*Written on January 13, 2020:
This decade (don’t start with the whole ‘decade doesn’t start until next year’ shit) is barely two weeks old and already a number of topics have been raised that require my full ranting attention. In no particular order:
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
This week, the ex-Pope Benedict XVI has co-authored a book which covers one of the key aspects of Catholic clergy, and that is the issue of whether priests should be allowed to marry.
The current pope, Benedict’s successor Francis I, is debating whether to allow priests in a certain region to marry. This is simply to address the issue of a shortage of priests in that region.
To me, it does seem a bit hypocritical that priests can, or could, potentially be allowed to marry in one region of the world but not in the rest of it, just because there aren’t enough priests there. Whatever next? Why not raid the prisons and the drug dens next because there aren’t enough married priests? In that sense, Pope Benedict is correct, in my view.
BUT: Until 2013, when Benedict retired due to ill-health, and in doing so became the first pope to retire since Gregory XII in 1415, he too went against Catholic doctrine, which has always put popes in office until they draw their last breath. Just look at Pope John Paul II, Benny’s predecessor, who famously appeared at his window barely able to breathe two or three days before his own death in 2005.
It seems, once again, to be one rule for him and another rule for the rest of us. Just goes to show you what a crock of hypocritical shit Catholicism – and, indeed, religion in general – really is. And, in case I get a whole slew of no comments at all on this, just remember before you switch that caps lock on that I am talking about religion and not faith.
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
This is only likely to be given a shit about by my UK reader, who will no doubt be shocked by the news that, last week, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they were scaling back their roles as “senior royals,” learn how to earn money for themselves and move to Canada (probably).
The Duke of Sussex is of course Prince Harry, younger brother of our heir to the throne Prince William, and who married former Suits actress Meghan Markle in May of 2018 and has since fathered a son with her that they have named Archie.
Right from the moment this couple announced their engagement, I knew it was a crazy marriage, as did most of the United Kingdom. It was crazy because it flew against every tradition that the Royal Family has instituted since the days of Victoria. Recognise any of that, Pope Benedict?
Admittedly, Harry is not in the direct lineage of the British (and Empirical) throne, but the fact that he was allowed to marry an American divorcee did seem a little odd, and I knew there was going to be trouble. It’s not my view, I don’t care who the Royal Family marry, but since it is the Queen’s view, and that of those around the Royal Family, one knew that trouble was not far behind.
I like both of Charles’ sons, more so than any other member of that family, or indeed the tradition and sense of duty that props them up there. But William & Harry both went through a great deal at a very difficult age, and I must give full credit to Prince Charles, who divorced their mother but then took charge of the situation when their mother, Princess Diana, was suddenly and surprisingly killed in a car crash in Paris about 10 months after the divorce.
I have a great deal of respect for those two princes, despite Harry’s tendency in his younger days to do some crazy shit like go to a party in a Nazi costume. I believe everyone can come to regret the stupid things they do, and deserve another go. And before either of you write a comment like does Hitler deserve another chance, I would have to say, probably not, because he never accepted that was doing was wrong or sought forgiveness either in a spiritual or an Earthly sense.
I thought that Harry had matured since those days. Turns out he hasn’t.
At least, not in some areas. He still appears to nurture some degree of jealousy that he missed direct lineage to the English throne by one. His brother will be king, barring fire, flood and famine, and not him. And if his brother does something, he wants to prove than he can do it, too. It’s called sibling rivalry – it’s not exactly uncommon, but some can grow out of it and besides, not everybody has to do it under the scrutiny of such a large media presence documenting their every move, do they?
We know from testimony from her family that Ms Markle, as she was then, was an extremely ambitious, pushy and difficult young lady, and it was telling that no member of her immediate family except her mother was there at the royal wedding.
Even for an American, where else do you go once you become Her Royal Highness?
I wrote the above on January 13, fully intending to finish it that day, but you know how it is, other things pop up that somehow assume priority over a small blog that maybe half a dozen others will have read before you are now perusing this document of no historical significance whatsoever. But I’ve left in because so much has changed in the ensuing ten days that it’s interesting to compare my view of then to that of now.
As always, the end result is nothing like what I imagined, because I am not capable of imagining that which those whose job it is to imagine the impossible can imagine. In essence, Harry and Meghan have moved to Vancouver, Canada, have been coerced into dropping the use of their royal titles (HRH & HRH), and have, or will, stop receiving money from the public purse for the carrying out of royal and/or military engagements.
OK, the first bit is easy: they’ve moved to Vancouver Island, for several reasons. Meghan likes it there, she worked in Canada when she was an actress on the US TV series Suits, and they think it’s going to somehow shield them from the attention of the world’s media. One-nothing to the “royal” couple, says Harry. We’ll see about that, say the world’s paparazzi photographers.
The second bit is a little more complex. Many, who do not read between the lines, simply believe that, by dropping the use of their HRH titles, that the “Royal” couple are dropping the titles themselves, as The Duke of Windsor was forced to accept when he married Mrs Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée, in 1937. He was allowed to use the term, His Royal Highness, but his wife was not allowed to use the female equivalent. The next thing you know, Prince Harry marries an American divorcée, and he drops his ‘n’ hers HRH titles and moves to Canada. Smacks of form, don’t you think?
Except it doesn’t. Just because the “Royal” couple have stated that they are no longer using their royal titles, it doesn’t mean that they are being forced, or even voluntarily, giving up those titles. They can still use Their Royal Highnesses if they want to, or if they feel like changing their minds – although I’ve a feeling that if they did, the Queen would have something to say about that. Furthermore, they are still The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, can use Sussex as their surnames if they so wish – indeed, for their son, Archie, as well – although his surname, as written on his birth certificate, is Mountbatten-Windsor, the correct surname for members of this current royal family. But it’s going to be a while before we can call them plain old Mr & Mrs Mountbatten-Windsor.
The third part is perhaps the most disturbing and confusing part of all for the British taxpayer.
Harry & Meghan’s statement included the fact that they would no longer receive money from the ‘public purse’ for the carrying out of duties, both civil and military, on behalf of the Queen and the royal family. Essentially, they are all on benefits. Prince Charles, Harry’s father, receives his income from the Duchy of Cornwall, and that is considered a “private” income; indeed, it is.
In exchange for shaking hands with loads of babies – or is it kissing loads of pensioners? – the Royal family get, oh, millions of pounds given to them every year out of the public purse, get to live and travel in the utmost luxury and privilege, and, should they get sick, they get given treatment far and away more quickly and of a higher standard than someone, aged 82, stuck on a hospital gurney in a dark corridor for 27 hours with nothing to do, no-one to help them, and frequently in a state of great confusion and fear.
And don’t give me that shit about them bringing in loads of money every year in tourism. It’s not enough. Yes, you might have guessed, I’m fairly anti-royal. Not as people, I’m sure they’re all very lovely people, and I wish them all the best on a personal level, but with the concept of royalty as, well, a concept. And as a financial responsibility upon the state.
Those in the Royal family cannot help being born into it any more than I can help being a powerless ranter, venting impotently on WordPress. It’s not their fault, and no-one is blaming them personally for their situation, or indeed any member of any royal family across the world.
But it’s us, the fawning masses who have decided, because we innately need someone to rule and be our god on Earth, if you will, that certain individuals and bloodlines are so much more entitled to life’s little luxuries and preferential treatments, who are at fault.
We have said, you must lead us. Except that today, of course, we are so much more enlightened, and we don’t really want hereditary rulers, thank you very much, we’d rather elect them, and we’ll set up our own rules for that. But… we’re too scared to let you go formally, what if… we’re wrong? We’ll keep on on as constitutional figureheads, if that’s OK. What? Oh, you’ll be paid well, don’t worry about it. Where’s the money coming from? Don’t worry about that, either, we’ll just shave a little bit off other areas, they’ll hardly notice it, and you can still have your gold carriages, servants to undress you, and the power and privilege to get pretty much anything you want.
Just ask Prince Andrew.
But, the thing is, and this has been talked about in the media, that money from the taxpayer, their Universal Credit, if you like, that they are giving up, only really constitutes something in the region of 5% of their wealth, and they still get to keep the other 95%, which comes from private sources, none of which they have to work for. Daddy pays him a little, just to tidy them over in yachts, bullet-proof cars and so forth, and it seems that estimates of their wealth can range anywhere between 25 and 40 million U.S. dollars!
Furthermore, it has come to my attention here at Rant Music HQ that certain elements of the media are ‘leaking’ stories that Meghan was forced to quit the UK because of ‘racism.’ If Meghan truly believes that, she can f*** off. In my view she would be insulting the many who have been the true victims of racism in this and other countries of the world by claiming that, well, what exactly?, was aimed at her as a direct consequence of her race. And besides that, even though I of course accept that idiotic individuals might have made racist comments about her down the pub, that surely does not constitute enough grounds for her to leave the country with her son and husband who just happens to be sixth in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth – which includes many nations of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds – would it?
Although I think his use of the word ‘boring’ was somewhat rash and ill-advised, I otherwise fully endorse the words of the actor Laurence Fox on Question Time (BBC) last week. The so-called ‘Twitter Storm’ (*the new name for ‘Storm in a Teacup’) that ensued as a result of that comment is simply a faked backlash from people with nothing better to do than rant aimlessly at their friends with all the false horror of those who simply must have something to be horrified by or judgemental about. What do you mean, me?
I have a deep wish that we could one day see beneath the skin and look at the person beneath, in all cases, and in all walks of life. That’s idealist, I know, but it’s what I look forward to. If there is an afterlife, I don’t think race will matter, and if there isn’t, I don’t think the worms will be picky what race you are. I have to be careful phrasing things in order not to offend the overly sensitive, if anyone ever reads this, that is, not because of my own views on it. But, you cannot change the past, and in the past, there have been many, many shameful incidents and examples of racism – especially by those who were European or of European descent, but not exclusively so, that we should not forget, but not act as if we were the ones victimised by it ourselves.
We remember slavery, for example, and God forbid that it should ever happen again in any culture in any part of the world, but nothing Meghan Markle has experienced could ever equate to that.
The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump
It’s started. Senators and Congressmen and women are arguing already. President Trump has issued many statements denouncing it as a fraudulent and frivolous exercise.
I for one hope that Trump is unceremoniously removed from office, but all that means is we have a President Pence instead. And in that case, you won’t get many Pence to the pound. He’ll just do what Trump tells him to do. So, is it better to leave him in office and risk his losing the election in November? That’s a gamble, especially when you consider the dregs that the Democratic Party are once again throwing up as a potential opponent to Trump’s reelection campaign. True, they’ve got Bernie Sanders, but he stands no chance of candidature, since he will be 78 next birthday, campaigning for four, possibly eight years as president? I have nothing against it, I don’t think age should matter, but when you’re campaigning for office at the highest level, that’s going to be a tough sell for the American people. Who else have they got? Oh yes, Joe Biden???!!!
Whoever is selected better get some good people around them feeding them great ideas for slogans, catchphrases and balloons and stuff that the public can quickly latch on to, because otherwise we are looking at four more years of Trump.
World War Flu…Bless You!
Whenever a new virus or bacteria is discovered in animals, there is always the worry, what if it affects us? Never mind the animals’ welfare and wellbeing, what about us??? Then, of course, the virus does make the jump from animal to human, because they are usually kept in such depraved conditions that the squalor around them makes it easy for the virus, always mutating to ensure its survival, a bit like Boris Johnson really, to jump into and infect the human race.
And it’s no coincidence that many of the so-called ‘killer viruses’ have started their sweep around the world in China, whose disrespect for animal life and their treatment in the day-to-day order of things seems to be so much dirtier and horrific than many other parts of the world.
And this latest virus, which made the jump to the human race at the end of December 2019, and which is called – well, they don’t have a catchy acronym such as ‘SARS’ yet for it, but I’m sure someone will think of something really dreadful and obvious, a bit like the illness itself. ‘CARS,’ maybe, since it started in China…
I am sure that public health officials in China, and indeed the rest of the world, are doing their utmost to contain this virus which, on the surface, looks and feels like the common cold, but is distinguished from that unpleasant and largely harmless condition by potentially leading to pneumonia and, possibly, death. And it’s that last bit that seems to have got everyone’s attention.
If you read the headlines of this morning’s tabloid papers, you’d think that apocalypse was already on its way, when in reality it has been proved to be nothing of the kind. At least, not yet, it hasn’t. Medical authorities could still contain the virus, and attempts are being made to do so by shutting down travel outside of the Chinese city of Wuhan, where it is alleged to have started in the human race.
The Metro: CHINA VIRUS ‘ON THE WAY HERE.’
The Sun: WORLD WAR FLU: 10,000 Infected by ‘SNAKE BUG.’
Daily Mail: UK ON KILLER VIRUS ALERT.
The Times doesn’t even have it on its front page, neither does The Daily Telegraph, except for a small paragraph about it that you can hardly read.
It’s irresponsible journalism from the tabloids, headlines specifically written to engender fear and alarm among those who don’t know any better. It’s all about, ‘never mind them, what about us?’ again, isn’t it? A sense, perhaps, that as long as it’s far away, nobody here is going to care, and there’s nothing else to scare them with, so let’s just say it’s on the way here and it’s going to affect you!.
Firstly, we don’t know that, it could well be, but we simply don’t have the evidence to support it, so to lead with the headline ‘UK on Killer Virus Alert’ is just ridiculous. Certainly precautions are being taken, and rightly so.
Secondly, it’s not a ‘killer virus.’ Again, it may well turn out to be, I can’t say it won’t, but I can’t say that it is, either, as though the chief headline writer for Sun, armed with nothing but an Apple Mac and Wikipedia, knows better than the Chinese medical authorities – or indeed the UK ones, for that matter.
On the BBC News website is an update on the situation surrounding the case of former tennis legend Margaret Court, who, fifty years ago, in 1970, won all four of tennis’ ‘grand slam’ tournaments in the same year.
Court, now 77 years of age, is about as far removed from tennis as you can get these days, she is a baptist minister, who uses her fame and privilege as a means by which she can spread her views on all sorts of issues from gay marriage to the teaching of LGBT rights in school as ‘the work of the devil.’
She’s an idiot. But I respect her right to hold her own views, however idiotic they may be. I despise political correctness with a passion. Fuck it. The politically-correct movement today thinks itself so powerful that it can object to someone’s views and make them stop just because it’s offending them. What happens is you just ignore them; they will soon go away. That’s what my Mum told me when I was bullied at school. When bullies don’t get the attention they want, they f*** off and try to bully someone else, or become baptist ministers. Or activists for political correctness.
I am not suggesting for a moment that I support or endorse Margaret Court’s comments; merely that she does have a human right to express them, just as we have a human right to ignore them. What right do these politically-correct bullies have to stop expression of anything they don’t like ‘to protect our children.’ It’s always about the children, isn’t it, when it’s truthfully about themselves, children are just waved in front of the guns to try and make the other side stop, almost as a kind of weapon in themselves.
That said, of course, politically-correct activists also have the right to express themselves in a healthy, robust manner, don’t they? What gives some old lady who happened to be a tennis champion fifty years ago the right to judge the behaviour of others, who are her equals in this world, based on a work of fiction – The Bible – written thousands of years ago, before we even had smartphones. My advice to either one of you would be to ignore her, like I’ve just done… well, someone’s got to do it, haven’t they? Jesus H. Christ on a Union Jack Scooter, life’s complicated, isn’t it…x