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This article was written on 06 Dec 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

All About The Feels

If we live in a post-fact age, the departure of said facts must have left a vacuum which something will fill. This is the law of things. And you don’t have to look too far to see what that is. It’s feels. What you feel trumps what the facts are, any day of the week. A burning insistence that This Is How It Is can get five times around the world and vote a dozen times before the truth has got its boots on and articulated a less simplistic, but correct argument. Let’s take a look at the evidence.

The trans lobby, for instance, insist that they are the gender they say they are. It simply doesn’t matter what anything else says. If they have XY chromosomes, a cock, balls and beard, then we’re supposed to accept that they’re a woman and behave as though they area. To do anything other is to invite attention as being a bigot. When someone, essentially a man in a dress, said that women who work at a London hotel should ‘shave their legs,’ this wasn’t instantly dismissed as being an idiot pandering to outdated stereotypes, and nobody said, as they should, that an awful lot of trans ‘women’ seem to have a concept of femininity that owes more to Danny La Rue than Germaine Greer. They’re female impersonators with a strange sense of what being a woman is and, I’d suggest, absolutely no idea, despite however many surgical procedures they have done.

And it’s the same with Brexiters. The signals are all there that Brexit spells economic doom and an horrific economic contraction the like of which has never been seen, but they disagree with Mickey Gove’s reviled ‘experts,’ such as Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, and insist otherwise. Today, the call for a ‘red, white and blue’ Brexit went up, as though pretending it’s in the same colours as a grubby flag makes it all okay. They’ve jammed their fingers in their ears and decided that it’s all going to be fine and are singing patriotic ditties until it IS fine. Which it won’t be, of course, but because this is the post-fact age, they’ll either pretend it isn’t happening, or blame someone else. Remainers are in vogue at the moment for ‘talking Britain down,’ when they’re actually just pointing out the idiocy, but it could just as easily be Muslims, Jews or whoever else to get a good going over once the scale of the calamity becomes clear.

I like facts, me. They help me make up my mind about suff, but I have the wit to recognise that I’m one of a dying breed. Somewhere between the men in sparkly frocks and the idiots in UKIP, a huge idiocy is being enacted in which people insist the truth is as they say it is. What it calls to mind is the scene in 1984, and here I admit that what I’m seeing in my mind is the film version, where O’Brien asks Winston how many fingers he’s holding up and Winston repeats the lie he’s already been fed. O’Brien is holding up as many fingers as Big Brother says he’s holding up, which is exactly analogous to this situation. If the trans people and the politicians are holding up three fingers, then they are. We have no power to challenge the narrative.

What I’m not doing, incidentally, is suggest some kind of movement for change. We’ve gone way, way beyond that. Were I to create an Orwellian dystopia or write anything with the terrible, clear-eyed clarity of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World,’ which is infinitely better, I’d have one where the mere production and dissemination of facts would be a crime. Naturally, the people at the top would know what facts were because it’d be their job to stop them reaching the public, who would be wandering around in an angry, nationalistic fog.

In crisis communications, the aim is not to prove the narrative that your company is hopeless to be wrong. It’s to muddy the waters so that people doubt the obvious. Take Southern Trains, in whose cataclysmic clusterfuck I was caught up last night. All they would need to do is to say, variously, that the delays were due to the London Bridge rebuild or to someone else owning the track – neither of which are true, incidentally – and there would be enough confusion in the mind of the punter to win their turd of a company a reprieve or maybe a permanent stay of execution. Remember, you don’t need facts; but you do need to sufficient mendacity to put partly or wholly false narratives out there and let the rumour mill do the rest. And so it is with the trans lobby and with Brexiters. The science or economics behind either is, at best, bullshit, but by talking up a massive fog of old bollocks, just enough people are confused to let them do what they want.

Again, I have to stress that I don’t counsel revolution. I got some flak earlier on Twitter for not suggesting positive solutions to problems when there aren’t any. I don’t vote and, were there to be a second referendum on membership of the EU, I wouldn’t vote in that, either, as the people of this country have shown that just enough of them are profoundly stupid and shouldn’t be saved. You’ll never manage to combat the post-fact age, at all, because as I suggested at the start, simple lies are infinitely preferable to complicated truths. You don’t have to work at understanding a simple lie. It can be swallowed whole. You do have to work at understanding a complex truth, but that takes time and people no longer have the inclination.

We get the society that a workable minority or majority vote for or accept, which is why we’re utterly, irredeemably fucked. I’m moved by the example of both Hunter S Thompson and Stefan Zweig, both of whom had a remarkably clear look at the future and decided that it wasn’t something they wanted to be part of. That, to me, is commendable. I don’t want to be part of the future, either, because it’s one of idiocy, but I’m going to wall myself off with books and music. I haven’t seen the news in days and I’m happier for it. So count me out, idiots. You can get on with it by yourselves.

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