Heaven’s Gate — The Great Plains


This week on Facebook: My attention was drawn to the death of Michael Cimino who died early this month, remembered more for his epic disaster in directing the film Heaven’s Gate than his cinematic successes that led him to it. I am an aficionado of western movies and despite its critics Heavens Gate was no exception. I saw the demise of the Great Plains as being implicit to Cimino’s theme of the Johnson County war. Hollywood has exploited the origins of this despoliation of the Great Plains in films such as Dances With Wolves and Cimino’s Heavens Gate. His allusions in Heaven’s Gate are still valid in the history of the Great Plains which, in less than 200 years, the intervention of man — unwitting or not — has endangered its environmental stability and continues to do so.  Read more of this post

A Chilcot Retort!


This week on Facebook: I have a grandson given to conspiracy theories, he might reasonably have concluded that to hold the Brexit referendum and the release of The Chilcot Report so close together was a deliberate political conspiracy. If it were, any ideas that that they would bury each other in a media feeding frenzy that would quickly be forgotten were completely misplaced. Neither is going away soon and the only certainty here may be that The Chilcot Report will become a document that future historians will continually pour over while the Brexit referendum may simply become a footnote in English history. Read more of this post

Brexit — the adolescent vote


This week on Facebook: The Brexit referendum led me to research the impact 18-34 year old voters could have had on the outcome and why they didn’t. In a nutshell it’s very simple, they either didn’t vote in large enough numbers or had not registered to vote in the first place¹. To quote Ralph Nader —

We have the most prolonged adolescence in the history of mankind.

Read more of this post

Brexit and the UK


This week on Facebook: Not a believer in referendums — at least not those in the UK that turn a simple democracy into a mobile vulgus ochlocracy. I didn’t vote in the one last week on Brexit but in terms of UK democracy, last week’s Brexit referendum vote was as democratic as any electoral or parliamentary vote and more democratic — in terms of the popular vote turnout — than any other post war referendum. Read more of this post

Stop The World I Want To Get Off


Stop The World I Want To Get Off is a musical set against the backdrop of a circus, the show focuses on Littlechap, from the moment of his birth to his death. Each time something unsatisfactory happens, he calls out ‘Stop the world!’ and addresses the audience. In a week ending with the result of the UK referendum on membership of the EU (Brexit) a post on Syria is hardly like to excite an audience. Nevertheless my attention was caught by Monday’s article suggesting that Sykes-Picot agreement was not responsible for shaping the future of the Middle-East, following which I decided to devote this week on Facebook to Syria. Relying on the modern media for information and especially the social media, which seems to feed on unsatisfactory outcomes, encouraged me to see the world as a circus and myself as Littlechap. Read more of this post

Myfanwy


Francis never tired of walking Offa’s Dyke, especially the climb to Dinas Brân where the surrounding views always rewarded his effort to get there and never failed to reinforce the emotional bond he held for the place. The views were spectacular with Moel Morfydd, Moel y Gamelin and Pen-y-Garth standing on the far ridge like sentinels guarding Dyffryn Dyfrdwy. He used the Welsh names for the distant hilltops, the Dee Valley and even castle Dinas Brân, pronouncing them in the lilting Welsh of the Marches that Hywel had taught him many years ago. His Welsh had become so good that he was taken for Welshman when he spoke it. Read more of this post

Riots at the games


This week on Facebook: The remarks of a colleague about EUFA 2016 and hooliganism, made me think that supporters of games exhibiting antisocial behaviour is far from being a new phenomenon and probably has many historic roots. Not being a supporter of any particular game and indifferent to EUFA 2016, I nevertheless thought that violence associated with games presented an interesting area of web research. I now know that in contemporary football Ultras promote yahoo behaviour and are encouraged in this by the amount of media attention given to them. However Ultras or their behaviour is certainly not new, it also seems that modern Ultras are pussycats when compared to their historic equivalents at Roman games and Circuses.  Read more of this post

Democracy


This week on Facebook: I returned to the subject of democracy, my earliest post on this being in 2009 and continued in 2011 with ‘Democracy ‚ Do we really have it?’. Ignoring the threats to democracy seen by many in the forthcoming Brexit referendum later this month, I chose to review articles on some current perceptions regarding democracy. Read more of this post

To die, to sleep — to sleep, perchance to dream — ay, there’s the Brexit.


This week on Facebook: The impending demise of the My Telegraph blog site has prompted me to post on the forthcoming Brexit referendum this week. Yet another referendum that has exposed the disingenuousness of the political class be they left or right, for staying in the EU or for leaving it. Read more of this post

State Surveillance


This week on Facebook: I decided to conclude my research into aspects of the internet and especially those involving social media by focusing on State surveillance. Initially prompted by what I am sure was intended as an innocuous remark about an age of transparencyeach step that I have taken has led to posts that have drawn me deeper into the morass that is the internet and particularly that associated with social media. My research into surveillance by the State reinforces my dystopian view of the future regarding the changing of democracy in the UK.

It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. [Aldous Huxley — 1962 U.C. Berkley]  Read more of this post

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