This is not good. I feel completely weighed down by negativity – not like me! In all seriousness, just today’s headlines, alone, have been depressing. Awakened to the news of Djokovic being disqualified from the Fourth Round of the US Open, I clicked on the video footage on my phone showing the moment, in question, when his ball hit a female line judge behind him. I have seen Djokovic’s temper many times and could only imagine the force with which he had hit said ball but … not so, on this occasion. Totally blown out of proportion. Djokovic had, earlier, fallen and hurt his shoulder and things weren’t going well but it was only the first set. Having lost the previous point, he, merely, hit the surplus ball in his hand, casually, to the back of the court without looking i.e. not in temper. Yes, it did hit one of the line judges in the throat and that would, undoubtedly, have hurt – and given her a fright – but was it deserving of the histrionics? I don’t think so. The over-dramatic gasping and falling to the ground … Honestly, it’s amazing how embarrassment can mask the pain! Falling off ponies in public places was a childhood hobby of mine and, I can assure you, no matter how much it hurt, I got straight back up and on, smiling all the way! Now, remember this was the US Open. Forgive my cynicism but any scope for a claim in addition to the fifteen minutes of fame? Any lasting injuries sustained?
Djokovic did nothing wrong in the footage I have seen. He hit a ball behind him without due care but it wasn’t vicious or in anger; there was no intention to harm and he was straight over to check on her the minute he realised what had happened. Furthermore, he seemed to accept his disqualification with grace and apologised afterwards. I don’t blame him for skipping the press core. He had quite a lot to digest himself! Meanwhile, said line judge, miraculously, lived to fight another day! Such a shame she wasn’t made of stronger stuff. As I said, all so unnecessary and my sympathies lie very much with the World No.1 whom, I don’t believe, deserves all the negative press he receives.
As the day progressed, I learned of the shooting of the 15-year-old boy en route to school in Ipswich. It took place in Friends’ Walk, for goodness sake – the stinging irony! Airlifted to hospital in Cambridge, his injuries are serious, inflicted, it seems, by the hand of a fellow teenager… That makes me feel sick. These are kids! What is wrong with this world? A proverbial pressure cooker poised to explode with anger. Where did the gun come from? What drives a youth to shoot another on his way to school?! COVID-19 pales into insignificance in the face of the malaise which is increasing its grip on this country. Deprived of family, love, security, hope, children have no role models anymore; no guidance. In this egocentric world, parents don’t care enough about their own offspring. Born into a digital world, instead, these kids are positively wired! They fail to interact; don’t know how. Isolation abounds felling mental health. Anger and frustration are all but inevitable. In the words of the great Paolo Nutini, ‘Can’t we just rewind?
I tried to avoid the news at the weekend and, thus, did not learn, until today, of Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) attack on press freedom when, on Friday night, this bunch of extremists barricaded the UK’s three largest printing press in a bid to limit the public’s access to news. Correction, the news according to them! Claiming they want the newspapers to hold the powers that be to account, they dared to brandish banners emblazoned with ‘Free the Truth’ while they, themselves, blatantly flouted democracy. The only truth XR is interested in is their version. Agree with them or be silenced, seemingly, with the support of a police force which suddenly believes in ‘the right to peaceful protest’. Ironically, in protest for their one voice to be heard, they only succeeded in silencing that of Sir David Attenborough whose latest piece on climate change, denied print, reached no-one!
Reading Camilla Tominey’s ‘Comment’ in The Telegraph online (5/9/20), ‘We should all be alarmed by Extinction Rebellion’s brazen attack on press freedom’, it shone a light on just what is going on in this country – in the world – right now.
‘As with the Black Lives Matter movement, the hard-left zealots joining XR in their droves are more concerned with bringing down capitalism than honouring the comrades’ founding principles.’
Let me see if I can summarise … Since March, we have been subject to instruction from our Government. Confined to our homes for months under the guise of lockdown, we, so, became a captive audience indoctrinated by the incessant media rhetoric. Carefully manipulated statistics paying no heed to optimism ensured a mass hysteria of sorts; scaremongering of a level which ensured many would never venture beyond their front door – seemingly, again! In a country now crippled, those who do risk life in a disease infested environment must wear masks and adhere to social distancing, or risk being fined or worse. What of that poor young, pregnant Australian woman who was handcuffed in her own home – still in her pyjamas – and arrested for creating a Facebook event to protest lockdown? She was charged with incitement which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years and a fine of up to the equivalent of £55,00!
Meanwhile, add to the mix the far-left extremists; the angry, hard-done-by activists who have attached themselves to the Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBTQ+ family and taken flight! History must be re-written, statues removed, the lyrics of our beloved anthems silenced, our very language censored and Freedom of Speech denied! ENOUGH. If I wanted to live in China or Russia, for that matter, I would don my mask, adhere to social distancing, silence my voice and head for the airport, complete with my hand sanitiser!
Scary or what? To laugh or cry? Maintain humour at all costs (dalek voice) or prepare to be exterminated! A couple of gems with which to end, courtesy of social media platforms …
‘Older people, do you realise that ending a sentence with a full-stop comes across as sort of abrupt and unfriendly to younger people in an email or chat?’
… and, today’s classic being debated, online, as I write: the suggestion that the word ‘women’ should be spelt ‘womxn’, going forward, so as to be inclusive of trans women and some non-binary people. Sorry?
In the words of Pop, the ever-present Voice in My Head, that is ‘utter nonsense!’ I repeat, UTTER NONSENSE!
Footage of a hippo, incarcerated in Japan’s Nagasaki Bio Park, being fed watermelons has gone viral. The hilarity gleaned at the sight of this wild animal, confined in a zoo, being fed something entirely alien to its natural diet, is an indictment on human kind. Will we ever learn? Ironically, these wild animals we continue to reduce to exhibits possess wisdom beyond our ken. We, meanwhile, are lost. Now, too blind to see, we are victims of our own greed and arrogance.
Just a minute, while I retrieve The Poems of Alexander Pope from my library: that’s a collection of shelves on which one puts one’s books. Not required, you don’t read? You have a kindle? I give up …
‘And just as short of Reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all.’
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man: Epistle III.
Fell open at that page.
This is Trish, signing off.