Perhaps the best we can say is that if you’re reading this, then presumably he hasn’t yet pressed the start button on nuclear armageddon.
Every time I turn on the news it seems to be running another mad episode of the same hysterical satire. At least it would be hysterical if it weren’t so far-fetched.
It’s hard to believe this stuff is really happening. Almost as hard as it is to believe a word uttered by the host of the biggest, craziest gameshow on Earth.
He says torture can work. But nothing seems capable of getting the truth out of him.
OK, he’s a delusional narcissist. Perhaps he actually believes what he says – about the turn-out at his inauguration, for example, or all those supposed fraudulent votes in the presidential election.
That excuse won’t wash for all the bootlickers surrounding him. They know his “alternative facts” are lies. Yet they pass them on like tablets from Above.
It’s a close call, perhaps, but to me the scariest thing about the new administration in Washington is the brazen way it goes about suppressing the truth.
About, for example, climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency is not allowed to say anything. Anything at all.
NASA, whose photos and scientific data tell a scary story the chief bully doesn’t want to hear, is gagged.
Reporters are arrested for reporting the facts about legitimate protests. Legitimate, that is, until all protest is criminalised.
This truth-crushing is one of the first tell-tale signs of fascism.
Yes, I used the F-word. Think I’m exaggerating? Think it’s not really as bad as that? The diaries of those who suffered in the 1930s reveal that they constantly believed things had gone as far as they could. And then they went further. The next step is always unbelievable.
It’s the sense of disbelief that keeps people going from day to day. A sense of disbelief like the one we’re experiencing right now.
No, I don’t know how it’ll all end up. No one does. Perhaps history will repeat the old tragedies as farce this time.
There’s certainly a farcical feel to a lot of it. Laughter is a natural reaction to such disbelief. As it is to the bizarre spectacle of a monstrous ego floundering so far out of its intellectual depth.
But there’s this. The last time the world faced fascism it took a six-year war, 60million deaths and an international effort to stop it. Who now is going to stop the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military machine the world has ever seen?
There’s not a lot you or I can do. The opposition has to come from within the US itself. In fact, it really needs to come from within the Republican Party in Congress.
So who among them is going to be brave enough to say: “OK, Donny, you’ve had your fun, now it’s time for beddy-byes”?
Careful with that stake...
Money isn’t my specialism. The words “finance”, “economics” or “business” usually get me flipping channels or turning the page. I do occasionally catch moments of money talk on Radio 5, and it nearly always sounds as if they’re speaking a foreign language. But I’ve noticed one word cropping up a lot lately. Stakeholders.
The same word keeps appearing on a website I work for. It was in a planning report I read the other day (I have such interesting reading). And I’ve even heard it slipping into conversation with teachers about education.
But what does it mean? Who are these stakeholders, and why have so many of them started appearing lately?
It gives me visions of a kind of inverted zombie apocalypse. A world full of people armed with stakes, ready to plunge them in should any members of the living dead come stomping round the corner.
Are you a stakeholder? Do stakeholders litter your conversation? Or are you (can I say this?) normal?
Of course, it’s jargon. Which is closely related to “zhargon”, the Yiddish word for Yiddish, or “language that other people can’t understand”. Which may be very useful if you’re a persecuted minority.
But jargon has a sneaky way of slipping into wider use – perhaps because people think it makes them sound smart, or expert in some way. And, hopefully, anything but persecuted.
I’m sure those stakeholders will eventually slip away back into the dust they came from, to be replaced by some other badly contrived metaphor. But for now they seem to be the buzzword du jour.
“Buzzword” itself, of course, being a buzzword that’s now slightly stale, a tad old hat, retro-styled, past its sell-by date. Like blue sky thinking outside the box – an odd notion that probably wouldn’t help any junior stakeholder up the rungs of the management ladder today, as it undoubtedly did around the turn of the millennium.
Your old hat is sky blue? Oh, be off with you. And careful how you hold your stake while climbing that ladder.