Let’s have proper debates.

Not a lot to report on the crabby front, days seem to meld into each other and sleep and rest are doing their job. Waiting on nurse Peggy to take out tube.

Spoke with students in my class this morning, good to know they still remember me and three of them asked when I was coming back. Jo, Tom, Sharon, Barb and Nicola are doing a good job, all the students seem to be doing well. Maybe I’m superfluous.

Kate just shrieked, a spider on the chair she was just tidying, good job I didn’t sit there, but I am now worrying about any others in the vicinity.

Good to see that Arab cartoonists are responding in kind by questioning the meaning of free speech in the west and having a go at the hypocrisy of their own leaders. Maybe we could have a juxtaposition of the two sets of cartoons, I suspect there would be a great deal of common ground. David Starkey was on Question Time last night and unfortunately his reputation and manner got in the way of him talking about the history of Islam, so instead of him being listened to and his points being discussed properly he was dismissed out of hand by other panellists. Mehdi Hasan was also on the panel and he made a stout presentation about how it feels to be a Muslim, it would have been good to have had an extended discussion between him and Starkey notwithstanding their obvious antipathy towards each other. Anyway, Starkey was talking about the relatively (well certainly relative to judeo/christian faiths) recent development of the Islamic faith and the current arguments and battles between the different strands of Islam.

It is a thin line between critiquing Islam and Islamophobia and one I am increasingly conscious of and I agree with many, such as Slavoj Zizek in today’s New Statesman, that many on the left who say that “any critique of Islam is denounced as Muslim-hating”. He goes on to suggest that current religious fundamentalism is filling a void created by the failures of left wing politics allowing the right to dominate. I think that to this could be added current dissatisfaction with politicians in general, the rise of the ukippers, the national front in France and other populist/nationalistic groups. Zizek also notes the demise of the secular left in Muslim countries and it’s replacement with the fundamentalists. His answer: liberalism joins with the radical left. Makes sense to me, I think it would certainly take the wind out of the gargoyle’s gills.

Well what about those two climbers, Caldwell and Jorgeson, climbing a sheer rock wall called Dawn Wall using their fingers and balance? Apparently they had to rest every few days to allow the skin to grow back on their finger tips!

Nurse Peggy just called has had two emergencies so can’t see me today so peg coming out on Monday.

Just finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, a dystopian vision of the near future warning of the dangers of corporate control and behaviour. See that the world economic forum is meeting in Davos next week and ‘experts’ polled by them for the list of threats to the stability of the world have interstate conflict and water shortages as the greatest threats. Surprisingly the kleptos, the BBs, corporatisation and neoliberalism didn’t feature.

What’s happening with the price of oil? Why are the Gulf states driving the price down, this deserves a bit more investigation by me but time and tiredness are dictating otherwise.

Neat letter in the paper following on from Suzanne Moore’s faithophoia with a suggestion for it’s antonym: “atheophobia, a term for those who fear ideas based on reason and rationality”.

Manifesto 62:

  • a TV programme that allows proper debate to be developed, that is not so time constrained and allows fuller debate to happen.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

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