IN HIS NOVEL, Lord of the Flies, William Golding had Piggy say that when we fear someone we hate them. But we pretend that they are alright. Piggy knew that fear is an enemy of sensible thinking and his clever Piggy brain could be made to think differently by his beastly school bully.
But unlike self-aware and precocious little Piggy, most of us can fool ourselves without even knowing. A spot of cherry picking here and there, and we can dissonance the heck out of whatever facts are in front of us.
Everyone wants to talk about their feelings these days. So let’s talk about a big one, fear: who like Piggy are we pretending are alright? Who are we in truth just scared of?
- Big men. Back in the day bigger men could fight us, kill us and take our stuff. Now we have laws, but laws don’t take away that primitive hangover. Black Lives Matter includes a hella lot of cheesed off men who are perceived to be bigger and taller than white men. Best course of action? Get a tee-shirt, take the knee and get on their side. They are alright.
- Transwomen. The peculiar category of activists who are unoperated on and demanding our attention are also often threatening, aggressive, and bullying. They take up space and demand attention. And we give it to them. They are applauded and we tell them they are just so cool. They are definitely alright.
- Suicide bombers. We need to understand where these lunatics are getting the wrong end of the stick. They’re alright really, just confused and simple.
- Serial killers. The bland and business-like serial killer is the thing of nightmares. But with most original stories starting with their rubbish mothers, maybe we’ve found a way of blaming the unscary old woman and not him. He’s not alright now. But he could’ve been.
And who are we not afraid of? Who is definitely not alright?
- Dead women. Women are killed at a rate of two per week in the UK by partners. They are not coming back to threaten us or demand their rights with angry placards. ‘She made me do it’ or ‘I snapped’ are lines which seems to work very well in court. She was demanding or naggy or tarty and was pretty much asking for it. She is definitely not alright.
- Live women. Women are the only protected minority who don’t get their ‘comments moderated in advance’ in the Daily Mail. Throw in any old article to the Daily Mail around a woman, then be prepared for women bashing comments about their greedy, tartiness, entitlement, incompetence or vanity . Replace women with ‘Jews’ or ‘Blacks’ or ‘Gays’? Not on your nelly.
- Vulnerable women. Women in prisons and in safe spaces are not frightening as a group. Violent offenders are rare. Most women are in prison for ripping people off or not paying debt. They have little with which to frighten us and asking women prisoners in Scotland to stay in rooms with men who claim they are one of them, is plenty alright with us.
- Little girls. Flashers used to be a problem what with their weird predilections. Not anymore. We’ve brought them in from the cold and put them in rooms with little girls. And it’s okay. Little girls are not frightening, not even en masse. No taking the knee for them.
In the novel, our true and wise Piggy didn’t make it and met a grisly end. The angry, baying mob decided that poor, defenceless Piggy was most definitely, not alright. Not like their cool macho leaders. They were just great.
Photo of Piggy from Lord of the flies, courtesy of British Lion Film Corporation