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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Snow, Darwin and the Survival of the Weakest

The last two weeks have been tiring for me, as Redemption enters its 16th year so the constant battle to survive and grow a business has to vie with my own creative desires and sometimes one doesn't necessarily equate with the other. So for the last week or so my thoughts and mood has meandered from a sort of foggy optimism to a form of semi melancholy to frustration at the sometimes ridiculousness of life. All of which had left me weary, a bit out of sorts with the world and, unusually for me, a bit down...and then it snowed!

I had just finished watching the film, The Station Master, which is excellent by the way in a kind of soft Hal Hartley style, and was getting ready to take Eddie, the very posh long coat Chihauhau of my girlfriends, out for his last walk of the day, when I glanced out the window to be confronted by a sea of whiteness and falling snow. Now only a city dweller can appreciate the truly magical calm that snow brings in its wake, for there was silence, absolute silence. No people, no cars, no sirens, nothing but the muffled non-noise that heavy snow makes as it falls. The empty streets also meant that Eddie was able to race around the snow like a gorgeous mad chihauhau, which is in fact exactly what he is.

There is something about the way that newly fallen snow, especially when no one else has walked on it, that is just beautiful and can, almost magically, transformed even the most mundane or ugliest of places into something wonderful or otherworldly and which instantly lifts your spirits and so it was for me. Or was until the following morning when I was confronted by a world that was seemingly made totally spastic by snow!

Never can there have been anything more ridiculous than the parade of poe-faced council health and safety 'executives' and other public officials who forbid buses, trains, tubes, planes, schools and it seems any human activity that might bring people into contract with 'extreme' weather, and by 'extreme' we are taking about two to eight inches of snow. Not two feet, or blizzards, just two to eight inches of snow in February, which is surprisingly a winter month... Normally though the diktats of England's legions of bureaucratic oiks pass me by but a sense of disbelief enveloped me when London's Camden Council closed its parks in case people slipped on the paths. Over the following days the UK then descended into a sort of snow hysteria where fear of the white stuff was fueled by an equally rabid media intend on presenting a few days of wintry weather as a sort of battle of the elements where people 'struggled' and 'heroes' walked miles to get to work while, inept council officials dithered on the sidelines. The overriding message though is that people have to be protected not only from the weather but from themselves, we can in fact no longer be expected to survive without the State stepping in, and worse, most of us expect it to step in and complain when it doesn't.

Even a few years ago the thought that almost the entire country's schools would be closed just in case a child fell over in the playground or got cold walking to school would have been unthinkable. Nor would a fifth of the working population have just stayed at home because it was too 'dangerous' outside and certainly in London the entire transport would not have just stopped. Yet stay at home people did and will continue to so no doubt as the 'extreme' weather continues its assault and the British people continue to demonstrate just why, had Charles Darwin, written his evolutionary study, Origin of the Species, now rather than in the 19th century that his survival of the fittest theory would have been retitled survival of the weakest.

For weakness and meekness are the new aspirations that we must aim for. Our leaders rejoice in mediocrity and loath elitism, failure is embraced and competition scorned, all races are equal, all sexes and sexuality's important, disabilities are championed and illness and weakness cosseted. No species is superior and all religions of value, no ones beliefs or faiths can be offended and everyone is 'someone' so the adverts tell us. We are all people, we are all wonderful regardless of our colour, race, religion, physicality, sexuality or intelligence. In fact Birmingham City Council has recently decided that the correct use of apostrophes in their street signs was too difficult for some of their ethnically diverse citizens and so have decided that rather than persevering and trying to teach people how to use them that they will simply abolish them. They will in effect, give up and dumb down lest some of us feel left out.

Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection demonstrated that through a process of evolution species evolved and by a process of the survival of the fittest the strongest and most adaptable animals and plants survived and developed as a species. In our new politically correct utopia, of course, such thinking is an anathema as it is the weak and infirm that must not only survive but whose needs must be championed above those of the able bodied and strong. Now we have a process of natural regression where our species is to stop evolving and instead, in the interest of diversity and equality, mutate eventually into some spongy, hermaphrodite with withered limbs and flesh the colour of puke with, no doubt, a varied belief system and an irrational fear of snow.

9th February 2009

This creature, the love-child of Karl Marx, the chattering classes and John Lennon, will probably begin to emerge during the summer when the hated 'extreme' weather has passed. For a few months it will be deemed safe for this new generation, 'the weakest links', to play outside while the rest of us look on and marvel at our new future.

Our obsession with equality, diversity and inclusivity means that we are constantly rewarding failure. Failure is now equal to success, the disabled akin to the abled, the stupid are on a par with the intelligent and the sexual deviant protected and championed by the state. Now our evolution and sense of achievement must be tempered lest the weakest be offended, better born deformed and stupid than born still able to progress and evolve or, heaven forbid, survive without state help in the snow. The same snow in fact that has highlighted our new enfeebled-ness and may, if it continues, actually make some of us think and act for ourselves again. At the same time 'extreme' cold in the wild often kills off a lot of weaker animals and its possible that the councils 'oik' population maybe reduced as well and that can only be a good thing.

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