Are we living in The Truman Show?

Are we living in The Truman Show?

Like all Irish people living outside of Ireland – and everyone living everywhere other than their place of birth - I am an immigrant. Like Paddington Bear. The father of my children was the child of immigrants, so my kids are half Irish, half British Asian via South Africa. If you were to DNA test them, they’d be Celtic Dravidians, or Dravidian Celts. Whatever. They’re Brighton born and bred.

When my daughter was 13, she was randomly assaulted in a park by a troubled kid – they didn’t know each other, had never spoken, never met until the moment of impact – who screamed at her to go back to her country.

My daughter, having a picnic in the park after school with her friends, was kicked and punched by a lunatic stranger who called her ‘Paki’ and told her to ‘go home’.

My daughter pressed charges. Took the other kid to court. Stood in the witness box for 45 minutes, aged 13, answering questions. Got the violent kid convicted. The violent kid needed help, and was given it by the courts.

My daughter was given support too, shaken up by being randomly thumped for being brown. I remember her saying at the time, WTF Mum, how can stuff like this be possible in modern life?

Five years later, and stuff like this has become modern life. The words of a messed up racist kid are being echoed by the mob of a white supremacist American president. Send her back, send her back. Did that really happen?

Another bigot for whom nobody voted has become British prime minister. Whose language is racist( “Piccaninny”, “water melon smile”), Islamophobic (“letterbox” and “bank robber” in relation to burqas), homophobic (“bumboys”). Is this actually real?

Or are we in some kind of meta Truman Show — “we accept the reality of the world with which we are presented” — this latest lurch towards fascism a protracted hoax to test our mettle? See how we’d react, beyond wringing our hands, or worse, shrugging?

We remain hamstrung by our disbelief. It couldn’t happen again, not after the last time, not when we have all the legislation in place, not when attitudes have so massively evolved from the No Blacks No Irish No Dogs of the past.

Except it can, it has, and it is. Two amoral white man-babies have elbowed their way to power, propelled upward by immense privilege, relentless self promotion, media collusion (nice work, Have I Got News For You and The Apprentice), and dog whistle populism, to prop up the plutocracy.

We can’t quite grasp it even as it unfolds in front of us. My children are now growing up in a world where their political leader is not, as they would like, a principled socialist who grows vegetables and believes in social justice, but a sociopathically ambitious Eton mess, interested only in personal glory. In the US, the White House has become the White Supremacist House.

My daughter has a sticker on her bag which reads, “Make Racists Afraid Again”. Yes. And unelectable. And history. And just so damned uncool.

More in this Section

Idealism first casualty in an auction electionIdealism first casualty in an auction election

EU mortgages €80k cheaper than oursEU mortgages €80k cheaper than ours

President is rightPresident is right

Letter to the Editor: Ireland can be a ray of light in an intolerant worldLetter to the Editor: Ireland can be a ray of light in an intolerant world

More by this author

Absorbing the poison: Is it time to tune out?Absorbing the poison: Is it time to tune out?

I’ve come home to a country I don’t knowI’ve come home to a country I don’t know

We created Jade Goody so we could hate herWe created Jade Goody so we could hate her

We holidayed in a white zone. No internet, no calls, no messages. Nothing.We holidayed in a white zone. No internet, no calls, no messages. Nothing.


Lifestyle

I’m giggling but also it is tinged with tension. I peep out from behind the large sycamore. They are three trees away.Opening Lines: I’m just a bearded wheezing giggly man on the ground

I did my Leaving Cert in June and have just started college this week, so my school experience is extremely fresh in my memory. I went to Davis College in Mallow and it was a fantastic experience. I was the loud obnoxious child at the back of the classroom from day one. I had to (and still do, by the way) have an opinion on everything.Stand up and be counted : The Young Offender's Demi Isaac Oviawe on college and school life

When I was in secondary school I started working part-time as a waitress and I suppose I caught the hospitality bug back then.You've been served: General manager at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa Caitriona O’Keeffe

That an American study has found straight women prefer dad bods (“an untoned and slightly plump male physique, especially one that is considered attractive”) to six packs and hard shiny abs comes as no great surprise.Outside the Box: Tone down guys, us girls don’t mind moobs

More From The Irish Examiner