I have been hideously and irremediably idle in recent times. Seduced by twitterings and sound bite Facebook posts, I have found my thoughts leaping like a frog on a random succession of lily pads from one vapid thought to another. Nothing new there, then. The short sharp interjection is beguilingly direct but one is in default mode most of the time hence any logical train of connected thought becomes difficult. How smug we all feel when tweeting a crackling one-liner worthy of a Presidential candidate. Apologies in advance then for the random unconnectedness of what follows in the form of a few small passing clouds which have stayed together long enough to engage my attention.
Neglecting for a moment trivia like the European Debt Crisis, today, I read an article – surprising how hard it becomes to read when surrounded by pictures – which explored the principle of proximity in the context of loving my neighbour. How far, morally as well as geographically, does my neighbourhood extend and what exactly are my responsibilities towards it? To those with whom I have meaningful interaction on a regular basis? Mitt Romney? My Facebook friends and are they really my friends at all? The pizza delivery boy? Those suffering from disease, famine and disaster in Somalia? Or, the people who don’t like me very much. This list is the longest and most extensive.
On a different note. For impenetrable reasons, my TV is not giving me what I want. I quite like the action channel – sex and mindless violence being vastly entertaining usually, but these days a fat man in a dishdasha who commentates jovially on local football matches, folding his arms at regular intervals is almost more than flesh and blood can stand. It’s a toss-up really whether this or the WWF gets turned over first. The Turkish channel has the advantage in that it shows images of large breasted women, usually suffering some form of domestic violence in Istanbul, but the highlight of the week was finding the ‘local’ equivalent of the God Channel where jolly people big it up with specially hip bearded guests discussing the relative merits of tattoos and piercings.
In truth, I have had little time to channel hop, since, with fatuous shortsightedness and in a moment of weakness I agreed to ‘read a few lines of Dickens’ for a celebration of his 200thbirthday this month. Expecting to be given the odd line or two of Pickwick or Nickleby, which I could intone from some kind of lectern like Simon Callow, the whole monstrous hydra has burgeoned and grown like a smallpox rash, and has now metamorphosed into a rather jolly song and dance routine, fully scripted and choreographed. My bleats of protest were steamrollered, a script was thrust into my hand by a remarkably persuasive director and there were actual lines to learn and stage directions to follow. The principle is clear. That which begins simply, when placed into enthusiastic hands, takes on a life of its own and participants, willing or not, are helplessly carried like rafts on the rapids in ever increasing circles. It remains to be seen whether we survive the jeering and catcalling as we all slowly hang ourselves on Friday night. I hope there’s a vomitorium.