Bringing up 100 by Matt Rees

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One hundred blog posts ago, I began my contributions to Reality Check with a whimsical piece in which I nominated my fictional Palestinian detective Omar Yussef as President of Palestine. As I reach this blogging milestone, I thought I’d examine what has changed since those distant days of 2009.

This blog has changed, of course. Barbara and CGM both beat me to the century (not due to laziness on my part, but mainly because I missed a posts when I was traveling for publicity or research). Colin took up his post as Blogger Emeritus when he had written 66 times, thus falling short of the key 69 figure which as a resident of saucy, steamy Thailand he would probably want to have attached to his name. We’ve gained new contributors who’re adding “content” to this site and bringing new perspectives.

Omar Yussef continues to be my pick for President of Palestine. Back in 2009, I noted that Omar didn’t expect to be elected. Not because he’s a fictional character, but because Palestine is fictional. Also because while Palestinian elections will be crime fiction, they’ll probably have a broad comic touch, and Omar’s far too gritty for that.

Nothing’s changed there. Palestinians and Israelis continue to think that the world quivers in anticipation of the putative September UN vote on Palestinian statehood. Over the weekend, Palestinian and Israeli leaders both suggested they’d throw out their 1993 Oslo agreements if the vote didn’t/did go through. Meanwhile, events in Oslo itself signaled that even the Norwegians have more important things on their minds these days.

I’m glad to be distant from such pointless diplomatic wrangling. Three years ago I was still dabbling in journalism, though I rarely committed the crime of journalistic research. Mostly I wrote off the top of my head. Which didn’t sit well with me. As a fiction writer, I prefer to know what I’m talking about. So I ditched journalism entirely and have found myself mentally healthier by far.

I was chatting with someone recently who finds it impossible to concentrate on her day until she has read the newspaper. Though she also finds that the newspaper is a negative distraction from her focus on real life. One might say that blogs perform the same function, except that one can make one’s own blogenda (and blog words), rather than having to contend with whatever lands on your doorstep.

Since I nominated Omar for the fictional position of President of Palestine, I’ve watched as the world economy has peeled itself down to the bone. Now we know that Marx was right. Not that our governments are behaving accordingly. Wall Street raped the world and, like many a victim of trauma and abuse, we insisted on following their rules to protect ourselves from the threat of further sodomy.

One result has been the collapse of the “European idea” (at least, if you read the newspapers, which have to make everything about a concept, rather than just about what’s unfolding without a plan). So I’m nominating Nannerl Mozart, heroine of my latest novel MOZART’S LAST ARIA, as President of Europe.

Nannerl isn’t a bureaucrat or a politician. She hasn’t worked for a bank and has no ties to financial-industry lobbyists. She has no cellphone for British tabloids to hack into. She has been dead almost 200 years, so she could “do no harm,” unlike the gravy-train buffoons in Brussels. She knew Europe, having traveled all over the continent as a pianist. She had no need to make grand schemes spanning the continent, and 2,000 florins were enough to set her up for retirement.

Which is why, despite all my reservations about the blogosphere, I’m happy to have written 100 times for this blog: the media, the banks, the politicians, all the people who think they run the world, are unable to touch this one particular space. It’s mine. And yours. That’s rather valuable.

See you next week.

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