The Takeover

“The elites are taking over,” the man told me as we stood in line together at the coffee shop. He had a common and sensible face, the sort of bloke who I could instantly see was, like myself, a graduate with honours summa cum dilligaf from the School of Hard Knocks.

He was gesturing at the paper on the table nearby; a fifteen-page spread from an everyday multinational media conglomerate explaining how one of their columnists had been fired simply for being racist to a child.  “See that? They’re taking over,” he repeated.

“That’s the elites for you,” I agreed. “They think they’re better than us.”

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Never Tweet

Every union member knows that the CIA will attempt to murder them sometime, although I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be in the form of a tweet that encouraged its employees to practice deep breathing on a #wellnesswednesday. What happened to the good old fashioned ‘trip-and-fall down an elevator shaft onto some bullets’? Would it have killed them to smuggle Soviet-branded weapons into the country, put those weapons into the hands of corrupt soldiers, and then organise a masked death squad to come to my house and blame it on Russia? Would it have killed me as well? Yes, I suppose so. Fucking hell.

How is anyone supposed to deal with this level of comically absurd, transparently asinine, boringly dystopian, nightmare world hellshit? I logged off immediately following that tweet in an act of instinctual self-preservation, like the way your reptile brain engages to snatch your hand away from a fire before your higher brain functions have had their morning coffee. Feeling a bit down after organising the assassination of a democractically elected leader? Got a case of the Mondays after diverting a black ops budget into a cheeky bit of state-sponsored ethnic cleansing? Why not get yourself a standing desk? Fucking hell. Just kill me (please don’t).

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Roads travelled, literal and metaphotical

All right, that’s it. It’s time to stop putting it off. Writing a little summin’ summin’ at the end of each year has become sort of a tradition in the Colwill household and this year I did more things, pushed more boundaries and learned more about myself than your average year. And yet for some reason, when I think about sitting down to write this time around, my inner eye glazes over and I find myself doing something else instead.

For some reason, even though there’s more to report on in every facet of life this year, I’m more loathe than ever to sit down and report on it. 

But one of the lessons 2019 has taught me is the value of record keeping, journalling and otherwise ensnaring the moments that disappear like so much clumsy metaphor. Another is that something doesn’t have to be perfect to have value and that I should embrace the opportunity to learn and grow regardless of how much “worth” I perceive it to have.

And so! I will begin! I will stream-of-consciousness this bitch out on to the digital parchment and so help me, it will be adequate!

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Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 3)

Previously: Red Meat Republic, by Joshua Specht

Ethics in the Real World, Peter Singer

Before we get started: I received a copy of this book from a friend of mine as a thanks for helping them at work. The book included a personal annotation which meant, and continues to mean, a lot to me, and honestly made me tear up a little when I received it. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll forgive me for putting this book through the wringer like I have. I think the world of you and I’m so touched and grateful.

I was in Perth city in early November, catching up with an old friend. While I was waiting for him to arrive, I noticed that there was a homeless man sleeping outside the Westpac bank branch there, just across from the train station entrance. Several people commented loudly that they needed to step around the man to get into the building, and that he was inconveniencing them with his presence.

I was struck at that moment by the depressing, shitty irony of this situation: here was a man with no home, sleeping outside of a bank which owns millions of them. Even though Westpac has the means and the resources to trivially give this man a home, they deliberately do not, and they are lauded for it. Meanwhile the homeless man and anyone else in his situation are considered a problem to be managed, barely above the level of a rat or a cockroach.

Continue reading Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 3)

Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 2)

Previously: October, by China Mieville

Red Meat Republic: A Hoof to Table History of How Beef Changed America, by Joshua Specht

Economics as a field of study becomes a lot more interesting when you stop thinking about it as “stocks and graphs” and start thinking about it as a way of deciding who gets to eat and who doesn’t. By the same token “food” becomes a lot more interesting when you stop thinking about it as “a delicious treat for the hungry boy” and start thinking about it as a way of deciding who has any value to society.

The politics of food is an astonishing minefield that is irrevocably tied up with our beliefs around gender, race and class, and it’s one of those things that everyone would much rather not think about – why talk politics when we could simply tuck into a delicious steak, after all? Am I right? Fellas? Red Meat Republic says a big “fuck you” to that line of thinking and delves into the history of beef in America, starting right at the beginning and going all the way up to the present day, and in the process showing how despite coming so far, in many ways nothing has changed at all.

Continue reading Books What I Read In 2019 (Part 2)