Wednesday 10 April 2013

I am divided like the clock

I didn't write the title of this post, if I did I could say I was a great writer.
It comes from a book by Joanne Harris, 'Five Quarters of the Orange'. 
The book is about a French country woman during the second world war who suffers from crippling migraines.
For those who have never suffered a migraine headache it is characterised at the start by a flickering of the vision, classically on one side, but not always, sometimes your whole world seems to be coming at you like a TV set with bad reception.
I first suffered when I started uni and each day about 11am my left eye vision began to shimmer and then a series of jagged black and white lines would zoom up and recede like the Northern Lights.
The picture (above right) gives some impression.
Once my vision began to flicker I would have to look at forty-five degrees past the left ear of anyone I was trying to talk to, and then I knew that the migraine was descending and the unbearable pain was to follow.
Likewise the character in Joanne's book would stare at the large roman numeral clock on her mantle piece and realise that she could only see half the clock face and her migraine was coming.
She wrote in her journal, "I am divided like the clock".
I am no Photoshop expert, but hold a piece of white paper over half of this clock face with a shaking hand and you can get some feel for it.
And so, to this post.
I was divided about whether to put ads on my blog.
Those who know me well will tell you that I hate advertising, but when I thought about it I realised that what I really hate is intrusive advertising, and the most intrusive of all is television advertising.
Visitors to Australia, particularly from the British Isles, simply cannot believe how many ads there are on Australian TV.
To give you an example, the third Lord of the Rings movie is 201 minutes (3 1/2 hours) long.
It was shown on a commercial channel here on a Sunday night and began at 8.30pm.
Talk about a marathon.
It was still running at midnight when I gave up and went to bed.
But here's the thing, the main reason I stopped watching was because after 11pm the porn ads began and to see a film all about the best and noblest of the Middle Earth fighting to defeat pure evil desecrated by ads for strip bars and phone sex lines was too appalling for words.
(and no I didn't call any of the sex lines).
In my opinion the greatest invention in the history of the human race after the remote is the mute button on the remote.
I haven't heard the sound track for an ad on TV for many years and the definition of a millisecond is the amount of time it takes me to hit the mute button as soon as an ad appears.
So I really don't like intrusive ads and I'd like to think that the three ads on this website aren't.
So divided by the decision to advertise, I gave it some some thought and realised that one thing I am not divided about is being poor.
We are all divided, it's so hard to make a decision, the consequences of a bad decision lead us all to an almost permanent state of indeterminism (if that's a word) and to relieve the overarching feeling of doom this post has no doubt brought upon you here is a Dave Allen joke that sums it all up.

A man is conscious of a lifetime of bad decisions.
He had the choice of two universities, he chose the wrong one.
He had a choice of two jobs, he chose the wrong one.
He had the choice of two women, he chose the wrong one.
Comes a day he has to fly for a business meeting and the travel agent tells him there are two planes.
After much agonising he picks one and takes off, some hours later the captain comes on and says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry to announce a fuel emergency. We are four hours from the nearest land and it looks like the end."
The man immediately goes down on his knees and prays, "Please, please, St. Francis save me".
and a voice from the heavens intones, "St. Francis of Assisi or St. Francis Xavier?"

To end I want to make a meaningless jump to something one of my lecturers said to me back at uni in 1987.
All appearances to the contrary I do think about what I am going to write ahead of time and try to get some sort of linear structure to the post.
When I began thinking I made a seamless transition from being divided like the clock to my lecturer's comment but I can't remember how I did it now.
Anyway, I was thinking about why we (the human race) do not do more about global warming and the environment in general.
There are people like George W. Bush and an Australian shock jock called Alan Jones who try to make the populace believe that the problem doesn't exist.
However our lack of action goes deeper than that and here is what I think it is.
I was at a social function of the Zoology department and talking with my herpetology (reptiles) lecturer, Rick Shine.
He had made the point that some species of Australian snake, the King Brown and the Taipan could go
extinct due to eating Cane toads.
I, unlike most, loved these animals and was distraught that they could disappear, so I said to him, "couldn't something be done to save them? Captive breeding for instance."
Little did I realise that Rick's response would return to me 25 years later and from the specific of extinction of two snake species become broadly applicable to the whole of society and explain our lack of action on environmental issues, said Rick:

 "No one cares, Lachlan, no one cares."

King Brown snake.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Lock. And I agree wholeheartedly about the mute button! Ads are nothing but auditory irritants and definitely NOT an improvement on silence.
    However, I like to think that there are quite a few of us who care about global warming & the environment... I guess it just takes time to educate those with their heads in the sand, because, well, their ears are underground! :)