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Home Comforts

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
My home is pretty comfortable. It’s wind and waterproof, relatively easy (if expensive) to heat, and to cool down. I have a nice easy chair for watching the TV, and a pretty good broadband plan. What more could I possibly want?How about the comfort of knowing that people who spread lies, disinformation, misogyny, every kind of -ism, freely and openly into all the homes and devices of the world capable of accessing the internet were subject to the same rules and tenets of acceptable behavior that we expect of people in the ‘real’ world? Think about it.Home Comforts
If Andrew Tate and his like were walking on the streets, openly chatting to schoolchildren and spreading their ideas, taking money from them, there would be public outrage. If people conducted pornographic sexual acts in front of children in the streets, encouraging them to join in, would we sit back and say "Ooh that's not nice, you should fine them"? For years now, the world has watched the internet become an open field of human excrement, which seems to be impossible to police, because nobody will bite the bullet and call it for what it is. It is part of society, and is should be subject to the same laws and regulations that societies demand, in order to function decently and fairly. Isn't that why we have laws? Isn't that what a society is - i.e. a community that exists to keep its members safe, healthy, productive? Or have we evolved to be nothing but a bunch of self-serving individuals?Of course, we haven’t actually evolved, as such. As far as we know, we have always been a complicated species, with the good the bad and the ugly-natured always with us. Personally, I believe all species have their fair share of these qualities. I just cannot accept the notion that humans are special.My research into Archetypes, the subject of my Honours dissertation, led me to join with Carl Jung who believed that every human has within them every archetype in various degrees. Every culture across the planet tells itself stories in which these Archetypal ways of being reveal themselves. I used this concept to develop a training technique for actors, based on John Wright’s Mask training. In the process, I explored my own potential for being a Trickster, a Hero, a Mother, a Maiden and many others. One of my students asked me if there is an Archetype for everything? How about a taxi driver? Yes! I answered. How about Charon? The ferryman (taxi driver) who takes our souls over the River Styx to the Underworld. I reckon I have an element of Archetypal taxi-driver within me, every time I connect people from one discipline to another, or facilitate a performer from one Archetypal way of being to another. Who pays the ferry(wo)man?And as you’ve probably noticed, I often digress, take an unexpected turn, stay on the roundabout for so long I end up back where I started…Sometimes it is useful to follow a line of thought to its logical conclusion. So. Imagine the scenario. There is no internet. No place on earth where people can be openly hatefully misogynistic, pornographic, abusive of children without consequences. People who do these things are physically present and identifiable. Imagine there are whole communities of these people gathering together to share their abhorrent views and behaviours. IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR STREET. Wouldn’t you call the police? And suppose there was a whole country where all the people supported this behaviour, and they were invading your country. Wouldn’t you mobilise the armed services?I don’t think I exaggerate. This is actually the scale of what has happened to the internet. Of all the benefits that it has brought us, they are as nothing to the scale of this invasion striking at the hearts and minds of our children – and their bodies. It has seduced us by incremental degrees over the years into thinking it’s a problem for someone else, that it’s not really so bad, because what would be the alternative?Shut down the internet?Oh dear. Oh no. We couldn’t do that. All our online banking? All the websites we rely on for our businesses? All the applications that make life worthwhile? Travel? Education? Entertainment. What would we do without them? What would happen to all the emails I send to Woman’s Hour ranting on about this? I’ll tell you. Absolutely nothing, they never read mine out.Well, obviously there would have to be safeguards. Give the banks advance warning to get back into the branches perhaps. No, probably wouldn’t work. But here’s a thought:If, as a society/community which values decency and the law of the land, our political representatives were to demand that the Social Media outlets and website hosting services be shut down until they removed all of these dangerous individuals and groups completely, they would refuse to do it. Right? So don’t just threaten them with fines. Send in the army. Besiege them in their buildings, and don’t let them out until they do it. If anyone escapes, throw them in jail. They are criminals. Anyone who runs, or works for one of these organisations, is engaged in criminal activity. And if it isn’t considered to be criminal in law, then make it so. No more namby-pamby ‘safety online’ legislation that just tinkers around the edges in an attempt to look good. A pathetic attempt to hold onto power. That’s all it is.Home Comforts
Hey! I know as well as you do that strikes involving government rarely work. But still I say, let’s call a General Strike and march on Westminster to demand Equal Rights for our children to live a decent, safe, productive life, free from online criminal, indecent, dishonest, manipulative, destructive (I’m running out of adjectives here, but if I just opened up Rhymezone I know there would be hundreds more – oh my lord, I am being sucked into the internet again. What a hypocrite!) behavior.Help!If we really cling to the notion that we are entitled to some degree of ‘home comforts’, it has to include protection from these monsters. And that’s what they are. Complex human beings, just like the rest of us, but with monstrous tendencies and actions, entering our homes with impunity. It has to stop.2023 (a song, to the tune of Homage to 2022)
There once was a new year that sank
Without trace after walking the plank
Time blithely sailed on
With a touch of aplomb
From the old year that certainly stank.
Oh 2023
All that I ask of thee
Is some peace and some quiet
Or believe me I’ll riot
Until 24 send you flee-ing.

There once was a year that was new
23 was its name, with a few
mild expletives around it
to keep it well grounded
Unlike its predecessor, 22.

In the year of two oh twenty-three
There is so much to do, you’ll agree
Win the war in Ukraine
Keep the rain on the plain
Save the NHS and democracy.

In the year of 2 OH twenty-three
We shall fight for the right to be free
From unhealthy biomes
No heat in our own homes
And all forms of misogyny.
Thanks for reading my rant,
Flloyd Kennedy
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