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why we're fecked

eternal return of the same

The cynical side of my brain is convinced that Ireland is a country based on waves – be they of COVID, careerist coalition partners, or emigration. It sometimes feels as if we’re stuck having the same few conversations every five months or years, running into depressingly similar problems without any real conclusion. I guess this habit has been accelerated with this never-ending pandemic – what was initially experienced as tragedy quickly arrives back as farce the second it exits our memory.

There’s an undeniable sense of déjà vu in the media cycles during each surge – almost as if we’re watching the exact same b-roll of pubs, the exact same debates about generation gaps, the exact same lobbyists chatting pure shite without any repercussion. It sometimes feels as if we ritualistically psych ourselves up each season, angrily staring at empty restaurant tables or teens drinking cans. We then delude ourselves into thinking that COVID can be bartered with and promptly act all shocked when the virus refuses our brown envelope. Existing as a young person here can often resemble being endlessly bashed against the same wall – with those around us feigning a false sense of novelty.

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why we're fecked

LOKdown, the culchie problem, and where to go next

Some of the best letters that get sent into our local newspaper are the ones that capture an existential crisis – whenever anything of note happens within a fifty-kilometer radius of Portlaoise at least one person will try composing a piece in which they lament about how utterly irrelevant our county has become and there’s something oddly beautiful about it. These pieces never actually go anywhere or lead to anything changing but I guess that’s the point, you’re essentially just seeing someone go through the five stages of grief over the absence of a bridge and that feels oddly poignant, mainly just as it’s surprising that anyone would actually put in the effort to write about it.

I think its time for me to finally try putting together one of these letters – Laois is just after entering a two week localized lockdown due to a resurgence of COVID-19 and my plans for the month have been put into flux as a result. I’d initially planned on weaning myself off my current writing schedule over the next few weeks as we edged towards normality again – the way in which I’ve kept this blog updated over the past few months requires at least two all-nighters a week and that isn’t really feasible while living in the real, non-insane world. At first I assumed that I’d spend the next few weeks making up for lost time – cutting down to just writing once a week in order to focus on returning to regular exercise, actually productive work, and the friends I’ve gone a concerning amount of time without seeing face-to-face. That’s all essentially gone out the window now, leading to me sitting here on a Monday trying to throw together a response to three cynical tweets that made me vaguely angry yesterday for some reason. This year has gone well.

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why we're fecked

:-)

I think it’s safe to say that we’re living in turbulent times – you’re probably just after bumping into your uncle shouting about vaccines outside the GPO for the third weekend in a row, the government is about to spend all its time and effort making sure a rowdy poor doesn’t dare travel to one of the numerous countries they spent the last three months ensuring we could travel to, and we’ve all collectively chosen to ignore how many homeless people seem to be dying because of how hard it must be to live as some overpaid cabinet minister dozing off in a convention center. We’re headed into one of the worst recessions of recent history, hundreds (if not thousands) will choke to death over the next few weeks so our planet can have McDelivery again, and Kanye West is probably in the middle of sabotaging his next album. The barbarism part of the old “socialism or barbarism” adage is beginning to rear its Elon Musk-backed head and we’ve finally realized that Walter Benjamin was full of shit when he implied that we’d get aesthetic pleasure out of our collective destruction. Things can only possibly get worse and Naomi Klein’s pleas about the worldwide implementation of a Green New Deal are completely foreign (and fairly funny) not even a full year on from their publication. This is somehow a problem that only you are capable of solving.

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why we're fecked

cad anois?

I guess we all saw this coming – the Irish Green party (who have spent the last decade trying to posture as marginally left-wing) have chosen to enter coalition with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, the two main landlord parties on our island. This coalition is notable in and of itself due to how blatantly cynical it is – Fine Gael stopped pretending they wanted to head into opposition, Fianna Fáil stopped pretending that they were any different than Fine Gael, and the Green Party stopped pretending that they actually care about things. RISE TD Paul Murphy aptly described this coalition as a “last-ditch attempt” by our political establishment to retain power – Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil completely bottled this year’s election due to their assumption that we’re only capable of hating one party at a time and have given up on feigning cultural differences as a result. Every single soulless media pundit spent the pre-COVID months of February and March droning on about how the electorate voted for “change” – a vague concept that basically just boils down to “a government that doesn’t disable homeless people with JCBs“.

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why we're fecked

it’s deeply mundane to melt

I originally had a significantly longer piece in the works to go up today, but technical issues meant that I won’t be able to complete it by midnight – something I’m admittedly quite salty about (a 2000 word piece cut itself down to 500 due to an app failing to sync, something I will never get over). To make up for this here’s a piece that never ended up surfacing – it was initially penned at some stage in May for a Neocities-based webzine that was meant to release at the start of the month. The person behind the zine completely vanished from the internet, and I’m unsure as to whether they’ll ever return. If they’re reading this, I apologize! With this essay I tried to condense my style down into the shortest form possible, throwing together every possible reference I could make into a really confusing mess while trying to shoehorn in the zine’s theme of “heat death”. This was penned before we essentially gave up on lockdown and is extremely dated (especially when you consider the fact it was due to go up 24 days ago). Hopefully we’ll be back to normal content next week – apologies about the technical issues.

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why we're fecked

ranking every irish political rap song (that i can remember off my head) based on how much second hand embarrassment i feel while listening to them

I’m genuinely convinced that there is no decent reason for anyone to pay active attention to Irish politics, and I’m not just saying that as I’m forcing myself to write about it again. If I was trying really hard to be smart I’d claim that Ireland serves as a textbook example of what neoliberal class unity looks like – there are no functional differences between the two “main” parties (read: the ones the media don’t hate), our current Taoiseach somehow ended up feuding with LCD Soundsystem, and our former Minister for Justice published a romance novel that’s surprisingly hard to find used copies of. Any differences are purely aesthetic, any movement that captures the attention of the wider public eventually gets sucked into some soulless coalition, and Danny Healy Rae is perpetually on Soundcloud rapper drugs. One of the main complaints that sane people have about our political system is that its “boring” – our party leaders are essentially just chopped and screwed remixes of soulless neolibs in more interesting countries, our politicians all shop in Marks & Spencer, and our media is a glorified regurgitation of whatever’s going on across the pond. Irish politics has essentially been reduced in the eyes of most functioning humans as a glorified playpen for the failsons of property – instead of picking which particular representative of the oppressing class are to misrepresent us each five years, we just pick which local careerist gets to write our RIP.IE condolences. It’s hard to get mad at this system due to how undeniably mundane it is – there is no person on this island who can maintain active emotion when thinking about Micheál Martin for over five minutes and perhaps that’s why he’s about to become our next Taoiseach. Now this’d be the point where I’d usually launch off into a pseudo-Marxist rant about how we need to reclaim the political but today I thought it’d be fun to look at something different – Irish political rap songs.

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why we're fecked

disintegration loops

I’m no longer capable of keeping track of a full news cycle and perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise – I may be regressing and slowly losing the ability to do much of anything but at least I don’t have the energy to read all ye’re mundane Twitter takes about it. Everything seems to move too fast, everything seems extremely bleak, and every time I open Twitter it’s solely to see if I can get a dopamine hit from getting another like for comparing Shannon to a GMOD skybox. I’ve talked in the past in here about my lockdown life being solely defined by inbetween moments – I have these posts to write and reading group sessions to attend but besides that a lot of my week is just spent looking at the calendar and preparing for what’s next (read: the next time I have to awkwardly talk in front of a webcam). My reading has (seemingly) stalled over the past week – I’m around 56% into Philip Gourevitch’s ‘We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families’ and am (somehow) keeping up with the texts that my reading groups are working on but besides that I’m in an odd state of stasis. I’ll pick up my Kindle, get through a few pages, and then get distracted by staring at the ceiling – which doesn’t help considering how many books I want to get around to before I have to consistently leave the house again. This inability to pay attention to minor Twitter controversies or read books I hold an active interest in doesn’t help when it comes to these Thursday posts – it turns out that I’m actually quite boring when not harking on about Klein’s discography and I guess we’re stuck dealing with that fact until I finally return to my senses and not write anything for six months.

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why we're fecked

ratfuck season

One of the main perks of being Irish is the ability to shrug off whatever’s going on across the pond with a cynical laugh and a James Connolly misquote. I’ve always held irrationally low expectations when it comes to the UK – outside of Mark Fisher, old men who make electronic music in tracksuits, Spartacists with scarily verbose signs, and irony podcasters, all the UK really has to offer us is just bass-boosted evidence as to why we’re all doomed and why you should never respect people who write down their opinions on a regular basis. Joining the ranks of that one Giles Coren documentary in offering us a nearly comical glimpse into how soulless ghouls operate is the recently leaked internal report on Labour’s handling of antisemitism accusations. According to a report in The Guardian by Rowena Mason, the document claimed that it “had found no evidence of antisemitism complaints being treated differently to other forms of complaint” but instead found “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in party HQ” – in other words, we learned more about the ratfucking (an international pastime at this point) of Corbyn than anything relating to how bigotry is handled within the Labour party. And trust me, there’s more than a fair share of ratfucking clearly laid out within this report – to the point where I’ll barely even touch upon the surface of it within this blog post. Some “highlights” of the dickery include some arsehole passing on the fact that Diane Abbott was crying in the bathrooms over racist abuse to a Channel 4 journalist, notorious milkman and continual failure Mike Gapes helping to get a lad suspended from the party over reporting Islamaphobic harassment he was receiving, and the fact that half of all the antisemitism complaints arrived from one person who seems to get off by being an arsehole over the phone.