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'Jac o' the North'
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: 'Jac o' the North' Reply with quote

I first became aware of the existence of 'Jac o' the North', real name Royston Jones when he gloated at Pussy Riot's predicament on a site put up by Alwyn ap Huw. He also put up some extremely offensive and ludicrous remarks about our Paralympian athletes on his blog.

A John Tyler became aware of the latter and awarded Jac that week's Full of Shit award. It was well merited but I was perturbed that John seemed to think that he spoke for all Welsh nationalists in his primitive attitude to disabled people. I assured him this was not so. John Tyler was so impressed that he elevated my comment to a site of its own.

I was happy and flattered but also worried. I hadn't been at all polite about Jac, and as my comment had unsought publicity, there was a danger that Jac would see it. I wouldn't be happy if it was me.

This finally happened. He challenged me to tell him what I objected to in his anti-cripple post. I told him bluntly. I made myself a bit vulnerable by mentioning that I was myself slightly disabled. I never expected my response to get past moderation and it didn't. But it was a bit much that in an overheated and paranoid e-mail, Jac o' the North insulted me in a specifically disablist way. If it had been much worse, it would have been a case for the police.

I do partly blame myself for not being more tactful. Perhaps I could have gently led him away from his bigotry instead of reinforcing it. It would not be unfair to say that he presents as lacking maturity and empathy. But who on earth is ths Jac o'the North and what does his nationalism consist of?


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:24 pm    Post subject: How I should have replied to Jac o' the North Reply with quote

On reflection, I missed a valuable opportunity here. Here was someone who was troubled and frightened by the sight of Paralympian athletes, specifically amputees. His great fear was that people might fancy them, and they might be enabled to have sex.

What sillier or more irrelevant fear could a person have? It seems unlikely that the Paralympians had been kept in nuclear bunkers in order to stop them yomping everything in sight up until then. It is unlikely that any of them were virgins. Many of them were married or in relationships. Some of them were parents. Had the world been harmed? Not at all - except in the case of Oscar Pistorious' girlfriend, and that was incidental.

Perhaps there is a eugenicist fear here. Eugenics is seen as a busted flush these days, but it could hardly apply in the case of amputees anyway. That is the fallacy called Lamarckian evolution. Who has ever heard of a soldier returning from the First World War having lost an arm or a leg and fathering a child similarly maimed? It's probably never happened, and if it did, it would be coincidence. Jews and Muslims have been circumcising their sons for countless generations, but they're still born with foreskins.

Some conditions like haemophilia are hereditary although not in any simple way. But I think we should be much more concerned about ignorant people mating. Children have a right to be shielded from their parents' bad ideas.
Roy Joy is quite eloquent but his ignorance on this subject is astonishing. Yet, at least, he had the grace to question his own attitudes in his amazing piece, which shows that he was open to enlightenment at that point. He was far less offensive than the so-called philosopher Peter Singer who is indistinguishable from a Nazi.

Education is the answer. Citizenship classes, if sensitively handled, can help children to see that there is no reason to fear people with superficial differences from themselves. Unfortunately, I did not recognise that Roy Joy is a person with a wide collection of fears. The best way to overcome fear of disabled people is to have positive contact with such a person. In providing him with the opposite, I instead transformed an inchoate prejudice into a settled bigotry. Mea Culpa.

I see more and more , as time goes on, that right wing extremist politics appeals to the vulnerable. Treating them like delinquents and bully boys may not be the answer. Sometimes, it may be possible to help them see that their fears are illusory,
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:10 pm    Post subject: Just a force of nature Reply with quote

I found this encounter with Jac o' the North frustrating and traumatic at many different levels. Firstly, he specifically invited me to tell him what I objected to in his post. He also stated that he was big and hard and he could take any amount of criticism. He just about said, 'Bring it on.'

I gave him what he claimed to want. He couldn't or wouldn't answer my criticisms but he did accuse me of persuing him in an obsessive vendetta, claimed he felt persecuted, insulted me in an extremely bigoted way, jumping up and down on my corns very cruelly. He then played the victim and whimpered 'Please leave me alone!'

He obviously thought that when I quoted the tag, 'Behind every disability, there's a person', it was code for 'I know where you live and I'm going to come and pour petrol through your letter box.' I was seriously afraid of being prosecuted.

I know that tact is not my strong point. I was really worried that he was in a fragile state and might do something very daft, and it would be my fault. I felt guilty but as he had torn open my scabs and poured salt into them, I also felt something like hatred which I didn't before. All the same, I sent him a soothing and emollient e-mail. I felt I should take some responsibility.

My partner thought I needn't blame myself. He said,'' I think that's just what he's like. If he wasn't paranoid about you, it would be something else.''

As I was avoiding Jac's blog on principle by this time, I was in no position to confirm this. But two days ago, I stumbled on it by accident while looking for something else. He was making a vituperative personal attack on a Ukip politician. The Ukip guy probably deserved severe criticism, but some contributors objected to the personal nature of the abuse.

He piled on the adjectival name calling. One contributor noted that he accused the Ukip guy of being 'obsessive', probably one of Jac's favourite adjectives as he also used it when insulting me. The contributor thought it was a case of projection. It was Jac who was obsessively persuing the Ukip guy, rather than the other way round.

Be that as it may, making very unpleasant attacks on people online is clearly a constant in Jac's MO. The Ukip guy may have deserved it but what about Chris Bryant? In a contribution to Alwyn ap Huw's blog, Jac piled on the vituperative adjectival insults. This can't have been justified as his problem with Bryant was that he was gay.

So I don't feel guilty any longer. I can also see now that his accusations against me were a case of projection. Yes, I can be tactless. I can be critical. But really cruel personal campaigns are a perennial with Jac.

He's obviously someone who repeats his mistakes rather than learning from them. He's not someone it's productive to reason with. So nothing can be done, short of confiscating his computer.

If you ever become one of his targets, don't blame yourself. As my partner said, if it wasn't you, it would be someone else.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:11 pm    Post subject: test Reply with quote

This is a test to see if I am logged in.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My original opinion of Jeremy Clarkson was he was a perfectly intelligent man who had frittered his intellect away by thinking of nothing but cars. His joshing remarks about the Welsh and putting a plastic map of Wales in a microwave were not important.

But when he refused to take responsibility or modify his attitude to driving like a maniac after Richard Hammond narrowly avoided being paralysed for life, it was a bit concerning. Kira Cochrane referred to his attitude as 'willy wagging.' His sidekick James May had no problem with reckless driving but thought signs in Welsh would cause traffic accidents!

After Clarkson said that speaking Welsh should be banned, I rush to put the TV off if his face comes on it. My visceral reaction now is that I can't stand the sight of him. I'm relaxed about whether he's banned by the BBC, but physical violence does sound quite serious if there are no mitigating circumstances.

Interestingly, when he was criticised for using the 'n' word, Clarkson saw himself as the victim. He said he felt like the victim of a lynch mob which shows an imaginative relationship with reality.

Clarkson does sometimes look like an unpleasant schoolboy. Unfortunately he often thinks he is being witty when he is just being rude, and so do his fans. So he called Gordon Brown a one eyed Scottish idiot which was a bit childish. He also said something like 'Some people are born dyslexic or disabled or Welsh. Life, I am afraid, is tragic.'

Curiously, Rod Liddle also brackets Welshness along with disability as traits to be discouraged and derided. He finds them threatening.

The odious so-called comedian, Jim Davidson, thinks Welsh was invented last Tuesday. He was laughing at us for having a word 'theatr'. He thought we'd just dropped the final 'e' to make it different from English. He didn't know there was a similar word in French or that theatre was a Greek invention.

Davidson thought Welsh wasn't a proper language because it didn't have any vulgar or sexual terms. Pious Welsh people may be partly responsible for this myth. Of course, the language of heaven has words like biji-bo, llawes goch, trwyn mwnci , bara brith dy nan and sinc pinc.

Davidson thought the language was not valid because once in a pub, he heard someone use the English words 'blow job' in the middle of a stream of Welsh. It's a good thing no English person has ever used the words 'soixante neuf' in an otherwise English sentence or English wouldn't be a real language either.

Davidson once refused to do his stage routine because there were noticeably disabled people in the front row. He intuited that the didn't know what was going on. He also expressed the essentialist view that 'dwarves are dwarves.'

It's curious that disparaging attitudes to the Welsh and to disabled people co-exist in these three minds. The Welsh would probably go up in their esteem if they knew that a few Welsh patriots shared their views on disability, not just Jac but Zoe Marsh too. But I think we should cut Zoe some slack as she was only 17.


But to those of us who were attracted to Welsh autonomy because we oppose all bigotry and oppression, it's disappointing. There is an instinctive tendency to picture members of oppressed groups as kindly or angelic. It's even tempting to see them as heroic fighters against all inequality. But of course that's just silly. Reality is not like that.


A commentator discussed racist attacks on Poles by British Pakistanis who had themselves experienced racism. He said, ''There is nothing about having been subjected to bigotry oneself that automatically immunises a person against dishing it out. Would that there was.''

Anti-racists are right. People are much the same all over the world, and that means they're just as bad as each other.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:46 am    Post subject: Preposterous Perfectionism Reply with quote

Nazi propaganda films showed disabled people as threatening, grotesque and inhuman. To achieve this, they caught shots of them not looking good, grimacing or just being aesthetically unpleasing. This was necessary to destroy any empathy the public had for them.

They needn't have gone to such lengths in Jac's case. He can look at the handsome if unpleasant Oscar Pistorious or presumably Tani Grey-Thompson and see something grotesque just because he has been informed that they are disabled. That's how strong the devil effect is for him and some other people. They have been so steeped in unhelpful memes that they can't see reality.

So to Jac, events like the Paralympics or the Invicta games are as distasteful as a freak show. To most of us, they are the opposite. Freak shows were disrespectful, tawdry and dehumanising. The Invicta Games celebrate the indomitability of the human spirit.

Curiously, although Jac felt squeamish when he looked at Paralympians, he was afraid that some people might find them sexually exciting, and that this would lead them to experiment with paraphilias such as frottage with crutches! I am honestly not making this up.

The obvious response is 'So What?' We don't ban shoe shops because some people have a foot fetish or horse racing in case it leads to zoophilia. Yet neither shoes nor horses are people with rights. If someone enjoys rubbing himself against a prosthetic limb, that's not harming anyone.

Furthermore, Jac thinks that sports events should be reserved to the physically perfect. A disabled athlete is an 'oxymoron.' That's just what Enoch Powell thought of a woman in the House of Commons. On 'The Big Questions', Anjem Choudary complained that a gay Muslim was an oxymoron. Nicky Campbell joshed him ''Let's not call each other oxymorons!Some people might think we're oxymorons!''

I wonder if in Jac's Wales, you would have to be your ideal weight to work in the civil service as in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In fact, very few if any sportspeople are physically perfect. They typically live with old injuries.

Nazi Germany did try to create a Utopian state where everyone was perfect. It was not only horrific but a mirage. Does perfection even exist? Sylvia Plath said 'Perfection is sterile'. We all know there are no happy perfectionists.

Even if you could achieve this perfection, you would find that it is worthless. For what we need in our friends and neighbours is not physical perfection but courage, loyalty, kindness and honesty.

The Nazis encouraged people to see the disabled as 'useless eaters' who couldn't do anything. When Jac finds out that they can do things, he thinks it shouldn't be allowed or what they do doesn't count.

According to this, Homer is disqualified as a poet because he was blind, Nelson's victory at Trafalgar is cancelled because he had one arm and one eye. Claudius was never emperor because he had a stutter.

The fact is that as Marilyn Monroe said, ''We all lose our charms in the end'' and, more importantly, our faculties. Unless you die young you will eventually acquire the infirmities of old age. How can doctors and carers sanction elder abuse when they know most of us are going to be old?

Could it be that humans are very slow learners? If our ancestors had put the energy into making life efficient and comfortable that they wasted on inventing fiendish methods of torture, we'd have had the internet by 1600.

I think it's fair to say that Jac's stance is preposterous. But he doesn't think so. He thinks I'm crazy to disagree with him. He said nastily that while he didn't know what disability it was I claimed to have, He could see I also had another one. I must be insane to make shocked and disapproving remarks about his views.

Considering the hysterical attacks he has made on unoffending people, he must fit his own definition of madness. But I don't think Jac knows much about mental illness, so I'm not going to accept that he's mentally ill. If he was he would go up in my estimation as it would go to mitigation.

I think it's right though that he has glasses and he's quite short - or have I got the wrong person? These don't sound much like disabilities, but the eugenicist Marie Stopes persecuted her son because he wanted to marry a woman who had glasses. Then, extremely short people would have been gassed under the Nazis.

In the uncut last ever film footage of Adolf Hitler, he is inspecting boy soldiers, and he is also hiding his arm behind his back so they will not see the severe tremor caused by the Parkinson's Disease he was now suffering from. He had been hoist on his own petard.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, contributors on 'The Big Questions' said we should value difference. I don't know if difference is valuable or unimportant. But that film of Adolf is very telling. No one is better off in a society where innocent people are oppressed. There is no call to cling to privilege. Freedom is indivisible.

The more equality there is in a society, the better off we all are. This applies even to Jac. It even applies to Adolf.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject: Minette Reply with quote

It is true that Jac has a gift for preposterousness and this makes his views appear more extreme than they are. The horrible truth is that they are really quite moderate compared with those of some other people who would consider themselves mainstream thinkers.

So for instance although he has a problem with disabled athletes, he specifically stated in the same piece that he is happy to see disabled people in public places. There are people who write to the newspapers to say that wheelchair bound people should not be allowed out by themselves in case they cause traffic accidents, and these letters get published.

Then, the novelist Minette Walters published an article complaining about the advice given by the Scope charity that we should talk to disabled adults in the same way we would to anyone else and not as if they were three year olds. 'It's as if there was nothing wrong with disability' she moaned. I think she is worse than Jac because he questioned his own bad ideas while she implacably upheld hers.


Then, Peter Singer makes them both look like Peter Tatchell. He is an alleged philosopher who writes books like 'Practical Ethics' which are taught on degree courses. Ironically, he is quoted by Steven Pinker as someone who has an interest in the 'spreading circle of concern', the process over time by which people recognised the humanity and dignity of those outside their own intimate circle.

Singer is even into animal rights. He won't eat meat or wear leather. I'm afraid this is no better than Himmler's disapproval of hunting.

Singer thinks that certain non human animals are not human but they are people. On the other hand he thinks that disabled people -all of them-are human but they are not people. To justify this, he says that they 'lack self-awareness'. By this he does not mean an insight into their own psyches. He means that they are not conscious at all. He thinks it is wrong to experiment on rats when disabled babies are available.


I've known a social worker to quote his thoughts as set out above with approval. I've also known someone who worked with disabled people to be a disciple of his on this point. I found this extremely disturbing.

Students who come across his philosophy at university are only allowed to discuss his philosophy within the paradigm that all disabled people do lack consciousness. To question that assumption would be contrary to the accepted academic methodology.They would get no marks for that.

But of course it is not correct. It does appear that we have evolved to assume people who are physically inferior to us are imbeciles.

In the eighteenth century, society was astonished to find that deaf and blind people could think. It's not impossible that there really are people who are in a vegetative state. But how can you tell that apart from locked in syndrome? We're too ready to believe that human vegetables exist on insufficient evidence or none.

Even if some people are vegetables, it is not true that all disabled people are. Even those with learning difficulties have minds. It is a case of garbage in, garbage out.

Some disgruntled individuals picket his university with placards calling him 'the most dangerous man in the world.' He has also been criticised for not practising what he preaches - ie that disabled people should be put down -when his own mother developed dementia, but I think it's just as well he didn't.

He has been getting more extreme. He now thinks that all new born babies are unworthy of personhood. So, if the parents of a neonate went on holiday and left the infant to starve, it would have no reasonable cause of complaint.

I'll stick my neck out and say that, without having met Singer, I think I know what his problem is. His grandparents or some of them were European Jews who were first dehumanised and then murdered by the Nazis.

Some people - probably most people in this situation - would identify with other groups who have been dehumanised and murdered by Nazis. But Singer has identified with the aggressor. People shouldn't admire his so-called philosophy. They should recognise that he has serious emotional problems, and urge him to seek help.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:22 am    Post subject: The Cycle of Prejudice Reply with quote

I hope nothing I've said above has given the impression that I don't accept that discrimination against disabled people can ever be justified. It is reasonable enough that a blind man should not be employed as a bus driver. It would be a danger to the public if he was. This is discrimination but it is logically based.

It's said that you're six times less likely to be accepted for a job for which you are perfectly well qualified if you are disabled. This is often put down to the ignorance of employers. The assumption is that once they appreciate that a disabled person can indeed do a certain job, their objections will melt away.

No doubt, this is often true. But it can be giving employers too much credit for rationality. With Jac and Minette, we have the attitude that even if disabled people can do things, the shouldn't be permitted to, because it ain't fitting.

Alwyn ap Huw is right that disability shouldn't be a barrier to work. The Conservative government of David Cameron has taken up this slogan and given it a perverse twist.

Because disabled people can and should work, they are now punished by the withdrawal of benefits if they don't, something that can lead to severe hardship and even death. Because of the continuing prejudice against perfectly well qualified disabled people, comparatively few people will take them on. And so, the rejected applicants are punished for other people's prejudice.

It is also part of the Conservative worldview that those who claim disability benefits are invariably swinging the lead. It might seen surprising that David Cameron has these views, considering that he appeared genuinely upset when his severely disabled son Ivan died. I can't account for this. I suppose people are not consistent.

I have spoken to people who are convinced Cameron will get a second term. Some people have told me that if he does, they will seriously have to consider topping themselves. Some of us will be facing despair.

If only Scotland or Wales were autonomous, we might muse, we would be saved from these policies, because of the tradition of socialism and equity in these countries. Yet there is a dangerous side to nationalism. There is the mindset summed up in the phrase 'Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer', a nationalism that fears and punishes difference.

It is said that the BNP and EDL are hotbeds of disablist hate speech. We know that one Ukip candidate advocated compulsory abortion for foetuses with spina bifida or Down's syndrome. And we have seen above that these attitudes also exist in the minds of right wing Welsh nationalists.

I will always support independence but I don't know if I can call myself a nationalist any more. I don't want to be associated with the ugly nationalism which involves bragging about things you haven't done and hating people you know nothing about.

There is an observable correlation between right wing nationalism and disablism. But Dominic Lawson would remind us that the supposedly left wing government of the old Soviet Union was no better.

It was a matter of public policy that babies with Down's Syndrome were murdered at birth. Children with deformities were often kept in institutions and used in medical experiments like laboratory rats.

According to Katherine Quarmsby, not all human societies have been riddled with this prejudice. She mentions Ancient Egypt as a place where disabled people were respected. She says it was unfortunate that it was ancient Greece with its worship of physical perfection which won the cultural battle for the soul of Europe.

Yanis Varioufakis thinks that the current economic crisis and the austerity measures that are worsening it can only give succour to the Nazis, the racists and the bigots. Nothing good can be expected.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:14 am    Post subject: Alwyn ap Huw, Tories and the Legacy of Disability Hatred Reply with quote

Not all that long ago, Alwyn ap Huw put up a post recounting a hate incident he'd been subjected to by proxy. He needed to park close to a complex of high street stores for the convenience of his severely disabled wife.

He asked teenage boys who were taking up space in the disabled parking zone with their bikes to move along. He admitted he wasn't particularly polite. But this didn't justify the abuse they gave him. Among the torrent of disablist hate speech was the message that they deliberately colonised the disabled parking space to prevent scrounging cripples from using it.

Alwyn mentioned the incident to staff at Iceland. They were sympathetic but refused to get involved. The staff at Asda took the boys' side, saying ''You can't blame them!''

Alwyn blames Cameron's Conservative government for stirring up disability hatred. Is he right? He is certainly partly right. The scrounging allegation has obvious origins in Tory rhetoric. It is true that disablist hate crime had soared in the wake of Conservative speeches to this effect.

One very disturbing incident I heard about at this time involved a young man approaching a blind man in the street, asking him with cloying false sympathy what it was like to be blind, and then setting him on fire. It reminded me of incidents in the newly reunited Germany in the 1990s.

Old hatreds which Communism had sat on had re-emerged. There were stories of wheelchair users being thrown down escalators or people going up to obvious cripples, spitting in their faces, and saying, ''Under Hitler you'd have been gassed!''

But neither the Nazis nor the Tories invented disability hatred. They just picked up the ball and ran with it. I think it's possible that this prejudice peaked of its own accord a few years after the turn of the millennium.

I certainly had to endure very ugly incidents myself at about this time, after not experiencing them for years. One of the most unpleasant was in Newport, Gwent.

Shortly afterwards, a Welsh TV station ran a programme on disability hatred called 'Why do you Hate Me?' I found it too upsetting to watch all the way through, but noticed that some of the highlighted incidents did occur in Newport Gwent. Perhaps, for cultural reasons, Newport really is a hotbed of this kind of hatred.


Katherine Quarmsby would probably say that it was part of a backlash against the disability rights movement. On this interpretation, Cameron's Tory government was both influenced by a wave of disability hatred and an influence on it. But it didn't invent it in the first place. So, who did?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:33 pm    Post subject: The Ape and Tiger in Us Reply with quote

In my innocence, I once believed that doctors and other health care workers could be relied on to be free of disability prejudice. After all, they were educated people.

This was a belief that survived encountering considerable evidence to the contrary. I'd heard of doctors and nurses saying casually that they had allowed deformed babies to starve to death. I'd been aware of a court case involving a doctor who starved a baby, John Pearson, to death because his parents had rejected him for having Down's Syndrome.

The doctor simply lied when he said the baby had been extremely ill at birth. The child had in fact performed excellently in the routine tests that all new born babies were given.

This was in the early eighties. It shows what social attitudes were like then, that the doctor was acquitted in the face of all the evidence, partly because the defence barrister obfuscated the issue, and partly because the judge had an ignorant rant about what a danger children with Down's Syndrome posed to society as carriers of disease.

I'd been aware that Nazis found no difficulty in getting doctors and nurses to co-operate in their extermination programme of institutionalised disabled people, but I saw that as atypical.

I'd been mocked as a 'cripple' by a woman doctor employed in the student health centre at Cardiff University when I was a teenage undergraduate. I thought this was a one off.

This woman obviously had issues with narcissism and dominance. I heard from other students that she was notorious. even other doctors broke ranks to say that she had 'a very bad reputation.' It's a mystery why Cardiff University continued to employ her.

I do think that the new crop of ordinary GPs who have been trained since about 1980 are much better. They are trained to listen to patients and treat them with respect.

Unfortunately, this doesn't go for staff who work in hospitals and more peripheral health workers. I've heard from charity workers that disabled children who are totally accepted by their peers at school still have to endure prejudice from the very people who are employed to help them.

There is also the danger of false acceptance. Open prejudice and hatred from alleged health care providers may be horrible, but at least you know where you stand.

But on one memorable occasion, I inadvertently stumbled across notes I wasn't supposed to see. These proved that health cared providers who had been friendly and polite to my face had just been acting. In reality, they had a 'theoretically backward' and detrimental attitude to disabled clients.

This was all the more dangerous for being insidious. So many people take at face value the hospital signage that tells them the staff are positive about disabled people, and then find the words, 'Do Not Resusitate' in their notes! And these are people with an excellent quality of life.

Some allege that far from being immune to disability prejudice, health care providers are 'the beast itself.' So, are they the source of the problem? For some time, I believed so.

But I can see now that, though thoroughly imbued with disability prejudice, health care workers did not invent it. No human being did. It goes back long before human beings emerged on this planet.

It is observable that if an animal receives a wound, members of its own species will treat it as prey. If a hen in a coop is disabled, other hens will peck at it.

We can see this with animals much more closely related to us too. Carl Sagan recounted the experience of a chimpanzee who had a leg crippled by polio. Other chimpanzees first avoided and shunned him. Then they turned on him and killed him.

We are physically animals. Sometimes we behave just as unintelligently and ferociously as wild animals. But we are not just animals. Although only a small part of the human mind is rational, and it is not even the dominant part, it is possible to cultivate it.

We need rationality and compassion in human society or life will not be worth living for any of us. We can resist the chimp and the tiger in us and behave more like bonobos!
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:02 am    Post subject: Alwyn ap Huw and representation Reply with quote

In the early 70s when I was a small child, I saw on TV a man who spoke for disability rights from a personal perspective. The interviewer asked him what his problem was with public attitudes, adding, ''We all feel great sympathy for you.'' The guy replied arrestingly, ''We don't want pity. We want respect.''

I found this arresting. I would not then have perceived myself as disabled, and it had never before occurred to me that disabled people did not want cheap, sentimental pity. I suppose I had taken it for granted that that was what they did want.

Yet I had as enlightened an attitude as anyone when it came to people I knew who had disabilities. I had a next door neighbour who had been affected by the thalidomide drug. He used his prehensile toes like fingers. He could do everything. It never occurred to me to pity him.

So I was surprised that after his death, my adoptive father spoke about him as if it was his life that had been tragic, not his death. ''I felt sorry for him'', he intoned lugubriously.

I was surprised to hear this as the guy in question had had a successful professional life and had also had vigorous hobbies such as swimming. My adoptive father moaned about his swimming and other interests as if they only made him more tragic.

Unlike Jac o'the North, my adoptive father was not affronted by disabled people aspiring to do active things. For him, the activities just illustrated the tragedy of their lives.

If this guy had become prime minister, that would have poignantly highlighted his tragedy for my adoptive father, as the latter was just not receptive to new information. He was just oblivious to anything that contradicted his pre-conceived ideas.

Once we were watching the TV series, 'London's Burning.' One of the characters was played by a boy actor with incomplete arms. In a supermarket scene, a foolish woman made silly remarks to his father like,''It's wonderful what they can do, isn't it?'' and ''How old is he?'' The father said ''Why don't you ask him?'' The boy put in facetiously, ''I'm 47.''

The father later made scornful remarks about 'the stupid woman.' If this episode was supposed to educate the public, it failed in my adoptive father's case. All the time, he was talking over the dialogue, making the same kind of crass, sentimental remarks as the woman.

Alwyn ap Huw thinks that it's not appropriate for disability organisations to have spokespeople who are not themselves disabled. Why can't people with the relevant disability speak for themselves?


I absolutely agree with Alwyn that that's how it should be. At least that's how it should be in an ideal world. But, on the whole, the horrible reality is that we are sill living in the dark ages where disability is concerned. A lot of people are not prepared to listen to what disabled people say or to take it seriously.

It is forty years since the guy on TV said, ''We don't want pity. We want respect.'' The message hasn't got through to health visitors and doctors, let alone anyone else. He might as well have been speaking Icelandic.

A woman told me how she tried out a shop mobility scooter for an organisation she worked for. She was not disabled, but people assumed she was while she used the scooter. So they would not speak to her. They sometimes spoke to the person she was with instead.

A young woman blundered on the wrong train in my presence. A young man with a twisted body asked her where it was she wanted to go. It was a perfectly sensible question, but she wouldn't answer. She just looked at him with distaste and consternation as if he was mad.

I knew I was taking a risk in mentioning in my reply to Jac o' the North, that I was myself borderline disabled. There was a danger that, instead of highlighting that I was qualified to speak on the subject, it would invalidate everything I said, and it would also lay me wide open to a tirade of hate speech. But I decided to treat him like a reasonable adult although there were no indications that he would respond positively.

Of course, it was as I feared. He did indeed bombard me with hate speech while remarking regretfully that he didn't know what disability I had and couldn't therefore be more focused in his scorn. He had somewhat missed the point. A person shouldn't be defined by a disability. It's none of his business whether I have sixteen toes, a long green beard -so embarrassing for a pubescent girl -or humungous great tits which I have to cart about in a wheelbarrow like Buster Gonad and his unfeasibly large testicles.

I had a 'benign' equivalent of this experience when I attempted to complain about an ignorant and detrimental -though not malicious - disablist article by Vanessa Feltz in the 'Daily Express.' I wrote to the letter page, but because it was extremely serious, I also wrote to complain to the editor, Peter Hill. In this case too, I made a calculated risk and remarked that I was myself disabled.

I received a remarkable letter from Peter Hill. He obviously thought that I should be humoured like a three year old toddler having a tantrum. He said that my letter had been considered for inclusion. I shouldn't be too disappointed if it wasn't included, and he hoped I would continue to buy the 'Daily Express.' I never did of course. I just read library copies.

It was of course transparently obvious that my letter would not be published, and that Peter Hill didn't take me seriously. But he clearly didn't think that would be transparent to me. He took it for granted I was thick. Or perhaps he is thick. It's a pity that the very attempt to challenge disablism will usually bring on another episode of it, but that's how it is, if you acknowledge that you are disabled yourself.

Incidentally, Vanessa Feltz is a very poor columnist anyway in my opinion. But my feelings for her did become a little warmer when she recounted how she had been sexually abused by Rolf Harris. I respond to her humanity, even if she wouldn't recognise mine.

Once, when my son Andantom was a very small boy, we were rushing to catch a bus in Cardiff. Andantom sped ahead and jumped aboard. It zoomed off with him. I couldn't catch up. I was filled with horror as the poor boy was only about three. Andantom must have kicked up a fuss because the bus did stop for me. I expected the bus driver to be apologetic about the fright we had been give. Instead he gave me a lot of abuse.'Pillock' was the best thing he called me.

What was worse was that a young woman passenger shouted aggressive self righteous abuse at me, telling me I should sober up and be more responsible, while the friend next to her egged her on, saying ''Hear! Hear!''
I was not of course drunk, but I might have appeared to be because I had a very ruddy complexion and impaired mobility.

I did defend myself against the onslaught. In an ideal world, I could have silenced these girls and made them feel ashamed by saying I was not drunk but slightly disabled. But in this society, it would only make them disrespect me more. It would be like saying, ''I'm not a real person.'' I felt I couldn't make an 'admission' like that. So my self defence was fatally hampered. It was, of course, an example of how you shouldn't judge anyone until you have walked a mile in their moccassins.

I agree with Alwyn in principle but there is little evidence that society is ready to listen to disabled people about anything although Frank Gardner and Gary O' Donaghue are counter examples.

There is one thing that should be done though. Spiels about 'the disabled' should not be presented in a holy voice during the God slot on TV. Nor should there be collecting boxes like the image of the little girl with a leg iron and one tear on her cheek which was ubiquitous when I was a child. That sort of thing puts people off.

I think it might even make them angry just as a pi-jaw from a teacher in school would. There's no idea here that a disabled person might be fun to be with, or is capable of being a supportive friend, only that you should give time to them as a good deed and it will be burdensome. It's enough to get most people running in the opposite direction.

A subsection of the pious approach is that you should be thankful 'not to be like that.' A whole episode of 'Diff'runt Strokes' in the eighties was dedicated to this theme.

It was more or less developed into a perversion by a friend of mine who was a hospital porter. He stole a book full of pictures of deformed children from work, and took a perverse pleasure in gloating over it.

Often, people who have been brought up to be 'thankful' in this way, think it is appropriate to tell visibly disabled people how 'sorry' they feel for them, not recognising how debilitating it is to be on the receiving end of this kind of message. If the targeted person responds by saying that they are perfectly happy and do not need pity, the other person will typically be affronted and become angry and abusive!

I want to agree with you, Alwyn. But we've got a long way to go.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:12 am    Post subject: Hwre Reply with quote

Richard Littlejohn, 'the stupid man's Jeremy Clarkson', is aggrieved because he was born white, male and middle class just as this did not entail quite as much privilege as it used to. He equates this with unfair discrimination.

This is someone who thinks that lesbianism 'should not be tolerated in this society' and has an equivocal stance about whether disabled students have a right to attend demonstrations. He thinks prostitutes are asking to be murdered and women who dress provocatively should expect to be molested.

He may or may not have had some responsibility for the suicide of a transsexual person he had monstered in an article. What is certain is that when he was criticised over the article, just like Clarkson and just like Jac, instead of accepting any responsibility, he started whimpering and playing the victim.

He said he had always said it was people who claimed to stand for tolerance who were the 'real' bigots. He had certainly always said it. He had never produced any evidence or any rational arguments to back the statement up.

These three beauties show that our parents were right about at least one thing. It really is true that bullies are always cowards.

Littlejohn thought Clarkson was being victimised for being white and male. Rod Liddle thought the PC brigade were out to get him. Well, no, if you commit criminal assault, you have no one but yourself to blame if you are given the sack and have your collar felt.

I am happy to say that everyone I spoke to in Abergavenny was delighted that Clarkson had been given the sack. They just wished that the BBC had got rid of this stupid bully long ago.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:19 am    Post subject: Pussy and Putin Reply with quote

People like Clarkson and Jac would perhaps invoke freedom of speech to defend their right to lambast those who are already marginalised. Strangely enough, Jac doesn't support freedom of speech when it comes to apparent disrespect for God.

There is no evidence that God exists. Even Thomas Aquinas conceded that 'it appears that God does not exist.' But if 'he' does, he is apparently all powerful and can zap anyone who steps on his toes. So he sure doesn't need protection from the law.

In the unavoidable absence of a credible God, we only have his self-proclaimed human mouthpieces. As Bishop Spong has considerately pointed out, religion is in the control game. If anything, citizens need protection from religious despots and would be despots. The last thing any country needs is a blasphemy law.

I don't think Pussy Riot's motivation in holding an impromptu punk concert in a cathedral was to dis this elusive alleged god. It was to protest in a frolicsome way at Putin's unconscionable policies and the Russian Orthodox Church's complicity in them.

These young women were brave and principled, I thought, but physically they looked delicate and almost frail. Some had tiny children. When they were sentenced to a gulag for two years for no good reason, I did worry about them.

So naturally, I wasn't impressed when Jac, whose existence I hadn't suspected before, sided with the bully, gloating, ''Well done, Vladimir Vladimirovich', and opined that two years sounded 'about right.' Presumably, he also thinks Jesus should have been given two years for running amok in the temple in Jerusalem.

Furthermore, however old fashioned you are about sexual morality, these young women or some of them had husbands. Their children hadn't been conceived in one night stands. Jac knew nothing about their sexual history. So why did he insult them by calling them 'slappers'? Anyone would think that he didn't like women and that he was hung up about sex.

Somebody tried to reason with him on the grounds that anyone who complained as much as he, Jac, did, in Putin's Russia would also be in a gulag. He dismissed this by saying that if he was living in Russia, an independent country, he wouldn't complain at all.

This reveals a stunning lack of self awareness. It's inconceivable that Jac would stop his flow of complaints about petty and imaginary grievances in whatever society he lived. That's what he does.

Of course, his words make even less sense now than they did at the time. If it was ever possible to see Putin as the defender of the rights of small independent nations - and this opinion can only be explained on the premise that Jac knew nothing whatsoever about him - it's not an opinion that can be sustained now.

Putin sees it as the greatest tragedy of his existence that the old Soviet Union broke up. He would love to put it together again. Not only Ukraine but the Baltic states are jittery about invasion.

Let's get it right. Russia is a kleptocracy, and Putin is a thief on a personal as well as an international level. This is someone who blatantly stole a foreign athlete's jewellery. It is hard to escape the conclusion that he is also a murderer. Was he not implicated in the shooting of a morose journalist in a lift in a block of flats?

Was he not behind the chemical related death of a Russian dissident in the UK, and the blowing up of blocks of flats with people in them nearer home? I put in question marks because there may be some room for doubt, but you don't have to be a conspiracy theory crank to find these allegations credible.

My partner presented a partial defence of Putin in a pub the other day. He said that it was obvious that Putin was paranoid and that Russian society was permeated with paranoia. So Ukraine shouldn't have done anything to stir up his paranoia. A friend responded indignantly that this was blaming the victim. You shouldn't invade someone else's country. End of.

This was a fair point. If Putin's paranoid, of course he thinks that everything is someone else's fault. But we needn't agree with him. We can only speculate on why Jac admires a paranoid bully. Or perhaps he has turned against him since it was suggested that Putin had Asperger's Syndrome.

The rest of us shouldn't see anything to admire in this overblown gangster. We should be gutted that he re emerged after his ten days' mysterious disappearance.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject: jokes and free speech Reply with quote

Unlike an increasing number of people in the west today, I would always support the right of Pussy Riot, the now deceased Monsieur Charbonnier and their ilk to exercise free speech in criticising religion and politicians. But what if 'free speech' is used not to challenge oppression but to reinforce it?

We heard of a very young woman, a trainee cook, who was bullied at work and was finally driven to suicide. When a senior colleague had been challenged on why he felt it necessary to be so unpleasant to her, he shrugged and said,''Freedom of Speech'', as if he was doing something noble and brave instead of being a cowardly nob. Some might think that this was an abuse of language, such as when Jeremy Kyle said, ''I'm only being honest'', to justify abusing his vulnerable guests.

It's evident that Jeremy Kyle doesn't know the meaning of the word 'honesty.' But is freedom of speech sacrosanct even when bullies use it? It sounds a bit odd to say it is sacrosanct. It is like Muslims saying that Mohammed's image is sacrosanct. Isn't freedom of speech supposed to be all about iconoclasm, not claiming a 'sacred' status?

Somebody told me about Frankie Boyle's jokes about children with Down's Syndrome. My knee jerk reaction was to say, ''I don't think that's acceptable.'' A third party who was himself a stand up comedian immediately disagreed.

He said, ''You either believe in freedom of speech or you don't.'' This sounded like the fallacy of the excluded middle. I said ''I don't think freedom of speech can ever be absolute. If you incited murder for instance, that would be a crime.'' I'm happy to say that the guy conceded the point.

Somebody said that if you use humour to satirise the powerful to speak truth to power, that is an act of courage. But if you use humour to grind in the dirt those who are already powerless, that is despicable.

Also, satire is beside the point here. If you savagely satirise the government, that might impel them to clean up their act. If you 'satirise' children with Down's Syndrome, they're still going to have Down's Syndrome. There's nothing they can do about that. So it is more like persecution than anything else.

For a long time, I believed that while this brand of comedy was despicable, it had a useful function. My idea was that in a free society, good ideas will always drive out bad ones. Frankie Boyle and the less offensive Frank Skinner should be allowed to show us all what idiots they were. Similarly, you should be allowed to destroy your intellectual credibility by denying the holocaust.

What's more, a few decades ago, there were tasteless jokes about disability on the street but they were never heard on the stage or on the TV except when Jasper Carrot had a spate of anti-deaf jokes in the 80s. Somebody could write to the Daily Mirror to say that his neighbour with Down's Syndrome should have been killed at birth, and it would get published, but there would be no jokes about the condition from professional comedians.

A silence was preserved. I thought that breaking the silence, even in a negative way, could be a good sign in the long run. As Gandhi said, 'First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then you win.'' In any case, my son Andantom is a fan of Frankie Boyle, and he's still a sensitive young man.

When I began this piece, I still believed in freedom of speech for tasteless comedians who tell unfunny jokes about disability. I thought it should be accepted so that they can't pretend to be martyrs, and because they are only showing themselves up.

But in the course of researching the subject, I've changed my mind. It is, of course, possible for political correctness to go too far. If someone was sacked for saying 'niggle' just because it has an accidental resemblance to the 'n' word -this has never happened to my knowledge- that would be political correctness gone too far.

But as Russell Brand said, when people brag about how they bravely stand up to the PC brigade, it usually means they're going to say or do something racist, sexist or morally transgressive. I had been assuming that being polite about disabled people was as PC as it got.

So I was surprised to see a complaint on the internet that the comedian Jimmy Carr was part of the PC mob. He wouldn't tell racist or sexist jokes. He told horrible jokes about children with Down's Syndrome instead.

It just showed how despicable the PC thought police were. I never thought I'd live to see a time when people told cruel jokes about disability in order to avoid ruffling PC feathers.

If there are guidelines which Jimmy Carr and others observe about jokes on race and sex, then it is obvious that jokes on disability should also be covered by the guidelines as a matter of consistency. I also read of a mother of a child with Down's Syndrome who had been at a Jimmy Carr concert and had found the material very upsetting.

If the audience had expressed unease or disapproval, that might have been encouraging. But it's more likely that they were becoming desensitised.

It's quite true that there were always a spate of racist incidents in school playgrounds in the 70s, the day after 'Love Thy Neighbour' had been on TV, and these concerts are likely to have a similar effect.

It's also at least theoretically possible that a joke could be in terrible taste and extremely cruel and yet be hilariously funny.

But this is not even the case with Jimmy Carr's jokes on Down's Syndrome. They were feeble in the extreme.

It also looks as if Carr was lying when he said he had had no complaints before.

I see now that Jac was not the only person to respond negatively to the Paralympics. Since the sexual abuse case against Jim Davidson was dropped, he had been behaving strangely. He had appeared on Sunday morning TV shows to say how much Jesus means to him. It was deeply unsettling, whether it was genuine or not.

It's unlikely that dear old Jim has changed very much. He saw the Paralympic games on TV and said ''That's a midget!'' His wife chastised him, saying, ''She's an athlete.'' Jim agreed with Jac, saying, ''Nah, she's a midget.''

He told a theatre audience, ''I fuggin' hate midgets. Midgets, they are fuggin' horrible.'' The audience shuffled uneasily.

This was not even semantically a joke. If Jim Davidson sees no difference between himself and his stage persona, it was a hate incident, just as if he had said, 'I fuggin' hate Jews.'

I found this upsetting because of the lack of rationality or at least reasonableness. My partner says, ''I hate people who hate people for no reason.'' I'm inclined to agonise, asking, ''Why? Why?''

I've now regretfully concluded that good ideas don't drive out bad, and these routines should not be tolerated, not that Jim Davidson should be arrested. He should just be told not to come back.

I know there was a book and TV series called 'Giants' about the dwarves who survived Auschwitz. They were mentally giants. I can't bring myself to read or watch either of them. The Jewish dwarves survived Auschwitz. Not so, the 'Aryan' children whose loving parents had decided they should be gassed because they were below a certain height.

The subject of the dwarves of Auschwitz is the sticking point for me. I find it so upsetting. It's not that killing dwarves is worse than killing anyone else, but to me, it epitomises Nazism. If you're so intolerant that you can't even tolerate the existence of short people, it can't get much worse can it?

There is another reason why people like Frankie Boyle and Jim Davidson should not be allowed to give audiences this crap. And that is responsibility to their fans who have internet access.

Frankie Boyle puts out nasty stuff about children with Down's Syndrome and about Madeleine McCann, and he gets paid for it. So young Matthew Wood thought it was perfectly acceptable to put grossly offensive stuff about April Jones on Facebook.

After all, she was missing and she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. What better material could there be for a comedy routine? But this time, society was disgusted, and Matthew Wood ended up in prison.

I don't care about the welfare of this young idiot. Perhaps prison was the best place for him. But Frankie Boyle should care about the welfare of his fans and other like minded people.

There are websites which mock named individuals' personal tragedies. The administrators refuse to take them down. One young woman Stacey made a brave stand on such a site. She said her baby had terminal cancer, and she didn't find these sites very amusing.

She expected an emollient and apologetic response. Instead she saw posts which said, ''Haha. Whose baby's dying? Stacey's?' As far as I know, this site is still in business.

Yet a Swansea student was expelled and imprisoned for putting, ''Die, niggah, die!'' on a site, after an African footballer collapsed on the field with a heart attack.

It's difficult to sympathise with him, but the law is clearly all over the place on this issue. We need to see clearly what the law is, and what behaviour is deemed acceptable in this society, and which conduct isn't.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:58 pm    Post subject: Jac and my Psyche - Total Disclosure Reply with quote

My first knowledge of Jac's existence came when I saw his comments on Pussy Riot on Alwyn's blog. They didn't make any sense, but it was apparent that he was proudly flaunting his own callousness which he probably saw as strength. He was playing the hard man.

I thought,'' God, that looks like an unpleasant person with aberrant thinking. I wonder if he's always like that? I'll just check out his other writings.'' The first thing I touched on was his Paralympic musings. It didn't take long to see that he was going in the disablist direction, so I groaned mentally and read no further.

Perhaps it's unfortunate that those were the first things of his that I saw. They are probably the worst things he ever wrote and may not be entirely typical of him. Some might say it is unfair to judge someone on rubbish they might have produced while feeling stressed. Others would say you don't have to eat a whole egg to know it's rotten.

I did look at a few of his other posts. I have to say they were not all as bad as the first two. On the other hand, they did not come to the point if there was a point. They were long winded, pedestrian and uninspired. In short, they were boring. I did take an interest in his blog about the Llanelli Riots march in 2011 because I had been there.

In fairness, not everyone found his stuff boring. I came across a discussion between two bloggers who said what he had to say was always interesting. There is no irony font, but I don't think they were being ironic.

When I came across the FoS award by John Tyler, my primary concern was to assure him that most Welsh people including nationalists would not agree with Jac about disabled people. Of course, I felt some antipathy to Jac mainly because of his sadism about Pussy Riot. This was a reaction he had gone out of his way to court. But my dislike for him was tenuous, mild, almost non existent.

I told John that I had been present at a rally which Jac had attended, and I could confidently state that he was a total idiot. This was not untrue. Both Jac and I had been at the Llanelli centenary rally.

But he did not do anything out of the ordinary. I am not
aware that he behaved like an idiot on that occasion. I can only make an educated guess as to who he was based on the video of the rally and his own writings on the subject. I think I know what he looks like, but I am not sure.

My assessment of his idiocy was based solely on his remarks on Pussy Riot and Paralympians. It was a bit naughty of me to conflate this with the rally, but my intention was only to assure John that I knew what I was talking about. I didn't expect Jac to see it.

Some would say that you should label behaviour not people. I shouldn't have said that he was an idiot but that his conduct had sometimes been idiotic. Fine, but anyone who wrote as he did about Pussy Riot and about false limb frottage must have an ambition to be thought an idiot.

I have to say I was delighted when John elevated my words of wisdom to a site of their, the holy Marianne site dedicated to humanity and progress. So was my partner who shared it with his followers and friends in the USA. They were all delighted with it too, thinking it sounded genuine, heartfelt and generally great.

But I had a nagging unease. I said to my partner, ''It's not very nice for Jac o' the North though is it?'' ''No, but it serves him right'', he laughed.

Then came the aggressive message from Jac, asking what I objected to in the Paralympic spiel. This forced me to read the bloody thing all the way through. It was really upsetting and made me feel unclean by association, like horrible racist articles from the 1930s in the 'South Wales Echo.' I felt like I needed a bath.

The most difficult thing to stomach was Jac's attitude to any sexual feelings that Paralympians might stir up. It was as if it was impossible to fall in love with -say-an amputee. It was as if there was no person there. No, any sexual feelings evoked by an amputee would amount to a perversion or a fetish about crutches or the like. So presumably, Grav's widow should have divorced him as soon as he had his leg off, or be branded a pervert. It was sickening.

My response to Jac was two layered. On the one hand, I was embarrassed and apologetic because I had been caught out calling him names. I admitted this had been impolite. On the other hand, I had no choice but to say how depressing I found his piece. I also expressed incredulity that he couldn't even see what anyone could object to in it. I was as polite as was consistent with pulling the disgusting thing to pieces.

Earlier in this thread I said that the paranoid reply he sent me, full of disablist insults and other abuse would have been a case for the police 'if it had been much worse.' I later found out from a friend that it did indeed amount to a crime under the Malicious Communications Act, and if it happened now, I would not hesitate to contact the police.

However Jac managed to muddy the waters so much that he made me feel guilty. When confronted, bullies usually either become more vicious than ever or act like a pricked balloon. Jac did both.

Although he had asked me to tell him what I disapproved of, once I did it, he behaved as if I had sent him unsolicited and uncalled for abuse, accusing me of being obsessive. It's one way of deflecting attention from the obvious fact that -in a totally different way from Pistorious -he didn't have a leg to stand on.

Of course, I could only be criticising him because I had a personal and unmerited spite against him. It couldn't in any way be related to his own behaviour. If Richard Dawkins, Jim Davidson or Peter Singer had said something similar, I would never have criticised them.

Something similar happened when an American lecturer James Tracey, denied that the Sandy Hook massacre had happened. The TV anchor Anderson Cooper challenged him to appear on a news outlet and support his statement with facts.

Tracey's response was to accuse Cooper of obsessively pursuing him, and of wanting to physically harm him and his family. He also published stills of Cooper laughing. The idea was to make him look as if he was ranting.

My partner was left slack jawed by Jac. He concluded that he was 'intolerant and paranoid.' He had never seen anything quite like it before.

It now seems likely that Jac was just pretending to feel scared and persecuted. But I took his nonsense at face value at the time, so I sent him a heroically bland e-mail. I said that not only did I not have it in for him but he should notice what a beautiful world was outside his window. I came out with some nonsense on the theme that this world is full of kittens and bunny rabbits and Johnson's baby powder. I really thought he had to be humoured.

Of course, that was no good. The world is not as bad as paranoid people like Jac think it is, but it's bad enough.

What's more, it was, of course, not true that I was obsessed with Jac or had in in for him before he gave me a lot of revolting abuse. But the accusation juxtaposed with disablist abuse functioned a bit like a self fulfilling prophecy.

If not actually obsessed with Jac, I'm certainly inclined to brood about him. He has got under my skin. ''What the hell is his problem?'', I ask myself.

Of course, this always happens with paranoid people. They think people are their enemies. They treat them like enemies. They turn them into enemies. And then they think they were right all the time!

Dafydd ap Geler Thomas went on the Jac o' the North blog. He hoped to find something like ideological pornography, something that would give him a cheap thrill. He was disappointed that it just droned 'on and on and on.'

My partner is interested in green issues. He looked up the Welsh Greens online. He found an article expounding that the Welsh Greens are 'full of personality politics', as if any party had ever existed that wasn't, and asking suspiciously,'' Who is this woman, Pippa Bartolotti?'' It was hostile but made no specific accusations. It didn't come to any conclusion, and its statements were of no significance.

My partner thought,''So what?'' He couldn't work out what the writer was trying to get at. He was then electrified to see that it was Jac o'the North. In our house he is well beyond the pale.

Can I come to any conclusion? This is an age of paranoia, and I think we could all do with thinking classes, including myself. But even more than the rest of us, Jac really needs to attend thinking classes and to sort his paranoia out. But he will never do that as he is too proud and has no trust.

So I can only hope his friends will support and humour him and keep him away from power and other dangers. I hope he has clear sighted friends and not followers. He is not the messiah or even a coherent thinker. At least, I have to assume he is not from his writings.

My entirely appropriate dislike for him, though it is mixed with genuine quasi-maternal concern, does not make me the best person to make a definitive or dispassionate judgement on him. After all, he's left me so traumatised that I've seriously considered hypnotherapy. I will leave full assessment to others, but it's fair to say that he would not make a leader we could have any confidence in.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:59 pm    Post subject: sex Reply with quote

Jac is certainly not the only person to have problems with disabled people and sex. There are two conflicting mythologies here. One expounds that disabled people must be prevented from having sex at all costs. If they do, they will breed and fill the world with 'evil livers'.

The quote is from an encyclopaedia published in the 1920s. I don't think the compilers were worried about evil kidneys. They must have meant liver in something other than an anatomical sense.

The conflicting myth is that disabled people are sexless and sterile. I have heard that books in Braille traditionally took out all sex scenes, but I can't say if this is accurate.

Apparently, a third myth existed that disabled people posed a direct sexual threat to the general public. As late as 1984, when a hostel for youths with Down's Syndrome was due to open, concerned local residents presented a petition against it. The local people thought that the youths were going to rampage through the town killing and raping people. They alleged that it was well known that that was what people with Down's Syndrome did.

I really think that this might be based on a confused hearing of the 'storm from the east' when Mongolian hordes from Asia swept through eastern Europe. They had confused these amiable and harmless youths with descendants of Genghis Khan.


There's another possibility too. In the past mental hospitals were used inappropriately as dumping grounds for people with physical deformities and learning difficulties. These places were typically stuck out in green area, well outside towns. It was easy to infer that the reason these people were isolated from mainstream society was because they posed a risk to it.

It looks now as if the risk is all the other way.We've recently heard that institutionalised children with Down's Syndrome were routinely targeted for sexual abuse in the asylums where they had been dumped. No one thought there was a need for safeguards, perhaps because they were thought to be sexless. But also, nobody cared.

I've seen a site dedicated to the subject of children with Down's Syndrome and sexual abuse in institutions. I can well believe it's accurate, but what it didn't mention is that children with all sorts of disabilities, whether physical or mental, were targeted in the same way.

Jimmy Savile seriously said that his victims in hospitals and asylums should be grateful. He was providing them with the only sex they were going to get. Jimmy Savile joke sites say the same thing.

We can see why it happened. Disabled children, even more than other children, were thought to be sexless and therefore not at risk. Depending on the disability they might have been unable to run away or otherwise defend themselves. They might have been unable to say what had happened to them. If they had done, who would have listened? Where there is no equality, there can be no communication.

I know a young man who looks extremely fit, healthy and muscular now. But as a child, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Perhaps he was a frail child. He tells me that he was raped on five separate occasions by a very close relative. People in the family don't want to accept that it happened, although the relative in question has gone on to murder a baby, so there can be no doubt that he's a wrong 'un.


What can we do now that it's all come out? Just be aware of the situation, and take reasonable precautions as we would with any children. We shouldn't go round with blinkers on.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:27 am    Post subject: Where's your head at, Jac? Reply with quote

I've just noticed that John Tyler had been on Jac's case for some time before his Paralympic gaffe, contrasting him with Martin Luther King - to Jac's detriment of course. It's obvious that Jac doesn't have much resemblance to Martin Luther King, but I suppose most of us would show up badly beside that heroic figure.

I think John's point, though , is that while Dr King advocated judging people on 'the content of their character' rather than things they could not help such as ethnic identity, Jac, based on a letter he wrote to the Western Mail, wanted 'the indigenous Welsh' to be privileged in some way.

I hate to admit it but I do agree with Jac about one thing. Apparently somebody had praised the growing Anglicisation of Wales on the grounds that this gave us access to the works of such luminaries of English thought as Socrates and Voltaire.

Of course Jac is right that these people didn't write in English. Socrates didn't write anything down at all but left it to Plato. Of course, he is right to say that these works are available in English only because they have been translated, and they could just as well be translated into Welsh, and perhaps they have been.

Where I do agree with John, though, is that it is dodgy to speak of the indigenous Welsh. It sounds like Nick Griffin on the indigenous British.

I don't think such a group really exists. As an adoptee, I knew only that I was born in Wales. I knew nothing of my origins but people thought I looked 'very Welsh.' I later found out I had English and Irish blood. When I had my mitochondrial DNA tested, I found I had ancestors in Poland and earlier in Iraq and of course Africa.

If Jac had his DNA tested, he'd find he had a similar past. Ultimately, we're all Kenyans.

Yes, we've been oppressed in Wales, ridiculed and subjected to cultural genocide. Some people have had it even worse. Perhaps, we should feel solidarity with them.

We have a confusing situation where an African Caribbean woman will learn to speak fluent Welsh and teach it in schools, but the grandson of Welsh speakers will shun and ridicule the language. According to Jac, the latter would be indigenous Welsh, but presumably a traitor.

You can do one of three things if you're oppressed. You can submit to it and collude in it. You can fight it in an appropriate way. Or you can succumb to the 'kick the cat' syndrome, and oppress someone else.

Few would deny that the Versailles Treaty left Germany with genuine grievances. What would be a sensible way to address them? Surely not to insist that everyone prove that they were of pure German stock back to 1800?

In our lifetimes, we've heard that Celts are short and dark and also that they are tall and fair. It's a sensible inference that no such race exists. Keep Celtic languages going by all means, but let's not conflate them with race.

Jac decided to give himself a right to reply under my comment on John's criticism of his now notorious Paralympic thoughts. I just gave it a quick glance as I thought it might be upsetting so I'm not sure I've got the message properly.

But it appears that Jac came close to laughing aloud because 'our masters' are hiding behind 'the maimed and the disabled', and they will be hiding behind the dead on November 11, so this is not a state a self respecting Welshman would want to belong to.

If there is any sense at all in this remark, it's quite elusive. Obviously, the poor boy lives in a macabre world where injured ex-servicemen represent the undead. It's never occurred to him that they are ordinary people who play DVDs and drink tea.

If you're paranoid enough to think that our 'masters' use events like the Paralympics and Poppy Day to distract us from their nefarious activities, without requiring evidence, you're beyond reason.

You might just as well say that Crufts or the church jumble sale was an event that hostile oligarchs hid behind. Are you absolutely sure, Jac, that our masters are not manipulating us with the yearly Cilmeri event? After all, Llewelyn and all his soldiers are dead - long dead. And you think I'm crazy!
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:31 am    Post subject: The Jac o' the North Archives Reply with quote

I asked in an above post,' Who on earth is this Jac o' the North and what does his nationalism consist of?' It wasn't meant to be a rhetorical question but, for a long time, no one answered it.

But now Phil Parry has enlightened me on his 'Wales Eye' forum, now known as 'The Eye.' The answer is worse than I expected.

According to Mr Parry, Jac has an 'interesting background', has been reported to the police 'a number of times' and 'has now been placed on a security monitoring list.'

I can quite understand that Jac was unhappy with a certain Jacques Protic who thought that children needed to be protected from the teaching of Welsh in schools. Mr Protic was certainly wrong in the first instance.

Linguistic diversity should be encouraged for all sorts of reasons. For instance bilingualism can help you recover from a stroke.

I think a firm but polite remonstrance would have been in order. Jac overreacted.

Intentionally or otherwise, he stirred up so much hatred against Protic that the latter has had his car damaged. He has also received terrifying death threats on the phone in the presence of his nine year old daughter.

If Jac felt any remorse, he hid it well. He told his groupies that he had some information about Jacques Protic. With chilling insincerity, he said he had not wanted to divulge the truth. But he would not keep it to himself any longer.

What was this shocking fact that would presumably prevent Jacques Protic from ever holding up his head again? It was that he was a Serb! Or at least he was of Serbian parentage.

As my children are all a quarter Serbian, I do hope that Serbs will not be classified as untermenschen when Jac comes to power in his independent Wales! Srbe na vrbe, eh Jac?

Jac amusingly refers to Jaques as 'the archbigot.' I agree that Jacques is a bigot but I don't think he can teach Jac anything about bigotry. It's not just that Jac and Jacques are brothers under the skin. Jac has left Jacques far behind.

Jac has hosted a petition on his site calling for 'the indigenous Welsh' to be privileged in the allocation of housing. It may honestly not have occurred to him that this was in breach of race equality legislation. The idea was originally Plaid Glyndwr's, not his.

We can't make the same excuses for his putting up a post moaning about how he had had to cut down a cherry tree to accommodate 'the English arsehole' who lived next door. It was not that the neighbour was making an unreasonable request.

Jac mentioned that the tree was undermining his foundations. It was his ethnicity that was his crime.

The message board resounded with abuse of 'the Anglo twat.' Not everyone was impressed. Somebody commented, 'This is horrendous language.' You only have to substitute the word 'Paki' for the anti-English epithets, to see how shocking it is.

Jac was threatened with having his website taken down which has apparently already happened a few times.

For no obvious reason, Jac has also taken to baiting a lot of public sector workers because their plans for Cardigan Castle are not quite as he would like. Other people who had nothing better to do jumped on the bandwagon. It turned into a relentless campaign of harassment.

One public employee, Glen Jackson couldn't take the hounding anymore. After being constantly deluged in abuse, the stress was too much for him. He had to give up his job.

I said above that I hoped Jac had clear sighted friends not followers. Not all of his 600 blog readers agree with him by any means.

Some have no illusions about him but find him amusing. They treat him to good humoured joshing eg, 'Whoa! Steady on there, Jac!'

Unfortunately, he also has a fan base of easily influenced people who allow him to manipulate them. He does enjoy some success as a demagogue.

The good news is that Cardiff solicitor Nigel Jones and the police are on his case in a very softly softly way. I don't often welcome police surveillance of blogs but this is a special case.

Jac obviously needs help to edit his posts after the event so as to avoid falling foul of the libel laws. I'm sure Jac is not grateful to the police but he really should be. They are doing all they can to keep him out of court and out of jail.

I am truly grateful to the police in this case for protecting the public. What makes Jac a particular headache for the police is that he has the typical recidivist personality. He's not introspective.

He doesn't ask himself, 'Why am I behaving like this?' He can't see his own part in the stormy waters that always whirl round him.

He always thinks that everything is someone else's fault, to the extent of making wild and patently unfounded accusations against anyone who disagrees with him. Instead of taking responsibility, he feels persecuted.

I think outsiders will have to monitor his blog all his life. The best thing would be if he took it down voluntarily but that's not going to happen.

If, in spite of all the police are doing, he does end up in the criminal justice system, he will have no one but himself to blame. But we can be sure that he will blame everyone else instead.

Apparently, Phil Parry first noticed Jac when the latter made a vituperative blog attack on him. In his subsequent reportage, Mr Parry quoted various people including myself. One source had referred to Jac's outpourings as 'poisonous bile.'

In the interests of balance, Mr Parry quoted 'Y Cneifiwr' who really does not appear to be a sock puppet. 'Y Cneifiwr' said, 'I like Jac', while admitting he was like 'a black sheep uncle.'

'Y Cneifiwr' particularly admires Jac for his support for racially preferential housing and for using images of the Duchess of Kent for target practice when training impressionable kids in the use of fire arms. It's to be hoped that 'Y Cneifiwr' won't be called as a character witness when Jac's case comes up.

Jac has now branded Phil Parry 'vermin' and ' a lying bastard', but you only have to consult his own blog to see how scrupulously accurate Parry has been. Phil Parry was moved to allude to Jac as 'Jerk o' the North.'

Jac and his dupes have made paranoid allegations that 'The Eye' is part of Ukip, the Labour Party and/or the police. To this extent at least, they are operating in the realm of fantasy.

They have also insisted that Phil Parry apologise for hurting Jac's feelings. Is Jac going to apologise to Phil for his original attack on him? Will he apologise to Jacques Protic, Protic's little girl, Glen Jackson and indeed to me for the stress and detriment he has caused us all? Of course not!

For God's sake, don't take this troublemaker seriously as a political figure. He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy!


Last edited by marianneh on Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:28 am; edited 2 times in total
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:39 am    Post subject: Light the Serbian Yule Logs! Reply with quote

Far be it from me to suggest that Jacques Protic's disrespect for Welsh culture and language has any connection with his Serbian parentage. We're all individuals.

But if we were looking for a deep atavistic cultural explanation, what would it be? I usually dutifully refer to my estranged husband as Croatian because he identifies as one. But he was born in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, and his mother was Serbian.

He will not admit he is half Serbian because the local culture is so sexist that the people typically think that only their father's identity counts. That explains the rationale behind the rape camps in the 1990s war.

Antagonists would reason, ''We can kill all the men and boys in X ethnic group, carry off their women and force them to have our children, so our group will multiply and theirs will perish.''

A sane person might reply, ''No, you idiots. The babies will be half and half.'' But that's not how they saw it.

My husband is half Serbian although he doesn't think so. He did sometimes have outbursts against the Welsh. So is this a long established Serbian custom? I don't think so.

I said to Dafydd ap Geler Thomas, ''Isn't it strange? You wouldn't think he'd encounter much anti-Welsh feeling in Zadar and Zagreb or even be aware that we existed.''

Dafydd said, ''No but he would hear hate speech about Bosnians, Albanians and Serbs. All he has to do is change his focus.'' It's true. For those with a strong need to hate, it doesn't really matter whom they hate.

I had the misfortune to know another Welsh extremist, Boz, who actually bragged about going through Serbian towns and burning down every house in them when he was fighting for the Croats in the 90s.

He smiled as he said it was just as well for the Serbs that they had cleared out. ''Otherwise we'd have killed them all'', he gloated.

He said he'd forgotten to check if there were people hiding in the cellars before setting fire to the houses. ''What? So he could kill them?'' asked Tim Saunders.

I don't think Boz is responsible for any anti-Welsh feeling in Serbian culture. His victims had no idea where he came from. Nor do I think he was acting out anti-Serbian feeling in Welsh culture.

He was a damaged and destructive individual. One excuse was as good as another for him.

My understanding is that Serbs often identify with the Irish national struggle. You can see on Youtube music videos by 'The Orthodox Celts'. They are a Serbian band who play Irish rebel and folk songs with great feeling although only the girl who plays the violin has ever been to Ireland.

I'd like to think their Boxing Day gig in the synagogue in Novi Sad is sold out each year. In one gothic video they sing 'The Rocky Road to Dublin' as they stand on outcrops of rock off the Serbian coast.

You can tell it was a few years ago. Ex-Yugoslavia has balkanized so much since that Serbia is now landlocked.

My husband told our son that Dafydd Wigely of Plaid Cymru was the humanised version of the worm in the nursery rhyme who 'lives at the bottom of the garden and his name is Wiggly Woo!' He hates Welsh nationalism because he has a great fear of balkanization.

Perhaps this is where Jacques Protic is coming from too. Croatian nationalists coined the phrase 'Srbe na Vrbe', a bit of hate speech.

It means 'Serbs to the Willow Trees' ie string them up. Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia in the early 40s. It became a fascist state.

In a notorious concentration camp, Catholic bishops said Mass in the morning in full canonicals. They then slit the throats of their prisoners with a curved knife called the 'Serb killer.'

Not surprisingly, Serbs have a tradition of seeing themselves as eternal victims, citing the iconic battle on the plain of Kosovo in 1389 when they were conquered by the Turks, remaining a subject people until the 1870s.

The psychologist Dorothy Rowe was worried that a teenager she met in Serbia in the 1990s was clinically depressed. She was told, ''Don't worry. He's just practising being a Serb.''

Serbs often see their suffering as analogous to that of European Jews. Dorothy Rowe was told that Serbs will always seek a darkness they can oppose. If necessary, they will create the darkness themselves.''

Unsympathetic people say that that Serbian culture loves weepy narcissistic self pity. 'Serbs love feeling sorry for themselves.'

In 'Black Lamb and Grey Falcon', Rebecca West noted that diplomats from western European nations would often take up the cause of a small ethnic group in the Balkans whom they visualised as victims, only to find that their colleagues saw them as the despotic persecutors of another victimised minority. Clearly, the Serbs weren't the victims at Srebinica.

You can certainly see some intolerance, not to say aggression, in the Serbian nursery rhyme, 'Pull down the minarets and mosques!/ Light the Serbian Yule logs and paint the Easter eggs...Either you or we must swim in blood.'

Arthur Evans said there was less physical and racial difference between Serbs and Croatians than there is between Celts and Anglo-Saxons in an ordinary British grammar school. The differences are caused by historical accident.

Serbs were conquered by the Turks and Croatians by the Austrians. Their language Serbo-Croat was written in the Cyrillic alphabet in Serbia and in the Roman alphabet in Croatia. One dialect had Turkish loan words and the other Austrian-German loan words.

Only since the 90s have Serbian and Croatian been classified as two different languages. Religion kept them apart. It was not just the minarets and mosques in Bosnia that irked. Before Communism, Croatians were traditionally Catholics but Serbs had a Serbian Orthodox Church on the Russian and Greek model.

The differences were tiny but that didn't mean they didn't hate each other. It was a case of the narcissism of small differences.

It sounds like a sick joke but it's the honest truth that even the SS were shocked by the unrestrained barbarism and genocide in Yugoslavia in the 40s, and feebly tried to discourage it. In the 80s, documentaries on Yugoslavian TV emphasised how important it was never to let it happen again.

Tourists thought what a beautiful country it was with its fascinating ethnic diversity to provide local colour, but everyone living in harmony. Then the battle on the plain of Kosovo became the subject of an emotionally charged film, and everything fell apart.

We heard of a small boy who had always addressed a family friend as 'Uncle.' But this guy had a 'different' ethnic identity from the boy's parents.

One day he burst into their house with a Kalashnikov to pump them full of lead. The boy screamed, ''Don't shoot me, Uncle! I'll be good!'' Kids couldn't understand why people suddenly hated them. They usually blamed their own bad behaviour.

Former tourists couldn't understand it either. Everyone seemed to be getting on so well under Tito. An ex-Yugoslav snorted cynically, ''The reason we loved each other so dearly was that there was a policeman on every corner.''

It was confusing for kids because there were no visible differences between warring groups. But I don't mean it would have been any more sane if they had looked as different as Zulus and Han Chinese.

The racial homogeneity can be over-emphasised. My kids have pointed out defiant racist graffiti in ex-Yugoslavia, edgily insisting 'This is a white man's country!' The yobs wouldn't need to say it if it was true.

My husband has a cousin with typically Oriental eyes. People often think my eldest son is Asian. He's much darker than his brothers who resemble me. Dorothy Rowe was constantly told that the archetypal Serb is tall with blue eyes and blond hair.

The person she met who most identified as a proud Serb wouldn't have looked out of place in the Middle East. She looked more like a 'typical' Serb than he did, and she was Australian.

Serbia probably suffered a good number of 'storms from the east' even before they were trounced by the Turks on the plain of Kosovo. Of course the conquerors left their genes behind them. They might not want to admit it but they probably all have Asian blood.

It's a mixed up place in more ways than one. Sam Vaknin said that the Balkans are the unconscious of the world.

Rebecca West had Yugoslavia in mind when she wrote,' Only part of us is sane. Only part of us loves pleasure and the longer days of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those that come after us. The other half is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night, despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set life back to its beginning, and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.'
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dai



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Marianne,

that was an interesting and thought provoking post ... I do hope that that was some other Boz than the one I know ( mind you she has always terrified me.) ... I notice that you mentioned Sam Vaknim there : I have been banging my head against what he has been saying about Narcissicism in politics for the past three years and this has been one of the things which finally led me to accept the original Republican arguments against Democracy ... have you watched any of Sam Vaknim's videos on Youtube ? ... his point of view is very disturbing ... but surely it accounts so well for what we can observe of the behaviours of The Democrats in Wales and The World : his argument rips open the rotten underbelly of those in parties which support and operate this non-political system which they call " The United Kingdom " ... but - do you think that this can also applied to " Jac o'the North " - ?

https://www.youtube.com/user/samvaknin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHuafQNmjFA - Narcissism of Small Differences

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xGo3qc9Q1A - The Narcissist's Monologue : Normal People are an Enigma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv1nXiVkNM0 - Narcissist's Reality Substitutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=460ldKaXUeo - Narcissistic and Psychopathic Politicians and Leaders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vLj9obX_XQ - Narcissists Rule : Narcissists in Positions of Authority

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CUp7qdej8g - Sam Vaknin Analyzes Barack Obama ( Part 1 )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JAUzP4b1X0 ... etc ... this is a very popular idea in the USA ...
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