The Meerkat Muse – 29th June 2022

You know what time it is?!

Hey y’all!

It’s Meerkat Muse time! Let’s dive right in shall we?

The Curious Case of Vanishing News

The other day, The Times newspaper ran an article about Boris Johnson, and his then-mistress Carrie, and the case of his attempt to make her his chief of staff (earning £100,000 a year), whilst he was Foreign Secretary. This article vanished (and the print version of the paper was quickly replaced with a new edition), but the great thing about the Internet, is that it archives everything. Now questions are being asked about why this article disappeared. Disappointingly, one of the UK’s chief media outlets, the BBC, doesn’t seem to have any interest in what looks like someone placing pressure on The Times to drop the article.

Why is this important? Well, using one’s position to grant a very-well-paid job to a mistress is highly dubious from an ethical/moral point of view (Johnson has no morals, this we know already). Johnson intended to make this move to benefit his mistress, whilst he was still married to his previous partner, for Carrie’s financial and political benefit. If I were to try and hire my wife, it would be seen as abusing my position, yet Johnson has no scruples, so it would at all surprise me if this story turned out to be true.

Another issue is how this story got removed. It was quickly and quietly deleted from The Times website, and replaced in print, as mentioned earlier. A number of sources believe the paper – controlled by right-wing stalwart and Tory ally Rupert Murdoch – caved to pressure to remove it. However, in doing so, the parties involved are now finding themselves victim to the Streisand effect, where attempts to suppress news/information only increase interest. We are left with another reminder of what Johnson – and his cronies – truly are. They are now subverting the press! What next?

Hay-fever Continues

It won’t go away. Some things make it more bearable, but this year is definitely the worst for the pollen scourge. It is ever going to abate?! I made the mistake of mowing the garden, just as things seemed to be getting better. Woke up the next day to a bout of sneezing and sniffling.

Secular ‘Intolerance’

This is a curious concept, and not not really borne out of facts. The religious right, particularly the Christian right, loves to believe it is being persecuted. This is despite tremendous influence in society, especially in the USA. Case in point, there is this post on The Christian Post. The irony of claiming censorship and suppression, whilst freely posting to a website devoted to one’s faith, seems to be lost on many posters there.

Take, as an example, one called Hospes, who posted a reply to me (which I couldn’t access on the site, but my emails preserved it).

You call it rights and freedoms. I call it something a small group of elites found hiding in the U.S. Constitution, something that has never before been found in human history. The point of the article is your opinion is promoted, mine is silenced. Even in your dismissal, you are more or less asserting my idea has no merit – in your worldview – so it’s okay for it to be silenced. You are an unwitting “Exhibit A” of exactly what the article is addressing.

Hospes, The Christian Post

I am assuming they were responding to this:

Well, the message of the latter would be aimed at denying people their rights and freedoms, which should never be dependent upon the mercy of organised religion…

Ben Berwick, The Christian Post

Which was in turn, a response to this:

In my tiny slice of experience, if one employee had put up a rainbow flag and another put up a cartoon showing stick figures depicting “Marriage = Man + Woman”, the former would be allowed while the latter would not. Just sayin…

Hospes, The Christian Post

What Hospes does not seem to realise, is that no one is curtailing his right to practice his religion – however, in a secular society (which officially, is what the USA is, as well as many other countries), they do not have the right to impose their faith upon anyone else. This includes discriminatory messages. No one is forcing anyone to believe anything they don’t want, or do anything they don’t want to do, except for the religious right, which routinely expects everyone to conform to religious values.

Another poster, one Mr MGB Jr, alluded to some worrying ideas:

Attention Mr “Ben Berwick” (1) To repeat: SIN is NOT/should NOT be a human right! Sexual, romantic etc gratification is NOT/should NOT be a human right! See earlier comment 4 more. (2) “Gaining” the right to (SIN-against/dishonour) yourself and/or your neighbour is nothing to be pleased about (3) Thank GOD there are nations (religious & secular) which have “anti-LGBT” laws & which value: Innocence, morality, justice, righteousness, chastity, continency, purity etc & NOT sexual, romantic gratification. Thank GOD for the death penalty for “men with men working that which is unseemly” and the death penalty for rapists etc etc

Mr MGB Jr, The Christian Post

You read that right. MGB believes in the death penalty for homosexuality. He equates the LGBT community with rapists.

You “Ben Berwick” show a lack of intelligence, wisdom, morality etc. You are offensive 2 morally decent people of all religions & no-religion. You claim “Sin is a human concept”. Would you deny that anyone has ever been sinned against! Or that any thoughts, words, desires, deeds etc are SINFUL! Would you tell a rape victim they haven’t been sinned against & the rapist is NOT a sinner! You CLAIM we created the concept of “SIN” “to justify intolerance”. If some things really are sinful, dishonouring, degrading evil (in thought, word, deed etc) etc then we are morally obligated not to tolerate them! or their practitioners! Unless you want a society with no laws then everyone MUST be FORCED to live by something. The only question is whether they are forced to live by what is GOOD or EVIL etc, WISE or FOOLISH etc. Even IF the idea of sexual sin was made up by human beings* whatever you believe in is also made up by human beings, in some cases sinful, stupid sex-offenders, members of various sex-cults (e.g. ‘LGBT’ etc) GLORY TO GOD & all people who use their GOD-GIVEN conscience, of all races, nations etc. *i.e. moral, civilized, wise human beings from all over the world, who value, chastity, innocence, purity, abstinence, modesty, self-respect, respect for others etc

Mr MGB Jr, The Christian Post

Apparently not wanting religious interference in peoples’ lives makes me unwise. Apparently it’s better to desire the death penalty for homosexuality than it is to support them. As you can see, he champions the idea of forcing people to live by the ideals of others. I wonder if he would be willing to be forced to live by the values of a religion that was not his own?

Sin is a construct, and if you rely upon being told what is morally right (by a morally dubious being, I might add), then how righteous are you, really? When you depend upon God telling you what is right, and if the only reason you won’t act like a deviant is because of God’s rewards (or punishment), how good a person are you? Desiring the death penalty upon the LGBT community is the ultimate example of intolerance, which is hugely ironic, given the article and its protest about secular intolerance.

Rail Strikes

There has been huge disruption to the UK rail network recently, as unions voted for strike action on a scale not witnessed for years, over pay and conditions. Some are saying the unions are being selfish, and that they are inflicting suffering upon millions. Others are saying that people power is more important than ever.

We live in an era where corporations hold most of the cards, and the Tories would love to grant them all the cards. There is a serious imbalance of power in this country, and workers aren’t protected. That needs addressing, and a full-scale general strike might be one way to do so. Disruptive? Absolutely, but that’s the point.

A Day at the Races (sort of)

Trying to rememver as I might, I don’t think I’ve ever been to horse-racing course before. That changed the other Sunday, when I went to Esher Park Racecourse, albeit not for the reasons you might think. The trip was work-related. My regional manager needed a volunteer to help out, and I agreed. I was regretting it from the start, dreading the long day and heavy lifting, but I had made a commitment to help out, and my regional is also a friend, so I was determined not to let him down.

We left quite early on Sunday morning, and made good time along the M25. The day itself was productive, from a company point of view (the racecourse was hosting a trade show), and packing up went quite smoothly. The broken-down lorry on the way home ended the illusion of a completely smooth-sailing day. We might have been home by 7.30pm, but instead it was more like 8.30, having left the house at 7.35am (ish). A long old day! It was back to work on Monday too – I should have asked to swap days! Having never been there before, I snapped a couple of pics of the venue.

I wish I could have sunk a couple of cold beers, but alas, we were not there to relax!

The Random Prompt Podcast Series

In a bid to develop some structure to my podcasts (and to raise awareness of them), I’ve started a new series, called ‘Random Prompts’. If you have an idea for a prompt, please drop me a comment, and I’ll add it to the series!

Try as I might to think of ways to pad out this Muse, I fear I have reached the end! So it’s a shorter Muse this time around. I’ll end on saying that work, which has been a bit quiet lately, has picked up again. I also have some stuff to read and sign regarding my book. That is an occasion for another time!

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