26 November 2010

Melancholy and the infinite sadness

I feel like a bride left at the altar. Like a prom date who's just been stood up, all dressed up and nowhere to go, corsage wilting slowly on the table, parents shaking their heads in sadness and embarrassment that their little princess has been emotionally scarred for life and will probably die alone now, her collection of raggedy cats gnawing at her rotting corpse for weeks until a neighbour complains to the condo association about the smell.

Or the masculine equivalent thereof.

After all the promise, hope and excitement of Monday the rest of the week turned into a bit of a damp squid. Yeah, I said it, a damp squid. English, like any language, evolves over time. I have never attempted to blast apart a coal seam using small powder-based explosives, thus a "squib" damp or otherwise is meaningless to me. However I have encountered numerous cephalopods in various states of moistness and I can honestly tell you that if I ran down the stairs at Christmas time to rip open the presents under the tree and discovered that the large BB-gun shaped box with my name on it did, in fact, contain a desiccating squid, then I would be very, very disappointed indeed. Mostly because I'm a vegetarian.

Biffo failed to resign. The Four Year Plan was published. Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry fell back in line. Fine Gael, with the Jim Henson designed 'Enda Kenny' still nowhere to be seen, failed to do anything more substantial than grumble mildly about the 5% of the Four Year Plan they disagreed with. The Greens' bluff was called and now the election seems to be pushed back to February, or March, or whenever.

All-in-all a very damp squid indeed.

Sinn Féin's Senator Pearse Doherty looks set to take yesterday's Donegal South West by-election with a comfortable lead at the last tally, but the outcome of this vote was never really in any doubt once the High Court ruled in his favour and rapped the Government on its knuckles for illegally delaying the by-election for over 16 months. Thus this too fails to live up to the excitement promised by Monday's turbulent chain of events.

Looking at today's news it seems as if Monday never happened. Life goes on. The country is still screwed. Biffo is still in charge. Enda Kenny is still missing in action. And no-one seems to care. Forty people show up for a silent protest yesterday. Sinn Fein and SWP/PBP managed a hundred between them at two overlapping (and rival) protests the day before. ICTU are refusing to give estimates for the size of tomorrow's protest march because they honestly have no idea if anyone will show up, given the fact that less than 1,500 made it to their last march on the EU-wide day of protests.

In previous posts I have talked of anger on the streets, but more and more each day I start to fear that this is but delusional and wishful thinking on my part, compounded by the fact that lately I have surrounded myself with what little activity is going on, living as I am in an activism bubble. Maybe there are only a few hundred angry people in the country, and everyone else is happy to go along with each new day's degradations heaped upon them by an uncaring Government, content that the only source of national pride left is embodied in the person of a singing supermarket worker on a UK talent show. God help us all when the fickle youf of England vote her off and we all suddenly notice that the figleaf hiding our national shame has been sold off to the highest bidder by the IMF. Naked and alone we face a very, very cold winter indeed.

The events of the week are symptomatic of the nation as a whole, never failing to disappoint through its lack of action and stubborn refusal to do anything other than settle back comfortably into the status quo, with a half-drunk pint of Guinness on the table as it skips past the front of the paper to catch up on the horses on the back pages. Melancholic apathy is our national pastime.

And thus here we stand on our metaphorical Christmas morn, inky ichor congealing on our hands with the fishy odour emanating from the now quite damp and dank box we hold threatening to overpower the background stench of cheap aftershave we unintentionally irrigated the carpet with when we shook its wrapped container a bit too vigorously in an attempt to guess the contents.

Reminds me a bit of the Fianna Fail Tent at the Galway Races.

Seriously though, if ever there was a time to raise your voice in anger it is now. Join the ICTU march tomorrow, you don't have to be in a union, you don't have to be a leftie, you don't have to be a radical.

You just have to care about our country.

Support the National Demonstration Against the Cuts - 12 noon on Nov 27th at Wood Quay Dublin

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