24 January 2014

I don't care if the nation stalls

An early version of Google Maps. Very early. 
British Museum, London, January 18th, 2014
This is a Babylonian map of the world, dating from some time between 700 and 500 BCE. Babylon itself lies in the centre, the Euphrates river surrounding it and flowing southwards. A body of water encircles it on all sides, and beyond that sits seven points where lies the unknown, the home of the mystical and magical. At the very north reads the inscription, “Where the sun is not seen”, so presumably that points to Ireland, or our general direction.

For the carver of this map, there is Babylon, around which all else rotates. Beyond that there is only conjecture and superstition, and possibly a miserable bunch of rocks jutting forth from the north Atlantic, one where the people think it normal to have two types of potatoes with their dinner (which in some parts of that rock is actually lunch, just to confuse things further), the other where the people think that fried bread is an acceptable breakfast food.

My own Copernican centre would now appear to be a point somewhere in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Euphrates to my mental Babylon. On either side of this lies my known world, stretching from Dublin in the west to London in the east. Beyond these points lies a circular band of water that wraps around us all, and beyond that again lie the lands of the mythical and magical, what fanciful cartographers fearful of blank spaces whimsically named "Europe" and "America", though which of course only children and the feeble mind believe actually exist.

I'm glad that my universe now revolves around a notional point in the sea, for if it remained back some 40 miles to the west (as it has almost exclusively for the previous decade), then I would have to care about the Limerick City of Culture, the CRC, Irish Water, RTE censorship, Rehab and Penalty Points. We are but twenty-four days in to the new year and I find it hard to ever remember such a cavalcade of cronyism and endemic corruption being publicly displayed with such brass-necked gusto, worn like a badge of honour by those who in other lands (if such a thing existed, which obviously they do not) would hang their heads low in shame and resign in humiliation.

But luckily, my aquatic centre-point absolves me from such concerns, even if I do only pass over it bi-weekly at 21,000ft, like a car wash for the soul.

Which is lucky, because seriously folks, WTF? They're just laughing at us now, openly laughing.

And we continue to let them away with it.

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