#NotMeToo

There isn’t a gay person on the planet that hasn’t been the target of some sort of abuse in their life. We all know that.

From that perspective, I can’t help but wonder what the current “#MeToo” fad is actually achieving, beyond providing some treasured sense of shared victimhood. Is there anything meaningfully positive that will result from this mass movement, or is it all just temporary background noise that will eventually fade leaving no trace? 

My suspicion, of course, is that is exactly what will happen. Nothing. Like all the trendy outpourings on social media, it doesn’t mean anything. It will achieve nothing. It is, really, just a pointless exercise in posturing, groupthink and fashion-following, waiting to be replaced by next week’s outrage / mourning / tragedy porn… 

I’m sure that the motives are good ones, but these things come along so frequently nowadays that they are like episodes of X Factor, and just as disposable. Primark empathy, one pointless hashtag at a time… 

#JeSuisCharlie #BlackLivesMatter #OrlandoStrong #Remain #StrongerTogether #LasVegasShooting #TrendingNow

It always feels great to be part of a “movement”, doesn’t it? That sense of belonging, of shared objectives and feelings. 

I felt the same when we all crowded into Old Compton Street after Orlando, or into Trafalgar Square after the Ian Baynham murder. We’re all together. Never again.

Of course, it’s never “never again”, is it? Nothing changes and that transient collectivism fades rapidly as other causes attract our attention. My feeling is that this is no different to any other modern day “cause”.

I’ve been wolf-whistled on the street. Is that sexual harassment? 

What about being chatted up by a drunk cougar in a bar when I didn’t want to be? 

How about having my bollocks grabbed by pissed members of a hen party in a gay pub? 

They’ve all happened to me. Everyone, of any and all genders, has had some sort of sexual harassment in their lives. So? Does that make us all victims? Does that make us all in some way worthy of applause and approbation? 

No, of course not. I just want to know what all this attention-seeking is going to achieve, because at the moment I can’t see that it’s achieving anything apart from jumping on the Weinstein bandwagon. “I’m a victim too, don’t forget me”

I refuse to be a victim. I am stronger than that. I have plenty of demons of my own and I will deal with them in my own way. 

What makes me more than a little contemptuous of this whole nouveau-victim movement is that it seems to stratify into a hierarchy of victimhood. “I’m more deserving of attention than you, get behind me.” People seem to be outdoing themselves to be worthy of sympathy (and more frequently these days, compensation) than everyone else. 

Professional victims is a phrase that I use quite frequently and it gets more accurate every day.
The other side of all this Hashtag Handwringing is the opportunity to wallow retrospectively. You see this all the time on anniversaries of events. 

The thing is, it’s almost never about those events, but always about those that are left. Hillsborough, 9/11, The Admiral Duncan, even Remembrance Sunday are more about those attending (in the latter case, usually including me) than anything else. A desire to be collectively associated with something seen as dignified and respectful in order to be seen in that reflection. 

It’s a perfectly normal human need, this desire for association, but it is still a little parasitic.

Advertisements

Bloggers get on my tits.

Bloggers get on my bloody tits, they really do. 

Just because they have a bit of free Internet space that they can’t resist filling with self-serving narcissistic bullshit and selfies that expose vastly more flesh than is appropriate, doesn’t make them a fitness guru, a nutritionist, a model, a shining example to women/fats/gays/[insert convenient “oppressed“ minority here], or a campaigning icon. 

It doesn’t make them an expert in anything, it doesn’t give them credibility or validation and it certainly doesn’t mean that other people need to take them seriously. It just means that they are a motor-gob with a hugely over-inflated sense of their value in the world. 

The X-Factor generation, where the anticipation that easy and totally unjustified fame and fortune is not only possible but expected, have taken over and journalism has been replaced by millions of little vanity videos. 

It used to be bad enough when this sort of thing was limited to addicts of high-caffeine energy drinks, but now every illiterate, incoherent moron seems to feel the need to broadcast to a disinterested world their every bowel movement. 

Stop it. Just stop it. [Copies and pastes text into my blog…]

“Education is bad for America”

Newsweek published an article suggesting that the majority of Americans feel that education is bad for America:

Kind of makes sense, I suppose. 

America is a capitalist, authoritarian society. For such a society to work effectively, a large percentage of the population has to be easily manipulated and controlled. 

Education undermines that. Education makes people question, analyse and examine their surroundings. It makes people doubt the status quo, look for better solutions and gives them the tools to enact change. All of this goes completely against what America requires to work effectively. 

For those élite who run the country, the ideal American is one who is intelligent enough to perform the menial tasks required of them, but not so intelligent as to question why they are not seeing much of a return for their efforts. So the answer comes in a multi-pronged form: low education standards, high reliance upon propaganda from state-sponsored bodies like churches and law enforcement, and a media bias that borders on brainwashing. 

Combine that all with a constant and very useful state of fear – America is by far the most fearful nation on the planet, and that’s a great way to control its population – and a vastly exaggerated sense of patriotism that goes well beyond jingoism (what’s with all the flags? Do they keep forgetting where they are?) pushed by state news services like Fox and there we have it: A usefully stupid population that pretty much guarantees that the status quo will be maintained for those at the top getting rich at the expense of everyone else. 

Convince such a stupid people that they and their country represent the best in the world and the system is almost self-sustaining. To try to do something different is unpatriotic and un-American. 

Convince this nation of drones that their country is actually highly individualistic, and the idea of suggesting systemic change becomes positively treasonous.

The sad thing is that although this corrupt and corrupting system is far worse under Republicans, it is still sustained under Democrats too.

Out here in the rest of the world, we look towards America and wonder what it must be like to only have a choice between far-right and extreme-right options.

And we feel pity.

Trump vs. Freedom Caucus

The one good thing that the ongoing Trump farce has done is crystalise what “conservative commentator” means. 

In the good old days, it used to be a handful of over-shoulderpadded types like Michelle Bachmann, Ann Coulter and whoever that nutjob hockey mom was from Alaska. All very noisy people, but generally safe to ignore because they were never going to be taken seriously by anyone. 

But now that average American IQs have dropped sufficiently to put the Cretin-in-Chief into the White House, they’ve finally achieved a prominence that, even in the height of their usual weekend of autoerotic asphyxiation sessions, they’d never dreamed-of before. 

Shouty, rude, constantly interrupting, identically dressed, all needing their roots re-doing and desperately under-sexed, they are the new Muppet Show. Elevating background noise to an artform to such an extent that even poor old Bill O’Reilly is struggling to keep up. 

Watching the fight between Trump and Freedom Caucus is the embodiment of the mythical battle of wits between unarmed opponents. 

It would be great fun to watch if it didn’t represent America’s rigor mortis…

EU Referendum: For all the right reasons, I want to vote out. But I just can’t do it.

I really don’t think I can do it. I really want to vote out – and for all the right reasons – but I really don’t think I can.

These days, this country seems to be overflowing with bigots, racists, morons and idiots of all descriptions. Senile old fools wallowing in an imagined nostalgia for an England that never existed, skinhead simpletons who need to be taught how to put a cross next to their UKIP or Britain First candidate and bleating Sun Sheep idiots who think that what “they” have over there is less democratic that what “we” have over here.

This country, with its lying, fraudulent political representatives and unelected & corrupt corporate and media masters, are the drunk uncle at the party who spoils it for everyone else. We do not remotely deserve a space at the adults table in Europe.

These days I am embarrassed to be English.

The European project is far from perfect. It is not even good. But it can be. In time, hopefully, it will be. It is certainly heading in the right direction. It needs help to get there, and the vast experience of a country like ours that has learned the mistakes of over-ambition some time ago would be valuable in that process.

But instead of being a positive and valued contributor, we are disruptive and determined to ruin everyone else’s good work. Instead of seeing Europe for what it is – a chance for this country to be a major part of something great again – we are petty, self-centred and small-minded.

I cannot make my mind up whether or not our lack of ambition is an implicit admission that we know that we are simply not up to the job.

I want Europe to work. I WANT Europe to have closer political and fiscal union. I WANT a United States of Europe. I want all of that and more and I want it to work well and I want it to be able to compete equally with the other economic giants on the world stage.

But with us sabotaging the whole process, it will never achieve that.

So in order for me to get for Europe what I want, we have to leave. I have to write my own country off as a stupid loser and vote out.

But… There’s always a but…

I just can’t do it. At the back of my head there is a nagging voice that keeps reminding me that before too much longer the ageing blue-rinse racists, bigots, mindless Little Englanders and knuckle-dragging UKIP simpletons will grow old and die. Their pathetic world view will become irrelevant and will finally achieve the meaninglessness it deserves.

At that time, our children, and subsequent generations, will have to deal with the fallout of the referendum decision. I cannot in good conscience deny them the only one bright thing in their future: membership of a strong, powerful union of countries.

So although Europe doesn’t deserve us, and despite my firmly held belief that at least for the next decade Europe is better off without us, for the sake of future generations, I will be voting to remain.

I just hope that Europe has the patience to wait while we do some desperately-needed growing up.

Over to you, kids. Please don’t fuck it up like we did.

EU Referendum Voting Dilemma

Missive to the Evening Standard, not that they’ll print it…

Sirs,

Deciding which way to vote on the EU in June’s referendum is actually really difficult.

In my view, closer political, economic and financial union for Europe would be a massively beneficial thing. It adds power, it adds efficiency, reduces costs and improves lives and security. 

I would even go so far as to suggest completely removing medieval throwbacks like the concepts of countries and local parliaments and just have a pair of elected parliaments – an upper and lower chamber – in Europe to make continent-wide decisions. City, district and county councils with enhanced powers would become the highest level of local government. I see absolutely no problem with that as a concept. 

The tiny-minded Little Englanders would have major strokes and hissy fits even considering that degree of loss of their precious, but essentially meaningless sovereignty. But I really think that is the way Europe should go. 

However, us being the bloody miserable little killjoys that we are, they can never do it while we’re on the outskirts, mindlessly handbagging everything. So we need to get out, because we are spoiling it for everyone else. 

Given all that, my inclination is to vote to leave, but voting the same way as all the village idiots like Johnson, Farage, Galloway, the quitter Duncan Smith and assorted braindead and racist morons that support UKIP, BNP, EDL and the lunatic fringes of the Tory party, really put me off doing it.

Parents of child don’t want to pay 20p a day to save him.

The Mirror wrote this story about a kid being denied a prescription for household cornflower:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/boy-who-drinks-cornflour-could-7346614

400g of cornflower costs 62p in Aldi. This kid gets through 150g per day, so about 20p-worth, or about £6 a month – a pint and a half of beer or half a packet of cigarettes.

This has nothing to do with cost, then, because any parent in ANY situation can find £6 a month to save their child’s life. So instead of just picking up a few packets with their normal shop, they expect to waste time getting prescriptions and making special trips to the chemist, wasting their time, the doctor’s time and the pharmacist’s time.

Their entire position on this is that they expect the state to pay for something they can very easily afford themselves. It’s a “moral” position, and a quite warped one at that. When did we become so utterly weak and spineless in this country that instead of paying 20p a day ourselves, we expect the state to pick up the tab?

When did we become so incapable of self-dependence, so flaccid and feeble, and so parasitic that 20p a day becomes a moral crusade? “Because druggies and gluten-intolerant people get help” is beyond feeble as a response. It is a way of saying that you really can’t answer the first question so you’re going to ask a different one as a distraction.

The people that think their position is right are, in all liklihood, exactly the same people that berate refugees for wanting to come over here. Perhaps if some more of us stood on our own two feet instead of taking every opportunity to sponge off the state, that point might be valid.

As it stands, it is just laughable, because we are far more weak and feeble than any refugee is.