I don’t want to eat cockroaches. Just, no. And yet! A story popped up this week of cockroach farms in China housing a billion cockroaches which consume restaurant food waste, are then ground up and used as high-protein animal feed. Those familiar with the film Snowpiercer will be acquainted with the jellified nutrient bars of the future for human consumption, and I realise it’s feasible and probably quite practicable, but I want to opt out. Give me almost anything else. Except olives, can’t do olives. Or coffee, that smells. All the stuff of nightmares in Chez Reed.
I’ve been reading a few things this past fortnight, an eclectic mix of meditation, overt drug use, classic literature and social inequality. Calm no matter what by Paul Wilson welcomed daily meditation back into my life and Bronte’s Wuthering Heights so far offers a maudlin, frustrating affair of ‘he said, she said’. I suppose there’s something in the writing that makes one so emotionally intertwined with the novel, even if it’s with vehement wish that all the characters die suddenly in some kind of caustic olive-coffee-cockroach timebomb. Thinking I was going to need a ‘fix’ to get me through the book, this has been quashed by William S Burroughs Junky scaring away any scintilla of interest, especially as the audacious 1950’s novel is based on real-life-experience by the Naked Lunch author. Who knew that if junkies blow their arm veins, they can often find success injecting between the toes? Ouch!
However, on a lighter and less toe-curling note, the book on social inequality is a tour de force of ‘wow’. The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better is ridiculously good. There are many, many charts, but these are simple to understand and use United Nations statistics, rather than a dartboard and the Trumpian guidebook to horseshit. An excerpt: If a country does badly on health, you can predict with some confidence that it will also imprison a larger proportion of the population, have more teenage pregnancies, lower literacy scores, more obesity and worse mental health scores. Additionally, more equal societies have a greater sense of public responsibility and trust, recycle more, produce less carbon emissions and have less homicides. And if that wasn’t enough, more equal societies work less hours per week. Convinced yet? Read this book, it’s amazing.
Surprisingly Australia and New Zealand often come out middling to bad, the UK is awful, and the USA are setting records in being reprehensible. They’re so terrible they should, and often are, held in contempt. The Scandewegians and Japan are far ahead, showing that if you invest in universal healthcare, good education and fundamentally a more equal society, it is beneficial to the entire country not just those less well off. A rising tide of equality, basically. Who would have thought that short-termism and constant tax-cuts to service the rich and fuck the unknowing poor into a coma would benefit society?
In other news, as Australia waltzes out of winter with a spring in its step, protests against wearing a mask happen every weekend, raising much needed coffers to pay back country debt. Get out their people, protest like your life depends upon it! Which it doesn’t, it’s the antithesis of that. Meanwhile across the rather large pond, American jurist, equal rights campaigner and all around good-egg Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away this week, finally succumbing on her fifth battle with cancer. Talk about tenacious! With her avarice for life in mind, I shall get outside into the sunshine. Since my hair is long and I’m wearing a mask and glasses, I’m entirely dependent upon the bridge of my nose to soak up as much Vitamin D and energy as it can. Otherwise I may have to look at those protein and health shakes to make up the shortfall, which have very recently become far less appealing.
Writing and writing...