Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cynicism – correct application and usage

I wrote that last entry in response to a couple of specific issues

  • a semi-drunken evening a few nights ago where I found myself trying to explain to someone that it was perfectly possible to have concerns about the current rate of migration into the UK and not be a xenophobic, Right Wing, Daily Express reading nutjob
  • a comment somebody made under a previous post about Brian Haw’s demonstration in Parliament Square
  • the start of that woeful Red campaign and all its unholy consumerist tie ins

The person I was chatting to during the semi-drunken evening reads this blog and confessed that, on occasions, I come up with some heinous thoughts that leave him with question marks about my essential soundness.

That’s because I’m a cynic.

Being a confirmed cynic I could write an entire book on cynicism but, mindful of writing overlong turgid posts, I cut the last piece short at a thousand words

Given that a few people actually read it I’m beginning to think I should have made it a little bit longer.

Being a cynic doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t care. Nor does it mean that you believe that there’s nothing ordinary people can do to change the world. What it does mean is that when someone, particularly a powerful someone safely esconced in an Ivory Tower, tries to sell you a story you have to ask yourself...

Cui Bono?

Who benefits?

Take a relatively trivial example. I was chatting with my brother a few days ago about, of all things, pus in milk. He runs a snack bar, has an interest in food safety and hygene and was curious for my take on a couple of stories he’d heard recently about pus infected milk and whether I knew if milk was becoming scummier or not. I hadn’t heard those stories but my first reaction was to think…

  • Monsanto and all the GM food gang are currently engaged on a major drive to shove mutant soya products down our necks, including various brands of soya milk that have been launched onto the UK market recently
  • It wouldn’t take much for a large Frankenfood multinational to bung a few bucks to a public relations agency, make some contributions to a few vegetarian activist groups, support some skewed research, get people freaked out about cows' milk, then sit back and watch the sales of its own products rise
  • … even though soya milk tastes like over-processed chemical muck that will give you man boobs and fuck up your hormone balance in general

That’s how a cynic thinks.

And no, I’m not switching to soya milk. Pus or no pus. Besides, it's pasteurised pus.

Being a cynic doesn’t mean giving up. It does mean that you end up questioning everything you are told – even if the source appears to be super-fluffy, super-sincere and really, really concerned about the world. The very niceness of some of these people makes them easier to dupe and be transformed into useful idiots.

The real challenge is finding a way for the nice, well-intentioned people, who want the world to be better, to co-exist with the nasty grumpy, cynical people who also want the world to be better.

Alternatively, there is always the hemlock option


And returning to Brian Haw and 7/7 for moment

Brian Haw pissed off the government so much that it had to draft legislation to turf him out. For a cynic who profoundly mistrusts our present government that’s fucking marvellous.

And those who are seeking a fuller investigation and account of what happened in London last July are themselves cynics who refuse to be sold a fairy story without adequate proof. So, in answer to the question posted as a comment to my last post...

"Do you think anything will come of it or should we throw the 7/7 truth movement into the cynicism bin?"

Absolutely no way. The thing that needs throwing into the cynicism bin is the half-baked account that our politicians and press are passing off as the ‘Truth’.

And, don’t forget, keep smiling

\ laughs cynically


Twisted knickus said...

Cynicism is taught innit? Nobody is born cynical, we learn it from other cynics - like the Blair Govt., it is a form of self-protection. To be honest, gave up trying not to be cynical some years ago. The only battle now is not to become a complete nihilist (or arse, I suppose)

Stef said...

nihilism is totally pointless