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Kate Tempest’s Cannibal Kids

Kate Tempest’s brilliant rap poem reminds us that the roots of ‘youth violence’ lies in the violence of a world made by the establishment and the powerful. The poem does not excuse the violence of the ‘cannibal kids’ but points out that their spiritual stepfathers are the cannibal capitalists who maintain the structure of violence.

I couldn’t find a transcription anywhere on the web so I transcribed it myself. There were a couple of bits I didn’t hear properly so I put [?] question marks in those places.

‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
But there ain’t no royalty left
‘Cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders afraid of our footsteps
‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
But there ain’t no royalty left
‘Cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders yes even the street shudders
‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
They don’t know that kindness is courage
Or that sympathy sings much louder than violence
They are bitter and drained. Eyes of ice stare from figures of flames
They, puff chested, restless, nameless, they carry their pains
To the point ob being painless; these numb ones, young ones
The new latchkeys of London just soaking up that humdrum
That makes them want to run from the state they’re in
Powerless, penniless, feathers clipped
They find eagle’s wings in the derelict brotherhood of gang life
That bang bang life that shouts louder than a sarcastic teacher clapping hands twice
And staring down a frightened nose
See, they learned that respect comes from striking a pose that demands it
But I know respect and fear are not compatible
But they’s a long way from bat and ball
They don’t play they let daggers fall
From blood-soaked fingers while their siblings lie bleeding in hallways dead.
But like wisdom has always said, blood begets blood
And keeps spilling so the pavements are stained and our hearts are grief-stricken.
‘Cause ’round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings. But there ain’t no royalty left

No, ’cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders yes even the street shudders
While that paranoid panic that goes seeping through the granite of the breeze blocks
Is turning our cities into sheep flocks
See me have pity those whose knees knock
The victims of the media machine, them poor souls who’ve forgotten how to dream
See, see that cut-throat mentality, that gets encourages in business
They tell you, to be a success you gotta step on some necks
So big money is made through that ruthless pursuit and while they [?]
Their jaded kids [?]
Now we were born into these blood-soaked cities of industry
Informed of the savagery, the infamy, barbarity of history.
Controlled and contrived and depressed and tested and stressed out and vexed
It’s a message we’ve been fed so we could propagate their system of division, inhibition, viciousness and contradiction
We were suckled on the milk that they soured
Told the future was ours and them disembowelled and dis-empowered
We’ve been disgraced, deafened and deflowered
Our brains brutalised and all the fires devoured
So now they’re shooting guns and robbing cash and trying to claw it all back
But when the whole thing shatters it always starts with a little crack
And them splinters, they stretch out for miles
Pointing fingers at smart dressed men with wry crocodile smiles
But still we get the blame
Told that life is all exchange told that we are the children of capital
That we are the children of apathy, that we the children of this rapidly changing reality
But I say, we learn it from them, from their rules and their ways
For their legitimate businesses deceive, and disgrace
While us, we do what we can because we live in this place
Where the truth can’t be seen in the face.

Addendum: Having done that I’ve just found a proper transcription on the web .. a pdf that include some of Kate’s other poems. Much recommended: h Having done that I’ve just found a proper transcription on the web .. a pdf that include some of Kate’s other poems. Much recommended:

no-36-end-times

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged is more popular than ever among economic conservatives, precisely because it offers a full-blown defense of rapacious, predatory capitalism in a time of vast inequality.
 
Source and more on Rand

This is Francisco D’Anconia’s Money Speech from the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. An article on the Alternet site, ’10 Things I Learned About the World from Ayn Rand’s Insane “Atlas Shrugged”‘ reminded me of the book that I first read almost forty years ago. Atlas Shrugged is a fantasy about intense inventive individualistic industrialists who Rand presents as the ‘Atlases’ that sustain the world. Rand appeals to the individualist in all of us and we can empathise with the dedication and determination of her heroes. I’ve not re-read Shrugged in thirty years or so but I remember it fondly, as a fantasy, as I also remember ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Dune’, ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ and ‘The Dispossessed’ all of which I read in the 1960’s and 70’s. I took ideas from these novels and they have all influenced my imagination and the way that I see the world. It’s quite likely that Rand’s book (which is really quite vicious in a heroic Wagnerian) warped my perception for a while but I’m a fundamentally decent chap and it didn’t corrupt me too much or too long. Unfortunately Rand does seem to have corrupted and warped the perception of generations of Americans with her presentation of capitalism as a corollary of freedom and competence. Those who have read ‘Shrugged’ can hear its baleful echoes in a lot of the discourse of US politicians and media pundits, many of whom openly treat Rand’s text as sacred script as is revealed in this article.

Irrational Nonsense

irrational

‘Irrational’ and ‘real’ are not incompatible in mathematics or life ..and ‘nonsense’ is either merely pejorative or an assertion that a proposition is meaningless as in ‘lightning runs faster than gravity’; most of these theories/beliefs are not meaningless in this sense. Nevertheless an amusing chart and I assume its title is self-referential.

Wittgenstein has some interesting things to say about ‘nonsense’.

In Ludwig Wittgenstein’s writings, the word “nonsense” carries a special technical meaning which differs significantly from the normal use of the word. In this sense, “nonsense” does not refer to meaningless gibberish, but rather to the lack of sense in the context of sense and reference. In this context, logical tautologies, and purely mathematical propositions may be regarded as “nonsense”. For example, “1+1=2” is a nonsensical proposition.

From an article on ‘nonsense’ in Wikipedia

Angels and Devils

This animation of M.C. Escher’s Angel’s and Demons is quite striking. The animation highlights the significance of Escher’s original work showing a metamorphosis from an angelic universe to one in which good and evil are intertwined and in which what we bring to the foreground is a choice. It brought to mind two phrases: “Inner Demons” and “The Better Angels of our Nature”.

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