Resolutions

So, the new year has come and gone bringing the grim reminder that despite Jules Holland’s tacky festive buzz, things are still the same if not fucking worse. I can’t decide on if it’s the weather; my inability to make productive, meaningful decisions; or this weird caffeine-induced nausea I have from my relatively late-night coffee. This time last year I started watching The Good Wife on Netflix and right now as I type it’s playing on in the background making me once again wish I picked anything other than media production for a vocation. I blame Julianna Margulies’ dead eyes, in all honesty.

I have key things I need to resolve for this year, the first and primary priority is doing the coursework I was meant to start several weeks ago but alas, each time I go to open the study books I have the strange urge to tear my fucking eyes out, and impale the bloody empty sockets on the nibs of the new gel pens I bought from WHSmith’s for the new semester. It’s dangerous how much I’ve thought that hypothetical fantasy through although it’s refreshing to be different from fantasising over all the joy I would be revelling in the roads not taken over the past two years of university. Perhaps I should take my own advice that I gave to my housemate who a few weeks ago was in a rage over ketchup consumption: ‘jerk off and go to bed, you’ll feel better in the morning if not with less self-respect’. I wonder how many wars have started in the world thanks to world leaders not taking that on board. Its fun to think we live on a planet where Bush declared war on Iraq because in some old dried up, hill-billy fashion he was just sexually frustrated. If not fun, at the very least sadly ironic and just another feather in the cap for toxic masculinity. Well not just toxic masculinity’s fault – maybe Margaret Thatcher, for example, just felt weird about getting intimate in No. 10 and decided to fuck the worker’s unions instead.

Christ, that was a tangent.

In other news, another sound resolution that I will definitely not take on board – or possibly even acknowledge in anyway outside of this piece – is to eat more vegetables because that incredibly cliché Jamie Oliver bullshit resolution is much more manageable than pressing matters. I don’t even know why I don’t eat more vegetables and I’m blaming all the vegan-bashing that I’ve been doing for the past year or so. I could go back to living off cabbage soup again and loose more weight that I desperately need as I slip out of David Tennant’s Doctor skinny and into the zones of an early-two-thousands Victoria Beckham. The M&S steak habit is becoming decadent, after all.

Two resolutions are enough, right? Fuck it, it’ll be fine and no one needs to be told what to do by an arbitrary date invented by Romans. That perhaps is another nugget in this weird ramble that should be taken on board more by people for self-improvement in the ever-arbitrary new year. Damn, I’m quite impressive with this sort of thing when I stop talking about myself.

Holy shit, I’m a narcissist – resolution three: don’t do that in 2018.

Resolutions

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

Buckethead

So, the battle for net neutrality is waging in the US and while protected by EU legislation, I still look at it with the same look that you give to a fully-grown man passionately kissing a body pillow at comic con. It reads simply as ‘what the fuck’, which in this context isn’t even a question anymore it’s become simply a statement at both the man with his body pillow and the late stage capitalism we all find ourselves in. Having a television in the UK requires you to have an expensive licence to pay for the glorious BBC and in-part, Channel 4, and that alone makes me want to throw the thing out of the window to claim back the one-hundred-and-fifty-pound fee. Which in turn, makes me far more irritated by the fact –  as a hopeful immigrant to the US someday – that soon Americans will probably have to pay that bit extra if they want to go onto Facebook as part of some weird social media package lovingly brought to you by Comcast.

I was watching an interview with our lord and saviour Kevin Spacey when he said something to the effect of that sometimes he thought that the story lines in House of Cards were at times unbelievable, something he was proved wrong by the evolving political and social environment of the USA. It goes without saying that at some point that the strange satire is no longer restricted to the US and becomes a global thing where politics has become more of a scripted reality show than Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Just take a look at the recent UK election when Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ nation came crashing down and became the ‘coalition of chaos’ that she warned would happen if votes were cast for her rival. The night, for me, was summed up by the line-up from Mrs May’s own constituency where she stood on the same stage as actual Lord Buckethead who then dabbed.

Surely that’s the metaphor for our current political climate. Lord Buckethead dabbing gets thunderous laughter while Paul Ryan does the same in a bit to say ‘hello fellow kids’ and the reception is cringing faces. Every day a new scandal about the Trump family emerges from the woodwork and everyday people jump to defend him or attack him throwing around words like ‘libtard’ or ‘impeachment’. It’s got to a point where I find myself living in a Monty Python sketch and like The Meaning of Life, it’s starting to get old and drag, becoming more and more nonsensical.

I try not to talk about politics – try and fail. It’s a polarising subject mired in hatred and most importantly: irony. The irony most explicit comes from a single headline: ‘Donald Trump voter despairs as Mexican husband set to be deported’, courtesy of the Independent. Another nail in the coffin to demonstrate how darkly comic the world seemingly written and devised by the League of Gentlemen – just today I was asked by the barber, ‘are you local?’.

Buckethead

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

The Fence

I’m at university and it’s as if I’m the only moderate in existence. The centre doesn’t seem to be appealing to the masses anymore exemplified by hordes of Facebook keyboard warriors fighting it out in the comment section of some inflammatory article on the terrorist attack in Finsbury Park yesterday. Meaningless buzz words such as ‘red pill’ and ‘cuck’ are being thrown around with everybody losing their minds more over the words of some burnout from Oslo has used rather than the atrocities taking place on seemingly a weekly basis in the UK. Even the people calling for support for the victims and not making a vile attack on civil liberties a political, virtual throw down are being shouted at through cyberspace. I can’t think of an atrocity that has taken place in the past year that hasn’t devolved into people on either side of the aisle using it as a way to push one agenda or another.

Being able to see merit in both the right wing and left wing has become such a taboo in our globally divided society especially demonstrated in university cities where the right is hounded to the ends of the Earth for saying ‘hey, maybe Trump’s intentions of an economically viable America isn’t such a bad thing’ while the leftist who shouts ‘die cis scum’ at the top of their lungs in the city centre goes viral and revered by the masses. On the other end of the spectrum in the pubs of our cities and villages across the UK and perhaps the world, the opposite takes place only rather than economic viability, Trump’s policies on wall building are hailed. Being in the middle of politics is like being bisexual with people on either side confused and terrified shouting at you – and I – to pick a side.

The lack of choice to make your own opinion; being forced to pick a side by establishments such as The Guardian or The Sun and the equally polarised Milo Yiannopoulos or Michael Moore, I find in itself an attack on my right to free speech. Even places that promote free speech like Facebook and Twitter create echo chambers with ‘suggested pages’ and click bait to put the individual in a neat box to fill a site quota. You are either left or you are right, the middle is a lie we tell to our innocent children so they can both believe in Santa Claus: a man who dresses in red and hands out free gifts to the world; and that we have to experience some form of pain to earn money, a lesson that forms the basis of the Tooth Fairy concept. Right?

It strikes me as obvious since those on either side of the argument keep saying it to me and to each other: ‘liberalism isn’t viable’ and ‘conservatism isn’t viable’.

They say life is all about moderation so why does this not apply to our politics? It borderline depresses me how divided people are on things, and yes, I do understand that we as a species will always have our own opinions, but it seems the digital age has ushered in casual extremism from both sides of the aisle and that no one seems to look at it with even the slightest scepticism. Growing up in a family where one side was left and the other was right, sitting on the fence has become comfortable like a bed of nails to a sadist. The fence is a unique viewpoint that more should adopt; you’re able to see the perfectly manicured grass in the right garden, the well-constructed decking in the left garden, all while being able to observe the unfortunate abundance of dog shit no matter where you look. I for one, do not enjoy the idea of having it all over my shoes and would encourage anyone to join me in that philosophy by saying: ‘stop throwing shit at each other like animals, have a beer and get on the fence. There’s plenty of room.’

The Fence