Friday, 29 July 2011

Is there any good in the world?

I have a cold, and I'm at that early stage in the cold where the world seems overwhelmingly doomed by every kind of stupidity and nastiness. This morning I decided that all politicians, journalists, charming young men, and estate agents should for their own good be cryogenically frozen until such time as we come up with a cure for being a massive wanker. And I also cried about the US deficit. It's a typical cold mood. So I have been looking for proof that there are good things. I list some of them below:

1) Even though she gave me this cold, I have a truly excellent god-daughter, who is bright and funny, and loves books. Plus great friends from school with whom I am still in touch. This makes me very lucky.

2) Neal Stephenson has written a new book, Reamde. Hurray for Neal Stephenson!
It's out in September.

3) Even though almost every corporation in the world, probably every corporation in fact, is set up in such a way to allow and even encourage them to act evilly regardless of the people who run them, there are occasional fightbacks or fightsback if you prefer. Some people have made a firefox extension called ShareMeNot so that if you visit a webpage with the facebook like button on it, or one of those other social media buttons like the Google+ +1 or the twitter button, those social networking websites don't actually know that you've been to that website unless you choose to click on the button. Which is how it ought to be anyway. The fact that just looking at a page with such a button currently gives information to the button's home-site is creepy.

4) I like this installation of books bursting through a wall. Though it's true that the storage needs of books is an annoying problem.

Anyway a friend has just suggested some emergency Wodehouse, which seems like a good idea. That's a fifth good thing for the list, the existence of Wodehouse, even if his later life was blighted by his stupidity during WW2.


  1. Oh dear. Wodehouse is a good idea, I'd overlook the biographical issues. Do you know 'Zuleika Dobson' by Max Beerbohm? Also very good for a cold.

    I don't have solutions for the banking deficit or the innate flaws of estate agents, but here are a few more reasons to be cheerful:

    i) According to a book I've been reading we owe the survival of much of Tacitus, Apuleius, and Seneca to the rule of Desiderius, abbot of Montecassino in the eleventh century. Hurray for Desiderius!

    ii) My two-year-old daughter has started referring to her father as 'a kindly sort of man'; I'm sure she's got it from some book or TV programme, but I like the judicious note of faint praise.

    iii) This poem by Derek Mahon.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Thanks for those, they are all great! Hurray for learned monks, and for that poem, which I hadn't seen before. But the "kindly sort of man" quote is just brilliant. My little nephew has recently taken positive reinforcement to heart, and the other day when he demanded Beebies and I put it on for him, he patted me on the knee and said "Well done Rebecca". Hurray for being patronised by toddlers!