I have two bank accounts with Barclays Bank. One is a business account and the other is a personal account.
But the conduct of some Barclays personnel has led me to consider closing both of those accounts.
Two of these Barclays employees have acted with such bewildering bigotry and extreme prejudice that they have compounded the sense of threat that I live with every day as a member of the Black Minority Ethnic (BME) community bracing for the belligerent, buccaneering British prime minister Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit.
The matter is currently with the Financial Ombudsman. Following is an extract of my complaint to that financial industry watchdog. I share these and other details of my Brexodus (Brexiting Britain) journey pursuant to my own cathartic writing and publishing processes and for the benefit of others in both the BME and wider, White British society who might find themselves in similar circumstances.
On July 5th 2019 I was bullied by a Barclays branch manager in Norfolk into accepting a dismissive, insulting monetary settlement for a complaint I had raised with that bank.
Having started out as a conciliatory conversation that made me feel heard and validated, my approximately 20 minute interaction with the Barclays Bank manager deteriorated into a deeply denigrating, intimidating experience.
Mr Blackman, known as “Marine A” achieved notoriety when he summarily executed a wounded, defenseless enemy combatant in a grotesque show of “bravado” for two of his marine subordinates.
The manager’s excessively assertive, Marine-A-mimicking behavior unfolded when I requested some time to think, after she asked me to put a monetary figure on the inconvenience, anxiety and distress I had suffered because of some of her call center colleagues’ negligence.
Her colleagues had basically given me very bad advice leading to me not having card access to my bank account just as I was about to take my daughter on a four hour trip, to compete in a cheer leading competition.
I had already explained that I expected to be refueling my car at least once during the trip, so I would need card access to my money for that reason.
Dismissing my request for more time, the Norfolk branch manager refused me the opportunity to reflect on what I had gone through.
Asserting that Barclays has a standard quantum of compensation that they award in the circumstances, she left me with the impression that if I did not accept her offer, no compensation was available.
I therefore reluctantly accepted her offer on that basis.
However, as I reflected on her conduct over the next few days, I became increasingly dismayed at the way she had spoken to and treated me.
I felt prejudged and treated with disdain – like the vulnerable, wounded man that Blackman killed.
And if my comparison of the treatment I suffered with that of someone who was brutally killed seems extreme, think about what daily life can be like for a child victim of rape or a similarly “walking wounded” individual whose efforts to obtain justice are being persistently derailed and frustrated by people in positions of authority (police, politicians, journalists, religious clerics, for example).
I felt that despite asking me what I thought would be fair monetarily, the bank manager had assessed my worth and was determined to impose a settlement based on her own limited knowledge and value judgement.
I therefore raised the matter with Barclays via their Twitter customer service on Sunday, July 7th.
And as I informed the Financial Ombudsman earlier today, in my lay law opinion, the branch manager’s behavior may even amount to fraud by abuse of position or criminal negligence.
This opinion was strengthened by subsequent interaction with a Barclays level 2 complaint handler.
After explaining to that Barclays employee that if I had been allowed time to think, I probably would have sought to engage the bank in a mutually respectful and beneficial process, in line with the “Technologies Of Trust” project that I had already introduced to Barclays marketing department last year, that complaints handler accused me of trying to bribe the bank.
Could there have been a more poisonous, communication polluting characterization of my efforts to be conciliatory and constructive?
Is the concept of an articulate, intelligent and authentically generous spirited Black man so alien to Barclays?
Who is Barclays Bank confusing me with?
Is there some information in the data that Barclays holds about me that might justify that level 2 complaints handlers’ characterization of my “Technologies of Trust project as an exercise in bribery?
What could justify that characterization of a project I was hoping to collaborate with Barclays marketing department on as criminal enterprise, and me a fraud?
Why would Barclays pollute the the “oxygen of publicity” I sought to share with it?
“So how’s it going at work?” It’s a common question. The kind of question which normally opens a nice warm catch up between friends. But if you are a non-white academic, the question carries a different connotation.
You might respond to it with an eye-roll and a sigh, which tells your friend what they already know – work isn’t going well at all. For years I have been having this same conversation. It begins with that question. And just like that, we share.
We share the all too recognisable stories of racism. The frustrations and the relief that we are not alone, paranoid, or being unreasonable. These conversations equipped me mentally, they prepared me practically, and in doing so they have helped me to survive my workplace for the past 12 years.
But as I continued in my academic career, I soon got to thinking about all those people who were unable to share, who haven’t had the luxury of having others to speak to, who have felt alone, excluded and isolated. And so the foundations of my research began, as I sought to speak to those silent voices who as yet have not had the opportunity to fully communicate the depth and complexity of their answer to the question: “So how is work?”
The fact is everyday racism is hiding behind a string of superficial tag lines that have come to brand universities across the UK. Myths about the “liberal” university can often be seen touted in marketing brochures, job announcements, and website pages, promoting the values and responsibilities of the institution.
Myth 1: Universities encourage inclusivity and diversity
Myth 2: Universities invest in non-white academics
Myth 3: Universities are “post-racial”
Myth 4: Universities desire curriculum reform
Myth 5: Universities are committed to race equality
Beyond these false advertising scams, the real message is clear and simple: racism in British universities is endemic. Academic research has pointed to this fact for well over a decade. Alongside the studies, there is also a catalogue of data that explicitly shows the bleak prospects for non-white academics. For example, statistics around Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) representation in universities continue to demonstrate that non-white academics are marginalised from British universities.
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Data generated from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2012-2013 revealed that out of 17,880 professors, only 85 were black, 950 were Asian, 365 were “other” (including mixed race). The majority of 15,200 were white.
As a result of this skewed landscape, non-white academics are on the whole less likely to be shortlisted, appointed, or promoted in comparison to their white counterparts. In addition to this, it has been reported that BME academics at top universities across Britain earn on average 26% less than their white colleagues.
The data is therefore showing us that very little has been done to encourage progress and racial equality in British universities. The failure of senior managers to accept or even acknowledge the existence of systematic racism operating in their universities, departments and boardrooms is where the heart of the problem lies. My research exposes the entrenched practices of structural and everyday forms of racism in the white academy.
I conducted 20 in-depth interviews ranging from early career, mid-career, and advanced career academics, working either as lecturers or researchers, on permanent, part-time or fixed-term contracts. I spoke with a fairly equal mix of male and female respondents, and they came from a range of racial, ethno-national, and religious groups based at Russell Group and post-1992 universities across Britain.
The research is a collection of different voices. These people shared with me their pain, their strength, their challenges, their courage, and their resistance to racism in the academy. Whether in their office, or in a coffee shop, the conversations flowed. For some, it was like they needed the space to finally get things off their chest – a kind of therapy session, where they could speak about their experiences in the academy.
There were tears, sometimes from them, and at other times from me. There was also a sense of defiance, perseverance, and hope. Some conversations were particularly emotional and harder than others. On some occasions, hours and even days after they had taken place, I found myself replaying their experiences in my head, overcome with a deep feeling of sadness that our bodies had all been injured in some way or another by systemic, structural, and symbolic manifestations of racism in our universities.
Subtle practices of racism in the form of micro-aggressions are often more challenging because they operate against the common sense understanding of racism as easily identifiable. My interviews reveal the way in which micro-aggressions – the everyday slights and indignities non-white people encounter all the time – are intensely bound up with forms of structural “liberal” racism.
In the British university setting, liberal racism is perhaps the most dominant form of racism practised by white faculty staff members. For Eduardo Bonilla Silva, professor of Sociology at Duke University, liberal racism – or what he characterises as “colourblind racism” – takes the form “racism lite” or “smiling face discrimination”.
What is essentially being described here is the idea of the “post-racial” which signals an apparent “end” of racism. This post-racial logic has steadily cemented itself into the very culture of our universities. The idea that we are “over race” is precisely how racism is sustained. This manifests itself in the dismissal or trivialisation of racism and operates to both facilitate and embolden it. The liberal, post-racial culture of denial, which my interviewees say is operating in British universities, has meant the daily realities of racism experienced by non-white academics are obscured, as white faculty members are unable to conceive themselves as perpetrators of racism.
As one said:
Racism is much more insidious in HE (Higher Education). It’s this idea that they don’t want to look bad that gets to me the most.
The notion that white colleagues are more nuanced in their exercise of racism – as they are keen to present themselves as “nice”, “respectable” and “tolerant” people –- was also echoed by another respondent:
People in academia are a bit smarter, they’re more subtle and they understand what they can’t say. Everything is just a bit more institutionalised. But you get the sense that it’s also the place where things are unchecked. I think in general people try to be nice and they want to be nice but they have all these ingrained biases.
‘Sometimes it’s just so damn subtle’
My participants frequently felt that such enactments of liberal racism produced hidden forms of differential treatment, which in most cases could not be placed as direct discrimination due to their very subtleties. Another academic told me:
The problem with the day-to-day encounters of racism is that it’s difficult to pinpoint them down. I’ve felt that I’ve not been included a number of times, or I am the last person to be consulted on something. Sometimes it’s just so damn subtle. It’s in the gestures, it’s in what’s not said.
Feelings of otherness, marginality, and white discomfort around difference, were all common, everyday experiences. Those I spoke to shared examples of their names being mispronounced by white staff members, being mistaken for the only other academic of colour in the department and being made to feel both visible and invisible at the same time.
These daily realities are indicative of the racism lurking beneath the “liberal” university, in which white colleagues like to claim that they are tolerant, and certainly not racist. But the examples given by my interviewees show that when confronted with these situations they can only revert back to their ingrained biases.
My participants went on to point out that the lack of other minorities within the institution produced feelings of alienation and discomfort as they were positioned as “outsiders”:
I always feel like an outsider in the academy … like I am the only one … my experience of the academy is that I’m a black man in a white world. All it takes is for you to go to a meeting and you immediately realise that the one thing that is missing here is colour – there is no colour … it’s a colourless environment.
Teaching and decolonising the curriculum
The classroom is often thought to represent a “safe space” that encourages critical learning and the exchange of ideas. But it would be naive to simply suggest the classroom is free from antagonism because it sits within the broader university environment which is structured by institutional racism.
In fact, my research demonstrates how the classroom can often become a key site in which white students may express feelings of resentment and guilt, as well as a place to confront their privilege. One respondent recalled:
A white male undergraduate student challenged me on a series of issues when I explained the topic of political violence. He started to ask questions and make points that were Islamophobic. He was talking about child molestation by the Prophet Muhammad, how Islam had been a religion spread by the sword, how Muslims believed in female genital mutilation, and so on. I was constantly having to explain and defend a religion of over a billion people, because somehow in the eyes of the student, I was Islam. So I found that to be a really uncomfortable experience.
All my participants said they were made to feel as though they lacked authority and credibility by many of their students. The notion of having to “prove” themselves was an experience that came up time and again. These incidents demonstrate the insidious workings of racism at play, whereby non-white academics have to almost always go the extra mile to prove their competence.
For example, another participant recalled how students “snigger”, “roll their eyes” and walk out of their classes and how uncomfortable this makes them:
I start sweating, I start rushing my material and I just want to get it over with because it’s such a horrible experience. They make out over and over again that I don’t know what I’m talking about, or that I’m biased and it makes me extremely uncomfortable.
From direct insults, to accusations of being biased, my interviews reveal that for some non-white academics, teaching can be a challenging experience. By being made to feel as though they lack authority or having to prove themselves, non-white academics encounter disruptive behaviour that is fundamentally racialised in nature.
The inability of the largely white student body to critically reflect upon their own histories, practices, and structures of oppression is symptomatic of white privilege, white entitlement and a lack of awareness of other cultures in general.
This suggests the need for universities to take seriously calls to decolonise the curriculum as a way to dismantle discourses and practices that reaffirm white superiority. Currently, intellectual agendas in British universities operate to maintain a narrow, inward looking perspective that reinforces the logics of Orientalism (the Western attitude that views Eastern societies as exotic, primitive, and inferior).
The call to decolonise seeks to equip students with more complex and critical understandings of global debates and issues as a way to generate more productive and insightful accounts, beyond eurocentric narratives. Decolonising the curriculum is vital to both the transformation of higher education and the development of inclusive, non-hostile spaces where difference is respected, not denigrated.
But beneath these jamborees the reality is dire. My respondents shared their experiences of being unsupported in applications for promotion, a lack of mentoring, job insecurity, and an overwhelming sense of being undervalued. The obstacles and challenges that they have encountered in relation to hiring practices and career progression are immense and for the most part appear impossible to overcome. One of my interviewees said:
I don’t get the support networks, I don’t get the mentoring, but I get overburdened with teaching. I don’t see a future where I will progress. I see my white colleagues being encouraged, but that never seems to happen to me. There really is no support. It’s dismal.
Both my research and my own personal experience have shown that non-white academics are at a real loss without proper mentoring. It is so often the case that we go to other non-white academics (externally and informally), who take on mentoring in an unofficial capacity. This support has often been crucial for us, however, at the same time – as my respondents pointed out – it is utterly disgraceful that they have had to actively seek support in other places as a result of their own institutions failing to provide them with sufficient or appropriate mentoring.
Feelings of being “expendable” or “disposable” were common across my interviewees who frequently said employment opportunities tended to be “rigged” in favour of white candidates.
The inability to access (white) hidden rules or (white) hidden networks was a common experience across my interviews. The academics felt their future prospects, particularly in terms of promotion, were negatively impacted as a consequence. One said:
I’ve always struggled to know what the rules are. I’ve gone to sessions on what you need to do to get promoted, but I think there’s a whole set of hidden rules that I don’t know or that I can’t find out and that’s frustrating.
It comes as no surprise then that many of my respondents, despite having all the skills and knowledge, often found themselves continuously blocked from promotion and career advancement opportunities that were frequently afforded to their less established, white peers.
Another respondent commented:
I know people are less experienced than me, who might have a similar role, but are on higher pay and at a higher grade. I look at the rate at which white colleagues are promoted and I often think how have they got that? I thought promotion was to be based on your value and what you put in, and it seems that isn’t the case. This is definitely about race.
Meanwhile another academic said:
We have to be exceptional just to be ordinary. And I’m so sad this has manifested in higher education the way that it has. There’s no reprieve for us, there’s no meritocracy.
Discriminatory practices are entrenched within the university environment. My respondents felt that no amount of achievements could surpass whiteness, in other words, meritocracy in the academy is a myth. If non-white academics are to feel truly valued and supported then a series of structural, intellectual, and ethical obligations, must be implemented in higher education to ensure advancement and inclusion for all.
There must be a commitment across the university sector that recognises racism as a fundamentally structural issue. This means engaging with strategies that actively promote the inclusion of non-white academics and students (including those who are classified as international) to ensure that their needs are being addressed appropriately.
Those of us from non-white backgrounds working and studying within British universities are quite simply fed up of the racism that we continue to endure on a daily basis. If universities are serious about tackling racism, discrimination and under-representation they must take the following steps.
1) Senior management must set annual targets to increase BME representation. To ensure this process is formalised, they must implement a systematic monitoring unit to measure hiring rates of BME staff and student admissions against targets. Regular audits of the data must be made available to all staff and failure to meet quotas should result in penalties.
2) Race equality needs to be on the agenda in every department across every university in the UK. Management committee meetings must report on these issues as a standing item to demonstrate the work that they are doing to tackle institutional racism.
3) Mentoring schemes for new and current BME staff members need be formalised, and they should be partnered with a colleague who is sensitive and fully committed to supporting their needs around career progression and personal development.
4) Promotions committees must take equality issues into special consideration for BME applicants.
5) An independent ombudsman must be established who can properly investigate racist and other discriminatory practices.
6) A commitment to decolonising the curriculum must be led by university management.
7) University and departmental policies on race equality must be fully implemented and formally reviewed and updated on an annual basis.
For too long, non-white academics have been absent from the conversation. We need to feel like we are included within the debate and that our voices matter. The day-to-day and structural racist operations of the university need to be systematically reviewed and these failures need to be addressed seriously. Race equality must be practised in the academy, not just preached.
I ended the previous instalment of this evolving critique of Rachel Maddow’s news analysis of April 11 by noting the similarity between the unwritten New Covenant communication technology challenges that I and others face currently, in “the year of our Lord” 2019, and similar communication challenges that followers of Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth have had to contend with since the first century AD.
Before continuing, I want readers to know that I was not aware of Maddow’s existence until my attention was drawn to that broadcast by a Youtube notification on my mobile phone.
So, the doubts that ensued from Maddow’s somewhat wonky language use, the technology of trust communication challenge that I am seeking to resolve through this series of articles, could be construed as a matter of unfamiliarity, largely.
I had never seen or even heard of The Rachel Maddow Show until April 11, you see.
I did not know that she is one of the most highly regarded journalists in the United States.
I did not know that The Rachel Maddow Show is credited with enabling MSNBC to overtake CNN in the US news ratings.
I did not know that she is the first openly lesbian person to host a major prime time news program in the US.
I did not know she shared roots with Attorney General William Barr and special counsel Robert Mueller in the Roman Catholic faith.
All I knew about Maddow when I took issue with her language during that April 11 broadcast is what I had seen in the Youtube video, brought to my attention by an algorithm, presumably, that monitors the kind of news I am interested in.
Until then, I knew no more about Maddow than I did about the Irish journalist Lyra McKee, shot and killed in Belfast on April 18, seven days after Maddow’s reporting rocket “crashed”, like the Israeli’s Beresheet into my cognitive-affective Sea of Tranquillity.
Would it have made a difference if I had known more about Maddow? I do not think so.
I took issue with Maddow’s use of the words “absurd” and “freelancing”, not with her gender, sexual orientation, political leanings or any other facet of her private or public identity.
So I am happy to concede that the disquiet I felt, and still feel to some extent, stemmed at least initially from my unfamiliarity with Maddow’s personal context.
I am happy to concede that though I did not get that impression at the time, Maddow may in fact share my sense of outrage at Bill Barr’s apparent perversion of the course of justice and corresponding imperiling of the United States’ and wider Western democracy.
She may be just as indignant as I am at president Trump’s effective pauperization and dismemberment of US democratic traditions: his apparent determination to “make America grey again” even as he extolls the shine of whatever former glory Americans have achieved.
In other words, I readily concede that my concerns about how Maddow characterized Barr’s behaviour, may be misplaced.
I readily concede that she may share my sense of indignation but express it in a manner unique to her: in a word, idiosyncratically.
Alternately, one could say, she may have been using Maddowspeak.
Perhaps persons more familiar with her style of presentation would have read the “text” of her facial expressions and other aspects of her speech and broader body language differently.
However my goal here, as in my tweet to Maddow, has never been to reject her analysis completely.
It is, rather, to offer an alternative, less “lighthearted”, more grave reading of the situation she is addressing.
And in line with the grave, surgical, simultaneously scientific and spiritual reading of history that distinguishes this blog and my wider holistic communications and education praxis generally, my goal is also to address matters that Maddow did not address verbally but to which details of her personal context, and especially her “sexual orientation” speak voluminously.
Consistent with my clairvoyant, cosmic cricketing sensitivity to changes in the weather and other playing conditions, my analysis is augmented by attention to ostensibly unrelated details, including, the tragic death of Trinidad born, Barbados-based journalist-broadcaster Veoma Ali on April 9; the catastrophic berth of the Israeli rocket Beresheet on April 11; the fire at the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15; the previously cited death of the journalist and lesbian activist McKee on April 18 and other arguable minutiae of real politik.
Minutiae or not, these “signs and wonders” have been burdening this series of articles, through which I am seeking to discharge my peculiarly prescient, clairvoyant brief for just over a month now.
And whether or not Maddow or any similarly prominent presenter with the BBC, CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Russia Today or comparable, secular Western knowledge traders think such Gaia groanings are relevantant, I will continue to draw attention to “twin” earthquakes between England and Barbados, like those that I tweeted about earlier this month, and similar, seemingly unrelated geopsychic developments.
Like Judge Murray Gurfein, who refused to issue an injunction prohibiting publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, I feel compelled to reveal matters that Maddow and other journalists would conceal, cosciously or unconsciously.
Responding to efforts by the Nixon administration to bar the American public’s access to sensitive details of American foreign policy that informed the catastrophic Vietnam war, Gurfein wrote in his judgement of June 19 that “[t]he security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone. Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.”
I believe this “right of the people to know”, a corollary of the people empowering New Covenant, is being threatened by an emergent homosexual orthodoxy that has largely hijacked the voices and votes of gay people, consciously or unconsciously.
Like veteran Barbadian communication specialist Hallam Hope, I am deeply concerned about the political ambitions of “the gay rights movement” and especially about the fascist fathering and misandric mothering of gay orthodoxy pushing oracles like “Rocket Man” Sir Elton John.
Apparently, Sir Elton would have us believe that there is no difference between biologically based, heterosexual parenting and the legally facilitated homosexual parenting arrangements that may be Peter Thiel’s and some other gay people’s ideal “family plan”.
The pop icon John’s success at forcing the gay designers Dolce and Gabana to retract their questioning of this emergent gay orthodoxy has demonstrated the lengths to which he, Thiel, Peter Tatchell and other influencers seem prepared to go to silence contemporary versions of the second century Christian oracle Montanus: those aspiring to be direct, divine line curating and broadcasting New Covenant messengers today.
I believe that Maddow and other mainstream journalists may be aiding and abbetting a threat that secretive, “gay mafia” media elements pose to American and wider Western democracy, even as they seek to protect our democratic institutions from Trump administration threats to a free press and to political transparency, ironically.
I am concerned that Maddow, colleagues of the tragically killed McKee and other journalists may be unaware of the capacity of political homosexuality, like political atheism, political Buddhism, political Christianity, political Hinduism, political Islam, political Judaism and any other politicised ideology to induce heart hardening and brain death through freedom of conscience suppressing legalism and related infelicities.
And for all his erudition, which I applaud in principle, I believe former US president Barack Obama dropped the ball by endorsing the legalization of gay marriage with scant regard for the deep-seated legalism and related corruption and degeneration that plagues Christendom perennially, as it does all book-based faiths and scholarly sourced secular ideologies.
I believe it was a failure of judgement stemming at least in part from Obama’s and his US-born, Barbados-traced attorney general Eric Holder’s over-reaching empathy: an aspirational expression of compassion that, ignoring or not being familiar with the limitations of the law, inevitably leads to fossilization and fragmentation of faith and morality.
From such good intentions can ensue the destruction of one’s moral compass or the casting aside of one’s conscience and consequent shipwrecking of one’s faith (1 Timothy 1:19) to which the passage from the book of Isaiah that I quoted in the first article in this series speaks. It reads:
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness to light and light to darkness, who replace bitter with sweet and sweet with bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)
The susceptibility of writers and others who excel in academics to such faith fossilization or ideological intransigence and confusion was dramatically demonstrated by England-based American bioarcheologist Stacy Hackner during a talk she gave at a London Skeptics meeting this past January.
Hackner and I had two very significant exchanges while she was taking questions from the audience.
The first occurred when I challenged her interpretation of the archeological evidence she had presented, as she had repeatedly ascribed low status to women minding children and engaging in related mothering activities.
It was only when I pointed out that motherhood entails very difficult work and is potentially the most important job on earth, that Dr Hackner conceded that she had internalized the same patriarchal view of women’s work that she was challenging.
She basically conceded that she had been ignoring and undervaluing the fact that mothers are compelled to be masters of diplomacy and are on the front lines of national security against domestic threats by virtue of the care they are obliged to provide for their families.
She had basically undermined the role of mothers in the domestic domain of national security that judge Gurfein was addressing.
And the theme of Hackner’s talk was biases in archeological depictions of ancient male and female routines and roles, ironically!
As I insisted in an April 6 Twitter conversation with Sid Rodrigues of London Skeptics, Hackner’s confusion is important because it points to a fundamental matriarchal contradiction that feminists need to address.
And I have been urging University of the West Indies(UWI) professor Sir Hilary Beckles, the relatively rehabilitated revolutionary-turned-diplomat David Comissiong, their collaborator Dr Sandra Richards and other Afrocentrics to address similar contradictions and anomalies in their Pan Africanist educational offerings.
Among other logical transgressions, my former Pan Africanist colleagues have been advocating for reparations for trans-Atlantic slavery on the basis of sweeping generalisations about “whiteness” that equates it with evil, while associating “blackness” with innocence and virtue, implicitly or explicitly.
Like the Garveyite academic theologian Robert Beckford, they therefore mimic the robotic, ratings focused elements in Maddow’s and other feminists’ reasoning, to some extent.
And I am still waiting for a response from Phil Baty of the Times Higher Educational Supplement (or perhaps from his subordinates Duncan Ross or Billy Wong) to my request for information about the rationale by which my alma mater UWI achieved its impressive inclusion in that publication’s World University Rankings.
I made that request in January and followed it up with a tweet on March 15.
In the mean time, so far as I can tell, my former Pan Africanist colleagues continue to perpetuate the politically motivated mischief that began with the printing press and has been exacerbated by radio and other kinds of electronic broadcasting.
And just as the conscience searing coalescing of mechanistic matriarchal and patriarchal rivalries are polluting Western political discourse with poisonous, gender polarising particulates, so too gangster mentality aggregating, pseudoscientific Afrocentric simplifications are combing with their Aryan supremacist counterparts (the kind of stereotypical drivel spouted by disgraced geneticist James Watson) to produce a destructive psycho-social synergy.
I have been urging a number of Parliamentary Select Committees and other influential entities here in England to view writing as a form of elementary artificial intelligence.
However, the Select Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has apparently not been able to grasp literacy’s potentially lethal, addictive power and corresponding capacity to immerse us in a compulsion coded virtual reality world.
Consequently, the threat being posed to the cognitive and affective development of young, impressionable children through the book-based equalities indoctrination being propagated by the gay rights activist Andrew Moffat and other Obama-like, empathy excessive educators, is therefore not receiving the critical attention of that Committee that it deserves.
That Committee’s chairman, Damian Collins MP and other members seem incapable of the holistic, interdisciplinary, joined-up thinking that the Committee’s title “digital, Culture, media and sport” encourages us to think they are capable of.
If one did not know better one might think the members of that Committee, the trade unionists, BBC and other journalists who have come out in support of Moffat’s programme, were restricting their critical thinking skills to finding fault with Christian and other religion-based “gay conversion” therapies.
Could such blatant bias be what they intend?
I am hoping to alert Maddow, Moffat, Beckles and other influential formal and informal educators to the risk they run of being “helpful idiots”, co-opted by shadowy, unscrupulous interests to advance fundamentalist feminist, glory grabbing gay mafia, popish Pan Africanist and similarly questionable political capital accumulating programs that lump or Clump people together according to gender, sex, race or religion without regard for the interior, conscience derived, DNA determined, heterosexually sourced complementarity that makes us all unique.
My goal is to assert the unlimited possibilities to which we all have access when we login to the livestream of the unwritten New Covenant’s personal empowerment.
This is the simultaneously particular and universal phenomenon that Emory University’s illustrious poet-professor Jericho Brown referenced as he praised the rooted reach of fellow oracle Christell Roach’s poetic gift.
And I would gladly share the link to Emory’s website page where I discovered that tribute to Roach, on May 1.
But it seems to have disappeared.
Yet there has ever been and will ever be only one password between us and the idiosyncratic, profoundly personalized power that is a basic biological right and the natural heritage of every human being.
And it is not a Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram or other social media password.
It is not a British or Barbadian passsport, an American visa or other certification of nationality or legal resident status.
It is not the favour of Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, or the richly resourceful Oprah Winfrey, God bless her.
Despite what the 2016 electoral success of the bigly bragging, female-genitalia-grabbing-advising current US president suggests, the cynical calculation that he and his current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson demonstrated that year has always and can only ever deliver temporary relief from the written New Testament malware that manacles and menaces true, New Covenant spontaneity and liberation.
If you are going to escape that malware matrix of virulent virtual reality and access the unwritten New Covenant code in which poets, mystics and others conversant in oracular, glossolalic communication live and move and have their being (Acts 17:28), you need only one password: honesty.
Maddow, “America’s wonkiest anchor” reputedly, projects that honesty to a significant degree.
I want to help others enjoy a similar degree of balanced self-acceptance and self-criticism.
It is what I believe Joshua, the incarnator of the New Covenant expects of me.
And it’s Bart out to bat
It is toward the goal of encouraging honest communication that I cited academic theologian Bart D Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus, marketed as “The story behind who changed the Bible and why” in part “a” of this article.
I value Ehrman’s work to the extent that it illuminates the similarity between the unwritten New Covenant communication technology challenges that I and others face currently, in “the year of our Lord” 2019, and similar communication challenges that followers of Joshua have had to contend with since the earliest days of Christianity .
However, I was also careful to note that Ehrman “may not be as pained about the damage Christianity, its Jewish antecedent and its Islamic and other book-based successors have been doing to themselves and other segments of humanity as I am” because he probably “has not grasped the fact that the greatest, most catastrophic misrepresentation of Joshua’s life and work consists in the confusion of the UNWRITTEN New Covenant with the WRITTEN New Testament.”
I thereby invoked and bore witness, indirectly, to a truth articulated by the second century “Church Father” Tertullian who has given us this exquisite enunciation of the contribution of Christian martyrdom to the 2000+ year-old Judeo-Christian family tree: the blood of the martyrs is seed.
Yet this awareness of the biological basis of faith was apparently not enough to steer Tertullian away from an excessive creed coded course.
It is apparent that the confounding of Joshua’s New Covenant message by Tertullian and other consciously or unconsciously fascism prone Church Fathers was tantamount to putting Joshua’s and his life’s work to death in perpetuity.
And the perpetual martyrdom mirroring misrepresentation of Joshua’s message, the shedding of his blood in perpetuity, consists in Barr-like behaviour of Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and other male Christian clerics, with the conscious or unconscious complicity of the misanthrope mothers who, among other tragedies, have made the abandonment of their motherly potential and, at its worst extreme, the legalization of abortion a cause celeb of civilized, democratic, “developed” countries.
The arc of the covenant that these men and women have constructed jointly, and for which every generation of them since the first century have been washing their hands like Pilate and refusing to take responsibility,re runs through the prolific scribe Tertullian’s bibliography, literally. Actually, as I note in The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled (TBBTR) it was Tertullian, whose surviving works date from between 196 and 212 AD who first referred to written materials as the “New Testament”, Latin novum testamentum.
“By so doing”, I argue “he either initiated the confusion of the New Covenant with written matter or else, through his sanction as a recognized leader in the early church, made official this confusion which may have already existed in the minds of many Christians – as a result of their preoccupation with these scriptures.”
And this is in fact a very useful insight into the workings of written material induced faith fossilization, heart hardening and brain death, if I say so myself!
Also, considering the complicity, conscious or unconscious, direct or indirect, intentional or unintended of Roman Catholic and Protestant literalism in the death of Mckee, another ancient saying comes to mind poignantly: the letter killeth.
Attributed to the apostle Paul, these words, found in 2 Corinthians 3:6, summarise the lethal capacity of literacy when mismanaged in religious, academic and similar potentially volatile political contexts.
They underscore the difference between the unwritten New Covenant, a metaphor for conscience, and the written New Testament, as I argue in TBBTR.
And my suspicion that Ehrman, who is currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is unaware of the catastrophic confusion of the spiritual New Covenant with the literal New Testament has been strengthened by the apparent absence of the name Montanus from his book.
I have only read up to page 63 of his 218 page text so far. But Ehrman’s preoccupation with the reliability or not of the written New Testament as an accurate record of Joshua’s teaching does not suggest that he is aware of the significant body of evidence, including evidence associated with the charismatic oracle Montanus’ story, which suggests that Joshua probably never foresaw or intended the creation of the New testament.
And the absence of Montanus’ name from the index of Ehrman’s text also supports the conclusion that even though the former evangelical Christian turned evangelical atheist (or at least agnostic) is probably familiar with Montanus’ story, as one would expect of any New Testament scholar, frankly, he apparently has not grasped its relevance to Joshua’s oracular, unwritten New Covenant mission, method and related existential realities. I am therefore inclined to view Ehrman’s scholastic achievements as a shipwreck in progress.
I question the soundness of the trajectory of his Beresheet rocket. But readers should bear in mind that this inclination is based on my very limited knowledge of Ehrman’s work, especially of his more recent work (efforts to contact him have so far proved fruitless).
Whether or not he mentions Montanist in the book I am reading, Ehrman’s account of the various kinds of scribal errors that underly the composition of the New Testament is very informative and I am as grateful for it as I am for Maddow’s analysis.
Yet I cannot help but lament Ehrman’s apparent scholastic shortcomings because as the references to Montanus in TBBTR indicate, I believe Montanus’ story provides indispensable insights into how Joshua’s familial formations focused, freedom of conscience affirming New Covenant teaching was initially submarined by conscious or unconscious Barresque misquoting and misreporting.
So, from my perspective, limited as it is, while Ehrman is to be applauded for his attempt at a “deep-dive analysis” of the history of the New Testament, his analysis, like Maddow’s remains rather shallow, at least in this important respect.
Moving with Montanus and Maddow: dance dialectics
And I have appropriated the term “deep-dive analysis” from a 2017 Rolling Stone article in which journaist Janet Reitman describes the format and vision for Maddow’s show on MSNBC.
From my perspective, the story of the Maddow foreshadowing, second century news broadcaster Montanus and the Montanist movement that he spawned, with the aid of two other oracles, Prisca and Maximila, his main collaborators, provides vital insights into how Joshua’s message, like Mueller’s report, was consiously or unconsciously distorted, first by Joshua’s brother James, probably, then by others who similarly claimed to know Joshua best and love him most.
(And the award-winning television series Everybody Loves Raymond comes to mind here for more reasons than may appear initially.) Apparently, Montanus, who rose to prominence in Phrygia in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) found himself immersed in a communication technology challenge somewhat like Maddow’s, McKee’s, Barr’s, Ehrman’s and my own because of his New Covenant affiliated belief that Joshua incarnated or initiated a church-based dispensation of divine, direct, spoken word messaging through what he and his followers, the Montanists, called New Prophecy.
I celebrate Montanus and his “New Prophecy”, an oracular, transcendental cousin of jazz music, and of jazz’s improvisational scatting particularly, in a poem named for him in my 1994 collection Standing. The first stanza of that poem reads:
Speak Montanus, speak/today/the things you know, and understand/better than/another man,/who in times past spoke/aloud,/and now is read behind a/ shroud/which oft veils the simple light,/giving way to heart’s/deep night.
And readers of this discourse who may have been struggling to see Montanus’ relevance to this discussion of America’s current democratic deficit and related free press undermining, fake news reporting phenomena, may now be beginning to see the parallels between the submarining of Montanus’ New Prophecy doctrine and the attempted torpedoing of Mueller’s report, by his long time friend Barr more clearly, hopefully.
Certainly, with the redacted Mueller report now in the public domain, it is now clear that despite those two men’s shared Roman Catholic faith and long years of friendship, Barr’s four page summary of that report has shrouded its content audaciously.
Maddow is to be congratulated for drawing attention to Barr’s dereliction of his democratic duty, even if her rhetorial rocket ultimately crash landed, from my perspective.
And therein lies a fundamental difficulty of this treatise: the challenge of appropriately praising Maddow’s effort even as I criticize it firmly. Having the very high regard that I do for academics and academia, I want to ensure that like journalist-musician Tom Sturm I give Maddow, “a graduate of Stanford University and Oxford and recipient of a Rhodes scholarship”, the honour due her “extensive and impressive” academic achievements.
And I am quoting here from “Wonk and circumstance”, an article published by Sturm in 2010.
And Maddow’s response, when asked by Sturm if she sees higher education as an essential key to success, is instructive.
She says “Everybody’s got to find their own path, and there are a lot of great ways for people to prep for careers. That said, I think that rigorous, classical liberal education is a form of intellectual training that helps in just about every career, and in life. The Enlightenment is a really handy inheritance for, you know, civilization—it’s worth deliberately learning its lessons.”
What Enlightenment lessons do Maddow have in mind?
Might those lessons explain the collegial relationship she had with the late, latterly disgraced misogynist Chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, Roger Ailes?
My evolving knowledge of Maddow’s seed, the crossword puzzle, if you will, of her life and work that I am piecing together to reconstruct the trajectory of her largely impressive but ultimately ill-fated 11 April Beresheet analytical journey, is also indebted to the Reitman interview cited previously.
And it is Maddow’s insistence in that interview that she is “a liberal for sure” that I find a key cause for worry.
I can only hope that her lesbian “liberalism” does not predispose her to Obama and Holder approximating oblivion to the fascist tendencies of Sir Elton and other proponents of gay parenting orthodoxy. Unfortunately, Maddow’s confessed fascination with the Republican Party suggests that like John she may be on course for a gender, race and religion racketeering “rocket man” catastrophy.
Explaining her fascination with that party she told Reitman:
I’m like a sociological student of the Republican Party – even absent Trump. There is a robust, well-funded, decades-old, superorganized, focused, competent conservative movement that exists outside the Republican Party that yanks the party’s chain whenever they want to. The Republican Party is like an old burned-out husk of a Ford Pinto that blew up ’cause its gas tank was in the wrong place, but it’s attached to a giant jet engine. The Democratic Party is like a Honda Civic. It putters through the world in a predictable way, and you like it or not depending on if you find small, unpowerful things cute. But the Republican Party has this incredible propulsion and no way to steer it.
I believe that a key component of that “giant jet engine” is the 2000+ year old Judeo-Christian faith in which Maddow was schooled as a Roman Catholic.
I believe she has experienced the workings of that belief system intimately. And I believe her battle with depression is evidence that she is both a beneficiary and a casualty of that faith’s constraint by written creeds.
And having learned just recently (May 10) through a CBS interview of Maddow’s fascination with guns, which fits with the information offered by Reitman about a G.I. Joe she owns, my sense of the warrior woman instinct that motivates Maddow is more or less complete.
Her comparison of the cameras beaming her image into televisions (and phones, as in my case) like a bullet could therefore be considered an unneccessary accessory.
Maddow was already dressed to kill, so to speak.
Coincidentally, I recently posted a question on the social networking site for scientists and researchers Researchgate, asking if it matters that Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth probably never envisaged the creation of the collection of writings called the “New Testament.
Explaining the rationale behind the question, I suggested that the answer to it has implications for “the battle of the sexes”, as intimated by Charles Dickens’ succinct denunciation, in his novel Oliver Twist, of the Victorian legal notion that men always have the final say in their marriages.
Through his character Mr Bumble, Dickens declares “If the law assumes that, the law is a ass!”
That marriage can be a kind of martyrdom, has always been clear to me. And thanks to the excesses of fundamentalist feminists like Barbados’ Reverend Sonia Hinds, it is becoming increasingly clear that Tertullian’s belief that the blood of martyrs should be expended on the maintenance or expansion of church membership needs to be revisited radically.
How does that belief differ from the Islamic State’s, Boko Haram’s or other violence rationalizing Jihadi Joe’s recruiting strategy?
As I insist in my open letter to the theologian Bonfiglio, the family, not the church, is the primary soil in which Joshua’s New Covenant seed germinates and should grow.
Does Maddow’s and her partner Susan Mikula’s decision not to get married, mentioned in the CBS interview, suggest that they share this perspective?
Might Maddow be a “closet” Christian, despite all her claims of liberalism. If she has retained the faith of her parents, as I suspect, might her decision to keep that to herself be an expression of her liberal, lesbian instinct. Might she be less like Montanus and more like Valentinus: an extraordinarily gifted gnostic.
One benefit of being mindful of the cyclical, or as I like to say spherical, dimension of communication technology challenges like Montanus’, approximately two milennia ago and Maddow’s and mine today, is the peace and tranquility that it can bring to those anxious about the current global climate of technological turbulence and related sociopolitical disruption and violence.
Accordingly relatives and friends of the late scribe and oracle McKee might find some consolation in the New Covenant knowledge sharing of Prisca and Maximilla, the two women who worked with Montanus closely.
The environment in which the trinity sought to practice and propagate their faith was at least as hostile as Belfast today, or London, if you are a member of the Black and Minorty Ethnic (BME) community.
And I have previously noted that the threats of air pollution, road traffic accidents, Brexit exacerbated racism and other gender, race and religion related tensions mean that life in England can be just as hazardous as life in Afghanistan and other war zones for many of us.
Martyrdom was a distinct possibility for Montanus and his fellow oracles, as it was for all members of the emergent Christian sect in the second century AD.
Yet where the Israeli Beresheet rocket failed to reach its intended physical destination, the lunar Sea of Tranquility, Montanus, Prisca and Maxililla can be said to have succeeded spiritually.
Long regarded as a heretical faction by institutional, orthodox Christianity, the Montanist missilic message of direct connection and communication with God, challenging the need for the clerical class that eventually dominated what Ehrman has called proto-Christianity, was in fact largely vindicated in its own time and is being vindicated today increasingly, especially through comparisons with the modern Pentecostal movement apparently.
Academics like Jonathan Taplin, Director Emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, can also find some comfort in the knowledge that humanity has faced and survived the suppression of the unwritten New Covenant for more than 2000 years, despite the designs of succesive generations of Thiel type misappropriations of notions of interiority and privacy.
Taplin is the author of Move Fast And Break Things, a study of “How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”.
But I think Mark Zuckerberg, Jeffrey Bezos, Thiel (or should that be Thief?) and other disruptive fast movers can usefully be viewed as extraordinarily slow moving learners of ancient, tried and tested principles.
Considers how impervious they seem to the historical principle that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Similarly, I am suggesting that Maddow and other mainstream journalists, especially those propagating what I call a fundamentalist feminist worldview, have been moving fast and breaking things, consciously or unconsciously, for at least a century!
And as in my landmark Fundamentalist Feminism essay, first published on the eve of International Woman’s Day 2005, and resurrected last March, with an overture to the regrettably inflexible Marxist feminist oracle Selma James, my concern is that Maddow, James, Barbadian prime Minister Mia Mottley, poet Margaret Gill, UWI’s Sir Hilary, his popish Pan Africanism preaching comrade Comissiong and other feminists or feminist sympathizers may not only be colluding, consciously or unconsciously with Barr, US Vice president Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials in a subversion of American democratic institutions but also accelerating the threat that a jaundiced jihadi, perversely politicised practice of feminism poses to women, men, the family and ultimately humanity.
My concern about the threat that fundamentalist feminism and its Pan Africanist, white supremacist and other ideological counterparts pose to human ecology, not just to women and men, is shared by the much abused British Women’s Refuge founder Erin Pizzey, who features in my FF essay prominently.
It may also be shared by Joseph “T-Bone” Burnett, an American music industry veteran who endorses Taplin’s analysis of the rocketing recklessness of the technology giants enthusiastically.
Burnett’s comments on Taplin’s text are relevant here to the extent that he appreciates the threat that too rapid technological “progress” poses to human ecology, that is, our survival as a species.
Burnett writes “Move Fast and Break Things goes on my bookshelf beside a few other indispensable signposts in the maze of the 21st Century—The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul and The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan. I pray the deepest and highest prayer I can get to that this clarion warning is heeded. The survival of our species is at stake.”
And while I have not yet read Taplin’s timely testament I would happily endorse Burnett’s comment – if I could be sure that his concern about the threat that technological innovation poses to the survival of humanity is matched by a corresponding concern about the threat posed by fundamentalist feminism and its militant, perversely political homosexual orthodoxy advocating extremes.
From my vantage point, Burnett’s musical collaboration with the artist-activist Sir Elton, who, again, apparently sees no distinction between biologically based heterosexual procreation and legislation based “reproduction” of that unique product of heterosexual complementarity raises serious questions about Burnett’s views on technology.
From my perspective, the Grammy-award winning producer Burnett’s comments, like Maddow’s commentary, may be clouded by a failure to distinguish between reality and “virtuous reality” consistently.
But that does not undermine and should not distract from the cosmological correlation and essential agreement between the title of Taplin’s book (and Burnett’s endorsement of it as a check on indecently hasty, reckless embrace of risky technology) on the one hand, and the democracy derailing, rocket wrecking risk that is one of this articles central themes.
The link should be as clear to and as instructive for the commonest clairvoyant in Israel, the US, the UK, Barbados and elsewhere as it is for me. I note that Taplin came to my attention (or one could say landed softly or stealthily on my cerebral Sea of Serenity) through what I described in an April 2 tweet as the “#ImprecisePrecisionPassing, via retweeting” of an apparently ardent politics and comical camel-riding enthusiast calling him/herself Shai (pronounced like Chay?), retired academic Chris Salewicz and Paul Carroll, associate professor of media design at the School of Art, Media, and Technology at The New School’s Parsons School of Design.
And while I am cautious about the weight I give to my own clairvoyant capacities, as some British law enforcement authorities are aware, I am inclined to label the 11th April crash of the Beresheet rocket a lesson to the heavy footed, hardline taking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his tough talking American ally president Trump.
I believe the wrecking of that rocket, coinciding with Maddow’s metamimetic messaging malfunction at a critical moment in the socio-historical evolution of Western democracy, was a signal to the hawkish Netanyahu, Trump and other hardliners about the care needed to ensure a “soft landing” in a hostile territory.
And the metaphor extends to Barr’s reading of the Mueller report with something like time transcending relevance, given the Hebrew name of the Israeli rocket, Beresheet, which means “a beginning” or genesis, and is the name of the first book of the Torah and the Bible.
Consider too the implications of that providentially(?) aborted rocket’s ruined berthing: the implications for the Netanyahu-Trump marriage and its expected or unexpected offspring.
What precise or imprecise message might the lesbian-anchor- activist Maddow have been passing to them, consciously or unconsciously, through her cloudy commentary?
And what shall we make of the fire at Notre Dame Cathederal on April 15: Our Lady of Paris consumed amidst her renovations; the spectacle of her missilic spire on fire, crashing into a pyrotechnic papal see.
I have also addressed the tragic slaying of the journalist McKee and the hijacking of her and Maddow’s lesbianism, possibly, by gender, race and religion privateers and racketeers who traffic in the political capital of contested identies, consciously or unconsciously.
I believe McKee, like Joshua, riskes being martyred in perpetuity by Barr-like summarisers of her report to humanity.
Those matriarchal, patriarchal, Pan Africanist, Papist, Protestant, Capitalist, Communist and similar low blow landing, label leveraging thieves excell in the kind of flesh fraud fake news falsifications and unwritten New Covenant “counterfeiting” that the French academic painter William Bouguereau graphically depicts in his painting Dante et Virgil (Dante and Virgil).
As the Musée d’Orsay website informs, that painting was inspired by “a short scene from the Inferno, set in the eighth circle of Hell (the circle for falsifiers and counterfeiters), where Dante, accompanied by Virgil, watches a fight between two damned souls: Capocchio, a heretic and alchemist is attacked and bitten on the neck by Gianni Schicchi who had usurped the identity of a dead man in order to fraudulently claim his inheritance.”
If they do not respect origins, how could they possibly respect originality?
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness to light and light to darkness, who replace bitter with sweet and sweet with bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)
On April 11 I published a two-tweet thread in response to MSNBC oracle Rachel Maddow’s use of the words “absurd” and “freelancing” as she described the very questionable, seemingly unjust and unethical, president-Donald-Trump-impunity-serving behaviour of United States Attorney General William P Barr in the latter part of the above video.
In a summary beginning at 20:19, intriguingly because we’re in the “year of our Lord” 2019, Maddow uses the adjective “absurd” and the verb “freelancing” to describe what she says is the latest stratagem in the Trump administration’s “epic effort to submarine” special counsel Robert Meuller III’s report of his investigation into possible Trump administration collusion with Russia in the 2016 US presidential election and obstruction of justice since then.
Maddow says “Barr’s handling of this started off weird: it is now absurd! And, he is obviously freelancing; he is obviously making this up as he goes along.”
Tweeting directly to Maddow, I first suggested that instead of “absurd” the word “obscene” would better describe Barr’s apparent justice obstructing, ethical-legal accountability barring behaviour, which Maddow had already likened to that of Richard Nixon defenders, during the Watergate scandal.
I tweeted “Heartfelt thanks for this @maddow… But your characterization of Barr’s behaviour seems off. I wouldn’t call what you’ve described absurd: I’d call it OBSCENE.”
And declaring my own status as a “freelancer”, my second tweet takes issue with Maddow’s use of the word “freelancing” to describe what I consider Barr’s full-time, president-Trump-personal-employee-like actions.
It reads “I’m similarly concerned about your use of the word ‘freelancing’. I’m a freelancer. Barr seems to be on @POTUS’ personal payroll. #BarrBananaRepublic”
I tweeted these opinions (heresies?) because from my perspective, Maddow, whose apparently unscripted, at least partly improvisational, jazzy commentary was punctuated with incredulous sniggering and similar liminal laughing expressions, was failing to communicate the gravity and urgency of Barrr’s and the wider Trump administration’s threat to America’s democratic development.
In my opinion, she had failed to model the indignation that I believe citizens of what is reputedly the world’s leading democracy, should be feeling in response to Barr’s and other Trump supporters’ very questionable attempts to deny American taxpayers and voters direct access to Mueller’s report.
As the hashtag with my second tweet suggests, I believe that despite his best intentions, the 45th president of the US, aided and abbetted by his devout Roman Catholic attorney general Barr, his devout Roman Catholic vice president Mike Pence, his Catholic schooled counsellor Kellyanne Conway, the self-confessed Christian cynic Dr Ben Carson and others possibly harbouring antisemetic, homophobic, islamaphobic and similar prejudices, risks reducing the world’s all-time greatest secular democracy to a banana republic.
Despite referencing the Nixon administration’s tactics, Maddow’s commentary failed to convince me that she is fully alert to the urgency of the crisis confronting America’s democracy safeguarding justice system and its free press.
It may also be that because Maddow demonstrated a knowledge and understanding of what had transpired under Nixon, she may have unintentionally channelled a tone of glibness or complacency.
Could I have been put off by an unintended, perhaps subliminal suggestion in Maddow’s presentation, especially perhaps, in her body language, that we had seen it all before?
I cannot say for sure.
What I do know is that the more I have reflected on Barr’s behaviour and Maddow’s commentary, the more I have come to believe that she, and by extension MSNBC, were mischaracterizing a hugely consequential historical moment (And I will be addressing the peculiar historical-political worldview of Maddow’s boss Phil Griffin at my earliest opportunity).
I believe that like the ill-fated Israeli Beresheet spacecraft lunar mission, Maddow’s ambitious commentary had crashed and burned, on this occasion.
And the pain propelling me to share my perspective stems from my sense that Maddow and other media influencers are to some extent colluding with Barr, consciously or unconsciously, by misrepresenting the seriousness of the Trump White House threat, in much the same way that the unwritten New Covenant, a key democracy dispersing principle of Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth’s teaching and legacy, has been distorted and submarined by successive generations of his followers since at least the AD 30s.
As I make clear in my book The Bible: Beauty And Terror Reconciled (TBBTR), the conscience based, personal responsibility focused sunsum (part of an ancient African metaphysical tradition that is similar to the Qi [pronounced “Chi”, as in “Tai Chi”] of Chinese culture) or driving force of Joshua’s life-story has been mischaracterized since approximately AD 30, the year of the first “Good Friday”.
My April 11 Twitter appeal to the “strict Catholic family raised”, gay rights activist Maddow could be viewed as an imprecise-precise passing of a burden of truth I have been bearing for at least 36 years now.
It could be considered both a cry for help and a clarion call that dates back to my 1992 poem The ‘Illiteracy’ of Christ; a poem I penned in 1992 and featured on page 21 of my first poetry collection, Standing, published by Roots Academy, (the predecessor to my current Intelek International proprietary label) in Barbados in 1994.
My poem “The ‘Illiteracy’ Of Christ”. There is also a song version of this poem, which I hope to produce for lovers of meaningful music one day.
Last month I tried to get some help bearing the weight of this burden by initiating an online conversation with Ryan Bonfiglio, an Atlanta, Georgia based American theologian.
But there seems to be a Barresque barrier obstructing Bonfiglio’s engagement with me.
Perhaps my missilic missive effort to engage with him has suffered some internal messaging malfunction and crashed and burned, like the Israeli rocket Beresheet.
I do not know.
I do know that there is an irony here though, because Bonfiglio leads the public access and engagement efforts of the Candler School of Theology, at Emory University.
And while I have no reason to cast aspersions on his, Candler Dean Jan Love’s, her personal assistant Jenka Fyfe’s or any other Emory employee’s character personally, I do wonder if some seemingly unjust and unethical, politicized gender, racial, religious or related racketeering impunity-serving individual or entity has intervened.
Sadly, more than 30 years of dealing with this kind of sabotage of my and others’ New Covenant “relationship rocket” building interference obliges me to consider this possibility.
But this kind of New Covenant communication copying and corrupting has been happening since the first century AD, as I feel certain academic theologian Bart D Ehrman, author of Misquoting Jesus, will agree.
Having said that, if as I suspect, Ehrman, has not grasped the fact that the greatest, most catastrophic misrepresentation of Joshua’s life and work consists in the confusion of the UNWRITTEN New Covenant with the WRITTEN New Testament, he might not be as pained about the damage Christianity, its Judaism antecedent and its Islamic and other book-based successors have been doing to themselves and other segments of humanity as I am.
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 Barbadian 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 read it in the mid to late 1980s and 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 intersection 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 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 supersedes?) 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.
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 my 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 encounter did not encourage 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 Beckford 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 visit.
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 feigning 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.