Tag Archives: laughter

Power Without Responsibility

Power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages

A quote with an interesting history.

I haven’t turned the news on this morning. For one thing, I didn’t need to, as it’s all there on my screen when I switched the computer on. For another, it’s dull, repetitive, negative, depressing, and it’s often not news.

If I turn on this morning the news will be much the same as it was last night. In one case recently, the coverage from South Africa was exactly the same as it had been the night before, apart from the fact that several things had become inaccurate. References to “tonight”, for instance, should have been “last night” by the time it was shown for the second time.

Optimism has been shown to be beneficial to health. This isn’t just some New Age mindfulness wishful thinking – it’s endorsed by years of medical research. Readers Digest tells us that Laughter Is the Best Medicine and, again, this is backed up by medical research. This article probably isn’t the most scientific, but it is the most comprehensive list of the benefits of laughter.

After much thought I actually stopped watching the news as much as possible a few years ago, and have felt much better since. I may be slightly worse informed, but I’m a lot happier.

Let’s look at journalists next. Who are they? It seems to me that they are people who talk about the things other people do. Often, they talk about this with the benefit of hindsight, which we all know is the best way to be right. The opening quote, which I now find to be by Kipling, sums the situation up as well today as it did in 1931. Unfortunately I can’t blame journalists for the bad news bias. They are merely reporting events in a way that attracts the mist interest. It always seems that bad news attracts the most attention, and misery, as they say, loves company. 

It is traditional , in the UK, to run ourselves down. When the Chinese started with coronavirus they built a hospital in two weeks. As someone told me, this is a clear sign of Chinese superiority, as it would take us years to build a hospital.

I pointed out that it’s a clear sign that the Chinese Government shoots people who stand in its way. You tend to have fewer stages to go through in China. In the UK you have planning, public enquiries, NIMBYs, and Health & Safety.

In general I’m sure that China has just as many problems as we do with big building projects, but when it comes to swift and decisive action the Chinese Government model has no equal.

On the other hand, we just converted a conference centre to a hospital in two weeks and the story deserves more prominence. We also have tons of equipment being delivered and Formula 1 racing teams and various engineering companies are gearing up to produce machines to assist with breathing.

It’s looking good to me.

But the main stories are about how we supposedly mishandled the ordering of ventilators, are leaving staff without proper equipment and aren’t testing enough people.

Something I’ve noticed is that they seem to favour interviews with doctors and nurses coming off shift – that’s definitely not going to produce optimistic views.

I’m not going to say that the government is brilliant (I think you may have noticed a few criticisms in recent weeks) or that we should have bad news kept from us. However, the Government does deserve some credit and it wouldn’t hurt to be more positive.

Finally, I just saw a segment about the Medway Queen on Flog It. One of the people who appeared on the TV was a WW2 veteran who had been saved from Dunkirk by the Medway Queen. Compared to Dunkirk, a few weeks locked down hardly counts as an inconvenience.

 

This is the Coronia, another Dunkirk ship, based in Scarborough.

Wodehouse, laughter and Kipling

I’ve been reading Wodehouse recently, which is always a good thing to do when convalescing. I’ve always thought laughter is good for you, and there seem to be other people who think so too.  In the gaps I’ve been reading a history of the Irish Guards in the Great War and the Wikipedia list of Prime  Ministers of the UK. Neither of them make particularly cheerful reading, though you can’t base all your reading on its capacity to induce laughter.

I have an interest in the Great War, though I’m not one of those experts who talk knowledgeably about divisions, Army Orders and such. I’m more interested in the human element such as the history of watches and why the government set children to collecting conkers.

The wrist watch became much more popular as a result of the Great War, as a pocket watch isn’t very practical when you are lying face down in mud whilst somebody shoots at you. There had been various attempts at wrist watches over the years but the war was the beginning of the end for the pocket watch.

The conkers were a bit of a distraction, as it turns out.

When I saw that I could get the Irish Guards book for 49p on Kindle I thought I may as well have a go. Apart from my interest in the subject, I was interested in seeing what it was like as it’s written by Rudyard Kipling. Sadly, despite the quality of the writing (and the frequent insertion of light relief in the form of interjections from a comic Irishman) it’s only as interesting as the subject matter allows it to be. It also contains the news that Lieutenant J Kipling was posted missing after the Battle of Loos in 1915. Those must have been hard words to write.

That just leaves the Prime Ministers. I thought I’d brush up on them as I’m a bit deficient in my knowledge of PMs but after a quick run through I realised that I’d discovered an antidote to Wodehouse. I don’t need that, so I’ve left them for the moment – a monument to my ignorance. Well, one of several…