It's not my favourite song from the Pure Comedy album. It’s my third favourite.
I don’t know Father John Misty personally but I’m glad that someone like him exists. He is thoughtful and in possession of an uncompromising brand of honesty. In short, here is a man afflicted by 'the madness of sincerity'. A personality trait I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, ever since I saw Greta’s speech at the UN this September.
It’s demoralising to be made to lie, to be made to edit yourself, to stifle your instincts. It’s part and parcel of being human so on the rare occasions you come across someone who doesn’t conform to such burdens, the only rational response is to put your hands to the sky and drop your knees to the floor.
Reading, thinking and most especially talking about the climate crisis is not an easy thing to do editorially or emotionally. Having devoted 2 years of my life to doing just that, I have become aware of certain truths. The first of which is that nuance doesn’t read well. And there are things you’re not allowed to notice. And things you’re certainly not allowed to say out loud. And there are costs you will be made to pay for observing what’s in front of your eyes. Case in point, the publicity surrounding Greta post the aforementioned UN speech.
The big question then is what do we do with our observations? Can you respect your audience, or yourself for that matter, if you avoid tackling the massive endangered elephant in the room? Do you conform and tell people what they want to hear, or do you respect them by highlighting what’s what?
The blog isn't easy reading, but it's not supposed to be. I have too much regard for anyone taking the time out to engage with a subject they would preferably not think about, to infantilise them so.
Two Weeks of Protests
The people taking part in the extinction rebellion made some observations of their own and they have spent the last 2 weeks acting on them. Today marks the end of what might be the longest climate change protest we have ever had in London. Making this the first time Londoners came face to face with the relentless intensity of a peaceful rebellion that's systemically attacking the societal immune system.
I think we’re witnessing a prolific moment that will, fingers crossed, lead to a societal shift in the way that we talk about the climate crisis and treat people who openly express their anger and panic about the deteriorating state of the planet.
The last 2 weeks have exposed all the bad habits we have been holding on to about how we should talk about climate change. All the frustrations and despair that has been flaring up under the surface is now being externalised.
Moving forward, I hope a more active and responsible tone will slowly start to imprint itself onto our present narrative, which starts and prematurely ends at the altar of awareness. Climate change is of course, simple observable fact so it could be argued that the awareness movement simply made it ok for people to openly observe and support the environmental cause without being labelled a tree hugger.
Now we need a safe space where we can talk openly about the need for urgent action without being labelled a hypocrite.
We are all hypocrites when it comes to climate change, so as loaded as it sounds, 'hypocrite' is a hollow word to be throwing around. And it's a word that was recently de-weopanised by the more than 100 celebrities who backed the extinction rebellion in an open letter on Wednesday. To their credit, they have shown a willingness to pay the price of thinking out loud. A willingness to be mocked and be the subject of irrational anger.
These aren't easy things to stomach, not for them or any of the XR activists. To focus on the speakers and not the speech or rather discredit the speakers and disengage from the speech altogether is a squandered opportunity.
The last 2 weeks have been eventful, and the coverage has been so loud, it's been incoherent. As we edge closer to the weekend, let’s step back and give the XR activists a minute to breathe, let’s give the Canning Town activists a minute to spit out broken teeth and let’s take a minute for ourselves to contemplate certain truths.
The activists are on our side, on the right side of history. And there will be more protests and there will be more environmental movements calling for urgent climate action. As and when they arise, the public has the bonus option to stand back and quietly watch without feeling like they have to loudly pick a side.