Sunday, July 27, 2003

Make up your own title, you bone-idle gits.

Hrmmmm. Been slack on the blogging lately. Not had much to write about; everything that's been happening lately is happening inside my head.

The language exchange night went fine, and I shall definately return next Tuesday (hopefully dragging Lurid along this time). Still can't understand nine-tenths of what everyone is saying, but it'll come. It'll come.

Having a bit of a crisis of confidence about the writing. I feel I lack the proper discipline; I'm still punting out stuff that's poorly developed, flawed, often containing glaring errors in grammar or spelling (which I somehow manage to miss until the piece is already winging its way to some webzine editor's inbox). Don't know what's wrong with me; how'd I get so damn sloppy? Repetition, cliche, typo, roaming comma, repetition, missed apostrophe, Attack of the Spurious Adjectives, repetition repetition rgrgrgrgrgrhhHH...

Mordant Moral Faliure: Beserk
Mordant Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes! RAGHHHHHHHH!

I'm trying to put together a couple of articles at present: some kind of travel thing with which I hope to temp the local English language publications, and something on teenage boot camps, which I will either punt out to emergencyPARADIGM or the new and improved Disinfo... that's if I ever get it finished. There's just too much data, and it's all really horrific data too. I read this stuff-- the articles, the court transcripts, the messageboards-- and I run out of places in my head to put it all. I start wanting to puke, or cry, or hit people, or call down the wrath of Freya, or just run out into the street and start punching the ground because of the complete impossibility of doing anything about these terrible, horrible places that torture vulnerable young people for money. Some reporter I am, huh?

But I've got to persevere. The more articles that are out there on the Web, the greater the likelyhood that these clueless rich tosspots will stumble across a little smidgin of truth inamongst all the glossy brochures.

A lot of people reading this will probably be thinking "yeah, well, the boot camps are nasty but what about all the other stuff? Iraq, Liberia, war, famine, torture, death, cash crops-- how come you've fixated on a bunch of rich American kids?" And they'd have a point, of course. The thing is... I know about all those things. And I don't just know in my head, I know in my gut, too. I'm haunted by them. They flutter round inside my head: the ghosts of all those people who have died and will go on dying in my name, who are enslaved in factories and on plantations so that I can buy cheaper goods. And I do what I can to change that. I write letters, I boycott this brand or that brand, I pass on information, I march, I do whatever. Every so often I give up (because I know I can't change anything, who am I? I'm nobody!), but I always begin again. You have to keep going, keep trying, even when you know intellectually that it's all pointless. It's not about what you do or don't change, it's about being someone you can stand to look at in the mirror.

The boot camp thing, though... that, I feel, could change, and change rapidly. There should be a change in the law, there should be legal protection for the kids concerned, there should be an end to the criminalisation and pathologisation of adolescence, sure, but you don't need those things to make the boot camps and the house-arrest programmes and all of that disappear. The way I see it is this: the boot camps are a product. All that needs to happen to kill a product is for people to stop buying that product.

('Course, then you've got to worry about what they buy instead...)

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