Friday, September 05, 2008


I have been very disturbed recently by my seemingly unstoppable slide into cynicism. I'm not sure when it started getting appreciably worse. I've always felt that I had merely a healthy dose of the old C-Y-N, but I now recognise that I'm actually riddled with the stuff.

In some ways, this is no bad thing. A cynic can glean much greater enjoyment from the acid words of the likes of the refreshing grouchy Charlie Brooker (read this) than the sunny optimists amongst us. A cynic is also much less likely to fall for the scams that the hapless victims on the Real Hustle seem powerless to avoid. This is because we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that if something sounds too good to be true, it always is.

Let me give you examples of my newly increased cynicism:

1) The appointment of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate for the US presidential elections. Which is not in anyway an attempt to make people who would have voted for Hillary Clinton switch to the Republicans. A closer look at National Rifle Association member Palin reveals her to be so right-wing that she probably flagellates her own left side for not being hardline enough. This is a woman who supports gun education in school while opposing sexual health education. A woman who tried to sue the attempts to list Polar bears as an endangered species because it might affect Alaskan oil drilling. A woman who thinks that capital punishment and carrying guns is ok, but same-sex marriage is evil. Here's a gratuitous picture of her on a moose hunt.
I don't know what's worse, the thought that the Republicans have tried to pick up the 'Hillary' vote with Palin or that it might actually work with some moron who will fall for the 'I'm just a small-town hockey mom - just like you....' schtick.

2) My first thought when Labour announced its decision to scrap stamp duty on properties under £175,000 for 12 months, was not 'Ooo, what a boost to a flagging market'. Rather it was hollow laughter at such a blatant attempt to bribe voters into believing Gordon Brown isn't a useless lump of playdough as Prime Minster.

This overwhelming cynicism is seeping gradually into all aspects of my life in an alarming way. Luckily, there are a few things halting my headlong rush into complete bitterness.

One of these is my discovery of the marvelous Band Marino. I recently obtained their gorgeous album The Sea & The Beast which is a wonderfully whimsical concoction of quirky, clever indie tunes flavoured with a hint of folkiness. Enjoy this performance of the nattily named Every Time I Make a Girl Cry I Know I've Done My Job.


Fat Roland said...

I'm pissed off because I can't get back to sleep, so I'm going to comment on your blog instead.

Charlie Brooker is a god and that article title is a cracker. The Real Hustle is pathetic attempt to "teach you stuff" when really being a programme about pub games, which in itself is no bad thing. The Palin flagellation comment was very funny. Sarah Palin is an evil witch and I hope she gets eaten alive in the TV debate with Biden next month (she will). Brown didn't help people's cynicism with his election bluff last year - manipulating the electorate just to piss off the Tories isn't a great idea. I don't like Band Marino, but there's no big surprise, huh?

I can do cynicism in spades. I read Private Eye cover to cover every fortnight, and that's enough to strangle your compassion for life.

Tim Footman said...

Palin may well be eaten alive by Biden, but that will just reinforce her status as a plucky, down-home, hockey-mom outsider, which the Republican base just luurrves.

Of course, whether this sheer ordinariness qualifies her to be within a heartbeat of the most powerful office on earth is another question. But the delegates are too busy shouting "USA! USA!" to worry themselves about such petty details.

English Blogger said...

I agree with some things Palin stands for, abortion as contraception is wrong, abortion because of rape? I have to say I agree with.

How can anyone kill for sport and still say they love God and his creatures? But who am I to judge? doesn't say in scripture to remove the log from your eye before removing the sliver from your own eye.

I hate the killing anything for the sake of it, I would kill a rabbit to eat it, but I wouldn't kill it for fun. I believe if you eat meat you should be prepared to kill it and prepare it. But as a sport killing anything is wrong, be it fox hunting, badger bating, or shooting birds out of the sky or Moose.

Anonymous said...


Now Im not up to date on the american election but to form a negative opinion on someone mereley because they take part in a sport that you dont happen to agree with is not right either. The moose that she killed isnt going to be left to rot itl be sold for meat so that devalues your notion that shes killing for nothing or just pleasure. Someone will eat it whether it will be her or someone else. As far as her opinion regarding abortion is concerned, if she is a christian and professes a love for god then abortion is wrong on every level as effectively its murder. Why should the child forfeit its life because its just not convienient!! it makes me laugh when people witter on that killing animals for sport is wrong when they vehemently agree that abortion is right when its just not convienient for them to have it. Is an animals life worth more than a baby?? Ridiculous! I dont agree with palin regarding carrying guns as thats just a recipe for disaster. Same sex marriage?? well we live in a free society apparently in this country and some people make that choice so fair enough, but if her belief is basesd on the bible and thats whats she using to win votes then it does specifically say that its wrong in the bible. its not really a grey area in the bible as you can see for yourself when you read it. everyones entitled to a different opinion in a free democratic world, calling someone an evil witch is wrong just cos you dont happen to agree with her.

If only we had capital punishment over here. The victims would feel like theyd had justice instead of these animals getting out in 5 years for good behaviour and re offending. the murderes and worse wouldnt be over crowding our prisons and we could spend the millions that goes in to re educationg murderous animals on law abiding people and education to stop it happening in the first place.

Of course were cynical were british!! : )

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

Mr Roland: I have avoided Private Eye for that very reason. I like it very much, but can only cope with it in small doses (I'm weak, I know). I knew you'd hate Band Marino - clearly not enough glitches or breakbeats or some such for you....

Tim: Of course, you're right about how the Republicans will spin a Palin defeat. However, I read a marvellous article comparing Palin to Margaret Thatcher. This is, of course, nonsense - Maggie wouldn't need a weapon to hunt moose - she'd down a big one at 100 yards with simply a withering glance.

English: I remember reading a Bill Bryson book wherein he talked about hunting moose. He reflected that hunting a creature as stupid as the moose barely counted as sport at all.

Anon: Thing is, people are calling Palin a witch not for her politcal stances (which to be honest, she seems to shuffle about at will), but more for some of her actions. She is seen as a bit of a hypocrite by many people in the states.

Valerie said...

I'm a cynic, too, despite my efforts to keep cheery. This election is not helping. Though I have the option of moving to Australia if it doesn't go well.. {sigh}

Sarah said...

Does the child/foetus actually have as much quality of life when it is a small clump of cells as an animal does?

I think homosexuality actually is much more of a grey area in the bible if you look into not just what the text says but also what other people say about what the text means. And I suspect Mr 9/10ths may actually have read the bible. I could be wrong, but I think this may just be the case... And I suspect his whole opinion was not based on the fact that she went on a moose hunt. Apart from anythig else, he said it was gratuitous, which suggests it was entirely unnecessary for his argument.

Tim Footman said...

If we're going to rely on the Bible for legal guidance, do we still agree with Leviticus ch 20, v 10, which proposes the death penalty for adultery? Which would, of course, send John McCain to the chair...

Anonymous said...

hi, Well firstly just to reply to the above. With regard to the as you put it baby/foetus. As soon as a baby is conceived it is alive!! doctors and certain induviduals may feel better about themselves by refering to a living baby as a foetus but the fact is a living baby has a right to live whether its convienient for the idiot who didnt mean to get pregnant or not!!

As far as what the text means in the bible Im sorry but it clearly states that a man shouldny lie with a man as it is an abomination!! there it is in black and white its not really a grey area with that kind of text. The point is regarding this issue is that to god all sin is wrong as god doesnt catorgorise sin as perhaps we do and everyone sins as its in our nature but god forgives us. but the point is christians are supposed to try and live by gods word not change it so were more comfortable with it.


9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

Valerie: Australia is a great place, I've always wondered what it would be like to live there. However, I can't quite get over the sheer abundance of deadly creatures that would be living in my garden.

Sarah: Its an interesting thought about quality of life. The big question for me is a philosophical one - when does life start? Conception? Birth? Somewhere in between? I really don't know....

Tim: Its a good point. There are so many biblical rules that even the most stringent evangelicals don't follow (try Leviticus 13:47 on taking your mould ridden clothes to the priest).

Anon: Black and white is such a definitive term. Why is it we should follow some biblical rules, but not others? And how do we decide which ones? Sometimes it isn't as simple as just black and white. I haven't got all the answers, just more questions.....

Nat said...

9/10ths: Hello!

Anon: So only idiots get raped?

About Palin: Since all of you across the pond have already covered this issue I feel I have very little left to add... She's got a moose, and she's not afraid to use it!

I only hope other Americans have trouble taking her seriously the way I do. A vote for McCain is a vote for Palin. Scary, but true.

Roswell2themax said...

Well 9 1/10's I can see why you are beeing drawn into CYN, now I have read this my blood boils and I am getting drawn in too. I have seen Palin on TV a lot recently and well I can see she will get the votes because she puts across the 'I'm just like you image', but it seems so wrong - I don't like a lot of what she stands for.

Anon: I too like English Blogger don't like the idea of hunting for sport, when she killed the moose she wasn't thinking mmmmmmmm my dinner she was going for the thrill of the kill.
Also I echo Nat's sentiment on the Rape thing. You can't make a call about rape if you have never been in that situation, I used to think you could but you can't. The child that is the product of a rape may or may not have a quality of life. If the mother just sees the horrific circumstances of the conception that child will be a constant cause of torture for the mother with the possible result of the child feeling unloved. However some women choose to keep their child and my hat goes off to them - I don't think I could do the same. I read a book "Startling Beauty" by a lady who kept her child it amazed me, she amazes me.

Sorry mega rant there - and don't get me started on her views on Sex and Relationship Education I may explode haha.