The Queen guitarist is obsessed with the Victorian art of stereoscopy. No wonder he feels ill at ease in our age of cancel culture
ByJames Hall27 November 2021 • 12:00pm
Arwen~ A very interesting article, encourage to read it in its entirety. This part on cancel culture is what I wanted to highlight here.
“As we’ve been talking about social media, I ask May what he thinks Mercury would have made of the modern world. Because with the openness and instant gratification of social media also comes cancel culture. The upside and the downside. They are, in a way, two sides of the same coin.
“I don’t find it easy living in this world today. I think Freddie would have been the same,” says May. “Freddie was very outspoken and, in common with [astronomer] Patrick Moore who was a very good friend of mine from a previous generation, the kind of way that people spoke in those days is not allowed these days.” While May sees tremendous good in encouraging people to be respectful, he doesn’t think gagging people is the way forward. “I don’t fit in very well and I don’t think Freddie would have fitted. Patrick Moore wouldn’t have lasted five minutes,” he says.
That May is occasionally ill-at-ease with the modern world became clear earlier this week (after our interview), when he criticised the Brit Awards for making its categories gender neutral in a bid to become more inclusive. May told The Sun he thought the Brits’ decision was “ill-thought-out” and claimed it was a “knee-jerk reaction” to cancel culture. “I feel very uncomfortable about some of the decisions that are being made, often out of fear. Because people are so afraid of being called out. It is a horrible atmosphere,” he is reported to have said. “I worry about cancel culture. I think some of it is good but it also brings bad things and injustices. We think in different ways but they weren’t necessarily worse ways.”
He told The Sun, “For instance, Freddie wasn’t white but nobody cared. He was a musician. He was our friend, our brother. We didn’t have to stop and think, ‘Oh should we work with him? Is he the right colour or the right sex?’ It’s frightening that people have to be so calculated about things. To me it is dangerous.”
Instead of combating this alarmist ideology with facts and reason, our authority figures have only pandered to it
DOUGLAS MURRAY27 November 2021 • 6:00pm
In many ways it is a miracle that the human species has survived at all. Never mind the various natural disasters to which we have been prey, we have had to survive that greatest challenge to our species: ourselves. And yet somehow we are still here, thanks to people having children and raising families through the bleakest imaginable periods.
People still had children in the midst of the Black Death and the Great Plague. During centuries of pestilence and famine people still raised families. Even throughout the horrors of the 20th century and in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, humankind continued to express hope in the future through the gift of new life.
So it is not just strange but alarming that our era is seeing an increase in the number of people who believe that it is not just their choice, but their duty, to avoid having children. An analysis carried out earlier this year found that the “movement to not have children owing to fears over climate change is growing and impacting fertility rates quicker than any preceding trend in the field of fertility decline”.
It is an increasingly popular view, parroted by celebrities and politicians alike: “Why have children when we are facing climate change?”
The Left-wing US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said that young people are asking a “legitimate question” when they say: “Is it OK to still have children?”
Pop star Miley Cyrus has mulled the same dilemma. “We’re getting handed a piece of s— planet,” she said in one interview, “and I refuse to hand that down to my child. Until I feel like my kid would live on an earth with fish in the water, I’m not bringing in another person to deal with that.”
One wonders what delegation of marine experts and fishermen might satisfy Miley’s concerns and assure her that the conditions for reproduction were indeed in place again.
Yet while it is easy for adults to scoff at such insane scare-mongering, the evidence suggests that many young people do not dismiss such talk, nor laugh at it. They are taking it deadly seriously. And the adults are failing to correct them.
In a speech to headteachers earlier this month, the headmistress of Benenden School, Samantha Price, said that teachers and other adults should take children’s climate worries far more seriously than they currently do. Rather than dismissing them, Mrs Price said that children should be encouraged so that their “passion” for subjects from sustainability through to equality does not “end up just going by the wayside”.
While Price drew the line at pupils following Greta Thunberg’s lead in abandoning lessons to make their point, she did say that their “ideas” on how to improve the climate should be raised within their schools.
And, in its way, Price’s speech was a prime example of the problem that a generation of adults have set up for the next generation. Children do not leap forth into the world with original worldviews, let alone planetary solutions of their own. They first repeat what they have been told and then tend to go from there.
For a generation, politicians and others have told children the most doom-laden stories possible. They have told them that the apocalypse is imminent. They have told them that they may never even get to grow up. They have told them that capitalism is destroying the planet and killing its inhabitants. They have failed to explain that capitalism has raised a billion people out of extreme poverty just in the 21st century so far.
Instead, they have taken the most fanatical rhetoric into the mainstream, claiming that our planet is on the cusp of annihilation and only a return to some sort of pre-industrial society could possibly save us.
They have given a megaphone to the most radical climate alarmists, and almost everybody in positions of authority has joined in parroting the same megaphoned message.
Only a few years ago Boris Johnson could be seen in these very pages telling people that we needed to cool the rhetoric on global warming. Fast-forward to earlier this month in Glasgow and the same Boris Johnson could be found telling Cop26 that we had just one minute left to save the planet.
Of course, young people do not just listen to celebrities and political leaders, they also notice what is permitted in the world around them. And in the UK at present you are allowed to get away with pretty much anything so long as you say that you are doing it in the name of saving the planet. Or “insulating” Britain’s homes, to use the most bathetic recent slogan of this offshoot of the extremists at Extinction Rebellion.
This alarmist movement is much closer to an end-time cult than anything resembling scientific activism. Their claims do not stand up to the most basic scrutiny. But if you are a member of Extinction Rebellion the problem is not what you say, the problem is that there is almost nothing you are not allowed to do.
You are allowed to prevent newspapers from leaving the print factories (as XR did last year) and receive the most minimal slap on the wrist for this assault on the free press. You can plonk yourself in the centre of the nation’s highways, trying to cause maximum disruption to an economy still desperately struggling to get back to normal.
And if you do that then the police will most likely just stand around, observing you with interest. Though woe betide any member of the public who does the job the police should do and haul these protestors out of their paths. We built up to this moment.
Two years ago XR extremists carried out criminal damage on the UK headquarters of the energy giant Shell. Rather surprisingly they were actually arrested and put on trial. The judge in their case declared that the majority of the defendants had absolutely no defence under the law. And yet a jury found all the accused “not guilty”.
One of the defendants crowed afterwards that the fact that no jury would convict them for their crimes was a sign of “truth”.
“A broken window is a just response to a breaking world,” he said, imperiously.
The verdict was less a sign of truth than it was an invitation to anarchy. Because of course if you decide that we are all about to die there is very little you might not permit to be done to stop it.
Instead of countering such extremism, figures in authority everywhere have been giving out the message that it is acceptable to do the most outrageous things, and make the most outrageous claims so long as you are doing so in defence of “the planet”.
At the centre of this is a terrific fallacy. For the younger generation are merely repeating what they have been told. And because they are young they are highly likely to become defeatist or depressed.
Not just because the situation has been presented as so appallingly bad. But because there is no way that they are yet informed enough to come up with the sort of innovative solutions that will be needed to allow our whole planet to some day come off fossil fuels. They inevitably bash against the limits of their own knowledge, because they have been taught what to think, rather than how to think.
And so this feeds this strange contemporary delusion that we must feel that the future is completely certain before we can consider bringing children into the world. Or that the optimal financial or climactic positions must be in place. And that unless this future is assured then reproduction is not just a pain but an outrage. As it happens we have countered this before.
In the autumn of 1939, C S Lewis preached a remarkable sermon at the University Church in Oxford. One part particularly stands out today.
For, as Lewis says, human life “has always been lived on the edge of a precipice”. We have always had to live with terrible shadows before us. But as he puts it: “If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun.”
It is the same when it comes to reproduction. If our species had always waited for the optimal conditions to be in place for reproduction then we would not be here today. The conditions never were optimal. Other species might choose their own paths. But mankind is different from them.
As Lewis concludes: “[We] propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, discuss the last new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature.”
That remains quite as true today as it was in 1939. Today’s climate extremists have terrified a generation. In order for there to be a next generation, this one should be not further terrified, but better educated and better consoled.
CLARENCE LOUIECONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAILPUBLISHED 4 HOURS AGO
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Clarence Louie has been Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, in the South Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, for more than 35 years. He is the author of the new book Rez Rules: My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples, from which this essay has been adapted.
I love being on a Rez – any Rez. I have set foot on more than 300 of them in Canada and the United States. I seek out Indian reserves and reservations, rich or poor, on my travels. It’s an ancestral feeling, a heritage and cultural feeling that I seem to need. Seeing Rez people young and old living and playing on their own Rez is very special to me.
But one thing that catches my eye right away, and makes my heart heavy, is broken windows on Native houses. It is really sad to see some houses with multiple broken or boarded-up windows. On one reserve in Northern Alberta I saw so many houses with boarded-up windows that I mistakenly thought the houses were vacant and abandoned. I thought, Why doesn’t the leadership get rid of those eyesores and tear down those condemned houses? The school teacher who was driving me around the Rez that day told me, “Those houses aren’t empty – families live there. The way you tell if a house is empty is if the front door is boarded up.”
How can anyone live in a house where they can’t even look out the living room or bedroom window? I took pictures of houses with every window boarded up and with graﬃti painted on the walls and the plywood window coverings. Families were still living in those houses! It felt like I was driving through the worst part of a rundown major city. Not all of the Rez was in bad condition, but I felt so sorry for the children who were being raised in homes like that. It is not right, anywhere in the world, for children to grow up in a house with broken or boarded-up windows.
To me, broken windows are unacceptable.
Where is the leadership on that Rez? Not just where are the chief and council members, but where are all the leaders – the department heads, social services people, those who hold the senior jobs and those who call themselves Elders? Real leaders (not politicians) stand up to obvious problems. Yet only a few blocks away from this disaster zone was a modern, fancy administration oﬃce. It was a contrast I have never forgotten. It still pisses me oﬀ.
The reason I was there was to give a keynote speech on the accomplishments of the Osoyoos Indian Band. When I travel for reasons like this, and if time permits, I always ask someone to drive me around to see two things: ﬁrst, their band or tribal headquarters and other community buildings; and second, their housing and the playgrounds where children play. I have been on the poorest of the poor reserves, as well as on those that have huge economic development and are making hundreds of millions of dollars, so I want to make it clear that I’m not looking for fanciness and luxury. What I’m looking for is Native pride of ownership. Do the people there look after what they have? Do they respect and keep clean what they have?
Most Rez Natives were raised without much material wealth. Their homes were the classic Indian Aﬀairs matchbox two-bedroom, very modest homes. Most people, especially the old-timers, really looked after what little they had. My mom still lives in a little two-bedroom Rez house that was built back in the 1960s. I have also noticed that the best-looking yards are usually those of the old-timers. The old people suﬀered at the hands of the federal and provincial and state governments and had to work very hard to survive. They had to respect the home that gave them shelter and allowed them to raise their families. As Chief, I rarely get requests from the old people to ﬁx a broken door or window.
Your yard says a lot about you. If I see a yard with garbage all over it or littered with wrecked and abandoned vehicles, I take that as a public statement by those who live there. That’s why, when I’m on a Rez, I want to drive by the community buildings and houses. When I return home, I often get asked by my people, usually the Elders, “How are our people back East?” Or, “How are those Indians up North or down South?” Or, “How do their houses and band oﬃce look?”
I love that deep feeling our old people have about other tribal communities. The old people know those other Native communities suﬀered through the same racist “Indian Problem” policies of the federal government. They know that, sadly, they’re still thought of as the “Indian Problem” by most Canadians and Americans.
While I was taking pictures of those boarded-up windows and graﬃti-splashed houses up North, I noticed a little kid playing in the yard of one of the worst buildings. I shook my head and vowed I would never let that deplorable, sad, heartbreaking image appear on my Rez.
A few hours later, I was in a community hall ﬁlled with local band members – some of them likely living in those boarded-up houses. I shared my experience as a Chief and proudly spoke of the Osoyoos Indian Band’s economic and social accomplishments. But I also let people know Osoyoos is not a perfect community. My Rez has dysfunctions. My Rez has some dirty yards and poorly kept homes. Some of our community buildings could use a little tender loving care. It is a mistake to think that the Osoyoos Rez, which has been called a “Miracle in the Desert,” is somehow without problems. We have our share, and we, too, need a kick in the rear every once in a while to remind us to roll up our sleeves, clean up our backyard, and have “Native pride” in what we have built.
As I ﬁnished my talk, I wondered if I should mention how upset and disappointed I was in what I had seen in that short drive through the community. I know a politician will not tell the truth if the truth will lose him votes or put him in a bad light. But a leader says what has to be said when it has to be said, and will always stand behind their statements. I thought about bringing up the broken windows to a few council members in private afterwards, as that would have been easier and much safer.
I ﬁnished talking about the Osoyoos Indian Band and thanked the organizer for bringing me out to speak to their Rez. Then I told them that as Native people we have to look out for one another and share our stories – the good, but also the bad. And in the Indian way of teaching, some of the best lessons come from bad stories. Our Coyote (Senklip) stories use examples of bad situations to teach people what not to do. I was also taught by a Mohawk leader that “scolding” is part of our culture and that sometimes the old people must scold the younger people to get them back on track. Such scolding is a natural way of teaching.
Remember, those who scold you are the ones who truly care. No one likes to scold, but sometimes it is called for, and one must be emotionally strong to do it and be willing to take it if those being scolded don’t like what you’re saying. It’s easier not to say anything and just let the bad behaviour carry on. Easier, but not right.
Since I do care, I found I could not walk out of that hall without bringing up the very bad example that I had found there. I didn’t hold back. I told them how ashamed I felt to see the physical damage to property and sense the emotional damage to those who lived on the Rez. I told them no child should be growing up in a house with broken windows. A window is the view to the outside world. It is very important for kids to look out of their living room window every day and observe what is outside – to see the sky, to see the rain or snow – so that even when they are indoors they will still have that visual connection with nature.
I told them that we are all parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. When you leave your house, and your kids or grandkids are there, remember to glance backward and look at who is looking out of those windows. You want to see those little faces watching you leave, sometimes waving their little hands. As a grandparent myself, I always look back at my living room window to see if my little granddaughter is there watching me leave. That image always tugs at my heart. And when I pull back into my yard at the end of a work day, I always look up at the living room window. To me, one of the best sights in the world is seeing my “little boss” jumping up and down, waving and smiling to welcome me home!
“Indian up!” I told them sternly.
I spoke angrily about the conditions of some of the homes I’d seen. I told the members to show some leadership and spray-paint over the graﬃti. I had spoken in front of a Rez crowd hundreds of times, but this was the ﬁrst time I’d felt the need to scold. I ﬁnished what I had to say and stood with the microphone in my hand. The room was deadly quiet.
Then an elderly man started to walk up to the stage. I thought he was going to tell me to mind my own business, that I wasn’t from that Rez and had no right to pass judgment on the conditions there. The elderly man asked for the mic, and then spoke to both me and the silent room. I cannot recall the exact words he used, but it was very much along the lines of: “I am so ashamed that a Chief from another community had to come here and see the damage here. It is our responsibility to clean up our mess. It’s about time we take a stand against the Rez punks who are giving us a bad name and hurting the childhood of our kids.”
Someone else spoke up and said, “If we spray-paint over the swear words, the drug dealers will just put them back.”
No one said anything, so I took back the mic and said, “Yes, the punks will probably spray-paint the houses back, but the leadership on this reserve should not give up. The big question is who is going to give up ﬁrst – the good people or the punks?”
It was awesome to stand there and see other law-abiding members who cared about their reserve stand up and say, “I’ll buy a can of paint.”
I repeated, “No more broken windows. Get those windows ﬁxed. And ﬁnd out who is breaking them and give them a good, old-fashioned Rez-kicking.”
I am very proud to say, though, that the vast majority of Rez communities I have been on still have the old Native pride of ownership. Streets and yards are clean. I have been invited to speak in James Bay Cree communities many times, and I see Native pride of ownership there. No broken windows; clean yards and nice homes. Many remote reserves in Northern British Columbia have very nice subdivisions. Yes, there may still be a few starving Rez dogs wandering about, but overall I give most Rez communities a thumbs-up!
The problem of broken windows goes far beyond the visual sight or, for that matter, the cost of a new window. A broken window is a reﬂection of the lifestyle of the family inside that house. A boarded-up window is also an indication of the broken spirit of that Rez. Some things on the Rez don’t take much time or eﬀort to ﬁx, and sometimes the bruises reappear and have to be tended to again and again.
The bottom line is that every home on the Rez must be a safe, loving home, not just a house. Every Rez kid should be able to look out of every window in their house and see the beauty of their community.
A simple Rez rule: Keep your yard and community buildings clean! The youth are watching. So are Indians (your cuzzins) from other communities.
Excerpted from Rez Rules by Clarence Louie. Copyright © 2021 Clarence Louie. Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.