Peter has just kindly pointed me in the direction of a film I should’ve stumbled across much sooner in my life. It’s called “Odd Man Out”. It’s directed by Carol Reed. You can find out more about it here.
Now watch this clip below – and focus in particular on this saddening reflection.
“I am nothing.” Not even charity.
Feel lonely? It’s hardly surprising. Making us feel lonely has become the weapon of choice of politicians in crisis. And as the BBC reports on the awful implications of the Cyprus crisis:
The deal also involves a levy on bank deposits intended to ensure investors contribute to the bailout, the BBC’s Andrew Walker in Brussels reports.
People with less than 100,000 euros in Cypriot bank accounts will have to pay a one-time tax of 6.75%, while those with more will have to pay 9.9%. It is expected to raise 5.8bn euros in additional revenue.
A European Central Bank (ECB) official said the Cypriot authorities had already started to take action to ensure that the levy can be collected. Otherwise, there would be a likelihood of massive withdrawals to avoid it, our correspondent adds.
All of a sudden, people with savings become investors. Amazing, isn’t it? From bank deposit levies to bedroom taxes, our rapacious and single-minded political overlords are struggling – as we write, speak and exchange our saddest of thoughts – to hold things together with even a smidgen of coherence. Whilst millions of children are thrust back into British poverty, billions of pounds in bonuses are distributed by failing British banks to their employees.
No wonder we all feel lonely. “This cannot be right or just – or even efficient,” we think. “There must be some other way forward.”
In 2003, when the Iraq War approached, I definitely felt I was the Odd Man Out. It drove me spare; kind of drove me mad. It took me a long time to recover.
But what I most fear today is that this same process, to a lesser degree, will now affect millions of thinking citizens. When powerful owners of communication processes tell us over and over again that what we see and feel is wrong and misplaced, how else can it be? How else can we react? How else but to go into some kind of shell and begin to hide away from the reality they deny us?
The tactics they now use are to make us all feel we are odd men and women. And although we perceive in our calmer moments of understanding that you cannot have a whole nation made of square pegs, they have managed to debilitate our comprehension of what’s going on to such an extent that nothing at all surprises us any more.
Nor do we protest very much – or, at least, that’s the way it seems to be going. From initial despair to an overwhelmingly resigned misery, there are so many people out there who will begin to give up even on their lives.
They will, you must accept by now, be thinking about giving up on anything more than simple survival.
And so we take it slyly onboard. And so we seamlessly absorb the implications.
Disabled people thrown out of their homes? Unemployed people blamed for the consequences of government austerity? The sick and elderly seen as a drain on our economy? Privilege defined as the solution to a dysfunctional economy? “Meh! Meh! Meh! Meh!”
My advice? Understand loneliness as a litmus test of injustice. Externalise your fears; don’t blame yourself. Remember your child and comprehend the unkindness of others. And above all, face up to this undeniable fact: this Coalition government of ours is psychologically ruthless and without qualms of any sort.
Democracy provides us with no tools or processes to get rid of a government which – more than anything – uses psychological abuse to control, organise and impose its political impulses. Physical violence would provoke a response from the courts. But psychological violence at a state-engendered level is still not to be found in the rule books.
So then. A revolution we need – the question is which. You cannot abuse an abuser if you want to remain at all emotionally whole. You cannot fight violence with violence and hope to remain aloof. Where are we now? What next for those finite perishable goods we call human beings? Creatures whose lives are simply drifting down that 21st century gadget-ridden creek without a single bloody empowering paddle to their names.
And all this while, these politicians and business leaders whose crises I mention flailingly attack the entirely blameless citizens they still rule over.
In order to make such citizens feel entirely blameworthy.
In order to make them feel entirely odd.