Grain

Crystal tide washing over
Billion strands swirl rough
Churns out turns whisper
Darting vortex reaches
Grain flung broken void
Abyss dark the fall
Ascension lower yet
Breathe in sink fast
Once broken always last

Yellow complexion sick
Rough out system
Torn skin sliding stain
Yet for one more
Sliced to size human
Scrape toward form
Hunched shadow
Program over pain
Slice of self remains

Why do we succeed?

As I sat in a compulsory motivation talk the other day, picking apart logical fallacies and scientific inaccuracies, I got thinking about the above question. Why do people succeed? Now a lot of people will have a simple answer to this question. We succeed because we really want to; the more we work, the more we reap and the more we succeed. Some may, however, put it down to luck – the people around you in life, your opportunities or demographic. Some people may say it’s in the stars or the hands of an external being; our fates are not in our control because we are puppets of a creator.

I don’t know how people succeed because, in my opinion, I haven’t succeeded yet. I have no experience with a feeling that I have done everything I want to, or well enough. I have succeeded in many parts of my life, with a lot on the way, but success is surely also the big picture. Some of this is a product of time, such as a family and raising children in the best way. Some of it is down to dedication and perseverance while some must be down to ability and predisposition.

But then to a large degree, especially in the Western world, we have large control over even this. We have no overarching cast system holding us down and while some may have it easy form the get-go, the majority do not. We all have access to education, social systems and supports. We can forge contacts, work our way up, do degrees and doctorates – apprenticeships and internships. A system I am subscribed to and benefiting from right now.

So if success is the result of yourself and your opportunities, largely equal for all, what about those with limited capabilities? Why is it fair that a mentally disabled person be deemed less successful than a person lucky enough to have genetic gifts? Is this really how life is, only the ‘normal’ people fulfil their objectives?

What about a lot of my friends. People who have depression, anxiety, sexual and physical trauma. No matter how many opportunities they have had, their progress is stunted by an array of disorders, none of which are their fault. Isn’t that a kind of cosmic randomness, at least on paper, which has no specific meaning but a lot of consequence? I don’t think they should see it that way. Their successes are just as important and impressive as our own. It all depends on the person.

Now I would like to think success is subjective and should only be measured by the persons view. You cannot, for example, look on a gardener with no family and say “you could have done so much more” When the person feels both successful and fulfilled in their life. While people will occasionally be devil’s advocate and pretend they have succeeded while they get through the day on drugs and stolen goods, deep down the reality will usually be very different. This is another reason success should only be judged introspectively; if you judge others, they will protect their egos, get angry and start believing it themselves. If you let them alone, the process will be slow, but they will change their priorities.

Thinking about our success may actually help us. Life after all is many little targets and steps, each one building on the rest. In this way, success can be largely quantified. When you have an end target, it is a lot easier to tell when you have succeeded.

What we need to remember is that life is infinitesimally short. Everyone could think up a thousand times more targets than are humanly possible before we die. That isn’t the point. To me, I want to succeed at things but do them well. When I was twelve, I didn’t just want to play guitar – I wanted to be awesome. When I was doing my exams, I didn’t want to pass – I wanted to ace them. When I start my new career, I don’t want to sit under someone for my life – I want to be above them.

When I start my new degree I don’t want to scrape through, I want to work day and night to compete with the top. And, when I’m old and grey, sitting on my deathbed, I can look back at my few individual successes and think “I fucking succeeded the shit out of life”.

Why the Israeli-Arab conflict is extremely complex, and why I still support Israel

I don’t read the news very often. Instead, I tend to read history textbooks and watch independent media videos that seem relevant. However, the conflicts between Israel and the surrounding Arab world have been hard to avoid. Every day at the moment, I inadvertently catch some news piece about Palestinian civilians being brutally and mercilessly murdered by the IDA. Children have been blown to pieces, quite literally, by misplaced rockets. Much like my own country in recent times, alongside mainland Europe, the commonwealth and America, terrible things have occurred. It’s easy to hate a country when civilians die on the opposite side. For example, I still greatly resent the politicians who made the decision on Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq was a brutal dictatorship, this is true. But it had nothing to do with terrorist attacks. We attacked them for oil; destabilized them and now people are being slaughtered and genitally mutilated by brutal, yet typical, Islamic militants.

Islamic countries are the least stable in the world. They are often massively uneducated, highly violent and tribalistic, socially oppressive and aggressive. This is a call, for me, to leave them alone – not interfere. Their societies will evolve much like our own; attempting to speed this up will only result in millions dying and a slower change. However, in the same breath I cannot blame people like G.W.B or Tony Blair for the evil coming out of Iraq right now. These organisations are made up of individuals making individual decisions; the burden is on them and them alone.

I would extend this thought to Palestine as well, but I know better. I know the history of the region, I know the current situation and I know where it is going. I know that Israeli citizens are much like mine, divided but civilized and peaceful; charitable and kind, with some fringe elements. Israel was created over 60 years ago. It is surrounded by Islamic countries which are unstable and violent remnants from caliphates. Just 60 years ago Israel fought their first defensive war. They managed to win with sheer initiative. They fought against Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, for their very existence. During this war, Israel captured Gaza and the West bank. The West bank was, at this time, being ruled by Jordan, the Gaza strip by Egypt. 30 years later, they fought a second defensive war. The yom Kippur war. They were attacked by Egypt during a holy holiday, taken completely by surprise. Without the USA’s operation Nickel grass, Israel would have been wiped out. As it is, they airlifted millions of tonnes of military equipment in a month. Israel fought back and won.

Up to this point in History, Israel and the Jewish people held on in the most tentative way. 6 million murdered in German concentration camps in the Second World War. Just a few years later, the Arabs were spoiling to recreate this scenario. Again, 30 years later and as recently as 2006 – Lebanon, ruled by the supported terrorist organisation Hezbollah, fought with Israel. Without warning, they fired rockets into Israel, attacked patrolling tanks, murdered and capture soldiers. Like with the previous wars, As soon as it began it was over. Israel Brokered a peace deal with outside, Western intervention and it ended. We are like Israelis and our governments would be just as terrified and scared in this situation.

Now you may be wondering – what has this to do with the current situation? Israel has killed civilians and still builds on the West bank. They have. So have we. World War 1 and 2; millions – tens of millions counting the conscripted, untrained civilians – were brutally murdered. Most of this was on purpose. Germany was the first to directly target civilians, such as those in munitions factories, but we also followed suit. Because these wars were fought in self defence, were the civilian casualties any less? No. But the context makes a big difference. Firstly, If you are criticising Israel you must criticize every civilization in history in the same breath, else you are a hypocrite. Wherever war is fought, civilians die.

I am concerned with the outcome and Israel’s actions toward this conflict. You may know, Most of Palestine’s aid comes from Israel. Food, medicine and water – all is given away regularly. Without this, thousands would starve to death – Children and adults alike. In return for this, Hamas the democratically elected government of Palestine indiscriminately fires rockets into Israel. Most of these are shot down, but occasionally they land on schools or houses. Hamas do not fire these because they know most will be shot down. They fire them in the hope that one or two will get through and kill someone – anyone. Each dead Jew is a victory, and this is the same for a lot of surrounding countries.

So, Israel does care about Palestinian civilians. But why are they murdering them? In fact, Israel is using a lot of the same military technology the US does. They use guidance rockets and precision airstrikes. This is not perfect technology, however. In the act of targeting specific Hamas members and militants, some are bound to kill civilians. This is because rockets either go astray, or civilians are in the vicinity. Israel has done two things to stop this happening. They have dropped leaflets, used text messaging, television word of mouth… Every possible media to tell civilians to get out of the Hamas dominated zones. The Hamas response? Face rockets with bare chests. Stay in the area and become martyrs for Islam, in the war against the Jews.

It is pretty hard to imagine this, given the recent propaganda, but Hamas treats its people far worse than Israel. Any money Hamas receive, usually from countries like Iran, they spend on the military. They deprive their people of rights, food and water. They systematically torture and murder/imprison their own people on the basis of no evidence they are co-conspirators with Israel.

In the end, I see an ambiguous territory – Palestine. The people have no idea what is good for them. They are imprisoned in religion and violent oppression. The last time these people were liberated was under the rule of Israel some 60 years ago, where they were made citizens and liberated. The best that could come without Israeli intervention is another 100 years of the same. Daily rocket attacks. There will be millions of imprisoned, tortured and oppressed Palestinians without a hope of liberation, least of all from the surrounding Arab countries. The occasional Israeli casualties will mount up while they continue to develop on the ambiguous territories of Gaza and the West bank due to an increasing population and perceived religious entitlement.

With Israeli occupation and the defeat of Hamas, I see a much better future. The population will have access to clean water and proper housing for the first time in a long time. They will be able to practice religious and social freedom without any deference or coercion. Women and men will be equal in all aspects. Eventually, without the violence from the elected Hamas, Israeli hardliners will fade. There will be majority support for diplomacy with less radical politicians. This will result in either a unified Palestine/Israel under one peoples, or individual states with sovereignty. I would rather have bloodshed in the short term and a peaceful future than bloodshed and turmoil for the foreseeable future. This, of course, is up for debate. Israel has repeatedly shown itself to be the more peaceful, civilized people I the past, whether this is with the withdrawal of the Gaza strip or the recent peace deals with Hamas; despite them being ignored or broken by Palestine almost immediately. So, this is my take. I could write pages and pages on this issue, but my conclusion would be similar. All I know it, the situation is far more complicated than the media and the UN gives it credit.

The only other possibility, of course, is Palestinians revolting against Hamas. This is a distinct possibility in the near future, given the Arab spring and the fact that around 35% of Palestine vehemently dislike Hamas. And the result will be even worse. Hamas will brutally murder hundreds of thousands while it clings to power. Once overthrown, it will be replaced by a facade; the thin veil of change thrown over a power hungry, Islamic successor. Four or five regimes later, and after multiple attacks on Israel by the ever Islamist regimes which don’t recognize the Jewish neighbors, there may be some peace. Devastated by civil war, with no infrastructure, Palestine will take decades to recoup – during which time any number of terrorist groups could break the tentatively held democracy and change, starting the cycle all over.

The Philosophy of Militant Islam

This post is dealing not with Islamic ideology, a subject unto its own right, and not without many schools of thought, but with the essence of actions by Muslims. I will focus on Iraq, for reasons clear to most in my area of the world, as it can be generalised, even to other religions.

If we are humans and, as is the existentialist view, not a product of divine creation, existence precedes essence; our actions, therefore, cannot precede our justifications. We have no artisan, as Sartre pointed out, to guide our purpose, nor our design. Our actions are our own – freedom is inescapable, no matter the Psychological self-deception we undertake to prove otherwise. Our existence is linear and our actions are weighted.

Given that God, in at least the sense of absolute purpose and morality, of a species parallel to self-deceptions, does not exist; our actions are the sole justification of our living. They are the template for humanity; a wheel of finite choices that dispel ‘faith’ and embrace full accountability. This is the despair of humanity, in that our choices are limited by simply being human. It is also the anguish, for every subjective choice we make, the decision affects everyone, and yet our justification is always lacking. To deny this is a lie, evident unto itself that the position is erred, that there is futility in fighting it, and also anguish in that freedom.

By essence I mean the nature of man, wholly defined by our embrace of choice. Inaction is itself a choice from the finite; it has the same anguish, the same deceptions and the same despairs.

The recent fall of Mosul is not of my concern. It is an example of nothing more than rather basic geo-political and ideological co-variables at work; an instance that has been predicted many a time. It does, however, showcase the essence of a religious person – specifically a Muslim.

The finite choices available were to fight or to not. Under The above humanistic philosophy, we can say this. The decision is in both ways that of free will. This is not the problem, although there is one. Your actions both define man and, more specifically, your own demographic of men. They also have tangible effects on human beings, the most egregious and nefarious of which, in this case, relate to the women. Their anguish over this decision would not have been as a result of two indistinguishable or ambiguous outcomes being weighed, as this decision is far more simple than most. It is, however, distorted directly due to their predisposition to religious doctrine.

The biggest lie in their life is told by their religion. That if they ran away right then, they are not culpable. Women are, as is said, far less than a man. You should not, as is said, fight your ‘brothers’. Why would you die at the hands, then, of your brothers, for the welfare of women and children, and their freedoms? Freedoms which, likewise, are condemned by the religious leaders all too often, and at the core. Religion provides the ultimate, deceptive justification in hindsight. It takes what you know to be true, distorts it, allowing you to justify the ultimate selfish, narcissistic choices.

Of course, without the anguish, and without the causal relation to all others in equal respect; what good is it defending them? A decision, previously of the simplest philosophy, and with an equally simple answer, is weighted by the delusions of Islamic religion. The ultimate defence mechanism, which eliminates the inter-connectivity of our actions; instead relating them to intangible lies, is a medicine for the human condition. Fairy tales and doctrine, all for the soul purpose of alleviating people of their humanistic duties, and in doing so, making it the much easier option in life to do nothing or do the worst, often one and the same.

The perfect past and the real religion.

Something that strikes me as being a common theme in religious arguments is appealing to the past. Islamic theologians, Christian philosophers. Hell, even religious scientists, most famously Newton. (Einstein did not subscribe to any mainstream religion, including Christianity, a common myth) Look at what religion did for our ancestors. It united people, inspired acts of charity – gave people a system of absolute morals. It did, in part, lead to a lot of the artwork – Michelangelo’s work, Caravaggio. Great. Nice story.

Now let me give you a parallel. You are arguing with a 24 year old Nazi. It’s 1941. He commands a concentration camp as a senior officer. His day consists of intimidating a conveyor belt of people on their way to a gas chamber. Sometimes he watches over a group of Jews as they strip the clothes off bodies. Now in your arguments, you bring up his recent actions. How the Nazi party commands majority support within Germany, a party which has already killed millions. A brand of nationalism which would destroy every person in the world that is deemed inferior.

During your conversation, the chief does not deny the Nazi parties ideology. Of course, he believes the policies are fantastic. His limited scope on evolution is all the proof he needs. The violence he supports is all contextual; for the ultimate good of society. God is on his side. Sodom and Gomorrah were necessities, a brand of humanity that needed to be eradicated – much like the Jews, he says.

But this doesn’t matter anyway. Germany has always been a bastion of perfection. The heart of Europe; propping other countries. A proud, strong race. A major contributor to science. Physics. Heisenberg, Geiger, Haber. Isn’t it worth ignoring the Nazi regime; the millions murdered and tortured, for the contributions of German people in the past?

I would like to say no. I would like to say this. The majority of groups can claim some achievements under their patronage. This is a given. Some groups can claim a disproportionate number of contributions. People involved in the age of reason, for example, were more prone to combating the dogma of the established church. Great achievements and actions help the future as examples, but nothing more. Our actions are not judged by the positive actions of our historical counterparts. We are not pardoned OR incriminated by the collective actions of the past.

Now last time I checked, the only ideology which institutes this kind of ethos is – you guessed it – Christianity. 6000 years ago God made dust, or earth… Or something… This dust he used to form a man. (Appealing to the contingent universe and the egocentrism of man – we, in all our splendour, could never have arisen from nothing. Dirt is different) then God reverse engineered this man to make Eve out of his… rib. Ok, yes. Sure. Whatever. This isn’t the issue at HAND. These two people, straight from the divine conveyor belt, ate a forbidden apple which was conveniently placed right next to them and, as a result, condemned all of humanity to original sin.

Maybe in this insane, religious zealot context, it is normal to use such logic. To me, history is only an example. A template for improvement. There is no other functionality, in my eyes, to history, other than to improve. So when I look at religion today, there is no redeeming factors. There is no place for an argument on previous achievement, just as there is no place for talking of the crusades or the Islamic barbarism, genocide and subjugation which originally spread the religion. The only thing I am interested in on a discussion of religion and its morality is the truth of today. The truth of studies, data and statistics. In these, you will always find religion lacking in morality. On positive influence.

This is what I am trying to convey. There is no argument of religion which can include the past and present. It is either a discussion of contemporary religion – an inarguably foul influence overall – or that of religious history. The latter is my interest. I have no inclination to argue over established, historical facts – a futile and meaningless pursuit. Distracting the modern issues with past facts is an effort to cloud the real issues.

Just as there are no redeeming or arguable positives of the Nazi regime found in its past contributions to Physics, there are, likewise, none for religion. There is only the religion of the now. A contemptible, twisted set of ideologies which present as a wall of dogma and oppression. If you agree to disregard the cherry-picked history of a religion, there will be nothing left for them to hide behind. Good luck ever eliminating this argument. It has been internalised as much as God himself in the hearts of all religious people.

What passes for ‘sexist’ nowadays’?

I saw a story about South Korea which went something like this. The government has funded female-specific parking spaces, marked with a pink cartoon charicature, which are also wider than conventional spaces. I am sure they had their reasons. I lived in South Korea for a long time. They have practically no social net for the poor; no retirement plan for the elderly. They aren’t going to waste money on something unless they believe they need it. South Korea is more fiscally conservative than the USA; they test better and have a more stable economy. The money the government spends, save that which is caught up in corruption (yes every country has it), is going to be wisely spent. So it is logical to assume they had data backing up decisions. Accidents, scrapes, dents, opinion polls, and activism, what have you.

But that really isn’t the point here. Well it is and it isn’t. The point is that there are a fairly large number of women, to a lesser extent men, who will indiscriminately point their angry, shaking fingers at a given situation and scream the hallowed, shrew words: SEXISM! Fine, ok. I do not deny there exists a measure of sexism in any society. Both men and women are subject to a broken, biased and downright unfair social and law system. But to use the word in such a way is rather… depressing. To reserve a word, with such extreme social connotations, is quite important. Just as we selectively impose ‘racist’ for both intent and action, we do not reserve the same intelligence, it seems, for uttering ‘sexism’.

Are there some actions which are inherently sexist? Can the context be disregarded for a snap judgement? If a man wolf whistles at a girl, is that immediately sexist? What about if they are married, or friends prone to joking around. What about gender assignment labels – pink for girls, blue for boys? Is this sexist? What about if you live in a society where women will predominantly recognise pink as a gender assigned label, helping society run. Is it still sexist? Would it be easier if a random colour was chosen for signs? Or should we end all segregation of the sexes. Unified bathrooms, gyms, schools. No choice in the matter for both male and female – anything deemed inherently sexist just has to go. Isn’t disregarding the choices of males and females to suit your own agenda sexist?

It seems to me the situations where such judgements are made are often, but not always, in error. The degree to which this error exists depends on a number of factors for sure, but there is never a contrite person when confronted with counter evidence. At least, none I have met. So set in their ways, these people usually double down.

So what of the South Korean parking spaces? Well say they had data, which I am sure they do, that supports the creation of such parking spaces. Showing preference for one gender based on practical needs is, in my book, not inherently sexist at all. This covers the width, now what about the little pink woman? Ok so… What about her? She is a woman and the parking spaces are in fact, for women. Quite a bit more practical than adding bold letters in a small parking space that can be recognised from any angle. Why isn’t she blue then? Or green, grey. Why pink?

Oh dear. Society has assigned gender specific colours. And by society, I mean both males and females. And by assigned, I mean personally adopted over time – there is no Dr Evil style boardroom conjuring new ways to subjugate people in strange, masterful ways. They are just colours – objectively meaningless – which happen to be useful. All women will recognise the colour. Does this make them bad people? I really hope not… I myself am quick to link being male with Guinness and Lynx deodorant spray. There is nothing inherently sexist about products, colours, sounds or objects being associated with one gender or the other. Not only is it a fleeting product of contemporary society, often gone the next century, but it is also has absolutely no function other than to make life a bit easier.

I conclude with this. If there is a resounding vitriol inherent in people, it should not be toward abstract concepts or meaningless whimsy. To re-channel  10% of the empty, incoherent and fallacious anguish directed at socially constructed issues toward real issues; the world would be cured of famine, free of war and, most importantly, liberated from obstinate politics.

Cogent elocution; the downfall of Gun toters

This subject beholds a myriad of arguments, opinions; tragedy and activism. A bi-polar, bi-racial issue; represented equally in almost any linear dissection of American society. A set of issues spiralling, entwined in free-fall. Influenced not with the language of politics or politicians, whose universal responsibility to majority shareholders renders action impervious.

The rights of man. The aspirations of evil thwarted by good men with positive intentions. Born free, live free and die free. Myths perpetuated by lies created by the broken minded.

-“They can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles”

Let us first not digress the nature of this belief. You are putting a cold, emptiness into the flesh of another human being. Tearing the veins that carry their life blood, rupturing the organs that sustain them. There was not a day in history when it was not understood.

There is no such thing as a heroism devoid of emotion. Of pain. The vision of a street lined with clad men, bathed in white light, Children coercing them for just one more look down the sights; A utopia but for one wretch is never attainable. All societies are dystopian in nature. As long as people constitute a society, they will be nothing but.

What do you do when your son keeps kicking your seat on the way to Disneyland? Your blood. Dependent on your work and skills. One mealtime away from escaping through the catflap and throwing stones at next door.  What do you do?

What about if he starts screaming too. Kicking and screaming. Kicking and screaming. Red faced, perturbed by the moral disconnect between your struggles and his pleasure. Grateful as a recipient to what he receives only. He escalates, this time a half-filled soda hurtles into the windscreen. He’s kicking and screaming and now… well now he is throwing things. Larger things. What do you do? Pull over to validate his behaviour with a McDonald’s toy? Enforce his actions? Treat a gangrenous leg with moisturiser and a tan? Wind the window down and let the laws of physics and human nature take their course?

I don’t know what you would do. I am, in all respects, closer to knowing what you would do through my observance than what I would decide. But I am one person. My thoughts and opinions and actions are one. Maybe 10 of me could make a decision. Maybe 20, 30, 50. Maybe 100 would make a reasonable decision. Maybe a 1000 would get it right, if exists such a term in our flawed predisposition.

Guns and America. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

Elliot Rodgers: almost the hero.

6 people dead. Random, individual – probably like yourself in a lot of respects. Names that don’t stick out either; Katie Cooper, Christopher Michael. Prime examples of people we will never meet and, under normal circumstances, will never hear of. Even if you subscribe to the notion six degrees of separation – a truly wonderful film – it is still quite alien. All of a sudden you are sad for them. Their families and friends and pets. Their teachers and carers; co-workers and pen pals. It isn’t the kind of sad you feel when your family dies. When your friend or even your pet dies. But it is enough to feel down. Enough to write some tribute or condolence.

I looked at the YouTube page of Elliot Rodgers. He seems similar to myself. An ardent enthusiasm for Pokémon. The kind of vice that says ‘I really am happy for once, fuck you society’. At least that is my take. (Blastoise really was my best childhood friend). But then, there are some troubling things there. Among the few things he posted were rants about society and women. I’ve never had sex and I want to. I want to be with a girl but they won’t have me. I am just too awkward; too deep for people. They don’t even look at me… I haven’t even been kissed. They always go for the Jocks. The captains of the basketball or football team. The guys who refer to girls as bitches and pussies to be tamed and abused. It’s so unfair…

And I just began thinking. Shit. This is a film. This is an American, coming of age romance. This is the beginning to 40 year old Virgin or 10 things I hate about you. This is a golden opportunity; a happy ever after enacting itself in real life.

Of course, It’s horrible. it didn’t end in a good way. It didn’t end with the cute girl with glasses being taken behind a closed door. It didn’t inspire the ‘American pie feeling’ where stifler grows up, Jim gets Michelle and the side characters get laid by a god-like European empress.

But was it really that far off? The ending is what… 15 minutes? Just enough time to have sex or die. Two choices, two endings. Two endings I don’t think are far apart from one another. This is hard to hear for some but we are all capable of murder. All capable of cold blooded violence. Rage induced malice. Milgram, in a simple experiment, showed this in the majority of people. Our primal instincts are animalistic. Natural selection does not simply recognise a ‘civilized’ society and delete our malice. Our rage. Our Psychopathy. It adds on top of it. These qualities have served us quite well until now; enough to be propagated.

So you have one main storyline. Rejection, humiliation, loneliness. The obscure, esoteric little geek in the corner. Who’s teachers and peers ‘know’ from the age of 4 that they aren’t really normal. Don’t really fit in. Aren’t ever going to. The loners at the edge playing with string and glue while all the other kids play tag and practice kissing. Ah, memories.

And you have two endings. Happily ever after arising from incalculable fortune or the other. You live under laws that allow guns for everyone. You don’t get the fortune. You don’t get the big break; the girl or the self-realization. Eventually you end the rut by punishing the people who hurt you. The society that tormented you.

Then we disavow. They are damaged, always have been. Their thoughts, writings, videos – all of these point to a disturbed sociopath with mental problems. The freak that lives next door washing his car at 2am. The human being you laugh about in a coffee shop. The kind of people that start half your conversations; the social satire of the freak. Then they act exactly how you expect. They were always that miserable waste of skin that was waiting to go off. Even their family subscribe to this in hindsight. Distancing themselves from their own genes. Their own environment. Their own society.

I think the point I am trying to make is this. The next time you watch one of these films, appraise it on realism and not on a euphoric, absent minded ending that fills you with unadulterated joy. Think of the millions out there who don’t get this watered down version of life. Likewise, the next time – and there will undoubtedly be a next time – hear of one of these shootings, really look at it rather than stopping at every point to utter ‘tragedy’ while ignoring the true, systemic reasons why a 22 year old fucking kid can so easily shoot a bunch of people.

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The rape scream

I have been following Cannes film festival since it started this year. Some of my favourite films of all time have premiered here and I see it as a bastion against mainstream, hyped nonsense. So I caught onto a story yesterday: Jennifer Lawrence made a joke. So excited was she to meet Cuarón, she made a rather risqué joke in front of many dinner guests. ‘I broke out my rape scream for you!… AAAH!’

Holy crap. Doesn’t she know rape is a REAL THING??! Doesn’t she know it is COMPLETELY out of limits for JOKING??!! This is the consensus amongst some people, with the majority finding it rather innocuous and harmless. Surprise surprise, much of her criticism comes from females. Despite rape being as big a problem, if not bigger, for males. But let’s ignore this glaring hypocrisy, you can interpret it yourself.

Let’s look at the facts. How many people are going to look at her joke and say ‘rape isn’t serious anymore’? None. How many people are going to look at her comment and say ‘I am going to rape the next guy/girl I meet’? None. How many people are going to even process this joke in a way remotely linked to an act of brutal rape? None.

Pretending our minds work in a way that intricately links everything and is, as a result, influenced by such jokes is pathetic. I don’t understand how people can use outrage as a form of reasoning and paint it as activism. You are hurting your cause by doing this. But that’s fine, I don’t have a problem with that. Your cause, whatever little fad name is used for it, is not worth protecting. It has nothing to do with the real issues faced by people. Faced by rape victims and potential victims.

The next time you inadvertently listen to a rap song and hear the word ‘nigger’ ask yourself this. Are black people insensitive of their own past suffering? Or are they trying to take some power back from the snarky little shits painting themselves as the protectors of society.