Sunday, September 15, 2013

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.

A Le Vell playing field

I honestly think I would rather be accused of murdering someone than of raping someone. I realise the sentence for murder is far higher than for that of rape, but still I would prefer to be in the dock on the former charge. Why? Because to rape someone, to take someone's liberty and humanity for your own pleasure is an unforgivable sin. People murder one another for all kinds of reasons but rape is committed for one reason and one reason alone; self-gratification. And the only thing I can think of that would be worse than being accused of raping someone, would to be accused of raping a child. Imagine if it happened to you? If you were innocent and the very thought of doing something like that to a child made you sick to your stomach? I honestly can't think of anything worse.

That's how Michael Le Vell must have felt; sick to his stomach. And even worse, his case was played out in the public eye, merely compounding his shame. I didn't know whether he was guilty or not. He didn't seem the type, but then who does? As it turns out he wasn't the type. He was just another hapless victim in a long line of them, all high profile cases which have amounted to nothing. I can only hope the Coronation Street actor can rebuild his life and put the whole thing behind him. But what of the alleged victim? What happens to her? For a start she can't be named, which is understandable given her age. But why was Michael Le Vell named? He hadn't done anything wrong and yet was in the dock both literally and figuratively.

The bottom line is that it's too easy to 'cry wolf' nowadays. It's too easy to drag someone's name through the mud, at great cost to their reputation, while the accuser goes unpunished. Why not jail sentences for those who falsely accuse others of rape? It's only fair. A term identical to the one the accused was facing would fit the bill perfectly, and you never know it might even act as a deterrent for those who decide they'd like to ruin someone's life in the future.

You've got some balls

The testicles are a funny pair of lads aren't they? Easily the most unsightly part of the human body they are nevertheless of utmost importance, the penis may hog all the glory but without his two lieutenants backing him up he's nothing. In recent times we've become accustomed to grappling with our bad boys for reasons other than it feels nice, we're all well aware of the dangers of testicular cancer and we dutifully check for lumps whilst lying on the couch watching football. But no sooner have we become “balls-aware” then our scrotums find themselves under scrutiny once more.

It now appears that having a heaving sack hanging from your midriff is a bad thing, at least when it comes to being a Daddy. James Rilling, an anthropologist from Atlanta, claims that the smaller your two veg the better a father you're likely to be. In a study of 70 willing males he discovered that those with petite potatoes were more likely to be involved in care giving activities such as nappy-changing, bottle-feeding and singing lullabies in a high-pitched falsetto (guess which one of those I made up). I bet you're all checking your bollocks now aren't you? I know I did.

But these findings got me thinking; maybe these fellas had massive balls before they became fathers, perhaps their testes were literally spilling out of their trousers until Junior came along. And then everything changed. The sex dried up, they no longer spent their evenings down the pub with their mates. Now it was all days out at Mothercare, shit-filled nappies and lukewarm breastmilk. Their testicles simply gave up, we're not needed here anymore they said; and with that they simply shrivelled up and died. So lads, be a good father but do it in the traditional sense - a kickabout in the backgarden, fishing-trips, that kind of thing – and if you're lucky your gonads may just survive the experience.

Unfinished monkey business

You know that thing where you're asked to name the four famous people you'd like to have a dinner party with? The one where you forget that no celebrity in their right mind would want to spend an evening fending off drunken advances from you? Yeah that's the one. Whenever I'm asked to select the lucky few who get to dine with me one name invariably pops up time and time again: Sir David Attenborough. I love that man. In truth we don't have a lot of common other than a shared interest in the animal kingdom, but still I'd give anything to spend an evening listening to old Dave recounting tales of his adventures in all four corners of the globe.

However as he's got older (he's 87 now) Sir David has become prone to the odd controversial statement or two, but he gets away with it 'cos he's a national treasure and all that. In January of this year he declared that humans are “a plague on the Earth” - hard to argue with that really. And now, not content with calling us a plague, he has declared that we as a species have ceased to evolve; his reasoning being that birth control has put a halt to the Darwinian theory of natural selection. Now I'll be the first to admit that all things science blow my fucking mind, I really haven't a clue how any of it works. I have a vague understanding of molecules and bacterias but it only takes five minutes of Brian Cox for me  to be sitting there scratching my head in bewilderment.

But we've stopped evolving because of contraception? How does that work? Surely we're evolving just by existing. For example we use our thumbs far more than any generations that went before; so it stands to reason that in a thousand years time humans will have oversized thumbs borne out of necessity. Is that not how evolution works? If only Dave would accept my dinner invite and explain it to me properly. As it is I can feel a headache coming on so I think I'll have a little lie down.

Any minute now

Since the beginning of this double/triple/quadruple dip recession it's been one bad news story after another. It's hard to turn on your television or radio without being exposed to it. Occasionally though they throw us a tidbit, these usually come at the end of a tough few months or just before them. And what these comforting morsels provide us with is hope; enough hope to ensure we don't lose heart, but not so much that we'll get carried away with ourselves. This week we were given a little hope, but like I said not too much. Because apparently the worst of it is behind us, that's right the last five years were awful bastards but the only way is up from here on in. And not only that, our economy is growing too! Well it couldn't get any fuckin' smaller now could it?

I'm sure this information is true – it's not like the Government to lie to us now is it? - but excuse me if I don't start doing cartwheels. It's not that I'm a pessimist, far from it, but it feels like we've been fed stories like this at regular intervals since the beginning of the economic downturn. If I was to be cynical I'd say that these nuggets of news are timed for release with almost military precision. The mood of the nation is assessed, a day is chosen for maximum impact and then BAM they hit us with the good stuff. There ye go now lads, just when you thought life was shit, it's not; it's still not great but any day now it will be, now stop your complaining and get back to work – oh feck we forgot ye don't have any jobs, never mind the recession will be over soon. When? Ah sure any time in the next fifty years ya know yerself. 

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