I don’t like people who frighten children.
Meeting a person who’s a crashing bore over some cause or another that most people aren’t too bothered about is an everyman experience we all can relate to. You meet them in some social context, and after your efforts to politely disengage from the harangue pretending to be a conversation, you end up turning your back and basically having to walk away. Even then, the bad cases will sometimes literally pursue you to continue on with your enlightenment.
At that point, you’ve already done the ten minute common politeness, have by now completely run out of patience, so all that’s left is to tell them to Foxtrot Oscar. On the rare occasion the situation has got to that extreme, a few good old Anglo-Saxon swearwords tend to ensure a traumatic separation from the crazed nemesis dogging your heels.
What happens with such people is that the invitations to anything tend to dry up. The hosts of such social events get sick and tired of rescuing their pissed off guests from the bore, and word quickly gets around to steer well clear of them.
When we’re in adolescence, it’s very common to go through a stage of being fixated about something or another, but with the passing of time and the development of some sort of maturity, we tend to allocate a more balanced weight in the grander scheme of things to the cause, whatever it might be.
Where it gets sad, and slightly scary, is when a supposedly all grown up individual is still indulging in such anti-social behaviour, because it gets progressively more aggressive in order to get the attention of people who are by this stage automatically ignoring them and their idée fixe.
The invariant characteristic of a fanatic is they simply can’t stop; they will eventually bull their way in and crash events to spread their messianic message.
Environmentalism with its attendant green activism has been at the bottom of most people’s concerns for a number of years. People just don’t turn out in any big numbers like in the glory days prior to the Copenhagen climate conference. The media coverage has shrunk as activist eco-journalists have been let go because basically the scare isn’t working any more. You can only scare somebody to death so many times before what’s called climate fatigue nowadays kicks in.
Greenpeace has developed the habit of crashing into events which have little or nothing to do with the environment. Amongst other things, they’ve defaced a world heritage site in south America, abseiled into an important Bundesliga match, tried to board Russian drilling rigs in the Arctic and last Thursday, closed down the British Museum.
The museum, like a number of cultural establishments in the capital, has for years received an annual donation from the oil company BP. As I recall, the by now notorious CRU of the University of Easy Access was set up using some funds donated by BP. Anyway, the museum was staging an exhibition about ancient cities which had sunk beneath the waves. It was the first day, a lot of people like prehistoric archaeology and the added frisson is underwater archaeology is a new and burgeoning field people find interesting.
Greenpeace decided to vandalise the exhibition. They tied ropes off the Doric pillars on the face of the building and had climbers belayed off the top of them. What they also did was disrupt people inside the building by blocking aggressively how people could access the exhibition.
A class of nine-year olds from our village school had made the trip into London with two teachers to see it. The teachers, seeing the escalation of the aggressiveness of the “protesters” and knowing their first duty was to the safety of their charges who were getting frightened, escorted the children from the building and back to school early. Apparently, they weren’t the only schoolchildren caught up in the Greenpeace hooliganism.
If they thought they made some big impact that day, they certainly did. They frightened young children badly.
The “protest” as such never made the national news, though it got a mention on local London TV, but what was interesting was the spin on the reportage wasn’t what they used to get in the good old days. It was all talking heads, interviewing people who’d travelled from as far away as Scotland to see the exhibition and had been prevented by the necessary closure of the museum because of safety considerations.
As one of the children expressed it, “they were bad people.”
Out of the mouth of babes.
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