Personal Political

How Are Things in Sodom and Gomorrah?

There is good and there is bad, but sometimes it's a matter of perception

First, there was the tweet I read, along the lines of “I don’t care what colour people are, what religion they practice, what kind of sex they have, or who with, the car they drive … I only judge people on whether they are t***s or not”.

Then there was the post title on my Medium Daily Digest feed: “Is the Human Nature Good or Evil?”

Of course, I didn’t actually read the post … you know, something else caught my eye, maybe the goals round-up from the Women’s World Cup, and then I clicked on that guinea hen chasing a Jack Russell, then there was … and now it’s too far back to scroll.

I’m not sure how related that tweet and post are, but they sure got brain bubbling away.

First up, the tweet … passing over the expletive choice I’m not a fan — I could not agree more.

When I was growing up in small-town Catholic Ireland I only ever saw a handful of black people, and my experience of different religions was confined to our few local Protestant families, who just fixed our cars or sold us groceries anyway, and had the same craic as us — even if they disappeared off to their own mysterious churches and primary schools.

I remember the stomach-churning derring-do of sneaking into the local Church of Ireland chapel with a bunch of lads, and marvelling at the eagle figure on the lectern.

There was only one gay man in the town I was aware of, and people knew him by name, and names, though I never heard of him being beaten up.

Thinking about it now, I can only imagine the abuse he must have taken, the so-called banter.

Just one generation later my own kids are mixing with a bewildering array of races and creeds in school and beyond, and can tell you about all sorts of religious practices and customs. A few kids are already out in both their classes.

Our daughter had a brilliant day out with her pals at the latest Pride march at the weekend, which had, for the first time, members of our police force marching, and there were sportspeople, and the proverbial butchers and bakers …

We’re talking our way through LGBTQ+ here, and gender non-binary and cisgender …

Same-sex marriage has been passed into law, and our abortion laws have been liberalised.

So all hunky dory in the Swinging New Ireland?

Well, yes … kind of … no, not really.

So much stuff is at least being talked about, and that’s great … but it is still not easy to come out, and people will struggle with these issues, and you scratch a little, and the old prejudices and Sodom and Gomorrah vilifications are still voiced, and the late night attacks and the casual slurs go on.

So is the human nature good or evil?

Are people t***s or not?

Well, people rarely describe themselves as evil, even if the worst of us can justify all sorts of actions others would class as such, and we often have a hard time taking responsibility for our actions, and how they impact on others.

I was thinking about this, in particular, the other day when I had a tough day at work.

Now I work freelance in the newspaper game.

This is a precarious business anyway, with sales down and jobs being slashed and all of that, as so many get their few headlines and sports details online for so-called free.

Add to that the fact that as a freelancer, I am effectively only as good and secure as my last shift, and you have a nice little recipe for insecurity.

So in I arrive in on a work shift and one of the head guys asks for a word.

He has proofs of the newspaper’s pages, a couple of which I had worked on a couple of weeks back, and there, ringed in pencil, are mistakes I had made, misspellings in a headline and in captions and copy, and which had gone through and not all of them corrected before publication.

Now defensive brain silently comes up with all sorts of rationalisations and explanations …  working against tight deadlines and on a system with which I am still not familiar as this is not my regular place of work …

But I say nothing … partly because I reckon to do so would be as futile as those hot-headed soccer players remonstrating with the referee over a VAR decision, but I am also thinking why should this guy care why I made these mistakes … he just looks at me, looks at them, ringed in shameful pencil and pathetic, and says it is just not good enough.

And he’s right!

So I suck it up and, in my head, resolve to be extra vigilant.

Who knows, I could lose this gig, or come back a better sub?

I am thinking now of the first flush of my anger, standing there, like a schoolboy with a chastising teacher, and the powerful desire to tell this guy where to go, and all of that. To throw it all up and flounce off out the door

Thinking what a t*** this guy was.

But he’s not — as far as I can tell — and besides, it’s down to me.

My responsibility.

And my dignity. That’s my choice too.

Besides, I want the money!

Yes there is good and there is evil in human nature, but real black-and-white badness is rare.

Day to day what passes for good or evil are often errors of perception — both ways — and truth is, in many situations, a lot of crap just happens because people don’t fully consider the thoughts or feelings of others when they act.

People rarely set out to be malicious or mean, it’s just …

It happens in a million and nine ways every day … cars take up two parking spots, the soccer coach doesn’t start your kid, dogs are let poo in the street … you’ll have your own favourites, big and small.

Some times, we have to weigh it all up and decide how to take what is being dished out to us. Sometimes it is intolerable and unacceptable, and we can call the perpetrator out, or not.

But equally, some times, all things considered, we might better look at our part in things and, tough or unpleasant as it may be to have our shortcomings ringed in pencil, maybe take it on the chin, and learn from the experience.

Endeavour to get things right …

Oh, and try not to be t***s!

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43 comments on “How Are Things in Sodom and Gomorrah?

  1. Let he who is without sin …

    Intolerance and name-calling appears to be very much on the rise at the moment. So much of it appears to be based on an assumption that one’s own position is 100% right. And that there is no room for alternative POVs which might just be equally right in their own way. I think it says a lot about the person dishing out abuse but also the person on the receiving end. I certainly haven’t always responded to criticism or racism in the best way, and where I’ve fallen down is in failing to understand why the other person holds the belief they have. Okay, often it’s because they are just a t*** – but sometimes it’s just because they come from a different environment. Everyone has their own version of ‘right’ and, as you say, most people aren’t deliberately evil or purposely doing the ‘wrong’ thing. But if we don’t pause to consider at least for a moment – even if we are right and they are clearly wrong by any acceptable standard – .then we’re as guilty of being as close-minded as they probably are. And just look at where that has landed the UK when it comes to the whole B****t thing – a country deeply divided where there are no more shades of grey, only who wins and who loses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes … we still have a long way to go, Tim, but look where we’ve been!!! Some things are hard to do something about, others, we can effect, and do our bit … and raising our kids in the right way will surely help. Thanks for your, as always, considered opinion, and I have been following your frustrations expressed over the whole Brexit fiasco!

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  2. Can’t have been easy to see that pencil mark – I feel your pain. Been there, too. I did a piece a few years back on our inability to hold up our hand and say mea culpa (én vétkem in my case as I struggle to learn Hungarian). Owning our mistakes instead of trying to offload them on others… it seems so old-fashioned, so yesterday. But how much better the world would be if we did just that. Nice reminder. Ta.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mary … Des Nix says hello, btw, he volunteers at the hospice where my wife works! He’s a great champion of your work — and of you!

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  3. Thought-provoking for reasons you already know. Also made me think about my late brother who died almost 2 years ago at the age of 65. He grew up in a Catholic home and community in Yorkshire. He was beaten up very badly at one point for being gay it seems. He tried to be priest and that did not work out. He came home very little as an adult which as a much younger (17 years younger) sister made it hard on me to get to know him. He as brilliant though – charismatic, gorgeous and lived his 65 years fully. With just one exam in woodwork he ended up a millionaire and visited so many countries in his merchandising career and did other interesting jobs in Soho and Harley Street using his gift of the gab. You don’t need to know any of this but today I thank you for reminding me of my larger than life and utterly wonderful brohter Michael. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a fascinating story, Kate, and he obviously had a bit of a rollercoaster journey. Probably as well he didn’t become a priest as he would most likely have been unhappy. And certainly wouldn’t have been a millionaire!

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  4. I must be really naive. I can’t even figure out what the curse word is you’ve chosen not to share! Visiting you from the anything goes linky. laurensparks.net

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  5. Mhm there is the open proclaimed liberal thinking (taking part in Pride march and all) and then the closet real opinion which may somewhat differ. Do you think we are starting to become socio- schizophrenic? #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get what you are saying … I am not sure there are people who are schizophrenically divided, rather maybe there are still those who are less than liberal and unlike the louder ones, do not reveal their prejudices so readily. And there are also still the out and out, messed up haters. But I agree we are not talking a whole change in attitude, rather we are making progress. Even the fact we have Pride is also a sign maybe we are a long way from mainstream acceptance, whereby we would not need to have Pride in the first place. If this makes sense to you.

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  6. Sometimes you read things again and again and you’re sure its perfect and yet when someone else looks they spot a glaring error. I know if I’d’ve been in that situation I’d have been miffed with the head guy in my head but actually really I would be cross with myself for making the error. You’re absolutely right that so much is about perception! #AnythingGoes

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I guess I would have been pissed too if I had been in that situation. I totally agree with you — it’s all about perception.

    #AnythingGoes

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such wise words Enda, How we perceive things makes a huge difference. I’m having huge issues within my household at the moment with certain members not wanting to be told they are wrong even when they are, and even when they have been told so without malice or anger. So, not really good or bad, but taking mild criticism and turning it into a huge battle. I learned long ago that it feels much better to admit to your mistakes and vow to do better, than it does to strop off and cause a scene. A much harder lesson has been in standing up for myself when I know I’m right, it’s too easy to become a pushover. Balance in all things! I think I have incredibly high tolerance for things and people, which doesn’t mean I can be taken advantage of, but I know when it’s not worth a battle. I also take the view that humans are humans no matter what race, colour or beliefs. But saying all that, there is too much evil in this world and not enough kindness and I just wish that could be balanced.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot to consider there, Anne … I’m not always the quickest to admit I am wrong, but perhaps the main source of conflict with our teenage daughter is her all too often inability to recognise her wrong in a situation, even when she is the one who has sparked it in the first place! We find this incredibly frustrating, and I feel we will only make real progress when she can at least accept her part in the whole thing. It’s hard for a parent to work through a child’s issues when they will not recognise them as issues in the first place! Balance has to come from both sides!

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      • Keep showing her the way and she’ll get it, eventually. The thing with teens is that they think the world revolves around them. It’s a tough time indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you’ve nailed it there: they think the world revolves around them, so she will learn … eventually!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Karen Dennis

    Thought provoking tale, thanks for sharing #blogginggoodtime@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thought provoking words again. I guess I am lucky to have been brought up in Brighton, which probably couldn’t be further from a Catholic Ireland in the 70’s and 80”s with regards to homophobia. I was also raised in a household were we openly discussed sexuality.

    I honestly thought as a nation we were passed racism, however I can sadly report we are not and as a very proud father of mixed race children, who have been subject to racism from their peers on the odd occasion. For what it is worth, I believe these other kids are not racist, however the comments they hear at the dinner table are. They are simply replicating what they have heard.

    I agree with Tims comments also. It appears the rise of right or wrong, left or right has engulfed us and this is a shame. We need middle ground to progress. Compromise is are hard lesson to learn and it appears it may need to be re-taught…….

    This all brings me to a post I once saw. Similar to your original post, I had scrolled too far and it was lost forever. However it went along the lines of – if we taught meditation and mindfulness in primary and secondary schools, war would be a thing of the past within 2 generations…….

    (mental note: don’t read an Endastories post, when you are in the middle of something else…… distraction is an understatement)

    Another fabulous piece and thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ian. I think you are right about the kids spouting so-called racist stuff. As you say, they are mostly repeating what they hear. I know my own kids have been exposed to all colours and creeds, and generally only refer to individuals on their merits, not what race or colour they are. I would be critical of so-called media panel “discussions” which are designed for confrontation, and to boost viewing figures, sacrificing balanced debate on the way. Fake news by any other name! Thank you again for your kind words

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  12. mackenzieglanville

    Growing up in Melbourne I was always in a very multicultural society, I feel I am lucky for that experience. My children attend a Uniting Church school, but we talk very openly about accepting others and respecting there rights to religious choices and sexuality. My 15 year old has a best friend who is gay, what I was surprised to discover is that her own parents do not know even though she tells her friends. Her parents refuse to see their son, the girls older brother, because he is gay. They have 4 sons and the one daughter and so she is too afraid to be honest with them. It is so sad that a child can not have these open conversations with their loved ones. To me colour, race, religion, sexual preferences, or what gender you identify with shouldn’t be what matters, but I know many do not agree. Still we have come so far and I am grateful for that! Thank you for linking up for #ABloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sad your daughter’s friend has to live in that repressive environment. But yes, we have come some of the way on this journey but a fair way to go. Thanks Kylie

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  13. Good points and totally agree with you X #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think people are inherently selfish rather than evil. The need to fit in by disparaging others can be strong 😦 Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I like it! Very generally speaking I agree that everyday people don’t set out to be awful. It’s just a matter of our own perception of the short comings and how easy you find it to let go of things that bug you. When you were talking about acceptance, I do think that whilst outwardly, there’s a much better tone in general, under the surface, things aren’t always what they seem. Old ways run deep. but here’s hoping that the future will be able to lay some of that to rest. Because we should never be afraid to be ourselves. Thanks for bringing a fab conversation to the #dreamteam this week 🙂

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    • I also think it depends on the day, and how negative or positive we are feeling that day how we see people and the world, Annette. There are days I find it awfully easy to dislike people😀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Tracey Carr

    One of the things I am constantly drilling into my daughters are the words ‘Be nice!’ There’s not a lot to it but I find it will bring you a long way. I am always having conversations with my five year old daughter about how your words and actions can impact on other people so we never want to say or do anything that will make somebody feel sad (especially now that she has started school!). But it’s true isn’t it? If we all just treated each other the right way life would be much easier. Taking it on the chin requires a lot of effort too. It’s hard not to let pride get in the way – that’s something I bet we all have to work hard at! #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does go a long way, being nice, Tracey. Makes the world a better place for sure. Let’s ky spreading the word😀

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  17. Tracey Carr

    Back from #KCACOLS !

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  18. I find one of the hardest things to do in life is see your mistakes and acknowledging them. It’s so easy for people to dismiss it with reasons, but I think the maturity of age teaches us to bite our tongue and know when to hold back – something really lacking in today’s political arena!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Growing up as a Jewish Lesbian, I hear you! Wise words, and yes, by still needing a pride parade 50 years after Stonewall, we still have a ways to go. My folks only recently accepted me back in the family. Life is not easy. We all need to put on our big person pants and walk in our shoes with empathy oozing. xoxo #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Great post (as always) Enda. I agree that sometimes whether we see someone as a t**t or not all comes down to perspective. However more and more I see people using the idea that “my perspective on that is different to yours” as a means of denying basic facts. This is usually done to justify their expression of predudice against a group of people. The most obvious example of this is Trump, but ive seen it myself with a twitter friend recently.

    On a fb thread someone who I had always held in high regard wrote several messages that were anti-sematic. I called her out on it, and found that she vigorously defended her views, saying she knew jewish people and they were all like she had described (she had said jewish people pretended to be vuctims, but were really antagonistic and that they behaved as if they had narcissistic personality dissorder), therefor her views wernt anti-sematic but simple observations based on fact. Its fair to say me and this lady are no longer friends.
    #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Tracey … I agree totally and utterly with what you say about “my perspective” and acting out of it, like you cannot help it, or change, and besides, why would I, when I am right and you are wrong: fact! What a horrible experience to have had with someone you obviously valued. Ironic you should refer to anti-semitic sentients, I was actually in Aushwitz with yesterday with my family (back in work today — surreal) and you can see what happens when sentiments like these are exploited and given full expression.

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  21. It is galling having your mistakes pointed out, and basically getting told off and it does take a certain amount of maturity not to get on the defensive and to accept responsibility for your own errors. To admit we are in the wrong and to see the other person’s perspective. You’ve given us food for thought once again! Thanks again for joining us for #kcacols!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Communication and understanding make a big difference in this world. I totally agree that people rarely set out to be t***s but communication failure and perception is regularly to blame. Less judgement and more love is my plan #KCACOLS

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