Fandango’s Provocative Question (5 January 2021)

Today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:

Is jealousy purely a negative and potentially destructive emotion, or does jealousy have any value as a motivator to drive people to improve themselves?

Isn’t jealousy negative pretty much by definition? Here’s what the Cambridge English dictionary has to say:

a feeling of unhappiness and anger because someone has something or someone that you want.

Unhappy? Anger? That sounds pretty negative to me.

But I see what the question is saying. I think it is important to compare yourself, because it’s the only way you know you’re getting better. If you’re Mo Farah, it might be important to compare yourself against others, so you can come away with the gold medal, but for most of us, we’re just happy to compare ourselves against ourselves.

When I was cycling, I used to do this. I’d record my time over a course and hey, a year later I found I’d rode it faster. If we’re trying to lose weight, we’ll weigh ourselves from time to time, just to make sure we’re going in the right direction…

Having had the stroke, my walking was slow and I got out of breath quickly. Still do, but I’ve learnede to cope with it better. But one of my favourites was to walk from home to the bus stop – a set “course” (I remember measuring it once but I’m buggered if I can remember what it is – about half a mile, I think). I timed myself on my phone every year or so. Just to see that timegoing down. Exactly what I used to do when I cycled – it’s amazing how much being a cyclist has helped me recover from this. But, how long it would take Mo Farah to cover that distance – who cares?

Teen Idol

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 6 January 2021, epitome.

He bought exery new album she sold,
At her concert, was there big and bold,
The epitome,
Of her best devotee,
Exceot he was forty years old.

We all know ’em!

As Still As…

I’ve seen a few posts fly past, obviously responses to a prompt, discussing statues. I tracked this back to A Guy Called Bloke’s Weekend Quickie of a few days ago. Since I’d looked it up, the part of the post which interested me was:

What’s your stance on statues […]?

…where Rory is presumably referring to the removal of statues that people find offensive.

I fully agree that many of the subjects of these statues are, indeed, offensive.

But, do you know, my biggest fear on this one is that we will one day have a generation of people who believe that these events did not happen. That something as big as slavery, for example… did not happen. So I think that statues are best left in place, to serve as reminders. Even if they do happen to offend us.

That couldn’t happen, I hear you say. Well, there is a small-but-vocal section who would deny that something like the Holocaust happened. An event where there are still, just about, living memories, not to mention libraries full of evidence.

And, in the UK in the Nineties, we introduced a National Curriculum. Which is, in effect, controlling what pupils learn, centrally. What if, one day, the holocaust-deniers became in charge of the National Curriculum? Would children still learn about Auschwitz? There are already critics in the UK who will tell you that this already happens – that the UK glosses over some of its more inconvenient truths in favour of flag-waving events. A dose of Dunkirk, anyone? But, please don’t mention our role selling arms to the Saudis to use in Yemen.

Again, if you think that could never happen, just look at some of the extremists who have been elected – i.e. gained power by totally fair means – in recent years. Couldn’t it?