Tag Archives: John Lennon

Give Me Some Truth

I discovered a collection of essays by George Orwell on Project Gutenberg Australia this morning, some familiar and some new to me, so everything else I was planning to do today has pretty much gone out of the window.

Not for the first time, I find myself wondering what he would make of recent events, when the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee is being called out on a speech which contain more lies than facts, and the same campaign’s pollster can espouse a breezy disregard for those who seek some kind of factual basis for the claims made in political advertisements.

It looks like the era of ‘spin’ is finally over, not with a return to honesty, but because politicians have realised that they don’t have to give much more than a slight appearance of sincerity. Lie with a knowing wink, the loyal base believes whatever matches their own set of values and prejudices, the other side howls and the partisan bun-fight continues for another news cycle.

Forty years go by and you realise how little has changed:

Truth has now become such a debased currency, relative to who is making the claim and who to, that I almost hesitate to recommend an article which takes as its headline ‘The Truth About Mitt Romney and Bain Capital‘. Yet Taibbi’s writing about the antics of Wall Street – before and since what he calls The Great Recession – has been consistent, long after other commentators have ducked out of an examination of what went wrong.

In this latest article, he shows how Wall Street darlings such as Bain Capital operated – with a ruthless sensibility – closing previously healthy businesses, paying huge bonuses despite looming bankruptcy and never being unafraid to take a government bail-out:

A takeover artist all his life, Romney is now trying to take over America itself. And if his own history is any guide, we’ll all end up paying for the acquisition.

It is the exact opposite to the image the candidate projects and one I doubt many avowed Republicans will be able to stomach, instead preferring to attack the bias of the writer, as evidenced by the comments section below the article. We all hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest, as Paul Simon sang. So it looks as if the short-haired, yellow-bellied sons of Tricky Dicky will be with us for some time to come.

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And so this is Christmas

It’s a predictable question for this time of year, but one which needs to be asked again.

And so this is Christmas
And what have you done?

What exactly?  Covered yourself in glory? Or featuring repeatedly on the naughty list?  How can you tell?

It has been a year of such rampant evil that you are probably safe in thinking that your minor misdeeds will be easy to ignore.  After all, YOU didn’t steal billions to pay your mates fat bonuses.  YOU didn’t poison thousands in West Africa and then try to gag elected representatives when they asked questions about it in a legitimate forum.  Nor did you kill a single villager in Afghanistan with a mis-directed drone or even vote for Jedward long after it had ceased to be funny.  No, all in all, you have had a pretty good year.

But perhaps the Ten Minute Steak went down the wrong way.  Or perhaps it didn’t but is instead fuelling the anger: look at the French, they eat tons of steak and they are always angry!  Perhaps that is a good thing.  I say ‘enough’ to sitting quietly by, no more letting them off the hook for the crap deal they sell us.  Time to stop shrugging the shoulders and wearily copping out with a weak ‘but they’re all at it’.

It’s true, of course, they all are.  But they can only do it for as long as we allow them to.  So together, let us make one resolution we can hopefully stick to beyond January 5th.  Namely that we pledge to stop letting these tossers get away with this shit.  My language may be foul but my intentions are no less sincere for it.  Tomorrow we will start talking about how we do it. 

Maybe it comes as a result of being back in the hometown or maybe it is a result of this being one of my favourite Chrimbo songs, but some words of John Lennon’s bear repeating this Yuletide:

If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.

The thing the Sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.

Hope this becomes more than a possibility fifty years on.  That this time it’s a good one, without any fear.

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