CATALAN CORRUPTION: Rumour has it that the €40m I cited yesterday in respect of the Pujol clan could rise to as much as €900m. But it is only rumour.
KIDS: Bertrand Russell was of the opinion that 'To tell a child not to make a noise is a form of cruelty producing in him exasperation leading to grave moral faults'. Must have spent some time in Spain.
OUR GYPSIES: The shoot-out last week involved our big clan with the 'Zamorans'. But it turns out these were last in that city at least 75 years ago. Since then they've been here, fighting for some of the market trading and generally losing out. Even being exiled at one stage. Which helps to explain why they tried, but failed, to take out the 'Prince' of our truly local gitanos last week. And are now said to be living in abject terror. Understandably, armed police are now patrolling the markets.
RULING THE WORLD: See the article at the end of this post for the views of a woman I first thought might be an idiot but whom I finally adjudged to be a genius.
FINALLY . . . Check out the ads of the US company Direct TV. Their campaign against cable TV is hilarious.
CORRECTION: I suspected I might have got it wrong . . . The new English school is called 'Ling-ish', not 'Lang-ish'. But 'What is truth?' asked Pilate.
IF I RULED THE WORLD
Joyce Carol Oates
In my kingdom firearms would be rigged so as to fire backward. Even as the avid gun-wielder pulls the trigger he is doing his small part in eradicating a global problem. So too if one is operating a drone—the drone-target would include whoever is giving the orders as well as the operator. Sport and trophy hunting to be allowed but hunters would hunt their prey on the ground, in the animals’ natural habitat, without manufactured firearms or weapons and using just hands, feet, and wits.
Hens, badly mistreated in our world, would be treated with enormous respect and reverence of the kind accorded “sacred cows” in India; the widely varying breeds of hens (and their eggs) would be championed as sports teams are now, with devout fans attired in appropriate clothing.
Where now there is the academic convention of a “gap year” for undergraduates, there will be a “trans-species year” for individuals of all ages during which time they would take up residence in species other than their own. Some, inhabiting animals bred for slaughter, might not return to their previous lives but would ride the jolting truck to slaughter and would not be able to escape the terrible blades that cut into their flesh, nor being hung upside-down and “bled.” However, the experience cannot fail to be educational! Similarly, those who believe that they hate individuals with skin that differs in hue from their own will be required to take up residence inside those skins for at least three months.
Nobel prizes would be awarded for the most astonishing acts of endurance, courage, and ingenuity in animal species. Butterflies, birds, fish that migrate extraordinary distances under the most arduous conditions would be honoured.
In addition, Nobel Domestic Life prizes would be awarded to individuals who have contributed inestimably to our quality of “private life”—homemakers, for instance, who have lived lives of devotion to others; individuals who may not have invented or discovered anything but who are unfailingly kind and generous and who make us smile when we think of them.
Oppenheimer Awards in Science Education would not be named after Robert Oppenheimer, mastermind of the atomic bomb, but for his younger brother Frank, a physicist blacklisted during the McCarthy period who became a pioneer in the development of American science education. Oppenheimer Awards would be given to individuals who promulgate science and humanism in public education and stand up fearlessly to the forces of censorship and intimidation.
As images projected on a screen fade when bright lights are switched on so “God” or “gods” would fade in the light of this global focus on rational, scientific education. Formerly “holy” texts would be reclassified as fantasy fiction and reshelved in libraries. Elegies and laments celebrating the lost deity or deities would be tolerated. For those so psychologically dependent upon the notional “God” that they are permanently unhinged by the loss it will be an acceptable substitute to worship cats, dogs, horses, cows, exotic creatures, constellations, scenic mountain peaks, oddly eroded rock formations and the like.
Identification with the natural world—the “environment”—would be inculcated in all, beginning in infancy. Any leftover nostalgia for God might be evoked here as the environment could be posited as a “sacred, living thing” albeit without a personality or infantile wrathful nature.
A sense of humour would be cultivated in all, especially the opinionated and self-righteous. Individuals would be required to observe themselves in three-way mirrors when pronouncing their most inane and inaccurate convictions. Their remarks will be played back to them; in the most extreme cases the individual will be trussed up like the psychopath Alex in A Clockwork Orange, eyes taped open, made to witness his or her own ranting.
Campaigning in the US presidential election would be limited to one week. Donations would be limited to 50 cents per person or corporation. During the campaign candidates will be televised with electrodes attached to their brains that will reveal if or when they are lying. As candidates speak, parts of their brains will light up indicating degrees of bloviation, obfuscation, prevarication, subterfuge and plain lying. Their scrolled thoughts will appear on screens so viewers know what they are really thinking.
Political problems that are seen as “insoluble” would be solved by a toss of the dice. Any national leader who seeks to declare war will be obliged to send their own family members into battle. Those that refuse to do so would be required to “fight it out” bare-handed in front of howling partisan crowds. As a final command—I would order the discovery of one of the director Stanley Kubrick’s lost masterpieces, which was allegedly filmed in the late 1970s.