Dear professor Bonfiglio My name is Junior (Jay) Campbell and I am an England-based Barbadian holistic communications and education specialist, trading as Intelek International.
Thank you for sharing your very informative and insightful article, published on the Christian Century website on January 31, under the title “It’s time to rethink our assumptions about where theological education happens.”
It certainly helps to have the details you share about the move of theological training from the local church to seminaries in the year 1563 to help us focus our minds on “what it means to do theological education,” as you put it.
Being no less an empiricist than the celebrated Iraqui-British theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, time-lines locating events and ideas in a chronological order are of great interest and help to me in my personal and professional praxis.
However my personal and professional experience has also convinced me that there’s an undeniable circular and cyclical, or better “spherical” dimension to knowing God, which after all, is what “theology” is about, essentially.
And the distinction I make between a spherical and circular understanding of what it means to “know God” is important because it points to the many-sided, biological or bodily aspect of faith that is one of this blog’s key priorities.
It points to the multi-dimensional, “carnal knowledge” complexity of human communication with God: what in my poem “Communion” (1982), I call “intercourse with the nucleus of reality”.
Some time around 2001, when I first learned about anti-matter, I coined the maxim “Matter matters,” which adresses the issue economically.
And my Caribbean culture influenced reformulation of the seventeenth century philosopher-theologian René Descartes’ famous credo “I think therefore I am”, yielding “I think therefore I jam”, emanates from the same theological tributary.
As the England-born, Canada-based evangelical theologian J.I. Packer might say, it flows from the same stream of divine-human concursus.
I recommend it highly, although I question some of Packer’s assumptions.
I think professor Al-Khalili, an atheist without a religious bone in his body, reputedly, could learn a lot from Packer’s use of physics to explain the complex phenomenon he explores in that pamphlet.
More on that later, perhaps.
My main concern here is to let you know that I have concluded that the most critical component of a theological education is its core content, not the time or place of its delivery.
But I do not say this to detract from your basic point. Indeed, I hope to add to it, liberally.
This should be relatively easy, as you and I seem to agree on issues at the heart of questions you raise. We seem to share some core beliefs.
And I hope the significance of my publishing this open letter response to your article here, on my Kore Belief blog, will resonate as deeply with you and other readers as it resonates with me.
Could there be a better place to analyse the “seismic shift in thinking”, as you put it, about where theological education happens than this blog, which is dedicated to exploring issues at the intersetion of semantics and seismology?
Indeed, taking the view, as I do, that the primary, biblically prescribed site of theological education is the heart of human beings, I cannot think of a better place to publish my belief that the content and site of theological education are fundamentally interdependent.
By publishing here, without having ever met you, nor first contacting you be email, as I contemplated (I did try to reach you by phone though), I pragmatically demonstrate my belief that your and my faiths can be mutually enriched by this kind of public, online engagement.
Moreover, this open letter is an affirmation of my faith in the positive potential of the internet. It signals my belief in the internet’s capacity to facilitate heartfelt bridge-building.
And I persist with this belief despite my first-hand, more than twenty-years and ongoing experience of how cyberspace can be a site of deeply hurtful and damaging misrepresentation and persecution by powerful political and commercial interests based in my native Barbados, in Jamaica, in your country, the United States, in India and other parts of the world.
Despite concerns I share with others about fake news and the conscious or unconscious complicity of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and other publishing platforms in corrupt Barbadian politician Donville Inniss’ and others’ gender, race and religious racketeering crimes against humanity, I believe the internet has the potential to be a key artery of global democracy delivery, and especially of the heart-to-heart information sharing that is the indispensable basis of a democratic theology.
I believe that this heart-based, human bio-psychology dictated, “hyper-localized learning” democratic development matrix subsumes (or should that be supercedes?) your church focused “cathedral model” of theological education because it is what the prominent Old Testament prophet Jeremiah predicts in chapter 31 of the book that bears his name: what he calls a New Covenant.
And I believe Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth incarnated what Jeremiah predicted: that Joshua embodied the Kingdom of God (Greek, basileia Theou) not the church (Greek ekklésia), with its hang-over of synagogue simulating administrative constraints and related literalistic assumptions.
As I explain at length in my book The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled (subsequently TBBTR) and recap briefly here, I believe that the church, like the synagogue of Judaism, distorts Joshua’s message, despite its leaders’ best intentions.
I believe that from the bishops of the second century, down to Pope Francis today, the leadership of institutional Christianity has fudged the meaning of the New Covenant that Jeremiah prophesied, consciously and unconsciously filling his spoken words with their literalistic, administrative, bureaucratic inventions.
And I am reminded here of the words attributed to the author of Hebrews 4:12 traditionally believed to be the apostle Paul: “For the word of God [is] living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges [the] thoughts and intentions of [the] heart.” (English Study Bible)
The scourge of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests currently dominating global news headlines is just one symptom, and perhaps the most tragic one, of Christendom’s almost two millennia long, rational rifts reproducing, excessive dependence on written records triggering tragedy.
Repatriating theological education from seminaries to the church may help repair Judeo-Christianity’s underlying crises of conscience.
But these moral crises go much deeper than the creation of the first seminary during the Council of Trent.
Jeremiah’s New Covenant prophecy gets to the heart of the matter, like iconic Barbadian-West Indian cricketer Malcolm Marshall’s bowling against England, in England, in 1988: the landmark blackwash test match series.
Through this open letter I invite you to help me assert the possibility of a truly exquisite, game-changing black and white beauty.
Jeremiah: a body-line bowler?
In Jeremiah 31:31-33 the writer describes a heart-based, DNA-code-inscription approximating pedagogical process, which he equates with the establishment of a New Covenant between God and the divided, exiled peoples of Judah and Israel.
This landmark passage of scripture reads: “‘Behold, the days come’, saith the LORD, ‘that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them’, saith the LORD: ‘But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days’, saith the LORD, ‘I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them’, saith the LORD: ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.'” (King James Version)
I believe that this deep seeding Judeo-Christian discipleship matrix, to which, incidentally, there are African precursors (for example, the “weighing of the heart” associated with the Egyptian Ma’at Kheru ritual and the ancient and extant Ghanaian Sunsum motion and motivation marrying, metaphysical paradigm) is the indispensable component of a sound, human ecology sustaining theological education.
And I am particularly interested in and emphasize the biological basis and ecological sustainability of this innate, personal autonomy developing theological education because it is key to my understanding of the role of the family, not the church nor the seminary, as the locus of divine-human communion and revelation.
Actually, taking the 31st chapter of Jeremiah as a whole, not just verses 31 to 33, it is clear that the seeding which you rightly note is behind the notion of the seminary, is being represented first and foremost as a heterosexual reproduction based, familial foundation laying, nation building strategy. (You wrote: “The first seminary was not founded until 1563, when it was commissioned by the Council of Trent to serve as a seminarium, or ‘seed bed,’ for clerical training in the Catholic Church.”)
Note that the importance of familial relations is established in verse 1 of chapter 31, which reads: “At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.”
And this familial focus is reiterated in verse 27, as a prelude to the explicit, linguistic “body-line” prophecy of the innate, mystical, UNWRITTEN New Covenant.
And apologies for any offence my shouting-like use of upper case letters to emphasize the difference between WRITTEN and UNWRITTEN things may cause here.
I hope my bouncer-like, body-line use of upper-cutting upper-case letters does not cause you and other readers any distress.
For historical reasons that I outline at length in TBBTR and which I explore briefly below, some people seem incapable of grasping this difference between the “New Covenant” and the “New Testament”, the last 27 books of Christianity’s Bible, without the aid of that kind of visual “voice” raising.
And you may want to view my reference to the controversial, cricketing phenomenon called body-line bowling, characterized by short-pitched, sharply rising balls aimed by bowlers at batsmen’s bodies, as an inspired intervention reflecting how God speaks to and through me.
The usefulness of the term “body-line” to explore familial relations or “blood lines” is also not lost on me.
As my poem “Communion” suggests, God and I communicate intimately.
I certainly know what it is like to be on the receiving end of some of life’s “testing deliveries”, forcing me to my knees or, in cricketing jargon, onto the back foot.
But these tests have brought me closer to God.
They have enhanced my ability to commune with the shaker of kingdoms and shaper of the the cosmos.
And I am not only convinced that this is the quality of communication that God seeks and can have with all human beings, from the greatest to the least of us: I also believe that this kind of individuated communion can be facilitated by the simultaneously concentrated and diffusive potential of internet technology.
We must however be mindful that our dyslexia-like disabilities point to the impotentence of written language, which contrasts with the paradoxical power writing holds over vast segments of Western society, due in large measure to the power of elites who control the mainstream media and the publishing industry.
These elites, who are now seeking to monopolize the internet, are the ideological descendants, to a significant extent, of the decision makers who created the first seminary in the sixteenth century.
But I am primarily concerned here with their more ancient, second century ancestors who have come to be known as the “Church Fathers” and whose dubious, ethically erratic and prophetically pourous legacies are not only evident in the scourge of child sexual abuse among Catholics, but also in patterns of child and adult sexual exploitation that punctuate the activities of Protestant denominations, secular academic societies, trade unions, political parties and similar secular and religious entities that rely excessively on WRITTEN canons and constitutons in their administrative activities.
Empirical evidence, like that available in records of Nazi Germany’s “Positive Christianity”, in the Emmy award-winning Netflix documentary film “Wild, Wild Country”, in the literary and broader, three-dimensional careers of the Marxist feminist Selma James, the Pan Africanist Marcus Garvey and the race racketeering, Nobel-prize winning writer VS Naipaul attests to a cyclical, or better (as previously asserted) spherical pattern of degeneration and renewal in human affairs that Jeremiah’s New Covenant prophecy, with its focus on the innate, obscure dimension of reality can, paradoxically, shed light on for us.
Jeremiah’s prophecy is not about apostololic church planting. It is not primarily about the WRITTEN New Testament or other outward, public, visible facilitators or forms of association and government.
Those environmental, external concerns are assumed and subsumed under the focus on the heart.
The focus of verses 31-33 is biologically based individual autonomy. And the limitations of self-consciousness and moral judgement that are shaped by human anatomy is implied.
Jeremiah, who may well have been illiterate or autistic, is not focusing on biography and the rash, speculative judgement or restriction of imagination that written things can encourage, through the illusory gloss of time transcending clarity and certainty that writing bestows on human language.
This prophecy suggests that were Jeremiah still around when the first theological seminary was created in 1563 he would probably have deplored that development.
And if he were a dyslexic or suffered an autism spectrum disorder affliction (as I suspect the Galilean Joshua, and the prophet Mohammed also may have), had Jeremiah been around in 1439, he might have regarded the invention of the printing press in that year with similar dismay, despite its democratizing potential.
Indeed, I suspect that were he alive today, Jeremiah, would endorse the sound counsel of the tragically deposed twentieth century Ethiopian monarch Emperor Haile Selassie, born of the seed of King David and an heir in the sphere of the Solomonic dynasty, who said: “It is only when a people strike an even balance between scientific progress and spiritual and moral advancement that it can be said to possess a wholly perfect and complete personality and not a lopsided one.”
Informed by his description of the New Covenant, I believe that were he alive today, Jeremiah would invoke the “mystery of Godliness”, as the writer puts it in 1 Timothy 3:16 and as Ephesians 5:31-32 alludes to it, and insist that this “secret of the Kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11-16) is most educationally and progressively expressed in human procreation, and especially in the lessons of heterosexual interdependence and related familial communication dynamics, especially its peaceful conflict resolution teaching prospects.
As I see it, this impregnably pregnant truth is presented not only in the “seeding” references in Jeremiah chapter 31, but also, and more poignantly in the wider, universalist yet particular and nuanced, variable sexual and wider biological identity affirming opportunity for a theological education that the man from Galilee, Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth, incarnated.
The Confusion of the New Covenant with the New testament
As noted above, in your article you say that the creation of the first seminary in the year 1563 “triggered a seismic shift in thinking about where theological education happens.”
According to my understanding of church history, set out in TBBTR, that sixteenth century seismic shift in thinking is best viewed as an aftershock of a little known, but more fundamentally catastrophic, far reaching psychosocial shift in theological education: a psycho-social knowledge shift that is comparable, to the submarine earthquake that triggered the devastating 2004 Boxing Day tsunamis.
I believe that this catalytic seismic-semantic, educational “earthquake”, which remains a largely hidden, little discussed event, occured approximately 1,419 years before the Council of Trent, when a prominent Christian called Marcion of Sinope, the son of a Bishop, initiated the confusion of the content of what Joshua (Jesus) thought and taught with what others had been saying and, more pertinently, WRITING about his thoughts and teachings.
Apparently, according to longstanding scholarly concensus, it was Marcion who in or around AD 144 created the first authoritative list or “canon” of written Christian materials that could be equated with what we know today as the New Testament.
Marcion did not call his list the New Testament though. That was done some years later by another prominent, younger Christian named Tertullian one of Marcion’s main critics.
Tertullian, a North African of Berber descent, is believed to be one of the most prolific Christian writers of the second century.
And his orientation toward literary expression was probably a factor in his confusion of the New Covenant phenomenon with a body of writings that he, writing in Latin, called Novum Testamentum.
But Tertullian appears to have used the term to label an existing list of writings. He did not create a list, so far as I am aware. At least not individually.
He, and others, “merely” advanced the deeply destructive, catastrophic error that Marcion had set in train when he created an exclusive list of eleven written materials on which to base his theological education curriculum.
In so doing, Marcion initiated the catastrophic confusion of the heart-based, UNWRITTEN, spiritual or conscience-oriented phenomenon called the New Covenant by Jeremiah, with what we know today as the New Testament: that is, the last 27 books of the Bible, beginning with the gospel account of Matthew and ending with the apocalyptic book called “Revelation”.
And as I point out in TBBTR, the success of Marcion’s WRITTEN canon as a church seeding and cultivating tool prompted his detractors, who would eventually dominate Christian orthodoxy, to create their own list of authoritive scriptures.
As I note in TBBTR, quoting the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the “proto-orthodox” church leaders, as Bart Erhman calls them, established their own list because “Marcionitic churches had sprang up in alarming numbers” following the introduction of his canon.
And is it not this preoccupation with numbers, a temptation that I struggle with myself as a writer-publisher, that has proven to be a major blight not only to theological education but to all forms of human endeavour?
It seems to me that this politician prone preoccupation with numbers is precisely what the individual accountability dimension of the New Covenant was intended to address.
So, brother Bonfiglio, from my perspective, seeing the confusion of the UNWRITTEN New Covenant with the WRITTEN New Testament as the primary seismic shift in Christian theological thinking, the information you share about the “massive makeover” currently underway as “many mainline Protestant seminaries” seek to refresh and refine their pedagogical offerings “under the pressure of declining enrolment and diminishing budgets” reflects Christians’ perennial failure to address the crisis that Marcion created, with the complicity of Tertullian, Iraeneus and other second century clerics.
And I should note here that the picture you paint gives some context to the rather reprehensible, unfortunate behavior of some persons employed by or linked to the Barbados-based Codrington College, “the oldest seminary in the Western hemisphere”.
Recent and more long-running morally bewildering behavior by some employees and persons linked to the aspirationally secular University of East Anglia (UEA), Birmingham University, the University of Illinois (UofI), the University of the West Indies (UWI) the liberalism preaching British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the global on-demand audio and podcasting distribution platform AudioBoom and other internet-based, knowledge industry trading entities like Facebook, Google, Instagram and Twitter is also put into a helpful commercial-political competition driven context for me.
And I include the secular competitors here in accordance with Intelek’s long established, characteristic insistence on the limited usefulness of the words “secular” and “religious” and similar simplistic, binary labeling.
As indicated previously, one of my primary aims here is to draw your and other readers’ attention to evidences of something very much like “theological education”, or, at least, ideological indoctrination, happening not only in religious seminaries and churches but also in predominantly secular learning contexts.
My interactions with Domino’s Pizza, Lloyds Bank, City College Norwich, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, the Barbados Advocate, the Nation Newspaper, Thani Shoe Shop, Bay Primary School and other Barbados and UK-based entities have all contributed to my “theological education”.
Again, as far as I can tell, “theology”, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as “the study of religious faith, practice, and experience” and “especially: the study of God and of God’s relation to the world” can happen anywhere, at any time.
And as I have also indicated above and elsewhere, my labels transcending, holistic or integrated education focus makes me deeply concerned about the formal and informal “theological” and wider education offerings of a wide array of individuals and organizations, not just seminaries and churches.
It appears that written material can have a cognitive and affective fossilizing effect in all kinds of educational or knowledge trading contexts – a point I have been at pains to make among so-called “secular” academics.
The “gay Jesus” theological activism of the pop music icon Sir Elton John, the deistic (more so than theistic, arguably) daliances of Drake, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Beyonce and other muscians’ uncharacteristic explorations of what we might call a “natural mystic”, in deference to Bob Marley, certainly demonstrates the pourous nature of the walls that ideological empiricists would erect like the theoretical physicist Al-Khalili to protect their turf/theories.
But such “bookish theoric” protectionist behaviour by secular and religious authorities inevitably comes to naught.
“None of them can stop the time,” sang Marley.
I say, none of them can truly stop thought.
I leave you with this poem:
Think How do you measure thought? Let me think. Can you really outline it on paper, as a writer does with ink? Do we really communicate it in the spoken world? Plato might say that idea is absurd. We measure thought in deeds of thoughtfulness. A true thought may be more But it is certainly no less.
Below is a copy of a letter I have shared with a number of Parliamentary Select Committees in response to what seem to be attacks upon my character and professional reputation by persons employed by or affiliated with the University of East Anglia (UEA).
The letter has also been copied to friends and business associates whose prayers and wider support I am counting on in the days ahead, as I face one of the most cynical, rapacious and reckless adversaries I may have encountered to date.
Instead they seem to be conspiring to have the UEA and the podcasting platform Audioboom do their dirty work for them, unwittingly.
In my article Fundamentalist Feminism, I address this kind of indirect aggression, a kind of violence that is characteristic of academic environments, especially where academia, with its written material based, legalistic and literalistic propensities, intersects with gender, race and religious racketeering politics.
Here, as elsewhere, I am arguing for a more “spiritual” academia and a new politics, based on the ancient principle of what I call “common sense”, the Logos, the New Covenant, freedom of conscience and “Lady Wisdom of Proverbs”, in line with its ancient manifestations.
The “Technologies of Trust” (TOT) project that I have initiated with the help of the London based Swedenborg Society, Conway Hall and other secular and religious entities, is the main vehicle I am using to deliver the fundamental aims of TOT
Ever the optimist, I look forward to the day when the current impasse with the UEA and Audioboom will be a distant memory and both organizations will work with me to advance Poetic Jazztice and peace.
On November 27, 2018, I received an email from Mr Mike Newman of the global on-demand audio and podcasting distribution platform Audioboom saying that they had received a complaint from the University of East Anglia (UEA) about “the recording and release” of material that I had posted to my Audioboom account, which bears my brand name “Poeticjazztice”.
And the importance of one’s brand or public image being authentic and rooted in a consistency of thought, word and deed based continuum of character shall become clear imminently.
According to Mr Newman, the UEA is claiming that I had breached their copyright and he identifies the alleged copyright breaching material as two audio recordings that I had created when I attended an event in Harvard Room 3.02 of the Julian Study Centre at the UEA, on October 18, 2018.
The publicly advertised, well attended event, was called “Decolonizing the Curriculum: How Should British Universities Respond?”
It was organized by Dr Claire Hynes of the UEA’s School of Literature, Drama & Creative Writing, at the instigation and/or in conjunction with Norfolk Black History month.
It is listed in the 2018 Black History Month promotional material as “a lively panel discussion with UEA teaching staff, professor Tessa McWatt, Professor Alan Finlayson, Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod, Dr Claire Hynes and guest panelist, professor Robert Beckford of Canterbury Christchurch University.”
I had attended and reported on the event in my capacity as a freelance journalist and independent publisher.
There was nothing secretive or underhanded in my recording of the event, as video footage I have indicates.
I therefore responded to Mr Newman’s email within minutes of reading it, with a clear conscience.
My response notes the public nature of the event and the fact that I had created my recordings openly, and in my capacity as a freelance journalist. I wrote:
“Hi Mike. The recordings were done at a public access event. The process was transparent. No permission was sought because I assumed I didn’t need any. No one objected to the recording at the time. I used the same phone I’m using to type this email. I am known for my work as a freelance journalist. So, I’m challenging the UEA’s claim.”
Mr Newman also responded on November 27, writing “Ok, thanks. We can’t mediate, but I will put you in touch with the University and hope it gets resolved to everybody’s satisfaction.”
Having not heard from Mr Newman by approximately 13:30 the next day, October 28, I became anxious and emailed him as follows:
“Hi again Mike. Thought I might have heard from you or the UEA again by now… This situation is having an adverse effect on my business operations, which as a knowledge trader, are intimately intertwined with my health, especially my mental health. I really don’t have the ‘headspace’ to indulge anyone’s direct or indirect bullying, anticompetitive shenanigans. Could I please have a contact name and email address for the person I need to contact to bring this anxiety generating, professional reputation undermining situation to a speedy settlement? Thanks for your kind assistance.”
However, appearing to take matters into his own hands, Mr Newman then responded:
“Hi Jay, I’ve notified the complainant that the podcasts in question have been removed, but it really is up to them if they choose to contact you. As the copyright holders, I don’t believe they’re being anti-competitive, they’re simply protecting their copyright – appreciate your desire to move on, so I think if they don’t get in touch then they would consider it closed and you can carry on as normal.”
However, I am not convinced that the UEA has an unassailable legal claim to the two recordings that I created.
Moreover, for reasons outlined below, including the apparent timing of the UEA’s approach to Twitter, I believe that it would be virtually suicidal to “carry on as ‘normal'” in a situation where the UEA, or some shadowy group or individual that is adept at Great Smog of London recalling smoke screens, may be trying to silence me and assassinate my professional reputation.
I believe that if I were to “carry on as normal” in this situation I might soon suffer a fate comparable to that of the reported suicide death of UEA student Jess Fairweather, a law student whose tragic death by asphyxiation I raised at the panel discussion, incidentally, as my recordings attest.
Indeed, noting the timing of the Audioboom delivered, UEA “baked” allegation of professional impropriety on my part and the fact that it followed a rather tense Twitter encounter with Audioboom ” icon” Stephen Fry and his fellow gay rights activist Bisi Alimi, in which I cited one of those recordings, the subsequent rape-like removal of those recordings has left me fearing a fate like that of the assassinated Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
And the inclusion in the first Newman email of a photo depicting a cassette tape with the words “Dead Man Talking” on it (which I only noticed on December 4) makes me think that being killed by some Fry or Alimi sympathizer, with links to the shadowy, global gay mafia perhaps, is a very real possibility.
That photo adds to the lingering sense of threat and vulnerability that I have been forced to live with since my freedom of conscience and freedom of expression work made me the target of a more than 30 year-long Barbados sown, globally grown, gender, race and religious racketeers orchestrated campaign of character assassination, economic sabotage and related human rights abuses.
I am no stranger to death threats.
I received at least one from Paul Coles, a former fellow Domino’s Pizza colleague who has also baited me with race and sexuality based provocations since at least 2012 (he is white and gay; I am black and straight).
And earlier this year, I received another death threat, cynically worded “Rest in peace”, from a prominent England-born, Barbados-based University of the West Indies academic, Dr Sandra Richards.
And because of the current febrile, volatile state of British politics, the inclusion of the “Dead man talking” photo in Mr Newman’s email is peculiarly threat triggering for me.
I fight a daily battle against the cognitive and affective smog being generated by the current intensification of the age old “battle of the sexes” in the British press and on its electronic airways (especially on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour); the “hostile environment” for immigrants being encouraged by some elements of official UK government policy; the Brexit debacle, Donald Trump’s presidency, the fog of fake news, and other interrelated generators of social tension and volatility all take a toll on my mental health and well being.
This Audioboom fronted, UEA-linked attack on my freedom of speech and professional credibility therefore compounds and triggers a sense of “ambient terror” that all UK citizens and residents are living with to some extent: an ambient terror that I drew attention to in an interview with another UEA student, Patrick McGuchan recently.
My own heightened sense of threat, based on Newman’s photo, the short but nonetheless chilling silence of Mr Newman and the longer, ongoing silence of the UEA, cited previously, have prompted me to refer this matter to the police, as I did Dr Richard’s cold, calculated comment.
The “official silence” of the UEA in this matter continues to be of deep concern to me because it is indicative of an icy “silence of Omerta” like phenomenon that I am familiar with through my nuclear physician like, x-ray tracing of the trajectory of Barbadian politics.
I believe this sinister silencing syndrome, highlighted by the Barbadian politician Dr Maria Agard in December 2015, contributes to the deep snow, deadly cover-up simulating, social distrust spreading cancer that I believe was a psychosomatic contributor to the deaths earlier this year of three female Barbadian Christian friends.
As I indicate in the first article in this Technologies of Trust series, I have been tracking such silent killing, psychosomatic phenomena in Barbados at least since the long illness and tragic, ultimate death of the youthful pastor Ricardo Birkett, of People’s Cathedral.
With the support of retired Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine, a victim of fraud at the hands of Barbadian, Jamaican and other elites who operated with impunity, I have been campaigning to have the role of Barbados’ Official Secrets Act and other potential corruption “coddling” legislation examined.
And at least two of my sources close to UWI have indicated that the same kind of coercive, corrupt, at least psychologically toxic and violent silencing that Dr Richards maliciously conflated with the idea of “peace” is having a culturally carcinogenic, peace polluting effect on elements of that institution’s operations and offerings.
And I have personally observed similar deadly, social isolation inducing silencing stratagems being perpetrated (consciously or unconsciously) among personnel at the UEA, Norfolk Police, BBC Norfolk, Norfolk and Suffolk (NHS) Foundation Trust, City College Norwich, Elim Pentecostal Church, Ishaan Mosque, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Wensum Valley Medical Practice, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, the Labor Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Commonwealth Secretariat, New Covenant Apostolic Ministries International, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, the Eastern Daily Press, the Telegraph newspaper, Wikipedia, the Guardian newspaper, the Independent Press Standards Organization, the Norwich Diocese of the Church of England and Wales, the National Union of Journalists, the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal and other UK based organizations that I and others have turned to for help, only to be slighted by them, or worst, ruthlessly attacked by them, like rape victims blamed for having sex appeal.
And the case of one former UEA employee, who alleges that she was forced out of her position at that institution’s British Centre for Literary Translation is possibly a compelling example of the use of Non-disclosure Agreements and similar legal instruments by the UEA to secure short-sighted, soul sickening silence – typically to protect or promote such institutions’ “brand” or that of one or another of their academic “celebrities”.
In a short-sighted, greed and glory grabbing gamble that I feel certain they now regret, one of the UEA’s (or at least the Union of UEA Students’) key business partners, DPGS Ltd, trading as Domino’s Pizza, offered me £1000 and “a positive letter of reference” to induce me to sign such a self-silencing, potentially suicide securing agreement and drop an unfair dismissal case that I had brought against that company.
Fortunately, I had the good sense to reject that offer, despite my desperate financial situation.
If I had signed it, I would not be able to openly explore the possible complicity of Domino’s in the Audioboom-UEA intellectual property breach allegation, as I am currently doing.
I note that the parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee, led by Maria Miller MP, launched an inquiry into Non-Disclosure Agreements last month.
If nothing else comes of this open letter, I hope it will cause that Committee to take a close look at NDAs as part of a human rights circumventing collection of legal and other trust undermining, social cohesion eroding stratagems.
The UEA’s OFFICIAL silence
Please note sirs, that up to the time of the writing of this letter, I have not heard from the UEA, at least not officially: not in writing.
A week or so after I had published the recordings, I was verbally alerted to some concern about my reporting on the event by Dr Hynes, who I encountered on a visit to the UEA.
But the haphazard manner of my encounter with her and the failure of any follow-up by anyone else at the UEA subsequent to that enounter did not incline me to take her concerns seriously.
Dr Hynes’ and my paths crossed one night, in the vicinity of the UEA Vice Chancellor professor David Richardson’s office, as I was on my way to the main library.
As I recall, having not recognized each other in the dark, until we were virtually adjacent to each other, we were both caught by surprise.
I note this detail because it may explain the “heightened” emotion that characterized Dr Hynes’ and my conversation. Here is a brief reconstruction of what I recall:
Dr Hynes: “Oh, it’s you! Why do you hate the UEA?”
Me: “What?! (A brief, 10 or so seconds of loud, high pitched laughter then erupts internally and escapes from me, lessening in decibels and intensity as I compose myself.) What do you mean? What are you talking about?”
Dr Hynes: “That report you did about the panel discussion. You didn’t have permission. People are very upset!”
Me: “Why are they upset? I don’t understand…”
Dr Hynes: “Well, you better get in touch and sort it out!”
There may have been a brief exchange of pleasantries after that. I do not recall.
I only recall being somewhat bemused by the conversation after she and I had parted.
In fact, the incomprehension and incredulity in my response to Dr Hynes probably stemmed from the fact that as far as I was aware, my report on the panel discussion had presented the UEA in a mostly positive light.
It is true that in one of the recordings, or the brief texts explaining them (which may now be forever lost) I share my disappointment at the way an “exchange of services” business offer that I had put to the course director of the UEA’s Masters program in Creative Entrepreneurship, Mr Ian Chance, was rejected.
But in that segment of the recordings (or in the text) I was also careful to point out that I did not think Mr Chance’s refusal was necessarily racially motivated.
The recordings certainly present Dr Hynes and the other academics on the panel in a more positive light than their Canterbury Christchurch counterpart, professor Beckford, as far as I am concerned.
Dr Noel-Tod and Dr Hynes both seem to express a genuine awareness of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students’ need for safe spaces.
And the brief text I posted on Audioboom along with the recordings certainly made it clear that I do not uncritically support the arguably “reverse racist”, segregationist ideologies and political strategies that he and other literalistic, evangelical fundamentalist Pan Africanist and other “group think Garveyite” academics and activists endorse.
Actually, it could be argued that professor Beckford’s rather simplistic, reductionist Garveyite approach to discussion of race in academic settings was not seriously challenged until I introduced a more nuanced perspective, made the more poignant and compelling by my reference to the white student Fairweather’s death.
News of the 20 year-old’s demise, found hanging in his room at the UEA, had actually been reported on the front page of the EDP that day.
So, much like the suggestion that I hate Domino’s Pizza, when I was in fact trying to rehabilitate it internally and improve its external reputation with UEA students, Dr Hines apparent assumption that I hate the UEA suggests that someone at or close to that institution is deliberately misrepresenting what my recordings clearly demonstrate: my efforts to bring a balanced, constructive viewpoint to the discussion of “safe spaces” for all UEA students, not just BME ones.
Even so, while being convinced that I had been fair to the UEA and not violated any intellectual property law, I still intended to contact them and try to clear the matter up, as Dr Hynes suggested.
My limited “head space”
But other, more immediate, well defined, “deadlined” or at least time-sensitive matters were burdening my mind and pressing for “head space”.
Chiefly, at that time, I was contemplating the next move in my long-running legal dispute with the millionaire businessman Surinder Kandola, the principal of DPGS Limited, the main controller of the UK branch of the US based, global pizza delivery “Goliath”, Domino’s.
On October 17, the day before the UEA panel disussion took place, an Employment Appeals Tribunal decision on my attempt to have an appeal I had brought against the original 2013 ruling in Domino’s favour had also gone against me.
Ironically, my concern for the safety and well being of UEA students was one of the main fators that had brought me into conflict with Domino’s in 2013.
And like the UEA, arguably, Kandola seems to be concerned about his public image to the detriment of those that Domino’s and the UEA’s administrators, including its student administrators, are supposed to be serving.
And I note the complicity of members of the University of East Anglia Students’ Union in my dispute with Domino’s by denying me access to the details of its questionable, trade monopolizing commercial contract with DPGS Ltd when I requested access to it as a student member of that Union in 2012.
And as I have reported previously, as a parent, the “grooming gang” approximating behavior of some students and lecturers in UK, US, Caribbean and other tertiary and lower level educational institutions is of deep concern to me.
In this respect, I note former Foreign Secretary William Hague’s description of “student politics”, shared in an interview with Peter Hennesey that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 last August:
“I feel I learned an enormous amount from that no holds barred student politics… Student politics is rougher than West Minster politics. There’s far more skulduggery than in Westminster!”
Might Hague’s own political failings be explained by his apparent endorsement of and seasoning in such political skulduggery?
Should he perhaps count himself lucky to have escaped a fate similar to that of the young Conservative activist Elliott Johnson who committed suicide in 2015 because of alleged political bullying, perpetrated by a seemingly “normal”, well adjusted older political activist, Mark Clarke.
I note the description offered by one Conservative Party member of the manner in which Clarke, having developed a reputation for frightening political excess and been ostracised from the Party, managed to silence his critics and occupy the position of trust he is believed to have so abused that he should be held accountable for Johnson’s death.
According to a 2015 Guardian article, then Party Chairman Grant Shapps and Paul Abbott, his chief of staff were “so keen to rehabilitate Clarke when he had been left out in the cold by the party for four years because he had turned up in summer 2014 saying: “I’ve grown up, I’ve changed, I’ve had a kid, I’m married.’”
Quoting an unnamed source at the Party headquarters, the article continues “He’s very capable of seeming like an ordinary, sensible human being, he’s got a proper job at Unilever, he’s in his late 30s, he’s capable of seeming like a normal person. He can be very seductive. He seduced Paul and Grant.”
It seems to me that the normalization, even normatization of such poisonous, psychosocially polluting politicking across the UK political spectrum is at the root of much of the deadly, Great Smog of London simulating moral confusion that has been turning Britain’s, the United States’ and other Western democracies on their heads.
Anyway, with my case against Domino’s hanging in the balance last month and other day-to-day challenges weighing on my mind, I was not inclined to take on anything else that would burden me psyhosomatically, unless I felt I absolutely had to.
I was also busy preparing for a trip to Barbados for my brother’s wedding and a then “ill-defined” “Technologies Of Trust” (TOT) event that I was contemplating doing there, as a follow-up to the first TOT I had done, at Michael Church in London, with the gracious assistance of its pastor Ethan McCardell.
I therefore thought that rather than act on words spoken by Dr Hynes during a chance encounter, it would make more sense to wait until I had received some written expression of precisely what the UEA found offensive in my recordings.
But now Audioboom has removed those recordings and the brief descriptive text that accompanied them from the internet in an act poetically and politically proximate to the murder and silencing of the journalist Khashoggi.
And this happens just as I am warming to the idea that the Barbados-sown, globally grown campaign of character assassination that had been choking the light and life out of my capacity to pursue my dreams and live up to my full potential was finally ended, with the arrest of the Barbadian politician Donville Inniss, a key business and political adversary, in June.
Inniss’ arrest in the US on bribery and money laundering charges had been a source of some consolation to me ahead of my Barbados. As one prominent Barbadian businesswoman noted, my warnings about him, based on his effort to destroy my business name Intelek by linking it to a pornography website he owned (intelek.com) were vindicated.
And while in Barbados I had been enouraged by the launch of my book “The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled” (TBBTR) there on November 13, despite some signs of surviving Inniss-linked interference in my affairs.
Certainly, with significant coverage by both the print and electronic local media, I felt that the decades long media blackout that seemed to have been secretly imposed on me had come to an end.
Now, I am not so sure.
Now I wonder if the London-based Audioboom may be alligned with Inniss’ UK based business interests, the BBC’s Mike Liggins, who shielded Kandola from journalistic scrutiny, the gay rights activists Fry and Alimi or some other English or Barbadian, secular or religious power brokers who TBBTR or something else that I have written or said previously has offended.
Could the UEA seriously believe that they have a legitimate claim to recordings that I created in the routine pursuit of my journalistic responsibilities?
If so, why did they wait more than a month to complain to Audioboom?
And why are they yet to contact me personally?
I have tried to contact their “IP Officer”, on the basis of a reference to such an office holder in one of Mr Newman’s emails.
But I was told by a female manning their PBX line that no such post exists. She said that the UEA does not even have a legal department.
And an email that I received from Audioboom’s Mr Newman on Teusday, December 4, suggests that even he is now having trouble tracing the source of the UEA complaint.
My sense of the situation as it stands, the “current state of play”, if I may employ that cricketing language, is that having been seduced by someone at or close to the UEA fiegning sexual maturity, Mr Newman has found himself metaphorically copulating with a partner who is both underage and out of their depth.
My sense of the situation is that Mr Newman, Audioboom and the UEA (if indeed the UEA was aware of any of this) are coming to the understanding that they have unwittingly become party to something like statutory rape.
“Awash in the grey of discovery. Shocked at the shine of this ecstasy.”
(Extract from my poem “Ecstatic”)
This article was inspired by and records actual events.
These events give insight into my evolving conversation with what I call “cosmic truth”, “the Living God”, “the Logos”, “Ultimate Reason” “Divine Essence” and, occasionally, as the situation warrants, “common sense”.
It is the first article to be published in my “Technologies Of Trust” (TOT) project, through which I am exploring ancient and contemporary belief systems and other ways of knowing.
The rationale for TOT consists, at least partly, in the challenges of information overload, “fake news” fossilzations and related challenges of the digital age.
As in much of my other work, including my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled, there is a focus here on the dangers of “written things”: the dangers of literalism and legalism that attach to all written material.
More broadly, this article is part of my more than 30 year long, ongoing, scientific study of how spiritual phenomena may be manifested materially.
It therefore shares at least one characteristic of scientific endeavor on which Dr Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and I agree fundamentally: in his words, that “Science is a continually evolving and cumulative enterprise.”
Dr Emmons, the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, is, according to the UC Davis website, “the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude.”
And I have only gratitude for the “Ultimate Reason” that Emmons and I channelled and demonstrated as we reached agreement on this point, during a Twitter conversation yesterday (November 30).
That was the climax of a back-and-forth exchange of ideas that may have ended differently, were he and I not as committed to the scientific principle of following empirical evidence where ever it may lead.
Were he and I not committed to principles of epistemological objectivity, our conversation could have ended less amicably.
That is how a Twitter conversation I had with the Nigerian gay rights activist Bisi Alimi on Saturday, November 17 ended, as indicated below.
This article is published in the hope and spirit of reconciliation, or at least mutual respect and toleration that remains an option even when the kind of agreement that Dr Emmons and I reached is not achieved.
Documenting a series of coincidences and correlations that I suggest are evidence of the existence and presence of the Living God, what the Bible refers to as God’s Shekinah glory, the article attests to the possibility of a level of cosmic harmony and agreement that transcends empirical evidence: the possibility of ultimate agreement that faith in ultimate agreement makes a possibility.
The coincidences and correlations begin with my first viewing of a karaoke duet by a nuclear physician and a mechanical engineer of the 1940’s Christmas classic “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and my introduction, quite randomly, to the BBC Worldwide produced television documentary series Life Below Zero, set in super icy cold Alaska.
Informed by my experience of similar coincidences and my peculiar “poetic jazztice” sensibility, these synchronicities mushroom, like a heat spreading nuclear explosion, as I explore what they could mean.
Unfortunately, some readers of the article seem to have concluded that the its simultaneous appeal to spirituality and scientific empiricism is secondary to its exploration of elements of human sexuality.
That is regrettable.
Especially where it casts aspersions on the professional and personal integrity of myself and the other scientists mentioned in this first TOT article or any of those that will follow subsequently.
I remain grateful to those who give the meaning of the article that I have gone to considerable lengths to explain here its due, common sense priority.
She subsequently told me that she only knew Stevens, a mechanical engineer from Oklahoma City, through their less than one week old musical collaboration, facilitated by the karaoke app Smule’s internet presence.
But while Rosanwo’s and Stevens’ internet magic meshing, melodious musical performance is a spectacular, possibly newsworthy entertainment and technological feat in its own right, it is the precise circumstances in which I first found myself listening to their reproduction of that song penned by Frank Loesser in 1944 that has left me somewhat mesmerized by the universe’s exquisite, inscrutable harmonies.
My mind has been blown (yes, again), as with the “coincidence” of Nikki Haley’s resignation, as those everyday circumstances, including the rather random act of viewing a television program that someone else had tuned into, conspired with the Rosanwo-Stevens duet to create a cosmological collage of exquisite beauty and tantalizing timing. “And the Beat Goes On”
Embedded in environmental details I could have easily ignored and failed to record, I have found, and continue to find, the most delightful, dazzling divine etchings.
From these synchronicitous real world events, I have not only been excavating empirical evidence of God’s sovereignty, but messages from that cosmic embodiment of love, the Living Logos, to me, and to all so seated, and covenanting as to see truth’s star, pointing to a “baby of Bethlehem”, seeking solace from the cold, inside and outside our beings.
From the cold of cynicism, chiefly.
By parking and paying attention; by progressing into uncharted territory, where religious or secular textual or “scriptural” evidence, like other frozen surfaces, seems thin.
In everyday things: in the most minor earthly details, I have been detecting, like Dr Rosanwo, x-ray traces of a submerged presence; sheer Shekinah glory.
And how like the Living God to uncover for us truth’s indescribable hues, when in the manner of the deeply pious American scribe John Updike, we purpose to “give the mundane its beautiful due”.
Unsurprising then, that out of a 1940’s tribute to the barely expressible yet commonplace pleasures and perils of human sexuality and related lusts, my commitment to careful, cosmological conversation has yielded a deepened understanding of technologies of trust.
Amid the “epidemic of anxiety” that is undermining individual and collective possibilities for peace and harmony; as the incomprehensible of Brexit, the dangerously flattering portrayal of Sir Elton John’s messy, messianic
consciousness by John Lewis; Vladimir Putin’s, Donald Trump’s, Theresa May’s, Angela Merkel’s, Jair Bolsonaro’s and others’ parading for strengths what the Living, Incarnate, Christian King says is weaknesses; as rivers of written codes of religious and secular conformity burst their publishing and broadcasting banks, flooding plain meaning, clarity seeking society with one or another Sir Elton like expert’s version of gay life, straight parenting, the latest in genetic engineering, the most head-turning tone of eye shadow or lipstick… the universe has been speaking to me with a 1:1 intimacy that silences disquiet.
The love notes that I started receiving on November 21 marked a fierce fire, high heat, heavy snow, waist deep deluge of the cosmic conversation that I have been nurturing since the early days of my profession of faith in the Living God, a romance of revelation attested to in my poem “Ecstatic”, referenced above.
The messages I am channeling transcend Barbados’ earthquake rumblings: they render null and void the deep-seated disease of my island home and continental Guyana’s grubby, gender, race and religious aggression aggravating tendencies.
They expose the global scourge of political glory grabbing and grumblings; the deadly California wildfires simulating legal “successes” of Raj Surinder Kandola’s and Domino’s Pizza in their most recent conscious or unconscious efforts to indicate their greed; to re-name and defame me: the pyrotechnic pretensions of cognitive cholesterol based pyrrhic victories.
“And to think that all I wanted was peace”
Buttressed by an episode of the BBC Worldwide television documentary series Life Below Zero, Loesser’s ode to love play linguistics, that most beneficial yet bewildering exchange of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives and other grammatical, supra-linguistic items that typically prefaces a coital exchange of bodily fluids, converged with seemingly unrelated events in my life to produce a human ecology and cosmic cohesion narrative that I can hardly coordinate cerebrally, let alone commit to writing!
And the question of whether Loesser was unconsciously painting a prescient picture of issues to be raised by the “Me too” movement is just one of the gale force winds extending from the howling, Harmut like snow storm that this convergence of hot and cold, high and low thought systems have generated in my heart and under my cranium.
As is the historical marriage of Barbadian and Guyanese interests, two in many ways antithetical countries, once served, extraordinarily, by a single High Commissioner to London, Sir Lionel Luckhoo, an Indian-Guyanese.
What an enigma of a man, that now long deceased (12 December 1997), Guyana-born politician, diplomat, trade unionist and archetypal lawyer!
Embodying a curious duet of heat and coolness, light and dark, Sir Lionel, whose birth on 2 March 1914 prefaced the first World War, is celebrated for his world record of 245 consecutive successfully fought legal battles – all defences of alleged murders.
But Luckhoo’s family legacy and wider, much publicized Christian apologist testimony has also been imperiled by the notoriety he has attracted for his personal “scriptural” services to the mass murdering fundamentalist evangelical “Christian Socialist” Jim Jones.
And though less audible psychically since I returned to England from my island home, the current familial dilemma of another Indo-Guyanese scribe, journalist Ricky Singh, a prominent Barbados-based Christian Socialist sentinel, was also burdening my brain, not exactly subconsciously, but at a somewhat submerged level, as I engaged consciously with Loesser in my waking dream world.
A Luckhoo-Singh, African-Barbadian-Guyanese-Indian Pentecostal “string theory” was therefore emerging gradually from Loesser’s comical, coy critique of the bed-bound battle of the sexes: the co-production conflicts of woman and man that Loesser’s song articulates through two characters called Mouse and Wolf, was pointing to poor air quality Pentecostal “particulate matter” that I had encountered before.
The failure of communion, because size matters, was being underscored.
Like the heavy snowfall that blanketed Norfolk and other parts of England this past March, as cyclone Emma and anticyclone Hartmut (the “Beast from the East”) collided over the UK and Europe, a burden for Singh and all the other “friends and members” of People’s Cathedral (PC) with whom I had formed ties from the dawn of my Christian journey in 1982 was gradually building and setting on the soil of my soul.
Perhaps it was the failure of that church’s chairman Peter Williams to respond to an email that I had sent him him on 26 October, prefacing my trip to Barbados, that was weighing like an unrequited love on the landscape of my mind and heart.
Peter, eldest son of PC founder Rev Holmes Williams and the son-in-law of the patriarch Singh (through his marriage to Singh’s daughter Debbie, has failed to continue a duet like dialogue that he and I had started by phone before my trip to that isle’s pearly white shores.
Perhaps he, PC’s senior pastor Jewell Callender and or someone else in the current leadership of that Bishop’s Court Hill based establishment is having difficulty seeing how I could be crystal clear in my belief that the teachings of that and other religious and secular education offering establishments can be doing great good and great harm in the same instance.
Might Peter, an ex-banker like his both famous and notorious father, be unfamiliar with the negative and positive discipline of the number line?
Perhaps they fail to see how my employment of both Barack Obama like diplomacy and Trump like “body language” can not only help mend Barbados’ broken inter-generational, gender, race and religious bridges but also be a miraculous, awe inspiring sign of the times.
Perhaps their seasoning in literalistic, legalistic fundamentalist church politics, like Lukhoo’s and Singh’s, is limiting their capacity for the radical, thorough going renewing of the mind that is possible when excessive concerns about conformity to the letter of the law (which “killeth”, 2 Corinthians 3:6) are set aside.
My burden for the Williams, Singhs, Gibsons, Draytons, Rowes, Holfords, Grazettes, Bynoes, Bacons, Phillips and all my other PC-linked family and friends is grounded in the view of the Living Word that acknowledges yet transcends the limits of what its founder, with whom I had a fraught relationship, thought of me.
My primary concern is to share the Logos’ love song with others, especially those in need.
As I assert in my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled “My primary concern is not the personal biases of this or that Christian or church leader. I recognize that some subjectivity is inevitable, and more than that, legitimate. My main concern is the idealistic perception of the Bible which is used to cloak the subjectivity of its interpreters – clergy and lay people alike.”
This puts me on a collision with some religious leaders and their followers. But I do my best to create duets: to minimize conflict.
All of these soundings and scenes lay dormant in the seed of the pre-dawn events of Wednesday, November 21.
But it would not be until Sunday, November 25, when I sought to relieve myself of that psychosomatic burden by getting in touch with Singh’s son, Raoul Hardat Singh, who had been imprisoned on a drug trafficking charge in Barbados in June, that I got a sense of the addictive, mind manacling dimension of the Mouse-Wolf dialectical dance that I had been tracking, using my own peculiar, clairvoyant linguistic brand of nuclear medicine.
But how does one describe such a moment of seemingly simultaneous natural and supernatural inspiration or revelation without seeming pretentious or delusional?
Consider that despite knowing the sage-like younger Singh for more than 36 years, it was probably only at around 10:00 on the morning of Monday, November 26, that I learned that his first name, “Raoul”, means “Wolf counsel” or “Red Wolf”, according to one source.
The Rosanwo-Stevens remake of Loesser’s 1949 classic, sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán (born 25 November 1920, I note) in the film Neptune’s Daughter, thus became a catalyst for a deeper engagement, potentially, with a long-time friend from my days at PC, Barbados’ largest, and therefore most tangible and tangled manifestation of evangelical fundamentalist, Pentecostal Christian number line norms.
The Simran Singh recalling, 1:1 generational correspondences and psycho-social waterways that I had long been navigating by the time her sister Nikki first appeared on my radar, had therefore morphed into a flood of nominative determinism mediated meaning by that Monday morn.
And at approximately 06:37 that morning, the phonetic equivalence of the name “Singh” and the word “Sing” emerged from my mental fog.
And as the relevance of the act of singing, as per the Rosanwo-Steven’s duet, penetrated my consciousness, I experienced an even shinier, Shekinah ecstatic turn-on.
The emergence of the name of the infamous New York City prison “Sing Sing” from its learned incarceration in my psyche could therefore be construed as cognitive cholesterol or, in the context of cosmological cuisine, “gravy”.
Now we are really in the sauce!
And to those who would protest that I am making a meal of a simple narrative, I would respond, can you blame me? After the deprivation through which I have lived, surely, like the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill principal, Dr Eudene Barriteau, I can “live large” now.
This all began on November 21, when the Logos lit wildfire inside me converged with the Life Below Zero Alaskan wilderness scenes on the television in the home of Norfolk-based couple Ray and Janice Gurney.
Listen to the fireplace roar
Almost 24 hours after I had received it, I played the Rosanwo-Stevens video while seated at the Gurneys, a Norfolk, England based couple that I have been collaborating with through an Intelek Interntional project I call Holistic Home Care and Hospitality (HHCH), since at least 2014.
Now, unlike me, the Gurneys own a television and the program it was tuned to, Life Below Zero, immediately caught my attention.
As I recall, I was initially drawn in by the sight of Chip Hailstone’s last name, as thoughts of a focus on nominative determinism, featured in the BBC program Saturday Live, which I had listened and responded to via Twitter the previous weekend, glowed warmly in my memory. Saturday Live – Stephen Fry and the Inheritance Tracks of Jenni Murray – BBC Sounds
Saturday Live – Stephen Fry and the Inheritance Tracks of Jenni Murray -…
Bisi Alimi on coming out in Nigeria, wood carving and a 72-year-old weightlifting academic
I had sought clarification on a comment about parallels between African and Greek mythology by the iconic English comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and gay rights activist Stephen Fry, who, I feel certain, does not mean to lie, but like Mouse, like all of us, seems somewhat beset by his own internal and external contradictions.
Fry has so far not responded to my query – at least not in the court of public opinion that Twitter affords.
However, the African actor and gay rights activist Adebisi Alimi, Fry’s fellow guest on that 17 November broadcast of this popular BBC Radio 4 series, responded rather zealously to my call.
But I was not even engaging with the meaning of his name (second prince): I was so focused on the flame that name Hailstone had ignited.
I was also struck by the coincidence of the arctic Alaskan scenes on the Gurney’s television screen and the title and theme of the duet that Rosanwo and Stevens were singing.
Yet only casually, initially, did I reflect on this coincidence, musing “What might this harmony mean?”
It was when I did a Google search on Chip and his wife, Agnes, that my sense of the cosmic conversation that I have long been engaged in was fully ignited, albeit in a controlled flame simulating, written matter facilitated ecstasy.
Reading of Chip’s legal troubles, the name of his lawyer, “Glenda Kerry” did a “Johnny Storm” in my psyche.
Similar to the glossolalic tongues triggering sense of inspiration or revelation that I try to capture in my poem “Ecstatic”, it was a psychic “Flame On!” moment, virtually.
That is because I had met a legal trainee named “Kerry” mere hours before I sat watching the program, in the chilly seaside Norfolk town called Hemsby.
And I also got excited because there is a “hot momma” named “Glenda” that shares the cognitive compartment I am constructing around my interactions with Dr Rosanwo and other persons I met through my brother’s second marital expansion of our family tree.
And if anyone would question the importance of these nominative and other simulations and synchronicities, I would urge them to remember the marriage of medical and legal particulars that characterized my mystical “Malcolm Grant” name mix of 2 April 2013.
“Malcolm in the Middle” – of England and Barbados? (Matriarchal news matrices #1)
“Malcolm in the Middle” – of England and Barbados? (Matriarchal news mat…
I first published this article on the Allvoices.com platform on April 2, 2013.
That magical media moment, a Shekinah shiny illustration of divine providence (and I repeat, for those so seated as to see, was documented on the Wikinut.com website on 7 August 2015 – after I had been unseated and “beheaded”, metaphorically, by Allvoices-Pulse Point and other United States, United Kingdom, Barbadian, Indian, Israeli, Jamaican, Nigerian and other digital journalism jihadis – including, Donville Inniss Sloan Gaon, Amra Tareen and Aki Hashmi.
And referencing Guyana in that 2013 article, as I traced the truth of the Honorary Indian Consul to Barbados, Philomena Mohini Harris, and her intersection with my own mother’s matriarchal matrices (both their birthdays listed as April 2, not being least), I had no idea I would eventually be led to an Inupiaq woman, Chip’s wife Agnes – a genuine woman, verily.
And in this episode of Life Below Zero, I see that Inupiaq struck on the mouth, accidentally, as she and Chip erect a teepee.
I see this Alaskan manifestation of my parent’s and other couples’ marital moments, the magic that defies labels and naming even by the oracle Dante Alighieri, the 13th century poet who has given us “La Grande Commedia” or in English, The Divine Comedy.
Like all who have navigated the wildernesses of marriage for any appreciable length of time, I know the cold inside and outside those teepees intimately.
(As does one of my clients, who bears a Bristol Bay blight bodily, however hospitable the weather may seem.)
I know the fire that “Wolf” and “Mouse” mused over and maneuvered around in the songwriter Loesser’s wicked, wintery weather set call-and-response classic.
I am intrigued by the optics of the fire fighting foam that Rosanwo intones and that Agnes employs to remind Chip of what he risks losing if her lips are sealed.
I note the hardness of the wooden pole that struck Agnes’ soft lips, even as I reflect on Fry’s bipolar fast-food bits and the possible incompatibility of her womanly response.
But I close here by metaphorically drawing the oracle Rosanwo and her Shekinah science collaborator Glenda near.
How true her words, posted with the Smule video: “Father Frost is reaching out to us.”
V S Naipaul’s nihilism and other “African” identity crises
I am trying to wrap my tiny brain around the idea that Nikki Haly’s recent resignation from the post of United States Ambassador to the United Nations might be linked to Campbell vs DPGS Ltd t/a Domino’s Pizza, the unfair dismissal case I am currently pursuing as a litigant in person against that global pizza delivery giant.
Readers may recall that in a recent article, I linked this case to Haly’s former boss, the “big brain” brandishing US president Donald Trump, through his links to Domino’s Pizza, through his unsuccessful 2012 US presidential nominee predecessor Mitt Romney.
Nonetheless, lacking president Trump’s hubris or hutzpa, for better or worst, but at any rate gratefully, I find the prospect of such a link mind blowing!
It fills me with a sense of awe for what the God I serve, the True and Living God, could do with flawed mortals like me!
Could Haly’s sharing of a Sikh background with DPGS Ltd principal Surinderjit Singh Kandola be as consequential for my past and future “relationship” with Domino’s and other American, British and Caribbean political, religious, educational, media, trade union and other interests as I am inclined to think?
The thought scandalizes my mind, as the the Calvinist theologian JI Packer, author of the exquisitely balanced booklet Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (1961 by Inter-Varsity Fellowship) might say.
I certainly can understand why some of my colleagues at the London-based Swedenborg Society might have difficulty tracking the logic of the links I am making.
As the back-page blurb of my book, The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled indicates, I believe that I have been a catalyst of extraordinary world events in the political and religious sphere, both consciously and unconsciously
But the idea that my highlighting of an arguably tenuous, indirect link between president Trump and Kandola on October 7 might have prompted the Sikhism seasoned Haly to resign her post two days later leaves me rather flabbergasted.
And this is despite my own deeply held belief in the idea that each of us has the capacity to engage intimately with “ultimate source” and therefore each be at the center of the universe in some way.
Like Haly’s sister, the author Simran Singh, I believe “there’s only one of us here: and it’s you” (and me) as she poignantly shares in this Tedx speech.
I certainly believe that the “awesome God” I serve (as per the video I have posted above, deliberately choosing to give it prominence over Singh’s) is present in her beautiful, brown, bright spark of divinely ignited humanity and in her sister Nikki’s.
However, not being raised a Sikh, as those two Indian-descended siblings were, and instead being seasoned in a distinctively discriminating, damaged-Domino’s-delivery approximating, Creole Caribbean mediated Judeo-Christian theology, I have deep reservations about apparent cognitive “overthrows” and “misfields” in their collective and respective ideologies.
For example, I would not equate “God” with the perpetrator of a school shooting as Singh does in her Tedx narrative.
I would probably be more circumspect in my thinking and speaking about the matter of “evil”.
I believe the “awesome God” I serve is evident in the deviant Donville Inniss, the Barbadian politician arrested in the US for laundering bribes he is believed to have received from a Bermuda owned, Barbados-based insurance company.
I see the “divine spark” in the “big brain”, vagina grabbing Trump and the notorious ideological flip-flopper Romney.
I see His, or Her, hand in former US president Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, a “big brain” flaw on his otherwise, mostly admirable gay rights advocacy.
But I will have to come back to this article later. I am need elsewhere, rather urgently.
In the mean time readers can track the trajectory of my logic by reading the open letter I wrote to the then British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2013.
On November 21, 2013 I published the following letter requesting his help in my fight against cynically secretive, character assassinating elements in the then Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s government.
My second letter to the British leader, it was prompted by my at that time recent discovery of evidence implicating the prominent Barbados Member of Parliament Innis in a deeply cynical, destructive attempt to link Intelek International, my holistic communications and education consultancy, to the pornography industry.
In August this year, Inniss was arrested and charged in the United States with “laundering bribes he received from a Bermuda-owned, Barbados-based insurance company”, according to the Barbadian media, quoting several reputable US news sources.
The corrupt cricketing of Inniss’ innings therefore seems to have attracted it’s just cosmic, karmic recompense.
I am using this opportunity to personally inform you of an extraordinary development in my on-going crusade to get justice for human rights abuses I have been suffering at the hands of the Barbados government.
As you may already be aware, last year I filed a petition with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights against some of the island’s political and other elites, led by current Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
On Saturday November 16th I discovered evidence implicating Barbados’ Minister of Industry and International Business Donville Innis in the long-running campaign of character assassination and related intellectual property abuses that have led me to file that IACHR petition.
I discovered that Orgasm.com, a pornographic website that has been linked to Mr Innis by Barbadian journalistic sources, is also linked to Intelek.com, a pirate-like “proxy” of my own website, Intelek.net.
Mr Innis, a graduate of Harrison College, which roughly equates to the prestigious, character refining educational offering of Eton College, in this country, is therefore implicated in doubly-dirty data mining, for disgracefully purveying pictorial carnal knowledge and perverting another’s intellectual property.
In fact, as demonstrated in a video I have posted on my Facebook profile, Intelek.com is basically being used as a “portal” to Orgasm.com. The Intelek.com-to- Orgasm.com link is therefore implying that my website, Intelek.net – and hence, my organization, Intelek International, is involved in the pornography business.
You will find further details about this possibly game-changing development in my fight for justice in an article I published on Sunday, November 17th (see references below).
The article provides what is possibly the clearest evidence so far that Prime Minister Stuart and previous occupants of Barbados’ Illaro Court – the equivalent of the United States’ White House and England’s No 10 Downing Street – have been knowingly or unknowingly presiding over a malicious, sinister campaign to obstruct, pervert and possibly even destroy my holistic communications and education work by tarnishing my public identity.
For years I have known that Mr Stuart’s Democratic Labour Party colleague Margaret Gill, her University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus) colleague professor Sir Hillary Beckles and similar Harrison College, Combemere and other supposedly “better-school-educated” Barbadian academic, political, religious, media and other elites do not wish to see me succeed, for one reason or another.
For at least 20 years, I have had to contend with the indirect aggression, secret sabotaging ruses and open hostility of Barbadian and other Caribbean journalists, politicians, religious clerics and others who have been offended in one way or another by my open criticism of religious, political, corporate and other failings and foibles or anomalies that undermine democracy and wholesome morality in Barbadian and other Caribbean societies.
(And the fact that Intelek.com and Orgasm.com are both registered to addresses in Jamaica is very significant in light of long-standing and current Barbados-Jamaica business and political relations.)
But only now, Mr Prime Minister, as I contemplate the implications of Mr Inniss’ connection with Orgasm.com – as alleged by the anonymously published Barbados Free Press blog and not denied by Mr Inniss, significantly – do I have a sense of how far (north?) those who fear or hate me may have gone to sabotage my and Intelek’s prosperity.
And as I write these words I feel a profound concern for my twin brother Wayne and other members of my family in Barbados and those in England with me.
I am concerned at what lengths Mr Inniss or whoever is behind the intelek.com-orgasm.com link might go just to protect their public identities – even as he or they seek to destroy mine.
And for this reason Mr Cameron, I am asking for your office’s assistance, and that of Home Secretary Theresa May, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Foreign Minister William Hague, Viscount Younger of Leckie (who has responsibility for the Intellectual Property Office and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities) and that of every other public servant and government department that can assist me in my fight against the enemies of truth and decency.
Given the apparent involvement of the Nation newspaper, the government-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and other Barbadian, UK, American and other national and global media interests in deliberately or inadvertently facilitating the extraordinary “conspiracy of silence” that has been a critical component of the personal and commercial identity “rape” I have suffered and am still being subjected to daily, I believe that contributions by the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP and Ed Vaizey MP of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport will be key to the outcomes of my fight for justice.
In a manner similar to how your Parliamentary colleague and my “twin brother” Andrew Mitchell’s recording and reporting of what he said in a meeting with representatives of the Police Federation is enabling him to salvage his good name from an apparent campaign of character assassination, I am looking to recordings and reporting by persons, organizations and processes in the Barbados, regional (especially Jamaican, St Lucian, St Vincent, Trinidadian and Guyanese) and international media (especially in the UK and US) for evidence of the Barbados government’s conspiracy to misrepresent, abuse and possibly destroy Intelek.
Just Monday, your fellow Tory Party member, Parliamentary colleague and advisor on child sexualisation and commercialization Claire Perry, said in an interview on BBC Radio 4, that there are digital traces, however faint, that can be used to track down those who trade and traffic in child pornography.
I believe Ms Miller and Mr Davey have key roles to play in ensuring that I can access similar digital and other traces and evidence that have been left in cyberspace and other spaces where misguided and/or malicious paedophile-like politicians, academics, journalists and priests have been busying themselves in bids to either misrepresent my work or consign me to anonymity.
I now have a “dialogue” of sorts going with the BBC, involving its Norfolk-based reporter Mike Liggins, and I am looking forward to whatever documentary evidence that organization may offer of contact between journalists and others in Barbados and England that may explain some of the difficulties I have had getting news houses in both countries publishing or even acknowledging information I have been sending them.
I believe those links may have been facilitated by an “unholy alliance” of trade union organizations, political parties and corporate interests in both countries.
And I feel certain that this is not the kind of “multi-sector collaboration” that former Barbados Prime Minister, Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford (possibly Barbados’ most beleaguered leader ever) and other architects of the island’s “tripartite agreement” tradition envisaged, incidentally.
I filed a complaint with the BBC Trust about its contribution to this apparent “embargo” against news from or about me recently.
And I working with other UK residents and citizens on a strategy to improve those who may feel beleaguered within or by the BBC.
I am also seeking the assistance of the US government, especially its Trade Department and American private sector interests – like Sloan Goane of the digital publisher Pulse Point, with which I already work relatively closely.
On Tuesday I published an open letter asking for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s help exposing those behind breaches in my email security.
And I am waiting on a written record I have requested from Vodafone before I decide whether or not they have taken a complaint I raised about my mobile phone being hacked seriously.
I also hope to enlist the help of Andrew Walton and Samuel Wormleighton of England-based citizen journalist blog Wikinut.com.
Basically, I am stepping up all my efforts to protect the security and integrity of my internet use and presence.
Discovery of the apparent Intelek.com-Orgasm.com-Democratic Labour Party link has prompted me to consolidate what I have been investing in my Intelek Domino Effect Associates (IDEAs) project.
And the IDEAs focus underscores the important point that I am not seeking your, your Ministers’ and others help for my own sake only, Mr Cameron.
I am acting on behalf of all Barbadians who suffer similar misrepresentation, character assassination and porn-industry-proximate degradation due to the unethical, morally bankrupt behaviour of Barbadian elites.
I note that the island’s current moral crisis has been exemplified most shockingly by revelations of financial infelicities and obscenities that emerged following the tragic demise of Prime Minister David Thompson, PM Stuart’s immediate predecessor and his and MP Inniss’ Democratic Labour Party (DLP) colleague.
I am asking for the sake of Barbadians whose African, European, Asian and other heritages are being “trafficked and traded”: whose collective and individual identities are being “raped and raided” by race-baiting, cynical, ideological pimps; persons pledging public service but who seem driven mainly by regard for their own appetites, ambitions and whims.
You know the kind of pornographic “public service” prostituting behaviour I mean, Mr Cameron.
It is the kind of behaviour that has greatly undermined the UK’s democracy: the kind of behaviour that BBC personality Russell Brand recently blamed for many English people’s apparent belief that voting to elect any Parliamentary representative here is an exercise in futility.
Such is the wider cynicism and disengagement that the impunity of a narrow, cynical, self-serving elite can breed in Barbadian, British, American, Canadian, Russian, Syrian, Chinese or any other society.
And I hasten to note, Mr Cameron, that I am merely citing and not endorsing Mr Brand’s view uncritically.
From my vantage point, Mr Brand’s cynical abandonment of the electoral process could be just as reprehensible as the perversion of that process by politicians, corporate interests, trade unionists, religious institutions and other groups or institutions that become entrenched, morally obese and not fit to function in a healthy democracy.
And I note the truly sad coincidence of former Cooperative BankChairman Paul Flowers’ drug and pornography use being exposed, even as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is proven to be a “King without clothes” – which shares reverse racial elements with the wig and dress wearing, attempted justice evading behaviour of deposed Jamaican drug king pin, Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
These and similar obscene “exposure performing” point to the current media crisis and opportunity of Western democracy: the chance to radically replace the cheap tricks that religious, political, media, education and other leaders have been turning, with radical engagements with reality.
And it is for the health of Barbadian and English democratic engagement that I beg your assistance primarily.
In my open letter to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and elsewhere, I have argued that there is a special bond between these two island states that transcend temporal and spatial boundaries.
Anything that you can do to help this Barbadian fight corruption in Barbadian society will redound to the benefit not only of all Barbadians, but also to the benefit of English society.
It will benefit people like Dr Rachel Turner and others who were raped in Barbados, robbed there or otherwise fell victim to the unscrupulous political, corporate, academic, religious and other parasites who seem intent on maintaining a “controlling interest” in the island’s beauty and bounty at any price.
Please help me expose and hold to account those pirate-like political and other plunderers who despoil the deeply rich, diamond-like, human capital treasures that all Barbadians, English people, Canadians and other honest, hard-working “ordinary” people everywhere represent.
Help me expose the political cynics and other pimps who traffic and prostitute our jewels for their personal enrichment.
Help me expose the small-minded, dirty-dealing Talibank thinkers of Barbados because they and others like them prey on vulnerable people wherever they find them.
For the sake of both our countries, Prime Minister, I beg you, please help me fight the “big-eyed”, small minded bullies that undermine both our countries’ demography.
According to an October 8 Telegraph article, prominent BBC presenter Graham Norton has labelled the decision to reveal how much he and other talent at the tax payer funded corporation are paid “pathetic”.
According to the article, published under an anonymous “Telegraph Reporters” by-line, “Norton said the disclosures were not in the public interest and had done little more than provoke ‘gossip’ about what people earn.”
The muti-award winning actor-presenter Norton is apparently unaware of or indifferent to the concern of this writer and others that he and other media stars’ influence on society can not only be excessive, but potentially poisonous, contributing to the mental health crisis that permeates British society.
This concern, raised by men, women, black and white, gay and straight, university students, academics, religious clerics, politicians, trade unionists, business people, bankers, parents and other persons of virtually every thinkable label and category stems from the relative omnipotence and omnipresence of the media, through 24-hour news cycles and social media penetration into personal spaces that traditional media had previously not reached, at least, not in ways that Google Analytics and other algorithmic measurements allow us to quantify and, significantly, monetize currently.
On June 6 this year, I raised the issue of “on-air” (including internet, newspaper and other print) media penetration and pollution at a meeting of the National Union Of Journalists Black Members body.
I told chairman Marc Wadsworth and others of my concerns that journalists and other media personalities are consciously or unconsciously contributing to a cloud of confusion that parallels the “air pollution” that the environmental activist legal firm Client Earth has sued the British government for, successfully.
I also raised the issue at the Digital Innovation In Mental Health conference convened by neuroscientist Becky Inkster, July 17th – 18th, 2018.
So as far as I and some other persons are concerned, the publication of Norton’s and other BBC staffers’ arguably excessive and possibly socio-economically corrosive salaries has not “done little more than provoke ‘gossip’ about what people earn”.
From my perspective, it has reinforced my and others’ belief that the internal bullying by some BBC prima dona personnel of their more vulnerable colleagues and other symptoms of morally muddled thinking and bankruptcy at the this tax payer funded corporation suggest that the lessons that should have been learned from the Jimmy Saville scandal are yet to be learned by Norton and others, at the expense of British democracy.
And I note Norton’s rise to fame through comic portrayals of Mother Teresa and other religious personalities.
The openly gay presenter, who has arguably built his career on sustained, unsubtle parodying of and attacks on conservative religious and secular notions of morality is apparently oblivious to the concern that I and other Judeo-Christian religious reformers and some less “sensational” gay people have that the generosity of spirit that makes us keen to defend the rights of gay people like him, Sir Elton John, Sandi Toksvig, Stephen Fry, Lord Alli and others is being taken advantage of and abused by them, consciously or unconsciously.
While some of us may empathize and be amused by Norton’s humorous description of himself on the Channel 4 website as a “shiny Irish poof”, we are nonetheless uncomfortable with the self-indulgent assertion on the BBC website that “his exceedingly camp style gives him the licence to be exceedingly rude without being offensive”.
It seems to me that this assessment smacks of the kind of flawed thinking that induced many of the sexual predator Saville’s colleagues to make excuses for and rationalize what they called his “eccentricities”.
Norton apparently thinks the insistence by the former Culture Secretary John Whitingdale and other MPs that the BBC publish the salaries of everyone earning £150,000 or more was unjustified because some information about his and other employees salaries was already in the public domain.
According to the Telegraph he said “The public transparency was already there. They’d already published what proportion of the licence fee is paid to on-screen talent. Now, that’s the bit that people should be interested in.”
But it seems to me that the extent of media psycho-social penetration into British citizens’ and residents’ affairs, aided by their political, religious, business and social media allies, at least, warrants maximum transparency on Norton’s and other “stars” part, correspondingly.
I do not just want to know how much CNN’s Becky Anderson gets paid: I want to know who she is sleeping with, especially if that is information she seems to be guarding jealously.
I do not just want to know what percentage of the mainstream media is gay: I want to know the extent to which their sexual orientation is influencing BBC programming and policy.
Has anyone developed an algorithm to measure the social impact of Norton’s “over the top” brand of gay humor on the perception of gay people generally?
Might there be a danger that he and other “cult icons” are exerting an overblown (“overthrown”, as in cricket), caricature cultivating rather than character building influence on gay people in the UK and other countries, especially Commonwealth countries like my native Barbados?
Might there be a danger that Toksvig and other prominent lesbian women are propagating fascist, fundamentalist feminist narratives and modelling misandry motivated, bigoted behaviors that are comparable to the narratives and behavior of blinkered, Bible, Koran or Torah thumping personalities?
Today, World Mental Health Day, is a good day to reflect on these and other questions that have implications for how we view all media stars’ entitlement to their often lavish salaries.
It seems to me that the technological-ethical “overthrows” and “misfields” of the supposedly secular BBC can be spiritually comparable to and just as psycho-socially divisive and damaging as the dogma driven media excesses of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and similar Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and other religious entities.
I trust that the members of Parliament sitting on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee are alert to these matters and their implications for UK citizens and residents’ mental health and the soundness, or not, of this country’s democracy.
I understand why Christine Blasey Ford may have difficulty remembering other details but be crystal clear that she only drank one beer the night she alleges she was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, United States president Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Over the past 30 years or so, I have cultivated a habit of only having one alcoholic drink, usually beer, when I go partying, so I can assert that fact about my partying with Blasey-Ford-approximating certainty.
However, other details of my partying over the last 30 days, let alone the last 30 years, remain foggy.
Ask me which night I last saw my Nigerian “friend” Akin out partying in Norwich and I would struggle to tell you precisely.
I can assert that I have seen him out in the past two weeks.
But I could not even say whether it was a Friday or Saturday night, specifically.
The same is true for information about the circumstances under which I failed to meet a deadline for filing papers that were crucial to a legal claim that I had been pursuing against Domino’s Pizza in 2013.
Last July, thanks to the UK Supreme Court decision in UNISON v Lord Chancellor, that legal battle has now been resurrected.
Basically, the Supreme Court ruled that my struggle for justice against the Goliath businessman Surinder Kandola, principal of DPGS Ltd, the UK’s biggest Domino’s Pizza franchisee, was unlawfully derailed, or “crucified” (as I would say in keeping with the Christological focus of my cricketing cosmology) by a law that required me to pay questionably instituted court fees.
The judges ruled that “fees for employment tribunals are unlawful because they impede access to justice, and defy the rule of law”.
They ruled that by instituting the fee-mandating law the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Gideon Oliver Osborne had exceeded the powers of his office, acting ultra vires.
The 2013 Order of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) striking out my appeal against the decision by Employment Judge Robin Postle in my claim of unfair dismissal by Domino’s Pizza was therefore voided.
I was informed of this and invited to resurrect my appeal against judge Postle’s decision in an email from the London EAT dated 13 October 2017.
However, having decided to do so, I was then informed (or reminded; I am not sure, frankly) that I had not filed the documentation needed for my appeal on time.
And as the Skeletal Argument that I filed with the EAT on Friday, 5 October indicates, the main obstacle to the success of my claim against DPGS Ltd/Domino’s Pizza at this stage, may be my flawed memory.
But I am hoping that in an upcoming EAT hearing later this month the court will look beyond my failing memory and other pertinent proofs of my human fallibility at the overriding public interests in my claim: interests that I assert, as humbly as matter-of-factly, are attested to by the coincidences and “cross fertilizations” between Blasey Ford’s and my crises and opportunities.
The links between the Mormon Romney, the US and UK Supreme Courts and former Chancellor Osborne, may seem vague or tenuous to some but they are crystal clear to me.
My Skeletal Argument
This case is about recognizing the limitations of the letter of the law. It’s about recognizing and grasping opportunities to make the law more responsive to the variable, needs of justice: the variable needs of justice rooted in the fleshy, fallible fact based variability of the human condition.
It is about making the law’s responsiveness or lack of reponsiveness to the imperatives of change and difference: making the law responsive to the requirements of realism, even as it maintains the immutable, “indifferent”, ideally unchanging character of the ideal that we call justice.
And if I correctly understand Niall Boyce, the founding editor of the Lancet Psychiatry, there has never been a greater psycho-social need for the law to be responsive to human variability because of the totalitarian, group knowledge aggregating, individual identity undermining tendencies of the technological environment in which we now find ourselves.
If I understand Boyce correctly, he believes that this technological totalitarianism stems particularly from Amazon’s, Facebook’s, Google’s, Twitter’s and other tech giants’ domination of the knowledge industry.
This case is about how other kinds of giants, and in this case, the global fast food giant Domino’s Pizza, can be complicit, consciously or unconsciously, in the totalitarian, group knowledge aggregating, individual identity undermining tendencies of the technological environment of contemporary living.
The principle questions before us, at this juncture, are:
1. whether or not the reasons for my failure to file my appeal by 16:00 on September 30, 2013 amount to “a good excuse”, as per the reasons tendered by the Registrar for her rejection of my request for an extension of the 42 day period I was given to file that appeal (page 20 of the bundle I filed for this hearing)
2. whether or not this is “a rare and exceptional case in which the strict laws on time limits should be relaxed”, again as the registrar has helpfully outlined in her reasons.
Like the Registrar, I am relying on the words and discirnible intention of Lord Justice Sedley in Jurkowska v HLMAD Ltd (2008) EWCA , where he opined that “anyone who is caught out by the 42-day time limit has, barring something quite exceptional, only himself or hersef to blame for leaving it so late to institute their appeal”.
Unlike the Registrar, I am contending that the standard of “something quite exceptional” applies in this case.
That something quite exceptional is, at least partly, the mental funk and psychological miasma in which I found myself, not just for the duration of the 42-day period in which I was required to file an appeal, but for much of the time since I was dismissed by DPGS Ltd t/a Domino’s Pizza.
I am contending that especially on June 21, 2013, when Employment Judge Postle dismissed my unfair dismissal claim, I was subjected to a severe, cynical psychological onslaught.
I am contending that consciously or uncosciously, Employment Judge Postle perpetrated an eggregious act of indirect aggression against me that approximates the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US, on a micro level, individual scale.
I am saying that given the perpetration of such indirect violence, continued and sustained by BBC reporter Mike Liggins and other individuals and organizations I have previously referenced elsewhere (pages 21 to 24 of the bundle I have submitted) and to which I would add Lloyds Bank, if I have previously neglected to list that fine institution, some observers might think the fact that I managed to file an appeal at all in 2013 is something of a miracle!
I for one, think that the fact that I remain of a sound mind despite all that I have suffered at the hands of Domino’s Pizza, Employment Judge Postle, the BBC and other entities is “quite exceptional”.
I think that contrary to the Registrar, the average, reasonable person, observing the specifics of this “David vs Goliath” battle, cannot help but conclude that it constitutes a “rare and exceptional case” in which the strict laws on time limits should be relaxed, at least for its public interest implications.
Those implications have as much to do with DPGS Domino’s Pizza’s links to the UEA, Michael Gove MP, Bain Capital, Mitt Romney and the current US president Donald Trump, as anything else.
As I indicated in one online campaign I started since my dismissal from Dominos Pizza, this case is about the identity and integrity of the Goliath “Raj Kandola” (as DPGS principal Surinder Kandola calls himself in at least one item of correspondence I received during the grossly flawed disciplinary process to which I was subjected by him, Vinod Veerajaksha and other DPGS Ltd personnel.
According to my research, Turner v East Midlands Trains Limited Turner v East Midlands Trains Ltd  EWCA Civ 1470 has established that it is possible to fairly dismiss an employee for misconduct without direct evidence of his or her wrongdoing.
My question is, assuming that the “overriding objective” of the Practice Direction (Employment Appel Tribunal – Procedure) 2013, regarding “ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing”, is being followed in this instance, how much and/or what kind of circumstantial evidence will it take for the Registrar and the Employment Appeals Tribunal to be convinced that this case is on some levels, in some sense, like none other they have encountered before, or are likely to encounter again?
What will it take to make this court see that we may all be in the presence and process of creating a legal precedent?
This article was first published on my Wikinut blog on 2nd Dec 2014.
Both Theresa May and Mia Mottley, the Barbadian labour politics preaching, feminist politician with whom I compare the capitalism championing May here, have become the prime ministers of their respective countries, England and Barbados, since then.
Also note that both women share a birthday, October 1st.
I think the notion of two sharks opportunistically circling their respective prey may be as valid a way of thinking about May’s and Mottley’s leadership as the idea of two protective mother hens shielding their adopted chicks.
The Goddess Kali archetype certainly supports this “bi-polar” understanding of female energy and instincts.
Thoughts of an encounter I had with one of the participants at a British Society of Criminology seminar entitled ‘Women as Victim-Offenders: Negotiating the Paradox’ also come to mind here poignantly.
That experience is recounted in an appeal I made to the parliamentary Women And Equalities Committee here in England recently.
That appeal is focused on the dangers of fundamentalist feminism.
What do English Conservative MP Theresa May and the left-leaning feminist Barbadian politician Mia Mottley have in common?
The May-Mottley post-colonial continuum
It was useful to hear British Home Secretary Theresa May speak of her faith during the Friday, November 28 broadcast of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
Talking about her early life, the vicar’s daughter said everything revolved around the church. She also revealed that contrary to some people’s stereotypical expectations, she did not go through a turbulent period of adolescent questioning and rebellion about her father’s faith.
And in perhaps predictably amenable fashion, the Maidenhead MP who is tipped to be a future prime minister attributed this seemingly gracious, drama-free transition from childhood to adult faith to her parents not forcing their religion on her.
Given the story of ecclesiastical compliance Ms May shared it comes as no surprise that the only ism she supposedly subscribes to is “conservatism”, as she told DID interviewer, Kirsty Young.
But her story also raises a number of issues – including questions about her capacity to facilitate, manage or otherwise come to terms with the radical changes in Christianity and other contemporary religious developments that her party and indeed all of Britain are currently engaging with.
The Guardian’s Paul Vallely, the BBC’s Robert Piggot and Caroline Wyatt and other journalists typically associate these seismic changes with the emergence of Pope Francis I.
But there is an arguably more insightful association the mainstream British media seems either extraordinarily incapable or reluctant to address: the relationship of these controversial religious developments to the triune tensions of British-Barbadian-American power relations.
The BBC’s silence, in particular is a marvel, given the depth of British-Barbadian historical and political relations on one hand, and that organization’s known liberal, labourite leanings and affiliations on the other.
From this writer’s perspective, the suggestion that Piggott, Wyatt and other BBC staff are unaware of the interrelation of Mia Mottley’s, Owen Arthur’s Dennis Kellman’s and other Barbadian politicians’ influence on British politics – especially through their direct or indirect interactions with Dianne Abbott, Chukka Umunna, John Major, Tony Blair and others is as untenable as the suggestion that no one at the BBC could have foreseen (and possibly prevented or limited) the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Moreover, from where I stand, there can be no truly incisive and accurate assessment of contemporary Christian-Muslim conflict, gay marriage, clerical and Parliament-linked paedophilia and other religious developments – and Ms May’s approach to handling such matters – without a proper weighing of her and her British legislation-leading predecessors’ interactions with their post-colonial Barbadian and American counterparts, especially the former Barbados Attorney General Mottley and Eric Holder, May’s American “twin”, until his recent resignation.
From my perspective, Mottley particularly, now leader of the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), is something of a bellwether – or should that be belle-weather – for the interface of global post-colonial gender politics and religion.
Mottley, a notoriously abrasive speaker at times, with a deep, manly voice, is the subject of considerable speculation about her sexual orientation among Barbadians.
The view that she is a lesbian seems to be held by many despite her denial of and successful suing in 2008 of British Magazine Country Life for repeating a claim made in a local calypso song that she sexually assaulted another woman.
Despite her denial of this salacious biting allegation, the story seems to have been widely embraced and become somewhat canonical, like “folk gospel” on the island.
But it isn’t the salaciousness of this story that ties the colourful Mottley to the comparably subdued, conservative May.
It is the Barbados media and wider official silence surrounding that story.
That official silence attests to Barbados’ comparably colonial, ruling-power-obeying “democracy”.
Indeed, retired Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine, who lived in Barbados for a number of years and was defrauded by Barbadian political and business elites links that kind of silence to Barbados’ tenacious clinging to a colonial legislative hang-over, the Official Secrets Act, which has long been abandoned by its British creators and other progressive jurisdictions.
But more than the official silence, it is the silence of Mottley herself about her sexual orientation that aligns her with May as a conservative, compliant, conventional-opinion-observing woman.
The fact is that for all her abrasiveness and daring, exemplified most memorably in her call for the legalization of homosexuality and prostitution in Barbados, Mottley apparently dares not decisively address the one issue that many commentators (including former three-term-winning Barbados prime minister Arthur) apparently believe stands between her and the prime ministerial office she seeks.
On the question of her sexuality, Mottley, like May, maintains an exemplary conservative reserve and reticence.
But like May’s compliant Christian persona, Mottley’s silence on her sexuality, implying that she might subscribe to the conventional Christian heterosexual norm, raises questions about her capacity for the courageous leadership on this considerably complex matter that Barbadians might reasonably expect of a prime minister.
Barbadians might reasonably speculate that if Mottley is not prepared to show leadership on her own behalf as a lesbian woman – if she is indeed of that “persuasion” – how could she be trusted to act in the best interest of other homosexuals?
They might reasonably ask, if Ms Mottley is gay, why with all the gains that have been made in advancing gay rights, would she not acknowledge her lesbian inclination, if she is so inclined?
Why suppress the issue of her sexuality if it might possibly advance the feminist agenda that has been a key component of her political programme?
Might it not have occurred to Ms Mottley that her silence could give the impression of a guilty conscience?
Might it not have occurred to her that her sexual-orientation-silence, like May’s portrayal of conservative-Christian-compliance, might give the impression that beyond all her feminist bluster she is fundamentally ashamed of her sexuality (if she’s gay) and is in fact a coward?
Might she not feel any moral obligation to “man-up”?
Might she not realize that she runs the risk of being labelled a public-pleasing political opportunist who is willing to to essentially sell her soul in pursuit of power?
Indeed, some commentators might argue that it was a Mitt Romney-like-malleability-suggesting-silence behind Mottley’s proposal that homosexuality and prostitution be legalized in Barbados and that she did not give those proposals profound, personal-application influenced thought.
They may see in Mottley’s silence, a change of heart about “gay pride” (her own or others’) that shares the same lack of depth and conviction that may be behind Theresa May’s reported change of heart about gay people adopting children.
This article was posted in a heated Facebook discussion on Margaret Thatcher.
The discussion was started by Clive Ó Mocháin a member of the group British Politics, who posted a picture of Baroness Thatcher and below it the words “Hate figure or effective leader”.
I counted more than 480 responses, many peppered with obscenities, in the first 24 hours of the post.
That Thatcher, like Jeremy Corbin, divides opinion is beyond question.
I posted the following essay in a bid to find a middle-ground.
Nobody’s perfect, and ‘Laddy’ Thatcher may be said to represent humanity at its most fallible and fabulous.
Both her weaknesses and strengths were amplified by the socio-political system that created, sustained and sabotaged her.
She enthusiastically aided and abetted that sabotage by her hubris and vanity.
And the main cost was to her immediate family, especially her children.
Mark Thatcher’s ill-fated imperialist adventure in Africa and Carol Thatcher’s racist behaviour attest to this.
Among her extended family, her ideological “sons” Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Michael Gove, Theresa May and others are especially tragic statements of the folly she accomplished: the perpetuation of an unhealthy, feudal-lords-favoured (and favouring) “Great Britain” myth.
Probably against her maternal instincts and better judgment, she has perpetuated a parasitic, predatory paedophile-like formal and informal “education” system – in which the role of the BBC and other media houses in suppressing open and honest debate and critical thinking are critical.
Contrary to her best intentions she poisoned the milk of human kindness even as she sought to deny murderous, misguided misanthropes the oxygen of publicity.
Britain, at its greatest, is a space in which people are valued on the basis of their humanity, irrespective of their “public” office or status.
It is a country where we all make time for each other, not just for “celebrities”.
Our “greatness”, is best measured by our capacity to care for others, just as we care for ourselves.
Whether British, American, Canadian, Barbadian (like me) or any other nationality, our “greatness” corresponds directly to the level of responsibility we are willing to bear.
It is fundamentally linked to our willingness to bear responsibility for humanity’s
failures in the same way we applaud and identify with its successes.
Lady Thatcher’s American “cousins” George W Bush and Mitt Romney apparently have trouble understanding this Christian “do unto others as…” theory.
Her pragmatic, Indian “brother” Sir VS Naipaul apparently missed the class that explained this nation-building methodology while he was at Oxford University.
Barbadian academics Sir Hilary Beckles, Afrocentric poets Edward “Kamau” Brathwaite and others clamoring for trans-Atlantic slavery reparations from Britain, France and other European nations but not from African nations or tribes that prospered (at least temporarily) from enslaving and trafficking workers seem to have been “educated” just as shallowly.
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe once seemed to have learned this lesson, apparently forgot it for a while, but may be re-learning it again now, if some reports out of Zimbabwe are an accurate indicator of a change in his “blame anyone but me” mentality.
They and the “Iron Lady” apparently missed the memo that explained how all of us – male and female, rich and poor, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim or atheist, capitalist or communist – are all part of the same human family.
They apparently missed the message that because we are all fallible flesh and blood we all need to have humility and show empathy.
So, hate figure or effective prime minister?
The humane, humble and empathetic among us would know that’s a false dichotomy.
Misanthropic mother Maggie was a bit of both, clearly.
From my vantage point though, as a student of gender theory, she will lamentably be remembered mainly as a fundamentalist feminist fantasist: a self-destructive Talibank thinker who in the name of British “greatness” undermined her household’s and her own humanity.
As I indicated in a tweet to Anglican priest Rev Jane Atkinson on September 6, I am deeply troubled by the “celebratory” tone of media coverage around BBC presenter Rachael Bland’s death.
Using the Twitter handle that features her maiden name Hodges, I tweeted “Apologies to family and friends of @Rachael_Hodges but I find the ‘celebratory’ tone of reports of her illness and death rather contrived and fatalistic.”
And later that day I indicated the Christocentric (more so than Christian) basis of my concerns, tweeting “Is it just me @RevJaneAtkinson, or is there something contrived and excessive about the “celebratory” tone of media coverage of @Rachael_Hodges’ death? Having seen an AIDS victim healed I cannot help but see her death as a profound tragedy.”
My sincere belief in the possibility that Bland’s life could have been miraculously saved therefore prompted my tweets to Rev Atkinson as much as anything else.
And there is much else that I will be addressing here about mainstream media and medical contrivances and excesses – or “overthrows” in cricketing language.
My use here of cricketing jargon and my application of the wider “cosmological cricket” method of analysis that I introduced in the first article in this series has been facilitated by the curious criss-crossing of the paths of England batsman Alistair Cook and India bowler Jasprit Bumrah on the fourth day of the recently concluded fifth test cricket match, at the Kia Oval in London.
Bumrah’s “overthrows” secured Cook’s historic century, the 33rd and last in his illustrious career with the bat. A grand finale!
I hope to be more controlled and accurate in my comments about the end of Bland’s curiously tragic and triumphant media career than Bumrah was.
As in the first cosmic cricket article, documenting my careful, Christocentric engagement with the atheistic Marxist Selma James, my goal is a cricket-like, fair and balanced assessment of Bland’s and her BBC colleagues attempt to make the best of a terrifyingly tragic situation.
The challenge is to be fair to them even as I give liberal expression to my instinctual-intellectual, dare I say spiritual equivalent of Bumrah’s “anomalous, sling-arm action and natural pace”, as his ESPNcricinfo profile puts it.
The Jewish reformer Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth had a similar problem.
According to the biblical writer John, Joshua said “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
That unpredictability is the antithesis, virtually, of the “overthrowing”, “over-blowing” instincts that I believe brought the church into existence.
In my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled, I address the perfectionist anxiety and other individual and group dynamics that are a part of or that interact with this instinct, as I make the case that Joshua merely wanted to reform Judaism, not start a new religion: Christianity.
Relying heavily on the words of the Bible, especially the original Hebrew and Greek texts, I argue that Joshua’s main theme was the “Kingdom of God”, not the church or any other earthly, real estate linked interest – with all due respect to the occupants of the Vatican, the White House, the Israeli Knesset, the Kremlin, the Saudi Council of Ministers, the British Houses of Parliament and similar secular and religious power bases.
The history of the world is replete with examples of how such spaces and places of concentrated power are repeatedly proved to be in some way self-contradictory: impotent.
Joshua may have articulated and incarnated the truth of this power dynamic more successfully than anyone before or after him by his resurrection rich resetting of the relationship between time and eternity; between life and death.
But it is not an original idea. It is not an original story.
Thanks to Karl Jung, Joseph Campbell and others, the links between the Christ narrative and ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman divinities are well known.
I have traced that story to the multiple millennia old, plagiarist publishing and bookish body-snatching trickery of the African folklore figure Anansi.
And a primary paradox of Joshua’s Word Become Flesh life story, that wondrous genomic web surely, is how like the cricketing criss-crossing of Cook’s and Bumrah’s fates, success and failure are always at each other’s mutual service and jeopardy.
One previewer of this article, an aspiring midwife, has left me in no doubt of the peril I am putting myself in, saying people will ask who I am (or think I am) and what gives me the right to question Bland’s, the BBC’s and the wider mainstream British media’s arguably capitalizing, kamikaze response to her cancer predicament.
The fact is nothing her former colleague and friend Richard Bacon, BBC 5 Live Controller Jonathan Wall or anything anyone else has said or done has altered my sense that however well intended, there is an at least questionable, possibly unwholesome, suicide contagion risking element in the laughing gas logic behind Bland’s You, Me and the Bic ‘C’ podcast that she co-hosted with Deborah James and Lauren Mahon.
However commendable her and their efforts to put a positive “top spin” on their and other cancer sufferers’ predicaments, nothing that has come to my attention so far has shaken my sense that the former cricketer-turned-commentator Johnathan Agnew demonstrated something like the speed bowling precision and penetration that bagged him 666 first class wickets when, responding to Bland’s September 3 tweet saying she was told that she had “days left” to live, he tweeted “And then reality suddenly bites and perspective gained. This is awful. No words, other than love to you and Steve xx”.
From overs to ovaries
So, I persevere in my effort to engage with the reality of death that Bland faced, or tried to face, with due respect to all implicated, naturally or unnaturally.
Aided by my editorial midwife, my Shi Maria or Sis’ Nancy, I persevere with the publication of possibly offensive opinions, having fully reconciled myself to the possibility of being misrepresented or misunderstood, intentionally or unintentionally.
This would not be the first time that has happened.
Part of the impetus to birth the artificially inseminated opinions I share here is my experience of the soul destroying power of the media to undermine through silence.
I persevere with this protracted labour of life and love (as CNN assistant managing editor Christina Kline can attest, it’s taken a lot longer than I anticipated) because I am equally concerned about the mental and physical health and well being of the BBC’s news, information and entertainment consuming public and that of BBC personnel.
I am concerned that tributes to the irreverent, gaseous (contagious) laughter-in-the-face- of-death attitude that Bland propagated through her podcast are symptoms of the widespread technological-ethical desensitization and disconnect from reality that celebrity centered secular and religious print and electronic media content seems to be fostering.
If BBC Norfolk reporter Mike Liggins recalls an email I sent him in 2013, he can attest to the care and camaraderie that I seek to be guided by in my often fraught interactions with journalists, academics and other traders in the knowledge industry.
As I recall, in that email I sought to empathize with Liggins on the basis of my understanding of the deadline and other pressures of a journalist’s workload.
Such care for Liggins and other BBC personnel, including former staffers like my local MP Clive Lewis, might come as a surprise to some who know of my long-running fight with British, American, Caribbean and other media houses over their probable role in a Barbados-sown, globally grown campaign of character assassination, economic sabotage and other attacks on my intellectual property and human rights.
But others like Liggins, to whom I have always sought to be cordial and respectful, even as I have publicly denounced him for privately and rather questionably labeling me “a crank”, can attest to my goodwill toward all associated with that broadcasting entity.
Others still, like Barbadian businessman David Harvey who know of my commitment to principles of empathy, forgiveness and interdependence can attest to my efforts to play with a straight bat, treating all equally, irrespective of gender, race, religion or class.
Using the “open face” of the bat
This openness to engaging with others despite possible, even probable differences of opinion stems from my heartfelt belief that all differences between human beings can be overcome through dialogue.
This “open bat” belief not only prompted me to consider contacting Bland directly, when I learned of her days left dilemma: it also explains my rather random addressing of my second tweet of September 6 to Rev Atkinson.
I have never met Atkinson, vicar of St John’s Church in Little Thornton, Lancashire. And I cannot even recall why I started following her on Twitter, frankly.
She and I have not had a single conversation about religion or anything else, so far as I am aware.
My tweets were merely invitations for reverend Atkinson to engage with me on the Bland cancer battle phenomenon.
I did not assume that she shares my belief in miracles. And I note her non-response to my tweeting thus far in that respect.
Moreover, I do not think I would have tweeted to reverend Atkinson on September 6 had she not come to my attention via a twitter notification, as I was preparing my second tweet about Bland that day.
And crucially, more than the fact that Atkinson is a priest, it is the fact that she describes herself as a “wife and mum” that led me to include her in my Bland bravery critiquing tweet.
I felt that as a wife and mother like Bland, who heart-breakingly, has been wrenched from the familial bonds of her husband Steve and their two year-old son Freddie, Atkinson would appreciate the value I place on those womanly roles.
But I did not assume that Rev Atkinson would agree with or even approve of my divine-healing-possibility-based beliefs.
I did not assume that she shares my, oncologist Dr Craig Martin’s, Healing Rooms associates Ray and Ruth Scorey’s or similar theists’ belief in the power of prayer to heal the sick.
Indeed, knowing the skepticism of many Anglican priests about this area of Christian faith, I am prepared for the possibility that Atkinson disapproves of the position that I am taking here profoundly.
Nonetheless, as I reflected on the possibility of life saving divine interventions, like that which I believe saved the life of a Barbadian who was dying of full-blown HIV/AIDS in 2003, I could not help but wonder if Bland’s life might also have been saved.
That HIV/AIDS survivor is the person I referred to in my tweet to reverend Atkinson.
And I also spoke to that Barbadian on September 6, urging him to share his story precisely for people like Bland’s sake: people whose lives are in jeopardy.
And one of the main questions I am grappling with here is if rather than seeking to “punch cancer in the face”, as she once put it, had Bland and those now lionizing her pursued a more humble, religiously reverential, deftly death defying strategy, might she still be alive today?
My fundamental concern is that Bland did not even consider the possibility of a miraculous, supernaturally “mediated” recovery because that proposition is alien to the culture of the super cool, scientifically sophisticated, secular, technologically advanced “Beeb”.
I am deeply troubled by the possibility that the secular humanist, typically atheistic ideology that apparently dominates its programming policy is generating a lethal silence on crucial matters of faith and spirituality at the publicly funded BBC.
My concern, as I hinted in a somewhat cryptic September 8 tweet, is that media celebration of Bland’s irreverence in the face of death may be “masking a deadly cynicism and conceit” that is at the heart of the mainstream global media’s relationship with the Western medical and wider secular scientific establishment – and with the pharmaceutical industry particularly.
And I believe that if the opioid addiction epidemic in the United States and a similar pharmaceutical drug crisis here in the UK and elsewhere has made anything clear, it is that this “deadly cynicism and conceit” transcends simplistic secular-religious rivalries.
As I suggest in the first article in this cosmic cricket series, religion is not the only opiate of the masses: irreligion can be an opiate just as easily.
Informed by at times cordial but mostly fraught interactions with a number of BBC Norfolk personnel, including Liggins, Lewis, Rita Johnson, Wendy Witham and Gary Standley, it seems clear to me that it is not just pie-in-the-sky-eyed Pentecostal and other fundamentalist evangelical Christians that are susceptible to ideological tunnel vision and faith fantasies.
Indeed, if one considers the “chemical imbalance” character of the identity politics preaching and practice of Sir Hilary Beckles, Dr Sandra Richards, Margaret Gill, Boris Johson, Nigel Farage, Jane Garvey, Sandi Toksvig and other fundamentalist evangelical feminists, capitalists and communists (socialists), it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that all ideological systems, whether labeled secular or religious, are subject to the perpetual patterns of degeneration and renewal that are seed-like or seminal components of much print and electronic media mischief and hazards.
In TBBTR, based on lessons learned from my own free thought limiting, possibilities precluding immersion in evangelical fundamentalist Pentecostal Christianity, I explore these secular and religious label transcending cycles of degeneration and renewal.
And my belief that the BBC and other media houses often function much like a church, temple, synagogue, mosque or other religious organization is key to my view of the public mischief that may have been perpetrated by Bland’s cancer battling podcast and the questionably celebratory tone of tributes following her death.
Indeed, my understanding of the limitations of all print and electronic news and knowledge trading, digital or analog, has evolved from my perception of the considerable harm that preachers like the late reverends Holmes Williams and Granville Williams of Barbados and reverends Billy Graham, Franklyn Graham, Bishop Eddie Long, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson and Pope Francis have done, despite their best intentions, through their efforts to communicate truth from the pulpits of their large churches, through radio and television broadcasts and through Bible, tract and other Christian literature distributing activities.
As I note in TBBTR, the thought of my own capacity to mislead through my writing and publishing activity terrifies me (page 24).
Long before I was introduced to the work of the late Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, I had acquired at least an elementary common sense grasp of the fact that words can become “carcinogenic” when they are mass produced and misapplied or otherwise lifted from their historical context.
Barbadian broadcaster Vic Fernandes, of the Starcom Network may recall a message I sent to him around 2002 about my detection of toxic elements in the environs of Rev Williams’ church, Peoples Cathedral.
At the time I was thinking particularly of the tragic death of pastor Ricardo Birkett in his mid 30s.
A bright light and heir apparent to Williams, potentially, Birkett was also cut down by cancer, a rare blood-based strain, if I am not mistaken.
I am concerned that even before Bland was afflicted with cancer she had inherited or became infected by a BBC bullying culture mediated, power-of-prayer precluding, atheistic version of the church-focused, closed mind encouraging quality of faith that I believe Rev Williams may have infected Birkett with unintentionally.
The big ‘C’ Rachael Bland and I didn’t have: a conversation
I actually contemplated contacting the brave Bland to tell her about the divine intervention and miraculous healing that is possible when we break the walls of silence that insulate us in sanitized secular and religious bubbles or enclaves.
I considered tweeting to Bland when I learned of her heart breaking, desperate days left dilemma on September 6, as my colleague Dr Natalie Tobert, a medical anthropologist who I was visiting in London that day can attest.
Among other things, I sought to enlist Tobert’s help because I thought she might share her knowledge of the apparent suppression of scientific studies supporting the efficacy of spiritual remedies with Bland.
I also thought I might tell Bland about that Barbadian who was miraculously delivered from death’s door as he lay wasting away under the soul devouring ravages of fully blown HIV-AIDS.
He had been sent home to die, at his request, because death seemed imminent.
I prayed with him for divine healing and he is still alive and well today.
And living with the thought that I may have been similarly used by God to prevent Bland’s death if I had contacted her is just one of the consequences of the indecisiveness that prevented me from initiating a conversation with her via Twitter or any other means.
But that indecisiveness is a consequence of my own fraught faith journey, and especially the result of my first-hand experience of the special care that a conversation about religious faith, initiated in such a public space, with a possible atheist dying of breast cancer would entail.
Followers of this blog may recall the complex, secular and religious walls transcending, ideological bubble bursting, interdisciplinary bridges building skills I documented and demonstrated in the record of my careful conversation with the Marxist matriarch James, published here on May 6, exactly four months ahead of my tweet to Rev. Atkinson.
The parallels between that conversation with James and the challenging one I envisioned with Bland are significant.
Here is an extract of my record of the James-Campbell conversation. It begins with an assessment of James’ “apparent unfailing optimism” that sadly foreshadows the critique of Bland’s outlook I am pursuing here. I wrote,
“Much as I applaud James’ apparent unfailing optimism, which in many ways reflects the pragmatic hope and sense of purpose that powers my own often thankless ‘invisible’ work, I cannot help but be uneasy about the prospect of her and others’ work ending in frustration, or worse, for them and others… What I hope this analysis of James and my careful conversations makes clear are the challenges that we all face if women’s and men’s words are to be fleshed out or incarnated fruitfully and have their intended inter-generational, ‘carnal knowledge’ curating and harmonizing, creative outcomes.
“It was toward this end I that referenced the idea of the ‘banality of evil’ during my interview with James, as a counter to her selectively pessimistic, self-fulfilling prophecy risking, mainstream media modeled view of communication challenges.
“The danger of this morbidly mechanistic, deadly digital view, the price that women, men and children are all paying for superficial, corporate deadlines driven news coverage and analysis, with its simplistic secular-religious dichotomies and antagonisms, can hardly be calculated.”
The James-Bland comparison, points not only to the potentially lethal intersection of fundamentalist evangelical strains of atheism and feminism but also to the possible irrelevance of age.
There is a 48 year gap between James and Bland, demonstrating how irreversibly a dubiously death “embracing” mental dye can be set.
The whole point here though is to explore the possibility that Bland not only considered experimental cancer treatments, as reported by her longtime friend and colleague Bacon, but to what extent she may have been open to the idea of being healed by prayer or a similar supernatural power invoking expression of faith.
And readers should be clear: I am not saying that Bland did not try a traditional “prayer of faith” based remedy.
Was Bland a victim-perpetrator of a British Bullying Corporation?
I am saying that based on what I know of her podcast and of the BBC, her resorting to such a remedy seems unlikely.
The question, again, is to what extent it may be accurate to say that Bland’s employment with the BBC and her apparent immersion in the wider “liberal” British and Western media’s aggressively secular, typically hostile-to-religion environment conditioned her mind and determined her death.
My main concern is to what extent Bland, Radio 5 Live controller Wall and other mainstream media decision makers may be complicit, through personal or technological communication overthrows or excesses, in publishing, broadcasting, podcasting or otherwise propagating a subtly bullying culture of death.
Yet beyond my own and other’s well publicized and documented stories of BBC and other UK, US, Canadian, Caribbean (especially Barbadian, Antiguan and Jamaican) journalists’ bullying, plagiarism, politically subversive maneuvering and related machinations I assume nothing.
As the oncologist Dr Martin, a devout Christian could attest, I would be the last person to put Bland or any other person under any pressure to accept my belief in Christian or other faith healing traditions that challenge Western medical and wider secular scientific orthodoxy.
My spirituality and psychiatry reconciling associate Tobert and others familiar with my idiosyncratic, church-attendance avoiding or severely limiting, unconventional brand of spirituality can attest, I would be the last person to pressure Bland to accept my beliefs.
Martin and his pastor John Browne, of Servant’s Church in Norwich know at least a little about how deeply skeptical I am of all organized, church-based religious routines.
So I can say with the clearest possible conscience that I fully affirm the plucky Welsh woman Bland’s right to live and die as she chose.
But again, having seen the “hand of God”, or what we might call the glorious uncertainties of the cosmos, in line with my cosmic cricket, sporting chance, open-minded view of the world, I am obliged to point out that Bland’s death may have been both needless and needlessly kamikaze.
I am not saying that prayer guarantees that we are healed.
I am saying that it creates that opportunity.
And I am concerned that having immersed herself in the atheistic culture of the BBC (as Birkett and I had immersed ourselves in church-bound evangelical fundamentalist Christianity), Bland may have been denied, or denied herself, arguably, the power to choose a miraculous, supernatural remedy.
And, again, I feel obliged to explore this possibility at the risk of offending Bland’s BBC colleagues, friends and family because of my own experience of the cynically silencing atheistic propensities of the BBC, CNN, the Associated Press, the Washington based International Center for Journalists, the London based National Union of Journalists and similar secular media entities.
And my and others’ concerns about the BBC’s, the Guardian’s, the Telegraph’s, the Daily Mail’s and other mainstream media and new (social) media houses’ roles in institutionalizing insensitivity and a widely documented culture of bullying is a matter of public record, having been previously published here, here, here, here and elsewhere.
Indeed, for several years now, drawing on both personal and professional experience, I have been warning anyone who would listen about a secular and religious boundaries transcending mechanistic moralizing propensity that seems to be both at the root and in the self-perpetuating fruit of the global misuse of artificial intelligence and related technological interventions and legal-social innovations.
This is the backdrop to a link I made between Bland’s religious and wider convention challenging cancer coping or fighting parental strategy and musical “matriarch” Elton John’s gay parenting advocacy.
Responding to a story by CNN assistant managing editor Christina Kline about the launch of Sir Elton’s ambitious 300 concert farewell tour on September 8, I suggested that the British pop musician may have “done more than any other singer to consciously or unconsciously undermine the concept of motherhood, parenting and family life”.
Sir Elton’s and others simplistic, explicit or implied equation of gay parenting with heterosexual biological procreation not only makes light of far reaching issues of biological heredity, at least potentially, it disembodies and fragments the construction of personal narrative that is key to the growing child’s grasp on reality.
There have to be better ways of ensuring that LGBTQ people are treated with respect and dignity than by imperiling the imperatives of procreation and parenting that are rooted in male-female biological interdependence and complementarity.
However well meaning, the simplistic celebration of Bland’s brand of bravery by her BBC and other media colleagues it triggered me with thoughts of John’s and other gay, lesbian and transgender spokespersons’ consciously or consciously perpetrated technological “overthrows”, misappropriations and misdeeds.
It smacked of the media-political conceits that justify abortion but decry the death sentence for murder simultaneously.
It prompted thoughts of overthrows or overflows like the abuse of analytics by Google, the chilling, soul sickening sale of sex robots as substitutes for intimate human contact and the political hijacking of the good intentions and generous information sharing of Facebook, Twitter and other Anansi approximating perversions of social media users intentions and identities.
Whether they are accidental or deliberate, such abuses of technology are not only cheapening human communication and connection but are existential threats, as Stephen Hawkins, Elon Musk and others seem to have conceded rather belatedly.
And as I told Lancet Psychiatry founding editor Niall Boyce, ahead of the 2018 Digital Innovation In Mental Health Conference, in which we both participated, these threats, like the “invention” of writing and the development (not invention) of Gutenberg’s printing press are only the latest in the long list of creations by which we human beings consciously or unconsciously over extend and “overthrow” our professed beliefs.
This is some of the thinking behind the conclusion I have reached that while probably well meaning, the “up beat”, supposedly morale boosting component of media stories about Bland’s tragic demise at 40, leaving her two year old son and husband behind, may also be a social symptom of what the designers Dolce and Gabana might call the synthetization of human sentiment – at the risk of offending Sir Elton, Toksvig and other gay parenting apostles and evangelists.
At any rate, the untimely death of the yet young Bland by breast cancer has prompted me to redouble my efforts to ensure that all cancer and other disease suffers are not deprived of access to the full spectrum of natural and supernatural, possibly life-saving cancer remedies by the bigotry and poverty of imagination that generations of legalistic and literalistic, consciously or unconsciously divisive print and electronic media programming has made a feature of everyday life – and death.
Supported by the research of medical anthropologist Tobert, and with crucial contributions from Digital Innovation in Mental Health Conference convener Dr Becky Inkster, conversation analyst and entrepreneur Dr Elizabeth Stokoe, deadly disease defying Pentecostal Christian oracle Keith Barrow, medical folklorist Dr Andrea Kitta, educator-artists Deborah Liversage and Janice Lear-Gurney and others who in various ways exemplify the passion, creativity and overall zest for life that clearly powered Bland’s pubic image, I am redoubling my efforts to fight the fundamentalist atheist and theist evangelizing that is at the crux of supposedly intelligent, liberty loving, progressive humanity’s social suicide.