The International Writers Magazine: Comment

James Skinner

Strange things are happening in Europe today, especially in France and Spain. Well, equally strange things are happening in the rest of the world anyway. So what’s new? Iraq continues in a state of complete chaos despite George’s constant repetitive monologue of ‘we’re winning!’ Iran doesn’t stop lying through its teeth about its nuclear program. I lived there for nearly three years and I never found one Iranian official who was ever telling the truth about anything.

The trouble is that we in the West have already had our noses rubbed in it with the ‘hoax’ of weapons of mass destruction being built by Uncle Sadie Hussein, and look what a shambles that turned out to be? So who the hell do you believe today anyway?

Drop our idiotic human behaviour for a moment, what about our fellow earthly inhabitants? We have a rampage of microscopic assassins coming down on Europe in the form of bird flu and most of the politicians are carrying out the ostrich trick of sticking their heads into the nearest beachhead they can find. I ask you? Forget about Al Qaeda blowing everyone to bits in the Middle East, dirty ducks are swarming into our ponds blowing poison ivy into the wind and infecting every other flying object that came out of an egg.

Our poor little poultry brethren! All those lovely children’s stories about the Ugly Duckling and Chicken Licken, they will all have to be re-written. I can just picture Sylvester the Cat breaking every athletic track record running away from his arch enemy Tweedy Bird rather than catch a cold that would stamp a final ‘That’s it Folks’ all over his tombstone. We already have the first cases of these little vermin jumping from their flying mothers into the animal ‘walk only’ versions. It’s only a matter of time before we are all waiting at the next bus stop to catch the Nš 7 undertakers van to the land of Oz. God! What a panorama!

So what are the young folk doing about it? What are our future champions of industry and world leaders doing about all this shit that’s flying around the place threatening to destroy mankind within the next century or so? The question could be rephrased and state, ‘what can they do?’

Let's step back a stage and ask, what are our present educators doing about trying to awaken the still dormant human brains into appreciating how their elders have completely screwed up the planet and it’s up to them to try to put it right in the not too distant future! I’ll tell you what they’re doing. Nothing!

We have two sets of youths in the world today; those that have and those that haven’t. I’ve lost track of the figures of the millions of children that are dying in the world today because they can’t get a decent meal or drink of water. Most of the non-governmental agencies and other international do-gooders are trying their utmost to solve the problem but it still continues and the gap grows larger and the numbers increase. But Wall Street has deaf ears. Apart from all the multinationals that continue to rip off the Western world, when it comes to the young, the big guys that can influence our youth are too busy fighting for the next share price rise. They are producing crappier IT games so that the other half of the kids in this world can continue to piss about with their video and mobile machines capable of maintaining them in a false world of fantasy whilst forgetting about their future responsibilities to mankind.

I asked one goggle-eyed brat the other day if he knew how a light bulb worked. He pointed at the light switch on the wall! I then plucked a leaf off a plant in the kitchen and asked him to take a look at the work of art of one of nature’s natural beauties. He went back to his mobile play-station. What kind of monsters are we producing in this modern world?

There was a report the other day in the local press that said, that the new generation, the young ones between 10 to 14 years old, are spending at least 6 hours a day at their work stations. But this is not the highlight of the report. The small print said that they can be carrying out up to 6 tasks, all at the same time. In other words, they could be listening to Madonna’s latest CD, chatting with a friend in Mongolia, shooting a couple of Harry Potter’s ghosts, writing the third chapter of their novel and checking the Guinness book of records for the longest penis in the world. The trouble is, continued the report, the psychiatrists reckon that the actual intellectual intake of their daily mental exercise is probably nil. In other words, the moment they switch off their machine, the kids revert into a juvenile Alzheimer state of memory loss. Sounds frightening, but who’s to tell on the long term effects of goggling at a goggle box?

But what about the older ones; those that have moved on to better pastimes such as sex, drugs and rock-and-roll? Are they stopping to think about world pollution and rotten politicians? Let’s take a glimpse at the recent French and Spanish macro demonstrations as examples of today’s youthful reactions.

The French government, worried as usual about the collapsing economy decided to change the law on employment rights. In a nutshell, they came out with a scheme whereby employers could hire and fire anyone under the age of 25 during the first two years. Naturally, all hell broke lose. Over 1-1/2 million youngsters all over France reminded many an old baby boomer of Danny the Red and his gang back in 1968 as they rampaged across the land of Napoleon. Ironically, the employers are more concerned about the cost of employment tax and social security problems that freedom of action to dispose of unwanted personnel. The Prime Minister, Dominique Villepin is re-considering.

Here in Spain, a completely different scenario has taken place. Youngsters have been on the rampage all right, but for a very different cause although the basic reason is the same. The cost of boozing all night in a nightclub or bar has turned out to be too expensive for the young blood. So, they decided to take the law into their own hands and organise their own booze ups in the street. The ‘Botellon’ or ‘Super-Bottle’ as it is commonly known takes place every Friday and Saturday night in most cities and towns throughout the country. Thousands of youngsters ranging from 13 up to 25 literally ‘raid’ the supermarkets for cheap whiskey or vodka, spice it with Coke or other toping up liquid and literally drink the weekend away to their hearts content sprawled out in parks and other open public spaces. The latest events, coinciding with their French counterparts timing, has turned the party into a ‘Macro-Botellon’ session. Literally, millions of youngsters have aimed at entering the Guinness book of records to go down in history as the greatest number of young drinkers, knocking the liquor back, all at the same time.

Ironically, the Woodstock style binge was organised thanks to the mobile work station network. It was used as a loudspeaker hailing at all young Spaniards to hit the road and drink the weekend away!
Great Future expected for all.
© James Skinner. March 22nd 2006.

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James is a writer and consul living in Spain


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