DAY 130: And another thing…

May 13th, 2015 § 0 comments

On a day like this, when so many of my friends, or ‘friends’, are moaning about the prospect of more austerity, misery, repression, cuts, privatization and what not, there are two natural responses. The first is, as usual, to suggest that they should look on the bright side. Back in the eighties when one Tory victory followed another, when despite all the efforts of Tony Benntony_benn_cheltenha_159774a and others, Foot, Kinnock and Smith tried and failed to win elections (usually by hammering the unions, who have never recovered – remember?), many of my comrades used to promote what we called the ‘politique du pire.’ This meant that the more the Right won and the more miserable the workers became, the more they would see their true class interests and join the revolutionary party – which was pretty small at the time, and hasn’t got any bigger.

In these days when our choice  is between the feeble neoliberalism of Miliband and the brutal neoliberalism of Cameron, when things could hardly be worse, isn’t is time to gIve this idea another look? I hear little of the revolutionary party, and too much of the economy, of governmentality and dispositifs as the late Michel Foucault and his followers call them. What have dispositifs ever done for the proletariat, I say?

The second, equally natural approach is to suggest that they should be grateful that they don’t live somewhere else. Have my friends downloaded the recent report by the Israeli soldiers of ‘Breaking the Silence’  on the rules of engagement during ‘Operation Protective Edge – a complete must-read, although it’s much too long to copy into these pages? Have they seen the thousands of Facebook likes for Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s img484566call for genocide? Would they rather be living in Syria, or South Sudan, or even Russia with all those problems about war and peace and getting to Moscow (‘I am in mourning for my life’). England may be a racist elitist country with repressive police, cuts to benefits and the NHS, and dreadful weather and radio, but you can get home from the JSA without being hit by a drone strike, a tear gas assault, or a militia incursion. [But they may come.]

The good news, however, is that the human race (the part of it who live in CERN) may have managed to create a particle so extremist – according to the New Scientist, who I don’t think of as an unduly sensational publication – that it will destroy the universe. This – thinking of the phrase, the ‘God Particle’ for the Higgs Boson – is amazingly reminiscent of what the serpent told Eve about the consequences of her hubris in thinking she could be Godlike by eating apples (Genesis 3, 1-3). masaccioAnd look what happened then – pain in childbirth, pain from snakebite, hard labour in the fields. Destroying the universe might be a minor inconvenience in comparison. My sources are unclear – given that the LHC is 175 metres under both France and Switzerland – on the responsibility of the EU for the Higgs during its brief existence (Its life is reported as 1.56×10-22 secs, but it moves fast, and could cover quite a lot of ground in that time), and whether our annihilation is to be blamed on the Brussels bureaucrats or the well-meaning drafters of the Geneva Conventions. Either way I doubt if the Higgs higgscares – just as God, over and over again, seems to have paid little attention to the misery he visited on his creation. Like the Cambridges, he seems to have thought that the gift of a #royalbaby would make his people happy. But I digress.

We’ve come a long way from those elections, which was partly the point – to put things in perspective. And another thing which has been bothering me, if not you, is how on earth to make a reasonable masala dosa without days of slave labour. A dosa is not a pancake – which you can whip up before breakfast. You have, I’ve been told, to soak skinned urad dal and rice, how-to-make-masala-dosa4add methi seeds, grind them with the water they have soaked in, let the mixture ferment and rise – Christ! And then make the filling. How do these cooks ever find time to play the sitar or read the Mahabharata? Luckily, I found that you can buy packets of instant dosa mix for 99 p from Asda – Tesco’s have run out. Just add water, I suppose, and off you go.

Here’s another of Said Shoaib’s photos from Gaza – an admirable constant blend of changing moods:CE6bifVUUAEdF9K.jpg-large


The poem I’ve found about making dosas doesn’t allude to the fermentation process, much less to the elections. But hey, it’s a poem.

How To Make A Dosa – Poem by nithya raghavan

You must first pick
up your ladle compass
and draw those white rings
in a solar system,
drag them along
endlessly, till the black
eclipse circle stands out
prominently. Squeeze those
oily planets, and let
them be absorbed in
the orbit, fade off like
flickering comet imaginations.
Slap the cheeks of
the solar system with
brown roasted paperbacks.
Take the double-edged
stainless steel square spatula
to separate the white art
from the black board and
dropp it on a plate,
Victimize the thick bangle set
with side dishes ready
to be feasted by Gods…………

And to conclude my attempts to take your mind off the next five years, here’s a Sufi song from al-Andalus.

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