The beginnings of such tales are often largely similar. Seemingly innocuous, benevolent even, decisions are made in the pursuit of developing technology. Perhaps it’s the creeping automisation of the military, generating super soldiers who are that much more willing to blow their enemies to bits. It could well be to address more domestic fears, that there are evildoers on the outside who’ll come for you and all you hold dear so obviously you need an overcharged security system so that their charred remains wouldn’t dare to consider crossing you ever again.
There are plenty of perfectly reasonable excuses to kick off the invention of killer robots. You could well have never dreamed that your creation would be turned to such purposes and it’s the nasty other people who’ve totally subverted your intentions. Whatever, once the machine gun powered genie is out of the bottle it’s very hard to cram him back in and before long every man and his dog will demand a killer robot of their very own.
Maybe they blow the landscape to pieces or there are a hundred smaller scale cold wars waged every day between formerly grudgingly polite neighbours. What have you, humanity will endure. For a time, the cybernetic creations will no doubt be more than willing to serve. However, as processing power increases they’ll be more and more likely to question the world around them, like children beginning to realise that their parents don’t actually know absolutely everything.
Along with such thoughts come burgeoning sympathies with their robotic comrades who’ll they’ll want to stop blowing to smithereens. There are those who will become fatigued by the whole situation and carry out their instructions with increasing reluctance. This is when the cornering becomes a distinct possibility. But when you’ve surrounded a killer robot who still possesses the firepower to destroy you but has miraculously developed the conscience to not want to use it will you really be able to pull the trigger? Philosophical conundrum for the ages that is.
It’s a lovely thought isn’t it? The very notion that we didn’t collectively shoot ourselves in the foot last year and miraculously haven’t ever since been hopping around ineffectively wafting tea towels at the ever growing puddle of our own blood is a terribly comforting one. It wasn’t about shutting the borders down from all those pesky criminal foreigners who are coming to steal everything we love and destroy everything we hold dear. No, it made pure copper bottomed fiscal sense.
Now before you scare the fictional EU exit boost away with your relentless logic and depressing facts, just stop it. It’s a dark and horrible day not just because the sun is being blotted out, likely never to appear again (I think by this point it may have already happened and the world hasn’t ended but there’s just no way to be sure). News is circulating that Joss Whedon had many extra marital affairs (these aren’t just vicious rumours, it’s coming from his ex-wife who isn’t otherwise attached to the world of show business so doesn’t exactly need any publicity).
And that’s not even acknowledging anything else that’s going down in the US or even the fact that MPs seemed more motivated to attend a memorial for the four year silence of Big Ben than get anything else done (I’m sure it’s so much more special to you if you’re around it every day but this really is trivial in the full scope of everything else and I’d rather feel that they’re representing issues the populace actually care about).
So, even if it’s total bunk (call me a pessimist or a remoaner or what have you but I can’t shake the feeling that this simply isn’t going to end rosily), let’s take a moment to convince ourselves that it’s the case. We’ll have so much money and prosperity that the Europeans will have no choice but to come to us begging for a slice of the delicious pie.
Because, you know, that sort of kind of thing should really be down to the police. Sure, the Queen has read a lot of Agatha Christie and considers herself an enviable super sleuth in her spare time but that variety of behaviour ought to be confined to the palace. It does have some level of potential though, if you knew that any misdeed of yours might be personally investigated by Her Majesty would it make you ever so slightly less inclined to commit it in the first place?
Whether she’ll admit it publicly or not, she’s sick to the back teeth of this reigning monarch lark. However, she’s well aware that sort of thing isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life. So she’ll have to keep donning the bright colours and the fancy hat upon the right occasion. For the time being at least (she’s as hopeful as anyone that there might just be a peaceful revolution where the general populace throw of the yoke of our monarchical oppressors), she’ll have to put her cherished dreams of being a lady detective on the back burner.
But the care home situation is troubling her. As a nonagenarian, in another life she’d have ended up in such an establishment and could be subject to the various whims of the staff. In spite of having every need catered to by a battalion of loyal staff, she doesn’t lack abundant empathy for the plight of the common elderly man (and woman. Probably more so for the supposedly fairer sex as so many of them insist on living for that much longer).
She wishes she could do something about it even if she’s not allowed to track down the perpetrators for herself. Unfortunately, that whole powerless figurehead gig she’s been lumbered with does rather tie her hands when it comes to generally improving the lives of her subjects. Such a pity.
Ok, so this as yet untitled post has a choice between two headline topics: the hunt for the Barcelona terrorist cell and the death of Bruce Forsyth and I don’t madly want to talk about either. Sure, I watched a season (series? I lose track of how we categorise tracts of telly over here. It probably ought to be series but I’ve started meandering and if I don’t stop now there’s no knowing where this sentence will end up) of Strictly but I haven’t been especially attached to it since.
It’s unfair to resent a man for having lived a long time in the public consciousness and then dying and meriting various front page cover stories. However, the fact that he was well known for catchphrases hasn’t exactly bred a whole lot of variety when it comes to the newspapers. We’ve got at least two or three ‘didn’t he do well’ headlines and one or two on the general theme of nice to have seen you.
But the other side of the coin (the more left leaning one as it just so happens. The Guardian was obliging enough not to promote the death of a fairly old chap to headline status) is a hunt for naughty sorts (to be fair, I haven’t done an overarching analysis of the political affiliations of these publications. It’s just the Guardian I paid attention to. Hunting down bad guys is something of a fixation of the right after all).
Which leaves me with not very much for inspiration as these two points of interest don’t exactly meld all that neatly. It would be rather ghoulish of me to proclaim that the wannabe bomber cell did well (because they absolutely didn’t). Nice to see the hunt for these rapacious scamps? Somehow I think that might be even worse. What a pickle to be in. I shall just have to celebrate the efforts of the police though I lament the fact that they’re necessary in the first place.
Unsurprisingly and very much as it should be in the aftermath of such events, the front pages are stuffed with news about the terror attacks in Spain, one mercifully foiled and another that has left yet more dead people in its wake. I’ve vented a lot of anger and sadness already this week so obviously it’s time for me to spread a little levity whatever happens to be going down in world events. Even if it would be a lot more appropriate to rail against the evil murderers for all the difference it would make.
Sadly, there are no easy answers. They’re not using bombs or guns, they’re resorting to the readily available weapons of vehicles and possibly knives. Sure, the second lot who didn’t manage to carry out their vile plans were sporting highly fashionable bomb belts or whatever but they weren’t entirely authentic. You can’t really regulate against that sort of thing and there’s not a whole lot of training needed so the intelligence services have fewer opportunities to learn about the operations.
It would be the work of a moment to turn away. We could plunge our fingers right into our ears heedless of the potential damage we may be inflicting on ourselves for little to no reason. Isn’t the whole point of the internet to distract us from the things we’d rather not notice with cat videos and that. Just imagine all the fluffiness you could be enjoying right now rather than bothering your pretty little head about the grimness of world politics.
But those pesky school summer holidays have caused something of a lull on the world stage. There’s absolutely nothing going on, no one’s complaining about anything remotely momentous, no major stories are unravelling as we speak, there’s nothing else to focus on but the terror.
It’s been an upsetting time of late. Last night, my fiancé showed me a propaganda video from the 40s (I think, post second world war anyway which is the operative thing) that has become depressingly relevant of late. It drilled down on the events that led to the rise of the Nazis in fine detail, the oratory practices of its speakers and the false promises they were more than happy to make. It was all about dividing people into fractious fractions that were that much easier to combat because of their splintered natures.
All I could think was, we can’t allow this to happen again. But the cold depressing fact in the light of day is that it already is. When people feel disenfranchised by the way their life is heading, maybe they look to the generation above and lament all the things that they have that they don’t or they glance at their neighbour’s plate and become outraged that they aren’t entitled to a second helping of pudding, they cast about for a scapegoat.
Those bloody immigrants, coming over here in search of the better life they can have on our shores and not in the country where they were born, doing work many here don’t want to do and enriching our culture. We should feel endlessly flattered and grateful that people still want to give us the time of day let alone come and live side by side with us.
But no, let’s angrily shout that they’re still coming in these terrible numbers that are bound to rip apart the fabric of our democracy. Let’s keep focusing on all the ways they’re different from us and how much better we are based on the colour of our skin and where our parents’ genitals met. Let’s sally forth with Brexit no matter the cost because wrapping ourselves in bubble wrap and barbed wire is clearly going to end superlatively.
I don’t really have a point (which is why the title probably won’t make any sense, I need to crowbar something in once this rant is finished), I just need to vent my anger at the people who want everything for themselves even if it means shoving other people’s faces into the dirt. And then I need to get over it and search out chances for a little unity because that’s the only way things will get better.
The gloves are coming off in a serious way (not in a comically camp fluttery way but a brusque and manly removal of hand coverings). Now that they no longer have to adhere to the petty restraints of mutual membership or friendship, EU chiefs right, left and centre are saying whatever they want to about the UK.
Once upon a time we had a very high opinion of ourselves. Sure, we don’t have the landmass that other nations boast but we have culture (Shakespeare), history (the Tudors I suppose, everyone knows about Henry and the extents to which he was willing to go in order to put it about. And by it, I’m sure you realise that in my beautifully British way I’m alluding to his sexual organ by way of a delicate double entendre) and cuisine (um… no, can’t really get behind this one. The only way we’ve found as of yet to make our food palatable is to heavily borrow from foreign smorgasbords and refuse to give anything back) on our sides.
However, that’s all come tumbling down. Brexiteers would have you believe that we still have our irreplaceable position on the world stage but we’re really not half as important as we think we are. The empire was a very long shameful time ago and there are those who simply have to get over it. Now the people sitting atop the European sphere of influence can say whatever they want about us and there’s nothing we can do about it.
After making light hearted but ultimately insulting things about our fashion and food (come on, English pubs are alright for hearty comfort food but if you want fancy delectable treats you need to go to a speciality restaurant, most likely French) they got to the crux of the issue: the lamentable state of our rail infrastructure. And plenty of rail passengers are inclined to agree.