No, on this occasion I’m not referring to mine -it must be still early enough in the pay month! No, it is clear to me on some of the blogs I have been reading that there is much pain and sufferng out there, most disturbingly I am staggered at the lack of any support network that most people appear to have. I thought that I was soemwhat the exception in my rather dicotomous isolationism but it would appear not. The amount of bloggers going through something traumatic and unable to glean comfort from those around them is not a good trend. You may say that these people may have extensive support networks but choose not to use them, I would dispute this, I am sure there are some but I would think in times of real crisis people will turn to those they know and are most comfortable with. I fear for people at large, there are some who may not feel like expressing innermost thoughts and others who don’t know about blogging, what do these people do when the shit hits the fan?

Now I really don’t think this is a coincidental thing, society over the last 20 years has been increasingly isolationist, we are taught not to trust anyone, not to reveal ourselves to anyone, keep to your nuclear family. We are force-fed our TV diet during our TV dinners, we have soaps to supplement our lack of ‘real-life’, we have news which tells us what other people feel we ought to hear, we have sport to galvanise us and make us feel briefly part of some impotent team-like setup. We have reality TV which shows us that everybody else’s life is equally shite and mundane. It really is as Chomsky says ‘Manufacturing Consent’ and as Bill Hicks says “Go back to bed America, your government is in control” We are supposed to be drooling mindless zombies, maleable enough to get to work every morning but too apathetic to do anything about our lives and those around us. Now for this to work the extended family unit must be broken up because this is a unifying force and is independent of the State. Do you realise here that the modern world and the corporate masters are actually trying to change our genetics? And to an extent they’ve suceeded, we humans are pack animals and yet they have managed to isolate us, divide and rule, the classic strategy. I know this may all sound dramatic, but isn’t it somewhat ironic that as globalisation is supposed to be bringing nations closer together and breaking down boundaries we are all conversely becoming more isolated from even those around us. Globalisation is supposed to be the world’s saviour and yet we are hearing about the supposed clash of civilisations. Who appears to be benefitting from globalisation, are we more secure, do we have more rights, are we happier, healthier, friendlier? I wouldn’t have said many of us could answer yes to these questions and even the few individuals who might be able to answer yes to a couple of them would be hard pressed to show how globalisation had led to it. But what about corporations, have they benefitted? I would say the evidence to support this is considerably more tangible, the profits, the turnover, the dividends, the bonuses, the salaries the list just goes on and on. And who is the primary proponent of globalisation, the people or the companies? No surprises there really.

Am I really suggesting that the suffering of people is linked to this socio-political arguement? Well, yes actually you have to look at things in context, the level of control exacted by private concerns over people has never been so prevalent, sure people used to be in the fiefdoms of Barons and Kings and Clergy etc. but this was in a feudal system, a system which has been rejected as a regressive one not to mention unsuitable for an industrialised world. But what has really changed, well to the average person very little except that those who exact control over him/her have often even less responsibility than they would have done in feudal times. Nowadays the landlord has precious few responsibilities they can just take the money. The employer exacts the work and pays little in return, the employee’s welfare is of little concern and no statutory obligation.

So what can one do? This is down to the individual, there are really many ways you can simply buck the trend, you don’t have to take to the streets with a moly cocktail tho’ if you decide to do let me know, I’ll bring flour sugar and a little diesel! All you have to do is communicate, dispell the myths, tell people what is really going on in your life and ask them about theirs. Look at places like Indymedia and the Morning Star and such like and see how their version of events compares with that that the mainstream media are peddling. Inform yourselves and pass the information on. The trickle of information may not alone stem the tide of misinformation but it is a question of each person doing a little. Try to care, it’s not that hard you know, and it makes people feel better which will also make you feel better what more do you want. Keep the molotov idea on the back burner tho’ it may prove handy when the royals refuse to piss off!

Song Of The Day – Foreigner ~ Urgent

Original Comments:

protagonist made this comment,
as usual, i must haul out my academic references and play devil’s advocate. first of all, i have long thought putnam’s “bowling alone” hypothesis was an overblown generalization. better to look at things like eliasoph’s “close to home” arguement to unhderstand isolationism. but there is a huge difference between social isolation and civic disengagement. putnam errs when he conflates the two. our society is not, in fact, disengaged or isolated from civic participation. people participate as much as ever its just that the specific organizations and causes they select to espouse are different. they want to be very personal in everything so they get involved only in things hat are personally relevant: the power plant in my back yard, the PTA at my kid’s school, the autism society because my son is autistic. i have to make it personal, individual. and since none of us can make something big like “globalization” personal, we spend our energy on the little things and it looks like we are all isolated and doing nothing. truth is people are engaged in the civic culture of the communities, but at a very local and individualized scale.
finally, i would point out that looking at people who have blogs is a highly skewed sample. but you already know this. if my alter-ego reads this, he will laugh hysterically at my inability to refrain from making reference to horkiemer and adorno’s “dialectic of enlightenment”. the culture industry first tells us what we want and then feeds it to us in a time and form it seems appropriate. when art perfectly imitates reality, all distinction is lost and the potential for art to offer meaningful social critique is lost. depressing, indeed. but then again, perchace technology will offer us the genuine ability to re-appropriate forms of artistic expression such as your blog that subvert the culture industry. time will tell, baron…

but what do i know? i have no blog…

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 02:43 GMT+01
mands made this comment,
I would just like to thank you for taking care of me. Every little helps as they say. You have helped me a great deal and I’m sure you are wondering how. I have listened to you and you have listened to me, thats how. You have understood my pain and made me feel I was not alone and when I felt desperate you were there leaving a message to someone you dont even know but feel compassionate towards.
Thanks Dom

[Redbaron responds – If I helped in any way then I’m glad, people here have been kind to me and I hope that it instilled me with enough hope to pass that on.]

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 10:36 GMT+01
Red Baron made this comment,
Oh now this really is good stuff K, I like you more and more, anyone who can quote parts of the Frankfurt School is fine by me! I think the examples of the culture industry used by A & H are spot on, Adorno also writes about standardisation in things like music etc. frighteningly current tho’ it was written some 70 years ago.
I agree with you in so far as there is indeed a difference between social isolation and civic disengagement but I disagree entirely with your conclusion that people engage just as much as before. I agree that many who are active have sought different ways to exercise this but the no. of people doing so has diminished on a day to day basis. The structure of society has changed and I think people get involved now for very different reasons when they choose to do so, namely more individual selfish ones, there is less altruistic intent. Now it would be wrong to say that there was plenty of altruism in ‘the good old days’ but people did have a greater awareness of social responisibility, even if at the heart of the most cynical was merely the belief that ‘you don’t shit in your own nest’. As regards globalisation being a big concept and not personal, again I think that interestingly enough globalisation has had the effect of uniting many people who might otherwise be relatively insignificant and disperate individuals and small groups under a banner of anti-capitalism, you have the traditional Left, the environmentalists, the peace activists, the students etc. and this could in tme be the system’s undoing who knows, as you say time will tell.

As for the analysing only blog people, I know you know I know about it hardly being a controlled experiment but it is an interesting snapshot because you have a group of people different in many ways with a common strand. To be honest K with comments like you’ve just made and the ones on Rachel’s blog you really ought to have a blog, intelligence is not only a gift but a responsibility and your ability to question and make people think is vital and should be proliferated.

Visit me @

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 10:51 GMT+01
David S made this comment,
we are healthier I think you will find
Visit me @

[Redbaron responds – And you can prove this is down to globalisation how exactly?]

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 18:37 GMT+01
David S made this comment,
but that may not be down to globalization
comment added :: 6th July 2004, 18:39 GMT+01
David S made this comment,
globalization has lead to an economic success in some countries, some of this wealth has been put into hospitals and medical research but actually when I think about it there are a lot of fat people.. so I have no really argument.
would workers of the world uniting be much better?
Visit me @

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 18:44 GMT+01
David S made this comment,
and can you leave the replies to these comments in this entriy, I don’t like my latest entry to have comments that have no relevance to them, thank you.
[Redbaron responds – My apologies Glasgow Dave, I thought that it was perhaps a little presumptuous to expect people to come back to my blog to see my responses so I was putting comments on other people’s, but I agree perhaps that is a disjointed way to do it.]

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 18:45 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
“slip on your gap jeans, your nike t-shirt, your adidas sandals, or even your cons if you think that makes you cool and ironic in a kurt cobain kind of way. ride to school in your razor, eat your doritoes, sip your coke, check the color id to see who’s calling, write a paper on your i-mac. some people even pay others to advertise merchandise on the outside, (although the inside is considerably emptier) of peoples heads. it won’t be long before companies and corporations find a way to slip a vitamin with the power of advertisment while you sleep. “all the newest releases at block buster, cheesier nachos at chili’s, by the way…your snoring…” 🙂
Visit me @

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 20:39 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
actually, this entry is one that i find very, brutally truthful. and in the time i’ve gone to this blog, one of my favorites. i raise my glass.
Visit me @

comment added :: 6th July 2004, 21:32 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
haha. i had floated into oblivion for just over an hour, but i’ve made up for it, i’m in fifth. now, after a little work, i just may de-thrown the baron….again…:)
Visit me @

comment added :: 7th July 2004, 00:17 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Great post! Though I don’t like all the truths contained within it. For me, I am tremendously aliented and isolated in my “real” world. The blog world is a place where I connect with people who make me feel like I’m not insane. But, once the gov’t realizes that we’re finding each other again, they will overtake the internet and split us all up again– Feh. But I’m not paranoid or anything. *grin*.

comment added :: 7th July 2004, 00:50 GMT+01
Katie made this comment,
Hey babe can you help me with what will seem like a really stupid computer question? When you are given a link code to add to your site how do you do it? I tried via porlets but it just came up must begin with http??
Big kisses Kate x
Visit me @

comment added :: 7th July 2004, 01:27 GMT+01
protagonist made this comment,
thanks for the compliment baron, but i have reasons to remain homeless for now. don’t worrk, i’ll keep provoking you with my frankfurt school theorists!
[Redbaron responds – Just so long as you come out of blog exile at some point. I’m glad you’ll keep throwing the Frankfurt School in, I studied Adorno and Walther Benjamin in German philosophy at Uni it was in that year for the first time I really felt energised about my degree and knew what I was doing it for.]

comment added :: 7th July 2004, 02:20 GMT+01
David S made this comment,
has anyone not had a clap on the back yet, hope nobody feels left out
Visit me @

[Redbaron responds – Sorry Dave, I don’t follow, were you implying that you hadn’t had yours yet?! You have to bear in mind that I do not simply go round sychophantically praising everybody, credit where it is due and criticism where necessary. Naturally those whom I may have criticised or disagreed with are less inclined to come and thank me or say nice things back. There is always an exception!]

comment added :: 7th July 2004, 12:38 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
dude, what the hell? your mailing list told me that you made a new entry, but it says that you haven’t.
and protagonist, leave a link on my page, i don’t have the patience to find you.
Visit me @

comment added :: 7th July 2004, 18:40 GMT+01
Pimme made this comment,
I’m always offering helpful advice to people on here, especially the ones who seem to be at the end of their ropes. So far, only one has dissed me but I’m just happy that the rest are receptive to someone who cares about them.
A lot of people out there have absolutely nobody. Social phobia is a terrible thing. Human interaction, the very thing that they need, scares them the most.

Visit me @

[Redbaron responds – Quite right Pimme, it’s a community and you’re doing your bit, nobody has to help anybody else just as you can blog in isolation if you wish but many people don’t wish and sometimes the words of some nondescript blog-diver just keep them aware that people are out there listening and care. It is also true that the more socially isolationist you become the more the vicious circle kicks in. I had it myself for a time I shyed completely away from contact and I’m still apprehensive to put myself in a large group again.]

comment added :: 7th July 2004, 21:12 GMT+01
haywood made this comment,
could it be true…. the blogging steak is dead, say it aint so!

Visit me @

[Redbaron responds – The blogging steak -what’s this did I miss out on a fry-up?! As regards the streak it is alive and well but sadly my review of Bob Roberts didn’t appear to come up on the top of the front page so it was missed. I can assure you the streak goes on in a Cal Ripken Jr. styly.]

comment added :: 8th July 2004, 01:40 GMT+01
haywood made this comment,
is there a cricket equivalent to Cal Ripkin?

Visit me @

[Redbaron responds – There’s bound to be in the county game altho’ I don’t know who it may be there are many who toil away for years. In the international game I’d say Alec “The Sargeant” Stewart who has just retired at 40 having played for England for years he was a quality player and I’m not just saying that because he played for Surrey who I support.]

comment added :: 8th July 2004, 03:25 GMT+01