It’s Dr Satan, to you.

February 27, 2012

Well, well, well.

Inside Higher Ed: Santorum’s attacks on higher education.

Apparently, Satan started out in universities. Now, I’ve known some Grade A dickbags in my ten years in UK higher education. And the United States has more people, therefore you’d expect there to be a correspondingly greater number of dickbags. But Satan? I’m not convinced.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of them come pretty close. For my first example, there’s the guy who keeps quoting totally random passages from obscure works of literature and then goes all eye-rolly and tutty so that he looks like he’s having a seizure and you can hear the contempt clogging and congealing in his throat as he says ‘What are people reading these days. How can you get through life without knowing that?’

Er…Dickbag!

Or, take the girl who, waiting for a taxi outside my college, turned to her clone/friend and said, ‘Oh. My. God! Where is this taxi? Like, I totes shouldn’t have to wait for a taxi driver, they should totes have to wait for me. Which is why I’m calling the cab, and they’re driving it.’

Dickbag!

Or, the guy who told me that if I stuck with him, he could open the doors of academia to me and show me a world that I’d always been exempt from.

D-d-d-d-d-dICKBAG!

Anyway, all of these people are probably a bit evil. Like maybe three-quarters evil but without the last quarter that tips people over the edge of almighty tosspiece-ness and into y’know Satanism.

Maybe I’ve just not being paying attention. Perhaps lurking in the library, creeping through the campus, hiding in the halls, there are all these little Satans disguised by their floppy, side-swept fringes, implausibly large spectacles, and jeans so skinny they are unable to climb a flight of stairs without flicking their legs out from the knee at alarming angles.

But if so then I have questions.

Does Satan have to pay his student loan back?

If Satan graduated with third-class honours, what are the implications of this for his future employment prospects? Would it in fact impair his chances of founding Satanism as a succesful start-up?

Is Satan eligible for student discounts, and if so, what’s his position on pound-a-pint nights and other such revelry?

Finally, does he get homesick in his first week, fall in love with a nice girl in freshers week and then spend his whole three years missing out on the single-life before getting dumped just in time for graduation?

I know I have completely missed the point of the article, and I fully intended to make a serious point about how moronic the whole thing is but I got distracted, and my mind went merrily on its way. So all that remains to be included is the following disclaimer.

***Disclaimer: I have no intention of causing offence to anybody who has strong feelings either way about Satan. If you hate and renounce Satan then hopefully there’s no harm done here and if you love him, well you probs will take offence but it’s also probs the least of your…er…probs. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own and are not shared by any person living or dead and bear no factual accuracy to anything. Any offence taken is entirely the responsibility of the offended party but this does not affect your statutory rights. Only one voucher per person. Offer not valid on Saturdays.

 

 

 

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Seriously wordpress? Stop moving things about. Don’t you know some of us have ADHD? Sort it out.

That said, it’s been a few weeks since I blogged regularly. I don’t like the interruption of regularity. Blogging, like moving one’s bowels, should be a business of regularity and routine. Otherwise I find everything gets all backed up, I spend the intervening time grumpy and bloated, and what finally emerges is either a small, mean, wizened offering, or else an unstoppable rush of, well….the metaphor speaks for itself, surely.

I also find that without the regularity of what we might call (for these purposes), the ‘brain dump,’ I have little appetite for new thoughts, and so the whole gastrointestinal tract of thought (what? people totally say gastrointestinal tract of thought, no?) grinds to a halt. Indeed I haven’t had one new or interesting thought since New Year, as evidenced by this scatalogically themed post.

You know what though? I’ve been dead busy, Internet. Really, truly, actually busy. You know that new job I started back in November? They work me hard. They seem to think I am quite competent, but do you know how many hours of covering my mistakes and waving my hands either side of my ears in panic it takes to cultivate that impression, Internet? Many hours. Many many hours.

It’s not just the job either. I have been writing my PhD. I’m just going to go ahead and say that once again because the novelty of productivity has by no means yet worn off. I have been writing my PhD. It is getting written and I am the one writing it (just to be clear, no one else is writing it. It represents entirely my own endeavours etc etc).

Other things I have been doing aside from the above:

1) Planning the bloody deaths of all those who ask ‘Is the thesis done yet?’ ‘Have you finished now?’ or variations on that theme.

2) Obsessing about the following note written by one of my downstairs neighbours (she has a seperate entrance and post box and I’ve never met her):

‘Please bring down the weekly Grazia magazine when it is delivered upstairs by mistake. Thank you.’

That’s it! No name or anything! I mean, all the necessary ingriedients of a polite note are there (mainly the pleases and thank yous) but it still reads more like an order than a request. Or an order that’s supposed to sound like a request. Such as,

‘Please use the sanitary bins provided. Thank you.’

‘Please do not park on this driveway. Thank you.’

Or, I dunno,

‘Please come up and get your cocking weekly Grazia magazine when it is delivered upstairs by mistake. Thank you.’

I think I might find therapy to be greatly beneficial. Until then dear Internet, I have you. 🙂

Chorus:

Bloody hell, bloody hell, what a costly day, (HEY!)

Banking scam, what a sham, stole my cash away, (HEY!)

No win no fee. Apparently. What a load of poo…

Can’t believe I fell for that- too good to be true.

Verse:

Gullible that’s me; I’m a moron obviously,

Oh what fun it is to spend a whole day, practically,

On the phone to knobs, who are ‘just doing their jobs’

By lying through their fucking little vulture beaks to me.

(Oooh…)

Chorus:

“Litigate! Litigate: “claim back your PPI” (CRY)

WTF, no such luck, it’s all a big fat lie. (CRY)

Don’t be like me, don’t pay their fee, you’ll regret it if you do.

Christmas cheer? Not this year. “No Santa Claus? ….I’ll sue!”

But she started it…

December 3, 2011

A number of years ago (nine, in fact, is the number in question), I lived in a shared house with four other girls. Take five girls who haven’t yet lost the adolescent appetite for drama, and put them in a house share. Shake vigorously, open lid with caution, contents may be explosive. It was a fucking nightmare.

I did actually like a couple of the girls and although we’ve drifted apart over the years, we got on well enough at the time. Had we not lived together, and so not associated each other with the horrendous house-share from hell, we might have stayed in touch. The other thing I’ll point out is that all of these girls were, in fact, drama students. I hate to generalise (but I’m going to anyway so I guess we’ll all have to live with that) but drama students do seem to have a higher than average collection of neuroses, and feel a compulsion to draw attention to these neuroses in a variety of ‘interesting’ ways. Of course we all have our issues but in my experience, there is certainly a correlation between obtaining a BA in Theatre Studies and a propensity to see the world as a play in which you are the fatally flawed heroine and other people are mere bit-part players, who wander in and out of your scenes. Every time the action flags and your lines aren’t showing off your talents, you rewrite a little and ramp up the melodrama. Either studying Brecht and Artaud is enough to put you in therapy, or UCAS recruits drama applicants directly from the books of therapists.  If this stereotype seems a little cruel that’s because it is. But a lesser-known fact about me is that for two years, I was one of these students of drama. For two years I ‘externalized the internal’ for dramatic effect, indulged in ‘invisible theatre (which meant standing in the middle of Covent Garden in a bra and sandwich board). I ran around with no shoes on, cultivated an image of a tortured soul, and cried late into the night, raking through every corner of my cushy middle-class life for more ‘material’. The thing is, I wasn’t very good at all that self-loathing combined with self-adoration and after two years I realised that a 2.2 in BA Exhibitionism  was not what I wanted out of my university career. So I switched to English where the pretensions were just as pronounced but of a slightly more tolerable flavour. But my point is, that I speak, if not with authority, then at least with some first-hand experience. I am sure there are lots and lots of talented and well-balanced students of drama the world over. Perhaps I’ll meet one of them one day.

Anyhow, in this shared house, we were all a bit like this – total emotional fuck-ups, mostly by design. But there was this one girl who was possibly the best example of all of these things that I have ever come across, and consequently the most irritating person in the world.  And maybe also a little bit evil. We’ll call her Tit. This wasn’t her name but it’s not wholly dissimilar to her name and is certainly apt. She was competitive, manipulative, and totally self-absorbed. Anyway, the point of this is that after two years of living together, a sort of vague generalised dislike intensified into white-hot burning anger. I think this is the only time I’ve ever hated anybody. Day after day was ruined by her very existence and any interaction we ever had became a tense, point-scoring dialogue of thinly veiled fury. My mum would tell me to avoid her and stay out of her way. The thing is, when you live with somebody, you can’t stay out of their way. It’s impossible. I remember sitting in my room, crying angry tears of frustration because I could hear her on the phone outside my room and every time she spoke it was like somebody stabbing me in the eye with a fork.

I despised Tit so much that it became almost an obsession. It was all I could think about and therefore all I talked about. Conversations with friends and family became a monologue  – me just listing the things she’d done or said, going over them from every angle: her audacity, my outrage, how she started it, how justified I was. People listened sympathetically at first but (understandably) began to get bored and even a little disturbed. What I wanted, I guess, was for them to feel what I felt, for me to somehow bypass words entirely and just plant the picture I saw in their heads, transplant the ball of rage and hatred in my stomach directly into theirs.

Eventually I moved out, took stock, and the anger faded and with it the hatred. From this vantage, I looked back at myself with more distance and was thoroughly ashamed of what I saw. I let her turn me into somebody I didn’t want to be, somebody who was fuelled by bitterness and anger, somebody who had no room for anything else in her life, somebody who was petty and childish and who had become every bit as despicable as Tit herself.  I resolved never to let that happen to me again.

The reason I’m writing all of this is because I need to remind myself just now that in the face of provocation, I can walk away. If somebody attacks me, then it doesn’t matter who starts it, who’s right or who’s wrong. It doesn’t matter who was to blame originally. If I react with anger and enmity, it will eat away at me, not the other person. It will damage me, not her. If she throws acid at me, it might burn me. If I throw it back, it will ricochet and still burn me, gradually corroding everything until I’m just the skeleton of the person I would have been.

So, Tit, and all those who come after you…do your worst. You can’t touch me.

P.S. Well done if you’ve read this far. I think we’ve all learned something here today. Mostly, that I am a little bit insane.

P.P.S. Just re-read this and can’t help thinking I might have belonged on that drama degree after all. As a wise man (my dad, I think) once said to me, you can take the student out of Drama, but you can’t take drama out of the student.

Warning: this post is so full of burning hatred and fury that it could spontaneously combust at any moment.

Internet, I am angry. Very, very angry.

Why? This advert.

What the fuckety-fuck is this? I get more irate about this every time I see or hear it. And it seems to be bliddy everywhere at the moment (as you know, I recently started a new job and my office-mate has the radio on all day (ADHD post on this very topic is currently under construction (in fact it was going to be today’s post until Littlewoods’ gangrenous little advert took over my brain and irritation started pumping round my body where my blood should be)))* so I have heard this advert in its radio form at ten minute intervals for two consecutive days. And because I’m new to that office and want to make a good impression I can neither ask her to turn it off or sit there with blu-tac in my ears in an attempt to block out the noise. Honestly though, I would rather listen to foxes fuck all night than sit through another 41 seconds of this shit.

I mean, surely you can see why I find it so odious? Well, let me count the ways (in reverse order of their offensiveness):

  • Obviously, it’s far too early for Christmas adverts etc etc etc blah blah blah. Even I’m bored about people complaining about this every year so I’m just going to mention it for the sake of comprehensive analysis of the situation and then leave it there.
  • The tune is annoying and therefore sticks in your head and you’re on the tube and it’s in your head, and you’re having a bath and it’s in your head, and you’re waiting at the bar and it’s still there —‘my lovely, lovely mother’ — in your head and GAH!!
  • The children are extremely annoying. It’s not their fault. Probably. But, nevertheless, whether they’re just acting or really are that annoying, their ‘cuteness’ annoys me. I have no time for cutsey kids. Ick.
  • It reinforces gender stereotypes in a multitude of ways, from the gender-specific presents and costumes, to the clear assumption that only mothers bother buying presents. Fuck off, Littlewoods.

Now that leaves us with a whole bundle of reasons that it’s annoying, all of which would probably fit nice and snugly under a generalised heading such as: Objection to the Commercialisation of Christmas. But it’s not even just that. It’s a more complex repulsion than that, and if it were only that then it would be just as predictable an objection as point number one and I probably wouldn’t mention this either.  Christmas is commercial, it just is. I’m not saying it should be but it just is. And we’re used to it. We’re used to the adverts selling us products by carefully gift-wrapping them in sentimentality and festive nostalgia.

BUT, and I think this is what really gets me about this. There’s no pretence! None! Littlewoods do not even have enough shame to PRETEND that they’re not trying to boost sales in the midst of financial crisis by preying on the Christmas spirit of families who are already financing their whole lives on credit and probably ‘spreading the cost, interest free’ for everything wherever possible; buy now, pay later for life, not just for Christmas. This lack of shame is evidenced by the way they break the golden rule of Christmas advertising (where children are featured, all gifts usually come from Santa. (You could argue that at least Littlewoods are finally giving parents the credit for those Xboxes and Fidgets (what the fuck is a fidget anyway?) rather than Santa being falsely attributed  for his generosity every year but I am not feeling kindly towards Littlewoods right now so no, I will not grant them any defence at all.)  Littlewoods are just cutting Santa out of the equation completely).** You see, Littlewoods have no need for Santa. Santa is for adverts that don’t have a very clear message. And the message for all the mums out there is this: YOUR CHILDREN WILL LOVE YOU MORE IF YOU BUY THEM EXPENSIVE PRESENTS. YOU CAN AND SHOULD BUY THEIR LOVE. IF YOU DON’T BUY AN XBOX FOR YOUR FIVE YEAR OLD, THEN YOU ARE A SHIT MOTHER AND YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY TACKY LITTLEWOODS JEWELLERY IN PENANCE FOR YOUR SHITNESS. AND CHILDREN? IF YOU CELEBRATE AND MIMIC YOUR MOTHER’S MATERIALISTIC ATTITUDE SHE WILL LOOK UPON YOU WITH PRIDE. gaahhhhh!

Apart from anything else, I feel angered beyond belief that Littlewoods think the general public is so stupid that they will find this acceptable. NO. Glancing at the comments left under the YouTube video, I am pleased to see that apart from a few ‘Awww, how cute’ morons, most people share my view that this is an odious, offensive shitfest of fuckwittery.

But what am I going to do about it, apart from pour out my scorn and repulsion to you, dear Internet? Well, if this is Christmas then I want no part of it. I would just boycott Littlewoods but, honestly, who shops there anyway? Nope, my anger at this advert goes way beyond Littlewank.com. I am boycotting Christmas full stop unless a) my anger abates significantly (which will only happen if I can successfully eradicate any possibility of accidentally being subjected to this advert in the next seven weeks) or b) ….nope, can’t think of another way out. That’s it then. I am going to have to raid the stationary cupboard for a shed-load of blu-tac.

I am going to leave the final word to the bloody wonderful Tom Lehrer who, even after over fifty years, still captures the ‘true spirit’ of Christmas in a delightfully amusing song which I would like to propose as an antidote to anybody who, like me, is suffering from injuries inflicted by Littlewoods this year…

* I just had to close three sets of brackets there, Internet. Three! I really need to work on my brackets compulsion. Nobody should have this many parenthetical remarks. In fact, if remarks are so tangential that they warrant being embedded three brackets deep then they probably need culling at the draft stage.

** That there, Internet, was another three sets of brackets? What is wrong with me? It’s like the part of my brain responsible for punctuation is on speed.