We live in confusing times, perhaps we always have, maybe it’s the normal human condition. To alleviate this confusion we have a range of treatments: various belief systems, drugs, denial and just getting on with things, a stiff upper lip, and thought. Our individual limitations are exploited and/or compounded by others of our race. We seek stuff that confirms our biases. Paradoxically despite having vast amounts of human knowledge at our fingertips (or via other sensory inputs if we can’t use fingertips) there would appear to be increasing societal division, often simplistic binary opposition such as brexit.
Kate and I watched Trauma last night, a 3 part drama based on a father’s campaign against a doctor who he believed had made a mistake and killed his son. I found the first episode really hard to watch, not for any squeamish reasons but for what seemed to me very contrived plot devices to drive the narrative. I’ve many times argued that this is OK as they are dramas, they are not ‘real life’ and we should allow artistic licence. But Trauma caused me to squirm and protest, Kate agreed with me yet we forced ourselves to continue watching. I’m still not sure what upset me, although one obvious thing was the father’s instant obsession about the doctor and nothing about his feelings about the kid who’d actually knifed his son.
Anyway, all the plot devices were angled to highlight the class and economic differences between the relatively wealthy and middle class black doctor and his family and the lower class white father and his family’s relative poverty. That the middle class professional class have a range of systems that protect them which are not available to poorer folk. Normally a situation I would have great sympathy with and rail against the injustice, yet in this drama I sided more with the injustice against the middle class doctor.
And this drama of difference continued with a wonderful ‘Start the Week’ with on the one side the rational humanist Steven Pinker, and on the other the rational humanist Rob Rieman, refereed by the neuroscientist Tali Sharot explaining how our brains work. Pinker argues that things are getting better and science and technology will sort things out, whilst Rieman argues that things are getting worse and fascism is on the rise again. I’m like Indecisive Dave from the Fast Show agreeing with whatever the last person said. (I once sat next to Paul Whitehouse at Tarisha and Steve’s wedding, I can’t remember him but I did make a big pyramid of champagne glasses and filled them from the top one).
Anyway, one story sticks with me about drumf (sorry) ‘winning’ an argument with ben carson (a neurosurgeon) about vaccines and autism by using the story about a young infant being vaccinated with a horse sized syringe then getting sick and developing autism. In other words a powerful, simple anecdote wins out over scientific facts, data and reasoning. So those fighting against these authoritarian types need a few simple stories of their own.
And the story of the young boy with an extremely rare form of epilepsy is taken to Holland and successfully treated with cannabis oil but can’t get the treatment here because cannabis is a schedule 1 drug and not recognised in it’s raw form as having any medicinal benefits. Polarisation getting in the way again.
And the NHS pay boots £1,759 for a pot of moisturiser cream:
so buy a large pot of Duncan’s Unctions http://duncansunctions.com/ and save the NHS £1744!
Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.