Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Time of Healing

I used to like Twitter. Back when a mad tide of antic hilarity would sweep across it and people all over the world would start thinking up titles for silly things such as #egg movies - Inglorious Custards; The Devilled Egg Wears Prada - or #cheesefilms - Caerphilly He Might Hear You; Arsenic and Old Leicester; The Rarebit Proof Fence - or #lessambitiousfilms - Singing in the Drizzle; Instagram of a Lady; Girl with a Temporary Tattoo; The Spy who Quite Liked Me; Stuffed Animal Kingdom - or #awfulfirstdrafts - "Last night I dreamt I went to Manly again"; "May the Victorian Police Force be with you"; "I'm mad as hell and I"m going to take some valium" or #lameclaimstofame - "The President of Nigeria emails me quite often saying he owes me money"; "My house and dog were on the cover of our local telephone directory" or #depressingchildren'sbooks - The Adventures of Tom's Lawyer ; Where the Wild Thongs Are; James and the Giant Leach. 

Politics barely entered this happy playground of frivolous idiocy - and even when it did, as on the occasion that the entire nation of Australia got sick of its Prime Minister's habit of saying, "Folks, I've got to zip", it entered only so that fun could be had, (on that occasion the hashtag was #zipclassics - "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune sometimes has to zip";"The Zip on the Floss" "It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking 13. I've got to zip, thought Winston", "Far from the Madding Zip"; "A Tale of Two Zips"; "Zipper in the Rye" 

Alas, things have changed. Jollity is no longer on the Twitter menu. Since November, in fact, Twitter - or at least the part of it that I look at - has metamorphosed into a roiling, foaming pit of human fury. 

That's really the one thing I can't forgive President Trump for, (and it's not even something he intended) - I can't forgive him for sucking the sense of humour out of almost everyone. 

What is more, I can't really understand how he has done it. After all he is far more a figure of fun than his predecessor could ever hope to be. The truth is Trump is and always will be an entirely comic figure. He is Mr Punch, he is a buffoon, he is the oldest kind of stage idiot. And, yes, of course, I am aware that he has the codes to the nuclear buttons and, as they say now, yada yada yada, but there's not much to be done about that, and anyway Putin is probably about one hundred million times more dangerous than Trump is and has been accruing buckets of power for ages, so why are we suddenly upsetting ourselves with such a level of frankly hysterical violence, when things haven't really changed for the worse at all? 

And even if you do genuinely think that Trump is more dangerous than Putin, which I think just indicates a lack of real knowledge, then I would say to you that now, more than ever, silly games and pointless nittishness are the best approach to the problem. Wasting our time with nonsense is the truly sensible way to react to the prospect of potential worldwide mayhem, given that none of us is in much of a position to do anything constructive to avert it. 

Laughing really is the most enjoyable way to go. 

And besides, Trump is only one guy, even if he does happen to be the President of the United States for the moment. There are countless other people continuing to be dedicated and skilled and doing wonderful things. Let's rejoice at the fact that, for example, Rafael Nadal is back in form - and so is Roger Federer. That is one pretty enormously fantastic leap forward, given that no one seriously believed they would ever be back at the top of their games again. 

Come on, admit it, the tennis played in the last few days of the Australian Open was the most exciting tennis anyone has seen in aeons, if ever.

And if you want another brilliant reason that I absolutely refuse to give in to the pessimists and naysayers and throw my lot in with those who fume that humanity is comprehensively doomed, then look at my mother who, thanks to an extraordinary team of dedicated and patient and infinitely skilled medical people, has survived by-pass surgery despite being considerably older than the odds might allow. 

Scream all you like, vent and rage loudly, while there are people performing life saving acts calmly, intelligently and brilliantly, all is not lost - and Trump can't actually stop that. In fact, he can't stop a lot of things. And it will be entirely our own fault if we decide that, because of him, we can't still go on having fun.


  1. The last month or so has been pretty awful, so I'm more drawn to humour and escapism than usual. I used to visit Twitter for a giggle, but now it's turned into some sort of online primal screaming therapy: Trump! Trump! Trump! (but sadly no Nellie the Elephant).

    As a result, I barely visit Twitter at the moment and limit my Facebook activities to a group of old muckers from university. For 30 years or more they have always eschewed political activism in favour of the things that really matter, like whether Terry Wogan wore a wig or not.

    1. Hands off Wogan. He may have worn a wig but he was still a Latter Day Saint. He was far and away the greatest loss of 2016 - and not just for the wig making community