It’s the prettiest day Scotland has seen since I can remember and instead of being outside in it, I am groaning on the sofa. I’m trying to use being under the weather to catch up with reading but the swimmy head and cross viral eyes are not making it easy.
There really is no blog today. I am only writing this because something so sweet has happened that it must be shared with the group.
Mr Stanley the Dog has assumed a new position.
I understand that in some quarters this might be considered UNDERWHELMING. Some quarters know bugger all about bugger all.
He has decided that instead of lying beside me when I watch the racing or read a book or, as now, type with my computer on my lap, that he will arrange himself delicately around the back and arm of the sofa, so that he is effectively draped around my head.
I don’t know quite why I find this so ludicrously sweet, but I do. And it is obviously very important that you should know it too.
Talking of sweet, I just saw an article in this week’s Speccie saying that people aren’t sweet any more. It managed to blame liberalism for this.
Sometimes, when I am feeling a bit weak, like today, I find it slightly tiring being a feminist, single, childless, liberal atheist. The religious people think I have no morals; the right wing think I am a fuzzy idiot who wants to nanny state everyone to death; the traditionalists harrumph because obviously we feminists hate all men and are working to undermine society from within; and the family values crowd say I am selfish and pointless because I refuse to mate and reproduce. The Daily Mail hates me on all four points. So, just sometimes, when I see a perfectly respectable periodical blaming liberalism for a reduction in people being sweet, I decide I have had ENOUGH.
I’m generally very polite to the right wing. I quite agree with some of their ideas. Others trouble me. I stretch and contort to understand their small state, free market ethos. I nod agreeably when they speak to me of the inefficiencies of bureaucracies, like the NHS and the BBC. They seem to like it when I do this. At last, they think, a sensible liberal, who can see our point of view. But then I turn out to have a point of view of my own. If they give me NHS screw-ups and government inefficiency, I offer them, very mildly, Enron and Lehman Brothers. At this point, they decide I am not so charming after all and go red in the face and start shouting. (Not all of them obviously. Some go very, very quiet and give me deathray stares.) Enron, in fact, is my touchstone for why the unfettered free market is a load of buggery bollocks. But apparently, in the bigger argument, it does not count.
This Speccie piece on sweetness is another old right wing meme which I have never quite understood. It goes, to paraphrase The Big Chill: we were great then and we’re shit now.
I’ve never quite understood why the right loves to wheel this intellectually cheap, empirically incorrect piece of old horse-burger out of the closet. You can hear the creaking from three fields away. I was going to knock it down for you, but I can’t actually be fagged. I could give you chapter and verse; I could show my working. But the fact is that I, and all of you, will have people in your life of unmitigated sweetness. You will have kind people and funny people and touching people and people who do something to make the world a better place. You will all know young people who make the new generation glitter with their energy and brightness and goodness. In a wider sense, you will have observed that despite economic crash caused by the free market fundamentalists, charities are still working and society is still functioning and people are still doing crappy, unsung jobs for not much money with amazing amounts of good grace.
And really, the reason that I don’t have to knock this argument down is that the sole piece of evidence that society was sweet then and is cynical and selfish now concerned some actor from Dad’s Army. Anecdotal Klaxon goes off; please walk quietly to the exits and stop universalising the particular.
Also, I wonder, when people make silly, grumpy arguments like this: have they ever heard of projection?
Stanley has gone to sleep now. The sun is beating in through the windows. I literally sat down to write two sentences to tell you how there was not going to be a blog today because I felt too ill. And then forty-eight paragraphs just fell out of my fingers.
Ah well, sorry about that.
Photographs are of the New Position:
It starts off with a bit of window duty:
Then moves into delicate paws:
Channelling Audrey Hepburn, even though he is a fellow. There is no male equivalent of this level of elegance:
Slight posing fatigue now:
Because I think there is a race about to come on at Market Rasen:
And then full-blown chorus of PLEASE RELEASE ME, LET ME GO:
So funny, the Pigeon and the Duchess used to get the exact same look on their faces when they had had enough of posing for the camera.
I was thinking of them yesterday. I was thinking that I believed no one would ever fill their shoes; just too big a pawprint for anyone to match. But I must say, this fella is coming fast up the outside.