One good way to calibrate your views on the world is to listen to what Piers Morgan has to say, then assume that what he says is wrong. Katie Hopkins occupies a similar role. It's a genuine possibility: listen to the arguments, find them either baffling, obscure, arcane or otherwise impenetrable, and be as such unable to reach a sensible decision on your own; so look at the list of people who have already decided, and pick the side with the people you like/respect/don't find objectionable...
Let's be honest. Brexit is a colossal balls-up, whether you think we should be leaving or not. Even the name of it is ugly. The current government is - to everyone's surprise, including their own - still going at it, trying to make it happen in a way that at least some people like. But, and this seems to be the actual issue as regards the Commons at the moment, there is no one way that has the support of any large chunk of MPs. As we already know (I think) the majority of MPs were in favour of remaining in the EU, so perhaps asking them is the wrong idea. A second referendum seems likely to create more problems: if remain wins (by a narrow margin), then what? If leave wins, we're still no closer to working out how, unless we give choices on the ballot. And to be honest, I'm not sure I trust the economic, social and cultural future of this country to its current population.
Whatever the ins and outs of Brexit, that Gillette video has been doing the rounds just recently. Obviously they're delighted with all the publicity they're getting, and Piers Morgan will have sold more Gillette products and vegan sausage rolls than the adverts would have done without his intervention. As the owner / proprietor of a small boy, I get the point. It's hard to manage a child of any biological sex, and the creeping sense that you're getting it wrong is not helped by those of the older generations making judgemental faces as you do your parenting. Yes, kids, those same parents that get on your case when you're young, still doing the same basic thing when you're no longer young.
Baby Richardson: unsure how to deal with expectations of him to be male, hit things with hammers, be dominant, powerful and interested in guns and suchlike. He does like a car, but also ducks, stars and - like his sister - snacks, and will merrily shout away (and I do mean 'shout' - he's very noisy, and I've no idea where he gets it from) at the cupboard containing the snacks while you serve him delicious, nutritious home-cooked food. So far, the snacks seem to be winning over the lovingly hand-made stuff.
So, what? I wasn't sure whether to write about my reaction to that video. I cried at it, which will come as no great surprise to those of you who know me well or have followed this blog in its previous incarnation. I think the strong reaction and the 1.3 million dislikes the video currently has on YouTube (with about half that number of likes) suggest that they have hit a nerve. Just by way of comparison, Baby Shark has a hundred times as many views, and numbers of likes and dislikes in the same range. Elmo's Song nearly ten times more views, and five times fewer likes and dislikes. What nerve, exactly? Is it perhaps no more than that when unthinking, ancient-but-unchallenged stereotypically male behaviour is called out as unacceptable, the ancient-but-unchallenged males don't like it? My hope for the children is that the world really has made progress since the time I was a kid. But I can't help notice that parents of my acquaintance still do a lot of the little things that add up to those stereotypes, whether it be in choosing certain clothes (or not choosing certain clothes), reacting to play types (dressing up and using make-up being objectionable to an alarmingly high proportion of fathers of boys), offering particular toys or extra-curricular activities... So well done Gillette for doing something ballsy. It's not high art, it's an advert, but it does get people talking about something that needs to be talked about.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought