Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Promised you all something about - allegories. So here we go.

When I asked for a simple explanation of the proposed American shutdown, I was surprised to get a rather trite and facile explanation of household budgeting. think of it this way: you spent all of your money except for 10 dollars on shoes. You want more shoes, but your husband says you can either buy shoes or eat. You decide to buy shoes and shake down your mother for more money so you can eat, except she doesn't have any money, so you go hungry and blame your husband

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I am unlikely to spend money on shoes. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did, unless training shoes count. Similarly, food on the table always comes first in this home, along with warmth and shelter. And highly unlikely that my husband would tell me how to spend my money.

Moving on .... It's not about that. To go back to using allegory... I'd like a new car. I don't NEED one, my 2001 Celica is great, but hey, a Lexus would be nice. But there are things I need to take care of FIRST -- we prioritize our budget. Take care of the taxes, insurance, utility bills, food, vet care, ETC... then see what's left. Obama and the dems buy the Lexus first, then go into debt. The republicans (who now control the House but not the Senate) are trimming the budget - and Obama is whining that he just won't spend ANY money then, if he can't have his Lexus. Again... it's allegory. But hopefully that makes sense.

Yeah. I have had one new car in my life. A Mini Metro for anyone who is interested back in the 80s at a cost of some £3000+. I saved the money and bought the car. Our oldest vehicle is 37 years old. I really don't give a shit about a new Celica or a new Lexus. So that is the personal stuff out of the way regarding the 'allegories'.

Except ... I think I should add a few points about my ability to manage budgets. I haven't got to 50+ years of age without working out how to add up. 1) Million pound budget manager for cancer services (I mean lots of millions, obviously) 2) Somewhat smaller budgets for managing the chief executive's office 3) Book-keeping for a business for 25+ years 4) Submitting tax returns for same 5) Somewhere in the past I think I can find that MBA - and wait! - I even enjoyed calculating Net Present Value. So do not tell me how to manage a domestic budget. Thank you. Or tell me not to buy a new pair of shoes or a new car. JFC.

Importantly, I do not think the parallel between domestic budgets and the proposed American shutdown is remotely similar. Balancing a budget is one thing - arguing about ethical points is another. So let me provide my scenario. I also think allegory is a totally inaccurate description. allegory noun ( a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one : Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of the spiritual journey. • the genre to which such works belong. • a symbol.

Ron and Dan live together. Doesn't matter what sex they are before you ask, they are gender neutral names. Every six months they swap around the control of the domestic budget. At the moment, Dan is in charge of the budget and Ron is not working much so relies on Dan. They have agreed that whoever is in charge, pays the basic bills and proposes a plan for capital expenditure (for example).

Ron doesn't like Dan's proposals and starts to complain. Ron gripes about Dan eating tuna sandwiches at lunchtime because Ron likes dolphins. (Yes! I know it is unlikely that Republican Ron would do that but the whole point of this is finding an ethical sticking point, thank you, so read on). Ron wants Dan to stop buying tuna. Dan refuses. Dan says s/he will stop paying the bills and reduce the household services. ..... Dan agrees to buy tuna that doesn't damage dolphins.

And - the budget continues. No problems for anyone. For what it's worth, I think that was slightly more relevant than a comparison with budgetary overspending. The whole point about the shutdown was about making political points about ethical issues. Not whether or not you buy shoes or cars. Or overspend.

Next up, I had thought of writing another um - allegory?? It seemed inappropriate to post on my facebook wall given the sensitivities of my readers. But.. this is my blog and my space (so to speak).

Let's imagine you live in a nice house in a nice street. You are happy in your home but - around the corner in the rather tatty trailer trash area is someone who has something you want. They could be the Beverly Hillbillies with black gold in fact. But you want it and your needs are more important.

Guess what? You go right in, saying they are unsound neighbours. You ask a few friends to help who live a few blocks away and who daren't say no. You don't like the morals/religion/ethics/clothes/anything really of this trash and rip the shit out of them. You take the black gold too. Naturally it is all done in the name of beautification of the neighbourhood. A few lies don't go amiss about what trash they really are because everyone believes you. Once you have what you want, you pussyfoot around for a bit pretending to help and then clear off. As do your poodles.

I hope that was a helpful parallel. It isn't an allegory at all. It is just a different way of portraying American politics. ETA courtesy of the lovely Otter Um allegory - analogy??

analogy noun ( pl. -gies) a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification : an analogy between the workings of nature and those of human societies | he interprets logical functions by analogy with machines. • a correspondence or partial similarity : the syndrome is called deep dysgraphia because of its analogy to deep dyslexia. See note at likeness . • a thing that is comparable to something else in significant respects : works of art were seen as an analogy for works of nature. • Logic a process of arguing from similarity in known respects to similarity in other respects. • Linguistics a process by which new words and inflections are created on the basis of regularities in the form of existing ones. • Biology the resemblance of function between organs that have a different evolutionary origin. DERIVATIVES analogical |ˌanəˈläjikəl| adjective analogically adverb ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [appropriateness, correspondence] ): from French analogie, Latin analogia ‘proportion,’ from Greek, from analogos ‘proportionate.’

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