Sunday, July 24, 2016


"Il a l'intelligence d'un cendrier vide."
(Sven Mary avocat belge de Salah Abdesalam)

"He has the intelligence of an empty ash-tray."

Playing with fire 

I loved that role.

I was a fire-raiser invited to act in the Max Frisch play.

I loved playing evil.

I sneered, I spat, I glowered with menace.

I got to smoke long cigars.

I was fourteen.

I was angry.

Resident evil

There is a real carnavale joy in playing evil. 

There is nothing intellectual about it.

It is visceral.
It is viscious.
It is hateful.
It is joyful.

There is real power in the embrace of evil.

Burn, break, destroy.

Senseless, bestial, exhuberant violence.

Kîll the pig. Kill the pig. Kill the pig.

The place of education

I think back to the intelligence of the teacher who cast me in that role, who chose that play. 

How can you possibly understand the anger within you if there is no place to express it safely?

I learnt more thanks to that teacher than any of the others I had.

Thank you Geoffrey Lee.

Thinking of the unthinking.
Thinking of the unthinkable.

I was reading Bonnie Stewart's post

"The spectacle...or Welcome to the handbasket?"

"Spectacle. Power. The fomenting of archaic hatreds, not because one necessarily believes them…but because they’re there"

I was reading Sean Michael Morris' post 

"The place of education."

"It’s impossible to deny we live in frightening times when our country looks at fascism as a viable alternative."

When have times not been frightening?

I am thinking of the complacency of the Biedermann family in the Fire-raisers who allow the arsonists to stay with them.

The Biedermann family's house will burn.

"This dark comedy is set in a town that is being regularly attacked by arsonists. Disguised as door-to-door salesmen (hawkers), they talk their way into people's homes and settle down in the attic, where they set about the destruction of the house. Written in the years following World War II, as a metaphor for Nazism and fascism, the play shows how "normal" citizens can be taken in by evil."

A little less conversation.

I am thinking of the limits of conversation with a football hooligan who wanted to "smash my face in" because I was there.

I was thinking of the limits of conversation with a class of kids I had to teach for whom my success as a teacher was limited to avoiding them smashing each others' faces in, class after class.

The place of education? 

I am thinking of the gap between the depth of discussion witnessed among participants in #digped discussions and that possible with some of the kids I teach. 

The place of education?

I remember reading the anger of an ex-student who after the Nice attack on July 15th suggesting applying medieval torture methods to terrorists on Facebook. I am fairly sure that he wouldn't have shared those words with me face to face in a classroom.

The place of education?

Just under the surface in our societies bubbling up is anger, hatred, violence.

The place of education?

We can not assume that polite conversation between ourselves or with momentarily polite students will be an answer to resolving deeper emotional issues.

We can not assume that people have the intellectual means to engage in constructive discussion.

Perhaps we must find the creative means to enable the expression of anger, hate, violence so that it may be at first recognised and then transformed into something positive for our communities.

What the hell is education for if it doesn't allow us to deal with all our humanity - red in tooth and claw? 

Polite discussion won't suffice.

There are arsonists in the house.

They are determined.

They aren't Guardian readers.

"I'm a firestarter, twisted firestarter,
you're the firestarter, twisted firestarter.
I'm the bitch you hated, filth infatuated."

(Firestarter. The Prodigy)

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