Our addiction to “Weary Rationale” @FrankieBoyle

Hat tip to @SamiraShackle for drawing my attention to @FrankieBoyle’s Comment is Free piece in the Grauniad.

The theme and conclusion is telegraphed in the title, but the content is explicitly about the seemingly deranged rationale of supporting vaguely motivated bombing in Syria but resisting direct support for Syrian refugees. It’s a very intelligent read, plenty of historical, cultural and political content to support the arguments and, most importantly, it’s seriously witty.

I won’t quote spoilers, but the passage of 8 or 10 lines from “A handful of Afghans ….” to “…. how shit Leeds is.” must have a dozen gags within it on several levels, every one of them hillarious. That’s some skill.

I’ve used Frankie before as my archetype of the official “court-jester” in the context of freedom-to-offend debates. Whether writing for the Sun, or being written about in the Sun, no-one has a greater right to be as offensively funny as Frankie. His deadly clever wit earns it.

However, on top of that quality of content and delivery, Frankie nails the real underlying issue we are all struggling with. We can all criticise the “other side” in any political debate, but there is this nagging doubt that whichever side is actually in power, we never seem to learn from past bad decisions. The more rationally we try to justify them, the less we seem to have learned, and the less comfortable we are with supporting them. We (they) must be mad.

It really is an addiction to the decision making process that leads us time after time to the predictably wrong decisions. And the bigger they are the more predictably wrong. It’s a meme itself. An addiction to bad memes. This is a main agenda theme of Psybertron since I started. The first time I joined memes to addiction was back here in 2006 (sadly the content of the Bath conference of Unhooked Thinking on Addiction has suffered link-rot so can no longer be found.)

There’s also a self-reinforcing denial, a neurosis, like any addiction. We do it even though we (really) know it’s wrong, neurotically obsessed by following the well-trod ritual procedure, and again Frankie pinpoints why:

We cling to our dependency with the weary rationale of any addict.
The addiction is simple; giving up is complicated.

Simple repeatable rationale always wins. Anything else is more complicated. Keep it simple, stupid. Logical, quantifiable, arithmetic processes are (a) easy to do, and (b) easy to justify after the event. The numbers never lie, apparently. Unlike values and considerations that don’t fit simple arithmetic logic, where you might need to base your value on some strongly felt belief not backed by objectively definitive proofs. Life and death, not being repeatable experiments, don’t lend themselves to objective proofs. So we fall back on the things that do. Life and death suffer as a result.

Nice one Frankie. A recommended read, a very witty piece of satire, whether you agree with the underlying point or not.


[Post Note : On Psybertron previously – “Court Jester” on Frankie as archetype of offensive satire.]

[Post Note : Later piece by Frankie on aspirations of “Western (Capitalist) Civilisation”.]