Radical Egalitarian Atheist Humanitarian Sour Old Puritans Anonymous

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Photo: Arto Marttinen

Here’s everything I believe boiled down to ten seconds of moral logic.

1)     There is no God, heaven, hell, spirits, angels, miracles, fore-lives or afterlives, and life has no inherent ‘Meaning’

2)     Billions of human beings are suffering in ways we could prevent, and that’s incredibly bad

Thus:

3)     Eradicating that suffering should be the pseudo-religious mission statement of every person and every society on the planet

Continue reading “Radical Egalitarian Atheist Humanitarian Sour Old Puritans Anonymous”

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I still hate football

football

I have hair, which I sometimes get cut. And this week, that meant talking about football.

I hate football. I hate all sport, in fact – at least in its big, jingoistic, corporate-capitalist permutation. But for the first time in my life, I now actually know something about it.

That’s because I’ve ludicrously ended up in the work Fantasy Football league (for the uninitiated, it’s a game where you build an imaginary team using players from around the world, and score points based on how your picks perform in real-world matches).

Knowing I’m about as sporty as a Gregg’s steak bake, a colleague sarcastically asked if I wanted to join in, and I said yes just to annoy him. With a squad full of players from Panama and Iran, I was already on -8 points by the end of day one. I’m aiming to do as badly as possible. Continue reading “I still hate football”

I Dumb Down: ‘The Segregation of Dissent’ by E.P. Thompson

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EP Thompson

Spooky prescience from the author of ‘The Making of the English Working Class’

Historians are classically shit at prophesising anything, but, back in early ‘60s, a Marxist one predicted the future.

The BBC had just aired a three-part lecture series attacking the New Left – the then-emerging movement of radical students and academics calling for a socialist politics beyond Stalinism and watery Western social democracy. And E.P. Thompson, one of the highest-profile New Leftists, set about writing his own talk in response.

Originally, the intention was to get it broadcast on the BBC. If Auntie was happy to transmit three hours of reactionary propaganda, the reasoning ran, it would surely have to give the New Left some sort of right to reply.

But when the Corporation rejected Thompson’s lecture, he turned it into an essay instead. Continue reading “I Dumb Down: ‘The Segregation of Dissent’ by E.P. Thompson”

I dumb down

Dumbo

I am dumb. A plodder. Terminally middlebrow. Incurably unintellectual. I know this, and I made peace with it a long time ago.

But a lot of new generation leftists are anything but. Their cleverness is astounding. Whenever I watch or listen to something from groups like Novara, I’m bowled over by their ability to hold so much information in their heads.

It’s not just facts and figures – it’s complex theoretical understandings. They don’t just know and grasp Derrida and Lefebvre and Bordieu and so many others, but they can effortlessly apply them to everyday situations in a way that makes sense.

I can’t do that. But what I can do is dumb down. Continue reading “I dumb down”