Procrastinating with Perry Iles
Lions are bastards, it’s a well-known fact. They are colossal bell-ends. If lions were men they’d be those big, brash, dick-swinging fools who bang on about the transfer window and watch old re-runs of Top Gear on the Dave channel. They’d have tattoos and swig twenty pints of Wifebeater on a Saturday night and they’d always want their dinner on the table by five when they come in from work. Lions fight like drunk English twats in Magaluf, roaring and shouting and swinging wild punches until one of them lies bleeding and defeated on the gravel in a pile of his own vomit, at which point the one still standing rushes off to have a gritty shag on the beach with the loser’s girlfriend. But lions are even worse than people, and that takes some doing. In order to show his domination over a new pride, the winning male will slaughter all the cubs from the lioness’s previous marriage while she looks on. This, presumably, is intended to give her a wide-on for the new lion, and pave the way for more cubs. So after he’s killed her kids (“sorry, son, you know how it is…”), the lion will shag her all night long, and when she’s had enough he’ll shag her friends right there under the trees in front of her like some weird bestial dogging video off of XHamster. And the next morning finds the amoral bastard lying under a tree while the lionesses get together to go hunting. They’ll maybe spend a whole day out there dragging some antelope into the dirt, at which point the lion will wake up and chase them off. Then he’ll eat the best bits and leave the bones and crappy parts for his wives and whatever children he hasn’t killed yet and he’ll shake his mane like someone who was in Led Zeppelin once (let’s face it, lions even look like dickheads, they’re so seventies) and fuck off back to the shade of his tree.
Eat, sleep, rave, repeat…
So it’s about time some feminist icon came to save the day, some suave knight in shining armour, or maybe a smiling Robin Hood with perfect teeth and a big bow and arrow…
By now you can probably tell where I’m going with this. But the point I’m trying to make is that, as Elvis Presley once said, “There is no truth, there is only perception”. Any good divorce lawyer will nod sagely at a statement like that as he laughs all the way to the bank. Villainy is in the eye of the beholder. And so we turn our attention to the bad guys, to villains, the ones we love to hate. Do they wake up in the morning and think “I know! I’ll be really bad today! I’ll do something outrageously horrid so that people will hate me even more!” No, they probably don’t. They probably don’t even consider themselves as bad. I mean, just because you’re called Dr Evil doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly successful career in childcare and crèche management. But I doubt Margaret Thatcher led Great Britain with the intention of ruining it. I don’t suppose Tony Blair wanted to destroy the Labour party until all that was left was vapid diet-Tories swilling Prosecco in some place run by Jamie Oliver. I doubt even that bankers sought to ruin the economy, any more than tapeworms seek to destroy the stomachs that give them such first-class nourishment. All the banks really want to do now is chew the last few dollars of our putrid carcases before fucking off to China to do it all over again on a much bigger scale. But they’re cunts, as any fule kno. Thatcher, Blair, the bankers who got knighthoods for services to money while desperate people gassed themselves and their families in their garages because they couldn’t face life without a satellite dish. Cunts, the lot of them. The debt companies, the Quick Quid loan sharks who offer you temporary absolution at 4,000% APR so you can buy your kid something for Christmas and pay it up four times over by the following summer. They’re the worst bad guys. They’re hiding amongst us in plain sight as their puppets in government encourage us to hate the oppressed, rather than the oppressors.
And what of the people we choose to hate instead? The immigrants in our neo-racist society, those who have spent their childhoods eating coal somewhere east of Gdansk, those poor exploited women who’ve spent their best years giving truckers blowjobs in laybys outside Krakow? They’ve given their last few euros and most of their dignity to Russians in sharp suits that didn’t come from Matalan in order to get to the Channel Tunnel and are now doing whatever they can to try to come here to find work. Immigrants earned the UK a surplus of £8 billion last year. They earned £8billion more than they claimed in benefits. They staff our NHS and pick our peas in the summer. They do the shit we won’t do, because they’ve got a better idea of what the alternatives are, of what will happen to them if they don’t.
And we, in return, hate them for it, because we’re brainless fools who lap up what the Daily Mail tells us. Do you know what that makes us? Yes, you’re right, it makes us the bad guys. But it’s OK, because our government and media provide us with even worse guys to hate. They give us people who fit the bill–swarthy, bearded villains, ruffians from the Middle East who they set up as targets for our hate—village idiots who are promoted to villain status so we can concentrate our xenophobia and bigotry in a certain sanitised direction while all the pseudo-politically correct institutions say: “No, it’s fine, it’s OK to hate them because they’re nasty.” Of course, the upshot is that we now hate anyone with a turban, anyone who bows to face Mecca of an evening, anyone who lives in our social housing but doesn’t speak our language, anyone who takes the jobs we wouldn’t want anyway. We want to be lions, we’d love to kill all of their children and shag some sense into their womenfolk, but everyone’s making us behave like cats. But we all know what we’d do if government crumbled, don’t we? Hurricane Katrina proved that we live six days from anarchy. If law and order crumbled, we’d be lynching Moslems before bedtime. We’d be lions.
Because we’re the bad guys. Not Saddam Hussein and his horrid unsmiling sons, not Osama Bin Laden (whose family seem to want to continue to drive planes into stuff, if last week’s car auction mess is anything to go by), not what’s his name off of Syria or that Colonel Whatsit Libyan bloke in a drainpipe whose name I never could spell—all these people are just puppets, put there for us to hate until some beautiful Orwellian dictum comes along saying “We’re not at war with Iraq, we’re at war with Iran now. We’ve always been at war with Iran, and Iraq are our friends so we’re going to start selling them weapons again, OK?” And we nod in bovine acceptance and go back to watching All-Star Celebrity Masterchef.
So what’s to be done? How can we come to recognise the bad guys before history tells us who they were? Let’s look at Adolf Hitler. Most people agree that he was a bad guy, and from the looks of it he probably was. But like I said earlier, did he wake up in the morning and decide to be bad? Or was he doing his best to pull Germany out of the slough of despond we had condemned it to with the Treaty of Versailles? Hitler said, in effect, “Let’s be proud of ourselves again, guys! Let’s build! Let’s have some tanks and guns so that we can show our oppressors what we’re made of! Let’s create a republic that’ll last a thousand years! Let’s create a master race! And would you like a Volkswagen?” Hitler was voted in by something like 98% of the German population. The 2% were pessimistic intellectual philosophers who probably knew a thing about human nature and who hastily packed their bags and fucked off before the lions started killing the cubs again. But did Hitler manage to break Europe on his own? Of course not. You don’t kill six million Jews without a little practical assistance. Someone must have built Auschwitz and Dachau and Ravensbruck. Builders must have gone in, railway engineers must have built the tracks and gas fitters must have put the pipes in. Barbed wire manufacturers must have wondered where all the new orders were coming in from, but they just kept making more anyway. Did none of them wonder what it was all for? Did nobody say “hey, hang on a minute…”, did none of the train drivers wonder why the cattle trucks were so full on the way in and so empty on the way out? The crematorium staff, the burial squads with the diggers, the guards, the administration offices that recorded the deaths. What were they doing? They were doing what the bankers do now. They were going home to their wives for tea, reading bedtime stories to their beautiful children, walking the dog and doing the shopping. Their wives probably made them sandwiches and kissed them on the cheek as they left after breakfast and said: “Have a nice day, dear.”
And all the while Hitler and Goebbels and what’s his name, the fat one? Goering, that’s him, the Laurel to Goebbels’s Hardy while Hitler played the Charlie Chaplin clown in a uniform and everyone said what a good chap he was because he’d given Germany a bit of pride in themselves again. So there’s a pattern. These Second World War cartoon villains and the swarthy, bearded baddies of modern times, they’re a put up job, in place so that people can carry on with hating bad guys whilst otherwise remaining inert. As Elvis Presley said “All that is necessary for evil to survive is that good men do nothing.” Humanity has been doing nothing for millennia now. Two thousand years ago they were popping off down the arena for the games because the lions are eating some tasty Christians tonight, now they’re staying home because Holly Willoughby is on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and she’s really fit. Same meat, different gravy. We haven’t evolved very much. In fact we haven’t evolved at all, because human evolution is as slow as geology, while human abilities race ahead of themselves so that rather than just stabbing some Christians with bits of pointy metal, we can now nuke a raghead with pinpoint accuracy from outer space.
The lies are just the same, as are the martyrs. The industrialisation of hatred is now a major industry, a twenty-first century conveyor belt of prejudice, shame and knee-jerk reactions, all run by the financiers, the arms dealers, the politicians and the media—and perpetrated by you and me. Because the villains are just the same too. If you want to see a bad guy, just look into any convenient reflective surface next time you’re passing...