmas relate goods being sold months ion advance. Then, over the tannoys, in the media, Christmas music, TV programming &c. comes out at least by late November or the beginning of December. Works Christmas parties are several weeks before Christmas day. And then, by the time the day is done, along rolls Boxing Day… and the sales start, and as if the mad shopping frenzy which preceded Christmas (right up to the Eve) didn’t leave folks with retail fatigue, back they all go again as if nothing happened. They can’t get through the doors fast enough. And then it’s back to work, and it’s as if Christmas is already over, all we have to look forward to is the New Year, and it’s not like Christmas doesn’t last for days to come. Yet, if I recall right, our mediaeval forebears continued the festivities for days after, all the way up to Twelfth Night, and didn’t go back to work ’til the following Monday (‘Plough Monday’)*. After all, in the dark, cold, miserable time of year, we need something to cheer us up. And is this the best time to still be working? The thing it, we have it all the wrong way round. If we started Christmas on December 24th (Christmas Eve), didn’t concentrate it into one mad day of meal preparation, gluttony, drinking, falling out and Morecambe and Wise repeats, and kept going after that, into January, we wouldn’t be quite so miserable come later on, when it’s still the dead of winter and there’s nothing to look forward to. There’d be no concept of ‘Blue Monday’.

Yet sometimes it seems, perhaps Christmas is a waste of time, if it’s all about materialism and isn’t even that Christian. But, nevertheless, I’m not giving up just yet.

*Then, it was perhaps one of the few times in the year, if at all, they actually got any time off.

…there will be a part 2, honest! Should be up by tomorrow, or had better be! And it will be meatier.

…both of them. [/sarcasm]

[More to follow!]