Ending On A High Note

These memes just keep getting more and more apocalyptic.

Jings, it’s been a year, hasn’t it?

It’s been a quiet year in the Wilderness, but there were still some fond memories and popular enough posts. I aim to do better next year, as always. For now, I’ll take a look back on the most popular blog posts of each month from the year that was.

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The Country With No Christmas

A shout-out to my peace pals!

Merry Christmas! Or Happy Holidays! Or Gledelig Jul! Or Secular Solstice! Or happy Hannukah, lovely Lohri, kwazy Kwanzaa, swinging Saturnalia, dandy Dōngzhì, or whatever dedication to that prehistoric practise of warding away the darkest winter nights with warmth, fire, food, and cheer. Such observations transcend tradition, region, nationality, even continents, as the Longest Night is something that affects every creature on earth, and has done for hundreds of millions of years.

Christmas is the most visible iteration of this primordial thing, and most Christian countries observe it. Some, such as Orthodox countries, celebrate it slightly later, in January, but the general idea was still there. Generally speaking, if a nation’s primary faith was Christianity, then you celebrated Christmas.

Except, there was one country where every winter was without Christmas

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Irrevocably and Forever

“Irrevocably and Forever” is a curiously emphatic phrase which turns up in otherwise dry legalese. United States law not only waives “the performance and discharge of any and all obligations and restrictions” in the cases of amendments to bylaws, but does so “irrevocably and forever.” On 25th November 1802, Count Ferenc Széchényi donated his collections “for the use and benefit of my dear homeland and people, irrevocably and forever.” The phrase crops up in all sorts of discussions, from secession to forbearance agreements to international treaties.

Forever is a long time for something to be considered irrevocable, and according to the European Union Court of Justice, Article 50 is not something which can be issued “irrevocably and forever.” It is, it seems, something which can be withdrawn by the United Kingdom, should it wish to do so between now and the 29th of March next year.

So the question becomes not if the UK can do it, but if the UK will do it.

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Scotland and the Apocalypse

Do you think Paris is still standing?
– Anna, being particularly timely despite being filmed years ago

I feel like Anna and the Apocalypse personally set out to antagonise me. It’s an apocalyptic film that assaults the eyes & ears with Glee-esque musical numbers; it’s a film shot in Scotland (several places in my home area of Inverclyde, even!) with posh English folk and a Yank in the lead roles; all the characters I actually liked die before the final act while the ones I actively disliked survived to the end; it’s set largely in a school. I’m certain this is actually part of the film’s appeal, as well as its strength – to blend genres (the Intolerably Twee High School Full of Melodramatic Desperados Musical with the Interminable Zombie Apocalypse That Will Never Die Just Like The Titular Monsters Movie along with the Permanently Hamstrung By The Nature of Western Calenders Christmas Film) which are seemingly completely at odds with one another, and shine a light up to them all.

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Aye, Scot: iScot

I’m not great at self-promotion. Every time I try, I curl up in a ball of bashfulness like a Mimosa plant. So instead, I’ll promote IScot, a quality magazine for all those interested in Scotland – full of great articles on Scottish culture, history, heritage, language, politics, media, wildlife, science, you name it. It’s a real success story of modern media in Scotland, and it deserves it richly.

This has nothing to do with the fact I just had my first article published there – an overview of depictions of Robert the Bruce in cinema – and that I’m bouncing off the walls seeing a magazine I contributed to being published on TV.

Anyhow. Go have a look.

This was on TV. In Scotland. Where I live. And I wrote something in it.

And Even Her Very Name!

So a lot of folk in Scotland are quite angry just now, and I’m rapidly running out of patience for those who deliberately refuse to see why.

I’m going to do my best to explain why people like me are angry. Normally this would be the part where I say “I understand if you disagree, but please try to see it from our perspective.” Because in this case, I don’t think I can understand. The Phoney Union is reaching its breaking point, & the endgame for the Union is approaching close.

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Outlaw King Review

Culture is the celebration of diversity. Let us therefore not deny our origin, but instead celebrate ours as a cultural mosaic; not a tower of Babel, but a power of Babel.
Ali A. Mazrui, Cultural Forces in World Politics

It’s extremely easy to be cynical about Outlaw King if you’re not interested in Scottish History. Legend has it that its entire existence owes itself to Netflix’s desire to have a Netflix original film show up in searches for “Braveheart” on their programming. Alternatively, it is part of Netflix’s ongoing war against the traditional film industry, which casts many professional film reviewers’ takes on the film in a rather unflattering light.

I trust neither film critics nor Rotten Tomatoes at the best of times, but it’s telling audiences seem to like Outlaw King more than the professional film crickets.

So…

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