Talking Turkey: Breaking Shit is not Nice

Is there a character called the Mad Punner in Alice in Wonderland? That’s what I seem to be turning into, under the pressure of events, trying to make sense of the senseless that apparently governs the behaviour of the few & the destiny of millions. I began with Brexit; I googled ‘break shit’, which lead to the Urban Dictionary telling me that it is a (synthetic?) phrase for getting ‘super drunk’, or ‘to be belligerent in your mannerisms and never take no for an answer’, or ‘to go get what you want and destroy all in your path’ – all without a single reference to Brexit, mind, talk of unconscious irony.

Whereas the question that occurred to me at once was: can you break shit? Dried birdshit, yes, it is called guano, which is a fertiliser, as we all know. But any other kind of shit, like Brexit? Look at London, Edinburgh and Brussels trying to break shit and failing miserably because the shit is still too fresh. They’ll have to wait till it has dried and turned hard so that they can break it. Not their fault, really, it’s not an easy task, by any means. Alexander the Great went into legend by cutting the Gordian knot – suppose he’d been given the task of breaking shit instead? Or worse still, of unbreaking it, as in Facebook? That could well be the fourth personal pronoun in third person, singular: he, she, it, shit. Shit happens, oh yes, (sh)it does and Brexit happens too.

Whereas Nice is not something one can pun about. Not even a Mad Punner. Even he tells Alice to run or to take cover when certain forms of 21st c. madness invade Wonderland. What happened in Nice is in some ways like the ultimate 20th cum 21st c. video game fantasy: Godzilla descending upon Wonderland to find that Lewis Carroll has forgotten to log out. Godzilla was originally created as a metaphor for nuclear weapons, I’m told. Is terrorism Godzilla Junior? There’s such a character, I believe.

And somehow it all goes back to the discovery of gunpowder & the flintlock, and from there to the capacity to make a lot of holes in a lot of people in the shortest possible time – we’re talking semi-automatics now, though we do NOT want to land in the middle of the most useless debate in human history, the one about the US gun laws which has stymied entire presidencies & presidents. They’ve got a new version of it now, inspired by Bob Marley & Eric Clapton’s I Shot the Sheriff & the Deputy As Well (before he could shoot me) aka Bury All Hope at Baton Rouge.

In the midst of all this, the Republican Convention has started but I, for one, am still mourning Nice. The site of Nice has been inhabited for 400,000 years, we are told; the name can be traced back to the Greek Nikaia, whereas the Romans arrived in Nice just 14 years before the birth of Christ. So the question arises: if a Roman charioteer were suddenly to go mad on the streets of Cemenelum and drive his chariot into the crowd on Cimiez hill, how many people would he have managed to maim or to slaughter?

It was not a chariot but a truck in Nice. I refuse to go into the history of the automobile as a weapon of mass destruction. Knowing the human race, they have the capacity to turn a baby’s rattle into a weapon of mass destruction, if they set their mind to it. Basically all I’m saying is that terrorism began when it became possible for a homo sapiens to kill a number of homines sapientes at one go, by making holes in them or running them over with a wheelbarrow or whatever. The amount of R&D and technological ingenuity which has gone into discovering the easiest way to kill the largest number of human beings is staggering. And that’s only because the Creator created the human being like a self-destroying message: ‘This message will destroy itself automatically after you’ve read it… Oh, you’re illiterate, are you?’ And so on.

I feel like a Greek minstrel from the ancient city of Nikaia who’s singing a dirge or a requiem for the human race using his tattered blog for a lyre – though Greek tragedy is like a Brazilian sitcom compared to what we are witnessing today. The killing of innocents is nothing new, but to raise it to the strategic level where there is only collateral damage in an undeclared war being fought mainly on promenades and in hostelries and on fairgrounds and soon children’s playgrounds (only a question of time) – wow, is about all I can say. It’s what the Creator said when they told Him. Wow, He said.

Regarding Turkey – are you still around? – it is difficult to understand just what is going on in the Most Muddled Country in the Meddle East. Maybe I’ll talk to Donald Trump about it but no, I shall never talk to Theresa May, even if she were to bring along BoJo as a kind of botched Trump imitation.

BoJo won the primaries for the British presidency & then scooted, remember?

Re-few-gees or re-phew!-gees?

Wasn’t that the question till Brexit boiled over? The respectful Indian way of addressing a ‘refugee’ is, of course, ‘Refu-ji! How are you? How is Refu-Aunty? When did you come to Blighty?’ Be that as it may, there are some interesting developments afoot. I have rarely seen so much of schadenfreude directed against one nation – actually two, since the nation in question is divided between the Leave and the Remain camps like the Little-Endians and the Big-endians in Gulliver’s Travels – shudder to think what Swift would have done with this lot!

To return to schadenfreude, schon längst an English word, it means feeling pleasure or satisfaction at the discomfiture of others – in its mildest version. At its rabidest, one can see it in the hircine gloating of the Remain supporters over the possible consequences of Brexit for Britain. And this schadenfreude is expressed in Facebook as well as on Twitter in some of the most atrocious punning in the history of the English language, as if not just Britain but English itself was taking leave of the EU! But a much more disturbing trend, to my mind, is to be detected in reports of ‘scumbags’ racially abusing persons of colour in public parks & on public transport in the (still) United Kingdom.

In the midst of all this, Nigel Farage had to take the stage in Brussels & curse the hon’ble assembly in no uncertain terms! A perfect example of democracy & parliamentarianism. And I suddenly found myself asking why in the name of all that is unholy the European Union had to get so excited/involved in the very legitimate process of the government & the citizens of the United Kingdom trying to decide whether they want to stay in the EU or not. Let them decide one way or the other, and then let them tell us what they want – the famous Article 50 – only then will there be any basis for discussion or action.

Till that point is reached – the point of no return – the govt. & the people of UK can hold as many referenda as they like – how does it concern the rest of the EU, pray? To give you but one example: when Spain is having trouble forming a government, the rest of the EU waits politely, do they not? It’s not as if Spain is running around like a chicken with its head cut! As a matter of fact, democracy means the painfully gradual process of determining the political will of the people – by various methods & instruments such as elections & referenda, even opinion polls may be included in that category. Why couldn’t the EU tell Britain, hey look, you find out what you want first and then come and tell us and we’ll see what we can do for you and for the rest of the EU. Why did the EU have to assume just what the British folk was going to decide and then go into a huff because they decided the other way round? It’s the way elections are held in some countries: the polls are valid only if I & my party win, otherwise there are accusations of skulduggery and the other side is always to blame. In countries with a certain tradition the army takes over till both sides have cooled down a little. And the EU doesn’t even have an army.

Why should it? It’s left wars behind and turned into a ‘family’, with the usual amount of bickering & drama. In that sense, Article 50 is like filing the divorce papers. The Brits have said – after much heart searching & heartburn – that they do not love the EU any more. Should the EU start crying Divorce! Divorce! right away? This is worse than Kramer vs. Kramer, I say! Britain is only 52% sure – or rather 52% of 72% of the Britons are sure that love has died – and the EU is behaving like hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Now Britain – the party that was unfaithful to begin with – is dragging its feet when it comes to the divorce. I suggest the EU shacks up with Turkey, gives Turkey the EU membership on an emergency basis just to spite Britain.

On a more serious note, isn’t it absolutely obvious what is going on in more than one country in Europe? UKIP and Brexit in Britain, Front National in France, AFD in Germany, the Freedom Party in Austria, Orban in Hungary, Kaczynski in Poland – it’s the same pattern everywhere: the European losers of globalisation are turning against the even poorer, even more desperate global losers of globalisation while the winners… Forget it. Entire generations of hard-working Europeans are seeing their lifetime’s work, their lifetime’s achievement, their lifetime’s savings being reduced to a worthless heap – this is the Great Depression in slo-mo, the death of a culture & civilisation without the advent of war.

Remember who the Brexit supporters were railing against? The fat cats of Brussels. Know who they will end up bashing in tubes and trains? People of (identifiable) colour. No wonder our Refu-ji uncle is talking of going back to Jullunder with Refu-Aunty. And I think I shall join them.

Big shit + no chief = Brexit

And we’re not talking about a certain resident of 10 Downing Street who’ll probably be able to buy up the place for a song when property prices tumble in London.

Otherwise you can’t expect a self-respecting blogger cum sit-down comedian like me to let an opportunity like this pass – when Chief Loud Blast That Tears the Skies (vide ‘Rule, Britannia!’) is suffering from constipation & the braves go to a paleface medicine man by the name of Cameron instead of to the shaman Farage for advice & succour. “Big chief, no shit,” the braves report.

Strangely enough, Cameron prescribes the same medicine that the shaman has been calling for since the beginning of the buffalo season viz. a referendum, which is duly held with the result that the flags are now flying at half mast in Brussels after they brought the sad news from Aix to Ghent: “Big shit, no chief!” Naturally everyone thought of Cameron and Cameron obliged them by announcing in the course of the day that he’d be taking his hat in around three months, leaving it to his successor to tell Brussels that they were being dumped – shame, as if he couldn’t have done it via SMS. And now look at Angela crying her eyes out.

As a European of non-European descent, I do not know whether to be happy or to be be sad, whether to laugh or to cry. People suffering from anxiety are said to assume the foetal or prenatal position and here we have Britannia trying to go back to the days of ‘splendid isolation’ as in the late 19th century, when Britain was trying to keep its involvement in European affairs to a minimum. Brought them two world wars in rapid succession as a reward, but that is neither here nor there.

In the country that I come from people still wish that Britain had held a referendum of a similar sort on or before the 31st of December, 1600, when John Company was founded. They’d have had no need for Paki bashing and could have had Southhall and Brick Lane all to themselves had they held that referendum… Just imagine, the country that founded the Commonwealth – which was called the British Commonwealth of Nations till 1947 – is leaving the European Union now. Alas, the British European Union is history. Another star gone from the silly little flag of the EU, as if for a children’s birthday party at McSoandso’s. And when Scotland and Northern Ireland go, there will be another two jewels (though no Koh-i-Noor) missing from the British crown – the Queen will soon have nothing to wear and Prince Charles will have only the Maoris to rub noses with, if it goes on like this. Ultimately, Prince George will be King of London & the Suburbs.

Will the European Union miss Little Britain or Disunited Kingdom or whatever the new entity is to be called? Will there be no more English hooligans fighting the Russian ones in Marseille every time there’s an European football championship? Does anyone realise that Euro 2016 has been free of acts of terrorism mainly because of the ‘hools’? Terrorists turning up to do mischief find the battle already in progress on the streets of whichever unfortunate town is hosting a match involving ‘Hool, Britannia’. It was only after reading Spike Milligan’s war memoirs that I realised that in the olden days, half the British populace only got to set foot on the Continent when there was a war. Doesn’t have to be a war, football championships will do nicely, thank you. My last thought on this count: can you imagine people in any of the erstwhile British colonies agonising over the fact that the British are leaving? Hallelujah.

And there is a last question that we have to answer: what was – or is – Britain’s malady? I’ll tell you. It is anxiety neurosis, angst for the future, angst of the future, angst in view of the subliminal penetration of German words like angst into the English language – almost as bad as the droogs speaking nadsat in Clockwork Orange. The British, who were naming every second warship of theirs Intrepid till the other day, have finally angst that reverse colonisation, the retribution for all their sins over nearly five centuries, will finally catch up with them and overwhelm them. Before England is a battlefield, English will be the battlefield, with mutilated grammar and slaughtered syntax and the unkindest cut of all – that Polish accent on top of the Indian one! – there’s this mixed couple I know…

Don’t worry, it’s just me and the wifey. And we live in the EU.