Friday, 4 May 2018

EWOKS SURPRISINGLY UNDECIDED WHETHER DEATH STAR A GOOD THING



After a full day of voting all across the Forest Moon of Endor, many Ewoks awoke to news today that a surprising number of them are still quite in favour of another Death Star.

Some members of the Ewok community were even more surprised by the news, considering the unapologetically evil Galactic Empire recently bombed yet another star-system, and also deported several of the Ewok Elders for having the wrong coloured fur. Even some older and infirm ones, who now require "YubYubs" (nappies).

Although the last time the Galactic Empire appeared above Endor it proved an Ewoktarian tragedy of unrivalled proportion (around the year 1939 in Earth's time-frame), some Ewoks remain convinced "it will all work out better this time round."

One wealthy Ewok Elder, with the RIGHT coloured fur, commented (translation):
"Yes I know the Death Star was used to annihilate our pesky neighbours in Alderaan, but they were foreigners, and they were taking all our jobs. I'm assured its presence above Endor was merely to secure order. Bring it on, I say." 
The same Elder then proceeded to spit-roast and eat his actual neighbour, and their entire family. A process wealthier Ewoks refer to as "YubYub" ('trickle-down economics').

Monday, 30 April 2018

CHEERING THE ROYAL WEDDING (LIKE AN OBEDIENT CULT MEMBER)




ANOTHER ROYAL WEDDING, sprayed at us from every possible angle. Jammed down our throats. Average citizens blindly applauding and eating it up are, in my opinion, pretty much like a cult. Why? Because generally only in a cult do people readily accept being slaves, and actually applaud and revere the leaders who've persuaded them their being held hostage and/or committing ritual suicide is a desirable state of affairs. At very least, it's arguably a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

The same could be said of Tory voters who lack a property portfolio, a six figure salary, and/or an offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands: they're turkeys applauding Christmas.

I swear the biggest success (and arguable genius) of neo-liberal capitalism, the heir of colonialism, is that in countries like the UK and US, average struggling people actively vote for and support the individuals/groups who've actively taken all the resources from them. If you look at it objectively, it's sheer madness. But quite a feat on their part, no doubt.

Somehow the upper echelons have successfully propagated the idea that only the super-rich and established political classes can, and should, govern. That huge portions of society's wealth should belong to them alone, cordoned off. That 'order' and colonial notions of 'propriety' are a worthy pursuit over and above the common good, decency, or even basic humanity.

Millionaires-in-waiting


Indeed, financially disadvantaged Brits and Americans don't see themselves as 'poor': they see themselves as millionaires-in-waiting: just a promotion, a reality show or lottery win away from being part of the club themselves. It's as if the very existence of super-rich elites who exploit society are a beacon of inspiration for them. That is what they want for themselves and their families: the big mansion house with gates to keep all the little people out. They care far less for the happiness and concerns of wider society, only the aspirations of their OWN elevation. It's every man and woman for himself: that was Thatcher's 'gift' to us.

Millions of people live and die dreaming of wealth and comfort just around the corner, never realising they deserved a bigger piece of the pie any way: just by merit of being born into free societies and wealthy economies. They live and die never realising, if they'd actually stood alongside the 'little people' they were so desperate to avoid identifying with, due to a warped sense of egotism, they may very well have led a happier and more comfortable existence. Instead, they lived as fodder for their 'betters'. In the interim, while millions continue voting for these bastards and continue the dog-eat-dog mentality, demonising socialism and 'freeloader' types (thinking themselves so much 'better'), our society and welfare state is being firebombed. The rights of average people, are being firebombed. Our jobs and industries are disappearing one by one, going online and becoming automated, and soon, certainly in decades ahead, unemployment will spiral out of control. Little people will have nothing left.

A society in which everyone is better off, with more disposable income - especially those at the more vulnerable end of the scale - would make for a much happier nation. A far less angry, hostile, bitter and resentful nation. It would be a better residence for every last one of us. There will always be rich and poor, that is the way of things, but the gap between the two, and the disproportion in volume, has become far too wide. That simply has to be addressed, before it explodes like the ticking time bomb it is. Either society will have to eventually move to a model of Universal Basic Income (UBI) for all, or those of means will have to adopt increasingly hostile and totalitarian methods to keep an ever increasing starving majority at bay. You don't need to be Nostradamus to look down the road and see that isn't going to end well, or that extreme measures will eventually be resorted to. It's an equation that simply has to balance out, one way or another, sooner or later.

Harry Windsor seems a decent enough bloke, and Meghan Markle seems alright too. But I for one cannot celebrate the vaunted wealth/superiority of princes and TV stars; certainly not while growing numbers of homeless people in the UK are veritably rounded up in skips, just to make way for their idyllic day. Not while we sit beneath the boot of a government corrupt to the core, isolating our country and forcing our economy down the toilet. (I almost got through a whole article without mentioning Brexit!) And not while our society and amenities crumble to dust, and Nationalism rises before our very eyes.

Sort all that out: then I'll cheer the bloody royal wedding. Otherwise, I'll view it as the paltry and rather insulting distraction it is.

Monday, 16 April 2018

RUSSIA: HOW (SOME) REMAINERS WHO STOOD AGAINST PREJUDICE, NOW EMBRACE IT TO SUIT THEIR CAUSE




I truly despair. Objectivity is dead; people only see what they want to see in news stories - the version that fits their 'team'. As a species, I think we're lost. And maybe, just maybe, this was the final master-stroke and checkmate move the right-wing in Britain and America needed.

I've never ever been intimidated and insulted by Remainers before. On the contrary, I have pages and pages of messages from them thanking me for my efforts; they're the only team I've really 100% identified with since this whole shit-storm began. And for nearly two years I've flown our flag; it's fair to say it was that disastrous referendum that tipped me into writing. I've ranted and raved against it since the day it happened. But now, because I refuse to accept that Russia and Syria are the international bogeymen, that they're guilty of every crime, because I smell a rat the size of Tower Hamlets, and because I know full well the UK and US governments in office at present are as corrupt as any? Well, I'm apparently now a traitor to the Remain cause... and am "dumb", and "naive", and I am Putin's "useful idiot".

Apparently daring to speak inconvenient details and/or arguing on behalf of a party being accused, is "playing into Putin's and the Brexiter's hands". What a pity so many Remainers are too short-sighted to recognise the right are unmoved in support of their despots, and it's actually the left/centre and Remain camps that have been split by this little bombing. They don't seem to notice they're now coincidentally championing and arguing in favour of Theresa May and Boris Johnson: the leaders who until recently were their adversaries "dragging Britain to ruin". And just before local council elections no less. How very neat.

Not only that, I've even heard Remainers - the group who proudly stood against xenophobia, glibly coming out with comments like "never trust a Russian". Substitute that with 'Muslims', Jews', 'Indians' etc, and anyone else with a clear head might call that racial prejudice.

Becoming that which you despise


In short, Remainers are now mostly being as pig-headed and as absolutist as the Brexiters ever were. We're ignoring common sense, and blindly following any corroborating tit-bit thrown at us by the news... exactly like Brexiters did. The critical analysis skills we formerly demonstrated have flown out the window, and the 'propaganda machines' we continuously called out (like the BBC) are now apparently absolute beacons of journalistic integrity - but only because they're telling us what we want to hear.

We pedantically quote theories like 'Occam's Razor' (eg: the simplest answer is usually the right one), apparently oblivious to the fact that very theory suggests a nation wouldn't do the one and only categorical thing inviting the wrath of the West, reopening a war they'd only just won. As I retorted to one such person, perhaps they need to look up the concept of 'Confirmation Bias', and the idea of 'Cui Bono' as a basis for criminal investigation.

The poisoning? Just as a cute analogy, imagine this was a gun crime, for instance. Assuming Russian guilt because of the agent used, is like assuming a perpetrator's guilt because the gun was registered in their name, but incontrovertibly ignoring the fact there are no gun residues or bullet holes in the right places at the scene of the alleged crime, and the alleged perpetrator lacked an entirely feasible reason to do it. Not smart, or prudent. The initial assumption isn't necessarily wrong, but you have a duty of care to at least consider the alternative.

Not only that, there is clearly confusion surrounding chemical reports and deliberately ambiguous phrasing by the Spiez lab, who Sergei Lavrov quoted. Again, everyone is soooo quick to assume Russia are either f**king stupid, or evil incarnate! Why the hell would Russia say to the world's media "the Spiez lab have said it's not Novachok, it's BZ", if that can be refuted in seconds, and dismissed as nonsense by both the international community and the lab itself?? (As it was, only a day later.) They look either idiots, or categorical liars! Not exactly helping their cause, is it? Yes, they may in fact be just that, but again, you absolutely HAVE to consider the possibility they're being set up to look like chumps.

Not to mention, we the British (eg: Boris Johnson) categorically lied when it suited us too. That's an incontrovertible fact. So at very best, it's one strike a piece.

Convenient Scapegoating


Russian interference in elections? Newsflash. The UK and US didn't vote for Brexit and Trump because of Russian meddling: they did so because they're thick as mince, and fell for the crap our own right wing medias were feeding us. The same right wing medias all the liberals and leftists now demonising Russia are inadvertently supporting. (Another 'coincidence' no doubt.) They didn't need any help from Russia.

In fact, it was (and is) the Russian owned Independent newspaper in Britain that was one of the very few to include pro-Remain viewpoints and assertions, while Murdoch and Dacre etc were (and are) busy talking us off a cliff. How does that one tally up in this absurdly absolutist scenario?

Why in the name of God are people so quick to assume everything is black and white?? That there is only right and wrong, goodies and baddies... that their team alone are morally superior and righteous?? To me, it is the most simplistic and rudimentary mistake one can make when examining such situations. At what point do we acknowledge the lines sometimes become blurry?

I abhor Russia, its politics, and its treatment of dissenters and the LGBT community etc. Truly. But you don't defeat lies with lies. People who've already decided the outcome of an unfolding investigation have no moral authority over those willing to keep an open mind, and hear both sides of an argument. You don't turn your face away from evidence and inconvenient details just because it happens to suit your cause, and those you ally with. You don't switch off common sense and pursuit of truth just because it's to your benefit. You don't risk incorrectly vilifying others, because it helps you out. You don't just assume a group or person is guilty because they've committed other crimes or offences. That is prejudice. And if you do, you are just as corrupt as any you'd claim to oppose. #TruthBomb

At the same time, I just got accused of 'helping Theresa May' myself on a Labour Party forum, for refusing to accept there is ANY evidence at all implicating Russia, or that there's any possibility Russia are anything other than entirely innocent. Having dared to go out on a limb, and getting slagged off from all corners for daring to say something is wrong with this, the other team harangue me too, because I won't categorically say they're unequivocally right either.

They're all as bad as each other. Tribalism has taken over.

We really are f**ked.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

YOU WICKED, EVIL WOMAN: HOW DARE YOU DO THIS?


Theresa May, looking as happy & relaxed as she's been since she came to office.

You wicked, evil woman. How dare you do this.

The most greedy and corrupt government/Prime Minister in UK history: a government with no majority, propped up by bribery and illegal over-spending, now side-stepping our constitution to act unlawfully, again, and risking WWIII. Hand in hand with the most dangerous and insentient lunatic to occupy the White House, ever.

It didn't even occur to Theresa May to ask the British people and parliament. No, she turned to Donald Trump. (A sentence that if you'd uttered aloud even a couple of years ago, would probably have got you sectioned.)

Democracy is officially dead folks. It ain't even a Plutocracy so much any more, as much as a straight up dictatorship.

God damn you Theresa, and your whole cabal. And God damn every naive, blind fool who believes for a minute that Donald J. Trump and his vassals give the least of shits about kids attacked with chemical weapons. Their allies in Saudi Arabia do just as bad and worse, all the time. You've got their best bud Duterte in the Philippines, openly using police as assassination squads. You've got atrocities like this going on routinely in Africa, and in Yemen, genocides and mass rapes, and the West doesn't so much as blink. They're in Syria for profit and geopolitical manoeuvring, that is all, and they've been planning it for a long time.





Even if you know nothing else of the situation, the proxy wars, or the murky background of the UK funded 'White Helmets' - those angels of mercy who show up every time there's an atrocity with video cameras rolling... the same White Helmets who've literally been filmed rehearsing and staging similar 'attacks'.




Even if you didn't know that academics and anti-war campaigners have literally been warning and predicting exactly this would happen, down to the letter. How exactly does that happen by the way?


 

This one, from academic and former resident of Iraq, Sam Ramidani, is even older... from 2012:





Even if you weren't alive/aware when this happened before with Iraq, almost identically:





Even if you don't know any of the back-story and history, one only needs to look at everything that's happened in the past two years: the UK and US governments unravelling, the catastrophe of Brexit, the constant slew of bullshit from 'MSM' reporting, unrivalled lies and corruption, the much overlooked detail of Trump naming Jerusalem capital of Israel, the antisemitism rubbish, the crackpot stories about assassination attempts that are full of holes and make no pragmatic sense, Tories categorically lying about evidence (no doubt a soon to be forgotten detail), and now convenient chemical weapon attacks that reopen a war Russia and Syria had only recently won.





Or even just the fact official investigators had not even yet got in to Douma to clarify the evidence, and were due to in only a few day's time. And honestly? You'd have to be a straight up idiot to not smell a rat, or question what we're being told. I'm sorry, I don't care who that offends.

How do you distract an entire country, and blind them to all the other crap you're doing and messing up behind the scenes? How do you dilute growing public dissent and discourse? How do you make a populace fearful and in need of 'authoritative' government? You start a war. A political ruse as old as civilisation itself.

Our media manages to convince half the people of this country that Jeremy Corbyn, the most ethical man in UK politics, is a communist spy/traitor/antisemite, a threat to democracy/misogynist/dictator etc. That's a guy who's literally in our faces and on our screens all the time, who everybody knows, who always behaves decently and is 100% reasonable. Yet STILL he is misquoted and demonised to suit right wing agenda - to the point of it being ridiculous. They spin bullshit out of thin air.

Yes, well now imagine how much easier it is to do with a leader half a continent away, in a controlled media environment and war-torn country, who speaks a different language and nobody in Britain knows, when the British people don't get to hear their account of things. It would be a whitewash.

One last interesting aspect to this is, as usual, it will mostly divide the political left and centre. The right: the supporters of May and Trump? They love a war with anyone, and will march blindly behind them into oblivion. But the left and centre is where 'moral outrage' at the alleged behaviour of Bashar al-Assad will split the chamber entirely. It's after all a natural reaction to be appalled by crimes against humanity: exactly the reason western governments know they're the only thing that'll get us behind war. Some on the left and centre will question these events, others will not, or cannot. In other words, the whole thing will also create a clear divide between those who've finally come to realise our mainstream media cannot be trusted, and those who simply can't let go or accept the notion they would lie to us in such a potentially catastrophic manner.

Divide and conquer: rinse, and repeat.

NB: A final side-note, Russia's the only country I've ever been, and worked in, that I really did not like: it felt a very hostile and cold place, and their hatred of westerners was obvious. (And that was back in 2013.) I am no fan of Russia, or Vladimir Putin. But being able and willing to stand up for those you don't like and/or disagree with, acknowledging when they make a fair point, is what distinguishes ACTUAL truth and justice from mere tribalism.

We will be incredibly lucky if this doesn't spiral out of control. I doubt anyone will be talking about Brexit for a while, mind.

#Syria

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

DELETING FACEBOOK? THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THOSE WHO SUBVERT DEMOCRACY WANT




The worst thing about the past few years, in some respects, is that the colossal sh*t-storm we're currently experiencing was quite literally foreseen.

Some of us noticed the marked shift in political rhetoric and media bias that began to occur shortly after the Tories returned to government in 2010. We saw how they immediately began to cheat, smear and spin; stoking division and the values of prejudice, turning society against itself.  We saw how gutter tabloids formerly considered fairly harmless, like The Sun and Daily Mail, fast became bibles for the bigoted and puerile.  We watched with horror as the BBC - a much loved and revered British institution - laid waste to a mantle claimed over generations for being one of the world's most fair and reliable news sources (whereas now, it's arguably a propaganda tool Goebbels would be proud of).

Yes. Some of us truly felt the rumblings of these insidious attitudes and manipulations beneath the surface of British society many, many years ago. Attitudes which have, since 2016, onset with the gusto of a freight train. We saw it happening, as if in slow motion. And what did we do?

We turned to Facebook.

See, before The Canary and Another Angry Voice, well before the Media Guidos and Westmonsters, and certainly well before every single Tom, Dick &Harry started mouthing off on social media regarding often ill-informed political views, turning the medium into a damned war-zone, some of us attempted to use Facebook to communicate truth. Some of us were doing it 'before it was cool'. In fact, it's arguably all our fault.

The original 'keyboard warriors'


We actively tried to steer conversation away from the banal and 'stupidifying' media we saw transforming our countrymen and women into vacuous idiots. We attempted to draw our friends' attention to the apparently small detail that they were being fed complete horse sh*t under the pretence of it being pertinent fact. That supposed 'views of the nation' were actually 'views fed to the nation', mostly fitting the agenda of an increasingly brazen Conservative party.

In short, Facebook became the one place alternative voices could be heard. The one and only political arena which a handful of billionaire tax-dodgers couldn't control, deciding both the narrative of world events, and which facts were revealed. An online sanctuary where often smart, informed and attentive people started to debunk myths, build followings and credibility, based on less biased interpretations and more reasoned assessments. Truth has a way of burning brightly when it's told. And suddenly, politicians became more publicly accountable for their words and actions; they became subject to the scrutiny of average citizens - not just the paid employees of media barons with greasy palms.

Later, many of us then saw something in Jeremy Corbyn, elected Labour leader in 2015. For the first time in recent British political history, we saw a politician who was humble, ethical and decent - who talked sense and voiced the same conclusions many of us had already come to. A man who would seemingly put average people first; not the ludicrously wealthy.

It was a beacon of hope, and as a result, we fought even harder. It was when the 'Alt-left' really began: a movement of which I'd consider myself a very small part. No doubt, Corbyn would have been toast without it. By the gods, we almost collectively upset the apple-cart at the General Election! A David and Goliath contest between independent online bloggers and news media, versus government and business backed mainstream media, and though we didn't quite win the battle, there was little doubt we'd shown their power and unchallenged influence was waning.

Ergo, a backlash was inevitable. I've been waiting earnestly, quite curious to see what form it would take.

Drowning out the voices


In hindsight, I suppose it was also inevitable the medium would become noisy - though early on, we who discussed politics on Facebook were the anomalies. We stood out rather like sore thumbs for being the minority not sharing videos of pets, and/or a relentless torrent of selfies in absolutely every bloody situation conceivable. But soon the loudmouth bullies and bigots soon caught on that discussing geopolitical matters in a public arena was the new avenue for asserting dominance, and the medium changed drastically. It soon became the realm of people like Paul Joseph Watson, Katie Hopkins, and Tommy Robinson. A catalyst for Brexit and Trump, looming obscurely in the distance.

But in the wake of Trump and Brexit, eg: now the sh*t has hit the proverbial fan, pesky socialists, libtards and remoaners are fighting back... like all lives depend on it. (Because newsflash, they may very well.)  We were gaining ground. And when the aforementioned apple-cart was nearly upset at GE2017, well... the backlash really kicked into overdrive.

I for one knew this Conservative Party wouldn't let it stand. Exactly in the same way they've attempted to shift constituency boundaries and shrink the number of MPs to give themselves unfair advantage, overspending and embezzling in countless campaigns, leaving the mainstream press to discuss ridiculous smokescreens, like whether Jeremy Corbyn is a Czech spy/Kremlin stooge/antisemite etc. I knew full well they'd find a way to shut down people who debate and challenge public perceptions. Having been a writer for both The Canary and Evolve Politics, I also know by far the lion's share of such organisations' organic traffic comes through Facebook. Twitter and other mediums are negligible. And there's a reason for that.

Social media for cavemen


Without wanting to sound like a old man lamenting the passing of the CD for the MP3, Facebook at least was a social media tool allowing users to express themselves fully. A forum for open discussion and debate. You could write as much or as little as you wanted... post photos or videos, links and articles... choose your audience and who you want to see your posts interact with who you wanted... play games, follow news... limitless options really! An avenue for expression, fun, and articulation.

Twitter dumbed that down. In the 21st century 'Age of Inattentiveness', actually having to read sh*t is too much like a pain in the arse. You gotta condense that stuff down to two lines and  words of three syllables, so that Barry down the bookies can vaguely follow what the f**k you're talking about.

Yes, some people get around it with 'threads' that go on for ever, but what really is the point in that?? In my mind it's actually quite patronising - as if reading one body of text would be just too much for my delicate mind to absorb. Not to mention, most sentient discussion on Twitter usually gives way to outright slagging matches... a truly vile place nowadays. A forum for confrontation, and/or celebrities/wannabe celebrities to mouth off, revelling in their virtual cult of followers. (A crime I guess I can't exactly deny I've been guilty of too.)

Then came Instagram, and Snapchat. Don't even get me started on those. They're the literal regression of humankind: the modern day equivalent of cave-people drawing on rocks to communicate. The death of language. Vacuous egotism to simply mind-numbing, torturous degree. "I don't know any words, or have any thoughts. But I look pretty, and have a great life/car/house/kid/pet/career... LOOK AT ME. AREN'T I GREAT AND POPULAR?" 

Sweet Jesus... it's a big step towards Charlie Brooker's recent Black Mirror premise, of a world where social media interaction and approval decides quality of life - relying exactly on users being vacuous, unobtrusive, unquestioning. Overly committed to a public conception of being successful, likeable, and upstanding.

By the way, if that horrific idea seems a bit far-fetched, be warned... they're already trying it out in China.

The 'Whipping Boy'


It's therefore no surprise that Facebook is the one they're looking to take out of the equation, and subtly (or not so subtly) suggest we should abandon. It's the one that's done the powers-that-be the most damage. It's popular with older and more sentient generations of internet users. Don't be fooled. They've known what Facebook and corporations like Cambridge Analytica were doing for donkey's years. I think we all did. We all knew when we shared those apps and games, made our posts public etc, that someone somewhere would be watching, and gathering data. We just didn't care. Politicians and business have ALWAYS tried to influence and manipulate voters: what's important is that counter-argument and truth are available to the populace as well.

And now, because that medium is the only remaining resistance to mainstream spin, they earnestly want us to go back to using social media as the distraction initially intended... taking selfies and sharing cat videos. A stupid, uninformed and self-involved populace is a pliable populace, impotent to stand in their way. (Evidence of which is all around us.)

I have literally written numerous pieces in the past couple of years warning that a time of censorship was coming, one way or another. Clues and depressing tit-bits from from Theresa May have shown the way for starters; she's hinted several times at the 'need to control the internet'. You don't only censor something by outlawing it - you can do so just as easily by making sure no one sees it, or bothers to pay it heed. I thought Zuckerberg deciding what we'd see in our news feeds was bad enough: this move is far more ambitious, and insidious. It's certainly not coincidence.

Don't worry about Zuckerberg - he'll be fine. But think twice before you delete Facebook, closing the door on political ideas and activism; on 'alternative' voices and opinions. They may very well be trying to tell you truths you won't hear elsewhere.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

DON'T LIKE THE IDEA OF 'COLD WAR PT II', OR QUESTION THE VALIDITY?? "YOU'RE A TINFOIL HAT."




I can't take it. We're just flaming idiots.

Only in Britain in 2018 could you get called a 'tinfoil hat' and get slagged off simply for daring to urge caution, discourage mob justice by pitchfork, or suggest we should keep an open mind as to who's behind an international assassination attempt.



Indeed, you apparently require sectioning for suggesting we shouldn't unilaterally ramp up for 'Cold War: Pt II'. That is where we are right now.

I replied to this person on Twitter, pressing them for their reasoning. This was their response:




Yep. So apparently, the assumption that a group or persons are responsible for a crime is enough to merit their unequivocal condemnation. (Even when it could potentially mean us all getting nuked back to the stone age. Never mind eh.)

I sure hope that chap doesn't work for the police.

In fact, even a writer I follow and tend to agree with about most things, who I quote all the time, started referring to me as 'infantile', 'narcissistic', and 'ignorant' etc - simply for questioning his analysis. It's a horrid state of affairs. The writer then went on to call me a 'Putin apologist', suggesting that questioning Russia's responsibility was akin to questioning Jimmy Savile's guilt. Pretty shocking.


The definition of idiocy


The definition of idiocy, some say, is to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Even ignoring the concourse of the 20th century, eg: the world wars, NATO, the EU, the fall of the Soviet Union etc, and all the history that led us to this stand-off today, we actually have a shining and unequivocal example of our western governments and media falsely manufacturing/propagating a narrative to justify going to war, in living bloody memory!!!! Erm... hello?? Iraq?? Saddam Hussein, the international bogeyman with his arsenal of WMDs?? (And look at the hornet's nest that opened up.) DO WE EVER F**KING LEARN????

I seem to recall, even back then, those who suggested all was not as it seemed with the Iraq incursion were labelled lunatics, traitors, and 'conspiracy theorists' etc. And of course, that was before social media mobilised roaming gangs with pitchforks in the way they exist today. However, similar ramping up for confrontation on the basis of as yet unsubstantiated claims, but this time against one of the world's most hostile nuclear superpowers? Madness off the bloody scale.

Cui bono? Are Russia the only country that benefited from this alleged assassination attempt? No is the answer. And actually, there are other groups that benefit from the unfolding international fallout and backlash more. That detail alone merits at very least further investigation, scrutiny, and a level of scepticism.

The saddest aspect for me, is that Remainers - eg: pretty much the only 'team' I've identified with since 2016: they seem to be the most eager and unquestioning in their demonisation of all things Russia. The very same team I'd normally have credited with greater overall intelligence and analytical skills!! The reason? They're flocking to a beam of hope that, given this period of US intransigence, fear of Russia will prevent Brexit. Their desire for that outcome is outweighing any and all sense of pragmatism and impartiality. (Such as our friend, Lord Andrew Adonis. A man I previously thought incredibly brave, and smart, is now beating a metaphoric drum for war as much as any Brexiter ever did, because it suits his cause.)

The irony of all this is, I long for nothing more than Brexit to be prevented. And Russia is the one country I've ever been where I didn't feel comfortable, welcome, and didn't generally like the people or atmosphere. I'm no 'friend' of Russia, I do fear them, and think Putin is a monster. I despise his regime's treatment of journalists, LGBT people, opposition politicians etc. I just... as usual... seem to be one of the few willing to acknowledge life is not black/white-goodies/baddies, who doesn't accept the most obvious and immediate explanation. Someone who steps back to look at a larger picture without pre-disposition, attempting to be fair and unbiased.

These days, that apparently makes me a madman.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

HOW THE ABUSE OF FLO & JOAN REPRESENTS A WAR FOR WESTERN VALUES (AND WE SHOULD MAYBE CANCEL THE INTERNET)




I did it myself. I made a couple of joke/glib comments that Nationwide's Flo and Joan are actually the famous eyebrow wiggling Cadbury Dairy Milk kids grown up, after a career hiatus. Considering one of the 'wigglers' was a boy, my implied joke was obviously that one of the ditty-singing sisters had undergone a sex change. A fairly crass joke admittedly, not to all tastes, but perfectly innocent.



Because that's all it was: a joke. My sense of humour. I don't actually think either of them has had a sex change, or is remotely masculine. The actual truth is I think they seem like very sweet ladies. I quite enjoy their sibling rivalry set to music, and I also enjoy the interlude of notably organic and humble musical performances - amid all the mass over-produced bullshit and vaunted egos we see in popular music today.

Granted, I'm not sure it has much to do with banking, but hey, that's just marketing in the 21st century. Blame Nationwide, if you will. The idea of genuinely wishing these girls any harm or ill-will, I find truly appalling. I'm sure I'm not alone in having difficulty accepting we now live in a world where two girls singing ditties on TV, receive horrific online abuse.

Social media is quite literally a battlefield today: a war for the soul and heart of western values.

The Death of Observational Comedy


In fairness, there's probably an element of sensationalism for the purposes of a story. I don't think many probably really intended for their comments to be perceived as 'death threats'. If I say I'd like to "harpoon James Corden" and/or "launch him into outer space", I don't actually mean it. I wouldn't pull the trigger on the harpoon gun given the choice. (Maybe just a taser.)

Again, it's just my humour: linguistic license. Colourful language is something this country is very famous for, the most obvious example being Bill Shakespeare. I'm a fan of the bard, having studied his works for more of my school career than I'd care to admit, and I'd like to think if he was writing today, my analogy of the harpoon gun or rocket launch might be the sort of visual image he'd paint on a page too.

But here's the point: in today's environment, there's now so many people spewing those kinds of sentiments (and far baser ones) with genuine malice and intention of harm, it's often difficult to tell. And for the first time really, it occurred to me that some might even have read things I've said, and thought me malicious or somehow spiteful. I find that excruciating. The truth is I'm honestly the furthest thing from it. On the whole, I'm Snowflake Central (in fact, my very being troubled by the notion of thought unpleasant, almost certainly confirms it).

It's infuriating. Not only have moral values and decency been a casualty of this 'right-wing backlash' of recent times, but even the somewhat sacred medium of comedy is now under threat too. From do-gooders on the right, as well as just about the entire left. Somehow, I find the idea that we shouldn't laugh at jokes almost as offensive as anything else, and certainly a very dangerous progression.

'Crying Wolf'


Most people can tell the difference between a joke, gentle-ribbing or observational comedy, and bullying. Some of the funniest things in this world are ways that human beings differ, according to interests/background/geography/sex/race/ethnicity/religion etc. I don't want to live in a world where we can't acknowledge them in a lighthearted manner, for fear we'll be condemned 'oppressive'. That's going way too far. I've experienced actual bullying in my life; it's fair to say it's made me who I am. Both back at school, and more recently, in my musical career. I know how truly destructive it is, and I would never bully anyone.

However, I'd also argue that to push back verbally against those who'd bully you and/or others, is not bullying. It's the former of a 'fight or flight' mentality, and for me personally, it's the very reason I write at all.

There's a very different intention behind 'bullying' to simple observational humour; and most can usually tell them apart. Bullies just like to pretend it's 'joking'. However, considering the hatred and venom unleashed in our society in recent years, I do understand the hyper-sensitivity. The level of insentient malice now lurking out there like a turd in the bath water, needs to be addressed. The abuse of Flo and Joan might very well be the straw that breaks the camel's back. They are young girls, singing songs. They're not politicians actively hampering the lives of people around them, who deserve to be scrutinised and/or held accountable. Nor are they 'celebrities' who'd vaunt their lifestyle/opinions/wealth etc in our faces. Love 'em or loathe 'em, the kind of criticism and misogynistic abuse they've received just for singing songs with a plinky-plonk keyboard, is beyond abhorrent.

I don't know quite how we restore that balance, but by the gods, we have to try.

Right now the cries of 'abuse' for absolutely positively anything and everything - the 'crying wolf' - has had a disastrous double-edged effect. Not only did such hyper-sensitivity arguably precipitate the right-wing backlash we're experiencing, but now, a good many are so utterly fed up with all the political polarisation and bickering, they've switched off. They've had enough.

Which in turn has allowed prejudice and bigotry to run rampant unchecked, certainly on social media. It's now their turf.

People fighting for decency who've hung on, are likewise demonised as 'boring', 'too political', 'Corbynistas', 'conspiracy theorists' etc. Those who shout loudly from the left tend to end up ostracised by the very friends and people whose rights they're shouting for. Worse still, daring to speak out also has major repercussions for employment prospects nowadays (as I myself found out once, the hard way). Socialist and left-wing views are now seen as opposition to enterprise: a potential headache for employers - as if someone who simply believes in fairness might well prove a fly in the ointment later down the line.

Double-edged Sword


But speaking out really does have a purpose. The whole point is that social media HAS made politicians and businesses accountable in ways they weren't before. It's just that at the same time, the whole sphere has also become very unpleasant and noisy; often taken over by polarised morons. Swings and roundabouts.


Yes... social media! The bane of so soooo many lives, in so many ways. An invention that has quite literally laid waste to many aspects of our social structures; even our very existence as human beings. Some scientists argue it's irreversibly changed us as a species (I've heard the term 'Homo-Interneticus' coined to describe this change). It's made the world cold, distant, and unaccountable - hiding from behind a computer screen. Combined with massive geopolitical events like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, eg: the normalisation of oppressive and nationalist attitudes, it's opened a Pandora's Box I think we'll struggle to get shut again now.

What am I suggesting?? For us to ditch mobile phones? Scrap the internet? Outlaw interactive social media? I don't know. But the latter idea, however draconian it might at first seem, might force human beings to be respectful to one another once again. And/or actually interact like human beings again. For the first time, I'm genuinely wondering whether perhaps social commentary should again be reserved for vocational writers, those who actually have a sense of responsibility, and/or know what they're talking about.

I don't know how the hell we'd police that without allowing huge propensity for abuse - it's quite literally how we've ended up in this mess (eg: only a handful of billionaires controlling what half the population think), but all the hatred out there is becoming intolerable.

For the sake of my daughter, and the world her generation shall inherit, I think we perhaps need to rein back in social media now. Somehow.