Sunday, 17 January 2016

My posts have been on the gloomier side, recently.

Well, am gonna continue a little along those lines...bear with me, or stop reading :D

I went and saw "The Big Short" at the pictures today (does anyone else still say "pictures" instead of cinema, I wonder?). Basically it is about the people who bet against the big banks by predicting their demise, detecting the sub-prime mortgage crisis before it occurred. It is the story of Mike Burry, a medical doctor turned hedge fund manager, outstandingly played by Christian Bale. In fact, it has a brilliant ensemble cast. It is a genre defying movie - part documentary, part comedy, part drama. It's one of the best movies I've seen in ages; as my mate FF would say, "run, don't walk".

It basically ended by emphasising that, despite criminality on a massive scale by the bankers, with catastrophic consequences, only one of these bankers went to jail, and the fraudulent money-juggling practices continue.

Pretty fuckin' gloomy. Gloomy-tainment?

I have been searching for some good reading material. I love the author Margaret Attwood, and she loves a good dystopian storyline. I enjoyed "The Handmaid's Tale" and the Maddaddam trilogy. I also liked "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, but couldn't get into "1984".

Anyhow, I found another novel by Margaret Attwood "The Heart Goes Last". It is set in the US, in the post GFC era, where most people are poor and unemployed and living in their cars. Crime is rampant.

The protagonist couple partake in a social experiment where, for one month, they live in a nice house, and the next they go to jail. This alternates.

I will let you know what I think when I finish it.

The setting of the novel is not dystopian, it is here and now, in the US, where once wealthy people actually do live in cars. The comfortable middle class is shrinking. It is easier to get a gun than medicine. Bearing arms is a right, equitable health care is not. Nobody seems to have learned from the GFC. There is a reasonable chance that Donald Trump might become President.

Elsewhere in the world, IS are causing chaos in the Mid-East, Africa and now, South East Asia. My desire to avoid the big tourist areas in Istanbul last year proved correct - I did go through Taksim Square and Istiklal, but you better believe I moved through these areas quickly.

We like to think of ourselves as sheltered from the worst of things, here in Australia. However, we didn't completely escape the effects of the GFC. There are credible threats of terrorist attacks, such that much tighter security is in place now at the MCG and the Opera House. The grim spectre of climate change has a firm hold. Bushfires rage earlier in the season than before. It's definitely hotter. I've even noticed that the fruit and veg isn't as good as in previous years.

If one follows the news at all, or does anything other than hide under a rock, it's hard not to be scared by what's happening.

Fearing for our future is a very reasonable thing, particularly if such fear leads us to act in a manner which will make the world better. Like acting on climate change, or not pandering to anti-Muslim sentiment. Like voting for leaders who won't lead us down a path to hell, and who won't mandate carpet-bombing Iraq and Syria to "fight terrorism".

The world makes me sad, but this sadness for the world makes me grateful for the small things. It really does and I'm not just saying that. My partner. My family. My dog, who runs happy laps around our big backyard in a nice suburb. Crossfit. Friends. Sunshine. Meeting other dog owners and chatting with them.

We can only do the best we can.

What fears and hopes do you have for the world? (big question, one to ponder).


  1. Yes, so true. We just have to do the best we can with what we've got.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

    I am intrigued by the Atwood novel you are reading. I loved her earlier works. Will find this on Kindle

    Take care

    SSG xxx

  2. The world is a pretty gloomy place if you start to think widely but I agree, all you can do is do your best to make things better in your little corner of the world and be grateful for the good stuff

  3. Apart from the wrecking of the environment - life for humans has never been so easy oddly. Yes it's messed up but historically things were even worse but knowing that there are famines and events going on in the other side of the world building anxiety.

    you can only do what you can do and try

    I like Atwood - great writer but sometimes I can't concentrate but that's my fault not hers!

    1. Interesting point re some things being easier- you are right. Information, mechanization, etc but too easy can dumb us down

  4. I've recently read The Heart Goes Last, I like Atwood's writing generally although I found THGL a bit light compared to her other books. I have to finish the Maddaddam Trilogy at some point. Fears for the future - many and varied. For humanity, but also lots for the non human inhabitants of the planet. Often I feel that we (humans) are a vicious pest and that we will soon run out of things to consume.

  5. I loved the Handmaid's tale, and will look up the latest one you've mentioned but my bedside pile is a tower at the moment. So many books to read, so little time (how does that happen?). Am planning to see The Big Short, but to scare you further we're likely heading for a bigger crash than 2008, so hold onto your hats. All the governments borrowed and propped up economies (and here in Oz we had a mining boom which saved us all), but things will catch up, and soon. You only have to see the crazily excessive debt fuelled lifestyles so many have to see it's going to be a hard landing. xx