Zombie #06

The sixth in an occasional series of ‘zombie resurrections’ from this site’s mostly offline 2002-12 archives. I refer to AA Gill’s assessment of choice, competition and capitalism on a fairly frequent basis, so it’s time to call it back from the grave.

“… loving children without doing them any kind of violence, admiring not their state of imagined innocence but their imaginative wisdom, their ability to re-invent the world in their own terms, their savage and serious re-enactments of social conflicts, their astonishing brutality and cunning, their ability to play out the great haunting problems of humanity, their sense of nonsense, courage, curiosity and wonder.”

Living amid a climate of moral panic exemplified by frequent media reports of child abuse – the awfulness of which I don’t mean to downplay in any way – I occasionally feel a mild and completely unjustified anxiety, as a forty-something, childless man, when I say I love spending time with kids. The above description partly covers why I enjoy their company.

I have no strong urge to read the book that inspired it, but the review seems perceptive.

“The central conflict of the book is internal. Ged needed to overcome his pride, understand the purpose of his art, resist the temptations of power, and acknowledge his dependence on friendship and kindness. The abuse of power is what got him into this situation: More power is not the solution. The climax of the story is unique in that it does not culminate in a show of force to defeat external evil, but in accepting responsibility for the darkness within him.”

A superb analysis of A Wizard Of Earthsea, one of my long-term favourite books.

Zombie #05

The fifth in an occasional series of ‘zombie resurrections’ from this site’s mostly offline 2002-12 archives. Facebook banter tonight reminded me of this initial encounter in early 2004. qB and Hg remain firm friends, under different identities.

That’s The Test

We introduced the Health Service; we were absolutely bankrupt, but we introduced the Health Service because that was NEEDED. And we introduced the beginnings of the welfare state and it wasn’t perfect – God knows, it wasn’t perfect – but you see, what that came out [of]… the recognition that in wartime there are no economic arguments at all. I’ve never heard a general say “I can’t bomb Baghdad this month because I’ve exceeded my budget”.

In wartime you do whatever is required and we should adopt the principle that in peacetime you do whatever is required. People want jobs, they want homes, want a decent income, a good education for their kids, they want healthcare, if they’re unemployed to be protected, if they’re old to be looked after, and they want peace – that’s what people want. And the test of a policy should be whether those obligations are met, or not.