“…of 2013”

I knew this was going to come, the day that Student Beans and Buzzfeed would gradually take over my mind (combined with the fact that it’s very nearly almost 2014), it’s time for a listicle. For the uninitiated, a listicle is one of those things you see on the internet in which a “journalist” makes a list of a completely arbitrary number of some random topic, for example, “23 Pink Dresses That Totally Look Like Whitney Houston,” or “78 Random Facts about Pineapples.” But of course, it’s the end of the year, so it’s my turn to pick out an arbitrary number of things that caught my eye this year and make some shit up about them. Here we go.

#1 The Pope Resigns

The first Pope since 1415 to resign, and like so many others I found myself wondering, how can God’s appointee on Earth resign? I mean, surely if God appointed you you kind of have to, do your job? Benedict XVI was by no means a bad Pope, but he did definitely make a lot of people doubt how an essentially politicised process can be considered divine.

#2 Jennifer Lawrence wins an Oscar

Seriously, do I even have to explain this? I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit in love with JLaw, she’s a great actress, a genuine person (just google her interviews), and smokin’ hot to boot. Basically, she’s great.

#3 Microsoft gets fined

Microsoft got fined for including Internet Explorer with every copy of Windows and monopolising the browser industry. This is hilarious.

#4 Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle made 100 runs off just 30 balls. For those of you claim they don’t understand Cricket, it’s actually really simple, and what Gayle did was insane. This ranks highly on my list of most awesome things to happen this year.

#5 A Dinosaur was discovered in China

Because Dinosaurs are cool.

#6 Andy Murray won Wimbledon

Wait, why’s this on here? I don’t give a shit about Murray. Stupid listicle.

#7 Some people ate a stem cell burger

It was a cow stem cell, but seriously, a stem cell burger? Probably tasted like crap as well. Stemmy crap.

#8 Confession time

Okay, I currently have a tab open with a list of new stories from every month of this year (some of you may have noticed a pattern), and there is a ludicrous amount of headlines saying “x number of people were killed in y by z.” Seriously, check it out: http://www.historyorb.com/events/date/2013?p=4, it’s depressing as fuck.

#9 Back to the list-ure

Hehehe, puns.

#10 Film, film, film!

There were a lot of good films out this year, and here’s a list of my favourites

  • Gravity – amazespaceballs
  • Pacific Rim – Giant robots fighting giant monsters, do you need more of a reason?
  • The World’s End/This Is The End – because the apocalypse is hilarious
  • The Place Beyond the Pines/Only God Forgives – Ryan Gosling, that is all.
  • Stoker – seriously, watch this film, it is amazingly creepy.
  • A Field In England – see reason above
  • Don Jon – because porn
  • Honourable mentions – The Great Beauty (Italian awesomeness), Blue Is The Warmest Colour (intensely intense French love), Iron Man 3/Thor/Man of Steel (superheroes!) and of course, The Hobbit. Because dragon.

#11 And the rest

A bunch of other shit happened, I honestly can’t remember, it was a very eventful year.

So, I’m not going to be hired by any listicle people any time soon, but screw it, this was my 2013. Occasionally political, often hilarious, and with way too much time spent watching films. And reading comics. And watching TV. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year, may it be full of lists and other such positive things.

XO (constipation face), The Annual Indian.

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The Obligatory Christmas Post.

Seasons greetings readers, those of you who are left anyway, hope you’re all gearing up for a holly jolly merry jerry…berry…cherry pie…ass, sorry I can’t do this. Christmas is the one time of year when my potentially undiagnosed split personality/schizophrenia seems to manifest itself the most, and now I shall proceed to lay out why.

On the one hand I f**king love it. Having a lit up christmas tree in the corner, a warm cosy house, quenching your lust for presents, endless gluttony, slothing out in front of the telly, oh, wait, this all sounds an awful lot like, DUH DUH DUHHHHHHHH, the seven not-so-deadly sins. Okay, that was excessive, I do love all of that stuff despite all my cynical misgivings, but even the most die hard jumper wearing, card making, tree decorating, turkey roasting Christmasophile must concede that after a while it all gets a bit much. Advent started this year on the 1st of December, but I swear to the newborn baby Jesus that the adverts started the second that the supermarkets cleared out the last of their Halloween tat. I understand that this argument has been made a bazillion times before but, screw you, I need to rant.

Christmas is no longer about Christ, though really it never was, prepare yourselves for some hardcore wikipedia-ing. Wait, no I can’t be bothered, but everyone knows the old chestnut about the first Christian Roman Emperor lining up the new celebration of Christmas with the established pagan festivals, as well as adopting traditions from other cultures and traditions such as decorating trees, giving gifts, and a suspicious looking old man coming round with presents (though I would much rather prefer Odin to Santa) etc etc.

My other bone has also been plucked clean by many a fellow ranter, how the message of Christmas, about new life and redemption for mankind, has been buried under a veritable avalanche of John Lewis adverts, 2 for 1 bottles of Schloer, Kirsty Allsop telling us how to make baubles out of recycled vintage skirts and three million (rough estimate) Christmas specials for shows that really do not need Christmas specials. We’re approaching a point of saturation, the event horizon at which we’ll all be sucked into an endless spiral of M&S canapés and forced joy that will consume the rest of the year.

In England there are arguably only two major holidays, Easter and Christmas. Jesus was born on one and died on the other, and both have been hijacked by the big brands to squeeze out every last penny from our wallets. Granted a similar tale takes place in other parts of the globe. Americans are suckered every year into forking over ludicrous amounts of money for Thanksgiving, they place a weird amount of emphasis on Halloween, their Christmases are naught but an excessive amount of food and eye-rape lighting arrangements, and then there’s the 4th of July, which I won’t get into for fears of offending our randomly sensitive friends across the pond. There’s a similar story in India, anyone who has been in the country near any major festival can see how the brands have slowly started to try their hand at similar practices there, Diwali sales are increasingly seized upon by consumers, and the amount of gold bought for festivals is actually having an impact on the value of the rupee.

Christmas time is not merely about the give and take of presents, parties with neighbours, mandatory giant dinners and the Doctor Who special (well, maybe the last one a bit). The spirit of Christmas, of giving to those less fortunate, of giving thanks for all we have, spending time with our families, not just as present piñatas, but as human beings to love and care for. This idea has been lost, swept away by all the things I mentioned above, and it’s time to bring it back. The vast majority of children and teens today are oblivious to issues outside of how angry they are with their parents and “that fit bird what sits at the back in Biology,” it’s high time that this cavalier consumerist attitude to Christmas was abandoned in favour of a simpler time, as Flanders would put it, perhaps time for “imaginary Christmas.” (I got a pogo stick)

But seriously, like f**k is that going to happen, and so maybe it’s time to look at it from a different perspective, maybe the consumerism is Christmas. No longer is it a festival celebrating Jesus’ birth, maybe it’s now just the time of year when we all bow to the altar of excess and hungrily feast upon the communion wafer of debt, and you know what? I don’t mind that. The thing that really gets me is when people pretend that Christmas for them is something it isn’t, so it’s time to get rid of that last veneer of vague religiosity and embrace what it really is. Stop pretending it’s a free-range Norfolk Black Turkey when it’s really just an Iceland Three Bird Roast, it’s not Taste the Difference, it’s taste the same, it’s beige banality and high street hysteria. It’s the most tacky time of the year, and I bloody love it.

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

George Carlin

XOXO, The Merry Indian.

#He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.

I would like to start this post off by mentioning the passing of a true titan amongst men, a man who defied all the odds to lead his people from the dark shadow of apartheid and oppression, a man who was branded a terrorist in his lifetime and praised by the same people when he proved them all wrong, a man truly worthy of memory. R.I.P. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

 

Now to the actual post, and I actually have something to be angry at this week, Rich kids. They are ubiquitous in our society, and though I concede that I do have my moments (hitting up Selfridges, buying £400 guitars etc.), there is a new wave of entitled teenagers who put 90210, the OC and every spoilt brat in Chelsea to shame.

I had forgotten about this microcosm of society until this morning, when during my regular Guardian trawl I came across an article detailing the worst self-publishers on the internet. Amongst the obligatory hatred of Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog (I still love her for being in the MCU) and some other vacuous airhead, there was a reference to a Tumblr account called “Rich Kids of Instagram.” (Look at it if you dare here: http://richkidsofinstagram.tumblr.com/)

First off the fact that they’re on Tumblr should alert you to the sheer twee narcissism of the whole affair, but it’s the content that’s the most disturbing. A teenager sat in front of a huge bottle of Belvedere vodka, a receipt for the return of a purple Bentley for repairs, a bed covered in bags from Hermes and a complete douchebag posing in front of an original Klimt. The excess on show isn’t humbling or majestic, as it is when a Rolls Royce whooshes regally past you on the motorway, but rather vulgar, ostentatious, and frankly a bit disgusting.

In a world where approximately 3 billion people live off less than $2.50 per day (http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats) the sheer audacity of these entitled rich kids publicising their vapid obsession with wealth is vile. As I stated earlier, I, and many people that I know, can not claim to have completely clear consciences. But I do wonder, and it’s time for some more pseudo-psychology, if there is a deeper motivation behind this shamelessly public money-fellating. 

It is a fairly standard fact that as humans we crave validation. We want the approval of our parents, our peers, our friends and perhaps even our enemies. It is a natural and blameless desire, to be appreciated for a great or skilful act, or to be complimented on how sextastic one looks in a blazer. But these needs should never become all consuming, they should never be a necessary part of our lives. I won’t stop writing this blog because no one compliments me on it, it’s my outlet, and people shouldn’t give up doing things they love because they aren’t being praised for them. 

Now we come on to the “Rich Kids,” the only explanation I can think of for their brazen excess is that they are one of the 1%. Not just the wealthiest 1%, but that thankfully tiny proportion of our race who live purely for praise and adulation. But they just don’t want to be admired for their wealth, they want to see the jealousy in the eyes of the ordinary folk. They want to look down at the peasants from their private jets, these self appointed Kings and Queens of the teenage empire, and laugh as the fame hungry Instagram generation fight over the scraps they leave behind and rave about The Hills or Made in Chelsea in a desperate cry for attention.

So what’s the answer? It is an impossible task to separate the legions of hardcore tweeters, instagramers, tumblrs and facebookers from their umbilical cords of celeb news. There is a clear subtext, the aspirational nature of our society somewhat encourages people to seize whatever chances they can to peek into the small windows of the elite, and that is a societal problem that will perhaps never go away. Celebrity culture is obsessed with brandishing its wealth, be it the 19 year old with a Ferrari or Jay Z spitting about Tom Ford, but they only do so because of their legions of teen “fans” who worship the ground they walk on.

Those who have worked for their success, who have risen above their meagre upbringings through hard work and talent, they are the ones who have any modicum of a right to display their status, those who have earned the right to say, “here I am, I made it, and so can you.” But these self-entitled little shits? The jet set inhabitants of Miami, Dubai, Chelsea, and Monaco? They deserve to be forgotten, discarded on the heap along with all the other celebrity (if they can be called that) fads that have fallen along the wayside. Our society moves at lightning speed, and one can only hope that we move past this too, because lord knows that the elite need to be told at every opportunity that they are outnumbered, and that some day we will take the power back. 

“Our masters have not heard the people’s voice for generations and it is much, much louder than they care to remember.” 
― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Peace out, The Angry Indian.