Digested Week: Holidays Exist to Remind Me Why Schools Exist | Zoe Williams

Monday

I started the holiday the traditional way, arguing with my 14 year old son. That’s why holidays exist, by the way, to remind you why high school exists, which is to let someone else piss off your kids for six hours so you can go about your usual occupations without irritating anyone. so much.

Sometimes these rows work pretty well for me. Well, once: I said that hurricanes are named in alphabetical order. With an elaborate disdain that is still, 10 weeks later, delicious to me, he skimmed through every letter between “D” and “U” before I casually mentioned that Eunice starts with E.

Anyway he claimed May Day was a religious ceremony, and I said it was actually International Workers Day, and we were both wrong – major religions hate equinoxes and ribbons, and anything that might turn into an orgy, but the celebrations started centuries before the organized labor – but I didn’t let that detract from my quest, which is to remind her of submission.

We used to spend the day protesting, me and his aunt, I said, and he said “protest what“, as if nothing politically bad ever happened in the olden days, and OK, fine, he’s right. That was in the early 2000s, when zero-hour contracts didn’t exist, and the minimum wage had just been introduced, and I think most likely we were fighting globalization and the IMF, although what I mostly remember is seeing the actor Anna Carteret on the way to Trafalgar Square, and were stunned, because you really wouldn’t think of Juliet Bravo as a debt-jubilee type person.

It was that year or the year after that the police started stunning people, and my sister escaped after no more than 15 minutes pretending to have a kidney infection, but I have when even managed to tell my child because we had both been arrested fighting The Man. He had only been half listening since the beginning, and at this point I only had a third of his attention. But it’s part of my plan. One day, I will have given him so many anecdotes, superfluous information and mixed exaggerations that he will be unable to tell the difference between me and Rosa Luxemburg.

Prince William and Mel B: ‘Me too, I really really want to zig a zig ah’. Photography: Yui Mok/PA

Tuesday

Photos from the Met Gala, the quintessential postmodern event: Layer upon layer of people arriving, then arriving further afield, but are they really arriving? Or is it like the layers of an onion, and at a standstill, more onion?

The guests were judged on two criteria: did or didn’t they kill, which means “look good” in TikTok. And did they understand the mission, which was “golden glamour”? It’s a lot more complicated than it looks, and you can’t just google to find out what Vogue says (although if it did, you’d be thinking New York between 1870 and 1890; you think embellishment and high structure; or you’d think Rockefeller and Vanderbilt and just apply a very thin mustache). Beneath the literal lies a silent, far more stressful brief that must overshadow anyone who knows how to use Google.

Last year, all eyes were on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who “taxed the rich” in her stunning meringue wedding dress. It was such a magnificent provocation. Half the nation exploded in “how much was a ticket to the gala, huh?” HUH?”, and “if she’s so radical, how come she can afford clothes?” The growl of indignant heartburn could be heard across the world.

So it was a tough act to follow, and no one this year came close. Cara Delevingne sprayed herself in gold, Kim Kardashian starved herself for weeks to look nothing like Marilyn Monroe, and Naomi Campbell adorned herself in jewelry, but neither took the crown.

And so the night’s theme was correctly observed, perhaps for the first time in the nearly 75-year history of the gala: “The Golden Age” was coined by Mark Twain, of course, in a novel depicting a torn society held together by a superficial layer of economic growth. Making it disguised is too much for one person to do and must be a collective effort: there is no “me” in satire.

Wednesday

The full human ramifications of the leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade and criminalize abortion for American women will take months and years to unfold. But the impact was felt immediately, across the world, as issues that had previously been a matter of settled humanity were suddenly up for grabs.

A Today show host wondered if women really need abortions when adoption exists; the Times newspaper decided that this judgment was good, in fact, because it really showed the disadvantages of a written constitution, the ultimate impact of which was to put the lives of millions of people in the hands of nine fundamentalist judges not elected and now predominantly Christian. I have heard people argue for reproductive autonomy on the grounds that having an abortion is a decision no one takes lightly, as if the last 60 years – during which we have painstakingly established that it is not no one else’s business, whether you do it lightly or not – had never happened. I’ve heard too many people to count describe it as a “women’s problem,” as if unwanted pregnancies are a niche concern, like nail polish, that men can just skate over. I’ve read people say that it was all the fault of trans activists, for reasons that slipped from one bad faith proposal to another. It was like a discursive slick, the clarity obscured, polluted all at once.

The situation is indeed serious for American citizens, who have a fight to fight. But the contest is quite different in the UK, where the number of people opposing reproductive rights is extremely low and has been for years. Besides the obvious task of international solidarity, our essential job now is to remember that a few fanatics, gambling with people’s lives for cheap rhetorical advantage, should not be allowed to set the temperature of the nation.

Thusday

It was polling day, and so it was dog day outside the polling stations. I left a dog in front of every booth I went to, even when I had to borrow one. I left young dogs and old dogs, other people’s dogs, dogs that could be left sitting safely, calmly, off leash, and dogs that could happily be tethered to other dogs. , but since 2017 I’ve had the worst dog in the world, and that’s a completely different proposition.

He is a bolter, a fan of people, especially children, adults and anyone in high visibility, and an inveterate hater of all other dogs, especially large ones but also many small ones. In 2017 an incompetent tether meant he entered primary school, I guess he expected to find kids there. It turned out that not everyone liked dogs. Oh, the chaos. If I had actively tried to suppress the votes, I couldn’t have done better. In 2019 he took a tied up Labrador in the face and when I walked out of my doomed vote he was screaming an air of hate that was like a metaphor for our splintered politics.

This year, my Mr. and I now aware of the antics of the dog, we voted in relay, one waiting outside permanently to ensure that he does not spoil the election.

Boris Johnson arrives with his dog Dilyn at Methodist Hall in central London to vote in the local elections.
Boris and Dilyn: “It’s a red lead in the polls.” Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Friday

By the end of the week, TalkTV, the scourge of the woke liberal left, had hit rock bottom, with Piers Morgan losing 80% of its audience and political editor Tom Newton Dunn airing a show on Tuesday that recorded precisely no viewer. . As Shakespeare said, “the worst is not/as long as we can say it is the worst”, which I think for simplicity can be paraphrased: you haven’t hit rock bottom for that Piers is still talking.

No one could accuse Morgan of not being prepared: he spent the next few weeks giving wokery interviews, tweeting about woke waffle, generally allowing woke to live so freely in his head, while diverting so much attention from us, that I wonder if there’s a way for us to start loading rent to him. He covered revival in the RAF and brought in actor Brian Cox, another scourge of revival, to lament revival. So many complaints are opaque: they are very loud, for people who claim to have been silenced; and therefore extremely visible, for people who have been canceled. But the plagues are going to be scourged, I suppose.

Yet this nagging philosophical problem remains: if Piers really gives voice to the voiceless, why aren’t they watching? What does the silent majority do instead? Do they all take an evening class?

Boris Johnson stands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as they review a guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony in Westminster, London.
Fumio Kishida and Boris Johnson: ‘I don’t need a haircut, he needs a haircut. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/AP

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