Healing

I finally went to a doctor, something I hadn’t done in years. Why not? In case I was ill of course. This is what stops people (OK, men) seeking help – the fear that we might need it. If you went there to get health booster shots or something we’d turn up every week. But to discover that you might really have a flaw, a weakness… Well, many men would sooner die. Many do.

I had a strange little spot on my leg. Every time it seemed to grow bigger – which was about every time I looked at it – I thought Oh no, should have seen a doctor before now. I’ve probably left it too late. I’m gonna die.

And then I’d ignore it again, for I am a manly man.

And thanks to getting myself a fantastic new phone for Christmas, I’d discovered another way I might be going. This is not a spin they put on it when they promote these health and fitness apps, is it? Get the new BitFit, find out you’re gonna die! My one has a doobry that can measure heartbeat. It tells you what is “normal”, and what is not. Mine was not.

Way not.

But by using my kneecap for leverage I finally got myself through a surgery door. And I’m so glad I did. The doc was nice and soon put my mind at rest. Yes that heart rate is quite elevated, she explained. But this means you’re badly unfit, not that It’s About To Blow. The thing on your leg you thought might be a death sentence for the last few years? That’s an old insect bite.

Well, she used words like “tumour”, “cyst” and “fibroid”, but thankfully it had nothing to do with cancer or cystic fibrosis. It was just a scary name for a weird kind of scar which, despite being in Latin, is perfectly harmless.

And she gave me anti-inflammatories to deflate the knee. As I suspected it was just a wrenching of the cruciate ligament, which in layman’s terms is the thing that keeps the lower end of your leg attached to the top end. I was very relieved to hear that surgery is not usually needed for this. Seriously, there are countless parts of my anatomy I would sooner have cut with sharp knives than my knees. But just in case, I’m on a waiting list to see a specialist too. And with the state of our medical service, there’s every chance that I’ll be completely healed before my appointment! Excellent.

Speaking of healing… It’s a week since the Charlie Hebdo massacre now. I wonder when the healing will begin there, or what form it will take. Nothing that’s happened since inspires much optimism, does it? We’re still going through the inflammatory reaction. A display of formation hypocrisy by the world’s leaders, evil and brainless “revenge” attacks on mosques, and of course promises of tough new laws right across Europe.

What, because the murderers took advantage of a loophole in the current anti-murder legislation? Do they think if a law is broken that means it wasn’t strong enough? It’s a kind of superstition, a fetishisation.

“Terrorism happened, we must make laws!”
“But terrorism is already illegal.”
“Well then we’ll make some other things illegal!”

And so there will be new powers of surveillance, new crimes of saying things that might lead to terrorism – the attack on public speech balanced by an attack on private speech. Perhaps it’s like the man with the hammer; for legislators, a problem is a thing that isn’t illegal yet.

The best response to terrorism is to do what you were going to do anyway.

Fantasy Roleplaying Murder

Templar Cross
Templar Cross - The Internationally Recognised Symbol Of Creepy Fantasy

He signed his murder manifesto ‘Andrew Berwick’. Why an English name?

Perhaps because England has a ready audience of hate groups and neo-nazis. He denies he’s any sort of nazi, but the manifesto is an appeal to the same old foreigner-hating urges. Though if anything, he’s too conservative even for the British far right. The rant really is a form of Christian conservatism, but taken well past the point of parody. He’s against sex outside marriage – and marriage for love. It sounds like he’d be happier under a traditional Islamic regime than most Europeans.¹

When it comes down to it though, I believe he took this English name for no deeper reason than that it was his fantasy. To be a mediaeval English Knight Templar. A bizarre image of himself as semi-mythical hero that he took far too far. I have to be clear here; I’m not casting aspersions on genuine fantasy roleplayers. Those people dress up and act out fantasies for fun, they know they’re doing that. Berwick dressed up and acted out his fantasy for hate and evil. He was willing to commit murder based on stuff that he had basically just made up.

This is tragic. Innocent people died over stuff that Dan Brown wouldn’t use in a novel. Stuff that is, to be blunt, just silly. A Marxist plot to make Europe Islamic.

Has there never been a Muslim plan to take over Europe? Of course there has. Loads of them probably. Muslims have their fantasists too. There are no doubt counterparts to Sir Andrew composing their unhinged manifestos about how they will reconquer Spain or personally lay siege to Vienna right now. And though his claim to be a member of a covert organisation is in all probability self-delusion, there will be other Berwicks too. Hopefully none of these assholes is quite deranged enough to launch another act of pointless barbarism, but it’s not something we can bet on.

What I am willing to bet on is that Europe right now faces more danger from its racist, far-right murderers than it does from their pro-Islamic equivalent.

 

 

  1. In passing, his manifesto also contains a surprising amount about the the cultivation of sugar beet. It’s in the context of course of using it as a cover to obtain nitrates for explosives, but the level of detail seems excessive. I think he kind of got into it.

Anti-Islamic Terror?

That’s the front of tomorrow’s Sun. Needless to say, it’s a Murdoch paper. What, you may wonder, is the evidence they have that links Norway’s massacres with Islamic extremism? The main clue would probably be that Al Qaeda sells more papers.

The little actual evidence so far seems to point to a home-grown rather than pro-Islamic terrorist threat. Not that it couldn’t be both of course, but several Norwegian news sources – TV2 for example – has stated that the suspect arrested had connections with Norway’s far right. VG, the major Norwegian tabloid that was caught in the blast, says the suspect described himself as ‘nationalist’. It appears that he was an outspoken opponent of immigration and of Muslims. So it may well turn out that this was actually an act of anti-Islamic terrorism. The irony would then be almost too much to bear.

But you wonder, does understanding the political motivation behind this actually matter? The most salient feature of an ideology that thinks it’s all right to kill people at random is that it thinks it’s all right to kill people at random. There isn’t much ground for further discussion. We may as well say that the attack in Oslo was carried out by The Evil Ones and leave it at that.