There's a poem I'm fond of, Epic, by the Irish writer Patrick Kavanagh, in which he tells the tale of a futile, smalltown land dispute during the WW2 antebellum, before being reminding himself even The Iliad was '...a local row. Gods make their own importance'. So it has been this week.
In Ireland, news not involving Garth Brooks has ceased to exist (not even an impending reshuffle can shift him) as the world's biggest country singer got himself in a local row to rival Homer. After selling 400,000 tickets for five shows at Croke Park, the whole edifice was brought down (or indeed never put up) because the residents appeared to realise all too late that they live near one of the biggest stadia in Europe. Only three of the five concerts were approved, making unpalatable maths the subject of the license. Garth said either five shows or none, and despite a ludicrous clamour by anyone who thought they mattered to save the day, the latter was granted. Criticism abounds at the story's prominence, but really, it has it all:the quest for power, prestige, glory, followed by hubris, obstinacy and downfall. Gods make their own importance.
Whatever about Gods, baser human instincts came to the fore this week too. Like on Twitter, when Vanessa Feltz told of the time Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her. I can only hope the myriad people making jokes about how Rolf was worse than they thought amused themselves, because they failed with everyone else. And then you wonder why so many cases like this go unreported. In the Middle East, Israel have decided that the best way to avenge the deaths of three of their young citizens is to brazenly deny parity of esteem for Palestinian parents suffering a similar fate, and to blow a territory to bits that they already humiliate daily. A territory that is growing more overcrowded and radical by the day, in no small part because of Israel's hostility. How Israel think they can make themselves safe while treating the deaths of their neighbours as collateral damage is a mystery.
Palestine's lot in life has been augmented ever slightly by a donation by the knocked-out Algerian football team, saying "they need it more". A noble gesture, but following Brazil's performance on Tuesday against Germany, they'd need a dig out on a George Bailey scale to make them feel better about themselves. Stripped of Thiago Silva due to defensive folly in the previous match and Neymar being terrifyingly near paralysis, Brazil became yellow scarecrows. It was weird and uncomfortable to watch infamy in the making, but very funny to see the maxim about there being a Simpsons quote for everything proved in real time. With Brazil like Lahms to the slaughter and wondering Howedes happened, Germany will Schuerrle fancy their chances and Neuer have better chance of winning the final, with Argentina Robben a win against Holland that was pretty Messi. Sorry...
If the world is ending in Brazil, in Northern Ireland the annual Armageddon that is Orange Parade Season is just getting underway, but flag furore has temporarily given way to concerns about gay cake. Yeah, you read it right. A legal dispute for the ages was kicked into force when Christian bakers refused to heed a customer request for a cake with Bert and Ernie icing advocating marriage equality. Again, you read it right. Christian tolerance has had a poor week in Ireland overall, as a priest has spoken out against the dangers of reiki, yoga and tai chi, saying it "puts souls in jeopardy". I don't think he's right. I mean, what was Jesus' 40 days in the desert but one big bikram yoga session?
I shudder to think what those hostile to Sesame Street characters and new age exercise would think of dating receptacle Tinder, an app that does for love lives what lions did for Roman performers. Despite the shallow brutality of it, a person pretending to be Ed Miliband is not only pushing the boundaries for political innuendo to strange new places, but also doing bloody well on there. Whoever they are, a berth as a speechwriter for the real thing wouldn't be amiss, you can't ignore that sort of appeal to young female voters.