A TV legend is about to begin a new cycle

We are in the early stages of regeneration. Jodie Whittaker, after the now-traditional three-year run, is stepping down from the lead role in Doctor Who. At the same time, showrunner Chris Chibnall is also leaving. There is one more season for both of them, and a lot of work to do if they are going to tie up the loose ends they’ve created!

Whittaker, as the first female Doctor, has done a sterling job with the character. Channeling something of the Troughton era, her Doctor has been whimsical and humane…

Neither formal nor a polemic

OK, background. I recently posted a somewhat prolix response to this article by Henryk A. Kowalczyk. In a response to my response. Mr Kowalczyk stated his intention of writing a follow-up article around the comments he had received at a later date and asked me courteously to consider writing a ‘formal polemic’ in the interim.

This is problematic for me, I will admit. ‘Polemic’ is defined as “an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another” (Merriam-Webster). Now those who know me are aware that I do not shy away from controversy and am not afraid…

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…” (Nietzsche)

The tagline to the subtitle quote is, of course, well known: “for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” This is too often the fate of the crusader, the campaigner, the activist.

It begins with the wish to escape oppression, to find freedom -something shared with many. Then in some, it becomes, not part of their lives, but all of their lives. They study the ways and methods of the oppressor, and they find new instruments of oppression, new ways in which they seem to be oppressed. Ever the longer they study, the more…

The British superhero -underpants inside the trousers!

“If Superman is so clever,” my schoolfriends and I used to ask, “why does he wear his underpants outside his trousers?” It’s a question that nobody could answer satisfactorily. Superman and his ilk, brightly-coloured costumed superheroes, were always associated with America and the American comics one could sometimes obtain from the newsagent.

Our home-grown comics were different. Weekly, each containing several stories and, for the most part, in black and white. The most popular, and long-lived, were the humour-based comics such as The Beano (1938-present) and the The Dandy (1937–2013). Both of these featured characters who had ‘super-powers’ which were…

Is either of them still fit for purpose?

Everything we are arises from our evolution, DNA and learned behaviours. We are purely material, as is the universe. There is nothing else.” So say the materialists. But they don’t know that!

The material universe is only the smallest part of reality. Our bodies and brains are merely vessels for an immortal essence which is the Truth.” Thus the view of the metaphysical people. But, again, they don’t know that!

OK, so I’m paraphrasing and generalising, but you get the drift. On the whole, we are caught between these two opposing schools of thought. Both claim to have it right…

And that includes my culture

I’m a white Englishman, which means that I must accept multiculturalism. Which means, it seems, that I must accept — but never join in with — celebrations such as Diwali and Eid, but be apologetic and low-key about Guy Fawkes Night and Christmas for fear of offending people. It means that, while I must remember to honour the memory of the Black and Brown soldiers who fell in two World Wars, I should not honour the memory of the White soldiers who did so by buying my colonialist, imperialist poppy every November.

Apparently, living in a multicultural society means that…

In praise of the men and women of the RNLI

Britain is, of course, an island nation. Taken all together, including the mainland, all of Ireland (including the RoI), the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, there is close to 30 000km of coastline. This includes deepwater harbours, sheltered coves, gently-sloping sandy beaches, windswept peninsulas, jagged ship-killing rocks, stark cliffs, shifting sandbanks, tidal estuaries and treacherous tidal mud-flats. There are tides, currents and the ever-unpredictable British weather to deal with.

But the Sea draws us. Whether for work or for leisure, thousands of us venture out there every day. The typical concept of the Englishman as stoic, unflappable and cheerful…

…and you will kindly keep your distance!

I’m already missing lockdown. The quiet roads, the uncrowded shops, the absence of noisy drunks in the street late at night, or screeching crotch-goblins during the day.

Most of all, I will miss the enforced return to what were once considered basic standards of courteous behaviour. People actually looking out for other people in the aisles of supermarkets; pausing to let one pass, or politely acknowledging being waved on. Not barging along with their nose in their phone, using the trolley as a battering ram or ‘people plough’. …

The problem is worship.

I tend to identify as an atheist, if only because it makes things easier. Quite generally, it’s true that I don’t believe in whatever god is being presented to me by people, but there’s more to it than that.

The (very) First Commandment

This was almost certainly some variation on “Thou shalt look after the old folk.” Uttered by some aging Palaeolithic hunter when his son had learned everything useful the old man could teach. Because life back then was brutish, nasty and short, by our standards.

The old hunter, who might well have been all of thirty-eight years old, was getting slower and…

Governments and IT companies aren’t responsible for protecting your children — you are!

Yet again, we hear of parents and social workers and other groups screaming at governments and IT companies: “Our children are being exposed to pornography on the internet! Do something about it!”

Now I am not about to debate the issues around pornography -that’s already been done too often to mention. It is clear that ‘hard core’ pornography has deleterious effects on its consumers and is exploitative and abusive of those who appear in it. It is also equally clear that, like prostitution, pornography is as old as civilisation. Both of these have, at different times and in different places…

Tony Atkinson

Snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, walker of paths less travelled by. Advocate-in-Ordinary to His Satanic Majesty.

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