“God, it’d do your head in, wouldn’t it?”

Vincent Browne, the acrid archangel or smiling serpent of Irish political discourse with three decades of discoursing behind him, did not say the above in a manner full of energy and disgust. It was said in a sigh, an exasperation of will during another period of pathetic political performance, circa the Cowen phase. Given TV3’s audience numbers it may have been missed by the majority of the nation, but Vincent’s sad state of mind undoubtedly represented their feelings on the establishment. The country’s collective head was so done in at that stage the pain in our collective consciousness could not have been subdued by any level of collective Solbadene capsules or forgotten about with collective stociousness. Still, Fianna Fáil’s loss of power and the manner in which it occurred provided the country with some respite in many a witty headline, “Fianna Fáilures”, “Fi-NAH Fáil”, “Fianna Fáil-Out of Office”, “Fianna Fall From Grace” but these proved not to be near to the cure. Our head was not done out, so to speak, but this leaving of office presented us with an opportunity for change, something we hadn’t bothered with during the previous decade of apathy borne of grandness, and maybe this possible shift in governance would cure our head’s poor concave ailment.

However, and as funny as it may seem now, with the election that followed quickly after, there was still hope. The Labour Party was claiming to have the only road map to financial independence and dignity and appeared as an honest to God legitimate option as a main party, while Enda Kenny seemed to nearly come true on his threat to electrify the Fine Gaelers into power. Even parties whose legitimacy had been constantly questioned, and by that open remark I exclusively mean Sinn Féin, were looking like real choices, actual alternatives. After more than a decade of Fianna Fáil + Friends governance, after the need to get someone to blame for financial collapses were being laid very comfortably at their door, the actuality of a government full of actual alternatives was serious and was real.

Ah. Life. Oh Life. Oh lifffffee. Oh life. Do-do-doo-doo. Ah.

The Labour party has, as all Labour parties have done, shown its main core party value to be that of compromising itself beyond soft socialism and into the dead centre, evident in coalition with Fine Gael. Water charges, homelessness, and welfare cuts have showed the complete lack of will that Labour has and shows the disconnect between parties and the people they supposedly represent.

This new thinking iss visible in the seismic loss of Fianna Fáil seats, the rise of independents that no one is ever really sure about and the advent of Renua Ireland and the Social Democrats. With Labour at anywhere between 7-10%, in some polls even 4%, and Fianna Fáil at 21%, Fine Gael around 28%, Sinn Féin balancing around 20% and independents on 25% the polling unsurety is surely unsettling for an electorate that has been comforted throughout history by the fact that there would always be, at the very least, a government of some sort. What in the name of Ivor Callely silk pajamas will happen?

Who will go out with who? Will the Social Democrats lose the good will they have gained and go into government with Enda or Martin and be eaten alive like the Greens and PDs before them? Or will civil war politics finally come to an end, not by virtue of a new government forming free of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil but by a government of solely themselves?

Romeo and Juliet

Or will we all be blind sided and in fact be shocked by a Troika of the AAA/PBP groups along with the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin taking the reins? Or will something magical happen? Will we overcome and actually turn away from the establishment parties which have been corrupt in basic and plain public sight? Can we become hopeful again and lose our jadedness?

Well, Vincent won’t be holding his breath. Not with the illness, nor with hope. And really he has seen it all before, God love him. At least he can relax and sit it out. His mercies are small, but they still are merciful. He might be distracted. He might smile. As with most things, we think about a problem less once we don’t see it.

Don’t like what’s going on? Don’t look. It might help.

Otherwise, it might – proverbially speaking – do your head in.

VinB

Oh How I Love Thee Dear Vincent Browne

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Everything is Shit & We’re All Going To Die

I will just cut to the chase. Recent events have made me mental with anger.  When I heard the UCD 200 story break I was angry but not surprised. It was just one of those horrible things that’s always there, you know, like the homeless crisis or the drug issues or systematic racism – you know that they’re there, they exist but because you don’t agree with it and think it has no place in modern society that in some way the issue must be spiraling downward given how equal and liberal you believe society is with the same-sex marriage referendum or the massive push behind the movement that wants to repeal the eighth amendment in the constitution.

But no, everything is shit. The story about the scumrot of a facebook chat group broke and we were reminded of rampant sexism in one of its most harrowing forms. Harrowing in that the invasion of privacy and intimacy was smashed and harrowing that is was widely accepted as real and many people came out with stories of their own experience with likewise groups.

This behaviour is not exclusive to Agricultural Science students. It is very much part and parcel of lad culture. It was not nor is not beyond the realms of logical thought that such a group would exist. There was a natural disgust.

Then the news came from UCD that after their own internal investigation that there was no foundation for the claim of this chat being in existence.

Some of those who were disgusted by the story were thankful it was not real but still made a point that the fact a story like this was not seen as far-fetched showed an endemic problem in sexism and lad culture today.

Others were less convinced by UCD’s report, citing the track record of such a group existing before and the little nuggets that without any student coming forward with evidence they could not further their work. Also, the fact that without these the social media providers help in the form of a court order, they could not help them in their investigation into things that are not publicly available.

And then there were some people who were not just happy the chat hadn’t existed, they were delighted. Their happiness did not grow out of the opening of a frank discourse about revenge porn or men’s attitude towards the other sex with the dismissal of the groups existence. They were not happy that another fucked-up issue brought about the thought of how feminism is necessary for equality to be attained.

No.

With their delight was an added bonus of the feminazis being wrong. They were wrong about this HA! In your face you said they were sexist and weirdos so fuck you you were wrong

There was a victory, not in that something disgusting didn’t exist but that lads were not to blame and it was the overreaction of feminists who were to bare that brunt.  No conversation on progress. Just finger-pointing. A blame game. Men were touting this ‘lad culture’ unashamedly. Bitta banter. Few lads. Having a laugh. No harm. Didn’t happen. Get over it. No moral arbitration swayed an argument away from the absolute crux of they were wrong about us, so therefore anything YOU say is invalid.

In spreading the word of UCD’s internal report through utter condescension showed what they were at. They were purposefully exacerbating the inequality of relationship and understanding between the sexes.  And all because it only helps them and their standing they are prickly belittling prats.

I felt ill reading reactions. That people, that mainly men were ok in thought process. That they were actually thinking these things and writing these things down and probably saying these things out loud. And that they were proud of it. And then I turned off the computer. There was a little part of me that was sure there was officially no hope left.

But then I thought, Don’t worry! There’s no need for progress or equality or even basic human understanding; we’re all going to die! And that was nearly a nice thought.

 

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Knob Another Knobcast Podcast

Well folks, just a dainty little reminder that the very aware and slightly unstable group of us at Knobcast – is Knobcast a place? – have climbed another near automatic foot up the procrastinator’s escalator  of achievement. We have reached our tenth episode which funnily enough, is episode ten.

Care for comedy, nonsense, the alphabet and some half-baked and/or half-alright ideas on the militarisation of our Celtic nation?

Then take a listen here.

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