What’s the old Steely Dan number that’s been running through my head all morning? Oh yes, ‘Black Friday’. How does it begin? There’s that lovely, distinctly Steely Dan style keyboard riff to open and four or five bars in launching into the song; “When Black Friday comes / I’ll stand down by the door / And catch the grey men when they / Dive from the fourteenth floor”
This is the day for traditionally queueing up outside the big box stores to indulge in a bit of rampant overspending, maxing out those credit cards in the pre Xmas sales, and perhaps trampling the odd fellow shopper or innocent member of staff. Yet today my thoughts are perturbed by the news that Anna, Gildas, and Petunia at the Raccoon Arms are apparently hanging up their keyboards. Thus I will forego my desperation for that must-have discount on a multipurpose slow cooker / egg poacher / toasting machine to think out loud about their tireless dig for the evidence of truth.
Being a natural sceptic, I’ve seen too much of what is presented in the lamestream media as ‘fact’ found wanting when it comes to real evidence. Instead of real journalism, what we seem to get is regurgitated press releases from people with a bigger agenda than the Committee for Really Screwing up Big Projects Again. Retrospective ‘Justice’ demanded by the mentally unstable with faulty memories for what was not an ‘offence’ over thirty years ago. The pursuance of petty grievances more realistically suited for a programme like the offensively lowbrow Jeremy Kyle show on British daytime TV “He touched my arm in 1979 and I’ve been peculiar ever since.” Anna, Gildas, Pet and friends had the experience and training needed to cut to the chase and expose the glaring lack of evidence. They brought their rationality to bear on the seeming juggernaut of lies daily presented as ‘facts’ in the media when faced with the angry, pointing denouncements of the unthinking mob.
Unfortunately we humans are not rational beings. If we were there would be fewer wars, less violence, fewer threats and perhaps we could turn our species’ boundless energetic curiosity to take us out beyond the stars, just to see what’s out there. To follow in the footsteps of our gods rather than kneel under the rule of priests. Instead we find ourselves perennially grubbing in a mud wallow of our own making, unable or unwilling to look upwards and outwards. Preferring the lowest common denominator of our own natures to that great expansionist impulse that could take our species onwards and upwards. Repeating the same old errors in the same old ways without seeming to learn very much. Sheltering under the umbrella of unreason, because comforting untruths are always preferred to feeling the refreshing rain of reality wash our spirits clean. Letting ourselves be ruled by habit rather than reason. Using the primitive Thalamus rather than our more highly evolved frontal lobes.
What’s worse is that we let people with an agenda build labels, those petty little mental fortresses built of words, or try to wall others in by projecting their worse natures onto them. Not only that, we apply these labels to ourselves; conservative, liberal, anarchist, communist etcetera. Not seeming to realise that applying a label is to paint a bloody big target on your position so the heavy artillery of propaganda and untruth, from all sides, can find you more easily. Anna and friends bravely planted a flag in their patch of sand and stood up for what they felt was real, questioning every piece of evidence, word by word, point by point. Questioning the main narratives. Defiantly refusing to be cowed by those who thought shouting the loudest and making sniping personal attacks made them right. For that alone the Anna Raccoon bar staff and some of the crowd in the Snug (a.k.a the Comments threads) all deserve medals. I hope that this time around they leave the site up as an archive rather than delete it all. At least while the domain name and hosting payments remain up to date.
Now I know very few people will ever bother to read and try to digest what I’ve written here. Most of those that do will think that Bill is going off on one yet again, and perhaps I am. It’s just my opinion about a far more worthy blog, and in the court of human words that doesn’t amount to much, except to me. But perhaps that is all that really counts.
Update: Looks like it’s not so much an end but a new beginning. Whilst the Landlady (The eponymous Anna) has retired and Gildas also, Petunia is keeping the ball rolling in his own inimitable style in a new place called ‘The Tap room’. Blogroll amended.