Laughter Yoga

In January of this year (2019) I experienced something “out of the ordinary.” As a user of an app called Meetup I often find myself trying new things. Meetup is an app/website in which users can find a wide range of events and activities in their local town or city. Everything from sports and business to social and educational interests are catered for on Meetup. Generally it’s a good app that offers lots of diversity as well as inspiration for getting out and meeting new people.

So, a few months ago whilst browsing through Meetup I stumbled upon a weekly event called Laughter Yoga and it would be fair to say that it caught my attention. According to their pamphlet; “Laughter yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter.” Upon reading this philosophy I was intrigued. In all my life I had never heard of laughter yoga nor had I ever considered the possibility that false laughter could be anywhere near as orgasmic as hilarity itself. The pamphlet also suggested that laughter yoga is exotically known as hasyayoga which is a title that further charmed me with it’s medicinal Latin phonetics. I was finally sold whereafter it was revealed to me that the ingredients of laughter yoga consist of “laughing games.” I thought to myself; “I love laughing. I relish in the uproarious sensation of rib-tickling laughter. What the hell is laughter yoga (hasyayoga)? What the hell are laughing games? What in God’s name might I have been missing out on my whole life and could this be the most uplifting form of esoteric entertainment to which I am a cardinal virgin?” All of the laugh-out-loud possibilities got the better of me and thus a prime time undercover investigation was initiated.

On a mild Friday evening I set off on my quest to discover hasyayoga at a venue called The Clockwork Door in Temple Bar. I entered the building and asked the quasi-receptionist of the whereabouts for the laughter yoga class, he directed me through a door and into a room where a small group of people were gathering. I introduced myself (as you do) and after a few minutes the full complement of laughter yogis had arrived and it was finally time to immerse myself into this abyss of undiscovered existence. Little did I know that the following sixty minutes would shock me into incredulity to the extent that I would be left asking myself “what the f**k just happened there?”

At the start of the session the group of approximately fourteen people (including myself) were seated on cushions in a circle. There was a sense of hippiedom lingering in the air however I was ready to experience something new and so I kept an open-mind for what was about to come. Our host and “expert laughter yogi” introduced himself as Dave and thence asked each of us to state our names before proceeding to expound the dynamics of laughter yoga and laughter games. From thereon it got weird beyond belief! It turns out that laughter games and laughter yoga involve sitting around with these deranged – and that’s what they were – deranged hippies who are happy-clappy treehugging type people. You sit in a circle and pretend to laugh. You point at the wall and pretend to laugh. Then you jump up and down like an eejit while pretending to laugh. Then you stand in the middle of a circle and everybody points at you and pretends to laugh and this is the sort of mad caper that you indulge in for one hour. I felt that this was totally ridiculous and stupid. It struck me as an outrageous activity that was just made up out of thin air and unlike the hippies at Woodstock who got high on LSD the hippies at Laughter Yoga were all stoned out of their brains on fresh air. What a deranged and ludicrous experience it was.

When the session had ended I wasted no time in making myself scarce. I was crimsoned with embarrassment because the whole experience had been so utterly corny and discomforting and as far as I can see there are absolutely no therapeutic benefits to be reaped from participating in the “cultish” engagements of laughter yoga. I’d actually go as far as saying that for individuals who might feel somewhat insecure laughter yoga could send such a person on a downward spiral to an existential crisis. The happy-clappers who perpetuate their high via hasyayoga must be totally delusional because one would have to be so far out of touch in order to relish in such nonsense.

So – that was my experience with laughter yoga. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Advertisements

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has dominated the media for the last few years. His life has been a rollercoaster. He has become a self-made millionaire that went from rags to riches. He’s won international titles and generated more publicity for UFC than any other fighter in the world. He has boxed against one of boxing’s greatest legends and he has been lauded as a sporting hero and a role model for working class kids. With all the reverence he has received you’d be forgiven for thinking that Conor McGregor is a man who is actually worthy of praise. However, Conor McGregor is in fact not a man worthy of praise because Conor McGregor is in fact a bona fide scumbag of classless thuggery. McGregor is a totally unsophisticated and unrefined ruffian and the whole world got it wrong when they canonized him as a god of some sort. Everything about the man (his demeanor, personal conduct, attitude, lack of eloquence, disposition) is utterly repulsive and in hindsight it’s hard to see how he was ever considered to be attractive in the first place. He has recently been showing his true colors by getting into all sorts of trouble but by far the most damming allegation has got to be the recent reports of sexual misconduct – namely rape – surrounding his name. If he does happen to be tried and convicted of such an offense may God have mercy on his soul because the “#metoo” supporters will rightfully show him not one ounce of remorse.

McGregor-Mania took the world by storm back in 2015 when McGregor defeated Jose Aldo to become the featherweight champion. He became a “hero” overnight and reached the peak of his career in 2016 upon winning the lightweight title in a match against Eddie Alvarez. The world was riding high on a wave of Conor McGregor-Mania. Big brands endorsed him, fans idolized him, celebrities applauded him. Everybody wanted a slice of Conor McGregor, but, beneath the surface of newfound wealth there was problems brewing. McGregor – being the ideal candidate for growing out of his boots, did just that – he grew too big for his boots. As his boisterous arrogance became tiring and monotonous people began to lose interest in him. Over time it became apparent that McGregor is a one-trick pony who knows nothing more than how to embody the persona of a loudmouth bully. Almost every time he speaks, his words consist of inarticulate insults and egotistical bragging. He is known to acquaint himself with criminal gangs. He has been involved in altercations and drug use. He simply is a bad person. How he could be considered a noble hero is beyond incredulous. It is terrifying to know that there are children out there who have worshipped this man. The world has been grossly irresponsible in bestowing unto McGregor the power and influence that he has yielded.

Conor McGregor draped himself in an Irish flag preceding each of his fights in the octagon. He sold himself as an Irish warrior and an ambassador for his country. He has functioned as a salesman for “brand Ireland” which is distressing because he has perhaps become the most famous Irish man on the planet. For some Irish people it is disquieting to know that McGregor represented his country at a St Patrick’s Day festival in Chicago this year. His inclusion in the Chicago parade is totally bemusing when one considers the fact that on the same week the Prime Minister of Ireland publicly stated that McGregor does not represent Ireland. More astounding is the fact that he was chosen to represent Ireland at the parade just days after being arrested in Miami for smashing somebody’s phone. Bearing all this in mind it is safe to say that he runs the very real risk of globally defaming Irish people and Irish culture.

Naturally, as McGregor-Mania gained momentum brands saw an opportunity to cash in. Big brands like Reebok and Budweiser pounced on him for promotions and advertisements. UFC made him their poster boy and he appeared on the front cover of video games. He was seen as a marketable character but some of the companies that endorsed him might soon feel the pang of using him for monetary greed. If further allegations of reprehensible misconduct come forward then companies like Budweiser and Reebok will be viable to persecution. If Conor McGregor acquires a conviction for sexual assault then the public will have every right to say “shame on you, Budweiser. Shame on you, Reebok, and shame on you too Dana White for turning Conor McGregor into a superhero.” From this perspective, as far as marketing and branding is concerned, Conor McGregor represents the risk that companies take when they metaphorically back a horse that’s yet to finish a race. McGregor had the engine to go awry before he shot to superstardom, superstardom gave him the fuel that he needed to go awry, and, marketing is essentially what shot him to superstardom. Through granting him a performance on the centre stage the world gave him the key to unlock his potential – his potential to be a megalomaniacal nuisance. Perhaps brands should learn from the likes of McGregor to carry out risk-assessments and more rigorous vetting when investing in celebrities for endorsement.

McGregor is only guilty of a few minor criminal offenses, for now he is not guilty of sexual assault or rape. He is innocent until proven guilty but it is hard for respectable gentry to revere him as a noble and decent gentleman based on allegations, video footage, general demeanor, social media gossip, newspaper reports and public gossip. Taking all this into account it might now be best for Conor McGregor to fizzle out into the background without making any more noise. If him and his friends are the epitome of Crumlin-people then Crumlin deserves a bad reputation and Crumlin-people should be avoided.

The Ignorance Of Christmas

Spring, summer, autumn and winter are what make up the four quarters of the year. Each of those four seasons are relatively equal in length. However, sometimes it feels as if the four seasons of the year are something more along the lines of spring, summer, autumn and Christmas. In fact, years ago when Big Brother dominated our tv screens every summer, the four seasons could have been aptly titled as follows; spring, Big Brother, autumn, Christmas. Such was the length of time that Big Brother went on for. As for the future, it is looking more likely every year as if the four seasons are going to eventually morph into Christmas, Christmas, Christmas and more Christmas. It will be like Wizzard’s dream come true and everybody will be reassured of it when they hear the inexorable jingle of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.”

Christmas has become an overextended charade of flashy falsities. The earliest sightings of Christmas paraphernalia can usually be spotted in the first half of October (long before Haloween). In a well-known Dublin pub beside Phoenix Park the decorations are in full bloom until the last week of January/first week of February. This means that the glaring exposure to Christmas activities is well in excess of three months – making it longer than any season of the year. In other words, Christmas now takes up approximately 28% of the year. Forcing people to swallow Christmas for nearly four months of the year is absolutely sinful. Such a lengthy facade is intolerant and disrespectful to the huge numbers of people that don’t practice Christianity. For many people Christmas is not a happy-clappy time of the year. For many people Christmas is a time of financial stress and an abundance of other woes. Christmas needs to be more conscious of the people that don’t feel too “Christmassy” and so maybe it’s time to consider legislation that limits the superfluous liberty of advertising Christmas. Putting legal impediments on Christmas might sound daft but it is not utterly implausible when you bear in mind that children are the largest target audience for Christmas. It could actually be argued that it’s grossly immoral for Christmas to be performing a titillating striptease in front of children for such an extended period of time each year. Three to four months can seem like a lifetime for a young child; it’s grossly unfair to overexcite children for so long, it’s unfair on the children because it overpopulates their brains with materialistic desires and it’s unfair on parents too because they then can feel pressured into making expensive purchases for their aroused kids. The stress that this can place on financially unstable parents is overwhelming.

The level of pretension involved in Christmas is laughable. There is something comedic about a middle-class community and their eagerness to attend mass on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Christmas Day in middle-class communities of Dublin is a day where everybody rushes down to their local church desperate to prove that they are good little Christians. Many of these eager Christians commute to church in a BMW or 4×4 despite the fact that they live less than a hair’s breath away from their local church. They arrive draped in their new designer clothes and they gobble up their holy communion with relish before the priest tells them that “the mass has now ended and you may now go in peace.” The irony is in the fact that the majority of middle-class Christmas Day churchgoers have never read the Holy Bible and furthermore they all go home and conveniently forget to keep holy the Sabbath day for 52 weeks in a row (until next Christmas) but of course they all know that that’s okay because Jesus forgives all sins anyway, even the sins of the good little Christians with plenty of money. What’s also outrageous is the juxtaposition between the declining number of Christians in Europe ( https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/christianity-non-christian-europe-young-people-survey-religion ) and the expanding duration of Christmas in Ireland. Every year it seems to get longer and longer despite the fact that more people are declaring themselves non-Christian.

Christmas is that special time of year when rich celebrities urge us all to “feed the world” while some of us can’t afford to feed ourselves. Starving Ethiopians deserve the most generous deal of sympathy but it’s also important to remember that there are people at home too who don’t luxuriate in a champagne-soaked Christmas whilst surrounded by plush presents and a shiny happy family. Amongst the everyday people that have given up on Santy Clause are; homeless people, lonely old people, people suffering bereavements and lots of other regular people too. So, contrary to what Slade say, “everybody’s not having fun!” There are lots of people out there that do not look forward to the pang of a perforated eardrum thanks to Xmas FM and there’s yet to be a song about the integral spike in criminal activity accompanying Christmas every year ( https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/28/criminals-celebrate-christmas-crime/ ).

There is something narrow-minded about believing that the only time of year for gift-giving is Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s etc. At Christmas time people saunter around the shopping centers like drones spending money on things that the television has told them to buy. Why not bestow generosity on the 13th of October or the 9th of July? Why do people have to wait until prompted before they can express kindness, why not offer it up all-year round instead? Christmas time and the rush of the busy shopping centers is hard to escape from. It’s hard to escape from the incessant sounds of Mariah Carey, it’s hard to escape from the three-to-four month exposure to decorations, it’s hard to escape from the cold weather, the traffic, the advertisements and the utter ignorance of Christmas which is meant to be a celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday even though some historians have reason to believe that he wasn’t even born until April.

Pints

On winter nights no better sight than the creamy pint of stout

And summer days bring cider craze of that there is no doubt

Lovely too are pints of beer but one too many brings the fear

So lick upon the hair of the dog to dissipate the hangin’ fog

In celebration of good times the pub is where you find the craic

Even too for death and rue the same old bar will bring you back

Form of madness full of shame and still it’s here for festive cheer

You’ll never learn it’s always there the sneaky pint is everywhere

Is Atlas Shrugging?

“…whining rotters who never rouse themselves to any effort…who demand that you serve them, who demand that it be the aim of your life to serve them, who demand that your strength be the voiceless, rightless, unpaid, unrewarded slave of their impotence, who proclaim that you are born to serfdom by reason of your genius, while they are born to rule by the grace of impotence, that yours is only to give, but theirs only to take, that yours is to produce, but theirs to consume, that you are not to be paid, neither in matter nor in spirit, neither by wealth nor by recognition nor by respect nor by gratitude – so that they would ride on your rail and sneer at you and curse you, since they owe you nothing, not even the effort of taking off their hats which you paid for?…” Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand; 1957)

Atlas Shrugged is an epic monstrosity that was penned by a Russian philosopher called Ayn Rand. In her most prominent book Rand expounded her philosophy which is known as objectivism. Objectivism suggests that there are solid boundaries constituting reality and that the boundaries of reality are absolute and therefore irrefutable. Rand’s philosophy suggests that breaching boundaries comes with consequences; her philosophy suggests that people have a breaking point and that society has a breaking point and that when a society reaches breaking point the people might protest, they could riot in the streets or they might even go to war. So, now let’s take a look at modern Ireland and ask ourselves – is Ireland breaching any boundaries (or limits); is it near breaking point and if so is it in any way similar to the prophecy which was forecast by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged?

Atlas Shrugged tells a story of a society which is on a downward spiral. The story showcases a struggle between hard-working visionaries and a system which is designed to incapacitate them. It presents a developed economy that becomes blighted by poor political leadership, bad management and a short-sighted society. A socialist society of equality for all is deployed through Atlas Shrugged; a society is presented whereby those who are least productive are rewarded equally as much as those who are most productive. It presents a society whereby everybody is entitled to similar pay regardless of the efforts they make. The methods of enforcing socialism become unscrupulous; properties and funds are forcefully expropriated from their owners, diligent employees are replaced by slackers. Everybody soon becomes poor, and, inefficient workmanship causes catastrophes such as trains crashing in head-on collisions. An air of disenchantment and outrage permeates the inhabitants of a decimated society. Decision-makers don’t accept responsibility for their mishaps. The powers that be fail to resolve the conundrums that they themselves created, the whole system crashes into a recession and eventually all of the hard-working and honest people quit their jobs and they flea from ruin to find a better life somewhere else. As they flea from ruin they leave behind a hopeless world of hopeless people.

So, let’s reiterate and ask ourselves – does this brief synopsis of Atlas Shrugged bear any semblance to modern Ireland, and if so, could it be an accurate forecast for what might happen here in the near or distant future?

Budget 2019 appears to be striving towards taking us one step closer to the “socialist equality for all” state that featured in Atlas Shrugged. This is evident through certain policies such as the policy that sees unemployed people avail of (yet again) a pay rise far greater than many working taxpayers. According to the statistics, unemployed people will receive a take-home pay rise of €400+ per annum whereas a full-time worker earning €25,000 per year will receive a take-home pay rise of just €27 per annum ( http://www.moneyguideireland.com/budget-2019-how-much-extra-in-your-take-home-pay.html ). In the eyes of many taxpayers this is a shining example of equality becoming so equal that it actually becomes inequality. It becomes inequality not for the man that can’t find a job but rather for the man who must work until the cows come home. For how long can a system shrink the rewards for its most productive people while it grows the rewards for its most unproductive people?

Is it fair for a society to make he who works pay for all and receive nothing in return while he who does not work pays for nought yet receives all in return? According to Atlas Shrugged such a philosophy can contribute to the collapse and decimation of a society, and unfortunately for Ireland, examples of this destructive philosophy are bearing fruit. The following examples highlight some of the stark disparities that are currently being exercised by the Irish state:

Magda is on Jobseeker’s Allowance (€203 per week). Her partner Marius is on disability benefits (€203 per week). They will receive double-pay in December courtesy of the Christmas bonus. Marius has a “bad back” which renders him immune from working and therefore deters the department of social protection from encouraging him to engage in any form of employment. Magda has 14 children for which she claims €1,960 per month (€140 per child per month). Magda and Marius receive €1,200 per month in rent allowance. This family holds a medical card which entitles them to heavily reduced childcare costs, free transport, exemption from school exam fees and a range of other generous benefits. The medical card is worth several thousand euro per annum. This family is also in receipt of other “hidden” benefits including gifts from charities such as St Vincent DePaul and Fr Peter McVerry. These “hidden” benefits are also worth a substantial sum of money. This family may also be yielding an undetected income from untaxed cash-in-hand nixers. This family is contributing nothing to the state coffers and could be in receipt of €60,000 – €70,000 in benefits per year. Due to the number of children they have, they are high on the priority list for a free house which will also be paid for by the taxpayer who cannot afford a house for himself.

Paul works full-time (40 hours per week). His salary is a formidable €42,000 per annum. He pays approximately €9,552 per year in tax. Due to the fact that he is in full-time employment he receives none of the benefits that Magda and Marius receive and he must pay through the nose for everything that he does. He rents a room for €600 per month (€7,200 per year). He is not entitled to a medical card and so he pays €1,500 per year for health insurance. He spends €1,200 per year to travel to and from work via public transport. He is not able to sign up for a free house and so must struggle to save what he can for a mortgage. At the end of the year Paul is less well off than some of his counterparts who refuse to work.

Poor foresight and bad management by powerful people are common features in Atlas Shrugged, but, are they also common features in modern Ireland? Logic can conjecture that highbrow healthcare is a motif for a small little island that spends more money on healthcare than almost every other country in Europe, however, logic does not apply here on the Emerald Isle which is why Ireland often ranks as one of the worst countries in Europe for healthcare ( https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/waiting-times-for-healthcare-in-ireland-among-worst-in-europe-1.3372624 ). Over the last several years nothing has improved in the Irish healthcare system despite the fact that the government is spending 20 billion per year on this sector. Questionable too is the scandalous caper surrounding the development of a new children’s hospital in Dublin. The government somehow managed to grossly underestimate the budget for the new hospital although they refuse to accept much of the embarrassment deserved for such an error ( https://www.thejournal.ie/costs-childrens-hospital-4454287-Jan2019/ ). Excessive spending on the children’s hospital will put further strain on funding required for other much needed renovations such as a National Maternity Hospital.

In the end of Atlas Shrugged a heavily strained society finally collapses. No longer can the hard-working people allow themselves to be drained for the sake of everybody else’s carelessness. The people who keep the system afloat eventually get fed up with being drained of their talent and resources for the sake of the ungrateful recipients. They get fed up with hearing lies from the inept policymakers that let them down at every juncture. They get fed up with their unfair conditions and so they pack their bags and go elsewhere leaving their homeland to fall apart at the seams.

Could there be any similarity between the ending of Atlas Shrugged and the itinerary of modern Ireland? Have the nurses who went on strike today gotten fed up of being ripped off? Are the builders who won’t come home from Australia better off abroad?Could the emigrating teachers be living a nicer life somewhere else? People sometimes say that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side but sadly for many young Irish people it seems as if the grass actually is greener ( https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/health-news/dublin-nurse-sydney-australia-tells-13907270 ). Bearing all of this in mind is there any possibility that Ireland will mimic the closing chapter of Atlas Shrugged via sending all of its most essential professionals overseas, and, if this does happen will the country go to ruin? Perhaps the emigrants could be superseded by the influx of economic migrants that are due to arrive courtesy of the Ireland 2040 plan. At least the extra million people that are flocking over will get a nice cosy house for free thanks to our outstanding housing crises.

In The Name Of The Father

No heaven above yet there’s plenty of love

No brimstone below yet there’s evil aglow

 

Earth is a battlefield of war with the enemy

Where the enemy is only ever you and me

 

Time grows old yet we never grow wise

Same mistakes then are made over again

War, terror and fear will never disappear

Even the army know the crooks are here

 

The powers that be don’t want you to see

That a world with no god is a possibility

If a utopian paradise is what we do seek

The chances of finding it are ever so bleak

Drugs And Porn

You hear a lot in the media about equality movements, drug gangs, Brexit, Trump etc etc. There‘s two very pervasive issues that never get a mention though. Those two issues are:
1) Widespread drug use which has actually become normalized.
2) The horrors of pornography.
There‘s no point in lying about it; drugs can be very entertaining. Heroin allegedly induces a beautiful feeling. Psychedelics can be inspirational and smoking hash can make some people feel delightfully relaxed. But there’s no doubt about it; drug use comes with risks and drugs do cause a multitude of problems for users and society as a whole. I believe that rampant drug use has become so widespread and so widely accepted that it has become normal. This is particularly true of cocaine, especially amongst middle class adults. Cocaine is a curse and I really don’t like the nonchalant normality of it. It’s a dirty rotten drug, its often probably mixed with all sorts of shite and it can have absolutely shocking side effects. It can destroy the nasal cavity of some users. Depression, surpressed appetite, headaches, ill health, financial debt and criminal activity are all very common side effects of cocaine use. It’s also a very habitual drug in the sense that a lot of people who use it become semi-addicted regular users who wind up consuming it at almost every social function that they attend. The fact that people are literally snorting cocaine openly in pubs, clubs, buses, taxis and sidewalks is proof of our careless attitude to cocaine. This generation of young people are great for highlighting their little social justice issues so maybe it’s high time that attention be brought to rampant drug use and maybe it’s high time that scruffy drug use becomes “denormalised.” It’s scruffy and unsightly and the nasty side effects need not be glamorized or accepted by society. There’s nothing glamorous about a cocaine hangover. There’s nothing glamorous about respiratory problems, potential heart problems, unmerciful gangsters, rotten teeth, perforated septums, relentless problems with mucous in the nose, blocked up stuffy noses etc etc. There‘s nothing glamorous about people working full-time all week long so they can stick their wages up their nose and wind up broke and in need of a lend – constantly!
Pornography is another pervasive curse that deserves much more scrutiny than it receives. Women and feminists harp on about equality, sexism and perverted men but I don’t hear them conversing much about pornography. There is nothing more degrading to women than porn. Porn is the most vile insult to women; it is the most demeaning assault on women. Porn pisses on women, it shits on women, it ejaculates all over their faces, tears their assholes open and makes them lick up cum off the floor. It’s amazing the fact that there isn’t more attention drawn to the sinister evils of porn especially this day in age when we have organizations to help victims of trafficking, prostitutes, sexual assault victims etc. A notable difference between my generation and the generation of children these days is the internet. As a young child I didn’t have access to the internet, not everybody had a computer and smartphones didn’t exist. Nowadays the internet is ever-present which means everybody has access to all sorts of horrific pornography 24/7. Porn is the first bastion of sex education for many young men. This should truly worry society. Society should be extremely concerned about the dangers of porn. Pornography is different for children now than it was twenty years ago. I remember as a young boy porn magazines were popular. Playboy magazines, soft-core porn and hardcore porn on videotape were amongst the most common formats for pornography. The hardcore porn of fifteen years ago would now be considered so soft-core that it pales in comparison to the extremity of the stuff that’s available today. A lot of the popular pornography now available on websites is very degrading; there is a lot of violent (almost “rapey”) porn available and there is a lot of grossly sadistic and unnatural content online. Many boys and men are regular consumers of pornography and therefore they are at risk of becoming pornography addicts and also at risk of developing false perceptions and attitudes towards women. I do believe that this day in age women should really stand together and start making much more noise about the nightmarish terrors of pornography. Sexist topics like the gender pay gap and gender pronoun discrimination are nowhere near as big a threat to women as pornography. Porn is a menace to society, it’s dangerous for men and boys and it’s absolutely horrendous in how it dehumanizes women. In my opinion the evils of porn should be meted out more vehemently by the media, it rarely seems to be highlighted in newspapers or on the radio or television.

Sex Dreams Of The Bleeding Heart Liberal Lefty

Welcome to 2018: Welcome to generation snowflake. Welcome to the age of gender fluidity. Welcome to the housing crisis, the spiraling rents and adults who can’t grow up. Welcome to socialist apologists and a gay prime minister. Welcome to multiculturalism. Welcome to Islamophobia-phobia. Welcome to craft beer and hipster beards. Welcome to Snapchat and Instagram. Welcome to vegans and equal rights activists.

Welcome to the world of the bleeding heart liberal lefty!

Millennials, snowflakes, crash kids; call them what you want for they are the future of this brave new world. The millennial generation encompasses young adults born between 1982 and 2000. They are a dynamic generation of innovative creatives; a generation of tech-savvy cyborgs with a penchant for all-inclusive social policies and late-night parties. They are a generation who have matured into a world that is much more ethnically diverse than the world of their predecessors. The number of people in Ireland who hold dual Irish nationality has increased by nearly 90% since 2012. Foundations such as the Erasmus programme and Educate Together are a feature of modernity that didn’t exist fifty years ago. Nowadays young people are traveling more than their ancestors – making them more culturally aware and open-minded than their grandparents. Mindless racism is not tolerated by the youth of today nor is sexism or homophobia. Millennials have granted women the right to autonomy over their own bodies, they have legalized gay marriage and invented the #metoo movement. We live in interesting times, and, to be part of a world that has freed itself from the shackles and chains of unwarranted oppression is profoundly beautiful! However, on close inspection it may seem that our newfound freedom is beginning to self-cannibalize. Common sense would tell us that equal rights are a good thing, that wrongful discrimination is stupid and that oil and water don’t mix. But then again, Voltaire famously did say that common sense is not so common. Anything done to the extreme becomes a little bit silly be it extreme rightism or extreme leftism. So, could it be that the liberal progression of the modern world has outpaced itself into a realm of not-so-common-sense?

With over two hundred nationalities in Ireland we have become a diversified bunch. Multiculturalism has taken its place all over the world offering people a greater awareness of different cultures. People are expected to be respectful and tolerant of individuals from different backgrounds. However, classism and racism have receded beyond the point of sensibility and into a position where society has become dangerously fearful of inappropriate discrimination. This “fear” of racism is growing so extreme that it now poses a threat to freedom of expression. Recent reports have suggested that a famous character from The Simpson’s (Apu Nahasapeemapetilon) is soon to be axed following accusations of racial stereotyping. Axing Apu from The Simpsons’s might seem silly to some people but it pales in comparison to the fact that an Irish politician (Matthew Waine: Solidarity’s People Before Profit) is opposed to flying the Irish flag in his own constituency. Matthew Waine made a public statement in which he said that the Irish flag is offensive to such an ethnically diverse constituency and he suggested replacing the Irish flag on County Hall, Swords, with the red flag of Marxism and Socialism. Of course, if you object to this notion of handing your country to the world on a plate then your probably a racist; your probably just as much of a racist as the people of Balbriggan who have voiced concerns over the violent African gangs that have been running amok in their neighborhood. Or perhaps your as racist as the pregnant lady who was attacked by African terrorists in Portmarnock on Haloween night (https://www.dublinlive.ie/news/dublin-news/gang-thug-threatens-cut-baby-15380313?_ga=2.15475696.718138690.1541555710-150222216.1519087450) ? Either way, it makes no difference how you feel about these issues because if your feelings don’t fit the all-encompassing “Ireland 2040” package then your bound to be silenced into submission. Such was the case when anti-Islam group Pegida protested in Dublin in February 2016. Pegida protested about their trepidation with regards to the growing number of Muslims in Ireland. Their protest was disrupted by anti-racist aggressors; aggressors who don’t tolerate anybody’s opinion but their own. Yet conveniently, Islamhobia-phobists often fail to mention the presence of 150 I.S. terrorists that are now allegedly residing in Ireland.

In our world where everybody is equal no matter what their skin color, age or ability, women are certainly no different. In a society where women compete and succeed in sports and professions of every distinction it is hard to imagine a world where women are seen as inferior to men. That world does exist albeit only in Islamist states where women must conceal their bodies and face death if they commit adultery. Thankfully though, our western world seems much more civilized and equitable. However, in our modern state of hypersensitivity one must always remember to refine themselves and remain reticent while discussing certain topics with women. One slip of the tongue can see a man wind up in serious trouble courtesy of an upset woman. Newstalk broadcaster George Hook found himself suspended following a somewhat recent discussion about a rape trial. “Is there no blame to the person who puts themselves in danger?” After asking that question he was castigated immeasurably. Many people would have been happy to see the back of him forever. Would the outcome have been the same if he rephrased his question and instead asked “if you put your hand in the fire might you not get burnt?” Maybe George Hook deserved the penalty he received, maybe he didn’t. Or maybe it would be best if people just avoided sensitive conversations with women altogether?

Non-offensive conversation is turning into a skill that requires much discipline. Canada has recently made the art of non-offensive conversation even more tricky by introducing new gender pronoun laws. The passing of Bill C-16 in Canada means that people can be accused of hate crimes and fined for misuse of gender pronouns. There has already been a case in which a teacher was suspended for accidentally referring to a transgender student as a girl rather than a boy. Just imagine how difficult it must be to engage in non-offensive conversation with a “gender fluid” individual in Canada. Gender fluid people change their sex whimsically and they don’t need definitive genitalia to define their sex. A gender fluid individual who has a penis can define himself as male one day and as female the next. In other words; gender fluidity (which is now a real thing!) is an outright denial of robust objective reality. At such a rate of “snowflake” progression we might soon be living in a world where blue is green and water is air, a world where 2+2=5 because “4” will be deemed to be too offensive.

Financial problems and the shambolic housing crisis are amongst the most worrying difficulties affecting the people of Ireland today. Though of course in our current climate of “extreme” equality it is only fair to disperse these burdens of the country equally amongst everybody no matter how hard you work (or don’t work). Just as men are equal to women and Chinese people equal to Italian people so too are employed people to unemployed people. This is why Budget 2019 is most beneficial to people on social welfare and least beneficial to people in full-time employment. It’s comforting to know that your poor little neighbor who won’t go to work is getting a bigger pay rise than you. It’s even more comforting to know that your poor little neighbor gets his house for free while you go off out to work yourself into debt. It’s great to know that if your poor little neighbor doesn’t like the look of his new house he can always just throw it in the bin and ask for a new one that fits his standards. This explains why traveller families recently refused to inhabit a brand new housing development in Tipperary because there was no stables included for their horses. The development of five-bedroom and three-bedroom homes in Tipperary cost €1.7 million. As a generation of softies it breaks our hearts to see poor people refused the right to free horse stables. It also broke the heart of the nation when the media recently bombarded us with the story of a homeless mother who slept overnight in a police station with several of her children. Oddly enough the media didn’t report as much about the fact that Margaret Cash had already refused social housing and there wasn’t much reported about her Facebook profile in which she brags about the fact that she goes drinking and has never worked a day in her life. It’s heart-breaking to know that her social welfare benefits pay more than most full-time jobs, the poor woman! One wonders does it break the hearts of the liberal lefties when they hear about the 52% tax rate paid by the hard-working self-employed people of Ireland?

Thankfully we don’t live in a society which sees innocent black people hanged and crucified by the Ku Klux Klan. Thankfully we don’t live in a society where women are disenfranchised. Thankfully we don’t live in a society where violence towards homosexuals is acceptable. Thankfully we don’t live in a country where poor people are compelled to live without a roof over their heads. However, have we become a little bit too extreme in our endeavors to create all-encompassing equality?

Is it racist to acknowledge the threat of terrorism in a world where terrorist attacks have become the norm? Is it sexist to suggest to women that they should be careful when playing with fire? Is it cruel to suggest it a bad idea for one to produce seven children while in receipt of social welfare and permanent unemployment? In an ideal world it would be safe to fall down drunk on the street with your knickers down around your ankles and your skirt up over your head. In an ideal world we would all be able to afford palatial homes. In an ideal world there would be no such thing as a suicide bomber. In an ideal world the sun would be shining and everyone would be merry and jolly, we’d be rich and beautiful, everybody would be having great sex, we’d all drive fast cars and go first-class globetrotting hand in hand to pet the tigers and cuddle the bears, we’d swim with the killer whales and great white sharks. But unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, or do we?

Roy Riley

An ordinary man can live a life full of extraordinary events for there is nothing truly ordinary about being ordinary.

Chapter 1

Once upon a time in a magical place called Dublin, there lived an ordinary boy by the name of Roy Riley. Roy was a wonderful boy. He didn’t become famous nor did he fly to the moon, he simply lived by the hand he was dealt in a decent working class area of Dublin. What made Roy wonderful was the fact that he was kind, friendly, genuine, charitable and so on. He was an individual of strikingly good character.

Roy’s story begins in the mid 1990’s when he was born in a hospital in Dublin’s city centre. His father was serving a sentence in prison at the time of his birth and his mother was a chaotic drug addict. Not surprisingly, Roy was given up for adoption almost as soon as he was born. After spending the first year of his life in an orphanage, Roy was adopted by Paul & Mary Riley. Paul and Mary had nothing but unconditional love for their newly adopted baby boy. They were two lovely people and there wasn’t one little orphan in the world that could have dreamed of a better family. Paul worked in a slaughterhouse and Mary worked part-time in the local newsagent. Together they brought home a modest income, an income sufficient enough to support themselves and their new baby boy. As Roy grew up he graduated from the local crèche to the local primary school. He mixed well with his peers. He was fun and playful.

One of the first dramatic life changing events that happened in Roy’s life was an event that took place when he was five years old: It was a fine summer’s day and Roy was playing in his back garden while his stepdad was mowing the lawn. Roy’s stepdad often told him not to tamper with the lawnmower as it was dangerous. When Roy’s stepdad popped into the house for a drink, Roy became overwhelmed with curiosity surrounding the wonders of the humming lawnmower. As nobody was looking, he decided to throw caution to the wind and in doing so he initiated contact with the lawnmower. He trimmed a bit of grass before deciding to investigate the underside of the mower. He stuck his hand underneath the lawnmower. The noise went “ssspllaatcvhhhkkkkggchh.” His hand splattered into splinters and he howled with incredulous shock. He pulled the mangled remnants of his hand out from under the lawnmower and just as the gouts of blood painted his face red he fainted only to later wake up in the hospital alive and well. He had survived albeit one hand short of a pair. His stepdad had managed to wrap him up in a towel and get him to the nearby hospital where they did all they could for him. He would grow up to have a stump where his left hand once was.

Chapter 2

Roy developed into an optimistic child despite his handicap of having only one hand. He had lots of good friends who loved and respected him. Unfortunately, he did find himself on the receiving end of some bullying from time to time yet his character was so courageously strong that he never renounced his faith in the infinite good of man. He hated the few bad eggs that victimized and humiliated him but the love and support of his friends and step-parents always provided reassuring refuge whenever it was needed.

Hitherto, Roy had formed a wonderful bond with his step-parents, especially his stepfather Paul. Roy really was the apple of Paul’s eye. Paul was a good man and he transferred his benevolent philosophies unto Roy. He taught Roy about the importance of love and positivity and the power of kindness and generosity. Roy was fond of animals and so, on his 11th birthday, Paul gave him the pleasant surprise of a pet guinea pig for a birthday present. It was a beautiful birthday, words really couldn’t describe how happy Roy was to receive such a blessing. Of course, he would go on to love and care for his pet guinea pig with great care and tenderness.

The night after his 11th birthday, Roy chatted with his step-parents before feeding his guinea pig and going to bed. It was a regular school night. However, something went “bump” in the middle of the night! Roy was awakened by the tumultuous sounds of banging, smashing and shouting downstairs. He could hear his stepdad arguing with two voices that he didn’t recognize. The commotion sounded intense. He sat up in the bed as the fear and adrenaline rushed through his gut. At that point, his stepmother burst into his room in a state of panic. She was visibly shaken although she made her best efforts to pacify the situation and she told Roy that everything was fine and that his stepdad was just chatting to a couple of old friends who had arrived to their house drunk. Only seconds later did the noise die down, the denouement was marked by the sound of footsteps scurrying out the door and into the night. Mary told Roy to stay in bed, she was going downstairs to see if Paul had run out the front door with the guests who had scarpered off. What she saw at the foot of the stairs shocked her to the core. The door was wide open and there lay Paul covered in a pool of his own blood, the color draining from his body. The house had been burgled in the middle of the night and Paul had found himself in a scuffle with the two intruders. In an act of desperate fatality, one of the intruders had taken a sharp knife from the kitchen and stabbed Paul sixteen times in the chest, neck and back. The injuries sustained were enough to kill him instantly. Mary’s scream of horror and the ineffable image of his mutilated stepfather became the stuff of Roy’s nightmares from thereon.

Chapter 3

Time went by; the murderous burglars were caught by police and were duly dealt their dose of justice. Mary never got over the death of her husband, but, herself and Roy were able to help each other through the toughest of times. After Roy turned eighteen he inherited a six-figure sum of money courtesy of his late stepfather. This was because Paul had life insurance as well as some savings in the bank. Despite all the hardships he had been through, Roy managed to do well on his leaving cert and he got his place in a college down the country, he went on to study Science.

Roy started college in September. Two nights before he started his course, there was a party in his house to celebrate the beginning of a bright new chapter in his life. All of his great friends attended the party, most of them were heading off to college too, most of them were going their separate ways in life but of course they all planned to stay in touch and meet up regularly. Roy felt blessed to know such lovely people as his friends and stepmother. By this stage in his life he was all too mindful of the fact that the world was full of contemptible ruffians. Sometimes, he would feel a little bit dejected when wondering why there was so much malice in the world but then he would count his blessings and remind himself that there’s no point in dwelling on negativity because, in his belief, justice always prevailed and the good of the world far outweighed the bad.

Mary was overwhelmed when she waved goodbye to Roy on his first day of college. He took a train to the west of Ireland to begin his new venture. He’d be home every second weekend and of course for breaks and holidays. He stayed in touch with his friends and met up with them every so often. Roy made lots of new friends in college, he was liked by his peers and he loved the freedom and the social activities that he discovered in college. He really enjoyed Thursday nights at the student bar. There was fun and games at the student bar every Thursday night; pub quizzes, karaoke, musical chairs etc. Around Easter in his first year of college he attended a speed dating event at the student bar. The event was great banter and to his pleasant surprise he struck up some good vibes with a third year nursing student named Alice Stone. Alice was reasonably attractive; with her dyed hair and tongue piercing she had an air of playfulness and sexiness about her. At first, Roy was a little bit shy around her. Apart from missing a hand he was a very attractive man but he had never yet experienced a relationship so it took him a while to ease up and relax. Alice was friendly and solicitous towards Roy, they vibed well together and from then onwards began seeing each other.

Roy fell madly in love with Alice. The chemistry between the pair was invigorating and Roy had never been more happy. His friends were all delighted to see him doing so well for himself. His state of contentment was a pleasant reminder that good things come to those who deserve it. After just eighteen months of dating, Roy got down on one knee and popped the question. Alice embraced his proposal and soon thereafter a date was set for the big wedding.

Chapter 4

Eight months after she put the ring on her finger Alice Stone became Mrs Alice Riley. The months which preceded the wedding were exciting but Roy’s stepmother had an uncomfortable sentiment regarding her stepson’s hasty decision to get married. Mary felt as if Roy was a little bit vulnerable to the paranormal effects of girls such as Alice. Mary felt as if her stepson was inexperienced in the field of relationships and she had a feeling that Alice had been more promiscuous before she met Roy. Although Roy’s friends were happy to see Roy feeling so joyous, they too were beginning to feel an undercurrent of apprehension surrounding Roy’s relationship status.

Mr and Mrs Riley enjoyed a luxury cruise for their honeymoon. They wined and dined and made love every night. When they came home from their honeymoon, Roy started his final year in college and Alice took a full-time job as a nurse in the west of Ireland, close to the college. By this stage Alice had finished college and the couple had started renting a nice little bungalow together. Roy attended class and studied in the evenings whereas Alice worked varying shifts from week to week. Alice suggested that it would be best for Roy if he were to focus lots of attention on studying for his finals, she propounded the notion that if they worked hard for a few months then the celebrations to come would be even more satisfying. In order to prevent herself from distracting Roy, Alice opted to work evening shifts and night shifts more often. The couple knuckled down to their work/study schedules and after a while, when the pair did find time for intimacy, Roy noticed that Alice became less interested in lovemaking; she was often either too tired or overworked. Of course, Roy was as trusting and compassionate as a man could be so he thought it best to give his wife as much personal space as she needed. He just couldn’t wait until the day of his final exam, he had planned to book a beautiful holiday in the sun for the summer that followed the end of his studies.

The day finally came when Roy finished college. It was another immensely proud moment for himself, his wife, his friends and his stepmother. To top it all off he had booked the holiday for himself and Alice and they were all set to fly out to Costa Rica the following week. At the celebrations for the final exams, Roy and Alice posed for photos; they smiled, hugged and kissed. To the naked eye they were an adorable couple, madly in love. However, Roy’s friends noticed that Alice took a lot of toilet breaks at the celebrations, and, they noticed that she spent a lot of time texting people on her phone. They brought this to Roy’s attention and expressed concern when he told them that they had spent a minimal amount of time interacting during the months prior to the exams. Roy explained to his friends that the purpose of their time-off together was for the sake of maximizing his academic potential. Eventually, Roy got angry with his friends and ordered them to stop intruding on personal matters that were none of their business. The expression of anger was something that Roy had never shown before, it surprised his friends.

The day of the Costa Rica holiday came closer and closer and Roy was buzzing with excitement. However, he noticed that Alice was growing nervous and she didn’t seem so energetic. The penny dropped two nights before the holiday, Alice came clean and confessed the truth. It was to transpire that Alice would not be going to Costa Rica with Roy, instead, she would be packing her bags to leave Roy and move in with her long-term affair partner who she had been seeing since shortly after she married Roy. His friends and his stepmother were right when they smelt a rat – Alice had been a black widow, she had made a fool out of Roy and in filing for divorce she was entitled to take half of Roy’s money. The inheritance funds received from his stepfather were to be split, a considerable sum was to be transferred into Alice’s personal bank account. Alice dealt her blow swiftly and within no time she was living in England with her new lover.

Heartbroken, humiliated and crushed beyond repair was what Roy was feeling. He howled in pain internally and externally for months on end. He howled in hopeless agony, he lost his appetite, he lost weight, he fell ill and got pneumonia that winter. He was well and truly broken beyond repair.

Chapter 5

Roy moved back in with his stepmother. He couldn’t bring himself to seek employment as he was too despondent after Alice had left him. He spent his days bedbound; his mind constantly shrouded in a cycle of negativity. He mused over the purpose of life, he wondered why such horrible things could happen to nice people. He told himself that life must be utterly purposeless, that their could be no God. The only glimmer of benevolence he could see was that which existed in his stepmother and his few good friends who always stood by his side. To him, nobody else in the world mattered and nobody else would ever matter.

One day, amidst a dose of lethargy came a burst of energy, a burst of ecstasy. Without thinking too much Roy sprung up out of bed and commuted into Dublin’s city centre. He relayed everything to himself in his head to make sure he hadn’t forgotten anything; he had tidied his room, left all his possessions behind and written his heartfelt goodbye to his stepmother and his friends. He had left his farewell letter on top of his bed and he had read it and reread it to make sure it animated his imperishable love for his stepmother and his friends. In his letter, he apologized for the early departure but assured his readers that he was slipping out to a better place.

On O’ Connell bridge he popped himself up onto the ledge and tied a fifteen kilogram dumbbell around his stumpy arm, he had grown to hate his stumpy arm. With the weight fastened he looked up to the sky and saw one last glimmer of light in a world of darkness – a trait he had been known for. He smiled blissfully and reclined until he splashed into the River Liffey, sinking into the eternal abyss of non-existence.