Posts Tagged ‘diary’

duty_calls [This is a personal diary extract written when #RIPRichardDawkins started trending on Twitter. THAT’S ALL. If you’ve nothing constructive to say, then go play outside or something.]

Well, here’s a subject for conversation. I just woke up at four in the morning to see #RIPRichardDawkins trending on Twitter. And you look at the tweets and it’s filled with the most hateful bile and garbage imaginable. And there’s no news that I can find on the net of his death. So either he’s dead, and people are mocking in him death. Or he’s alive, and people are wishing him dead. All because he expressed opinions that were unpopular. He never murdered anyone, never raped anyone, never beat anyone. To my knowledge. He just expressed opinions that people found offensive.

Now, between you and me. When Joan Rivers died shortly after expressing racist and hateful political views my response was: ‘Joan Rivers is dead? Good.’ I felt bad about it afterwards, but that doesn’t make it ok. My reasons for this sentiment: she spouted hateful and vindictive bile and garbage. In short, she said things that offended me. So I’m guilty of the very thing I’ve just complained about.

For the record, I have some (possibly newfound) respect for Joan Rivers. Sometimes she was funny (even to a curmudgeon like me). And most of all because she was unafraid to speak her mind. I don’t think you can take back what you said, so I own what I’ve said about her. But even at the time my thoughts were that it’s sad when anyone dies, regardless of their opinions. This is someone’s mother, sister, father, brother.

If you want to mock someone in death then maybe you should challenge them in life. But you don’t do it by wishing they’re dead or pretending that they’re dead. Show some respect and have some motherfucking courage.

So, Joan Rivers. I know that you’re dead and you can’t hear me. But to you I apologise. Not just to your family or your friends, to who my heart always go out to when they lose a loved one. But to you. I don’t give a shit whether or not I think you’re funny, or hateful, or even give a shit about your opinions. I’m just sorry that you’re dead and sorry that I ever said anything to mock you in death. If I had any beef with you I should have taken it up with you in life. I didn’t like what you said about Palestine? Free speech being what it is I should have countered it with my own opinions. Expressed as loudly and as clearly as possible.

And I also want to say thank you. Thank you for being an example of someone who wasn’t afraid to speak their mind, wasn’t afraid to court controversy, and (at least on the surface of appearances reputation) someone who truly did not give a flying fuck what anyone else thought about them. What do I take from this? That going forwards, I’ll try to challenge people’s opinions to their face and vocally whilst they’re alive. I’ll try to never wish anyone dead, no matter if I hate them or not. And I’ll try to never mock the death of anyone. Even if I argue with them or disagree with them. And I’ll call out anyone who does the same.

Furthermore, I’ll try to take the best example from the lives of people like Richard Dawkins and Joan Rivers. Speak your truth. Say what’s on your mind. Don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks. But at least try to do it with some style, wit and humour.

The thing I hate most about trolling? It makes people afraid. It’s the lowest common denominator. It’s not even funny.

When I saw the hateful comments trending on Twitter about Richard Dawkins, my first thought was to wander whether he was dead or not. Leaving aside opinions about his opinions, to leave snide and nasty comments on the death of someone isn’t nice. And if they’re alive, then you’re fake announcing the death of someone. More to the point, the majority of these announcements are filled with hate, sexism, racism, homophobia and pronouncements that he got what he deserved. That there’s no place in hell for atheists etc.

There are a lot of hateful, ignorant and stupid people on the internet. And I’m determined to challenge hatred, ignorance and stupidity wherever I find it — including in me.

Case in point: most of the people using the hashtag #RIPRichardDawkins” My first question back: “Did he actually die?” My reply: “I honestly don’t know. It looks like there’s no news of his death online. Either way, it turns my stomach.” And my first troll comment of the day: “a man just died, show some compassion” from a fake anon account who is retweeting fake announcements of someone’s death because they think it’s funny. And trolling people who don’t. Grow up. This will probably be my response to them. If I respond at all.

That’s it though. Do you feed the trolls? Or publicly shame them. A fake anon account with a cartoon face and no real name attached. Nobody should ever have to justify themselves to a cartoon squirrel.

I say: “You RT fake announcements of someone’s death, laugh about it with others and troll people who don’t think it’s funny. Grow up.” They favorite this response. They’ll probably say something back. Or laugh to themselves from their anonymous account. Hiding behind a fake name and a cartoon face. Their response, “i hope you don’t always react like this to deaths, you heartless wretch.” And on and on.

You know what? I really can’t be arsed to respond. This is clearly a troll and someone who thinks it’s funny. Anything you say in response will get them off. And if one starts, others climb on their backs and join in. If I was being sarcastic I’d be inclined to retort along the lines of only if I’m sure they’ll never find the bodies. Or only to yours. But it’s all venal, crass and stupid. And if they delight in getting a response then any further response is just fuel on the bonfire.

I decided to let them have the last word and leave it at that. Mildly amusing, obviously fake and stupid. Then other trolls crawled out of the woodwork and jumped on my back like ticks. Calling me a humourless cunt. Telling me to shut the fuck up. You know, the usual.

Watching their accounts (laughs at self for not letting it go) is interesting and creepy. Creepy because I’m doing it. Interesting because they’re talking with other anonymous but protected accounts. So it’s a little tight-knit community of 40-50 accounts tied together. Anonymous for their protection whilst they troll people.

I feel like an old man telling them to do something constructive with their anonymity. Like play with Lego or shut the fuck up. But maybe that’s me. Why add fuel to the fire. Why contribute to causes you don’t believe in. I’ve already come out against it in my own mind so to do otherwise would be as bad as joining in.

I’m now being followed by fake sarcastic tweets accounts and other bullshit. Move on with your day. More on that story later. We’ll be right back after these commercials.

They’re just kids, I said. Which may well be offensive to them, but it’s what they are. Just kids having fun with fake announcements of someone’s death. It’s actually kind of sad. I don’t want to be their friend but I also don’t want to be their enemy. They’re fucking kids. When you say grow up, you mean it and are old. Maybe once upon a time that dorky kid who thought it was cool to say whatever the hell they wanted with no thought for others was me. In many ways it still is. But obviously not, as I’m a grumpy old arse.

I’d probably be sad to hear of the death of Richard Dawkins. I can’t say I’m a fan of his many dickish pronouncements on Twitter. His opinions are unpopular for a reason. But I read The Selfish Gene when I was younger and it had a big impact on my thinking. Especially the concept of memes. Which is ironic really.

Still, the sun has come up. People are up in the house. People are awake. Which means I can drink even more tea and maybe eat breakfast. Much more important than tell people that they’re wrong on the internet.

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Coughing up blood in a hospital room is not the way you’ll go out. So if that ever happens, kid. You remember that. This is not the way you go out.

How will you go out and is it as close as you fear? It’s coming to everyone whether you want it to or not. We’re all going home in an ambulance.

So you may as well assume it’s coming and act accordingly. But also assume that you’ve got just enough time to get everything done.

In the words of Viktor Frankl, “Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”

You still have the opportunity to make it right.

And, you know what? To the people who say, “What you need to do is blah blah blah.”

Let your internal default response be, “What you need to do is shut the fuck up and mind your own business because what puts you in a position to judge from on-high when you’ve done nothing with your life and are just bitter about it?”

And to the complainers: “Fuck you. Fuck me too, but life is hard for everyone. So fuck off.”

Because you don’t get to be one thing or the other. You are what you are.

And what does life matter anyway? And where are the characters you expect to see. And what to do with life and what to do with death and what to do now and what to do next. And what did you do to get here. And what do you need to do to get where you’re going. What did you do last time round and what will you do different this time instead?

Every day is a do-over — it just gets harder on a daily-basis. But it’s still your life. Do what everyone else does and you’ll only have that to show for it. Nothing but the same old shit.

Allen Ginsberg got the insight from his shrink that the only thing he wanted to do was write, so do that. And he went crazy and it cost him his life but he did it and that was the right thing for him to do. He endured a ton of shit before being recognised. But he recognised himself first and acted accordingly.

According to David Burner’s ‘Making Peace with the Sixties’ Allen Ginsberg saw a psychiatrist in San Francisco, called Philip Hicks, who asked him what he wanted to do with his life. Ginsberg recalled his response:

“Doctor, I don’t think you’re going to find this very healthy and clear, but I really would like to stop working forever — never work again, never do anything like the kind of work I’m doing now — and do nothing but write poetry and have leisure to spend the day outdoors and go to museums and see friends. And I’d like to keep living with someone — maybe even a man — and explore relationships that way. And cultivate my perceptions, cultivate the visionary thing in me. Just a literary and quiet city-hermit existence. Then he said “Well, why don’t you?” I asked him what the American Psychoanalytic Association would say about that, and he said… if that is what you really feel would please you, what in the world is stopping you from doing it?

What’s the equivalent of this for you? Go do that.

And that’s where you’re going. To the road again. Back to the road where you must decide but your mind is already made up. There is no decision.

Do you want to live this life you can’t stand to live, just so you can go on pretending to be someone else, wanting the same old shit as everyone else?

Do you want to die? Maybe you’re already dead. You ran out of time before you were born. But you’ll never know. And just-in-time is no time at all.

Get on the road early or late but get on the road. Hit the fucking road.

Do you want to maybe just do the one thing that you came here to do? Live your life.

Do the thing you want to do every day. Drop the rest. Move to a quiet place and let the world disown you. Fuck the scrapheap and fuck all your so-called friends. All the so-called people in your life who think they know better than you how to live your one life.

Family and friends who all want to know what you’re doing, what job you have, what you want to be. But don’t actually hear that you want to be a writer, you just want to write, all you’ve ever cared about is writing, films, travel and art, or anything else for that matter.

That’s all you care about.

That you’d gladly trade most anything for a life filled with these things.

That you’d prefer death to living any way else.

And that so much in your life just feels like compromise because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

And it has nothing to do with being grown-up or mature or getting real. And everything to do with getting in line.

But a fixed system is never going to be fair. So why do it? What is the point?

You’ve wanted to do these things and to help people. But you’re not really helping people if you’re not being yourself. You’re denying the world the chance to see you for what you really are.

And people are irrelevant. This social presence is irrelevant. Your life and persona are irrelevant.

You can let it all fall away, even for a little while. Because you need to talk to you, and listen to what you have to say.

The only relationship you have to cultivate is with your muse. Get your money and get out to a closed door peaceful place where no-one can hear you scream. And let it all out.

Start now. You’ve got nothing but the time you have left but you never did. And one day spent as yourself is better than a life of nothing at all.

Enjoy what you enjoy. Love what you love. Do what you do. But do it every day.

Write every day. Use it as a weapon or as a tool.

What about just telling the world to fuck off and doing nothing for a while other than create?

Do you really want to do anything else?

As Mary Oliver said: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

GO.

Another day another pointless.

I’m thinking about the northern write club. There is clearly minor interest. And if it doesn’t pan out then fuck it I’m busy. And on that note I’ve got to do some stuff all next weeks starting tomorrow. And really should apply for some jobs.

Fifty words in and I’m already bored and restless. But what is there to say? And what is there to do. And why aren’t I dead yet?

It always comes back to this. But death comes to all of us in the end and soon so what’s the rush. But also what’s the use.

There is no grand meaning of life. It’s inherently meaningless, but that’s no bad thing. How could all life have one meaning when there’s so many of us? Did you expect one size fits all? Because, you know, that always helps.

And right now I’m suicidal. But also bored brainless and stupid. And I’m only doing this bit here to make the numbers up but feel bored fat tired and stupid and why the fuck am I here.

And I received a text message from someone which was kind, but I didn’t know how to respond as I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to get in touch.

I’m fucked at the moment. The realisation is that I’ve got to do something about my depression in any case otherwise I’ll be dead. Not that anyone should give a fuck about that. But yeah.

So near and yet so far. I hate living at the expense of others. I’ve made such a fucking mess of my life. That’s why I keep thinking of suicide. Either that or it’s an easy way out. But I don’t believe that as dying scares the shit out of me. Or at least used to do. But now I’m so fucking tired that it doesn’t matter any more.

I should hold Write Club this Thursday and if I don’t then I’m never going to do it. Oh shut the fuck up you boring asshole. HEY wait a minute, don’t talk to me like that. Why not? Because we’re better than that, that’s why.

We’ve achieved a lot. I just feel like the kid that never grew up and never wanted to and was always several years behind the other kids, still playing games, lost in my own little world, whilst others planned their careers.