Distinguish

I don’t know. It’s discrimination, is what it is. People going round telling the difference between bits of stuff. Some of them use their eyes to do this, and they’re the worst. They can see black things and white things, and often shades of grey as well. They can not only tell the edge of objects, but they can detect qualities within their surfaces as well. But don’t go thinking that blind people are beyond reproach. You can bet that they are all at it too, with their finely attuned, bat-like sense of hearing, checking out the differences between things, using such qualities as pitch and timbre, and even the acoustic effects of their surroundings. Even people without vision or hearing will be groping around, feeling the outlines of things, determining where objects begin and end, and their shape, and stuff like that. Makes you sick. This endless obsession with not treating the entire world as if it were the same, uniform shade of grey, and a hissing white noise is exactly what causes all the misery in the world.

It’s not just the senses either (and incidentally, I didn’t even mention scent and taste, which means that people can go telling the difference between bouquets and tannins of red wines, for example, the bourgeois bastards, probably going to, I don’t know, Waitrose or somewhere to buy it). Oh no. It’s a different kind of taste, like knowing stuff about culture. Being able to tell the difference between different styles and genres of music, for example, like say, Rihanna and the London Symphony Orchestra. I mean, who are they, these discrimination bastards, who do they think they are, what gives them the right, in fact, to tell us what the difference is between Rihanna and the London Symphony Orchestra? They are probably going to go on about the fact that like, I don’t know, Rihanna is like one person, and the LSO is made up of like dozens of people. I mean. Like that matters? And if you say that, they’ll go on about how, I don’t know, Rihanna sings songs, and usually the LSO doesn’t and that she always sings about men getting erections, while the LSO never does, and just stupid piddly little details like that. It’s but one step from that to saying something like Rihanna is better than the LSO, or maybe the other way round. And then who’s going to object when they start building the concentration camps for Orchestras, eh? These people seem to think that piccolo players are somehow the scum of the Earth just because they don’t strap themselves into skin-tight PVC catsuits and sing about having sex. They seem to think that all the cello players should be made into a bonfire along with their cellos and napalmed to death just because they aren’t chart-topping soul/R&B divas with a worldwide following of teenage and twenty something girls.

Then there’s plays and stuff. People with discrimination are going to tell us that Shakespeare plays, right, Shakespeare plays, are all good because of their breadth of vocabulary, the exquisite use of rhythm, metre and rhyme, and their finely nuanced revelation of human character and experience, while plays by someone like, I don’t know, Alan Bennett, aren’t quite as good, because they tend to be more narrow in scope and encapsulate a particular social and historical milieu.

Well, who gives them the right to say that, eh? Who exactly gives them that right, I want to know. How can you say one thing about one thing, and then say another completely different thing about something else, just because the two things are different? It doesn’t mean one is better than the other, does it? Bennett plays matter too. Where are all the Shakespeare lovers going to be when the edict goes out to collect up all the Bennett plays in the middle of a field and set fire to them, and while they’re at it, chuck on top the past directors of the National Theatre and other members of the London theatrical scene who have been involved in productions of them. They’ll be snivelling in little holes, I’ll bet, snivelling in little holes, with their fingers in their ears saying ‘I hope they don’t come for me. I hope it’s not me they’re going to come for next’. Yes, that’s what you get for distinguishing between things and not assuming or believing that everything is exactly the same as everything else. You get objects, is what you get. You get individuation. Individuation. And once you’ve got that, what have you got? I’ll tell you what you’ve got, matey, you’ve got individuals. And individuals are going to want to express their individuality. And before long, you’re dealing with another demagogue, another Hitler, or Assad, or Saddam (no better not say him, he’s a good guy, these days, isn’t he, he’s the one who, if only the West had left him in power, none of this trouble would have happened. I forgot). And he crushes the people beneath his feet and ruthlessly persecutes people, indiscriminately. He’ll find some scapegoat section of society and crush it, just to unite his own behind him. All just because you wanted people to be allowed to be aware that not everything was the same as everything else.

And then there’s the news. Why won’t people just accept that all the stuff that happens on the news is exactly the same in magnitude of consequence, and exactly equal in deserving our sympathy no matter to whom it happens, or where it happens, or what it is that is happening. I blame the headlines. There we have the whole problem in microcosm. The news begins, doesn’t it, and suddenly, there it is, the top story. The top story. Why? Why is it more important than the other stories. Don’t you think that if a lady lost her purse for five minutes this morning, it is exactly as important to report as when a bomb explodes in a distant city and kills people? Why not? You make me vomit with your preference for stories about death and destruction when you could be hearing about stories of exactly equivalent significance that end happily. Don’t you realise that just because something happens in a different country that’s no less important than when it happens here? When they blew up the twin towers, you thought ‘Oh, I hope they don’t do that to St Paul’s’ didn’t you? You didn’t? What, you thought Oh good, it’s only happening to Americans, did you? It doesn’t matter because they don’t matter so much as me? I’m not in New York right now, so I don’t have to worry about it? I’m not dying so I don’t need to mind?

You make me sick.

 

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