Song Of The Day – Marijuana In My Brain by Dillinger

From the compilation album ‘Cocaine In My Brain’ (2000)

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Coronavirus can be lethal, but all it’s done is place me in an anti-social, nihilistic bubble

Initially I was blithe about Coronavirus, ‘Oh what’s this, another strain of that bird flu or that Sars thingy? So what?’ For a layman such as myself underestimating Covid-19 at the start was defensible. Doing so now is absolutely fucking stupid. Despite the dire effects of not implementing the correct suppression strategy at the start, we now have British exceptionalism creeping in to the public discourse as a core justification for easing the lockdown. The pining for normalcy ‘we’ll meet again’ *vomits* is partly due to boredom but mostly fear of imagining a future that doesn’t resemble the recent past.

This rush to reopen too quickly is being inculcated by Tory morons (they’re nearly all Brexiteers you’ll notice), loons and complicit opinion pieces, just check out the shite published on this ghoulish wormhole. As Orwell rightly put it – ‘Ignorance is Strength’ and as Alan Bennett rightly said ‘they are in the grip of ideology, and ideology tends to drive out thought’. The Dominic Cummings fiasco conclusively proves how demoralised we are by it all – that ideology (and self-preservation) can be placed before the jurisdiction of the government’s own lockdown guidelines, and the public’s health, without any consequences. And just what was the new advice? Go back to work you lazy cunts, stay alert (it’s a virus, it’s invisible you cunttwats), but use a facemask if you’re using public transport cause there’s no social distancing on The Tube or the buses which we recommended youse not use. Crystal clear.

We live in an era where scepticism and believing what suits you prevails, and the bungled handling of coronavirus has finally made me succumb. Of course it’s rational to believe that this Tory government made up of Neo-con vampires is likely thinking it’s a good thing that a bunch of pensioners get offed under the guise of herd immunity. Fact is, it will save some cash. But even malicious intent can be incompetent. If protecting the economy is that important, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand have executed effective trace, track and isolate strategies that have helped them re-open much sooner, so why hasn’t something similar been implemented here?

Perhaps we’re supposed to kowtow to all of this ineptitude and let it slide because of the furlough scheme. Don’t look at it as a handout and a holiday, because we, the taxpayers, will be paying for it all. Because of this the mounting accusations that isolating, and therefore not working, is a form of selfish, lazy hedonism (“skiving” according to some cretinous twats) is unforgivable. To these people I say fuck off, you pick some fruit.

Being in Morrisons, not at home for weeks on end, is where the oddity and paranoia built by Coronavirus reaches its zenith. Navigating through indoor public spaces is nearly always a dire experience, but now there are new layers and etiquettes of mistrust to contend with. You approach someone in the aisle, look at them, try to anticipate their next move, only now it’s accompanied by them automatically giving you the ‘you’re infected – stay away cunt’ stinkeye. And god forbid you should be focused on the shelves and nearly come into contact with someone or their trolley, this is followed by a recoiling Zumba style move of two steps back and to the side from both parties. I haven’t left the house since Sainsbury’s started offering me delivery slots again. I also felt like a proper tit wearing a mask when a good few weren’t. In the absence of being tested (ho-hum) and some people not bothering to don one, wearing one feels like a waste of time. Amongst the sizable number of abstainers, its greatest effect is serving notice that you believe in science. Wearing a mask in public connotes altruism, it’s a display that you’re a concerned citizen, are serious about this, your health and the health of others. But the maskless mob clearly aren’t bothered about spreading it to you. Arseholes.

Social media has become a mechanism for confirmation bias(es). But what of public service broadcasting? I’m inclined to question whether, to survive, it too must serve that same purpose. I was in for a shock when, for the first time in eons (thanks to the additional time lockdown has afforded me), I randomly watched the six o’clock news. I was met with a wretchedly jingoistic and irresponsible BBC report from a street in some English backwater where a morass of fucking melts were celebrating V-day by having a street party where social distancing didn’t even manage to be an afterthought. We’ll meet again? Hopefully for you lot it’ll be in an ICU with no ventilators.

And, just to confirm my malaise is real, I just can’t stand this applauding of NHS workers at 8pm on Thursdays. Fucking pack it in. If anything, it reminded me of the two minute hate. The show of self-denial, hypocrisy and abdication of responsibility really grates. It’s easy to applaud someone, having voted for Brexit and a conservative government at the ballot box, isn’t it? The sheer opportunism and cynicism of parliament encouraging it and partaking to obfuscate their incompetency is equally sickening. ‘But it boosts morale’, some will say. I reckon hospital staff would’ve preferred not being overworked and not faced with a shortage of PPE at many hospitals in April. Nor had successive Tory governments essentially stunt the wages of nurses below inflation for a few years, cut funding generally (sorry, ‘improved competition’), and as a result of Brexit have made it harder for the NHS to recruit EU nationals, a good chunk of whom make up its workforce.

If all of this is considered doing enough, or the right thing, during ‘difficult times’ then count me out. Extinction is richly deserved, and you can’t get more nihilistic than that.

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Song Of The Day – Cradle To The Grave by Mobb Deep

From the album ‘The Infamous’ (1995)

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Song Of The Day – Trippin’ With The Birds by Nurse With Wound & Stereolab

From the album ‘Simple Headphone Mind’ (1997)

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Karma? Tiger King proves there’s no such thing

I’d imagine by now you’ll have either watched Tiger King or heard about it.

It offers grotesque human and animal exploitation, murder plots, deceit, sabotage, confidence tricksters, mullets, vicious professional jealousy that’s obsessively creepy and pathological, an uncomfortable amount of amputees, suspicious suicides and disappearances, more mullets, political condoms, guns, three way gay marriages, more guns, hideous Garth Brooks pastiches, a harem of female helpers that double as slavish concubines, blowing up inflatable dolls with legal explosives, lucrative black market exotic animal breeding and cub petting, and the equally profitable scheme of running an animal welfare refuge thanks to a huge social media following and free labour.

But instead of revulsion at all the lunacy and shamelessness we’re presented with there’s fascination, even if it’s of the sarcastic or morbid kind. Tiger King is a cultural phenomenon.

We can allow ourselves some semantic leeway with Tiger King as we recognise the cognitive dissonance of the documentarians wedging themselves in this surreal cycle of exploitation by profiting from Joe Exotic’s quixotic behaviour and the salacious rumours surrounding Carole Baskin’s ascent. You’re also, and this is where I give the producers some credit, placed into a white trash sub-culture straight from America’s rancid underbelly, fuelled by poverty and destitution. This is very rarely documented willingly, primarily as it’s a source of tremendous embarrassment for educated Americans and a huge dent to America’s persistent show of self-denial as ‘the best country in the world’.

Without said latitude the popularity of the show doesn’t add up. Reality docs are a tired genre. The prevailing consensus in the mainstream ‘woke’ culture is that keeping exotic or wild animals in menageries is cruel, or at best somewhat sub-optimal. And anyway, what animals are we to consider ‘wild’ or ‘exotic’. What is domesticated? Is it being bred in captivity? What is humane? What conditions the animal is kept? Is it just simply a series of superficial arbitrary measures, that how much we care is based on the size, beauty, dangerousness or scarcity of the animal in the wild? It’s all rather vague, as are, suitably, the laws which govern animal ownership in the US. But what seems like a pivotal moral and legal discussion is dispensed, suitably, given how disposable the animals are, for Joe Exotic’s and Carole Baskin’s tawdry feud.

Tiger King’s popularity is due, I suspect, to the most obvious explanation – thanks to the unforeseen consequences of social media we live in a time where conservatism and group identity prevail, not only over freedom of speech, but freedom of thought. This barrage of far right and left shaming means most of us only truly feel liberated to indulge in extreme behaviours vicariously. By watching Tiger King at home, in privacy, nobody can judge you for laughing (or wincing) when a snippet of Joe Exotic’s gloriously abominable music videos arrives, or for admitting there are worse alternatives for the keepers and animals. Better the employees have jobs at a zoo than sit in a trailer park drinking vodka and smoking crystal meth all day, and the animals be kept in captivity than get poached, cut up and or sold in a Chinese wet market.

Coronavirus, and its ongoing surge, originated in such an environment. It’s hard not to be enticed by the thought of Covid-19 offering a firm karmic rebuttal on nature’s behalf for our blasé treatment of animals and the environment for what amounts to greed, especially when the main protagonists in Tiger King offer a particularly egregious example of it. Even if we’ve developed the cognitive capability to breed other species into domestication or for commercial agriculture, that we think this should be extended to caging large apex predators in confined spaces is nothing more than pure arrogance.

Speaking of naïveté a contrast between two events in Tiger King offers us conclusive proof that certain animals cannot be truly tamed to react proportionally, and that using Karma, chance or fate in its stead is one of human consciousness’s most destructive forms of absolution. At one point we see a keeper nearly get her hand ripped off by a Tiger just for putting her hand into the cage. Later, we see one attempting to put a Christmas hat on a Tiger, who, unsurprisingly, wasn’t cooperative. Instead of it reacting somewhat benignly, you would’ve loved to see it remove that person’s face.

There’s an overwhelming number of bad actors on show here; Jeff Lowe is a creep, Doc ‘Blowhard’ Antle is a depressingly crappy Harvey Weinstein knockoff, and Joe Exotic is smearing himself with his own faeces whilst wearing a Marilyn Monroe paper mask with the eyes cut out crazy. Yet amongst all the nutters, deadbeats and conmen it is Baskin who deserves additional scorn, because she, a dismally infantile cat lady, and her servile husband, piously and disingenuously parade themselves as the homogenised and ethical face of big cat confinement.

Ultimately Tiger King’s main narrative string lacks clout because I really couldn’t care less if Carole Baskin offed her second husband, or if Joe Exotic tried to have her killed. Well, perhaps I’m not completely apathetic about the latter. I’m just sorry that Joe Exotic didn’t manage it, and that now he’s safely incarcerated where Tigers can’t maul him.

Most of all I’m relieved that I’m not one of these horrible wankers, or near them. Yet I’m left wondering whether Tiger King’s dystopian foreboding might’ve caused me permanent psychological damage. Now I stay awake at night wondering if Big Black Bubba, wearing a leopard print crop top which terminates perfectly at the top of his pot belly, is making Joe Exotic his bitch by decimating his ringpiece and if Joe likes this arrangement. Or if a hundred years from now, with the world completely ravaged by our ongoing indifference to disease and pollution, the world will be ran by psychopaths like Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. They’ll fight for devotees by breeding increasingly grotesque iterations of feral mutant humanoids, who, thanks to generations of bad dental hygiene, mullets, and abortive tattoo choices have achieved an evolutionary split from the media consumers who now cannot leave their homes for fear of being mauled by one of them. Let’s be glad that all of us won’t be around to witness the documentary about that.

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