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Thursday, 15 March 2012

Ruminations

I have recently been spending my mornings with my Kindle reading Umberto Eco's rambling tale of the "Prague Cemetary".  This novel reminds one of the nature of human civilisation, or relative lack of it, and confirms that our current age of discontent is no twenty-first century fad, no invention of the evil press barons or social media gurus, users, exposers  or tweeters, it is the product of human society.

We were fortunate to have a most loyal calm and faithful dog in the late 1980s and into the nineties, he was a breed of German origin that traditionally pulled butchers' carts and known for their strong family ties and fierce loyalty.  Unfortunately, the Rottweiller became the "devil-dog" overnight because of an unfortunate incident.  The only upside of this was that the poor German Shepherd got let off the hook for a few years and the Pit-bull became the next object of hate.

In the book I mentioned it is both the Jews, not as a race per se but as a socio-political construct and the Freemasons, again not as any specific society but as a pseudonym for all that is secret or uncomfortable in life that get the attention.  The focus of the book is an amoral carachter who makes his living in 19th century Europe as a spy/forger/political tool available to either the highest bidder or the power or force of the moment.  This led me to reflect that it is some years since Freemasonry has been the subject of press attacks in the UK.  Typically, rather like the GSD, every so many years, some story sets the hounds onto masonry as a scapegoat for all that is dubious in society.  Being openly anti-semitic today will probably attract the wrath of the politically correct forces of law and order, so that removes the Jews from the discussion, but where is the current misplaced focus of attention?

I discovered, courtesy of the BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme that a small group of Christian demonstrators have decided to spend Lent hounding and following visitors to an London establishment that provides abortion services.  It is their privelidge to live in a country where such demonstration is legal and tolerated, however, does that privelidge extend to putting significany moral pressure on some women who are already going through a morally disturbing time in their lives?  I have no strong feelings on this issue, I do not agree with the papal definition of life as beginning at conception, in fact, until quite recently, a child that remained unbaptised was excluded from the rights of the church in the event of early death, my personal view is that life is an independent existence, but I tolerate and accept the views of others.  However, all tolerance has boundaries and yesterday I found my personal 'tolerance' levels to be stretched beyond belief in a related, yet subtly different area of moral indignation.

Yesterday, a Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Republican Debbie Lesko's HB2625 (Arizona) by a vote of 6-2, which would allow an employer to request proof that a woman using insurance to buy birth control was being prescribed the birth control for reasons other than not wanting to get pregnant.  Further, because Arizona is an "at-will employment" state, this means that bosses critical of their female employees' sex lives could fire them as a result.  Basicaly, a minority of employers who disapprove of birth control can interfere in and effectively control their employees' lives because of their belief.  I hesitate to even begin to think what the state of Arizona will consider appropriate should they discover that there are any homosexuals in employment, or if a woman's medical records show that she has had an abortion at some time.  As these two factors, abortion and birth control do have a common high profile proponent in his Holiness Benedict XVI, this leads me conveniently back to my "Prague Cemetary", will those same employers refuse work to Jews, Freemasons, Mexicans or other racial, religious or simply inconvenient groups of people?

To what extent does any individual have the right to (try to) control the thoughts and actions of those with whom they differ in opinion?  States and governments, along with dictators, have always exercised that "right", for good or ill, but what does it say about 21st century civilization in Arizona?  To follow up on this story and get the feel for the current emotional temperature check out my references through Dr Google, simply enter the search term "Whore pills" and click on the first result.

As a post script, this supports a question I asked myself recently on completing my first reading of the "Millenium Trilogy".  The only thing that I could fault, not being a Swedish speaker or reader, was that the translator was evidently an American, words such as "dumpster" where an English speaker from Britain would say "skip" and many others confirmed this.  However, there is the use of one word on hundreds of occassions throughout all three volumes that confused me as its meaning was always derogatory, but varied significantly as to its accuracy or appropriateness.  That word was "Whore"; I now wonder if the translator hailed from Arizona, it would certainly explain several things about the English translation of Steig Larsson's excellent novels.

1 comment:

  1. As ever, you touch on a number of very pertinent points. Governments, governors and politicians, in my humble opinion, inevitably make a complete mess when they try to legislate what they decree to be "moral" or "right behaviour." Like you, I find myself appalled at the behaviour of those now demonstrating outside the abortion clinics, this is emotionally and medically no easy decision and to place a woman considering it under this sort of pressure is deeply immoral. Ironically, I note that it is something that has come to these shores from the US courtesy of one of the more fundamentalist sects.

    His Holiness and the entire Roman Church is certainly not helping either, but then, when all doctrine is determined behind closed doors by academics its almost as bad as having politicians dictating on matters of morality. The only point I would disagree with you on is the moment at which "life" begins. It is interesting that the Chinese believe it to be the moment of conception, and this is based in teachings dating to pre-Christian times. Christianity has not always believed it to be the moment of birth, that again, is a legal construct, not a religious one.

    It has often struck me that the outbreaks of anti-Masonic, anti-Semitic and anti- any other group are directly related to the need to deflect attention from the activities of another group - usually with their hands on the levers of power somewhere ...

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