Sex, Money, and Power

This blog post started with a mindfulness practice… being aware and observing my thoughts. In the main, I have been aware that the “news” filling my facebook feed in the last day or so has led not to laughter, but unease, sadness, and a heavy heart. Given that I’m really not a fan (understatement) of the current UK government, I kept watching myself to explore this reaction more. Then I did a bit more thinking about things and some reading on the internet. This is me now trying to process it all (with the help of lots of copying and pasting!).

The first reason is that whichever “slant” you give on this story (and I did find a few that were attempting to approach it more seriously) it paints a very ugly picture of the behaviour of human beings. What follows are a few of the examples of analysis of the story that don’t involve tenuosly linking puns with sentences:

http://the-orator.co.uk/2015/09/pig-gate/
http://www.robfahey.co.uk/blog/the-pm-the-pig-and-musings-on-power/

[Edit – few more appeared in news feed this evening:
http://theleveller.org/2015/09/british-really-laughing/
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/contemporaries-behaved-appallingly-oxford-university-6487342 ]

From Facebook:

Rubberbandits (Yesterday at 10:20)
I’m waiting for a journalist to talk about the real reason David Cameron stuck his mickey in a pigs mouth. Here’s why.
To facilitate corruption. He did it in the Bullingdon club in Oxford. A club full of rich boys who end up ruling British politics. They do mad shit like that to strengthen fraternity and most importantly, so everyone in the club has dirt on each other. Protecting them all from whistleblowers when they become corrupt bastard politicians. No different to what the Hells Angels do to keep undercover police away.

Grant Sharkey (Yesterday at 11:07 · Edited ·)
Ok, here’s the play.
Ashcroft was snubbed by Cameron.
Cameron/pig story comes from revenge for not giving Ashcroft a lovely job in return for £8m.
Ashcroft now supports Boris Johnson leadership bid.
Ashcroft book written with Times journalist. Times owned by Murdoch.
Book published by BiteBack Publishing – run by Iain Dale. Right Wing blogger and establishment think tank witch.
This whole thing is a Tory coup to install BoJo for leader/PM.
Boris, the bumbling wiff waff, probably fucked that pig too. JUST SAYING.

Whether the things described in Ashcroft’s book are based in fact or fiction doesn’t change a huge amount about this story. There is sexual perversity (with a big ick! factor)… whether the specific incident described occurred in history, or only in the mind of a multimillionaire, a few journalists, and more than a few of the British public… the entire concept is utterly reprehensible. There’s the “power by blackmail” aspect… whether it’s ashcroft’s “donations” to the Tory party, or the possible existence of a photograph being kept from uni days as blackmail… and of course money, everywhere… follow the money, figure out who’s pulling the puppet strings… etc. etc. etc. In short, it’s a horrible spectacle, whatever way you look at it.

The moment I realised that this was what was bothering me though, was actually when I saw this:

never wrestle chimney sweep tony benn

Everything about the story is so contaminated and horrible, that first instinct is to run away from it altogether.

But a little scrolling on through my news feed highlighted that it’s not really the biggest or most important of stories that link this little trio, perverted sex, money, and power. There was this story from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/world/asia/us-soldiers-told-to-ignore-afghan-allies-abuse-of-boys.html

In this instance, covering up the paedophilia in order to hold on to power… not so far from other allegations surfacing left right and centre in previous years , and these much closer to home. A little reading of an example of historical and cultural embedding of child abuse can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacha_bazi

and another:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_the_United_Kingdom

And another story of insatiable hunger for power and money.

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/ex-hedge-funder-buys-rights-aids-drug-and-raises-price-from-13-50-to-750-per-pill/

The link between unfettered power (often in war, but not always so), sexual abuse, and pillaging/theft/greed is hardly new, a quick search found easy examples:
http://ukscreen.com/articles/festivals/sundance-movies-explore-the-terrifying-impact-of-authority-on-humans-behaviour-345/
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/21/australian-army-boys-will-be-boys-behaviour-is-responsible-for-human-wreckage
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/new-book-reveals-dark-side-of-american-soldiers-in-liberated-france-a-902266.html
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/harrowing-memoir-german-woman-writes-ground-breaking-account-of-ww2-rape-a-680354.html
https://www.hrw.org/africa/democratic-republic-congo

So the sordid little trio of money, sexual perversion and power have been around the block a bit… this is just another little outing. Or to paraphrase:

Horrible History

So it’s horrible. And my inclincation is to run away from the horribleness and pretend it’s not there. And not being particularly rich or powerful, and single and celibate, why should I be affected by this story at all? That’s where this little cartoon comes in:

raising a politician

Because there’s a reason that sexual perversion and power and money have linked together in the various scenarios described, and it has more to do with general human fallibility than anything else.
Because whatever the rules a society abides by, there are also unwritten ones that persist on too.
Because the difference between public shame, and a private guilty heart, leads to a different way of being.

Because the basic model of shame is that it leads to a reaction of denial/hiding and avoiding facing reality. Because it makes us vulnerable, because our image of ourselves is based on hiding this reality. Because trying to hide something bad often leads to something else bad. And those are experiences we all have, some about things we could describe as morally bad, and some where we feel we have exposed a weakness that we didn’t want to face. I’m just gonna go ahead and post a couple of youtube videos here that go into this way better:

I think also the exact opposite of this denial and shame are actually two things which sometime get confused with it, guilt/confession and forgiveness. For both of these to really happen, you have to allow yourself to face the ugly reality, painful though that may be, and choose not to let that define your own being. Funnily enough it’s that ability to face the ugly reality then then gives the solid foundation for real change.

And on that note, a collection of “better words”:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

 

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Beatitudes

Lord's-prayer