Thursday, 9 June 2011
This Cat finds it quite curious to consider the topics the soothsayers love to obsess about. Like experienced circus jugglers, they're inclined to cast myriads of issues into the air and throw them around in a circular or elliptic orbit. And the juggler analogy works quite well, since what goes round comes round; the issues of the Savage Tree/Liberationist Alliance Cuts is a favourite ball, whose trajectory - or circuit - is quite short, since it never wanders away from their attention for very long. Other issues have a recurrence rate more akin to that of wandering stars or comets, whose appearance is cyclical, although comparatively infrequent. Of course, there are certain one-off issues which they simply drop, never to return to the cycle.
There are the other balls; take the Weather, for instance. For Dwellers In Other Places (welcome!), the Anglo-Saxon preoccupation with the elements is a strange cultural phenomenon or a national eccentricity, but for the inhabitants of these islands, it's a subject of practical significance, since we're continually subjected to a varied and unstable climate. We've been repeatedly told that the climate is being changed owing to the excessive burning of bonfires, and the annual rainfall in the Kingdom of Northumbria for this year is the lowest in all the annals of human history. (I wonder who's actually sad enough to make a daily note of this kind of information?) Despite the fact that we've been recently blessed by showers from above, we're nevertheless being harangued by the soothsayers and told that the Crops Are Going To Fail, and there's going to be a substantial rise in the price of food in the markets and shambles of the Realm. Apocalyptic visions of parched bones and camels trudging through the parched sands of the North Yorvik Moors, and Bedouin tents on drifting desert come readily to mind. We're doomed. No, really.
And then there are the Health Scares. No archer is complete without a quiver full of arrows, and no soothsayer is adequately equipped without a collection of frightening tales concerning the sensitive issue of Health. The recent E-Cauli scare is a typical example. These tales - like the ones of Goose Flu and Hedgehog Fever (remember that?) - are paraded before the bovine and unreflective denizens of the realm, with frightening (but apocryphal) accounts of horrible deaths, and overworked priests carrying out mass burials. I wander through the streets of Streonaeshalch, and I see life as normal. Go figure.
And then there's our old favourite - the War On Viking Terrorism. The Nordic Menace is one of the chief bogeymen in the soothsayers' armoury. Hordes of Vikings are plotting to sack the cities, kill the population and bring the Anglo-Saxon world into subjection to the Nordic yoke and the harsh laws from the Eddas. (Most Vikings I've met are ordinary people with families who work hard for a living and have no axe to grind.)
I could go on. The bare facts simply don't match the rhetoric - it's as if the soothsayers - and those who pay their wages - are waging a constant war of attrition on the minds of the public. So whenever I hear the soothsayers pontificating, one single word comes to my mind. It's spherical - and in the plural.