Iatrogenesis

Now my love of words was tickled when reading a brilliant, well brilliant to my jaundiced eyes, piece by Zoe Williams about the current state of education in this country. When describing reasons why teachers are disaffected she wrote this: ” the needless and iatrogenic effect of political meddling”. Iatrogenesis comes from the Greek (who is this Greek, so much has come from him or her!) for “brought forth by the healer”. But not the healing intended by the healer, rather the complications or side effects. So for me a lovely conflation of all the collateral damage of my treatment alongside one of my long-running bugbears, that of the effects on teachers of the last 30 years or so of incessant, ignorant and irritating meddling by politicians.

What happens in schools now is a dystopian tragedy with schools, teachers and students ruled and obsessed with bleedin’ targets, data and so-called ‘metrics’. Schools buy in ‘advisors’, typically inspectors, who know the latest ‘frameworks’ and ‘initiatives’ and other bureaucratic bollocks. They then meet with the ‘senior managers’ and decide what teachers need to do. Then teachers are ‘observed’ and no matter how these are sold it is still having your practice judged and making sure teachers conform and ‘meet their targets’. As I have for so long raged about there is no place for actual living, breathing, thinking teachers in this process. How good it feels to no longer be subjected to this.

When did we stop sending postcards? Whilst it sometimes felt like a chore I often enjoyed writing pithy missives and we all used to have postcards from others displayed on our fridges. Another victim of the new technology.

I remember a story from many years ago about a couple who were sent photos from different countries with a gnome in the photo that had been taken from their garden (the gnome not the photo). They didn’t know who were the perpetrators, anyone know the story and whether they did find out who did it? Or was it an urban myth?

Also remember a cruel trick I played on Jules. Just before I embarked on a rugby tour to the far east I took a few pieces of a very large jigsaw puzzle she was doing. I sent them back from Hong Kong. I’d also instigated having a party in our shared house before I left and had only invited about half a dozen people. Trouble was each one of those brought along many others, never have so many people been crammed into one house.

Would you be shamed by hackers releasing your spotify playlists?

Listen to this by the wonderful Stewart Lee: https://youtu.be/0YE9Kthyaco

Just returned from picking Kate up and whilst waiting in the car a middle aged couple were having an intransigent standoff about which way to go to the station. After a couple of minutes I stuck my head out the window and told them which was the quickest way. I apologised if I’d at all interfered and made things worse, she immediately replied that their relationship was beyond redemption.

There’s a computer expert, Kentaro Toyama, who has just written a book called ‘Geek Heresy’. He was a true believer in the power of technology and how it could transform lives and societies. After working in many countries with many ways of using information technology and how, after successful research pilots, application in the ‘field’ rarely had the desired effect. He slowly came to the realisation that the technology, no matter how good, was always secondary to people and institutions. Alongside this he also learnt that a singular belief in science, technology and engineering is dangerous as it ‘rules out other kinds of solutions’.

I believe that this is how too much of the world now operates from within very narrow and intransigent paradigms: there is no alternative to ‘austerity’, mr bliar cannot conceive of an alternative to his benighted beliefs, teachers must follow very proscriptive curricula, ad infibleedinitum. But beware the alternative alternative approach and all those stretchy snake oil salesfolk.

This week is the 40th birthday of Born to Run, I’ll be playing a lot of Jungleland and Thunder Road this week. Apparently Bruce and Clarence worked 16 hours straight to get the sax solo right on Jungleland.

And I’m about to order The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

Whilst looking for an iatrogenic cartoon (and they do exist) I came across this one which made me laugh:

Some day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny,

keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS happy birthday Van.

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