Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I Hate Sports.

2012in the U.K is a somewhat dreadful year to be me. The monarchy are outrageous with pomp and ceremony, as the old bat on the throne celebrates sixty years of nothing. The government celebrates moving to levels of bastardliness that would probably make The Eye of Sauron go "Whoah! A step too far there guys!" And worst of all, The Olympics. Let me make this clear. I despise sports. I despise competitive sports, I despise athletic sports, I despise things that even try and masquerade as sports, like snooker or darts. I despise the spectatorship of sports. I despise those who play sports. Me and sports are not on each others Christmas card lists, in short.
Sport to me has always represented to me the most boring and unnecessary way to spend time ever. Even above voluntarily watching The Only Way Is Essex or something. Ever since I was young, sport was drummed into my mind to be the pinnacle of everything. If you had no aptitude for it whatsoever, like I had, you might as well just throw yourself into a well. The grisly spectre of P.E haunted my days in primary and secondary schools. It made my life miserable. That to measure someones achievement based on something as arbitrary and pointless as how physically able they were seemed bewilderingly pointless. And still, I couldn't escape, no matter how many times I made it clear I possessed no abilities nor enthusiasm for it. That those who exceled in the mindless means of exercise were popular and attractive to everyone else just made me more miserable, when I was just 16, clumsy and shy. Sports at school seemed to triumph over learning and education. There were teams and clubs for all manner of sports, all enshrined as wondrous things. Nothing, meanwhile for anyone who didn't want sports. The Drama Club or Debating Society never got any attention, it was all reserved for mindless gym monkeys who got the adulation of their peers instead. P.E fostered bullying, mindless childish bullying too. You aren't up to the standard of physical excellence needed for this class? Fuck you, you get mocked by your peers and teachers. You have no coordination, balance or spatial awareness due to dyspraxia? Fuck you, you get mocked by your peers and teachers. Mandatory sports and physical education did not help anyone, except jocks. For the rest of us it only reinforced differences between us and them, and made it clear that you could only get anywhere in life by being physicaly competant. P.E is not 'character building', it's bullying and abuse, plain and simple.
At least we don't exist in the U.S I say, where male students get the benefits of a free college education purely on the merits of their accomplishments in American football. It makes you want to retch.
Even out of education, people automaticaly assume you like sport, as though it's a genetic requirement. People ask me what's my favourite football team, what game did I last see, what chances do I think England have in this match. It's ludicrous. I am a history student and I love history, but I don't assume that everyone else shares this burning passion. I don't make small-talk with strangers about what their opinion of the Battle of Stalingrad is. Sport is rammed down my throat, is permeated into every sphere of my life, whether I like it or not (which I don't) in every advert, tv show, magazine, it rears its ugly head frequently as though if I'm exposed to it enough, I might just like it. It only makes me hate it more. As I said, because sport enforces social divisions, whenever friends watch it, or play it, it just makes me feel that I don't really know them. That I don't have much in common with them if they partake so often in something that will always be alien to me. It's like I'm in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, and they're the pod people.
I hate how obnoxious, loudmouthed and violent sports fans can get. There is not much point in even discussing this in detail, for the profileration of football gangs, of fights and scuffles on and off the playing fields, sometimes in a drunken stupour, of the wide-eyed, demonic passion these people have for something so pathetic and tedious is well known. Train-spotters, the archeptypal dweebs mocked often by jockish types don't have violent physical confrontations on whether that was a British Rail Class 46 or 47 that just went past. Only sport has this violent, confrontational aspect to it, fueled by the rise of binge drinking and laddishness. When I demonstrate knowledge or a liking of something that could be perceived as nerdy or socially unpopular, I get mocked. When someone demonstrates an equally nerdy degree of knowledge on something sporting related, they are respected, and interesting. Even people I know are somewhat unrecognisable when they are drawn in to this tedium of sport. Again, bullies and the violent seem to be inextricably linked with team sports and sports fandom like they were in P.E.
Sports to me, seems an evolutionary throwback. The racist, sexist, homophobic and the physicaly violent are not shunned from society as they ought to be, but are instead celebrated as heroes, as athletic gods, and as a good example for children. Purely because of their muscles, or their ability to run, or kick, or jump. It makes them seemingly above criticism. It makes me die in side that they are viewed above scientists and writers, above poets and artists in our culture and our society. It makes me deeply, deeply miserable. Even the structure of the sports themslves are full of areas for criticism. They are deeply sexist for one. (who'da thunk it)
And of course, my hatred of sport (having saved this til last as it's a pretty normal complaint) also include the point that sport is JUST SO DULL. Of course, I won't deny this is personal preference, but never in my life have I see so many people being appealed to something so boring. People running about and kicking a ball occasionally is not fun or interesting. Face it losers.
And now, in the year of the Olympics in London, I am meant to raise some faux-patriotism from the deep dark recesses of my mind and support Britain in the race for mindless physical dominance when I'd rather do anything but. To which I can say, fuck you. As H.L Mencken once said, "I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense."

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Political Depression.

No my dears, I shall not bore you and prattle on endlessly about my gloomy personal life, for this is misery of a entirely different nature. If you haven't noticed, or have been stuck in a cave somewhere for the past two years engrossed in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," we have a coalition government. The Conservatives, primarily dominant, and the Liberal Democrats, effectively a prison bitch for want of a better term. First time voters like myself, bright eyed and bushy tailed, left-wing, but somewhat bored with the actions of Chairman Brown, decided to vote for the Lib Dems. Hey, we all knew they seemed the best option. But then of course, we don't really need to go into what happened next. Clegg broke his promises, and any chance of the Lib Dems being an electable force vanished pretty much forever. I imagine if Gary Glitter decided to put forward a leadership challenge, he'd more popular with the public than Clegg is now. Nearly two years later, my wide eyed political glee has somewhat soured. It was inconceivable to me in the past to see a government, so callous, so mean-spirited, so utterly selfish to the needs of its people. The NHS 'reform' bill, which will do nothing more but dismantle what I and millions hold dear. The benefit reforms, which have led to some disabled people committing suicide, terrified that they won't be able to live above the poverty line. The sneaking, insurmountable tide of privatisations, neo-liberalism, faux-nationalism, and other countless, vile, fiendish things. The mounting, seething, flow of misery and austerity just consumed everything to me that previously I had thought "That'll be there forever". It makes me feel there is no future, no hope for politics. It makes me want to leave this country to sink into the sea. If this metaphorical tide of despair could be personified I'd probably go for Micky Flanagan's face rendered in pus-filled buboes.
My somewhat shattered political hopes, combining with that of the governments and the popular media's attitude to growing political protest, which seems to be half "LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" & half that we are all angry Dave Spart types from Private Eye too blinded by our left-wing shoutiness to actually make any difference. It makes me disappointed, and it makes me depressed, that the government is effectively a selfish group of individualists running the country for their own merit. That popular protest and suggesting austerity is not the answer is met with snorts of disgust and indignation from most quarters. That the political opposition in parliament for the most part is gutless, witless and endlessly tedious. I have no real hope left today in modern British politics. There is not much point to any of it. It's sometimes difficult to reconcile ones mind to how mean and cruel the government really are. It's as though they're just being bastardly for the sake of it, like some sort of moustachio'd, maniacal panto villain, drowning puppies and throwing orphans on the fire to keep warm. I bet Cameron starts salivating with glee when he hears of the next round of spending cuts. It's just miserable, honestly. So overall, I have decided not to reconcile myself with the system, no, no, no. Instead, get angry and make it as difficult for them as possible to do what they do.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Student Politics

Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before, but student politics doesn't really make much of a difference does it? Upon entering the hallowed iron railings of Leicester University, I soon found myself besieged by angry careerist sorts shaking leaflets in my face and saying how being elected activities officer would knock, say being elected supreme lord and master of the world into a comparatively shallow second place. Maybe this special brand of political vim and vigour exists across the country, or maybe our slightly bedazzled friends at Leicester Uni are struck by the sterling example of Aaron Porter, once supremely dull Student Union head here, then moving on to catastrophically apathetic N.U.S leader, now pretentious policy advisor wonk for hire. Maybe one day, dream our politically minded comrades, we too can follow in the stardust laden footsteps of this paragon of a human being.
Or probably not. Student politics here makes me rather depressed. The pattern of elections and S.U position tenureships here seem to act as a microcosm for the Westminster system. Perhaps this is what trained Aaron Porter for his current attempts to curry favour with the Labour Party? Simply put, smiley-faced candidates who you suspect have either stood for election due to their popularity, or out of some misguided aim to actually try and accomplish things within a broken system make promises that are either wildly unachievable, or more likely, vague to the point of attracting as many voters as possible. A constant amongst the flyers I was handed promised that their candidates were "against racism, sexism and homophobia." As though anyone would bother to elect a candidate who instead said on the flyers "Shoot the bloody lot I say, it's the only language they'll understand." Other boring, vague constants included opposition to fee rises and commitments to 'hard work' and 'listening to what you have to say.' All of these apparent promises I have seen, both wild and vague, I have seen no sign of. My experience at this university has not changed at all. Drunken twits still go on nights out. People pretend to pay attention in pointless seminars. '1924' in the Student Union still inexplicably remains in business. The only thing that ever seems to change is the posteriors on the seats in the student council. Being elected to the student union now merely seems to me to be something to scribble down on your C.V in the 'other' section, and not as what it should be, an actual-fucking-responsibility. In fact the only way the actions of the student union and council affect my university experience is the two week period in spring when endless canvassers try to garner your attention, and you have to plot alternate routes to get to your lectures to avoid them.
"But Oscar you twat!" you might say, surely the student union and council affect your university experience in ways you can't imagine? This might be the case. But as I have said, the grandstanding overambitious proposals never seem to be realised, and whatever other tedious ratifications the union may do, we are never informed. No wonder no one is interested in student politics here at all when we are kept in the dark. Maybe if the student union actually tried to engage the student body by telling of the positive things they are actually trying to do, and not focusing on pretentious and dull bullshit through the campaign season, more people might be interested. But of course, this won't happen, so I'll be happy to continue my whinging.
Actually, there was one student council candidate who interested me last year. It was an anonymous student, bizarrely for some reason dressed up as Ali G who went under the name "No One Cares for Academic Affairs." Simple, to the point, and true. He was the only person I bothered voting for in the election, and even he didn't get elected.