When I attended TEDxAmsterdam last year, we were bestowed with a very nice gift bag. Most of it was quickly devoured on my way home (Great Fair-Trade chocolate!!) or distributed amongst my friends (I don’t have a bath or a washing machine, so all those salts and environmentally safe washing gadgets were useless)… Books were read and DVD’s put on the giant stack of unwatched films.
This morning while waiting for my Phone to be delivered, I finally popped in the DVD they shoved in there. It was The Yes Men Fix The World. I’m usually not one for watching documentaries. It’s not that I don’t like them… It’s just that I enjoy fiction so much more… and also, when watching them I usually am overcome by this feeling I could do much more to make this world a better place… except that I know I really can’t. And then I get a bit down.
But this morning it didn’t seem to bother me that much. The film had been staring from the bottom (it’s fascinating how they always end up there) of the stack at me for weeks now… and I wasn’t having it anymore.
With one decisive move I threw it in, turned it on and never looked back. It was really good and funny… and yes… It did make me realize that I am not really doing that much to change the world… Not enough anyways. One can recycle as much as one wants… but that is like bringing a bucket of clean water to Africa and thinking you’re helping an entire continent…
Not so much.
Sometimes I wonder if I should go into politics. I mean…. I like arguing a LOT. Also, I think I understand and enjoy the game… I have a basic grasp on what should change and how the economy influences things… But right now, I really don’t believe in anything. I’m not sure where I stand on the political spectrum… or on anything really. I’m trapped between moral relativism and nihilism. I believe in everything and nothing, depending which way the wind blows.
I used to be fairly left wing, then I became a Libertarian and now I’m sort of moving back to a liberal leftie…
Truth is… I don’t know how to fix the world…
No one does. Especially not the politicians. Democracy is getting stuck in a spiral of empty soundbites. No one takes a long term view, too scared to lose any votes. Any statement that is made is either populists or conservative… and preferably both. The real issues like our environment, overpopulation, the huge global (and growing national) economic inequalities, our oil dependency, a large group of badly integrated radical immigrants, not to mention the power the corporations have on our government are largely overshadowed by whatever flavour of the day dominates the news cycle…
It seems the politics in the West are not about much anymore. We don’t have to struggle for freedom (yet… We are entering a very interesting time where our freedoms are limited again… and we all are letting it happen…), we don’t have to struggle for food (again… yet), we have a roof over our head, we have clothes on our back and most of us have a job and some savings on their bank accounts. We have nothing to complain about.
So we create issues that are more convenient than the real issues that we do face… (oil dependency anyone). Sure there is a large group of fundamentalist muslim (men) that are a real threat to our society… But they don’t outweigh the majority of great integrated people that just want to live their lives free of prejudice and persecution.
We talk about change. We talk about growth… But mostly it’s just talk.
I gave up on politics when the Dutch Chamber of Commons gathered to have a debate about whether the wife of our prince should be called Queen once he ascends the throne. First of all… Why the fuck was there a debate. His mother is still resting her inbred laurels on that throne with no intention to move… Second of all, and more importantly… Why was there a debate about what to call her?? Why wasn’t there a debate about whether in this day and age we should still have a monarchy.
Why are they still here, using up millions of our tax money. How is that fair? All men are created equal except for the queen and her family who are above the law and get paid to be that. What do we get back. Some good press. Well, it hasn’t been that good. Besides, we live in a democracy. How can we have an UNELECTED leader who can if she so pleases, sack the cabinet. I think they figured out a long time ago that this wasn’t the best idea ever (French Revolution, anyone?? (Though… Sarkozy isn’t exactly a dream come true either… but at least you can blame the majority of the people for that….)).
So, in short… Politics. I kinda lost faith in them… We had a real shot at changing the world with the banking crisis and all we tried to do was get things back the way they were… Wake Up, Fuckheads… We don’t want to go back to how things were… It failed for a reason…
So, perhaps we should hope that with Greece and Portugal and Ireland and Spain crash the entire system… Except that we shouldn’t… Because it only would change for the worse… for those who can least afford it. The upper layers, which include the politicians and all those heads of industry will be fine. They will go on to lie in bed with one another, congratulating each other on how good they look… whilst getting richer over the back of our planet and those who cannot defend themselves.
So, yea… I kinda went off on a bit of a rant there.
And yea, I’ve been thinking about it… Maybe when I am a bit older, and do not feel the need to swear at anyone who doesn’t live up to my (ridiculous) moral standards. For now, I hope I can change the world a bit by changing human perception. I truly believe in the transforming powers of storytelling. Watching Lord of the Rings changed my life… and I hope that some day I can change someone elses life, opinions or ideas… just by telling a really good story.
And what better way to do it than through film…
So, I’ve been struggling with an idea for a story for quite some time now… and when I get to London I will finally put pen to paper and start writing.
PS- I was going to write about the Yes Men and what I thought of them… But I changed my mind… You just got to watch the DVD and see for yourself.