It’s Hip to be Square

Let’s get one thing clear, American Psycho is a comedy. That needs to be understood before you read it. It’s a comedy about yuppies and how empty-headed and shallow they are: it’s about how far too much money and far too little imagination can cause you to begin to shrink your world, until you live in such a self indulgent cocoon, you cannot even spot the raving, murdering lunatic in your midst. That is what Easton-Ellis is telling us: yes, yuppies are that shallow.

This is a well-constructed work because it causes the reader to suffer from the same syndrome that grips the minds of most of its characters – only in reverse.

We have the self-obsessed city-boys, interested in the correct clothing labels and getting reservations at the right restaurant, and us, the readers, obsessing over the violent scenes of rape and murder, and – both us and them – missing the point entirely. The violence and murder are simply incidental to the plot, they are not the point. They serve the same purpose as a piece of misdirection performed by an illusionist. Just as you look the wrong way, the conjurer pulls a stroke.

Patrick Bateman is as hilarious as he is twisted: a perfectly tanned, toned and attired Metro-Sexual killing machine, drowning with pleasure in the very selfish excess that he despises, and yet must conform to the rules of. He maintains the required trophy girlfriend and adheres religiously to the latest men’s fashion, has membership of the most exclusive fitness club, styles his hair with a surgeon’s precision and forces rats into the vaginas of his victims.

There’s no accounting for taste.

His circle of co-accused are just as lacking in any sort of meaningful mental programming, treating the New York they live in as one huge private boys’ club, with membership relying on ticking certain financial and fashion based boxes on an ongoing basis. Most of the men in this work are successful, rich and stupid, and that is the point. A second point – which feeds the previous one – is that they never step out of the world in which they consume space, therefore never catch a glimpse of their own vulgarity, and, consequently, are unable to change for the better or want to. They are the small, obnoxious building blocks, whom together, make the impenetrable wall of arrogance and snobbery that protects their false, built-on-sand world.

Even between themselves, in packs of their own kind, these men are only half aware of each other. Do they even know who each other really is? They all have adopted the habit of addressing each other by their surnames, at least a large majority of the time. This is not so worrying until a particular character is introduced, and he starts referring to Bateman by the wrong surname. Why should this be worrying? Because Bateman responds to the surname as if it were correct, unable, due to the particular etiquette at work in their society, to offer a correction. This small, comical component offers to the reader some very disturbing questions about – if you will – the depths of their shallowness. When Bateman addresses an acquaintance, does he use the correct name himself? Are they just humouring him, shackled by the same etiquette? Is any of the group of friends Bateman surrounds himself with the people he thinks they are?

This question is thrust at the reader, when after killing Paul Allen, a man he has been obsessing over for sometime, Bateman learns that the same man has been seen in a restaurant in London. This is a confirmed sighting because Bateman is told by his victim’s dinner guest. So who on earth has he killed?

This particularly gruesome murder offers Easton-Ellis the chance to have another subtle kick at the world he is ripping to pieces. The killing happens in Allen’s own plush apartment. Upon returning to clean up the mess, Bateman – armed with a surgical mask to cope with the smell – has a brief conversation with a real estate agent who is re-selling the expensive property. The agent spots the surgical mask, and Bateman spots the mysteriously clean apartment. Their brief exchange involves the agent saying she doesn’t want any trouble and that Bateman should just go. So he does, walking away from the scene of his crime utterly bewildered, his fragile mind ever more confused.

It is exchanges like this that allow us to wonder if Bateman has actually been created by the world he lives in. Is the “greed is good” culture causing his psychosis? What could happen to a person’s view of what’s acceptable, when that person lives in world which lacks substance and any shred of morality; a world where even murders can be cleaned up if there’s a possibility of profit? Is Bateman the ultimate avenger for the self-indulgence of the slick-haired city boys and their air-head women? It’s possible, though I believe that Easton-Ellis lets Bateman loose on this world because he simply thinks they deserve it.

It was people of this kind that Brett Easton-Ellis was mixing with during the second half of the Eighties; he saw their world from the inside, the celebrity and credibility of being a writer allowing him rare access. He has stated that the time spent mixing with New York’s yuppie elite convinced him that they were the sort of people he would hate to be like; though they certainly left a lasting impression on the man, and this work demonstrates that impression.

He didn’t like them much.

I said this book is a comedy, and so it is. Consider this scene. Finally snapping and deciding to kill a chap whose attentions our psycho is sick of, he strides into the men’s room to confront his intended victim, his black-gloved hands ready to strangle the life out of this irritating man. As Bateman’s hands grip the man’s throat, the victim starts to smile, feeling the first stirrings of sexual desire. The victim is secretly gay (and must enjoy his own dark pleasures behind closed doors, it’s implied, if strangulation turns him on), and Bateman’s hands gripping his throat confirm Bateman must be as well. At last, the façade is dropped, now they can be together!

The comedy runs throughout this book. A urinal cake, taken from a men’s room, coated in chocolate, and then offered as a present, provides hilarity as the trophy girlfriend attempts to eat it. Bateman dropping his veil of normality and telling people directly what violent acts he’d love to perform on them (no-one really listens to each other, so he gets away with it), whilst the empty heads just nod along, paying no attention. Yeah, yeah, man. Sounds good, let’s touch base, oblivious that Bateman is telling them he wants to dig out their eyes.

The laughs are there, just so long as you don’t allow yourself to be tricked into paying too much attention to the violence. There’s plenty of it, and most is incredibly graphic, but it’s there to catch your eye – to keep you from the seeing reality: just like the soulless drones that populate the book can’t see it either. They’re too busy obsessing about designer labels to be able to.


This Be The Worst

It might sound odd to say, but one of the problems with the reaction to the performance of the England football team is the hopelessly short memories of England fans. Take the last World Cup as an example. In that tournament England were appalling, and duly left the tournament early.

However, the awful performance was immediately spun as unimportant, because – with many new players thrust into the squad, and the ‘old-guard’ on the way out – the tournament was written off as a training exercise to prepare for the serious business of the European Championship two years later.

Now, we’re kicked out of the Euros, Hodgson has resigned, and his record is to have been rubbish in two tournaments. There is no memory to the reporting or the fans’ reactions?

Every tournament seems to bring with it an absurd ‘fresh-start’ or a ‘maybe-this-time’ mentality. Why don’t we remember just how bad we’ve been in the past and adjust our expectations accordingly? That would help armour us against disappointment.

The English public mind is in a state of denial, because it has an unjustified level of expectation in respect to the England team. If we simply accepted we are no good, the disappointment wouldn’t be felt.

Our tournament results don’t lie. Our refusal to reach honest conclusions, based on those results, is a type of lying: we’re in denial.

Are we stunned by shock, and do we wallow in disapointment, when an Englishman doesn’t win Wimbeldon? No, we don’t expect to win it, because the best English players in our mens’ game are Elton John and Cliff Richard.

If we accepted an ‘underdog mentality’ – like the Welsh have done, and it’s doing them no harm in this tournament – we would see everything as a success, and we’d feel good about the same performances which, while we hold onto the idea we are worthy of winning anything, are making us miserable.

Perspective is everything, and English football lost its perspective years ago.

The Empire’s gone; the country is a province of the European State; and our football team is useless.

The best thing for the FA to do is to disband the national team and accept it’s over. There’s no point in yet another round of boring speculation about who should get the job. What is the point in the FA appointing someone else, claiming he’s the ‘best man for the job’, having this man then go and achieve nothing whatsoever?

What’s the point?


Brexit Backtrack

Most politicians in this country will claim to be democrats, to ‘respect’ the democratic process and place democracy ‘above party politics’. It seems clear that large numbers of the Westminster elite have been hiding a sneering attitude to democracy and the ordinary voter behind their focus-group-arranged faces. This isn’t really a surprise. The surprise is that things are desperate enough for them to happily reveal their true natures.

Chuka Ummuna is the sort of super-smooth elitist who has contempt for the ordinary voter and was ‘talking up’ the sacred 48%; David Lammy – who at least had the decency to openly call the for the result to be ignored – is another.

The feelings of the 48ers must be ‘respected’? What does that actually mean in practice?

The creepiest politician I’ve seen since the result is Daniel Hannan. On the Friday morning, no more than a few hours after the result, he was on the BBC referendum programme saying that nothing needed to happen right away, and has since been getting into circulation the idea that immigration won’t be affected by leaving the EU. It is a very odd position for a ‘leaver’ to take.

Liam Fox – another one claiming to support leaving the EU – said exactly the same sort of things and asked for a period of ‘reflection’.

Why? Why not, after getting the result, should there not be a period of ‘action’?

Respect the result? No.

Obey the result.

David Cameron quite obviously made a significant error in promising a referendum on membership of the EU.  In addition, Boris Johnson knows he made a mistake in hitching a ride to Downing Street on the ‘Leave’ ticket.

What is Boris meant to do now? He’s on a sticky wicket. He got the wrong result.

I cannot believe Boris actually wanted to win. It would make his life easier if his side had lost.

The poor bloke now has to work out a way to say the right things to his party (which wants to remain in the EU) and to the country (which wants to leave) to ensure he gets the job, and he’ll also have to work out a way to renege on his Leave credentials after he’s in Downing Street, and that’ll be fiddly enough even if there’s no general election. No wonder he’s spent the weekend in the country surrounded by schemers. Now the weekend is over, and he’s back in town, he needs to set out to the likes of us what’s jolly well what.

What will be lurking under his carefully scripted and rehearsed words will be the secret desire to stay within the EU.

His words will contain no concrete pledge to enact Article 50 or to actually leave.

The only member of the political class who came straight out and said Article 50 should be enacted immediately, because the people had spoken, was Jeremy Corbyn.

And his party’s elite is showing yet more contempt (this time for their party’s membership) by trying to get rid of him, when, in party terms, he’s got a mandate the size of Jupiter to lead.

This is what will happen:

Corbyn will be got rid of and the leadership of his party will back in clutches of interchangeable political careerists.

Boris will become PM and will delay the Article 50 question and allow it to be forgotten in an ocean of waffle and ‘there’s no need to rush’ posturing.

The British people will go along with this. The British won’t care in large enough numbers because too many of us will be concentrating on our star-signs and picking our lottery numbers.

This Is Not An Exit

The Irish voted ‘no’ to the Lisbon Treaty and this was the wrong answer, so they were made to vote again.
Doesn’t that tell anyone anything about the EU?
The Lisbon Treaty used to be called the ‘EU Constitution’ but the EU had to change the name because ‘constitution’ made it sound like a constitution.
It was good they did.
Changing the name meant many countries in the EU didn’t have to hold the elections they promised. The British government promised us a referedum on the EU Constitution, when the EU changed the name, they reneged on this. It had a different name, therefore it was a different thing.
Doesn’t this tell anyone anything about the British political class?
It is quite depressing to hear what I thought were intelligent persons repeating, parrot-fashion, platitudinous rubbish they’ve heard on television, or seen on a front-page, as if it were their own opinion.
They stroke their chins and say “we need access to the single market. I’m voting in” because they like other people to think they have considered opinions
Then, they go back to watching Eastenders, feeling content because they’ve “had their say”.
Liberty and freedom are wasted on some people.
These human-sheep don’t know the difference between a common market and the single market. The difference is the same as the difference between a public park and a large prison excercise yard.
Now, the political class is all over the media getting into circulation the idea that nothing whatsoever is going happen because of this result, and that nothing will change.
This makes ignoring the result much easier because the public are being primed to expect nothing. The significance of the leave victory is being played-down.
All the suited politicians need to do is keep a straight face and not sweat too much.
I hope those who voted ‘remain’ will now be able to see what the EU actually is, and feel a modicum of shame for their stupidity and gullability.
It’s unlikely, however.
Somebody who didn’t know what the EU was after the Irish incident will NEVER be able to see what is in front of their faces.
This is not an exit:

Brexit Bullshit

The following words were spoken by David Cameron, the Prime Minister of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

“I’m absolutely clear, a referendum is a referendum. It is a once in a generation, once in a lifetime opportunity and the result determines the outcome. If we vote to stay, we stay, and that’s it. If we vote to leave, we vote to leave, that’s it. You can’t have neverendums, you have referendums.”

He is talking about the vote to leave the EU his side lost two days ago.

Read the words with care. Note the three statements of the obvious which sound like he’s saying something else.

Yes, a referendum is a referendum, and yes, the result of the referendum does dertermine the result of the referendum; oh, and yes – if we vote to leave, we certainly have voted to leave.

What’s strange is that many persons have come out to protest the result, saying that they dislike the result and so want another vote. Such people don’t understand how these things work. The complainers could have kept their intolerance for democracy hidden.

There is no need for them to fight for another vote when the result of the one they lost will be ignored.

It is true that, these studenty types are so clueless about politics they don’t know when they’ve won.

Enacting Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (which used to be called the EU Constitution, and we were promised a referendum on it; but they changed it’s name, so the government slimed out of the referendum it promised) will NEVER happen.

We will NEVER leave the EU.

Lisbon Treaty

The In House Drive-by

London Has Fallen is the worst film I’ve seen for a long time, and that it has received (so far) a rating of 5.9 on IMDB is one of the mysteries of the universe. 5.9 on IMDB is unimpressive, but trying to reconcile gravity with the Standard Model would be easier than working out why this film has received an IMDB rating twice as high as it deserves. It really is appalling.

The problem with the film is that it tries to be ‘serious’ yet is predicated on the stupidest premise in fiction: the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent enemy.

America itself is personified in one man, Mike Banning (Gerard Butler): a hero so good at what he does, so fucking American, that not even God can kill the President when Gerard Butler is around.

In other words, goodness will always survive when America is there to protect it.

The omniscient and omnipotent enemy is the laziest type of convenient enemy to have. We see that the terrorists have infiltrated not only the British Army, but also the British police, and done so to such depth that terrorists are (somehow) sufficiently undercover to be vetted for official ceremonial duties, and can whip-out the old shooters at just the right time. What would be the back-story for just one of these under-cover baddies? How did they get in the police station and listen to the first briefings? How did they get in the barracks and into their uniforms without being noticed or questioned? How did they drill themselves to walk in step?

The enemy is God, here. Only God can do anything; only God can put anything or anyone anywhere He wants. This is one reason why the film fails. It is an excuse for a lot of preening and posing by Mike Banning.

(Footage of an American body-builder, in stars and stripes pants, poncing about on a stage for an hour and a half would have offered the same message, and a more credible one, too, because the stage on which the posing happened would have had a solid foundation.)

Banning’s doings are the usual ruthless-yet-witty-action-hero-by-numbers fare. Consider two absurd examples.

Banning has grabbed a terrorist while driving at speed in the obligatory chase-scene. The bad guy is leaning in the window, and Banning has grabbed him by the crash-helmet. The terrorist is deeply committed to his cause, and says to Banning: ‘fuck you.’ Banning replies, ‘fuck me?’ and then deliberately swerves the car into a barrier, decapitating the terrorist and leaving his severed head in Banning’s hand. ‘Fuck you’ he tells the dead head.

What is going on, here?

He decapitates the guy in reaction to the insulting language, so we are free to ask why Mr Banning is so easily offended. What would Banning have done had the terrorist not said ‘fuck you’?

His witty quip is without any irony. When the Terminator, or John McClane, offer the old one-liners, there’s an element of self-deprecation, and an acknowledgement of the movie universe in which they live without acknowledging they are fictional characters; but Banning’s ‘fuck you’ isn’t that sort of one-liner. Who is he talking to? The terrorist is dead, so is his line and sense of humour for our benefit? The only thing missing here is Banning looking at the camera and winking after chucking the head out the window.

That Banning doesn’t look directly at us when he speaks doesn’t mean the line isn’t spoken to us. The decapitation scene unintentionally breaks the fourth-wall, and to break the fourth-wall unintentionally is unforgivable. It means the director and writer(s) don’t care about the psychology of fiction, or the relationship between fiction and the audience.

The second example has Banning use the expression ‘fuckheadistan’ when suggesting the bad guys might want to go back to where they came from.

It’s daft enough that the apparently loving, caring, soon-to-be-a-father nice-guy slowly tortures a man to death to annoy another bad guy listening over the radio (making one wonder about Banning’s stupidly unrealistic light-switch personality) but to use such a hicksville expression is to appeal somewhat to the Toby Keith foreign policy school.

These are two examples of straightforward absurdity, and more could be offered.

For instance, where do the millions of London’s public disappear to? As Banning and Mr Goodness-personified run about through London, we are supposed to take seriously the idea that the public will simply vanish, leaving our two heroes alone in a deserted capital city which minutes earlier was conducting a normal day’s business.

I mean to say, this is just stupid.

Deadpool can be taken much more seriously, even though it’s a comedy, because to be a stupid film is perfectly acceptable if the film knows itself, and isn’t pretending to be anything else; but London Has Fallen presents itself without any irony or humour and without any tongue in any cheek: it wants us not laugh out loud, but to punch the air shouting ‘Go Gerard!’

Go Gerard?

Fuck you.

Priests versus Nurses

The news review magazine, The Week, once had a front cover depicting a nurse running through a hospital ward, obviously in a terrible hurry and clutching an armful of books and university diplomas. She was ignoring the patients, and who could blame her? She had degrees to earn. The point was to suggest that making nursing a profession which required additional academic excellence might dissolve a basic human element from that profession: Caring for others. That cover caught my eye and pulled certain memories from my psychological hard-drive.

When I was nine years of age, my GP diagnosed me with appendicitis and told me that I needed to go to hospital where ‘they’ might need to ‘operate’. I had been to hospital for different things – even by nine – so had no fear of hospital, but I had never been ‘under the knife’. Sat in the GP surgery with my mum, I fought the urge to cry and won. Just.

The hospital was only a five minute walk from the GP and we walked there. I was in agony, bent-double, wondering how a mild stomach-ache could become something quite so red, sharp and nasty.

The casualty department was stuffed with humans, all rushing about, going about whatever their business was. The doctors wore white coats, the nurses wore proper tunics with those paper hats pinned into their hair, and the porters were dressed like prison officers; wearing those thick, military style jumpers with patches on the elbows and shoulders. There was chaos, certainly, but underscored with efficiency, and the efficiency came before compassion and being ‘nice’. Some of the nurses – those in dark-blue uniforms – seemed quite strict and unable to suffer fools. Somehow, I was processed into the system and found myself lying on a bed in a cubicle with my mum next to me on a plastic chair. A man came and took some blood. He needed to do this to ‘count the cells’. A little later I was wheeled up to the ward – a ward for children – and settled into a bed to wait to be wheeled to the operating theatre.

After I awoke, perhaps still a little confused, I asked a nurse if I had had my operation. She said I had. I touched the area on my stomach and a small white plaster covered the area. All done.

The nurses were the opposite of the one from the magazine cover. Not once did I get the sense I was being looked after in an icy, academic environment. The nurses had plenty of personal warmth. They would come and take my temperature and slip a small glass thermometer into my mouth. ‘Under the tongue, Poppett,’ they would say. I’d watch as they held my wrist and stared at their strange upside-down watches which they all had pinned to their tunics. I didn’t know what they were doing. After this was done they would take the thermometer out of my mouth and flick their wrists – I supposed, to re-set it, then dropped it back in the plastic holder above the bed. This seemed to happen time and again. It broke up the day.

Waiting for a visit was never pleasant. I would ask a nurse (as if they would know) when my mum was coming, and they’d say ‘It won’t be long, angel’ or ‘she’ll be here soon’. They always reassured and smiled when they did it.  I’d hate watching the doors onto the ward, though. When they opened my eyes would flick up from a comic or open from a doze to see if the person coming in was visiting me. When the person coming to see me – either my mum or dad – had managed to get through the doors and a little way toward my bed without me seeing, and then I looked up, that was always the best way to notice them. That way made it a surprise. It was better somehow.

The care was excellent: straightforward with no fancy procedures or obsessions. I was looked after in a compassionate, yet ‘no nonsense’ way. It worked.

One afternoon, the local Catholic Priest visited the ward. My mum and dad were both visiting. Fr. O’Sullivan. He was Irish. He placed one of his hands on my head and spoke some words. I cannot remember the words but they were some kind of blessing, a request for a full recovery. My dad shook his hand and thanked him. (My dad is a baptised Catholic. Though a none confessing and significantly lapsed one.) I made a full recovery and left hospital. A week or so later I was visited at home by the district Nurse who removed the stitches. (This is an entirely separate story. The procedure was very painful and this woman, I hope, is still burning in hell.) That, I thought, would be the end of the matter.

My dad, however, had other ideas. I was listening to him talk to my mum and he said “I owe him, I owe him” several times over. I put it together he was talking about the Irish Priest who had blessed me and asked God for a full recovery. Well, a full recovery was what I got, so why not? Sensible if you’re a catholic, I suppose. His attitude seemed to me, however, rather dismissive of the efforts of the medical persons who sorted the problem. These include the GP, Dr Preston, who sent me to hospital; the surgeon – a Polish fellow called Dr Spit – who performed the operation, and a ward full of nurses who made sure I was fed, watered, cleaned and, generally speaking, looked after, while I was their guest. There must have been others who helped without me being all that aware of it or them. (The anaesthetist who calculated the correct level of anaesthetic to knock me out and managed to get it right so I am here to type these words twenty-six years later comes to mind.)

My mum took care of this point, however. On my last day on the ward, when I was dressed and ready to leave, she gave me a thank you card to take to the ward Sister, a friendly blonde lady. I gave it to her and her words to me were: “thank you, sausage.”

To date, I have not been Baptised and remain significantly unCatholic. I have, however, a healthy interest in nurses with blonde hair.

Pass The Sick Bag

When the press report that there are events taking place ‘across the world’ in honour of Jo Cox, one has to ask why.

All over the world?

Why are most of us so eager to show how caring we are by acting like retarded farm animals?

What we are seeing here is the beginning of the deification of a young woman and mother who is famous for being murdered. This sort of horrible nonsense happened when Diana checked-out in Paris.

I’m not doubting the woman was decent – most people are. There’s no reason to gush over the woman’s corpse and create a legend where none need exist.

Anything Goes. Again.

An imbecile has suggested the violence in movies might have contributed to the motivations of Jo Cox’s killer.

I have a question. Why does nobody ever question the violence and rape and horror which is found in poetry, drama, opera, sculpture and painting – yet the violence in popular fiction, is deemed to be morally dangerous?


Every decade has its cultural moral panic, because every decade another bunch of unintelligent, unthinking cretins become adults and begin spouting off about the latest ‘dangerous’ cultural phenomenon.

When I was late teenager / young adult in the 90s – we had the Eminem moral horror; in the 80s it was the Beastie Boys and ‘video nasties’moral horror; in the 70s it was Led Zep and Black Sabbath moral horror (You might remember they tried to turn the world’s teenagers into devil-worshippers); in the 60s The Rolling Stones were destroying the moral fabric of society; in the 50s Elvis tried to do this by swinging his hips; in the 40s Hitchcock had to have Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman kiss multiple times in one scene in ‘Notorious’ because one long snog on screen would destroy the moral fabric of society; it got so bad back then, Cole Porter had to write ‘Anything Goes’ – a revolutionary protest song against moral collapse; and back and back we go……

…In 1863 Edouard Manet painted ‘Olympia’ and this painting was shown in 1865. It caused moral outrage and panic. Olympia, bless her, was a prostitute, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the painting’s gaze. She looks directly at the viewer, making the viewer a customer. This painting almost destroyed the moral fabric of society.

It’s a miracle we’re all still here.

Edouard Manet - Olympia - Google Art Project.jpg

There’s Something Creepy

That Jo Cox was murdered is a tragedy for her family and friends, and perhaps some of her constituents, but it’s not a tragedy for those who didn’t know her, nor is it a tragedy ‘for politics’ or in any way for the country. There is a tendency, in grief – especially when that grief is largely fake – to evict reason from the mind very quickly.

There is also a tendency for one person to want to ‘out do’ the other in their public demonstration of that grief, and we (sometimes) end up with a grotesque, public-blubbing freak-show: the sort that sniffed about in the gutter after Diana exited the society.

The situation shouldn’t be made more complicated than it is. A dedicated mother and wife was hideously murdered by a man who very likely will be found to have been motivated by madness not politics. He shot and stabbed this young woman to death in the street: sane people don’t do that.

(If people are to be killed, the sane and acceptable way is to kill them is using miltary hardware. This way, hundreds – if not thousands – can be killed in one go.)

There is a very creepy aspect to the public and political reaction to Jo Cox’s death: a death which even Hilary Clinton decided to comment on.

(I’m amazed Mrs Clinton didn’t claim to have known Jo Cox personally, and therefore felt her loss more sharply than most, and just as sharply as her husband must have felt it. The woman is an organic lie-machine.)

The creepy aspect is this. The coverage and reaction seem to be tied into a feedback-loop – where one informs the other, and suggests that politicians are a more important breed than the ordinary human.

Jo Cox has been described as ‘gifted’. I’m sorry, but I can take only so much. I’ve read that Gareth Bale is ‘gifted’ – and a if a word can mean different things when used across different examples, yet in the same context, then I doubt ‘gifted’  means anything at all.

‘Gifted’ presupposes the person was was given special abilities for a specific reason; it implies someone or something smiled on the gifted and bestowed these special abilities. To call Jo Cox ‘gifted’ is to deeply – very deeply – presuppose there was somewhat angelic and therefore ‘special’ about her which justifies the vigils, hastily arranged shrines, the candles and so on. This is not fancy on my part. The words we use reveal the thoughts we have. We do have unconscious minds with thoughts we are unaware of. (We know this is true because we all know we don’t hold everything we know consciously in our head at once.)

Politicians are never ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’. Most of them are disgusting opportunists who choose politics as a career path rather than a vocation. It seems as if Mrs Cox was motivated more by the issues than by career advancement, but this doesn’t make her more worthy of praise. That’s how politicians should be.

We’re so used to having gutter-sucking politicians in our public life, that when one isn’t, it’s news. We have things the wrong way about.

Shall we take bets on whether or not there will be flower-throwers rubber-necking the funeral?