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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Awakening the Beast/Everybody Knows.

                                                                Everybody Knows.
                                                                                                                                                           "You're … just... looking at this all wrong" the Boy sighed. " Let me explain to you. Again. They mark harder in the Mock Exams on purpose? Because they're like actually told to do that? Like if they marked that hard in the Real Exam everyone would do badly, eh relatively, and there would be terrible um complaints from parents. So, you have to figure on a couple of grades upwards here?  To see the grade you actually deserved. In reality?"
I work really hard at not getting really furious. "So, right, let me get this straight. Your marks in the mocks are not your real marks? Your actual marks are not actually your marks at all?"
"Right!  People always do much better in the Actual Exam. Everyone knows that. So, right,  I'm not actually saying I don't need to do any more study. Of course not! You needn't worry about that! But there's no need for any one to be worried here. Get excited here. That's all I'm saying. Actually. Ok?"
"So, right, it's not that people, having done badly in the Mocks, up their game and work harder then. In reality the people correcting the papers are told to apply a higher standard to the Mocks, and a lower standard to the Real Actual Thing. In order to…what? Give you all a nice surprise on results day? Though, as everyone knows, how.....?"

                                                   You Know Quite Well You Know.
                                                                                                                                                             As As the above exchange takes place the Boss listens to the car radio.  She asks me, my poor messed with  head brimming still with righteous incredulity, if the people, the children and the other people, on the Germanwings plane knew they were join to die, or for like how long they knew they were going to die if they did know they were"
The noise, she explains, the noise of the other pilot trying to get into the cockpit, the noise of the plane dropping. Did they know what was coming. Like how long  would they have known. Would they have known at all?"
"No! Happened too fast. Definately not."
"All over before they knew it" the Boy added bracingly.
Silence. Minutes pass.
Not true, she sighed. Cos she had just googled it now and the plane dropped for at least eight minutes, so they did knew, and they maybe knew for at least eight minutes and the boy and I knew quite well, we knew they knew."
"Um,  eight minutes, but that doesn't mean they knew,  for eight minutes, I mean what was going to happen to them, I mean what did happen to them Darling"
"Only would have known at the end" the Boy said authoritativly.
"Right" she uttered faintly.
A year ago she would have accepted what I said.

                                             Oh Just Shut Up and Let Me Hear the News.

At home the Beautiful Girl joined them in the kitchen, home for the weekend, shedding all her new maturity gladly in a shouty mocking Sibling Reunion.
"Please! Could you all please, just,  Shut Up! I want to, trying to hear the news, the verdict on the Graham Dwyer trial. There's a verdict! Shut Up! Please."
"Graham Dwyer? Who's Graham Dwyer? What verdict? What's the deal? Mum?"
Incredibly, it seems that all those weeks of soundbites, via  Radio and TV, newspaper headlines, media photographs, have not in anyway penetrated the teenage bubble.
"Even you?"  I ask the boy. "Not a whisper ? Not even OMG on Face Book?"
Nope. Not. Not on his newsfeed anyway.
So I give them a summary, having already let the cat out of the bag.  I try to make this brief, sanitized, but that proves difficult and I found myself stumbling throughout the awful narrative of sadistic sex, BDSM websites, cutting, and a murder without witness or confession. The tale of the evidential items  spat up from the Reservoir convulsed by  a summer drought, the  human bones found co-incidentally, fascinates. The Boy lectures me on the technology of phone tracking.  Later they crowd into the living room to listen to nine o'clock news, being, sadly, all ears now.

"But…she,  Elaine O"Hara I mean,  cutting, I knew, we all knew people at school who did that, but why would she let him do all that to her." the Beautiful One comments in horror, distaste.

"She just probably like needed  attention" the Boss offers, before I can attempt a reply.

"So why d'you think he did?" the boy is fascinated and disturbed both.

                               Don't know for Sure but I Think They were Calling forth Demons.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            I tell him I just don't know for sure. That it seemed sometimes, in listening to and reading the text chat in the news. like a game.  As though they egged each other on, or at at least that she facilitated his need to engage in a fantasy that became more and more intense. "Like you know, it sounded farcical, like they were  deliberate ratchetting up the lurid fantasy. And then, bang! it was here from the dark side, manifest,  became actual, and she was dead."
And you will be glad to know dear readers that I, noticing the greenish pallor of the Boss, stopped there and sent them all off about their business.   Told the Boy I'll get back to him another time about all that.
                                                  Telling Yourself Stories.

Anyway, I thought on this all week. Listening to the radio, reading about the aftermath of the trial in the newspapers full of previously undisclosed stuff that could now be revealed, a constant flow of information, opinion, analysis, as though neither the media or its audience could disengage from this easily.  I was uneasy with the general consensus on his monstrous depravity, her vulnerable virtue.  Just  telling ourselves more stories, it seemed to me,  palatable and reassuring.

                                             What I want my Children to Know.

So how about this? They were both vulnerable individuals. He allowed himself to be sucked in, until consumed entirely in online deviance, with arrogant ignorance as to where that might take him. She wanting loving attention so badly, offered herself to a darkly irrisitable process. One way or another they were both human, and this is a salutary tale, The internet, the dark web, calls up  the willful, foolhardy thrill seeker in us all,  uncovers the dark id. Together he and she  unleashed this beast. We are everyone of us monster,  and victim, if we don't take care.  So take care. And so I will tell my children.