Exodus of the Plastic Straws

So good things can actually still happen? That’s something of a relief. We’ve had yet more obfuscation regarding Brexit, another tragic school shooting in America and I briefly agreed with something Donald Trump said. He’s now shattered the illusion of having a not terrible idea by doubling down, offering batshit incentives and being generally awful but for a moment I was vaguely on board. If he manages to ban bump stocks that will be a demonstrably good development of his presidency.

As for his armed teachers plan, it does actually have one or two points in its favour. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far worse than just banning the weapons altogether but apparently that’s just not possible. It could be a deterrent, sure, and having armed individuals on the scene could help. But it’s also admitting that school shooters are irredeemable and therefore should be shot by their own educators.

Plus, it would seem (according to Jeremy Hunt, bastion of all unassailable fact) that there is no way forward to Brexit without swanning out of as many customs unions as possible. Bollocks. Still, no one seems to understand what Brexit means and how any potential success is going to be made of it. But to suggest we should just quietly leave everything the way it was would be akin to treason, obvs.

Fear not though, good news is on the horizon. You know that depressing documentary series about how all humans are awful and screwing up the environment for the rest of recorded time? Yeah, Blue Planet. Well, it’s actually had some of a positive impact in that there are rumblings about maybe banning plastic straws. That move will definitely reverse all the damage we’ve done, the temperatures will shoot back down to manageable levels and the clownfish will at long last be able to roam free.

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Landmark Victory for Happy Pills

Breaking news as medication is confirmed to in fact work. What a relief. Sure, that’s an incredibly glib response from someone who has never had cause to take them (well, there was that one time at university but clearly at the time I thought it better to not go to the doctor but instead to save the experience as fodder for an incredibly compelling one woman play I’ll never get round to writing) but it is nice to get some confirmation the medical profession kind of knows what it’s doing.

Mental health is a tricky area laden with landmines that anyone blundering into the fray might well set off. Especially if they’re wearing extremely heavy boots and not really looking where they’re going. At the end of the day, depression isn’t all that well understood.

You can cut a tumour out or flood it with poison. If there’s an infection you can pump the system full of antibiotics (and pray that the patient actually follows through with the course rather than sacking it off halfway through and contributing to the rampaging issue of superbugs that will eventually take over the world). Essentially, diseases of most kinds have been pretty well deciphered. But the brain is a tricky and complex mistress who defies common understanding (well, not really but it’s nice to pretend that there’s a reason why progress hasn’t happened).

At this point, I’ve mired myself in the middle of an area I don’t know very much about. Essentially though, there’s been a trend for people ditching their anti-depressants lately. Or maybe there hasn’t and I’m trying to correlate two unrelated events (I read a thing and then someone in my Facebook network announced they were going cold turkey). Talk to your physicians and take heart in the fact that the drugs do in fact work (hurrah?)?

New Sex Catastrophe

It’s 2018, there had to be another one of these on the horizon. We’ve gone through (and are definitely still going through but isn’t it lovely to pretend that we’re already past the dark patch) the┬áreports of endemic abuse in Hollywood, now there’s all the charity sector revelations and there’s a serial sexual predator in the White House. What an age we live in. So it’s not surprising that you weren’t all that moved when you heard that we’re on the brink of yet another scandal.

Who could it be this time? Are there really any stones left unturned? Various forms of entertainment simply have to be boycotted in the name of solidarity (does it count if I’d already given up on House of Cards?) and a depressing number of politicians have to be protested against. We know that prehistoric attitudes permeate the corporate world. Are there are bastions of moral decency left?

Anyone who thought anything about the church clearly hasn’t been paying attention. Go away and watch Spotlight. How about the public sector? Teachers, nurses and civil servants clearly aren’t doing what they do for the money. What if we were to discover that there are hitherto unconsidered lascivious perks involved as a counterweight to the pay freezes? Don’t worry, you can breathe easy on this front, the sex catastrophe doesn’t relate to these folk. As far as we’re aware.

The truth is, new scandals can emerge from any quarter. We’re all humans, driven by desires, it’s just that some people (not necessarily ascribing this to any particular gender, I’m just not going to finish this sentence) haven’t been taught well enough to keep it in their pants. It’s not an act of charity to grant a sex worker in a crisis zone the honour of servicing your cock. Just let her have the money or food or aid or what have you without having to put her hand somewhere the sun doesn’t want to shine.

Time to Plunge Britain into Mad Max Dystopia

Alright then, it’s probably important for me to proclaim at this point that I have not in fact seen Mad Max in whatever form beyond the occasional clip and the Rick and Morty episode that was something of an homage. But we all know that ‘Mad Max’ is just a placeholder, trying to draw in the widest slice of the audience with a popular culture reference. If David Davis was trying to be more down with the kids, he’d have pledged an anti-Hunger Games scenario instead.

We ought to appreciate that it’s a huge pledge we’ve been offered. Brexit will not launch us headfirst into an apocalyptic society. Yay? Don’t we all feel that much more comforted that we haven’t triggered our very own end of days? And yet, what’s going to happen is probably going to be too much for vast swathes of the country and simply not enough for a tiny yet incredibly angry proportion of it.

Sure, we’ll be outside of the nightmare of bureaucracy that is clearly the EU machine but we can’t shed ourselves of regulations entirely, striking out on our own and making whatever deals we like (which seems to be the only credible advantage anyone’s offered as reasoning for this baffling decision). Because, as far as little old me is aware, that’s not how the world economy works. The cowboys of yesteryear have donned suits and ties, they sit it boardrooms and strike deals in line with current frameworks. We cannot go back.

So rather than bending over backwards to attempt to mitigate the awfulness, perhaps we ought to just lean in. Let’s go thermonuclear without pressing the actual button. Rather than becoming a low-wage tax heaven as some people seem to desire/fear in equal measure, we’ll become some variety of lawless hellscape. But don’t worry, behind their plastic protection bubbles, the tourists will flood in to see what happened to the great kings of former empire.

May Warning to Hidden Calories

I think our less than beloved PM has actually properly given up. Not enough to resign or anything because that would be totes embarrassing given the number of times that she’s proclaimed that she’s no quitter. Of course, that would be a more powerful statement if she hadn’t already flip-flopped on a whole host of pledges including a certain general election that spectacularly blew up in her face even though it didn’t quite cost her the premiership.

But her latest statement wasn’t about Brexit, immigration or even the current state of the university education system. She’s begun a fixation on diet foods or something along those lines. I couldn’t actually tell you for sure because I wasn’t paying attention. It is fairly strange to have a leader that a majority of people seem to be convinced shouldn’t really be in power, certainly not for much longer at any rate, but not feeling like there’s anyone credible to replace them with.

So we have to endure our way through May’s latest batch of empty threats that don’t even seem to be targeted at the right people. They’re not directed at manufacturers or packagers or anyone else related to the food production industry. No, it’s at the foods themselves. I can’t help but feel that this is the clearest indication we’ve yet had of a proper breakdown which is sad to see in the second ever female PM.

The foods aren’t listening, they aren’t even capable of the changes she wants if they could pay attention to what Theresa had to say. It’s an empty gesture and at this point I’m not entirely sure why I’ve made it up. I’m just tired of shouting about Brexit because there’s not that much to be done about the sorry situation it would seem. So I’m leaving you with the image of our country’s leader shouting incoherently at a buffet.

Shock Figures Reveal Cheaper Places at University

Forget about any recent scientific leaps forward or personal revelations that have threatened to turn your life upside down. These are not the headline for the day. Instead, we ought to reflect on the state of higher education and how costs seem to be inexorably ramping up. In the space of a couple of decades, the price tag attached to your bog standard run of the mill undergraduate degree has skyrocketed from gratis with a side order of extra money to thousands of pesky pounds.

A lecturer of mine put it as paying for time on the machine. Sure, it was a slightly different point related to putting work in rather than expecting to get a certain result just because you’ve paid for it. It’s just interesting that said machine has become decidedly more pricey to access. More people are clamouring for their time on it, true and the owners of that equipment are hardly going to let anyone have their way with it without the proper compensation.

But it has been discovered, ground-breakingly, that certain courses are somewhat cheaper to operate than others. Anything that involves hours spent in a laboratory with specialised gadgets is going to be rather more costly than the sort of thing that simply requires a stack of books and one knowledgeable person to chat about them.

So, we’re heading towards a situation where the arts students are subsidising the scientists, medics and engineers. Some would argue that this is the only way for the creative types to positively contribute to society but such folk are utterly soulless. Probably. Or accountants scrutinising the balance sheets. Is the argument then to charge a fee that correlates to the amount of contact time and similar that a student will receive over the course of their years at university? But then who will study [insert subject you deem to be a ‘Mickey mouse’ degree here, media studies?]?

Critics Gunning for Brexit Moaners

Oh what an absolutely crushing surprise. People who reckon a particular thing are miffed at those who cling to an opposing view. Of course, it’s been long established (by me) that I’m not exactly in favour of this whole Brexit malarkey. I’ve even been known to bang endlessly on about how inexcusably bad a decision it overwhelming seems to be and I can’t understand why it was made in the first place. Sometimes that turns into a long winded moan (you don’t have to read this, you know. Unless you’re the one I keep tying up and threatening at gunpoint).

But is there a more potent example of bad sportsmanship than the cries of indignation coming from the ardent Leavers? This is a side that for all intents and purposes ‘won’ and now they won’t stop reminding us of that fact. Even more than that abject pettiness though, they try and use the tiny slice of majority margin as a reason why any and everyone who doesn’t like or is horrified by what’s going down should shut the hell up.

So of course critics are rather insistent that the detractors pipe down. If we keep asking these very valid questions that definitely ought to been addressed before now then it might alter the course of punching ourselves in the face. But really, even to an uninformed type like me, the Irish situation seems like an insurmountable problem should we crash out of the customs Union like everyone keeps threatening.

Maybe we should fight back all the harder, throwing out counterpunches for all we’re worth and seeing which blows hit. We could take some shining lights of the leave movement hostage and issue a demand or two of our own. I don’t know who we take though, Boris or Mogg would drive anyone crazy in the space of half an hour and they’d probably get released for the sake of the sanity of their captors.