Thank Fuck It’s Over.

It’s the end. Finally. Like sitting through the thousands of names in the credits of a Marvel movie just to get to the post-credits scene, 2015 has finally run its course and is about to disappear.

It can’t come soon enough.

Culturally this year was brilliant, absolutely fantastic from start to finish with mind glowingly good stuff in film, music and television. We had one of the biggest blockbuster years ever, with Avengers, Mad Max, Jurassic World, Ant Man, Mission Impossible, Spectre, and of course, the king of the nerdy throne that is Star Wars. Not to mention a stream of mainstream and lesser known drama and indie fare that has consistently exceeded all expectations. We had incredible music from Kendrick Lamar, Father Jon Misty, Sufjan Stevens, Tame Impala, Steven Wilson, Kamasi Washington, Oneohtrix Point Never, Arca, Future, Kurt Vile, Czarface, Beach House, Death Grips, and oh so many many more artists and albums that blew our collective socks off.
Television, if you take a second to look away from reality dross, has played host to some terrific programming. Wolf Hall, Jonathan Strange & Mr.Norrell, Game of Thrones, Fargo, Hannibal, and Netflix giving us the likes of House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Master of None, Daredevil, and Better Call Saul. For anyone who loves to soak in the worlds created by visual and audio mediums, this was a banner year.

But back in reality? Not so much.

Every year seems bad while it’s happening. Every year in recent memory has played host to one or two major tragedies, a smattering of smaller tragedies, and a sprinkling of dying icons on top. But 2015 has come through and blown all the other recent contenders out of the water. From January to December it has been a relentless onslaught of crushingly depressing news, starting with the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris and ending with floods ravaging the north of England and bombs raining down on Syria. In between we’ve had a depressingly predictable general election, the seemingly unstoppable rise of a death cult, the parallel rise in racism and Islamophobia, the inexplicable popularity of Donald Trump, a few more killings and terrorist attacks, a couple of large scale earthquakes, one of the largest refugee crises ever, and then capped off with a shocking and brutal massacre once again in Paris.

It’s no wonder that we’re all wishing for a Happy New Year, as we do every year, and as we’ve failed to receive time and again. A happy year is an impossible dream in this world of ours. No amount of good will and personal accomplishments can outweigh the vast amount of misery that human beings are suffering at the hands of their environment and more often than not at the hands of each other. A happy year is like a unicorn, an centaur, a fantasy conjured up in our minds with childlike wonder, yet like those creatures it is something that can only be found in the realms of fiction. We chant this meaningless phrase to each other with no concept of why. Yes, we can wish a happy year on another person, but in my mind it’s almost a cruelty to even suggest that 365 days can pass on this planet without everything almost completely going to shit every few weeks.

It’s a well known adage that New Year’s Eve is never as good as you plan for it to be. Last New Year I flew back to Berlin all set to have a good time, and we almost did. But then it got cold, like really fucking freezing cold. The fireworks then happened in a park to our right instead from behind the Brandenburg gate. Then we had to contend with the hordes of people all making a beeline for Potsdamer Platz, whilst supporting our suddenly too drunk to walk American friend, who then convinced us he could walk before promptly face planting in front of a small child in the U-Bahn station.
After getting him back to my flat, he then proceeded to throw up all the way from the lift to my door, and made a little home for himself in my bathroom. Then after spending the first hour of 2015 cleaning up sick with kitchen roll, we put him to bed and went to the club. The club was fun, for the best part of an hour, before I was hit by a wave of overwhelming tiredness. I stumbled outside, sat down on a wet floor, and held my head in my hands, before summing up the energy twenty minutes later to get my arse on a train and get to bed.
It may not seem so bad, but it just goes to show how the bullshit starts literally from the start of the year. Sort of. I just wanted to share that story.

Every time I say Happy New Year to somebody I feel a twinge of a crisis inside. I want them to have a happy year, I really do, and I’d love for myself and everyone else to have one too. But at the same time it’s such a painfully naive sentiment that even saying the words seems like a betrayal of any semblance of reason and intelligence I hold dear. It’s like wishing somebody a comfortable colonoscopy, or a fun time at Butlins, or a trip on a Crosscountry train that doesn’t smell like shit, a meaningless platitude with about as much merit as a participation medal won at a primary school  sports day.
Besides, at this point in the 21st century it would be a miracle to have a year that’s just average. An average amount of death, of war, of fuckups, of tyrants and despots and goddamn piece of shit nobodies being given the limelight when they deserve nothing more than a punch in the face and a good few years in the gulag. I’m looking at you Katie Hopkins, current and eternal winner of the World’s Most Stompable Face Award.
I would give something not overly valuable but still holding some value for that to happen, maybe my ukulele or something. Because as far as I can see through my brown tinted glasses, we seem to be on a slide into moral and social oblivion that’s simply accelerating as time goes by.

So instead of ending this post on some pseudo-inspirational bollocks I’ve copied off tumblr (for reasons why please see my last post), I’m going to end it with a list of all things I want to say goodbye to and pray to the pantheon of mystical sky faeries will be left behind on December 31st.
Note: These are things that may realistically fail to make it very far in 2016, not stuff like war or famine that will undoubtedly continue to rear their ugly heads for many years to come.

Here we go (list heavily edited for reasons of length and the author’s sanity):

Celebrity Big Brother (or celebrity anything for that matter)
Political apathy
Social apathy
Shitty tabloid journalism
Shitty mainstream journalism
Most journalism
Selfie sticks
“Swegways” or whatever they’re called. They’re not fucking hoverboards.
Fuckbois
Basic Bitches
Instagram pictures of Starbuck’s cups
Instagram pictures of sunsets
Instagram pictures of food
Instagram pictures with bullshit written underneath
Most Instagram pictures
Bearded hipsters
Cycling hipsters
Tattooed hipsters
Hipster models selling clothes
People pretending coffee is anything other than a cup of warm brown liquid to be had at the start of the day.
Quinoa/Chia seeds/”Superfoods”
Anti-vaxxers
“That offends me”
Gamergate
Furries
Bullshit petitions
Social media activism/Bandwagoning
“Like and share”
Britain First
Donald Trump
Nigel Farage
Most political leaders
People pretending to know about politics
People pretending to know about economics
People pretending to know about diplomacy
People pretending to know about war
People pretending to know about religion
People claiming to know literally anything they don’t know
Opinions as fact
Bullshit as opinions
Insanity as bullshit (see Donald Trump)
Fetty Wap
One Direction
Lil Wayne and any of his acolytes
The Radio One Live Lounge
House music (the shit stuff)
Acoustic covers of songs that don’t need acoustic covers
Acoustic covers of good songs
Covers of songs being used on shitty adverts
Shitty adverts
Shitty Christmas adverts
People saying “bae”
People saying “on fleek”
People saying “Netflix and chill”
People casting Jai Courtney in films, seriously, he’s awful.

And last but my no means least, the goddamn laugh cry emoji.

So we’ve reached the end, if you’ve bothered to read this far (seriously, nobody warns you about the diminishing returns on this whole blog thingy), of both this blog and the year.
For me personally a lot of this year has been a pleasure, with enough laughter, friends and family to see me through. For the world? Well read the above again if you’ve forgotten, but it’s been a clusterfuck, one that I’m bloomin’ glad to see the back of.

So long 2015, you absolute sack of shit.

Xoxo, The Auld Lang Indian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cod Goals

Maybe it’s the time of year; it’s the start of December, gloomy and cold outside, the days are short and the nights are freezing, and for a lot of people the seasonal blues are kicking in. Or maybe it’s because 2015, more than any other year so far, has been a hotbed of sheer, mind numbing stupidity from all corners of the globe. Regardless of the reason, I’ve just been itching to get back on my keyboard and blurt out another meandering monologue to molest your minds with for a few days now, skewing the output rate of this blog massively given its relative inactivity over the past year. Okay past two years. Can’t believe I started this shit in second year…

But moving swiftly on, this particular post has been a long time in the making, with the need to write it rising exponentially along with the amount of internet bullshit that’s fuelling it. The bullshit in this instance is one that we’ve all perhaps been guilty of falling for, the picture liked, the inspirational quote shared, some of us may even have posters, those with even less judgment may have tattoos, but at some point or another we’ve almost inevitably fallen victim to some cod philosophy. Nicholas Rescher, who I’ve totally always known about and didn’t just stumble on while doing some wikipedia based research for this post, described pseudo-philosophy (the actual name for it) as:

…deliberations that masquerade as philosophical but are inept, incompetent, deficient in intellectual seriousness, and reflective of an insufficient commitment to the pursuit of truth.

I can’t think of a better way to describe the mountains upon valleys upon Everests upon Grand Canyons of bullshit images and shitty self help videos than that; vapid maxims laid over pictures of sunsets or trees or young hipster couples holding hands that seem to spring from sources unknown. Seriously, who on earth is making these? I want to know who has the time and effort to search through what appears to be some kind of sepia toned Getty images and then finds or comes up with some semi-deep bollocks to scribble over it.

But my issue isn’t with the pictures themselves, they don’t inherently have anything wrong with them, my issue is with the people who fill up my Facebook and instagram feed with this relentless onslaught of supposed inspiration, when in reality it’s nothing more than a spotlight on their own lack of independent thought and dependence on new age eulogising like wasted affirmation junkies. An argument can be made that it’s not just rubbish, rather genuine motivation, but I find that hard to believe when I’m confronted with shit like this:

bullshit 2

Fig.1: Google image search result for “motivational quotes.”

Let’s break this down. We appear to have an instagram filtered picture of someone who is clearly drowning and asking someone to phone for help, overlaid with some text about how you need to change your life because apparently life has no remote control, and that’s now some mind blowing fucking revelation that could well have come straight from the pages of Dan Brown’s latest literary excretion. The insinuation seems to be that life is now the same as a television screen, an object that we stare at but don’t actively participate in. Does that mean that our lives too are just a series of flickering images that we can’t influence? Are we merely passive observers who can do no more than “change the channel” and then just observe a different scenario? Do we have any control at all over our day to day existence? The second you read one of these things properly the facade crumbles, turning from semi-profound sounding bollocks into actual and utter nonsensical bollocks.

This is what thinking has been boiled down to in 2015, soundbites and pictures of sunsets that we like and share because that’s all we fucking do these days, like and share, like and share, repeat ad infinitum. At least with a self help book you actually have to do some reading, as basic as it may be, but with this you merely accelerate the process by which bullshit is spread across the internet. Fair enough if the people sharing these things genuinely believe in them, but it’s a level of belief on par with unicorns and faeries, childish wishful thinking that doesn’t actually achieve anything other than temporary self delusion. Modern society is deluded enough as it is, the advent of social media and 24hr news still hasn’t completely removed our propensity as a species to be in some endless quest to supersede the noble Ostrich for number 1 in the “Sticking your head in the sand” rankings, because as much as we pretend to care (and sometimes genuinely do) we’d still much rather ignore what’s happening and wallow in our own crapulence.

But you know what I think all of this really is? It’s just a symptom, not the disease itself, like the haircut the symbolises the descent into fucboi territory, or the Starbuck’s calling card of basic bitches the world over. It’s a symptom of our society’s continued downward slide into wilful self-lobotomisation. We’re knowingly selling out on our own intelligence in favour of reality television, red top rags, glossy mags, manufactured music, mindless action cinema, best-selling railway station crime novels and political apathy. Think I’m wrong? Well too bad, because science backs me up: http://goo.gl/hkJhyy. There’s a link between buying into pictures like the one above and low intelligence, and if that doesn’t speak volumes about the state of our current culture then I don’t know what does. No wait, Donald Trump is being taken seriously as a political candidate, that says a lot too.

However it really shouldn’t be surprising, when we live in a world with anti-vaccination nut jobs, pro-lifers who murder doctors, gun nuts, xenophobes, conspiracy theorists, and a whole litany of astoundingly ignorant beliefs and schools of thought. Of course we’re going to nod along to shit like “We are at a crossroads of transformation and desire” (generated randomly here for those who are interested and perhaps want to bait out some of their simpler friends: http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/), or the guff spouted by hacks like Deepak Chopra and his ilk while we caress a mug of green tea that some bloke in Tesco said cured his cancer. It’s tragic but inevitable that this is what centuries of genuine, insightful philosophical thought by the likes of Plato, Socrates, Nietzsche, Freud, Swedenborg, Kant, Bentham, Mills, and hundreds of others has evolved into. We live in a quick fix society and it seems that’s the way everything is going, where the simple act of thinking has been reduced to a virtual sugar pill to keep us nice and docile as the world continues to spiral into chaos.

So as with the previous post, the conclusion of this one is largely the same, think for your fucking self. It’s easy to get swept up in having everything spoon fed to you by whatever gym “goals” page you follow on Facebook, but there is an unparalleled satisfaction in thinking through a problem yourself and coming up with an answer that may well sound similar to pseudo-philosophy, but at least originated from within. If we go back to Rescher’s definition, all we have to do is remove the bits about a lack of “intellectual seriousness” and “commitment to the pursuit of truth” to turn something into a genuine insight, and no amount of meaningless, feckless, hollow, sepia tinged, stock photo word art drivel, blathered by milquetoast morons just looking to garner likes for their 15 minutes of internet stardom will ever be the same.

xoxo, The “Read a goddamn book sometime” Indian.