Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Monday, 21 November 2016

Things of the Last Couple of Weeks: 21st November 2016

Yep, I've used this one before, but it still applies.
I haven't really done Things of the Week for a while, because the most recent Things of the Week have been, well, horrible. Donald Fucking Trump for Christ's sake. We also lost Leonard Cohen, yet another in the non-stop roll call of great minds and talents 2016 has taken from us.

I'm not going to make jokes about it. I have POC friends, LGBT friends - not to mention pretty much any US friends who aren't complete douches - who are quite rightly terrified right now. An actual fascist is going to be the next US President. His White House will be run by an avowed White Supremacist. His Vice President has vowed to roll back not only same sex marriage, but every law preventing discrimination against LGBT people. (And despite all the right-wing jeering about PC culture, 'safe spaces' and 'special snowflakes', the new US strongman flies into a world-class tizzy when the cast of a musical dare to speak out to that Vice-President and call on him to, you know, not to be a bigot.)

But the Right are hypocrites. The same people demanding everyone now unite behind Trump are the ones who burned Obama in effigy and vowed to make him a 'one term President' (although their utter incompetence in that regard might at least be heartening.) They'll scream and shout over the cast of Hamilton calling out Mike Pence (as they did over the Dixie Chicks when they criticised Bush and the Iraq Invasion) but will scream about FREE SPEECH when it's their right to spew venom. There's no playing nice with them; they exploit the liberal idea that one should see both points of view, be reasonable, play by the rules - while refusing to do any of those things themselves.

The ones in the UK are no better. Anyone believe for a moment that Farage and the rest of the Leave campaign would have shut up and walked away if the June Referendum had gone to Remain by 52% to 48%? Like hell they would. But now that four per cent margin is a club to try and beat their critics into silence. Meanwhile, hate crimes have rocketed since the Brexit vote, and our new Prime Minister, who has openly stated that she wants to abandon the European Convention on Human Rights and who has now instituted the most intrusive mass surveillance in British history, has practically adopted UKIP's political agenda.

I've said for years we've been sliding into fascism; it's one of the recurrent themes in so much of my work.

Now we're pretty much there.

But despair is an ally to the enemy. Margaret Corvid has written an excellent piece on practical things Brits can do to combat Trump and what he represents. This article by Masha Gessen, who fled a similar brand of fascism in Putin's Russia, also makes for sobering but essential reading.

To my American friends: contrary to what some people claim, the horror community in the UK is not made up of fascist sympathisers, appeasers or collaborationists. (A certain individual is still spreading that claim, because everything has to be about themselves and their personal feuds - it's not only a lie, but now it's a pernicious one because it sows discord between people who should be on the same side.) Let me, let us, know what we in the UK can do to help. For what little it may be worth, if anyone's looking for a place to guest-blog about what's going on, to get what they want to say out there, consider this blog of mine a platform, yours for the asking.

Best wishes, everyone. This year has been a grim and scary one in so many ways, and it isn't over yet. 2017 isn't looking particularly promising. But the Trumps, the Farages, people like that can ultimately only destroy. Their end will come. In the meantine, let's focus on making their time in power as short as possible, stopping them doing as much damage as we can, and making sure as many of us as possible are still here when the morning comes. Because there will be a morning. There will be, if we can believe in it.

Rosanne Rabinowitz shared this one of Leonard Cohen's recently. It seems pretty apt right now.

Simon x

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