Just Keep Digging

It’s been a weird couple of days.

This period, I never saw it coming, the nothingness that lies between the end of exams, results and graduation. I thought it would just pass by in a blur of parties and dinners and happiness (I failed to account for how much all of these things cost), but it hasn’t. Instead it’s been a slow, protracted, maudlin trudge through saying goodbye to my friends and realising that I actually have to start thinking about life after university.
It’s been the highs of Gradball followed by the lulls of wasting days watching shit on youtube and eating far more egg custard tarts than is healthy, the joys of seeing old friends tempered by the sad knowledge that I genuinely don’t know when I’ll see them again.

It’s gotten to the stage where I am now; sitting on a sofa in an empty house in Selly Oak, the rain pouring down outside, Godspeed You! Black Emperor playing in the background, sipping a glass of Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks and staring out of the window like I’m in some sort of sad black and white French film.
It fucking sucks.
But, and as with everything that sucks, it is something that is necessary. And so in the grand Angry Indian tradition, in a style honed and gratingly overused over the past few years, let us delve long, deep, hard, and aimlessly into the depths. Onwards.

What does the future hold? What do I want to become? Where do I see myself in five years? What is it that makes me me?
I hate those questions, I hate them. They aren’t just questions, they’re almost philosophical treatises, and they come laden with so much baggage that they’ve inspired countless books and films, fiction and non-fiction, with and without Julia Roberts. I hate them because they are so inextricably linked to all those stories of people travelling abroad to somewhere exotic and “finding themselves,” of a chance encounter that has led to some amazing career that provides a whole instagram feed’s worth of food porn, of those annoyingly chipper blonde girls you meet on a night out who went to Bali for a year and “it like totally” changed their perspective on everything, of those Facebook posts your relatives share with a caption that is almost achingly cliched in its description of the world as some amazing beautiful place that is just waiting to be discovered and wants to give you everything.
That isn’t to say that the world isn’t amazing and beautiful and offers you a lot, it does, every person will find beauty and opportunity in something, so don’t take that previous ramble as some pessimistic diatribe about how nothing has any meaning and everything is pointless (though Morty may beg to differ: Rick and Morty being super on point).

It is however a thought that has been playing on my mind more and more as these post-uni days go by, what is my amazing beautiful opportunity? Where is it? When will I find it? Which school of thought is right, the idea that opportunity will find you when the time is right or the idea that you have to go out and find it?
The answer is obvious of course, to me anyway, you have to go out and find it. Opportunities, as they say, are for the taking, so you have to go out there and take them. I was at an event in London recently, City Law for Ethnic Minorities, and the first speaker of the day was a partner at the host firm who went into full on Jordan Belfort mode, standing in front of a room full of aspiring lawyers and proclaiming without a trace of irony or cynicism that “If there’s an opening for one position, and there are a hundred applicants, say to yourself ‘Why can’t be that one person?'”
At any other point in my life up until now I would have laughed, I would have shaken my head and called him a fucking moron under my breath and pocketed as many free pens as I could. But strangely I didn’t, in fact I found myself almost drawn in by his pseudo-motivational speaker routine. Why can’t I be that person?

Also I only took one free pen.

Realistically of course, and I do consider myself a realist instead of a pessimist (there is some water in a glass guys, stop fighting), there are many factors at play. When it comes time to apply for masters or jobs I am going to be competing with a great many others, and it is up to the people sorting the applications to deem whether my grades are as good as someone else’s, or my work experience, or my letter of motivation, whether the answers I gave to the interviewer made me stand out, all of those things and many more can, and I imagine will, at some point keep me from being that one candidate.
But in my mind, and for me and others like me, this isn’t a question of capability or merit, I believe it stems from something deeper. I think you don’t just have to think of yourself as that one candidate, you have to want it. You have to truly want something in order to push yourself enough to achieve it.
I’ve wanted things in the past, I wanted to be a good guitar player so I pushed myself to drive to my Grade 8 exam the morning after our Year 13 Prom and played my heart out, and it paid off. I wanted to go to a good university, so I worked as hard as a I could at A level, and it paid off. But now? Now it feels a bit different.

If I subscribe to my own theory that you have to truly want something to attain it, then current Srikar is in a bit of a pickle. He doesn’t seem to want anything. Sure there are material things I want, I still want to own a Gibson someday, I want a nice watch, I’d love a fast German car of some sort, I want to keep growing my vinyl collection, but these are all surface level things.
The real issue is what I want to do and achieve long term in order to get to the stage where I can feasibly attain those things, and it’s something that a lot of people in this post-uni phase will surely be thinking about.
What do we truly want? There’s a lot of talk these days about “millennials” (another term I despise) and how they’re destined to be forever bouncing between jobs, always renting and never owning, doomed to ride out the tech bubble until it either bursts or someone fucks up and creates Skynet at which point it won’t really matter what your hopes and dreams are because you gon’ get blasted to shreds by a T-800. Then again I know a fair few people, and statistically speaking there will be quite a lot, who know exactly what they want to do and know exactly how to get there. These are, as I wrote in my New Years resolutions post a couple of years ago (for my long term fans), people I truly admire, with a single minded focus and drive to go after what they want and get it.

Now, as for me and the rest of us who don’t really know what they want to do? Are we forever fated to walk the Earth as layabout millennials? Are we going to pretend like “blogger” or “vlogger” or “social media consultant” are genuine occupations? Have the dreams of being a barrister been slowly replaced by the reality of being a barista? Sorry, I thought of that line at the start and just had to shoehorn it in somewhere. Badum tshhhhhhh.
Or have I been going about this completely the wrong way. Maybe, now isn’t the time to be figuring out what you want and who you are and all the rest, maybe that time comes later. Maybe that time never comes at all, when you truly know yourself and your ambitions, when you can truly claim to be content with all you have and all you’ve achieved.
We humans are creatures of want, the vast majority of us are constantly lusting after someone or something, maybe not to fill some cliched hole in the heart but to provide a temporary respite from the grind of the day to day. In this cycle of constant want can we ever really claim to know what we want and how to get it when what we want is always changing, always being replaced by something else, forever beyond our reach.

Sorry, this is exactly what I feared would happen. As I wrote at the start, I’m sitting in a house in Selly Oak, alone, as it rains outside, listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and imagining myself in a sad, black and white French movie.
I know it isn’t exactly The 400 Blows, hell it’s barely Taxi 2, but this is absolutely, unironically, uncynically, unprickishly what I think.

I don’t know who I am right now, I don’t really know what I want, but I can’t wait to find out.

xoxo, The Angry “I Don’t Know If I’m Even Angry or Indian Anymore” Indian

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EUrgh

europe-according-to-britain

Due to the wonder of life that is final year Law exams I’ve had to hold off on writing for a while so I can concentrate on not completely fucking my life up, but now that that’s all out of the way it’s time to get back to some good old rambling, and what more pertinent and inflammatory topic is there at the moment than the EU.

Yes the EU, the European Union, not to be confused with the Council of Europe, or the Eurozone, or the European Council, or the Council of the European Union, or the Kafka Society of Bureaucratic Nightmares.
It is a body that is loved and loathed in almost equal measure, but mostly it’s just been tolerated and made it easier to exchange your dosh when you’re off on your hols instead of having to deal with Francs and Lira and whatever they used in Finland, some form of berry I imagine. The EU emerged from the ashes of WWII, a bold move to bring the continent of Europe closer together and end the centuries of war that plagued the continent. Kicking off in earnest with the Treaty of Rome in 1957, with the core group of France, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg (a veritable who’s who of cheesemakers), and going on to include the United Kingdom (1973), getting rejected by Norway, and then encompassing Greece and Portugal and Spain and all those countries that do things with olives.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, a whole bunch of other countries became free to join the EU, and many did, and so it continued until we wound up with the 28 member states we have today.

That number could soon become 27.

Yes it’s the EU referendum, also referred to as Brexit, Bremain, Vote In, Vote Leave, Vote in out in out shake it all about, EU’ve Got To Be Joking, EUse Sovereignty Is It Anyway, “They make all are laws,” etcetera etcetera ad infinitum ubi est mea anaticula cumminosa.
No matter what you want to call it, there’s no escaping the fact that this is one of the most important public votes that the populace of the United Kingdom have ever been offered, (coming a close second behind the X Factor final of 2007 and the titanic battle between Same Difference and Leon Jackson), and as such deserves to be treated with a little more importance than the usual scorn and detached cynicism offered by the Angry Indian.

However this post isn’t here to tell you what to vote for, even though I am staunchly backing remain (first step to Starfleet guys), it’s here to examine how the choice has divided people along lines of class, race, region, and also to make fun of all the people who say “of” instead of “have.”
What I’ve found to be the most fascinating aspect of the referendum is how it has revealed the deep differences in opinion we hold, even in comparison to those we would consider to be from the same background or hold the same interests. I’ve seen school friends on opposite sides of the debate, shout out to Ted and Matt, uni friends on Facebook either sharing articles on how we’ll be stronger in or liking posts supporting leave, and ordinary people on newspaper comment threads writing mini-essays or inexplicably typing “YOU CAN’T BARRAGE THE FARAGE” followed by a calm “Vote leave.”

Speaking of Farage, it would be a pretty lame discussion if I were to ignore the leaders on both sides of this. In the Leave corner we have Farage and Boris, two bumbling politicians who have made it to their office seemingly via an 80s sitcom and the local boozer despite actually being from hugely privileged backgrounds, yet have a baffling around of public support and sway. Though you do have to question how much of it is actual support and how much of it is just people who find them amusing distractions, I’m not a fan of either but I do have to admit that they both have a likability that a lot of other politicians lack, yet this has also led to a dangerous assumption by some that they are just “telling it like it is” for the common man. They’re not.
In the remain corner we have David “Fivehead” Cameron, Gideon “What are emotions” Osborne, Jeremy “Viva la revolucion” Corbyn, and a motley crew of politicians from both sides of the Commons, bolstered by a vast number of actors, musicians, historians, economists, business leaders, foreign leaders and an increasingly vocal younger section of the voting public.

Upon first glance to a complete outsider it would seem like the In campaign has an easy win on its hands, yet polling puts the remain vote at only 6% above the leave vote, with almost 20% of voters still undecided and open to sway (BBC Poll). The numbers have been fluctuating a lot, almost with every announcement, highlighting just how divisive this issue is and how seriously people are taking it, and also how important the leaders of both sides are going to be in the final few weeks.
We have the Leave campaign ramping up fears of mass immigration and the overloading of public resources, though there’s not much reason to see why the UK staying a member would encourage more people to migrate here  (see this rather on the nose advert for what they’re swinging for: Soz Turkey). On the other hand, and as is par for the course for the Tory higher ups now, they’re going with the negatives instead of the positives. DC is all about the political doomsaying, Osborne is reading the tea leaves and seeing signs of impending economic stagnation and damage to trading links, Corbyn is probably in a field somewhere hitting some Strawberry Kush (I’m kidding, he actually naturally supports the socialist arguments of better workers rights and environmental protection).
One thing of note is how much both sides are relying on fear mongering to entice votes, one side saying there will be an influx of unwanted foreigners, the other side telling you it’ll be more expensive to go on your jollies to Marbella, one side saying it’s bad for the NHS to stay, the other saying it’s bad to leave, it’s a hodge podge of misinformation wrapped up in the political ambitions of the campaign leaders and smothered in a thick layer of the even more divisive debate of immigration.

Yes, and as always, the British public have mostly focused on Johnny Foreigner, and whether he intends to live and work in peace or wants to use his Muslamic ray guns to build mosques and ban happiness and steal Christmas or something. And this isn’t a debate that is irrelevant, on the contrary it is hugely important and asks some pretty deep questions about the balance of sovereignty and national identity with an increasingly globalised world and the benefits and potential drawbacks of multiculturalism and changes in societal structure, but it’s one that must be debated with concrete facts and rational opinions instead of memes and poorly spelled messages written in all caps.
There’s also the question of independence, with many people learning the word “sovereignty” and using it like it’s going out of fashion. There’s arguments for more political independence, and as much as I hate the phrase “they make all our laws” there is something to be said for the precedence that ECJ and ECtHR rulings have, and calls into question the powers of the UK judiciary.
Economic factors must also be taken into account, with some arguing that the UK has more than enough clout to forge on ahead and develop trade links with individual European countries as well as with the USA and Asia, and others claiming that leaving the EU will make multinationals relocate their headquarters, lose us trade benefits, increase customs on goods manufactured here and that it’s unlikely for other nations to negotiate favourable deals with a singular country instead of a union.

One of the lesser cited but more compelling arguments concerns the structure of the EU and its bodies, as though the unelected Commission has a fair amount of sway, they also don’t impose things like many think, that is done by the European Parliament. Yet the Parliament is host to problems akin to the UN, countries grouping by political similarities, proximity to each other, common cultures and linguistic ties, not quite the wholly representative body it should be. However this argument is one that could be levelled at almost any elected body, politicians always have personal and party interests, and nobody at the top is going to come out and argue that we scrap all of the democratic bodies we have and start from the ground up.
Likewise a lot of the laws and rules that have come from the EU have enabled objectively beneficial developments for workers’ rights, health and safety regulation, sustainability and the environment, and on a cultural level for filmmaking and other arts. However some have been perceived as more restrictive, particularly those regarding human rights for a certain sector of the public who tend to want to bring back hanging (not going to happen guys, look up the ICCPR) and want greater powers of deportation in light of recent cases such as that of Abu Qatada.

So what does the Angry Indian have to say about all of this? Same as always really, it all boils down that old chestnut of misinformation. As with pretty much everything else this referendum has reaffirmed the fact that the empty cans do rattle the most, the people who know the least shout loudest, and genuine information and insight gets buried under polemic and hyperbole.
Nobody wants to look at detailed graphs and tables when there’s simplistic headlines to be had, no one has the patience to read in depth reports when there’s a Facebook status to be shared or, and this is real, Brexit: The Movie to watch on youtube. And people say real cinema is dying, pah.
As with just about anything, it’s too many people who don’t know enough with too much to say, and this time more than ever it is crucial that they aren’t heard. What people need is genuine information delivered by trusted sources with real insight, not Jan from Skegness complaining about the Poles. Yet there is a new wrinkle in this plan, something that seems imported from America and the unstumpable Trump, which is a growing strain of anti-intellectualism. People pay more attention to Boris than to academics and economists, people who are experts in their field, because they’re seen as having vested interests or are out of touch with the common man (because the Etonian totally knows what you’re going through guys, suuuuuuure). A distrust of intelligence is worrying, it is by definition a barrier to progress, and it’s one thing that I hope doesn’t survive the coming vote.

So to summarise, let me just say this. I don’t care which way you vote, that’s the point of a democracy, choice. But make sure you know why you want to vote a certain way, make sure you research for yourself, make sure you weigh up all the pros and cons of any argument, don’t take things at face value because they come from Farage or Corbyn or on a leaflet, don’t base your choice on a headline from the Guardian or the Sun, do whatever the hell you want so long as you have a concrete valid reason to do so.
Democracy, as I’ve written before, only works when its participants are properly informed and educated. That isn’t to say that everyone needs to go back to school and learn about the structure and history of the EU or do a module on EU Law (seriously, you don’t want to, it was hell), but they need to be informed at the very least about its basic ideals, achievements and issues. In 2016 there is no excuse for wilful ignorance, so don’t try and invent one to satisfy your own inability to process anything beyond a basic right/wrong binary.

Vote in, vote leave, spoil your vote, do it by post or at your village hall, go for a pint after, or sit in a dark room and play Jerusalem on a loop while crymaxing over a picture of Britannia, just make sure you go out on June 23rd and make your vote count. It’s a right that people have fought and died for, so you’d damn sure better make sure that their sacrifices were worth it, if not for yourself then at least for all the people around the world who don’t live with the luxury of democratic choice. Just vote okay, jeez.

 

xoxo, The Angry VotingIn-dian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FUBAR.

Yah_e12a55_297626

Hi.

Those of you who know what the title means will probably have already guessed what I’m about to say. Actually, anyone who’s ever read this blog will know what I’m about to say. FUBAR is a term that originated from a military acronym meaning “Fouled up beyond all recognition,” or more commonly, “Fucked up beyond all recognition.”
It’s a notion I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, the idea of something being ruined to a point of no return, a stage at which nothing short of an utterly miraculous intervention can possibly help. It’s easy for this to fall into the trap of just being endlessly pessimistic, but I’ll try and avoid it as much as I can (which is to say not very hard at all), but what I really want to talk about is just how close to a FUBAR situation we really are, or rather how close to one I think we are. Arguments as ever supported by copious amounts of opinionated gibberish, a couple of articles I hastily googled, and probably a few references to films and TV and music.

So let’s look at the big hitters, the global fuck ups that could unfold. I’m not talking asteroids here (Fun fact: chances of Earth being hit are less than 0.01% in the next 100 years according to NASA), but rather manmade events and long term impact on the environment.

It’s no revelation that since we started walking on two legs all those millennia ago we have been pretty much endlessly scouring the Earth for every last resource we can find. We started with water, and wood for fires, crops and animals for food, ores for metal, coal for fuel, oil, natural gas, precious metals from deep underground, diamonds for our jewellery and silicon for our microchips, the list of things we mine from the ground and cut from above it is nigh on endless. But the issue is deeper than mere environmentalism, because ultimately what we’re dealing with is the survival and expansion of humanity, and the quandary of existing in the first place. Note however that this isn’t the same as existentialism, which deals with the idea that we are individuals and not collectives, but rather seems to lean closer to nihilism and its talk of a life without meaning or purpose.
But stepping out of the philosophical fog for a moment, let’s just consider some cold hard facts. According to various sources we extract 55 billion tonnes of material from the Earth each year, almost 10 tonnes per person (and an obvious imbalance towards richer, Western countries). In order to deal with the amount of resources we consume and the waste we produce, we would actually need 1.6 Earths to be sustainable, and this is estimated to rise to 2 Earths by the 2030s, in line with both population trends and an ever increasing need for materials in a world that is advancing.

This is problem number one, because how can we ensure our advancement and survival if we don’t make use of the resources we have to secure the future? But at the same time, how can we secure a plentiful future when we need to use up our finite resources now in order to ever get there? We have to make do with what we have but at the same time what we have is never going to be enough.
As anyone who knows me knows, I’m a sci fi lover. I love all things future, space, crazy tech, aliens, the whole shebang. What I love the most though is the worlds that these books and films present, from the gleaming spires of Coruscant in Star Wars and Nos Astra in Mass Effect, to the dark urban sprawls of Bladerunner and Judge Dredd, and a whole manner of snow, desert, jungle a myriad other planets in between. But it’s the first one that always captures me, the idea of a pristine clean future, where everything is silent and somehow floats. Yet I always find myself questioning, “How are they powering all this?” or “Where did all that metal come from?” Buildings and tech don’t just spring out from the ground, they have to be put together, and the means to do that has to exist.
So what does this mean? It probably means that barring some sort of gift bearing alien race making contact, that future is highly unlikely to ever happen here on Earth, which is a mildly depressing thought but nothing too major so long as we’re still around and kicking as a species. So let’s press on to option number two.

War. (Huh, good god y’all), what is it good for? Arguments against war are just like arguments against the use of natural resources, they tend to be polemic, idealistic, and generally spouted by 14 year olds who just discovered Vox and think they’re sooooo in touch with the news.
War is a complex thing, not just a bunch of men running around shooting and stabbing each other. War ties into our primal instincts of survival, or making sure your tribe has food and that the other can’t steal from you, it’s a protection of territory and more importantly the people within that territory, and as has happened throughout history, war can be waged to push or prevent an ideology. If a country was a house and your family were its people, you would make sure that something was in place to stop others from harming them. Why would they want to? Because people are shitty, get used to it.
What pisses me off the most is when people act as if war is something new, again these people tend to be the ones raised on social media news, when in reality it’s pretty much the only constant that all humans from all parts of the globe in all of history share. It’s all well and good for people now to say that bombing IS in Syria is wrong, but would they have said the same in the 1940s if the target was Germany? Would they have objected to a fighting force when Mongols were sweeping through Asia in the 13th Century? Do people who claim war is just fought by rich Western countries (of which there are a lot) not know or simply don’t care about the dozens of conflicts, many with higher death tolls, that have occurred across the globe since forever?

War is as much a part of civilisation as communication or agriculture, it’s a cornerstone, to say otherwise would be naive and/or bullshit, and war is also another very real avenue through which we could reach a FUBAR stage. Think about it, and let’s compare a historical example and a current one. On the historical side we have the Nazis, an ideologically driven group intent on conquering large swathes of the world and instituting their way of life. Today we have ISIS, an ideologically driven group intent on conquering large swathes of the world and instituting their way of life.
People these days are glad that brave men and women fought against the Nazis to stop their spread, be that on the frontline or by bombing raids from the skies. People these days are pissed that brave men and women are going to be bombing ISIS from the skies, with the possibility that ground forces may have to step in.
This is what people mean when they say hindsight is 20/20, looking back on WWII now the general consensus is that though bad decisions were made, it was a necessary conflict. What will people say in 50 0r even 100 years when they look back at us now? Will they praise our leaders for their action or their restraint? Will they view ISIS or even the next threat as fundamentally evil or try and rationalise their actions? But it won’t even matter, because they’ll probably all be dead because of FUBAR option number three, the nuclear option.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, frightens me more than the thought of a nuclear war. To go back to our good old friend sci fi, it’s formed the backbone of worlds and stories like Judge Dredd, Tarkovsky’s Stalker, the Fallout games, Mad Max, 1984, and my personal favourite, Dr.Strangelove and its brilliantly dark discussions of nuclear war.
It’s a reality that’s horrible to comprehend, a reality that only the Japanese have sadly had to live through, and one that cast a long shadow over the world during the Cold War. Out of 196 countries in the world (195 depending on your thoughts on Taiwan), only 9 have nuclear weapons. Doesn’t sound like much, but between them they’re estimated to have 10,300 nuclear warheads, 4,000 of which are currently active. Sure, it’s a drop from the 68,000 active warheads that existed at the height of the Cold War, but in the eyes of many it’s still 10,300 too many. However, and as we always do here at the Angry Indian, we must consider both sides of the argument.
There’s the idea of deterrence, an issue that came up recently in the Trident debate. Some argue that a deterrent is unnecessary as the prospect of nuclear war is so remote, and that resources could be better spent elsewhere. Others argue that a deterrent is more vital than ever given the rise of militants, increasingly frosty relations with certain countries, and a wee nutter called Kim who hangs out in Pyongyang.
There’s obviously a debate over the ethics of using a nuclear weapon, at what point is razing a city or army base to the ground the only solution to a problem? Well it’s obvious, it’s when the enemy has the capacity to fuck you up right back. But then there’s arguments about pre-emptive strikes, about targeting military sites, about civilian casualties, about the fallout and its long term effects, the impact on the climate etc. etc.
I know it sounds silly and a little far fetched to some, but I’m firmly of the belief that someday soon somebody is going to turn to the nuclear option again, and when that happens I’ll try to squeeze in a quick “I told you so” before we’re all incinerated into nothingness.

There are of course plenty more ways in which things could go FUBAR. We could meet with a contagious virus we can’t stop, we could run out of food Interstellar stylee, we could stop making babies Children of Men stylee, we could create super intelligent apes/robots/AI/dogs who overthrow our society because they deem us unfit to exist cooperatively. Who knows where the end of the world is coming from? I’d personally like for it to come from beyond the stars, Independence Day stylee, a good ol’ shootout with some multi armed hyperdrive toting hive mind who fuck us up with their super huge photon cannons of doom and it’s all like pew pew pew and people are like “Ahhhhh” and the ship’s like whoosh and then everything goes kaboom blam zap skadoosh and and also Will Smith is there and then the President goes “Rah rah, today is our Independence Day!”and everyone cheers because we’re going to win but then Jeff  Goldblum doesn’t save the day through a random alien USB port and instead we all just die.

Or something like that.

“Why do we argue? Life’s so fragile, a successful virus clinging to a speck of mud, suspended in endless nothing.”

Alan Moore, Watchmen 

xoxo, The Angsty Indian

 

 

 

The Sheeple’s Court

For fuck sake guys, can’t we keep our shit together for more than a week at a time?

Every time it seems like one shitstorm has passed, be it #Oscarssowhite or #Britssowhite or #Teethsowhite or #Cocainesowhite or whatever the hell it is now, another one just comes along right behind it to make sure everyone is in a permanent state of outrage at something or other.

The major story this week is about Ke$ha (or Kedollarha), and her current legal disputes with her record label, Sony, and her producer, some bloke called Dr.Luke who I have genuinely never heard of.
Ke$ha claims that Dr.Luke sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions, and as a result caused her severe mental anguish that lead to eating disorders as well as other issues. So she brought a claim against Sony to release her from her contract so she could get away from him. Seems simple, seems like you can’t really disagree with Ke$ha, and it would at first glance.
Sadly, however, the vast majority of people on Facebook and twitter and tumblr don’t tend to read too much into things, and blahblahblah I’m getting a bit tired of repeating this shit. There are questions that need to be answered, why is Ke$ha having to raise criminal charges to settle a civil dispute, or why her and her mother testified under oath a few years ago that nothing untoward had ever happened between her and her producer. There are arguments to be made for the nature of psychological abusers, and whether Sony should have done more to protect her, there is much we don’t yet know, but I’m not here to pass judgment on a case that is still very much unfinished.

What I am here to pass judgment on is the legions of dumb ass like and share sheeple motherfudgers who need to get a grip, get their asses off the internet, and learn how the law works.
Law, be it in the UK, or in the USA, or literally anywhere, works on a pretty simple assumption. You are innocent until you are proven guilty. That is that. You want to prove someone guilty? You find the evidence. You want to prove your innocence? Get some goddamn evidence. Criminal charges, generally, must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, in order to ensure that innocent people aren’t sent to prison on false charges.
This is not a claim that Ke$ha is lying, as some have said, or that justice has failed her, this is a statement of a pretty fundamental cornerstone of any democratic and open judiciary.
Here’s the rub people, just because you think somebody is guilty, doesn’t mean they are. Did you read last week’s post? The one where I said nobody has to give a fuck about your opinions? That goes doubly so when it comes to a legal issue. Unless you are the judge in charge, which I’m presuming none of you are (correct me if I’m wrong), all you can do is shut the fuck up and wait and hear what they have to say.

The law does not care about your hashtags, the law does not care about your think pieces, your pseudo-intellectual blog posts (lol jk irony), your petitioning and your boycotts of Sony. Oh yeah, boycotting Sony? Really? What is that meant to achieve? Sony have a business agreement with Ke$ha, not a personal one. If she alleges assault against her producer, it’s not their responsibility to say “Okay you can go, forget the money that we’ve invested into you and your career.” They’re running a business, in fact Sony’s record arm is only part of a pretty huge conglomerate, so here’s what boycotting them is going to achieve – absolutely diddly fucking squat. Perhaps a manager should have sacked Dr.Luke as soon as the claims were first made, but that call wasn’t made, and now Sony will have to deal with the consequences whatever they may be. But those consequences aren’t for twitter to decide, if Sony breached an obligation then they will face justice in a court of law.

The point is this, the law will decide this case based upon the merits of the arguments on both sides and the evidence presented to them. That is that. If it ever got to the stage where judges started paying attention to social media campaigns, then justice would truly be broken.
It would be the start of a pretty long slope to some kind of reality justice show, “Hashtag innocent to let him go, hashtag guilty to send him down for 10 years, the choice is in your hands folks!” It’s like some kind of horrible Hunger Games/Judge Judy mashup, and it seems to be what some people genuinely want. There was an article on the Guardian (on which my comments were deleted several times for questioning the author, that’s how bullshitty her argument was) which essentially said that the idea of innocent until proven guilty shouldn’t apply to rape cases.
Could you imagine that? Nobody is saying that allegations shouldn’t be taken seriously, but allegations must be proven, to start assuming guilt and then trying to find innocence is like taking a shit in the woods and digging the ditch afterwards.

I’m watching Up while I write this, great film.

This morning another allegation of sexual assault emerged, from even longer ago than the Ke$ha case. The singer Larkin Grimm has alleged that Michael Gira, frontman of Swans (an incredible band for anyone who has never heard of them) raped her in 2008, while they were recording an album together and shortly before she was dropped from his record label. It would be easy to construct a narrative here, that Gira dropped her to keep her quiet, but that’s exactly what should not be done.
Gira has vehemently denied the accusations (see here: Pitchfork), with his wife writing a message of support for him as well as saying she has proof that Larkin is lying. It’s a mess, a dirty one, allegations of rape are never to be taken lightly. But at the same time it seems likely to inspire the same kind of statements as Ke$ha has, statements that seem to think all ideas of due process should be set aside just because some teen tweeters aren’t happy. It’s good that allegations of assault are being taken seriously and pursued by the relevant authorities, though one would hope they do the same when the perpetrators or victims aren’t as well known, but we mustn’t go too far in the other direction either.
As I’ve said many times before, social media has the power to do some truly great things, but it also has the power to be an incredibly shitty quagmire or misinformation and half formed opinions. Thus far in 2016 it’s pretty much all been the latter, it’s been people assuming that they are qualified to comment on something simply because they read an article that rubbed them up the wrong way. I say article, more often than not it’s just clickbait, really, painfully obvious clickbait.

I know this is a sensitive topic, I appreciate that. Rape and sexual assault are incredibly serious offences, they should not be taken lightly. Women should not be accused of lying or making up stories, especially in the current climate we live in. I’m not a fan of the term rape culture, but it would be naive to claim that there isn’t a stigma around victims of assault speaking up, or a certain level of protection afforded to famous or wealthy perpetrators of assault like Jimmy Saville or Bill Cosby. But at the same time the guilt of the perpetrator should not be assumed, everything requires evidence, proof, substantiation, whatever you want to call it. To start judging people on a whim, based off an opinion, is simply not the way justice works.
Way back in the 90s there was the case of OJ Simpson, can you imagine what that would have been like if social media had existed then? We look back on it now as the case that gripped America, that the news had on a loop, that made superstars out of its lawyers and their offspring, it was arguably just a precursor to the type of attention that Ke$ha’s case is receiving today. The difference now is that other peoples’ opinions are much easier to come by, much easier to share, and it’s much easier for people to get themselves all whipped up into a frenzy by sharing thoughts with people who think the exact same thing.

So please, before you share that Complex article, before you share some meme or Lizzy the Lezzy post, think. Think about why the law does what it does, why the judge decided what they decided, think about why you’re accepting an argument. If your reason is because “Oh I read it somewhere” or “Oh, my friend shared this post,” then get the fuck out. Because that kind of mindless follower bullshit is precisely what a world with ISIS, Donald Trump and One Direction needs a hell of a lot less of.

 

xoxo, Judge “I am the Laaaaaaaaaw” Dredd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Social Justice League.

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a new age.

Welcome to the age of offence, the age of safe spaces and trigger warnings, the age of self diagnosed mental illness and the preaching of tolerance by way of intolerance. Welcome to the era of corrupted feminism, bastardised gender politics and twisted racial relations. Welcome to 2016, the year social justice disappeared up its own arsehole.

One of my previous posts also descended into a little diatribe on modern liberalism, but the stuff mentioned above is a different category entirely.
This isn’t liberal ideology pushed to the max, in fact it doesn’t really sit anywhere on the political spectrum at all, it’s a phenomenon that’s been wholly created and driven forwards by the internet and one website in particular. Tumblr. For those of you who don’t know what it is or what happens on there, let me break it down for you. Roughly 20% of tumblr is normal, people just posting shit, artwork or poetry or just blogging random stuff. Another 10-15% is porn, like a lot of porn, I mean you should see some of these pages. There’s pictures, and videos, and even gifs, gifs of porn, as if someone could get their jollies to the same motion repeated endlessly on a loop. Actually, people seem to like football quite a lot, maybe it isn’t so far fetched…

But the rest of tumblr, 65% or whatever I’m not so good at maths, is home to some of the most hilarious, histrionic, hysterical pseudo-psych social science babble ever to be expelled onto the bits and bytes of the internet.
There’s hardcore feminists calling for the death of all men, there’s lesbians hating on gay people, there’s transgender people telling asexual people they can’t sit with them, there’s a whole slew of bullshit made up terms for sexuality and gender, there’s people diagnosing themselves with PTSD, OCD, ADD, ADHD, anxiety issues and Aspergers and Dyslexia, and that’s all before we get to the minefield of clusterfuckery that is the “otherkin” phenomenon, a word so bullshitty that my laptop just tried to change it to “therein” repeatedly thinking I was having some sort of stroke.

For those of you who have never seen this website, never wish to, and have no idea what I’m talking about, consider yourselves lucky. This shit is infuriating, it’s a generation of teens growing up thinking that they’re special snowflakes owed some kind of preferential treatment by society and the world at large. It’s nothing more than narcissism and attention seeking disguised by co-opting genuine issues and turning them into a sideshow, manipulating them to suit personal agendas. It’s an attitude that is jaw dropping in its absurdity, and the worst thing is that it’s spreading.
Things that used to pop up as niche issues by people looking to turn everything into an issue are seeping slowly into the mainstream. The term “man spreading” took off early last year, because apparently having a dick and balls between your legs and therefore needing to space your thighs apart a little so you don’t batwing is some kind of patriarchy enforcing sexual harassment that warrants a billion think pieces in HuffPo.
Beyoncé’s recent performance at the Super Bowl was dissected by commenters who either saw it as some giant step for black empowerment, or as a further wedge being driven into America’s already fractured race relations. Most people, myself included, couldn’t give a fuck. She’s a good artist, she performed a decent song, whatever ties she attempted to make to the Black Panthers etc. were inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
(Seriously, all this and Taylor goddamn Swift wins album of the year over Kendrick’s absolutely incredible To Pimp A Butterfly, solid progress there guys, she really made a difference, give yourselves a hand).

A quick aside, if you will, on the concept of an “otherkin.” Otherkins are people, who probably also diagnosed themselves with some kind of mental condition (and probably actually have some), who believe that they are actually another entity that is merely trapped in a human body. It started off with animals, which is just pretty childlike, we’ve all run around howling like a wolf or meowing like a cat at some point during our single figure years. But then it spread, and people started identifying themselves as all kinds of shit. Star-kins, Egg-kins, Dragon-kins, I’m pretty sure I saw a screenshot of someone identifying themselves as a Plasma-kin. A fucking plasma-kin. I can’t even tell if that was a parody or not, because the “real” kins have gotten so bat shit insane that anything seems plausible.
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For a fun game, comment on this post or under the Facebook link what kin you are, I’m pretty sure I’m a Brownie-kin. Soft and chocolatey with a gooey centre, and bad for your arteries.

But that’s just the tip of the influence iceberg, other shit has crept into real life so subtly that people haven’t even noticed. Did you notice when trigger warnings started appearing on things? I’m pretty sure they just popped up one day and everyone just shrugged and went “Eh, whatever, it’s no biggie.” I appreciate that some people might actually need trigger warnings, an article about rape may be distressing for rape victims, articles about war may affect veterans or those who suffer from PTSD, but do you really need one on a discussion about gender? Or about race? People have started asking for them at universities now, to be put on books on reading lists in case there’s a dated racial slur or sexist term that offends their delicate sensibilities.
Safe spaces are another one, Lena Dunham (she of sister molesting fame) apparently left Twitter because it wasn’t a safe space, which is just a cowardly way of saying “other people have different opinions to me and I can’t handle that because I think I’m so goddamn important.” Here’s a fun fact for you, people have different opinions, and they don’t have to give a flying fuck about your feelings.

This isn’t some rant against PC culture, political correctness in and of itself is no bad thing, you can’t really take issue with not using the N-word or paki as insults, essentially turning someone’s ethnicity into a joke. This is a long, rambling, poorly structured rant about the current slide we seem to be on towards a sanitised world.
A world where free speech is only allowed when it agrees with your own views, as Peter Tatchell found out recently,  where people compete over who’s the most oppressed, who’s more of a minority, who’s more of a victim.
What these people don’t realise is that we don’t have a political spectrum, we have a political circle. Go too far to the right, complete deregulation etc., and you move from conservatism to the definition of liberty. Go too far to the left and you move from a government providing services to a government controlling services, dictation to dictatorship. This is what’s happening right now on the blogs and articles put out by oh so many self appointed arbiters of social justice. They don’t seem to understand that all they’re doing by crying victim and claiming offence at everything is merely another form of censorship. By silencing dissent they liken themselves more to the hard right than the hard left, actually no wait, is it the other way around. Haha no, it doesn’t even matter, because here’s the kicker – they’re the same fucking thing.

I read this quote a long time ago, and it’s stuck with me, and it’s one of the reasons why all of this bugs me so much. It’s from that most treasured of national treasures, Mr.Stephen Fry – “It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that”, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that.” Well, so fucking what?”
Now a lot of people have taken issue with this quote, saying Fry’s a bit of a hypocrite or he shouldn’t say what people can and can’t be offended by etc., but really read it, that’s not what he’s saying at all. What he’s saying is that claiming offence in and of itself means nothing to anyone but the person claiming offence, what he’s saying is that you’re no more special than any of the other 7 billion odd Homo Sapiens Sapiens currently wandering about this ball of dirt.

There’s more I want to say, but that starts drifting into other areas that warrant their own rant, so I’ll leave you all with this. If you are one of the people who uses tumblr, who thinks that all of the things I’ve disparaged are actual issues that bear serious consideration, feel free to write a comment or a response explaining why. Because as far as I can see, what we are soon going to have on our hands is a generation of people who (in the words of Father John Misty, praise be) have been “told too many times they’re beyond their years” by fellow precious flowers. And those are some people I really, really don’t want to meet in real life.

xoxo, The “Angry is my trigger word and Indian is cultural appropriation you cishet shitlord”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crazies Are Coming

Merry Wednesday.

Our Gregorian calendar, which we decided to split into 52 periods of 7 days, dictates by some long evolved social convention that I repeat something I did around 7 days ago, and repeat it I shall. But not exactly, that would just be silly, I mean what kind of complete asinine moron would do the exact same things every single week of their life? It’s preposterous. There’s no good reason for it, bar some thin veil of comfort to shelter you from the encroaching fear that you’re getting closer to 30 and all your friends are talking about moving in with their boyfriends at brunch while you tuck into avocado smeared on some kind of probiotic sourdough and softly cry into your lap while swiping right on every balding nobody who pops up on your tinder wondering if that guy you banged after Fab on the third year of your Classics degree was actually the one.

But that aside, on to the good stuff.

Have you ever gazed across the horizon from the top of a hill or a cliff, awed into silence by the beauty, your eyes drinking in the splendour of nature while your mind wonders “If the world is round then why is everything I see flat?” No? Good. Some of you may have read over the weekend that perennial nobody and one time mildly successful “rap” artist B.o.B. (I don’t get it either, what’s wrong with just Bob?) has made some rather bold claims suggesting that we’ve all been lied to and the world is actually flat. You know, centuries of empirical scientific evidence and astronauts actually up in space be damned.
I don’t know much about Bob, who he is, where he’s from, I don’t know his story, what he’s been through to get here, mmmmhmmm, but I can safely assume that he never sat through a basic science lesson, or even just googled the words “Earth from space.”
(Though mild props to any man so steadfast in his belief that he’ll go toe to toe on Twitter with Neil Motherfuckin’ DeGrasse Tyson about science).

When I found out a couple of years ago that people like this exist I was gobsmacked, astounded that people in the 21st century could still genuinely believe that the Earth is flat, and of course allege that all science is just one giant conspiracy and they’re hiding something at Area 51 and also vaccines give you autism and, wait, no, I dipped into another crazy pond. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Flat Earthers have been experiencing a bit of a Renaissance recently, not a real one, because that would make them (by definition) smarter and therefore less likely to be Flat Earthers, especially in America. Big surprise. A quick jaunt to youtube will reveal dozens of videos purporting to debunk science and NASA data with that particular kind of person thrusting maps at shitty webcams of how the world really looks. You know the type, the kind where you look at them and can just imagine what they smell like, stale wotsits and BO and the shame of their parents. According to many of them, Antarctica is just a ring of ice surrounding the flat world or something, it’s all a bit Discworld/Middle Earth/Westeros/any other fantasy world.
The even funnier thing is that the Flat Earthers can’t even agree on which theory they support, there are fragments within the movement, can you imagine that? It’s fucking hilarious. People are genuinely disagreeing on how they’re going to be wrong, it’s mind-blowing, but it also stops being funny once you realise that they’re being serious. They’re serious, guys, c’mon. Stop laughing. Okay no, a bit more laughter.

Okay now stop. Damn it I can’t.

Of course what this all ties into, and the broader topic of this post, is the notion of conspiracies in this day and age. In the age of information, the age of tinder and snapchat and facebook and grindr and other such mobile hook up applications, it’s easier than ever to make a few taps and swipes on a screen and find out anything you want to know.
But at the same time when information is so readily available it’s not always easy to trust in its veracity. As I myself have written in the past, people shouldn’t necessarily believe everything they read and see online, particularly when it’s written in one of those telltale impassionate tones that belies a total lack of logical grounding and comes across like the ramblings of a man who hasn’t gotten laid in 7 months. Heh.
So what do you get when you’re a person who finds things hard to believe yet also will believe in things that most other people would find incredibly hard to believe? My friends, you’ve got yourself a conspiracy theorist.
The come in many forms. There’s the “Illuminati and New World Order control the world and they’re actually lizard people” ones, the “9/11 was an inside job” ones, the “Chemtrail” ones, the “Vaccines give you autism on purpose” ones, the “Genetically modified foods are the spawn of satan” ones, and then the slightly more light hearted “Elvis/Tupac is still alive” type ones, who you kind of just want to pinch on the cheek and give them a little pat on the head while the men in white coats fetch the straitjackets.

To entertain a notion on reddit or 4chan is one thing, to get into that high frame of mind and consider whether there really is a group of shady men who control politics or not is another. I mean there is, it’s obvious, what do you think happens in Davos every year when all the politicians and rich folk get together? The truth is obvious, they’re planning how to control us through brainwaves and MK Ultra and there’s drugs in our food to make us conform and OPEN YOUR GODDAMN EYES YOU SHEEPLE.
See? It’s easy to get caught up in it all. The more far fetched the idea the more readily people seem to buy into it, something fantastical to take away from the drab, grey, monotony of actual life.
There are interests who want to shape global policy, but they’re not shadowy lizard men, they’re politicans and business folk and supranational bodies like the UN who have a vested interest in the betterment of the world as a whole. If someone is a profit chasing dickhead, it’s because they’re a profit chasing dickhead, not because their strings are being pulled by a chameleon off stage somewhere.

I enjoy a good conspiracy read, it amuses me just how creatively people wil piece together real world elements to construct theories, but it also worries me. It worries me when these fears bleed out from their online forums and into real life, when people start blurring the line between seeing something as a theory and instead see everyone else as propaganda agents out to get them, suppressing the truth that only they and a select few have been clever enough to see. Everyone wants to belong, to feel special, but that’s a pretty dangerous way to go about it.
When people listen to nutters like Vani Hari and her ilk on youtube and take her garbled rants about various chemicals to heart instead of listening to actual scientists and doctors (who are all in cahoots by the way obv. 😂😂😂💯) and stop feeding their kids certain things or worse, choose not to vaccinate them and endanger their lives as well as the lives of those around them.

A quick aside, if you’ll indulge me.

There’s a special spot in my hate list for anti-vaxxers, they embody the opposite of everything that I hold dear. They embody a distrust of science and knowledge, the willingness to blindly believe in social media nonsense, the prioritising of personal opinion over empirical fact, and worst of all they push their hare brained bullshit onto innocent children who were unfortunate enough to be born into their care. They can all go fuck themselves.

But back to the matter at hand. It’s this toxic combination of distrust and a lack of belonging that seems to feed these people. They don’t fit into society, so they question it, but not the things that need questioning. They don’t question entrenched racism, sexism, ageism, nepotism, they go after easy targets that nobody ever bothered to defend because they never thought they’d need defending. Who ever thought that Galileo and Copernicus and Newton would come under fire from some shite rapper for apparently being part of some secretive Freemason science cabal? Or that scientists and doctors who swore oaths to protect lives would actively harm their children? They’re soft targets, ones that haven’t been questioned because they’re just so damned self explanatory.
But this lack of questioning simply drives the distrust further, makes them wonder why nobody has asked these things, and who it may be that’s keeping us all under control. People bandy about the phrase “Big brother is watching” these days as if it’s some truism rather than a quote from a (rather brilliant) 60 year old novel about the dangers of fascism, and it’s easy to see why in an era of the NSA and GCHQ tapping our messages, but it’s also very easy to get a bit carried away.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t question the status quo, why things are the way they are. Science too has been proven wrong in the past (by other scientists, not youtube commenters), so it’s not too far fetched to doubt some things that modern scientists would accept as fact. But science isn’t afraid to learn, to evolve, to accept change as and when it happens. Science yields to evidence, not mere conjecture, and as someone who considers himself a bit of an amateur science (and sci fi) buff I gladly wait for the day when someone sets forth some solid proof for their theories.
But until then, no. I refuse. I refuse to listen to people whose view of the world and the people in it is so warped as to suggest that we’re all a bunch of braindead drones and there’s only a select few who can see the light. It’s the same reason why I don’t entirely buy into religion either, the notion that there’s a select few who are worthy, it’s petty tribalism, straight out of the Dawn of Man sequence in 2001.

Conspiracy theories are just that, theories, but I think even that word is giving them more credit than they’re due. Theory suggests that all they’re lacking is a practical application, when what they’re lacking in reality is any semblance of credibility whatsoever. They’re conspiracy tales, stories cooked up by throwing whatever dregs of “information” have been found in the gutters of the internet and left to stew until some watery thin solidity appears.
Belief is a contentious issue, and a deeply personal one, but beliefs should be held to question. Take away the ability to question them and you’re left with blind faith, the human trait that has led to such wonders as the Crusades and ISIS to name but two. Thus far only the anti-vaxx crew are in a position to genuinely harm life through their beliefs, but it’s the beliefs themselves that are the source. Much like a weed, certain things have to be killed at the root before they can disappear for good, but when a root is so deeply buried what can we – oh god they’re here, helppgana’ebebae//././

THIS IS THE ILLUMINATE. WE DO NOT FORGIVE. WE DO NOT SOW.
EXPECTO PATRONUM.

 

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xoxo, The High Supreme Grand Wizard of the 13th Chamber of Amenhotep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insert Token To Continue

diversity

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the following post may not be universally popular or accepted, the author acknowledges this and assures you that he does not give a singular fuck.

There’s been a lot of hoo-ha recently, well actually over the past few years there’s been an almost permanent state of hoo-ha over something or other, but the most recent hoo-ha is to do with that most venerated of awards, the Oscars.
On the surface, where most people dwell, it’s a pretty simple gripe. Where are all the black Oscar nominees? Where are the nominations for Idris Elba and Michael B Jordan and all the other actors and actresses of colour who turned in great performances in the past year? All the hashtaggers want is for the Academy to be me more open and inclusive, which in 2016 should just be happening without saying, and that’s not so much to ask, right?
Well, there’s a bit more to it than that in the eyes of this old grouch, and it’s a result of some rather recent and rather grating phenomena that this post is even being written.

I write this post as a person of colour, a colour, not necessarily the one most people are concerned about. I write it as someone who likes to think of himself as a creative, be that in terms of writing, musically, or however else. I write this is as a lifelong, diehard fan of film and television, a rapacious consumer of all things visual. So it is not lightly that I write the following words.

Representation is not the same as equality.

Let me explain. There comes a time when it comes to racial equality where something stops being mere diversity and turns into tokenism. There is a certain point where people stop being, for example, employed based on their merit, and are rather chosen to fulfil some arbitrary diversity quota.
What does this mean for the employee? Sure, they’ve now gotten into a good job, where they can no doubt work hard and do well and therefore earn lots of money. But are they not disappointed that they got in by virtue of their race rather than their degree or experience? Are they not a bit miffed that they were chosen purely for being from a deprived background or because they speak with a  certain accent? I don’t know about you, but when someone is assessing me I want it to be purely on the basis of my achievements, without the undue influence of the colour of my skin. In fact, I think it’s almost insulting.

It’s borderline patronising to go to a person of colour and award them something that you know they haven’t deserved, but are getting simply because everyone else is. There are no doubt actors who deserve to win awards, and they are the ones who are nominated by the academy. David Oyelowo and Chiwetel Ejiofor stood shoulder to shoulder with their fellow nominees based on the strength of their performances alone, and though they didn’t win, they were undoubtedly still proud of being considered as having given one of the five best performances of the year. Oh, and Denzel fucking killed it in Training Day, but that’s another story.
But what people seem to want is the grown up equivalent of a participation sticker in primary school, an “everyone’s a winner” pat on the back at the end of a football match in which you were trounced 20-0 by the opposition and fluffed a penalty. Now imagine being in that scenario when you’re an artist, when you’re a musician or an actor. Imagine somebody coming up to you and essentially saying “You’re getting awarded this simply because you tried, not because you were objectively the best, not because nobody else was good enough, but because you had a go and you’re a bit special.”

Not just that, but by focusing on black actors and directors as being under-represented, what does that say about every other ethnic minority? That they’re not good enough? They weren’t historically oppressed enough? They’re too much of a minority to be taken seriously? There are Indian and Chinese and Middle Eastern and Eastern European and Latin American, among many others, people working in the film industry out there who don’t have nominations yet also don’t have any social media support arguing for more representation. As Armond White put it, it’s a case of “the Least Favourite Token,” isn’t focusing on one race exactly the kind of behaviour that liberals like us should be discouraging? In fact, isn’t singling out anyone based on their ethnic background a basic act of racial division?

If the above all sounds a bit too Breitbart for this blog then you’ll have to excuse me, as though I am without question a liberal, I also believe that in the 21st century liberalism has a tendency to stray into tumblr hysteria in the face of increasingly weak provocations. There are issues which are pressing, issues regarding climate change, race, gender, socio-economics, the problems with entrenched elites, power structures and tax dodging corporations, many causes that require genuine attention.
But at the same time the online world has a tendency to latch onto the newest hashtag and viral video, turning any issue into an echo chamber of unqualified hyper-left wing soundbites and mean spirited jibes directed at detractors and conservatives presented without a shred of irony. Yeah they’re on the other side to you, does that mean their opinions are completely invalid?
Before you cry bloody irony I confess openly that I have been guilty of the above in the past, sharing posts from AAV and The Guardian that suit my views, my agenda on a given matter, while decrying any arguments that may be made by the other side. But I’ve changed, I promise*.

There are certain matters on which there is a clear right and wrong, Britain First will always be a joke, the Tories will always be a gang of animated Etonian plastic puppets led by a man who face fucked a pig, Katie Hopkins will continue to be the result of a laboratory experiment combining a melted candle with Satan’s soul gone wrong, but 99% of issues have valid arguments that can be made for both sides.
It would be a denial of the power of human thought, as well as a clear rejection of the informed electorate any democracy requires, to sit so staunchly on any one side of any one issue, that goes for the left and the right. Any normal, well rounded person will have things that they take different stances on.
You may be a Christian who supports social welfare yet opposes gay marriage, or a rich man who opposes higher taxes yet also lobbies for action on climate change, and like me you may yet be finding your proverbial political feet.

So back to the issue at hand. I’ve been reading a lot of posts from across the web, from the Guardian to the National Review, from all points of the spectrum, all the while trying to avoid the hyperbolic and overly simplified dross from the likes of Complex and HuffPo that will no doubt have armies of teenagers up in arms in their bedrooms.
The Oscars are a venerable institution, the first ever entertainment awards, running uninterrupted for over 80 years. In cinematic terms they’ve seen everything from the introduction of colour to modern day CGI, from actors like Clark Gable and Marlene Dietrich to George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, from epics like Ben Hur to modern day box office behemoths like The Dark Knight. For some jumped up Facebook users and paid by the word newspaper columnists to suddenly pipe up and accuse the Oscars of being outmoded is like a four year old insisting he can teach a university physics course better than the professor, it’s laughable. It shows a complete lack of knowledge of the subject as well as disrespect to those who actually do, the critics and scholars, people who study both film as well as those who have studied society and race. These are the people who can comment on this issue with any real authority, the ones who have the experience and knowledge necessary to have opinions with any weight to them.

It’s yet another example of social media taking divergent issues, mashing them together into a nice and provocative catchphrase, and suckering in legions of would be activists who will then do the customary liking and sharing of innumerable hastily typed out fluff pieces by Vice interns looking to get some tasty clicks. It’s the world we live in, where people can’t actually see that their faux outrage is nothing more than another trend being set by a growing army of people who seem to do nothing other than get offended by literally everything ever. I want to care, I really do, but I’ll be damned if the little Libertarian in me doesn’t want to just sit back with a cup of tea and laugh at the people falling over themselves to make the next offence train before it leaves the station.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to just say really right wing things and watch people struggle as they realise that it came out of the mouth of a bearded 21 year old Indian boy, someone who occasionally gets pulled aside for a “random” search at the airport, someone who by all supposed norms should be a dyed in the blood liberal waving peace flags and holding vigils for Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. I’m not saying I don’t care about people being shot, or about refugees, or about race relations and gender equality and everything else, just that I refuse to join people who like to simplify things to a basic right/wrong binary.

We live in a complicated world of, as I said so eloquently (if I do say so myself, if I do say so myself) in my New Years post, “Opinions as fact, Bullshit as opinions” and “Insanity as bullshit.” But by the oft repeated liberal ideal of free speech, everyone is entitled to spout whatever opinion or bullshit or insanity they want (within legal reason of course). I’m allowed to spout this long winded and poorly structured rant onto the internet and there’s nothing you can do about it, likewise you could share a post from The Mary Sue that I seriously disagree with and you can happily not give a fuck.
It’s both a blessing and a curse, and one that must be treated as such. Jesus himself said that we should do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves, and as an occasional Hindu who sometimes believes in Karma it all basically boils down to the age old adage of “what goes around comes around.” Spread bullshit, receive bullshit. Jump to hyperbole, be prepared to face it from the other side. Spout an opinion without any facts or research to back it up? You’d better believe there’s someone raring to do the same to you from behind their keyboard.

Much like the world in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, or just every single fucking exhausting day, it comes down to the same ol’ thing. People just need to think for themselves. They need to stop just like something because everyone else is, or sharing something they haven’t read/watched and thought about, or jump on a bandwagon simply because it’s the done thing. This post may have started out about the Oscars, but that was honestly just a springboard for the rest (it wasn’t really, I just ran out of shit to say), and as always it’s the issue surrounding the issue that is by far the more interesting thing to write about and hopefully to read about too.

xoxo, The Angry “Not quite brown enough for an Oscar outrage” Guy.

 

 

*promises meaningless and unlikely to be held/fulfilled