Tuesday, 8 June 2010

If you ask me...

Who has influenced you the most?

The Reverend Wilbert Awdry - without him, my world would be a very different place.

Which professional has helped you the most?

Firstly, my art therapist, for helping me to arrive at several important realisations that I would never have reached alone. Secondly, my careers advisor, who - despite her ruthlessness at times - is helping me to find my place in the world once again.

What three words best describe you?

Romantic, medative and noble.

What event most changed your life?

Withdrawing from university - and giving myself the chance to explore better things.

Who/What is yor dream date?

Chris Evans - if he were gay, British and the way I've imagined him to be in my head for the past ten years.

What is your favourite book and why?

Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, because it reminds us of how truely flawed the adult world can be when we see it through the eyes of one who is not part of it.

What is your greatest achievement?

Providing music and 150 lemon and cream-cheese frosted cupcakes for sister's wedding in August of 2009.

What is your favourite expression?

Better late than never...

What is the most important lesson you have learned?

That not every person my own age is a bully.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Folly of a Fool

My exboyfriend - with whom I broke up last month after a bizzare and frustrating ten weeks that, if narrated, would rival The Decameron in length - comes from the stock of fools foolish enough to pursue their online activities beneath the same username on every forum, social network and amateur porn website that they haunt, even going to the extent of displaying enough evidence to give one no doubt as to their identity.

A week after we began dating, I - in a moment of curiosity - typed the username he used on the personals site through which we met into a search engine. Besides a number of things that it would be a waste of words to recount, I found
that he had made a number of posts on a support forum, which revealed a disturbing portrait of his past and mental health. It was only partly due to these revelations - and the danger I could have faced had we remained together - that our relationship terminatied. Less than a month later, I returned to this forum to find that he had made yet another post after five months of silence.

Despite his continual abuse of rights in his daily life, I will not cite the source from which the following extract came - because even fools have the right to remain annonymous...

I've been in a Long Term relationship and can't fault the first half... But recently, I've started raising a hand to my partner and this afternoon I've belted the crap out of him.

I can't stop once I start, I chased him up the stairs and committed the worst sin I have ever seen with my own eyes. I feel terrible. I feel like my life as I know it has fallen apart around me.

The argument in question started because he's so lazy. He won't mow his lawn or take any pride in his home or posessions. All he does is go to work and then watch tv all evening. Is it me? I was bought up in a fairly regimental household and I am always doing something I see as productive. I can't stand TV and I've torn the Sky Box from the wall and destroyed it.

I have massive temper issues and I know I'm the problem... I just don't know what to do. I've been SI Free for 2 years and am doing all I can in my head to stop myself slipping down the slope again.

I feel like I've just been thrown into the seventh circle of hell and I hate myself terribly. The walls feel like their about to close in on me and crush me alive and worst of all, he's upstairs and locked himself in his room scared to hell of me.

Reading this post filled me with such loathing and frustration that
I had to restrain the urge to join the forum with the sole intention of responding to this post. Having become fully aquainted with the maniplative, arrogant, bullying liar behind those words, I couldn't stand the thought of him using the vulnerable members of the forum to seek pity. This was evident from his other posts, in which he spun similar yarns - each as Hollyoaks-esque as the next - and showing no gratitude for the sympathy and advice offered to him by the other members (and the fact each story contained the same archetypes suggested that he had no intention of putting their advice into practise). This happened continually during the time that we were together; he would spend hours telling me woeful tales about his turbulent life, and ignore me completely when I tried to give him sympathy. On one occassion, he was ranting about his plans to storm B________ County Council in order to demand that his house - destroyed in a fire that could have only happened to him - was repaired quicker. As I tried to advise him on staying calm, he showed no sign of having listened my words until he cut across me mid-sentence, reading out a police report from one of his previous driving offences - making it quite clear that he wasn't interested in what I had said. My impression was that the mere opporuntity to display his oratory skills was quite enough, because it meant the spotlight was shining on him alone.

I couldn't stand the thought of him using others in the same way, especially those with far more serious problems than he would ever possess. Instead of joining the forum and exposing myself to trouble, I have decided to post my response here, so that I can say I have put my thoughts down on paper instead of allowing them accumilate inside my head where they will only intensify if not released.

"I've been in a long-term relationship..."

Even though it does not surprise me in the least to know that he has since added yet another notch to his bedpost, I seriously doubt he is at the stage to be able to call his latest relationship 'long term', considering that he and I only ended our 'long-term relationship' four weeks ago. That's unless he was seeing this poor sap at the same time, which wouldn't surprise me either.

"I've started raising a hand to my partner..."

Anyone who knows S__ resonably well will recognise this as being a typical trait of his craft. He likes to compensate for a lack of education (his school years being devoted to a series of adventures in the E___ criminal underworld - or so he claims) and a rutal upbringing through the use of words such as 'partner' in order to make himself sound more sophisticated. Once again, I doubt his latest relationship has progressing long enough for him to be able to call his new boyfriend a 'partner'.

"The argument in question started because he's so lazy..."

Which completely contradicts what he said previously about not being able to 'fault the first half'...and if I had the patience to do so, I would happily list the ways in which the word 'lazy' falling from his thin, cigarette sucking lips epitomises the meaning of hypocracy.

"He won't mow his lawn or take any pride in his home or posessions. All he does is go to work and then watch tv all evening."

Has it not occured to you that, perhaps the reason why he can only 'watch tv all evening' is because he has a job? This quotation perfectly summarises the human condition of working class Britain.

"I was bought up in a fairly regimental household and I am always doing something I see as productive."

Which explains why you are still on the dole, having left a job that was supposedly earning you up at £10,000 a week for sitting on your five foot backside in deserted pubs for a few nights at a time, in between making trips to Belgium to collect cheap cigarettes for your 'boss' - claiming expenses all the while.

"I can't stand TV and I've torn the Sky Box from the wall and destroyed it."

What right do you believe you have to destroy his property, simply because it does not comply with your standards? I hope that your 'partner' - once he has dumped you - sues you for a new one.

"I feel like I've just been thrown into the seventh circle of hell and I hate myself terribly. "

If Dante was speaking the truth - and you continue to lead your current lifestyle - you'll find yourself there quicker than you realise.

What I find most amusing about this is remembering the number of "I hate cowardly men who beat their wives" groups he had joined on Facebook.

Yesterday, S__ and I had the latest in an a series of 'textual confrontations', which always follow the same archetypial pattern. They usually begin with me recieving an annonymous text message asking me timidly if I will spare him the time to excuse his behaviour, and pleading that he wants to keep me as a 'friend'. I respond by listing reasons why I have no intention of allowing him back into my life. With the ball then back in his court, he counters my criticisms with as many colourful excuses his creative unconcious can conjure. This latest episode followed the same pattern to the letter. An annonyous text message arrived asking me if we could 'talk things over'.

"I have no intention of resuming any form of relationship with you" I replied, "Especially now that I know what you are capable of"

"Eh? What is it I'm supposed to have done?" he quavered in response.

"Let's just say that I hope your new 'partner' has the sense to dump you and then sue you for a new Sky Box"

After faking ignorance, I referred him to his stories on the forum. I expected him to deny it - to which I would have responded by asking him if it was a coniscidence that another S__ existed who used the same username that he went under on every other forum that he used, lived in the same town, and had the same mobile phone number, sexual fetishes and views on capital punishment as him. His actual response was one of his most creative tales to date; he claimed that the forum administrator had asked him - as a 'moderator' - to fabricate the story and post it in an attempt to 'encourage' other members to talk about similar issues.

I know this is a lie, for two reasons;

1. The post was made five months after the previous one made under his username, suggesting that he had returned to the forum to relate his woeful tale in a moment of spontaneous passion.

2. Having moderated a forum myself, I know that once a user is granted with moderating duties, this title is added to their profile to show others that they have been given that role - and their name is added to a list of 'staff members'. A glancing at S__'s profile showed that he had never been given moderating powers - and his name was absent from the 'staff list'.

Monday, 18 January 2010

"Toby Under Fire" and Other Essays...

Dear B__

This may seem a rather abrupt observation to make, especially after several months of silence. But I need to let off a bit of steam. If I don't, I won't sleep, and I'll spend the hours unconstructively shouting at windmills. I shall try to speak as directly as I dare, because elaboration will turn this anecode into a disertation - and besides, you and I have been discussing issues like this since we first began our correspondence. Therefore, I would only be retracing old rails.

To begin with the context, a feminist academic from Canada has recently reviving the age-old criticism of Awdry's Railway Series as 'convservative' and 'sexist' - the old
'passive females hauled by dominant males' and 'Fat Controller = God' analogy being but two of the cliched observations she has used to make her point, perhaps under the impression that she is the first to have made them (a little more research - something she clearly lacks, as we'll soon see, may have deflated her head a little). I can only roll my eyes - you'd think a modern critic would come up with something more original to carp about. This particular gonk has merely regurgitated a string of cringingly over-used and unfounded accusations that others of the same stock have been ejaculating since 'critics' first began sinking their grapplers onto the stories.

I haven't read the original critique, and I do not want to, because I wouldn't want to endorse someone with so little much time on their hands that they want to read an ignorant narrative into something that has given me nothing but support and pleasure since my childhood - and then attempt to spoil it for the generations who are recieving that same benefit today. But according to a particular article from the Daily Mail, which paraphrases one of this 'scholar's' observations - it would seem that yet another thing Awdry's critics share in common (besides their criticisms itself) is an inability to undertake proper research. One is reminded of the 'scholar' Ian Jack, who declared Toby the Tram Engine - an innocent tale about an old engine finding a loving home - a racist allegory about immigration, while showing at the same time that he clearly hadn't read any further than the first few pages. This latest individual is clearly no better. Funnily enough, she too refers to the events of Toby the Tram Engine...

In one episode, for example, Thomas whistles impatiently at a police officer and is replaced with a different engine as a punishment for showing dissent.

If the so-called 'professor' who made this observation had actually done what all respectable academics are encouraged to do - and properly read the material they are critiquing - she would have seen that Toby replacing Thomas was not 'a punishment for showing dissent' - and that it had very little to do with him whistling 'impatiently at a police officer'.

Firstly, he didn't whistle 'impatiently' - he whistled in greeting. I quote the text itself;

"Thomas liked policemen. He had been a great friend of the Constable who used to live in the village; but he had just retired. Thomas expected that the new Constable would be friendly too.

"Peep peep" he whistled, "good morning"

- Awdry, Toby the Tram Engine [1952] (London; Egmont Books, 2002), p. 22

Secondly, he was replaced by Toby because it was illegal for him to be travelling on that particular part of the branch line;

"Engines going on Public Roads must have their wheels covered, and a cow-catcher in front. You haven't, so you are Dangerous to the Public!"

- Awdry, p. 26

Toby was drafted in to replace Thomas because he was the only engine - being a tram engine with both cow-catchers and side-plates - legally fit to travel on that part of the line. It had nothing to do with Thomas' apparently 'impatient whistling' - and it is quite clear from the original text that he didn't even commit this act of 'dissent' in the first place.

I don't know why so-called 'scholars' who attack the Railway Series annoy me so deeply. They do not deserve to call themselves 'scholars' at all, since they fail to properly interprite the material on which their studies are based. This - added to the fact this latest nobody to join the queue has simply regurgitated what countless others have said before her - leads me to the conclusion that they do not deserve to be taken seriously as people, let alone 'scholars', when their hearts seem set on trying to weave political incorrectness into a world that - for as many souls as there are railway locomotives to capture their imaginations - has stood for nothing but innocence. Such 'scholars' think they are protecting the innocence of the audiences who are supposedly corrupted by such material as the Railway Series - but such insular individuals will always be outnumbered by the extensive fraction of the world's population who dream of becoming engine drivers thanks to Awdry.

It is at such times I am glad I left university - life as a 'scholar' would be very dull indeed, if it would bring me into contact with such people as this latest unimaginative gonk.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1234547/Thomas-The-Tank-Engine-branded-right-wing-conservative-demeaning-women.html#ixzz0d0Cn9jgu