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The Eventual Fall of Boris Johnson

 

International politics is something that we in the United States barely pay attention to.  It is an appalling window into just how hollow and ignorant we are as a culture, so self-absorbed and self-important that we can only see elsewhere as something vague and beneath our concern–certainly below our flickering interests.  Most of the rest of the world is aware of this (other than the numerous equally self-obsessed nations that have taken a page from our burning book and pointed a finger at the outside world as the impurities that ruin their selfish vision of the world.)  It is why there is so much resentment across the globe, so many more closing borders, and so much paranoid hatred swathing through the huddled conversations in bars and households every single day.

 

But perhaps we should all take notice of the recent and easily predictable ascension of Boris Johnson to the head of the UK government.

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Do not get me wrong; regardless of the image I selected for this man, he is certainly not stupid.  No, this was selected because it is the closest to a picture of Donald Trump that I could find.  Boris Johnson is a Trumpian figure, regardless of his much longer and far more successful experience as a long time right-wing opposition figure.

 

Interestingly, Johnson was actually born in New York City, something that here in the States would have immediately disqualified him from becoming head of the government.  He was then, of course, still a British citizen (actually granted dual citizenship in the US), his parents wealthy enough to offer endless opportunities to their son.  They seem to be decent enough people, caring for their child and educating him for the success he would eventually plunder.

 

He went to Oxford, and at the time followed in his mother’s side of the family’s intellectual path of embracing liberal politics as the salvation of the world.  Johnson’s family background is remarkably diverse and the end result of what he has become, as a result, is thoroughly baffling, his hard-line one-nation (“Make England Great Again,” or something along those Brexit infused lines) stance contradicting not just his family history, but also his own youthful ideals.  He comes from Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and evangelical Christians.

 

Johnson’s great-grandfather was a secular Turkish Muslim named Ali Kemel.

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He was at first a very liberal journalist, condemning the rising tide of Islamic extremism in his homeland.  Forever an opposition figure (and something of a hedonist), Kemal was once exiled from Turkey for a few humiliating editorials he wrote about Sultan Abdul Hamid II,

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but when the Sultan was deposed by the revolution of 1908, Kemal returned and became at first one of the most famous journalists in the nation, before abandoning his convictions to join the new government.  He remained steadfastly opposed to the radicalism of the Young Turks,

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the party who had led the revolution.  While Kemal sat on the sidelines, the Young Turks rapidly splintered into warring factions seeking absolute rule, from the Liberal wing to the far Liberal wing, with a handful of absolutist radical terrorists thrown into the mix.  Eventually the government of the entire Ottoman Empire was overtaken by “the Three Pashas”

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who, as the above states, were responsible for the Armenian Genocide, which saw as many as 1,500,000 people slaughtered, most of whom were starved to death.

 

Kemal, meanwhile, had become the editor-in-chief of Serbesti, a liberal newspaper that seemed to condemn everyone, from every side, attacking the stinking extremism that was overtaking everything on the build up to World War I.  Kemal got the job, in fact, after his predecessor, Hasan Fehmi,

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was murdered by unknown assailants while crossing a bridge into Istanbul.  Kemel himself was murdered in 1922 after being kidnapped in a barber shop while being groomed en route to his own trial for treason.  Two days later the military managed to intercept the kidnappers, and claimed Kemal.  They dragged him into a town square where there was a mob waiting for him.  The hired, outraged people began kicking and beating him, eventually hanging him from a tree.  People hurled rocks while he was choking there, against a tree.  They beat him with sticks and jabbed him with knives.  Eventually thick cudgels were used to bash his head in while larger rocks crushed his ribcage, and eventually his heart.  His bloody corpse was then hanged from a wall into the city with a parody of his name on a sign hanging across his chest.

 

But how does this impact the modern day Boris Johnson?  His maternal grandfather was Sir James Fawcett,

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a master of international law, who served as the UK’s first representative at the United Nations.  He later became the chief counsel for the International Monetary Fund, then a member (eventually president) of the European Commission of Human Rights, where he was a frequent barrister arguing at The Hague, accusing numerous figures of crimes against humanity.  Fawcett was yet another liberal in Johnson’s family history.

 

Johnson’s mother, Charlotte,

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is an artist.  She married Stanley Johnson,

who is a well-regarded author, and served as a Conservative MP for a number of years, opening up the divided political influences in young Boris’ life (by the way, ‘Boris’ is the man’s middle name, Alexander being what he was known as in childhood.  ‘Boris’ was selected as a result of his Grandfather and mother’s friendship with a Russian diplomat.  The name is used because Boris believes it has a more populist flair to get to the “ordinary folks” behind him.)  Stanley has written heavily on environmental issues, even being awarded a Greenpeace award for his diligence.  Also, with six children of his own, he has become a loud voice for population control.  These days he wanders around, writing his books, and enjoying a heightened celebrity status because of who his son is.  The above picture is from a British magazine.  The article that accompanies it is titled “I Am Cooler Than Boris.”

 

Boris himself has always been opposed to the majority views surrounding him.  He resented his mother’s liberalism and began turning right.  But his father’s conservatism put a stop to that, gearing him to left-wing issues in a state of confusion over what defined morality and human decency.  Boris has subsequently become something of a ranting clown.  This upper class, extremely well-educated and articulate man has decided that what the British really want is a buffoon leading them into an uncertain future where it is every person for themselves.  He plays this part marvelously.  He attempts to charm some of the dictators that Donald Trump has befriended, and has even kissed Trump’s ass enough to allow the sociopathic US President to let Boris kiss his ring.

 

But Boris Johnson, for all his many flaws, and every stupid thing he has to say publically; for all of his open prejudice and bigotry (clearly politically expedient moves in a divided society)–for his obsessive focus on leaving the European Union without a single idea of how England can possibly economically survive, listening only to a froth-mouthed, rage-filled radicals shouting for blood, Boris Johnson is destined to be yet another in the long line of British political failures, his government I suspect collapsing in less than a year.  Once Trump abandons and condemns him for his environmental policies (most likely, if not some stray humane suggestion Boris makes that he does not truly mean), the truly hard-line followers of his movement will abandon Johnson too, seeking someone far more radical, someone less of a cartoon character and perhaps an actual true monster, someone looking to end Democracy throughout the United Kingdom (and the rest of Europe if they are lucky.)  Boris Johnson is merely an interlude, I fear, before the world truly cracks open into the next all-consuming war.  He is yet another symptom of the decline of human civilization.

 

 

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Life Intervenes

 

A brief word: Today we have some rather extensive home remodeling being undertaken.  This will last for the next week or so.  I do not like composing these pieces on my phone and I do not actually have a laptop.  I am old fashioned with most of my writing, or at least to the extent that I use a desk top computer (I used a Brother Word processor long after it have relevance, like a modern age old man tapping away on his Remington typewriter.)  My fingers are far too stubby to make a go of a long piece on my phone, the number of typos too much for me to keep up with.  Regardless of the textual, grammatical or typographical errors these narratives are sometimes peppered with, I try hard to correct them in the limited time I have.

 

Anyway, I will be pretty quiet over the next few days, perhaps a reprint, maybe an in the moment commentary, but nothing too substantial (unless reality calls for it).  If nothing else this should give me time to finally complete my research for the last part of Elsewhere 4 on Scandinavia.  Thank you for your patience and please check out some earlier commentaries.

 

 

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What I Meant to Say

 

Last I spoke about the ridiculous Democratic primary draft.  I had small expectations and my cynicism has been thoroughly justified.  This weekend I have been far too busy to waste my time with the coming bullshit political rumble.  No, my children, who have spent the past month away from home (both to our joy and our subsequent consternation) have returned to us.  We are excited!  We even made plans to hide out in an air conditioned movie theater during this oppressive heat wave and watch The Lion King as a family.

 

But I was, and continue, to talk about politics because that is what it comes down to in the nearby future, right?  I much prefer to focus on my family, and our late summer trip to Niagea Falls, and increasingly farther north into Canada (we are all huge fans of Canada), and yet you can rarely find me focusing so exclusively on myself in the light of the worldwide horrors that seem to propel our every day.

 

The recent “draft” for the Democratic primaries was a painful thing to watch.  Poor Brianna Keiler had to repeatedly explain what was about to happen before shuffling and declaring the no chance candidates’ placement for the coming debates that they will be ignored within.  Victor Blackwell firmly shuffled the plastic cards like a true Las Vegas dealer, splattering out the also-rans who might fuck with the top tier; then the fundamentally gorgeous Anna Cabrera, a very capable anchor, divided the true hope’s of the Democrats and the nervous identities of the Trump cultists, declaring who might be yelling at each other come the end of July.

 

It was less of a joke than I presumed, and even more meaningless than I’d propounded.  Hopefully more than half of these assholes disappear after the next debate.  I hope that my next discussion of these people is far more limited and therefore much more serious.  In the meantime, and as a no value sidebar (other than to mutual baseball fans), whaddya say to Cody Bellinger winning NL MVP even if he leads the league in nothing?  There.  That’s my current political beliefs–

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Previewing the Democratic Presidential Debates (Part Three): Nobody Takes Politics Seriously Anymore

 

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I am watching the run up to the 2020 US Presidential election with heightened interest, as I am sure many of you are as well (regardless of which nation you call your home).  And the Democrats and the press have just realized one of my darkest fears.  They are having a televised “draft” to see who will be facing off in the second round of debates.  I expect to see partisans sitting in the crowd (of the CNN studio), cheering on their favorites and perhaps booing their rivals.  It is a disgrace.

 

In an earlier piece I lamented the lack of seriousness voters today are bringing to the election process.  I confessed to being guilty myself, declaring “election season my second favorite sport, behind boxing.”  When I first started saying this, years ago, I suppose it was meant as a joke, or at least a satirical remark about how team-oriented different political sides were becoming.  And yet, like so many other terrible suggestions I make about the future half in jest, yet another grim fabric of our emptying soul has become reality.

 

So what is this supposed to be?  One critic says, “I think the degree to which show business overtakes content in the debate process is a regrettable thing.”  Another, in an attempt to justify the choice, claims “The idea of the passive audience has been obliterated and gone for a while.  But the ways that people feel emboldened to take potshots at the news media in ways that maybe they would not have four years ago? Now it’s just standard operating procedure.”  CNN, of course, like a politician dodging a question, did not respond to inquiries for a comment.

 

Both of these critics are of course correct.  Yes, show business invading politics is a terrible thing, something that waters down not just the social atmosphere and concern for the nation’s well-being, but it undermines the notion of Democracy itself.  Donald Trump, if we choose to blame him for anything (alongside his equal partners, the media), is more responsible for this transformation than any other leader in the history of the world.  Sure, people on TV are now bandying around words like “Demagogue,” or making the declaration that Trump has finally been proven a “racist,” (wasn’t this decided years and years before he ran for office?) and the numerous defenders of the president try to evade the issue and bring up another valid point about the rise of extremism on the left (one could easily argue the same case on the right, but, taking a page from Tea Party Republicans, the Democrats choose to focus on the more visceral, emotional issues, wrongly believing that these ideas still somehow matter to the public at large).  But all of it is a show.  The President intentionally says something controversial and then dominates news coverage, removing all considerations of anything other than “Do you support the President or not?”  Which justification can you make or which negative can you prove?  It is all a game of chance for this one time casino owner.  (I will quote yet again from The Art of the Deal to hear Donald Trump’s take on this: “One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It’s in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.”  and “The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion.”)

 

What about the other point, the claim the critic made that people watch the news exactly like a partisan sporting event.  They root for one side or the other.  They are not passive (the passive no longer watch the news, perhaps settling, in the summer, for a baseball game.)  People scream at the television or even have friends over to drink and watch the debates.  It’s a view party.  You can hear the screams and laughter, and watch the desolate head shakes when a favorite drops the ball, or a rival hits a home run.  I imagine this even goes on in bars today, both sides rooting and booing, the social atmosphere every bit as contentious as drunken football fans fighting over the Greatest of All Time.

 

CNN is having a political draft show, or maybe really a live game of bingo, the ping pong balls with names and numbers popping up and placing individuals on stage purely by chance.  This sort of dumb luck is now par for the course in our politics.

 

I am far from the only one making this point.  Plenty of cynics and unhappy pollsters are talking and writing about the same thing, and I my point is far from unique.  Perhaps what I say is even darker than those on TV, forced to defend the idea of the draft itself, even if they are against it, by entertaining us with their criticism.  But you know many of them want to say (and probably do say off set) “This is fucking stupid.”  Why?  Because this whole idea is fucking stupid.

 

More after the draft, and subsequent coverage of the debates themselves.  I hope many of you are in mourning not so much for the United States of America that we once used to be, as the collapse of the very idea that made this nation, back in an increasingly distant past, so great.

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Hope For Us Horror Film Nerds

 

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Remember when you were young, still at home (regardless of how great or terrible your childhood was), and your idea of escape was watching terrible things happening to mostly stupid people?  Then I would guess you are a horror fan.

 

This is not going to be an editorial today.  I find myself extremely busy, needing to work on several projects outside of babbling about something that pisses me off.  No, today I will settle for an advertisement (something for which I have been horrendously lax).  One of my chief sponsors is the wonderful streaming network American Horrors, owned and run by Hart D. Fisher, a legendary maverek, not just within the horror industry, but rising daily and coming to a theater and bookstore near you soon.

 

Watch Channel

 

The above link will give you access to this unique channel, filled with many forgotten and sometimes classic horror films, all uncut, from days gone by.  You have slashers flicks, demonic possession, crazy people and biker gangs dealing with the supernatural.  Many of the films witnessed here take me back to that hormonal youth when middle to high school anxieties were far more frightening than whatever gruesome fantasy someone like me imagined.

 

American Horrors also features original programming, from the hilarious Gorecast, which is kind of a Siskel and Ebert movie review show done by two profane Irish dudes, highlighting the most extreme moments of the film under examination with genuine enthusiasm and joy, sometimes taking a theme to discuss the a variety of films within a sub-genre, to paranormal investigations programs, and Horror Show, a creepy program hosted by a costumed freak (and sometimes his daughter).  There is a massive range of programming here, some of the films so-bad-they’re-good, while the bulk is an example of what true horror is supposed to mean.

 

I highly recommend this channel, available on Roku for free.  Check it out: http://www.americanhorrors.com/watch-channel/

And if you are ambitious and have made a work of horror, please contact American Horrors to submit your film for the festival.