Book four..: Discourses on the 12 “Stations” of Christopher Corridini.
Fourth Station; Jesus meets His Mother.
On the capability and permissibility for a mother to intercede on behalf of her child.
A Mother’s Right.
I see her even now so clearly..like a child sees his mother…like a son sees his mother for what was honoured what was loved and what was wanted…what was wanted and also what was lost…What tragedy is a mother?…can the loyalty of a legion of national heroes match her dedication and honour?…what an investment is her love of her offspring, to give so much of her heart so that in the end she can only watch as they leave her and leave her care..she must watch as they leave her care..she cannot hold them to herself any longer…then they are gone..and she grows old.
My younger brother had an accident while riding his motorcycle, the damage to his leg was quite severe and left him with steel pins and plaster cast for around eleven months. I had just returned from working in the north of Australia and the cold weather was not conducive to a good mood.
Winter…The carriage of the morning 8.28. train to the city was cold and draughty. Rain streaked on the panes of glass, angled and beaded by the wind. I sat chilled, committed to endure the ritual of confronting the almighty twin towers of LAW and ORDER..but rather, not exactly me, but my mother. I was brought along for moral support. We were going to the small-claims court to contest a hearing that went against my brother in the cause of the accident..My brother lost that case and had resigned himself to the result, but our mother was adamant that “justice and a fair decision” was our right.
I had already leaned in my young life that which a more trusting older generation did not seem to be able to grasp: You cannot for the love of Mary expect a fair shake from those tombs of Law ( those dusty-musty tombs) without pouring everything paid for and promised into that gaping maw of “legal representation” . It ‘d be cheaper to run a Rolls Royce.
A child over the road from the station. On her way to school no doubt. Yellow raincoat with bag clumsily slung over shoulder skipping carefree in the drizzle….(O’ …, child run past my window…wide, … something-something-with every stride….O’). The image started a rhyme growing in my head..
“Hmm, Yes mum.”
“Did you see that young girl over the road there? Ah, the young, they don’t seem to feel the cold like we do. ”
“hmm……(…youthful life in every…nuh..doesn’t work)”
“How many witnesses did you get hold of?”
“Well..the legal aid people said to bring along as many as possible, it looks good in the magistrate’s eyes.” Mother replied.
“Yes, but how many did you get?”
“Only Mrs. Rowe….Mrs. Morris wouldn’t come…I can’t blame her..she’s expecting, she’s nervous.”
“Hmm. Do you hold much hope?” I asked.
“I’ve just got to try…I..I can’t let that Wishart chap have clear run of it…. It grates on my….my nerves. To see poor Dominic..a year in plaster…an all that University study down the drain.. an’ that smarmy lawyer at the first hearing….I just have to fight it a bit…I’m his mother an’ I won’t see him hurt without sticking up for him a bit…..it’s…it’s my right.”
“Dominic saw fit to give it best…” I pondered.
“Well he shouldn’t have. He should be here now instead of me…But, well, at least I have his signature for me to represent him today.” And she clasped her handbag tight in her lap.
“I don’t know, that legal aid crew…I don’t know.” I said doubtfully..then self-reflecting that I wasn’t much good at this “moral support” thing…
“Well…I can only go by what they advise.. an’ if they won’t come in with us, then I have to go alone and this time I have Mrs Rowe!”
“Well she wasn’t there at the first hearing so she will be new evidence…and she says she saw the whole thing…the whole accident.. right there outside her window…. it’s a wonder that other legal fellah Dom’ hired didn’t bring her along to the first case.”
“Good of her to come.” I mused.
“Oh, I said I’d pay her for the half day she missed at her shop.”
“But her husband runs the shop doesn’t he?”
“Yes I know but….well, I have to give her something….I..”
(“..a child run past my window wide… Less a child with every stride.. er..nah!)
Central Station roared with life. So many people, so many people. I like crowds , but I don’t like to think myself part of the crowd. But I guess I am. To those other people I’m just, well..one of those others…(Doctor, my eyes..can you see… can you feel….the child runs..)
“What did you say?”
“The bus, here, we’ll take the bus.” Mother paid the driver..” The law courts thanks,”
Those little sayings on the back of the tickets…what does this one….”There is no rainbow at the end of pot,”, ..Oh I don’t… no rainbow at the end….silly thing, can’t believe it…. Two punters were having it out over the races.
”No, I don’t want to see your tips..Like yesterday at Randwick..knew it would win, just knew it…But nooo, you said it wouldn’t an’ just what ‘appens….It’s the last time I listen…”
“I know, I know, you just can’t win. So, who can?” the other answered..
The cold sterile buildings of the law courts. So neutral in design, so impartial in colour, so sparsely furnished, as though it was a crime itself to give the place any character at all. Here we met with Mrs Rowe. She suited the surroundings.
“Hello, so good of you to come .” My mother greeted her.
“Well… we’ll see Mrs Clarke.” She returned.
“Here, we’ll sit here, Oh, this is my son, Christopher.” We were introduced.
The seats offered little comfort. I was crowded to the end when another couple entered the waiting room. Gradually more people filled the room till there was standing room only. We all sat there in silence, trying, I thought, to sus out what each other person was doing there. I had to rush off for a “nervous”.
“Excuse me, I have to go to the loo..” I even felt guilty for that. The rest seemed to frown on me as I edged out the door…. Air, open air…ahh!
While I was in a cubicle, a man came through the outside door. He sounded angry with another person there.
“Listen here, I don’t give a tuppenny damn what his excuses are, I need that machine this weekend without fail.” The urinal flushed and a tap sprayed into a basin while the other answered.
“But sir, you must understand the difficulty he has in getting parts…..Here is a little list he wrote of the pieces….”
“Give us that list.” the paper was snatched, a door of a cubicle flung open and the toilet flushed. “There, that’s what I think of your “little list”….This weekend, that’s all.”
The outside door slammed. I thought they were both gone. I went to wash my hands and there was still one of them there. He glared at me when I appeared, one of those cold looks you get from an official who has some sort of authority deciding to deal with you in some way.
“Good morning.” I said.
“Mornin’.” The other man curtly replied and walked out, it was the angry one.
(.. child run past my window wide, Less a child with every stride….happy now in innocent age..goorr).
A motley crew it was there in the court room. A furtive bunch of clients with a shifty lot of solicitors. “Pearson please, of Pearson versus National ..” The clerk of the court called. “Pearson plea…”
“Oh yes Frank. here, it’s been deferred. They couldn’t arrange a witness.” And on and on, until;
“All rise please, his honour John Mathews presiding. ” It was the man shouting in the toilet. I almost chuckled out loud. The cases were got through speedily, but with little result. It always seemed they were deferred to a later date because of some obscure reason. One time a young man in a crushed and creased blue, pinned striped suit rushed in with a sheaf of papers addressed the magistrate for no more than a few seconds then dragged a sheepish looking client outside for a quick consultation. He never returned. No-one seemed to miss him. The court steamed on like a cargo of pilgrims to the promised land .Till finally: “Wishart verses Clarke.” Was called.
“Give ’em a run mum.” I encouraged.
Wishart was there with his lawyer.
“Your honour. We wish to present no new evidence at this appeal, but will rely on the judgement bought down at the preliminary hearing. Thank you.” The lawyer spoke then sat back down.
“Well, Mrs Clarke…You are the defendant’s mother it says here.” The magistrate read from his notes.
“Yes your honour, my son, Dominic, is away working up the Riverland at the…” my mother explained.
“Yes yes…But you see, he is now eighteen years of age, and so you cannot represent him here. You were explained that …before.”
‘Yes I know your honour but this time I have a little note he signed allowing me…”
“Regardless of your…little note, Mrs Clarke, I cannot let you represent your son.”
“But the Legal aid people said….” Mother tried to speak…The magistrate raised his voice in anger..
“I don’t give a tupp…well I’m afraid they led you astray…what makes you think you have the right to come here as a legal authority?” the magistrate tried to belittle mother.
I saw her eyes narrow and her jaw set..there was that moment of threatening silence that mothers impose as a kind of “clearing of space” before they speak…and then my mother spoke boldly..sharply..
“I have a mother’s right to defend my child!” my mother stood her ground and quickly but sternly replied…I could hear several soft gasps from people behind me…
This simple logic pulled the magistrate up and he seemed to give some thought to the reason. He then replied in a more conciliatory and polite manner.
“A mother’s authority, I’ll grant, has a reach so far, but THAT doesn’t extend into the law courts…yet..”
“More’s the pity” my mother mumbled quietly.. The magistrate paused and raised one eyebrow as if to chastise her..but then thought better of it..for every man knows : A mother’s temper ought not be tested.
“…But this thing has dragged on long enough,” he continued ..” a decision must be reached on this case,” The magistrate rustled amongst some notes on the bench.”It’s best, I think , to defer this till we have an assessment of damages. If that’s agreeable to both parties?..Very well, case deferred for cost assessment and a hearing set on completion thereof.”
And that was it. No witnesses called, no discussion entered into, no completion.
“Short and sweet?” I sighed when we were outside.
“Damn and blast…What a waste of time.. what’s the use of those…” My mother was piqued at the result.
“Mrs Clarke.” It was Mrs Rowe.”I really must be off, if I only knew it was going to be this useless…You said you would reimburse me the half day…” We stood on the pavement at the corner of City Square.
“Oh yes Mrs Rowe, I’m dreadfully sorry….Here” and she handed Mrs Rowe a fifty dollar note.
“But Mrs Clarke, I thought we agreed on eighty dollars.” Mrs Rowe complained.
“What..Oh no Mrs Rowe it was fifty.” and they stood there, both frowning till Mrs Rowe shrugged her shoulders and walked away.
“A disappointing day all round eh?” I was trying to ease the feeling.
“A useless day would be more correct…Strange that It seemed so clear and simple last night in bed…” She sighed.
That rhyme started up again in my head…I was getting sick of it…(”A child run past my window wide, Less a…”) ahh forget it, don’t corrupt the memory..Leave the child run…
Fifth Station; Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His cross.
Whether it is really in fact a choice or no-choice this conundrum of compatibility.
A Conundrum of Compatibility.
We…of the working class, have a problem. That problem is : Servility.
No longer is it a “tugging of the forelock” servility, the elimination of THAT little obsequiousness was “executed” in the French Revolution along with a generous helping of the useless aristocracy…and with us of Irish descent, with the hard-work of the IRA against the Black and Tans back last century! Even here in Australia at the Eureka Stockade, we gave , as Henry Lawson says ; the ruling class a black-eye and a bloodied nose.
But it was still our lack of education, our ”cross to bear” that held us back..our lack of “letters” that confined us to vocal protesting and physical action to advance the cause of working class rights and entitlements. And here, I would salute those militant unions who took the fight right up to the noses of the governing class…The AWU and the BLF “Green bans” in Sydney and Melb’…Norm Gallagher’s BLF on the building sites around Aust’…now the CFMEU on the streets for all of us! Good work..DAMN GOOD WORK…and more power to them in the future.
But now, in this twenty first century, when more of us than ever have a good sketch of education and we “knows our letters” enough to write down and communicate to a wider audience the need for universal democracy for this multi-cultural society…a society needing for the majority ; good health policies, secure employment policies through State infrastructure developments, decent wages for family security, education and many , many other causes.
We working people have the capacity to write from direct experience of these things now with the expansion of social media and the availability of free content blog sites. These multi-media outlets have exploded the “voice” of every-person to deliver to a watching population the instances of oppression and injustice instantly…and also to deliver the good oil on worthy projects direct to the public without the news being wrung through the filter of a biased, unworthy main-stream media, whose reason for existence is now more to betray, block and obfuscate than deliver news to the public.
But along with this ease of access to communicate, has come another tyrant to try to stand-over , humiliate, correct and control those from a working class education who have important things to say. It is the oppression of “correct communication”. It is another mechanism of the controlling upper-middle-class to suppress this rising enthusiasm of the educated working class from fully exploiting their potential to create an atmosphere of radical politics and radical ideas.
I can speak from my own experience here as I have been a contributor of articles to blog-sites for quite a few years, writing from a left-wing perspective (as ANY self-respecting worker would have to!) and delivering on the subjects concerning social improvement for the nation as a whole..This would go well, I noticed, until I broached the subject of class-warfare between the working class and a controlling upper-middle-class. It was this barricade that brought me undone with many on those blog-sites as I was informed that many there on those same blogs were of the middle class and seemed to see themselves as a kind of “gate-keeper” of their middle class values. I was excoriated by a coterie of private school graduates who see ones like myself as an interloper into the exclusive world of correct topic, syntax and polite conversation…”sure, you can protest..but on our terms!”…I, and my building site aged male attitude didn’t fit..there were times when my commentary would be met with deafening silence and totally ignored..one could almost “hear” the sharp offended intake of breath..such are the basic tools of the offended sensibilities of the “front parlour set”, where good manners and knowing one’s place is an imperative to polite society…doncha know?
What, however was more alarming and the reason for the writing of this piece, was the buckling and caving-in of some of the other working class bloggers of those sites. A kind of subservience to what has been created in the world of the written language as the “strata of grammatical purity”…a subtle tyranny set in place by those of the well-educated middle class to keep out the barbarians of loud , vulgar front-bar types whose language is more akin to a shout in the street than gentle whispers in the parlour..A nasty piece of useless baggage from an anachronistic era when “polite society” knew everything about good writing and fuck all about good communication! When the job of written communication was more about NOT telling the dirty little secrets of the ruling class.
All this exclusiveness has now gone by the wayside..with the changing script-face of post-modern writing, a more generic style of writing has become the norm..grammatical correctness has to take second place to emojis and abbreviated words…technology and word-limit demands swift response and the increasing habit of texting on the run has brought new language to the fore. No longer must a person who has struggled with the curse of a low-level education wait cap-in-hand for the master of English to judge or correct their work with either a patronising compliment, like a gold star from the teacher, of wither under the disdainful glare of disapproval..Now, thanks to the great equaliser, those of us who relish more the substance of a political piece than the syntax can just tell those pompous, self-righteous scribblers to fuck off!
So having levelled the playing-field for legitimate commentary, we of the working class must now decide if we wish to be on the same team as those who have gamed our camaraderie just to “Lord it” over us. There is now that ; “Conundrum of Compatibility”..will we get on together as equals, or do we of the working class just tell the middle class to piss off and go do your own dirty-work? For myself, I don’t need the bums..they have nothing to offer or help me with…I don’t appreciate their smug delusions of grandeur, their non-producing lifestyles nor their lazy mental attitude. But I have to concede there is the need for networking, and THAT is the one thing the middle class has a lot of experience in…and their mostly idle unskilled-hands are good for picking up a phone and connecting A to B.
So I would like to see the Labour movement along with the unions and the political arm of the Left bring more rank and file workers to the political fore and utilise the “in-situ” experience of long-term skilled people to create a new, more structurally sound body of political grunt to confront and defeat the filth from the Right-wing .
The reserves of power and enthusiasm in the over-shadowed educated working class must now be utilised and promoted to the highest levels of political office. What some would see as the “vulgar” or “crude” mechanism of leverage of power has to be reconsidered in the light of what we see now in this current form of government; a politburo of poisonous, poltroons with not the slightest trace of decency and honour for all their years of private, expensive schooling and the best suits and bling OUR expense accounts can buy. We are looking at filth of the lowest order and if these criothans can lay claim to the highest standards of rhetoric and education, then I say ;
FUCK THE BULLSHIT…let the workers take power, we’ll straighten them out !
An’ this is the problem iddnit?..There’s this expectation that the language used to raise pertinent points of social concern has to be filtered through this fucking sterile filter of middle-class sensibilities…so that the product that comes out the end, be it essay, short-story or novel has to be “manufactured” to fit into existing moulds of acceptable style and delivery..AND ; Identity Politics…well..fuck you!…you’ll get what I deliver to you, how I want to deliver that subject matter to you and for the rest you can shove it up your arse!…and if you don’t want to read my stuff, stiff shit!…I couldn’t give a fuck…I’ve already had my career as a carpenter and that is good enough for me…I am a tradesman…more qualified than any number of arsehole management, non-producing pricks and that’s where you can park it!
Sixth Station; Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
How the ruling class manipulates language to control us.
The Language of Class Control.
Back in my first marriage, when I was “encouraged” to attend many spiritual “workshops” in that miasma of “new age” enlightenment, run, in the most part by self-proclaimed wanker gurus from the legion of reformed middle-class hippie escapees of the “Leafy Suburbs”, The formula for discussion was to take one’s turn of holding the “Talking Stick” and then and only then quietly and serenely make your point or tell your story to the group…I don’t think I need tell you the actual jargon-stacked sentences that preceded and followed each “talker” as they held that sacred icon of conversation : “The Stick”…..I think the comedy television series ; “Kath and Kim” demonstrated such contrived jargon with fair and considered accuracy.
In short, we can differentiate between the social classes by the methodology of conversation practice used. There seems to be a bias toward what the middle-class calls “polite manners”..”polite conversation”..where one waits one’s turn while the incumbent “converser” talks their talk to the very end of what THEY wish to talk about…no matter the length, tediousness or delusion of their conversation…: “THEY have the right to be heard”…Whereas, in my experience in the building trade, any conversation of passionate expression held on site and carried over by habit to the front bar, has to be called out in a loud, firm voice, somewhat peppered with colourful expletives and colloquialisms..whilst in the action of doing work, that echoes between rooms and perhaps between floors of an empty building…the many conversations competing with other machinery sounds or even different conversations…so a regular cacophony of shouted points and counterpoints..layer upon layer..is the methodology of debate and this gets carried…as I said..over by force of habit and location into the front bar or back-yard BBQ where the surrounding noise of the other patrons/family groups or the several televisions playing different sports at the one time in a bar has to be competed with….THAT is the natural order of working class rhetoric and political debate..the pointed finger, the half eaten sausage on bread..between sips of wine or stubby..a kind of chaotic logic, where the most vitriolic voiced opinion will sometimes win the day, depending heavily on the passionate belief of the speaker…No nice manners here..and the proving of the point you wanted to make was encased in the solid belief in what you wanted to say…if you didn’t have the strength of voice to carry your convictions, you lost the conversation…simple as that!
And this is where the domination of the middle-class in matters of opinion and politics controls the Main Stream Media and the Parliamentary debate…it is no more than a continuity of that “well-mannered talking stick” holding the floor and delivering a one-sided, bias toward that class that has drawn up the rules-of-discussion, the conditions of loquatial intercourse, where the short-patience, the tumbling-out of thoughts in a sudden envision of idea and schematic implementation with an unruly manner, the speaking over another less enthralling speaker to get one’s point across while it is fresh in the mind, like a spring zephyr…and not to have it suffocated under the oppressive boredom of another’s sermon of mind-numbing middle-class impotent drudgery.
Now with social media, we hear those same middle-class voices calling for censorship on the more rudely expressors of political contradiction to satisfy that pompous, pontificating, self-righteous endless rambling to nowhere conversations of the middle-classes…FUCK ‘EM I say!…I had a gut-full back in that first marriage of waiting for the “talking stick” that had to do the rounds of pontificating and patronising jargon before it got to you, and I won’t now, as an experienced adult stand in some fuckin’ middle-class mannerism queue waiting till they have finished their waffling chatter…a seemingly endless stream of obfuscation and filibustering…one might as well wait for the blowing of Gabriel’s Trumpet sounding the end of the world!…And don’t they manipulate the “taking of turn” to have their say, using every methodology and trickery learned in debating class or from their cadgey mentors to hold on to that “right to be heard” until time or the subject matter is talked into oblivion…and so having succeeded by default in exhausting the subject where they had no capacity to actually do the job in the first place.
If we look back to the time of a certain Senator’s faux pas with his paramour, we heard so many “finishing-school pontificators” demanding we “rude and noisy” people not criticise the minister on his degenerate behaviour, because : “It’s the rorting, not the rooting…you see?”…when all the time it was the betrayal of moral and ethical standards of the family and community that he represented..all the time!..and yet so much momentum was wasted of those flatulating commentators demanding we :”Don’t call her/him names..it’s not fair..” or wtte and now we see just how “fair” it was with that bastard colluding to run the Murray-Darling basin into the ground…literally!…He would’ve been castigated if not castrated if we had pinned him on the moral issue instead of the stupid pursuit of the rorting issue…a commonplace action amongst so many in his position..useless waffling middle-classes..a bunch of chatterers more fixed on their own personal identity politics than the broader issue at hand!
And really..it is no more than those medieval overlords forbidding the Irish to speak their Gaelic language, the forbidding by the mediaeval bishops of the translation of the Bible from Latin to English to stop any commons understanding of the religion, the attempts to squash the indigenous languages by stopping the spread or talking of such languages..by any other name..a tyranny!…WE..will speak in the language WE best know, WE best communicate with and which WE best understand!…The working classes don’t need middle-class lessons in debate or elocution, for what eloquence we have lacked in the past, we will make up with our own vernacular…and believe me..we have more than enough colourful colloquialisms to describe bastardry behaviour than the proverbial Inuit has to describe snow!
Time for the working classes, vulgar as we can be, with our shouty rhetoric, our noisy demands to be heard, our earned moment on the dias and deserved voices to call in united yell to those bastards who THINK they hold both the Right to rule and the Floor of the Parliament to have their pathetic whinge hold pride of place in the vocal annals of humankind.
Social media IS the “common voice”…IS the crude instrument, IS the majority voice of those who have the lungs to shout from social “room to room”, from “house to house” and from “floor to floor” the message that will not be heard if we have to wait our turn for that strangely elusive “talking stick” so gratuitously and patronisingly “gifted” to us from the middle-classes.
NO!!….Here we are and we now take the floor…and by the living Christ..you will hear what we have to say..and YOU’LL..take your turn to remain silent till WE say it!
There…cop that!..but really, it is little more than the replaying of the old Australian “cultural cringe”..this need for validation from some “higher” authority..