Belfast Telegraph

Why denying your nature, good and bad, just won't cut it anymore

By Nuala McKeever

Just saw Sinn Fein's election leaflet for North Belfast, featuring Gerry Kelly and Nigel Dodds. Wow. It's like something out of the Number 2s, only without the laughs. (Oh, hold on a minute ... no, leave that, Nuala, that's a whole other topic.)

Been wondering how you satirise this place. The political reality here is, in large part, so outrageously ridiculous that it's already a joke and simply reflecting it doesn't actually satirise it.

Watching the sitcom is like being locked in a room with the real thing and discovering that the exit you thought would bring you some escape, ie, humour, leads right back into the original circle of hell.

In the real world, how did we end up like this? After the ceasefires there seemed to be some progress. Is that because our political representatives at that time were being exposed on a regular basis to outside influence, forced to listen to perspectives other than their own?

And is our current quagmire due to the fact that a settled devolution set-up has allowed each group to solidify in its own silo?

How often does any of them now meet, talk to, or, more importantly, listen to anyone who has a different point of view?

There's such a terrible smugness and presumed homogeny that people are allowed to get away with never dealing with the fact of diversity.

Way off on the far extreme of this is the Holocaust. Six million people murdered just because they were a certain type of human being.

How small does your perspective have to be to focus on the differences between you and another version of you, as opposed to seeing all the things that make you both a type of you? The Judeo-Christian belief system tells us that there is something "other" that is "bad". But God and the devil are inextricably linked! Good and evil, night and day, black and white, yin and yang, yes and no - you cannot have one without the other.

By definition, you cannot have an identity without there being something that's not that identity. So this idea that the very thing that is integral to what we are, that we should cut it off and shun it, is crazy!

By that token we'd cut off our own arms, legs, head! You cannot excise something which makes you what you are.

But boy do we try! Look at all the homophobic politicians - how many of them, in their homophobia, are trying to cut out the part of them that is homosexual?

Pushing away the thing they can't stand about themselves. How often do we project onto other people the very thing we don't like in ourselves?

I have a card on my dressing table that reads, "I attract that which I am". How often do the same sort of people keep showing up in your life?

People being demanding. How demanding are you of yourself? People trying to control you. Are you trying to control? People who are intolerant. How tolerant are you?

Everything shows up as a mirror and yet we point at it and say: "That's what's wrong with the world."

When you don't even see that it's what's in you, how can you ever begin to put your arms around it?

Even when you do see that it's in you, it's not easy to put your arms around it, it's far easier to push it outside and say: "No, no, no, it's their fault! I'm not wrong, they are!"

Oh gosh, I need some light relief. Wonder what's on TV.

And, what wee word makes me angry?

When I was a researcher on Anderson On The Box, we had a large whiteboard in the office. Visitors would read out lists on the board.

Guests - Possible (Tom Jones, Liam Neeson, etc); Guests-Confirmed (Tom Jones' driver, Liam's school choir teacher ...).

Then they'd read out: "Moist, beverages, gusset ...?" This was the list of words my co-researcher and I couldn't stand.

Well, a new addition to the whiteboard now would be people using "So" at the start of sentences, as in, "Jane, tell us about your work." "So, I'm a business consultant ..."

"So" is a joining word, so let's stop it now, so I can relax.

Hillary a magnet for Palin backers

You gotta love it. Sarah Palin - Arch Republican, Not Too Bright - was making a speech in support of the Republican Party and held up an "I Back Hillary" car magnet to slag off the Democratic rival.

Hillary's supporters took a picture, tweeted it with a link to their donation page and a thousand Palin supporters paid $20 each for the magnets, thereby raising 20 grand for Hillary Clinton's campaign!

Scary that people so thick know how to operate computers and have spare money lying around.

Bet they'd love the Number 2s. (Let it go Nuala, let it go).

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