A strong leader stands in an un-drained swamp.
“It’s so easy to laugh,
It’s so easy to hate,
It takes guts to be gentle and kind”
Lyrics by Morrissey to ‘I Know It’s Over’ by The Smiths
A recent survey carried out by the newspaper La Repubblica found that 80% of Italians think the country needs to be run by “un uomo forte” (a strong man). In 2006, only 55% of the populace subscribed to this view while 60% held this belief in 2010.
This rising trend is worrying and depressing on many counts. It indicates that more and more voters are willing to be represented by leaders solely on the basis that they adopt strong opinions and maintain a posture of decisiveness.
On the surface this may seem logical and uncontroversial. After all, who would want a leader to be weak and indecisive? The problem lies with what exactly is meant by the word ‘strong’. Continue reading
A PRAYER JOURNAL by Flannery O’Connor (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2013)
My favorite joke about praying is by the surreal American comic Emo Philips (although it’s also been attributed to Al Pacino) and goes: “I asked God for a bike but I realized it doesn’t work that way, so I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness”.
I think the Southern Gothic novelist Flannery O’Connor would have appreciated this witticism. She was a staunch Catholic but she also had an eagle eye for life’s absurdities.
As an atheist I am biased, but surely even believers can recognise that praying ought to consist of more that than reeling off a wish list to some kind of celestial Santa. Continue reading
FORKS OVER KNIVES documentary film directed by Lee Fulkerson (USA, 2011)
There are three main reasons why I am a vegan :
1. I oppose the unnecessary and unjustifiable maltreatment and slaughter of animals.
2. I believe that the intense factory farming is slowly but surely destroying the planet.
3. I have personal experience of the health benefits which far outweigh the minor inconveniences and small sacrifices needed to maintain this diet.
I gain sustenance for my position from some excellent documentaries that make the case for veganism.
For the animal welfare issues, Earthlings (2005) sets out the arguments powerfully and compassionately.
The environmental effects are efficiently outlined in Cowspiracy (2014).
Forks Over Knives focuses on the health question centering primarily on the persuasive views of two eminent doctors – Caldwell Esselstyn and Colin Campbell. The former is a physician and heart surgeon while the latter is a nutritional biochemist. Both have spent a large part of their professional lives researching the links between diet and wellbeing. Continue reading
TONY ROBBINS – I AM NOT YOUR GURU directed by Joe Berlinger (USA, 2016)
Why do people need personal trainers and life coaches?
In a gym, once you have been shown how to use the equipment safely you should, in theory, be able to organise your own workout. Instead, many like the reassurance of being monitored by an ‘expert’.
As it is with bodies, so it is with emotions.
We all know in our hearts, what diets, habits and relationships make us feel good. So why do we still crave for someone else to show us the way?
Low self-esteem and general lack of confidence make us look to others for help even though we all have the capacity to succeed in whatever we set out to achieve.
Tony Robbins is a self-made man who has built a personal fortune as a life coach for the rich and famous. This Netflix documentary purports to show how he would like to share his insights to all and sundry regardless of age, gender, social status or level of income. As the man might say himself: “Anyone who believes this, say AYE”! Continue reading