DAY 195: Christmas etc

December 10th, 2016 § 0 comments

This may be the first of the new generation of ‘shorter’ posts which I announced a week ago in desperation, when I realised that all my creative energy was going into Facebook; since as I said (on Facebook), I thought a post had to be 1000 words long. I’d forgotten about Modernism; if Webern can write three cello pieces which add up to two minutes and 22 seconds; and if, in the even more extreme era of Twitter, you can get 140-character novels (twitter novels) like this one from A. L. Kennedy:

It’s good that you’re busy. Not great. Good, though. But the silence, that’s hard. I don’t know what it means: whether you’re OK, if I’m OK.

then surely a fifty-word blog post is allowable.  This anyway is going to be in between, it being breakfast time on Saturday with no one about. I can’t bear to write about the state of the world right
Screen Shot 2016-12-10 at 09.26.54

Supreme Court discussing Brexit

now; but here are some musings prompted by Isis Aurora Mera. We (and many others, as happens in these exchanges) were discussing inequality and Christmas and the responsibility of parents in teaching poor kids that rich kids get a better deal at Christmas, and why. Or not, if you follow me. And whether kids also learned the lesson, so often promoted on Facebook and elsewhere, that their families are wonderful, so it doesn’t matter if they’re rich.

It would take me more than a post to dissect this widely held belief, marshalling the evidence on both sides. Here’s my own experience, if you believe it. About sixty-five years ago, my parents were a bit strapped for cash. They were by no means grindingly poor, but they had made the mistake of sending me to a school where most of the kids were filthy rich. But that’s another story – or is it the same? So, about this time, just before Christmas, they came into my bedroom to tell me that they couldn’t afford a ‘big’ birthday present, and I’d have to be content with the piano score of The Marriage of Figaro – which, tbh, I wouldn’t have chosen if it had been up to me.

They didn’t tell me that our family would get more money in due course; (which was true); or that we were happier than families with more money (which would have been dubious). What lessons are children meant to draw from these comparisons anyway? Normally, over long experience, I’ve seen them not get that they want and learn that that’s the way life is. And that happiness is a different question altogether, it comes and goes as you get sick or suffer breakups. I’ve been moderately happy for most of my life, and particularly in the last year – but that’s temperament, and that may have been my parent’s fault too. Why I don’t envy those of my friends who have better health, or more fun, or more beautiful bodies, or more money (to return to that) is simply good luck. 13709905_10100436465369543_614918931758165180_n I early learned that if the world is bad (and it is) it’s mainly because of structural inequalities (class and race, and later I learned about gender and so on) which will get better, not by moaning about them, but by fighting them.

That’s not to say that’s the way I’ve spent my life. If I had, the world would be a much better place and I’d be totally exhausted.  But it’s OK as a philosophy. Now Jessica comes along and confuses me by asking is war a continuation of patriarchy by other means? After a lot of coffee and hard thinking, I feel: don’t confuse your contradictions. War’s war, class is class, racism is racism, patriarchy’s patriarchy. Fight them all at once, however complicated this may seem to be. Then take a break, have a party, and unwrap your presents – if anyone has given you any. And you can dance to, or discuss the significance of, ‘Sorry.’

 

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