Wednesday 20 January 2021

About hope

"Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

So writes Andy Dufresne in a letter to his friend Red at the end of The Shawshank Redemption. It's a nice uplifting quote, isn't it, in what, for many people, is a nice (ultimately) uplifting film.

There's a problem with hope, though. It's fragile. Hope can be dashed. It might not ever die, if Andy is to be believed, but it can certainly be hospitalised. Today, for example, I am feeling cautiously hopeful: hopeful that Trump is gone for good; hopeful that Biden and Harris are an unqualified success; hopeful that the vaccincation roll-out can gather pace; hopeful that daily COVID deaths must surely (please) start to fall soon...

Regular readers of this blog (both of them, ha ha) will know that I am not usually this optimistic, even guardedly, about world affairs. So I should add, for balance, that my hope is cautious. Trump is gone but says he'll be back, "in some form" (which sort of implies he's really some kind of shape-shifting alien, and that would certainly explain his lack of humanity); Biden is kicking off with a swathe of seemingly excellent executive orders, but the US is a fractured nation right now, and he and VP Harris have their work cut out; and whilst the UK is finally starting to get to grips with vaccination (God, it's taken them long enough), it's really hard to have any faith in the hopeless, hapless, heartless shower that is Johnson, Gove, Patel, Hancock, Rees-Mogg and the rest ... and that's putting aside any party politics, and judging them purely on their achievements to date.

Seems appropriate to remind ourselves, then, that earlier in Shawshank, Red admonishes Andy, thus:

"Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."

Take the two lines together and you get a neat summary of how I'm feeling right now - my hope hasn't died, yet, but it is driving me insane. It certainly feels like a dangerous thing to cling on to. As that other great sage once said, maybe I should stop watching the news.

Until then, I will leave you with two hopes: firstly that Joe and Kamala prevail; and secondly that we truly have seen the last of the Trump clan in public office (I'd love to see a female president, just not Ivanka, thanks). After all, I try to be optimistic ... but, you know, a pessimist is never disappointed.


  1. The Man Of Cheese20 January 2021 at 23:20

    I think there might be light at the end of the tunnel and am cautiously optimistic about the vaccine and its pace,with hopefully a resulting drop in deaths within a couple of weeks. As for the oaf that is Trump maybe he'll form a movement of thinly veiled racist redneck lowlifes,or UKIP as we call them here! I predict Harris as president within 6 months too....blimey that was fairly positive too,I'm worried about us!

    1. I have a vague hope that Trump will start his own Trumpist party, thereby splitting the Republican vote and ensuring years of Democrat governance! Well, we can but hope.

      Could well be right about Harris too, my old friend.

  2. I was reminded of the Idlewild album Hope Is Important, the title of which I adopted as something of a mantra back in my 20s. Not that it did me any good.

    Always nice to see & hear Sophie again though.

  3. A fine mantra. And yes, a bit of SE-B is always welcome, especially remembering this time when she was a fledgling indie princess.