When our soldiers and sailors were packed off towards The Falklands, I assumed they were off to make war that ‘we’ could win. I’d seen the Argentinian armed forces degraded over a few years and doubted they could put much of a fist up. I’d seen the usual BBC drivel that they had a massive air force (remember?), but also remembered then that we’d been told of massive Soviet forces, massive Arab armies surrounding Israel and been brought up to believe in the massive superiority of Axis forces as a kid. All the stuff I’d been brought up to believe and actual history had turned out to be in total mis-match. When told (by the BBC) about Saddam’s massive forces, my statistical brain just didn’t believe any of it. I was in Bahrain at the time, and knew from the build up around there that the war was going to be real long before it was officially sanctioned by the sexed-up propaganda. Too much money was being spent and the soldiers I met knew their exercises were dangerous.
Most people don’t suffer from memory like me. A good way to find out about the memories of others is to try teaching. I know I can get most non-maths undergraduates to retain some quite complex ‘summing ability’ in class – and that most of this is gone the following day. Most stuff crammed into our more academic people is gone in a few months. Amazing, given what we know in research, that we still teach the way we do.
What I notice, suffering from my memory plague, is that nothing much is changing, other than where memory really matters in areas like technology development. Here, the ‘memory’ is largely held extra-somatically. We refer, rather confusingly, to this as embodied knowledge. It’s not that I don’t see change – I just don’t see it in people and human affairs other than as changes technology brings to what we can manipulate. Over-simplifying to the extreme, our environment changes in knowledge and memory, but we hardly do.
Real change, for me, is scientific – the alleged creativity industry just keeps hacking out the same old shit. Pop videos are clearly just soft porn and if you we bothered, you could hack out the tunes and an arrangement on your PC. Not only is all this just more of the same old crap with new ‘faces’ (very polite!), the stuff is in the news today much as Elvis’ pelvic moves were, or PJ Proby’s arse. A review has concluded they are over-sexualised! Tighter regulations are threatened, with an 18 month voluntary code of practice period. One might imagine, here, a Shakespearian audience rolling in the aisles on every mention of a word with ‘cun’ in it, and the old joke on ‘if Typhoo put the ‘T’ in Britain, who put the cunt in Scunthorpe’. They once banned ‘Multiplication’ by Bobby Darren. So much for one of the ‘three ‘Rs’ then!
Most of us must not have ‘memory’ – otherwise they wouldn’t be able to lie to us so easily or entertain us with such facile rot, repeated over and over in eternal return. I know how they do it and have come to feel lately is that all I can do is write down the secrets of the Undead to help a future hero vanquish them. Bugger! It’s been done! Curse that memory!
I’ve just seen a claim on the News that a council believes their traffic wardens must be getting things right owing to the lack of appeals against tickets. Last time I did this, it cost me £150 to contest a £30 ticket. I won – but there was no sanction on the lying bastards who ticketed me and prosecuted despite the yellow lines not being drawn where I parked (as for years) until a week after the actual incident! It was the Council’s own picture that demonstrated the absence of the yellow lines. I’d have got off on a technicality anyway – though would not have appealed on this.
The reason we have contracts is that people ‘forget’ their promises. Time to have them with our political crowd? Bolton Council expected me to have a future memory of their yellow lines. Their staff committed perjury and a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Would they have done this if parking tickets still meant easy recourse to a court? I winder what our collective memory of fair treatment is now? From parking tickets to war?