You’d think that five days spent in bed would represent some kind of paradise. Particularly to someone like me, who enjoys their bed. But when it is enforced by illness, it quickly becomes a kind of Hell. Having spent the better part of what was meant to be a week off of work largely confined to bed thanks to a cold which jut wouldn’t let go, I can honestly say that it ruins the bed experience. Wheezing one’s way in and out of sleep for several hourss a day is anything but relaxing. You find you’ve got too much time to yourself, isolated by illness from the world, it is impossible to think anything but negative thoughts. I found myself falling into existential angst, questioning whether there actually was any meaningful world outside of my sick bed. What exactly were those ‘important’ things I would have been doing if not confined to my bed? It got to the stage where I really couldn’t think of anything better to be doing than being ill. Every day I thought that surely, by now, I should be feeling better. And whilst some symptoms would have gone, or lessened in severity, there’d be a whole new set of hurdles to my recovery. The headaches, blocked sinuses and hacking cough went, only to be superseded by aching ribs, (the result of the coughing) and a sore throat which made eating feel as if I was swallowing barbed wire. Finally, a new, different irritating cough came along – and still won’t leave.
Still, everything has some kind of positive side: even in the depths of my illness I was comforted by the fact that at least I wasn’t at work. Thank goodness for small mercies, eh? Of course, I might have been ill in bed, but the world carried on, regardless, with so called ‘President’ Trump continuing his administration’s scarily farcical first month in power. ‘Fake News’ quickly became the phrase of the hour, as any story or news source the president didn’t like were dismissed as such. Mind you, there were times you could see his point: some of the actual news did look like fake news. I mean, at one point I thought I was having a fever dream when I found that a non-league reserve goal keeper eating a pie during an FA Cup tie was not only considered news, but apparently also enough to see him investigated under FA match-fixing rules. Is it any wonder that Trump gets so confused about such things? But the whole alleged ‘Fake News’ thing continues to irritate me – after all, it’s always been the case that lots of untrue things are published on the net, yet suddenly everyone is meant to be shocked by it. It all comes back to bloody Buzz Feed – a bunch of hipsters playing at being journalists – who came up with a ‘story’ in the aftermath of Trump’s election victory that there were lots of pro-Trump stories on Facebook, which weren’t true!
Well, golly gosh! Fuck my hat, I never knew that! The apparent shock expressed by these supposedly web-savvy journalist hipsters at discovering that there are fake news stories circulating on the web was astounding to behold. Are they really that naive? Worse still, do they really think that the rest of us are so naive that we can’t tell the difference between fake and real? Clearly, they are utterly irresponsible as ‘journalists’, trying to start a moral panic over a non-story. They really do need to fuck off, stop playing at journalism and go and grow their beards, or whatever it is that hipsters do. The worst thing is that they coined and popularised the tern ‘fake News’ which was quickly seized by the right and used by them to try and discredit legitimate news stories and outlets. Twats. Every one of them. In fact, I’d quite like to punch them in thace, but I feel that we should probably reserve such actions for the neo-Nazis in our midst.
Apparently this now the big moral question for liberals: is it OK to punch out Nazis (or neo Nazis, Alt-Right or whatever tag they like to hide behind these days)? It arises, of course, from that widely circulated footage of that right-winger getting punched not once, but twice, in Washington DC, on the day of Trump’s inauguration. Some on the left felt that the widespread jubilation this event caused on social media was misplaced. Their argument is that violence can never be justified – particularly in a case like this, when the attacks were unprovoked, the victim was simply espousing his view point, as is his right as a matter of free speech rather than inciting or threatening violence himself. He should, they contend, have been engaged in reasoned argument, rather than being cold cocked by a couple of passing two fisted liberals. I say liberals, but we don’t actually have any real idea what their political affiliations were. They might simply been interested in perpetrating a bit of non-political violence and the Nazi just happened to be the wrong man in the wrong place.
Anyway, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought: can we really condone casual violence of this sort against our political foes, even when they are extremists espousing racism and intolerance? Doesn’t it just bring us down to their level? Isn’t the resort to violence an admission that our own political and moral values are themselves invalid, that we’ve lost the argument with the right? Well, there was a time when I would have agreed that violence could never be condoned in politics. But the fact is, whether we like it or not, we’re living in a scary new world where the fascists have taken power. In the case of Trump, right from the start, he and his supporters have shown their willingness to subvert the system in order to force through repressive and regressive policies, Let’s not forget that during his campaign, Trump was perfectly happy to incite violence against his opponents and he now happily condones the use of fatal violence by his buddy Putin, when dealing with his political opponents. Moreover, Trump is backed by the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, an organisation not noted for recourse to reasoned argument. So, whilst I still wouldn’t like to be seen to be inciting violence, I’m afraid that I’ve come to conclusion that, yes, if the circumstances seem right, we should punch out Nazis. I’m just talking about a swift smack in the mouth here, not beatings with iron poles or gunning them down. Nothing fatal. Just a swift, sharp shock every time they start spewing their bile. Because, I can’t help but feel that if more people had punched out Nazis in Germany, during the Weimar Republic, we might have avoided a lot of trouble later. So, if you see a Nazi, give them a slap.
So, there you have it, the distillation of my feverish mental ramblings over five days ill in bed. Does any of it make any sense? Probably not. But little does these days. Until the next time, keep it sleazy – and punch a Nazi or two.