Trust

The downfall of all relationships fundamentally, is lack of trust or unrequited trust. Are any of us to blame to not trust someone else with ourselves when we are most exposed? Throughout human history and our own personal histories, there are a plethora of examples to why trusting someone is a stupid idea. Most recently an example that sticks out in my mind is Michelle Carter convincing her vulnerable boyfriend to kill himself. Let’s look at the bigger picture and take a look at Jeremy Corbyn who alluded to quashing student debt only to U-turn on breakfast television. It’s the constant battle between committing to people or person versus self-serving desires. In the case of Jeremy Corbyn, it’s saving his own skin and, in the case of Michelle Carter it’s quite probably an underlying control issue with a splash of psychopathy.

You can’t enter a relationship or elevate a relationship without first trusting someone but doing that you have to be accepting of the fact that trust is not unbreakable. I know someone who is wrestling with the words ‘love’ and ‘trust’ because they are both not mutually exclusive but intrinsically connected as ‘love’ can’t flourish without a solid foundation of ‘trust’. Personally, every time they say it, it makes me cringe and roll my eyes because the very concept of love is in itself, a fallacy created by romantic poets and perpetuated by greetings card companies. Unfortunately, until you can work out at least one of those concepts and whether you buy into it for the object of your affection, there can be no foundation.

As someone who spends their time as the beleaguered side-character in someone else’s movie, I find myself spending most of my time now, clearing up the shit made by words like ‘trust’ and ‘love’ or both. What I find is that people don’t understand that you can’t trust someone else until you start to trust yourself – look at me go, like RuPaul – with the things you expect of others. Yet, maybe there’s people out there who need someone to lean on to be able to begin to trust themselves with even the smallest things like making sure they haven’t lost their phone or are wearing trousers before they leave the house. Personally, I don’t see that as a good start to any relationship, romantic or otherwise, because that’s just parenting plain and simple. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of children yet more and more it’s like the world is just an enormous play group. Everyone is just scrabbling about for the best pens in the box and desperately trying to pair up with someone to hold hands with because that’s how it works in fucking Disney movies. Then, the dream of magic carpet rides collapses when you find out that the kid you’re holding hands with has secretly been helping themselves to your favourite crayons.

It’s an unfortunate shit sandwich that we all need to accept to both spare ourselves and my nights awake going around in circles with people. Most of the time, trust isn’t based in truth but irrationality and the pedestal we put others on rather than the lines we set for ourselves. Fundamentally, now and always, to prevent constant repeats of history, we need to first set our own standards of trust and – fuck it – love to hold others and ourselves to the mark. Obviously, it’d be easier for humans to be inherently trustworthy and self-less creatures in the first place, but that’s just wishful thinking.

Trust

Making Friends

I got talking for the first time with a new housemate who perhaps, I should have gotten to know better before I moved in with him. He’s five years older than me and the oldest in the house and strangely I got along better with him than perhaps I thought I would or so far, how I have been with housemates my own age. What he said made a lot of sense to me, in that being you never know who people truly are until you have to live with them in a student house. For the first time in a while, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure whether it was that he was genuinely good conversation or that the lack of reliable internet or company that made his presence that much more meaningful – despite this being the second conversation we’ve actually had in person.

The hours of conversation have made me think about what we all expect from life and that ours differ so dramatically considering like me, he is going into his second year of university yet at twenty-four. He was speaking to me about children and how he’d like to settle down in ten years and start a family with a wife, a few kids and a white picket fence. Naturally, this made me think about my future as a family man and the thought of doing the school-run makes me want to hang myself. Yet despite fundamental differences in our envisions for the future, I’m feeling once again a sense of déjà vu: finding common ground amongst the things we both say ‘what the fuck’ at. This common theme with how I seem to bond with people makes me wonder if this is how we as humans, generally connect with people.

I know it’s strange since in the 21st Century we typically see and hear through various forms that love (whatever the fuck that means) brings us together whether it be to find common ground on political issues or humanitarian issues. Is the reality of it all far more cynical? I’m not particularly bothered if so, considering a good complain about people I don’t like or the current state of the political climate is becoming a pastime for me. Perhaps that is the greatest downfall of the modern world – our core belief that love will win the day and singing songs in unison at charity gigs will unite us all forever more. I’m not disputing the feel-good-factor and the buzz from those sorts of things but I don’t suppose the light bulb was invented because we loved candle. Complaining about things and being united in our shared annoyance or how put out we are has led to some of the greatest human advancements. Whinging about horses and how it takes too long to get from place to place led to the combustion engine and in turn, complaining about pollution has led to the UK banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

True, not all our advancements have come from healthy complaining considering a level of unhealthy complaining has led to many a war or skirmish stemming from the very fundamental line: ‘I don’t like that they believe in something different to us’. In a world of expanding atheism and nihilism that phrase is changing quickly to: ‘I don’t like that they believe’. Perhaps that’s a completely other rabbit hole to fall down some other time but my point is, whether we accept it or not, the foundation of human cooperation is based on bitching about things.

I for one, have never made a friend on holiday with a conversation not starting with a moan about the lack of available sun loungers or that the salad is off. Maybe this is just me and once again, I’m over generalising by a few thousand miles but today is a testament to the theory and I’d like to say, I’ve made a new friend.

Hooray for bitching.

Making Friends

The Ban

I’ve just been scrolling through the onslaught of comments about Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military. My first thought was primarily: how the hell does what someone has in their trousers impact on their patriotism or desire to serve in the armed forces? Surely anyone who’s willing to go to places where their legs could get blown off is a feat in itself and whether you’re a man, woman or neither, it warrants respect. I saw a comment which of course came from a balding man with a red face that said: ‘it’s a mental illness, good to get rid’. In my opinion knowing full well that you could die in a war over oil or a religion you don’t believe in or have any stake in is the red flag, not someone wanting to be who they are. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for those who serve in the military both in the UK and elsewhere; with family members serving in the RAF but the thought of it to me, is something I just don’t understand and probably never will – unless of course, I’m conscripted or something. It’s an equation I can’t work out which is ironic as I’m not very good at maths anyway. So, anyone who stands up and proclaims a love for their country so strongly that they’re willing to possibly die for it is deserved of our admiration not persecution.

There’s the argument that medical treatment is costly on the military which surely, coming from the US government is entirely hypocritical considering how badly they failed soldiers in the past by getting them addicted to morphine. That’s another argument entirely but isn’t the whole point of America that it’s an idealistic nation founded on egalitarianism and liberty to do what you want and be who you are? Or I could just be missing the point of ‘land of the free’ entirely.

This whole announcement and reactions to it – which themselves are a real kick in the teeth for anyone with any faith left in humanity – really stirs up the larger question to why everyone is so concerned with what other people do and who other people are. Why are we, as human beings seemingly constantly outraged about people who are different or do things differently to the rest, especially when these people are doing nothing to encroach upon anyone else’s way of life? It’s not a typical conservative issue as seen here in the UK with Scottish Conservatives being openly gay and advocate for all LGBTQ+ rights so I can’t work out what it is. In all fairness to those hoping to pray the gay away from their kids or co-workers, the hot and heavy change of the 21st Century of people no longer being afraid to say might be daunting.

I was in a play in sixth form about transitioning called Pronoun by Evan Placey. There’s a great line that says that the idea of being tolerant is bullshit as to tolerate is something you do when ‘people’s music plays too loudly on the bus’. It’s true, we live currently in an emerging tolerance culture where we are coming out of the era of shame and repression. We’re not at normalising yet apparently because of the amount of unsubstantiated hate I’ve seen in comment sections alone today. It was Frank Underwood in House of Cards who said ‘you can’t get from a no to a yes without a maybe in between’ and as simplistic as it sounds we’re into ‘maybe’ as a global society regarding equal rights for everyone considering how progressive some nations are and how backwards others are – looking at you, Chechnya.

Personally, I think that everyone cares far too much about who or what people are. I honestly couldn’t care if someone was transgender or cisgender or straight or gay or anywhere on the Kinsey Scale. It was in Batman Begins that Rachel said to Bruce: ‘it’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you’. People in general need to take that on board a lot and stop caring about things that will never actually affect their day-to-day lives. I’ve quoted a lot in this but it really goes to show the sorry fucking state of it all when fiction makes more logical sense than our reality featuring Donald Trump.

The Ban

Humanity Market

I realised today after handing out my resumes with an unusual cheery demeanour that in a sense, no matter what job you are in or even if you are unemployed, we are all sales people.  Whether we are good or bad we are all individually pushing a product whether it be overpriced cinema tickets or ourselves to another human being – who perhaps, are selling that they are disinterested in what we have to say. Even the classic phrase ‘I’m not buying what you’re selling’ encapsulates everything about human life right now: whether we buy or sell.

Politicians are the perfect example of sales people in their human disguises to hide their true lizard appearance. Obviously besides that, they sell ideas and policies and speeches on a global scale making them perhaps the next evolution of your humble letting agent turd. Even Alex Jones of InfoWars is trying to sell you reality whatever the fuck it may be coming from him and I still can’t work out if he’s real or just a character like Keith Lemon or Borat. For example, earlier this year we had Theresa May selling the line – God knows why – ‘strong and stable’, a product which fell flat on its face and the people who sold it to her were promptly fired. So as Palpatine from Star Wars put it, ‘ironic’. Jeremy Corbyn isn’t doing too badly, only recently selling pints along with policies and socialist soundbites at Glastonbury.

The terrible, yet actually at times useful, Tinder is an example of people selling themselves en masse to other people for either the classic ‘good time not a long time’ or ‘something long term and serious’. Those four or five photos, description and a favourite song has led to perhaps the greatest open human market ever. It’s an actual manifestation of a clear late-stage capitalist society that we live in where literally even romance revolves around the act of selling and buying.

Maybe it’s not a totally recent thing and maybe as human beings we are all fundamentally buyers and sellers whether we choose to be or not. I’m out selling myself to potential employers for a job while perhaps a thousand years ago a nomad would sell themselves similarly to a chieftain to be a part of the tribe. Which by the way, is an excellent analogy that can be applied to anything like trying to convince the popular kids at school that you’re cool enough to sit with them.

So in conclusion, we are all prostitutes. Literally every time we open our mouths to tell an anecdote we are selling someone on that story for payment in respect, belief or anything. While there’s a taboo about being a sex worker and constant debate on whether or not it should be legal, the point, when you really think about it, is moot considering none of us are any different fundamentally. Whether you be an Evangelical priest or a nightclub owner we are all selling something and ourselves. No one is clean or exceptional in this massive thriving orgy we call human society. Just check out Tinder and see for yourself.

Humanity Market

Eye of the Beholder

The problem recently with movies is that I can’t ever work out who the villain is in things. The idea of a sympathetic villain has been around since the medieval morality plays like Macbeth and Dr Faustus, but they’ve really come into a life of their own in modern cinema. In the past, we always knew who the villains were in movies whether it be Nazis or something to do with communism. Hell, even fucking super-villains in comic books were colour coordinated being dressed in only secondary colours. It’s as if the fiction has come full circle again from those every-man plays of the dark ages to Injustice: Gods Among Us. Maybe writers on whatever medium are rediscovering that heroes and villains don’t actually exist.

It’s a reinforcement of the whole idea that I keep banging on about – reinforced by my day of binge-watching Netflix – that evil and good is defined in the consequence not the actions themselves. This thought has been evolving in my head and on this blog for a while now and its reflected in the actions of people all around us as well as the ones we see fighting alien armies at the cinema. It’s all about points of view and perspective because strangely even if everyone is telling a person that they are in the wrong based on the consequences of their actions, delusion happens to be a thick defensive line.

So, I was looking through Facebook’s trending section and read about, and the reactions to, Ivanka Trump’s G20 outing. Now what business does the un-elected have to represent the electorate on quite literally the global stage? Some attacked the decision while others defended it with lines literally like ‘Obama did worse’. Personally, I thought it was a dud move and I felt a bit embarrassed for her just looking at the pictures of her awkwardly sat there. It’s similar  to the incident with Buzz Aldrin pulling faces at President Trump’s speech about space; some said it showed the ridiculousness of the president’s position while others said that the former astronaut has horrendous facial twitches. Neither can be confirmed and both hinge on the eye of the beholder. While these examples aren’t about the relationship between good and evil but the point of what can be said on a simplistic level as what makes a good decision or a bad one.

It’s like The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish by Alexander Pushkin, recently made popular again thanks to its morals in a recent episode of Doctor Who. To summarise, the fisherman wishes a number of things from a magic fish who is bargaining for its life. The fish misunderstands the fisherman because it doesn’t perceive things the way that he does and brings ruin on the fisherman in the name of doing good. By the end, the fisherman asks for things to be returned to how they were before wishing never to have met the creature. On one note you can see it as ‘be careful what you wish for’ kind-of story but I see it as a story about perspective and that everyone who takes action on anything believes what they are doing is in the right, despite it being inherently wrong based on the evident conclusion.

Admittedly that was really convoluted and mostly mental masturbation but there’s a point in there somewhere. I doubt people who fight for IS do it thinking that they’re scum for doing what they do likewise to serial killers who often belief themselves on a righteous quest like a twisted fucking Zelda level. Convictions, whatever they are drive us and sometimes the outcome is good and others it’s just shit. There comes a point where I don’t feel sorry at all for those deluded idiots and I just get so incredibly bored. Like I said to a friend just the other day, when the reality of the consequences finally hit home, it’ll fuck them harder than Ron Jeremy.

Maybe that’s why. People are so scared of just waking up from a dreamland made of conviction. It’s time to scrap all the slogans like ‘strong and stable’, ‘make America great again’ and god-damn ‘eat fresh’. We all just need to stick to the one: wake up and smell the fucking coffee.

Eye of the Beholder

Synchronised Skydiving

When we are alone, do we invite disaster? Say if there was someone else with us at the time we make some decisions to tell us that’s the stupid one, would we be more likely to make the right one? For example, I think if someone was with me this morning, they would have told me to demand a refund when I was served a cold toffee latte. That’s on a minor scale but it could be said that being alone is both the best of times and worst of times – freedom yet free falling.

I’m not saying that group mentality is any better take the London Riots, that snowballed until it became an avalanche because of too many voices all harmonising in anger, rising quick and hot. It’s that one other person, that sole company, just to lean on is what we all fundamentally need. That person may change from time to time but in that time free-falling becomes synchronised skydiving. For many people, this comes in the form of marriage – which personally I don’t see any merit in – and for others it means having lots of friendships which amount to the support. The latter is, in my experience, an incredible fucking hassle.

You’ll find the people who choose to be alone just haven’t found someone to prop themselves up on or have and that other person isn’t one for propping.  It’s then people do seemingly strange things that most would raise an eyebrow at in 2017. Hobbies like trainspotting (literally, not shooting up in Scotland), journal keeping or collecting sex dolls. Speaking of which, aren’t those quite literally a last resort in the quest to find someone to lean on and someone to be intimate with? A physical manifestation of an imaginary friend which has the added bonus of that you can fuck them and perhaps, feel less self-loathing than you would if you had PornHub bookmarked in your internet browser. It’s become such a modern phenomenon that the industry is legitimately affecting UK legislation right now as there’s going to be a review, and rightly so, into having an import ban on child-like sex dolls which should be called robots more than anything these days considering how responsive they reportedly are. Hell, the fringe movement is becoming so technologically advanced that Channel 4 created a sci-fi series based around the controversy of customisable robotic partners becoming more popular than real ones. In that sense, is it true companionship and actual sex or is it just advanced masturbation?

That was a bit of a tangent but the point is that as humans, we’ve individually tried to find a herd for ourselves – and this is where I’m trying desperately not to sound like a shitty quote from any of seemingly endless Ice Age films. We’re not smarter together and perhaps not stronger either, but unity gives us a weird conviction and purpose. It’s the kind you can’t find on your own and even the lone ranger of the Great American Desert needs their horse.

On the other side of that of course, is that peace of being alone. Not particularly intrinsically reliant on one person and comfortable with the knowledge that one day there might be or won’t be. That’s where I am or so I think, I don’t know, ask me again tomorrow. Yet right now perhaps like millions of others in this weird blank space of self-devised solitude, it’s okay. While it’s not synchronised skydiving, it’s more like how Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear put it: ‘falling with style’.  Still, like I said, ask me again tomorrow.

Synchronised Skydiving

Death’s Digital Name

I had a nightmare about space, which is a first for me considering the usual bad dream consists of the woman I care for being roundly fucked while my grandfather scolds me for a bad school report. This cosmic odyssey  seemingly tried to tell me that no matter how much space we have to move and get away from each other, we’ll always feel choked. A strange notion considering that humans are supposedly herd creatures but now after feeling something that livid, it makes me wonder that perhaps we are inherently solitary.

In my life right now, I’m not sure I’ve ever been so quite literally alone yet contrastingly I’ve never felt so trapped within a fish bowl of what I can only understand to be my own creation. Perhaps this is a common feeling amongst the modern, 21st Century human being as we are all trapped within our own well documented lives available at the click of a mouse. Long gone are the days where we can move away to a new place and start anew because whether it be a horrific photo of us that our mothers post on fucking Facebook or incredible debt, something is always following us around. Is that a new notion or one as old as the universe itself and the grim reaper just does business under a different, digital name?

Of course, it’s an entirely hyperbolic thought but I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking a piece of me dies every time I go onto Twitter. Perhaps Perry Como’s ‘Killing Me Softly’ is more relevant in the Digital Era than we ever thought it could be while we swim around our own little goldfish bowls. It’s a cliché to say, yet it’s true: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result and if that doesn’t surmise human life, I don’t know what will. Like literal goldfish swimming around the bowl, repeating the same three seconds over and over expecting to find some new patch to make our own.

If we all hop into our dream convertible and drive into the sunset we would all find a place where no one would know our name. Yet the dream of true freedom would collapse entirely as soon as we access an ATM or that someone finds internet connection and discovers that you’re a former checkout assistant from Whittlesey. Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a connected human kind destroys the idea of individualism and the freedom to be individualistic in a way that has forced us all into a mass hysteria, exploding in our pants at the thought of the new iPhone. Most employers in 2017 use social media to check out potential employees and fire current ones because their definition of humour differs – hooray for civil liberties.

Perhaps the most hopeful ending to any film I’ve ever seen is that of The Dark Knight Rises where Bruce Wayne is able to erase himself and Selina Kyle from everything using a ‘clean slate’ device. Even within the film, the writers note that the idea is ludicrous and the world today is far too small to truly start a new life, whatever the fuck that may entail. Yet it’s a thought that while wholly fanciful is perhaps the underlying dream ending for us all whether we be that mysterious stranger or a former checkout assistant. This is exactly why the final frontier is so attractive: it’s mysterious and endless and just out of reach so some arsehole somewhere hasn’t ruined it yet.

Death’s Digital Name