On Current Affairs

Opinions are like assholes - everybody’s got one… So don’t shame me if I want to show mine off in public

Up until this point, I’ve avoided writing about current affairs on this blog, as, despite strident protestations from my loyal readers (Hi Mum), it’s been my contention that there are too many opinions on the internet, and so why bother adding more, especially ones that a less loyal reader might, quite reasonably, argue are unwanted, uniformed and under-researched?

But I recently had an epiphany, of sorts, about this subject, that I’ll share with you now (if you didn’t abandon this post after the first paragraph, saying something to yourself like ‘I agree, we don’t need your opinions, thanks.”); I was thinking about Grayson Perry’s second 2013 Reith Lecture, Playing To The Gallery, in which he said;

“We live in an age now where photography rains on us like sewage from above - you know endless Instasnaps on your phone everywhere. So how do you tell if a photo’s art? Well you could sort of go just looking at are they smiling? If they’re smiling, it’s probably not art. (LAUGHTER)”

Grayson Perry, 2013

(I love the inclusion of ‘(LAUGHTER)’ in the transcript, by the way - the audience clearly thought that last sentence was a joke…) Perry is correct of course - there are so many photographs now, and that problem is only going to get worse as smartphones proliferate throughout the world and every moment of our lives is captured, edited, facebooked, instagrammed and used to generate an ever growing and homogenising online space, where all of humanity is herded to work as unpaid digital content creators in order to cultivate the gated environment a global monopoly company uses to profit from direct to consumer advertising. But I digress… The reason I brought that up was to point out that, yes, “photography rains on us like sewage from above”, but I don’t have a problem contributing to that - in fact, I do it happily, and thus it is partly in that spirit that I have decided to write about current affairs.

What’s more, it occurs to me, as I sit here in my comfortable lounge writing this, sipping my single origin espresso, eating a peach yoghurt with added bifidobacterium and listening to Belle & Sebastian, that maybe the world does actually need more voices like mine! The far right is on the rise again across the world, Britain is in the midst of a constitutional crisis, Europe remains at risk of its currency (and unwillingness to reform) causing the whole project to disintegrate, and the USA is still presided over by a cheap leg of breaded ham, onto which someone has glued two googly eyes, a false nose, gummy lips, and some straw for hair.

The President of The United States of America

The President of The United States of America

And all of this has happened whilst I’ve not been writing about what’s going on, so maybe that’s been part of the problem. Indeed, I’ve a strong suspicion that what will really turn things around is a middle-middle-class, middle-aged, white, heterosexual, metropolitan, university-educated (does a photography degree count?), man writing about important world events in a semi-ironic manner. So, from now on, my self-imposed ban on current affairs writing is officially cancelled.