The difficult kind.
My woman teaches the difficult young children. She does what’s called special needs and I think she was born to do it. She takes all the ones who’re a bit behind the pack and perhaps will always be, the ones who’re a bit lost, the silly hearts who’re still determined to stay a little bit longer in a child’s simple butterfly world or just out there somewhere else, in their own complete self-enclosed bubble, and she’s good at it.
They’re the distracted ones either living unwittingly on an unusually extended oxygen line of protective parental love or despite but because of parental stupidity, just about hanging on to the frayed tatters of their sometimes ruined childhoods. It can be a difficult row to hoe at times. I couldn’t do it.
She has that intuitive ability to get in touch with them and slowly inveigle them back into some sort of coping with the real world as it is. She gently brings them out of themselves, and gives them the confidence to re-engage with the grown up struggles of their lives. It’s the sort of emotional seduction that only a true empath can do.
Somehow, she breaks through and gets across to them that they’re okay, and everything will work out fine in the end, but in the meantime, let’s us work together on these squiggly letters. Sometimes that prediction is not likely to be true, and she knows that, but if it perhaps turns out to be wrong, it’s giving them a little shard of feel good about themselves, that the child needs to get them through the rough times ahead. Where there’s scant love about, sometimes children just need the hope of it. Some kids tear your heart open. Like I said, I couldn’t do her job.
It actually took a while for me to realise that all along, I was in some ways another one of her long-term but more exasperating projects and boy was that a bit of a surprise. So much for me being actually in control of anything. Subtlety wouldn’t be my natural strong suit, but while it takes a while, I do get there in the end. Because she cared for me, she was quietly centering me and to put it quite bluntly, civilising me.
She’s taught me innumerable useful things; pleases and thank youse, dragging a comb through my hair once in a while, it’s mebbe okay sitting with your back to the door when you’re at home, and a knife and fork were actually there to eat meals with, rather than just being casual weapons of opportunity you automatically clocked the locations of.
She is the huge factor in my life and our children’s lives, but while she’s helped me get along through some of the more difficult situations of a life, there are aspects of my personality that I choose not to have mediated, mollified or mitigated. They’re the essential me, whether good or bad. They’re the bits that got me through some shadowed valleys and I really don’t want fiddled with. She’s accepted that and it’s a part of the respect we pay each other, who even though we’re married, are still individuals.
You see, it’s actually okay to be a bit awkward, to be different. It’s your nature, and as you mature, you learn it can be an asset rather than a hindrance. It’s not as if you’re some sort of homicidal maniac, but you do take your own view on things, whether right or wrong. That’s the one sneaking doubt I’ve got about my woman’s work – it’s that strange oddness in perhaps one or two of the special needs kid which might produce the grand unified theory and she might be inadvertently hoovering that out of them. Some of their topsy turvey daydreams might just prove to be useful.
Nice people do nice things, and while I like them for that kind aspect of their nature, I also know I’m not one of them. At times when being nice simply won’t cut it – what’s needed is a necessary type of person. Sure, I’d always prefer to be as nice as pie, but when circumstances merit it, I’m prepared to be not so nice.
It’s the first reaction of nice people to discuss things, to sit down and talk things through with a someone who’s being totally unreasonable. They’re certain a workable accommodation can be reached. That’s nearly always a good thing except when you’re dealing with an elemental aggressor, because that’s exactly what they’re relying on you to do.
It’s the common failing of nice people to realise too late that they were all along dealing with someone who didn’t give a rat’s ass about reasoned discussion – they just want to win and they’re not choosy about which means or methods they’ll use to achieve that simple end. While all the well-intentioned discussions were going on, you were just being played and what’s worse, you’ve probably given away the whole damn shop.
But, let’s be more honest here and admit why such civilised discussions are initiated with people whom everyone can plainly see are nothing better than jumped up street corner thugs with soaring ambitions – it was supposed to be the nice people seizing the higher rational ground and consequently feeling better about themselves for having made that effort. Your hands are washed clean and you’ve weaseled out of any unsightly slugging matches with them.
I’m sorry but we all know that on too many occasions, that’s just a certain lack of backbone dressed up as an intellectually defensible position. A cojones-free zone. It’s covering your ass for posterity, but where does that leave the people you were supposed to be talking for, or the ones you appointed yourself to speak for?
You see, it’s the awkward and edgy nature of not so nice people, which produces stuff that gives people pause for thought. That’s the nature of the beast and some things can’t be tamed, no matter how many times you zap them hard with your cattle prod, but even more tellingly, no matter how hard you love them. It’s in their nature, it’s welded deep down into their primeval DNA. If you could possibly take that out of them, they’d just waste away in front of your eyes. You’d lose them. Put an Apache in a prison cell, they just die.
We’re not particularly smarter than anyone else, usually not as stylish, rarely much richer, but we do tend to be making moves. If there’s something we think is wrong, we’ll not only say that, but take the next step from bitching on about it from the sidelines – we’ll try to do something about it, irrespective of the odds. This blog is a move. There’s too much restless spirit and way too many questions you can’t get anything other than a slippery answer to.
GB Shaw noted that the reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself, the corollary being that without unreasonable men, no progress would be made. Once you get past how slick it sounds, there’s a lot of truth in it. So much of what now passes for orthodoxy usually started off as heresy, and as we all know as climate heretics, it’s never a populist position, but we were right all along.
If you want peace, prepare for war, because that’s how you prevent wars from ever breaking out in the first place – a saying commonly attributed to Julius Caesar but just as true today as it was two millenia ago.
Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Saddam Hussein – you stand up to them and you save lives. You don’t, you’re staring down into that big ole megadeaths pit. One hundred and fifty million lives lost in the wars of the last century, and in nearly every case, for lack of the backbone to stand up to and face down a megolomaniac lunatic when they were just a minor bully.
It’s that basic lesson we’ve all learnt dealing with the local school bully, with any bully. You give in to them, they always hustle you harder and take more. You stand up to them, they run away and look for an easier pushover they can prey on.
In exactly the same way, the massive failure or should I say the outright cowardice, on the part of too many people whose real job it was to question the whole global warming bandwagon, has inflicted pain and suffering on the most vulnerable people, both here and in the developing world. There’s real blood on hands.
Around the world, the whole global warming scare is imploding and it’s happening at an increasing pace. We skeptics played a supporting role in that, but it is the economics of hard times, rather than us bit players, that is actually killing it off.
Across the whole spectrum of the thing, people are repositioning themselves furiously to get away from the craze, the love that no longer dares speak its name. Politicians, moneymen, establishment science, journalistic integrity-free tarts and pretty much all the various stripes of carpetbagger. The instruments carbon markets were trading have collapsed below junk bond status. Everyone is bailing out, because the gravy train has just derailed off the bridge and is dropping down into the gorge.
Everyone that is, except the big environmental organisations like Greenpeace or the WWF, but when their income stream dries up, they’ll wither on the vine to shadows of their former selves. Reputational damage and loss of political influence can do that sort of thing to you. They’ll deserve it too, because they betrayed their founding principles.
What we must not do now is have an attack of the nicey nices with them. They’re in the killing jar, they’re finally seeing that now and are going to start desperately flinging olive branches in our direction. They’re moving into stage three, the bargaining phase of the death rattle of their belief system. Work any offer ruthlessly, but don’t even dream of meeting them on some fabled middle ground. That doesn’t exist.
The bargaining scam, which they will get around to offering in the end, is some phony recognition of you, which is all they’ve got left to barter with, in the hope of appealing to your vanity, so you’ll hop into bed with them – at last, some recognition and respectability after all these years.
Every time you deal with them, develop the habit of looking hard at them and thinking back a few years to when you were being routinely compared to a holocaust denier. That’ll get your head right.
This is not the time to be nice with them.
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