That whooshing sound round the back of your head was February going past us and past me and past this blog in particular. Being as how I’m spending my days chained to the desk writing essays and my nights chained to the desk drooling on them, the old do-gooding has taken a back seat of late. Unless you count the social work. Which no one does. Tell people you want to be a social worker, they make like you’ve offered them a glass of cancer flavoured piss.
I’m busy. And yet the world refuses to put its problems aside until after I graduate. I must return to battle. Desk-based battle. I’ve been writing for the uni mag again. You’ll recall I’ve already bashed out articles on Fairtrade, recycling, water conservation, green energy, vegetarianism, buying second hand, using ethical bank accounts and the ethics of pornography. So far this year I’ve bigged up volunteering, meddling, ethical tourism and the do-gooding potential of social networking sites. The plan here is to engage the youth on issues they either already care about or never will care about, thus rendering my efforts pointless twice over.
On the subject of meddling we looked at that Australian guy who got stabbed breaking up a ruckus on a bus. This is no small issue in Glasgow, where statistics invented by me shortly before the beginning of this sentence suggest every man, woman and child in the city owns at least three knives and is currently implicated in at least two murders. It’s scary stuff, helping out in these parts. The guy from the bus reckons he’s got no regrets about intervening but then he’s from Australia, a country where every third animal is poisonous and one in five babies are eaten by dingoes. As I recall, I urged the students to get stuck in and meddle anyway. Plenty more where they came from.
On the subject of social networking I bigged up Facebook for its cavalier attitude to data protection and Twitter for its heady mix of banality and concision. We looked at how, if we intend to live our lives in public, exposing our every social interaction to the world, dancing like rummies in a gin joint while Mark Zuckerberg shoots at our feet, we may as well do something useful while we’re at it and spam everyone’s feeds with big blobs of do-gooding. And I came over all sincere about how it has the potential to get stuck in good and proper with full-on massive change in the world, as Arab Spring kind of proved and the Occupy movement didn’t really. While we’ve been boasting about our social lives in wacky photo form and liking some of the things we like and remotely stalking each other’s half-attractive partners, other people have been organising strikes and demonstrations and rallies and getting round state controlled media in places where democracy and freedom of speech are seen as somewhat faddish. That seems to have gone down well; in the library today it seemed every third person was on Facebook. In fact it seems more than 800 million people have opened accounts there and more than 500 million with Twitter. I can’t say I checked the stats before my article was published but they were presumably much, much lower.
Another victory! Now someone get me a gun, I want to kill my dissertation in the head.
Photo credit: The Zero