While there’s a (small) part of me that wants to be a little postmodern and not make huge sweeping generalisations, I’m generally very happy to take a structural, sociological point of view: people are complex and individual, but not as much as they’d like to think; we’re simplifiable. I take a pretty misanthropic view of the world’s inhabitants: people can be nice and do good things, but we’re all a bunch of rotters on the inside (as a Christian, I’m more than happy to temper this with a very nice redemptive alternative – but we’re still generally blackguards).
I can get grumpy about most anything, from the large – fanatical capitalists of the American right at the moment, swingeing ideological cuts here – to the small – why do a company (British Gas) that espouse ecological credentials send me so many letters? What makes people you work with petty, small-minded jobsworths? It was such a relief then to read and see and hear over the last day or so the story in Chile which has pretty much no bad news about it. Journalists are really scrabbling to find the villains of the piece: is it the government who’ve worked tirelessly to get these miners out, or the mining company who’ve apologised humbly and made massive safety improvements? Not really. It’s just a really lovely story of the happy side of the human spirit – the miners who’ve organised themselves, had faith and were vindicated, the right-wing government who’ve shown compassion and humanity, and my new favourite, Laurence Golborne, who’s cheered everybody up mostly by playing Radiohead songs by the campfire. Nobody’s perfect, the story says, but good news is a rare commodity.