Welcome to Alphaday 12, Season XVII. If you check your Alpha calendar you’ll see that we’ve only got two more Alphadays left this season after this one. There’s a lot to be done before we can wrap up the season and go off on our annual break before we start on Season XVIII some time in September.
Today’s agenda may have fewer items than is our wont, but it’s nevertheless one of those cornucopian ones that will provide us with plenty of writerly treats to digest at leisure over the coming weeks. The great thing is – as I’ve so often said – that everyone is involved in providing this rainbow-coloured display of writerly fireworks. We don’t teach, but I’m sure we learn.
Alphaday 12, Season XVII agenda:
- This bulletin from me
- The results and feedback from the quotation challenge from Elke
- The collated entries for the Open Page 3rd edition from Christine
- The latest Alpha Log news from Phil
What more could you ask for? Enjoy taking it all in.
There’ll be Alpha news in today’s Log.
As for the general news I think we’re beginning to look forward to a time when we don’t have to consider all our fellow human beings as dangerous spreaders of disease.
“Religion is the opium of the masses” declared Karl Marx. That was in the middle of the Victorian era and he seems to imply that the real thing, i.e. opium, was a privilege reserved for the upper classes and people like de Quincey at home, and Graham Greene lording it in far eastern hookah dens. Lower down the social scale the easily available over-the-counter drug was laudanum. I doubt that Karl Marx meant that religion gave the masses a high of the Joan of Arc variety, but rather that religion encouraged people to behave with soporific propriety.
During this lengthy period of social isolation it has perhaps come as a surprise for some that so many people actually did behave with soporific propriety. But when the lid comes off the masses will need their ersatz opium. Governments could have taken Karl Marx’s advice and encouraged the masses to enjoy their church activities … if that could still be seen as ‘the opium of the masses’. But Karl Marx is slightly outdated here. Or they could have opened theatres, cinemas, museums and concert halls … if they could live up to the ‘opium of the masses’ label.
They knew better. There may still be precautions in place and people are only allowed in outdoor areas; but opening the pubs was exactly what was needed. After a couple of pints worries vanish and loudmouthed, deep philosophising, self-glorification, insults and dirty jokes can be announced to friends and the public in general as ‘the opium of the masses’ works its magic.