So many people have blogs and opinions.
So many people work in government and in media.
So many people vote opposite to how you would like to vote, whoever you are and whichever side you are on.
For every activist conference there’s a tonne of people at home who don’t care and don’t need to, or who have accessibility needs that haven’t been addressed, or feel disillusioned with mainstream campaigns, or who can’t make it out to London again with the cost of train tickets being so damn high. (That last one is me, sitting inside having a nice day reading and not making a damn bit of difference to the world.)
So what can we do to actually make a difference as an individual?
1, Become the ultimate opinion former.
Like a mighty greek hero, you have fought legendary battles, and you have endless wisdom and talent and grace. From on high, your demands are heard across the land, and no one who hears them can argue against them, persuasive and influential as you are.
Never mind the fact that most people quit, and most people don’t get views, and most people aren’t talented (by definition), even the people with the most influential positions only have a fraction of power compared to the masses.
2. Seize the means of production!
Like a slightly more sneaky kind of hero, you slowly and secretly acquire huge wealth and capital, until suddenly, you have enough to throw off the balance of power. With one fell swoop you give up all your electrical generators and factories and vehicles up to the mass of the people, finally fulfilling the promise of communism, the people rejoice to now own the means of production, and you gracefully bow down and out to return to your common existance, as an equal and a comrade.
Never mind the fact that there’s a reason why no one person owns all these things, chances of infiltrating the capital system on this kind of scale as a fake dash this plan down to nothing, there’s no way you could stop yourself either betraying your “for the people” values or genuinely turning to the Dark Side.
3. No, I meant, literally, seize the means of production, like how Marx actually meant, in a physical revolution!
Ooooohhh. Yeah, nope, we already established this, people aren’t going to follow you, you’re gonna be hugely outnumbered and it’s not going to work.
4. Fine. How about; Make a new system, that people can’t possibly say no to, like Elon Musk!
You look up, sweating, from your desk. It’s taken years of study, months of work, thousands of pounds, everything you’ve got, but you’ve finally done it, at last; you have created a better system than capitalism, one that gets everyone what they want for themselves, and doesn’t need to convince them, and wears the skin of capitalism…surely it will take off immediately, an overnight sucess, change happening in an instant, seamless, joyous, and new!
Until you realise that you’re not Elon Musk, and he’s not even a politician; even he only focuses on one single issue at a time, like climate change, or the rise of AI. And these plans only appeal because they aren’t political, because they don’t fundamentally challenge anyone’s beliefs, they just offer better alternatives, like Tesla’s, that are still damaging to the environment and don’t address the problem of human consumption.
What can we really do then?
As individuals, we probably all go through something like this process when we think about what change we can make, I know I do.
Of course, the depressingly real answer is that individuals, we can’t really do much. We can make big strides, like when Beyonce lit the world up talking about Feminism because of that show, or start incredible movements, like Sampat Pal Devi who started the badass Pink/Gulabi Gang of India, (which if you haven’t heard about you must read more about right now!), but no one individual came make everything happen.
Which means we have to pick our battles, which, we notoriously hate doing!
Picking battles means acknowledging that there are some things we can’t do, some causes that will have to be neglected, and it feels like a failure.
When I started this blog, it was about refusing to pick a battle, using the resources of others to create a cohesive-bullet-proof-one-size-fits-all place for everything, for all the battles.
But over time you have to admit the truth, you’re just one person.
So what are you going to choose to do?
Let me know in the comments if you relate to this struggle, I want to hear from you for the next part in what is apparently now becoming a series, which is going to be about how people make these decisions, and the more voices I get, the better it’s gonna be!
Thank you for reading, if you enjoyed this please “like” to let me know, and also consider checking out my facebook page to stay up to date with my posts and see other articles I post, thank you!
Disclaimer: This actually isn’t very communist, but it is pretty grumbly, so you can use it to rile yourself up about the mistreatment of the unwashed masses, if you are that way inclined and have the energy for that kind of thing.
What I wanted to write about is about all the ways the job search and the job market is annoying, as it appears to me as a 20-something almost-nobody who ~kinda~ knows what they want and has had ~some~ jobs, who isn’t the 30 year old Forbes-reading frustrated professional who desperately wants to make it in the world of sales who seems to exist in all job help blogs ever.
This is a list instead from the kind of job-seeker who seems essentially invisible in the world of job-blogs and advice blogs. I don’t promise it will be helpful, or that all of it will be entirely true or accurate outside of my own opinion, but I hope it’s a little relatable, and at least I can feel vindicated in releasing my frustrations and probably-jealous assumptions onto the world!
A list of totally-true facts about the job-search and the job-market as seen by me:
Companies do not care how long they make you wait.
To a huge company, you are just another name on a page, it doesn’t matter when you need to be working by, what matters is first and foremost what pace the company wants to work at. In retail at Christmas time, they’ll have you working within the week, in other jobs, the wait between interviews and training dates and paperwork can seem like an age…to you.
People do not work that hard once they are in the company you desperately want to be part of; no one does!
It’s a common part of work culture to see how much slacking you can get away with, and even people who mean well normally cut a few corners, because it’s expected and built in, some things will always be at the bottom of the pile. Normally this include things like paperwork and recruitment checks, which is great for people still stuck at stage one!
On the other hand, some people work way too hard, and it’s unhealthy.
At every job, there will be someone who can’t let a single detail go un-scrutinised, who will take all the over-time going, who knows everything and will help with anything, no matter how ragged they are run. Whether it’s because of the punishing nature of capitalism and they desperately need the job, or a psychological defence mechanism against feelings of inadequacy and shame, they are not as great to work with as you would think. Not only will their excessively high standards wear themselves down and make them irritable and impatient, but they will also wear you down, and make you feel even less motivated to do your job. This can create a super-imbalanced workplace, with wildly varied productivity rates depending on what mix of staff are in.
The qualifications and the pay for the job mean almost nothing once you’re there.
I’ve met social workers and psychiatrists who have slack more than support workers, support workers who slack more than those social workers, and retail workers who aren’t allowed a moments rest. “Slacking” is obviously a subjective term, and no one who is working and doing a good job could really entirely said be slacking, but it does sting when you know this laid back and chatty individual is being paid 8 times as much as you per hour, regardless of how hard they are currently working.
Climbing a career path is a lot about luck.
You’ve got to be lucky in the first place to realise what you want to work in. Some people never really get the chance, they are so pushed to succeed that no one checks what direction that should be in; beyond superficial questions about pay-expectations and what they are gifted at doing. Next, you’ve got to either have connections, or be confident enough to be able to make connections, or get hugely lucky in the job-application process gamble, to find a way in through the door. Then, you have to have the confidence to apply for increasingly responsible positions, or the resources (borrowed or earned) to take training to get to the next step. The people who manage all of this without the support of parents or well-connected friends deserve far more respect than they are currently given, because this lottery is often glossed over in favour of the job title we have at any given time, irrespective of how or when it was earned. This also leads into…
Age shouldn’t be a factor, but it often is. Many applications ask for full employment histories (even though this confidential information may not be relevant to the job at hand), assuming a life-time of work and jobs that alienates school leavers and young people. Not only that, but often people will hire younger or older based on the job; I won’t lie here, this one is based entirely on personal experience, but when was the last time you met a new hire in retail who wasn’t a teenager? It’s not just teenagers who want or who hold part time jobs, but the flow of new starters in retail seems biased to shiny-young girls and boys, and by contrast, more responsible jobs often feel intimidating without the years of experience that most other jobs demand
Minimum wage = minimum respect From pot-washing to hospital-portering to support-work to retail, many jobs fall under the ring of “minimum wage”, with some employers paying more whilst their advertising proudly proclaims that an extra 50p per hour counts as “highly competitive” in this world. Many minimum wage jobs do not care about your hourly break or even giving you a clear finishing time, let alone whether they will pay for the overtime or not, leaving workers to clean kitchens or shops on a needlessly stressful deadline at the end of their shift. Other fun practices of the minimum-wage gang are to be unrealistic about how much creature comfort a lowly worker could need, and make sure none of those are subsequently provided, e.g meals/vending machines, reasonable working temperatures, chairs, etc. And good luck if you think you’re going to get a rota! Many employers don’t prepare rotas far in advance, or they use your “flexible” contract to change your hours weekly so you don’t know where you stand, and then expect you to step in at a moments notice! And of course, most of them want you to work any hours, night, holidays, weekends, evenings, because the concept of office-hours and weekends only really exists for people better than us lowly-minimum wage maggots. Of course, sometimes it will be better than this. But for a minimum wage packet, it’s a high gamble to take.
Retail is the harshest job. Even though all minimum wage work is universally accepted to be pretty terrible, it’s not all created equal; retail is exceptionally harsh And I specifically use the word “harsh”, not “hard” or “difficult” or even “challenging”, because in retail you are uniquely on display, and subsequently you have unusually high standards required of you. You may get the same formal breaks as any job legally requires, but you don’t have any personal freedom whilst you are on the shop floor, to a trivial and impossible level: many staff are not allowed water during their shifts on floor. This extends to the freedom to sit, or otherwise appear relaxed, or chat with a co-worker. I’m not arguing that people should have to rouse their retail employee from loungers in order to get some service, but a certain amount of reasonableness from employers seems to have carefully avoided shop-floor managers, who expect 6 hour shifts without breaks to also go without any of the sitting, eating, chatting and human functions that melt seamlessly into other, non-retail, office-based jobs. The aforementioned social workers would be horrified if suddenly whipped into this special type of hell, but it’s often not acknowledge that the hardest part of retail is the level of boredom and discomfort that is almost purposefully built-into the job to keep you hating your life.
It can often feel impossible to get into a job field
From stay-at-home mothers who don’t have recent job experience to people who have been mentally unwell and unemployed for years, the job market seems designed to keep people out of it. Despite the fact that enthusiastic and hard working people can exist in any demographic (even if rusty or untrained) job application forms are clearly designed with a certain kind of person in mind; the kind of person with two or more recent employers who they can give as character referees, for example. Whilst these are sensible sounding measures to keep the wrong kind of people out of your hiring process, it’s also a great way to make people who aren’t employed feel useless, embarrassed, and chronically incompatible with the world of work. Unless companies actively decide to court a more varied audience, anti-discrimination laws alone do not do the job of making applications any less hostile.
To conclude, and to (sort of) stop whining at last
One company that had a very nice application process and I promise I’m not #Spon here, was Scope, because the application allowed for leaving sections such as employment history blank, with explanatory notes along the way saying “It’s okay if you don’t put any information here, but it might help us get to know your experience a little better”, or something like that. As an applicant, it makes you feel a lot better, and on a more even keel with your prospective employer, because it shows a modicum of respect and decency, even though you are a lowly job-seeker. It really stuck out to me, and that in itself is pretty tragic I think.
Job seeking is a difficult job for any of us, even if we enjoy the game, finding the right jobs and using the right keywords, knowing what we want and making sure we match up and we follow all the right processes, it’s still tinged constantly with tones of disrespect, and even contempt, for us as workers.
This contempt follows us into the world of work and at some times, feels like it’s not even worth it, considering the jungle that we’re competing to get into; the reality once you are in a job is that it is ruled by competing egos and conflicting duties and unspoken expectations, rather than the pure utopian purpose that pulled you in during your job search. A lot of my own bitterness is in realising that people are still people, no matter what job they are doing, and not everyone is playing to the same standards. I’ve concluded that the best we can do is keep working at our own purposes both now and in the future. In the meantime, might as well work hard on being that coveted “great team player”; for your own sake, let alone anyone else’s, because it will make each day more enjoyable, easier, and god knows the damaged and motley crew that make up the mass of “the working people” needs a little bit of help and respect.
Born Sexy Yesterday is a trope building on the born yesterday naïve character, normally found in sci-fi and almost inevitably the main character’s love interest. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it, which excellently presents and explores this concept:
One of the issues raised in the video is that this trope is rarely reversed; rarely does a naïve male creation become an object of desire based on his pathetic-ness or childlike-ness. This is what I wanted to explore more.
The Easy Answer?
The explanation the video is that it is a male power fantasy, of a generic everyman character becoming the most impressive and most wonderful man and subsequent love interest of the Born Sexy Yesterday woman character. The video goes on to look at the reverse, in which women find the naivete unhelpful and unappealing, and fall in love with the male character despite his childishness.
I think this is too simple, and there is more to it than that.
For one thing, there is multiple layers involved in any piece of media.
First, the story layer, where the characters live, and make their choices and have their own preferences. This is the in-world perspective.
Second, you have the viewing layer, people watching the show and making their judgements on it, and paying money to see it.
Third, you have the production team, the writers and directors and actors and camera people and the whole crew, who hold their own individual and group vision for the media and what story they want to tell.
To truly undress this trope and why it fails to work in reverse, you need to look at each individual layer. We’re gonna start with the character layer, because it is the simplest.
The characters are the simplest layer because they are fictional, even though they are the part people tend to focus on and argue about the most when talking about media; it’s easy to focus on the character’s and their motivations because they are what is right in front of you on the screen. But whilst it seems to matter whether Korben Dallas (by Bruce Willis) fancies Leeloo (by Milla Jovovich) because of her innocence or because of how it makes him look by comparison, it’s ultimately impossible to answer. Fictional characters can’t have a real or genuine motivation, except that which is created by the production team, which means you aren’t really analysing anyone unless you look directly at the production team. (incidentally this excellent video summarizes this more eloquently thna I ever could)
This is also what leads to the “empowered bikini battle woman” trope; if a character loves her metallic bikini armour, that’s fantastic and great and there’s nothing we can do to argue with that, or analyse it, or tell her it’s problematic, because she is fictional, as is her desire to be almost naked, so she’s not going to change her mind, because she is nothing more than her creator’s vision.
With that, we need to turn to the production team:
“Production team” is hugely oversimplifying the process of creating media, I know. There will be creatives and there will be market analysts and there will be producers and everything in-between in the creation of a blockbuster film, I know, but one thing everyone in this section has in common is being part of the process of creating the film, together, as a team.
Coming back to Born Sexy Yesterday, there will be plenty of production reasons for the trope coming into being. One could be that the lead writer thinks it is cool, they want their main character to have an interesting love interest and also to have that reciprocated, and this sexy android programme is the perfect solution to that! It solves a problem of developing another character, because there’s inherently no real back-story, the lack of backstory becomes the character’s sole characteristic, and it is an interesting thing to see, you could argue, because fully grown but completely naïve characters don’t happen much in real life. (I say “much” because amnesia exists, but I doubt it’s usually as cute or adorkable as the Born Sexy Yesterday character is.)
Or perhaps it’s the marketing team’s idea, perhaps they’re onboard pushing this concept, because it’s been proven it works really well with the audience, it’s a popular proven plot mechanism, so knock yourself out with it! Maybe it’s the actors, they may have played this style before or they might find it interesting and moving and romantic, so they’re always happy to work on a story with this trope.
At this point it’s worth pointing out how male-dominated Hollywood is.
You can figure out for yourself how that might bias production towards representing male fantasies over female fantasies, or prioritising male characters development and characters over female ones, which leads to the same result. Looking back at the writer, if they are writing a story that is totally about a female character, are they really going to want to skimp on her backstory, or make her a blank slate? It would limit the direction of a character, at least at first.
But the elephant in the room and in the marketing figures is yet to be addressed. Let’s rectify that.
Finally, the audience.
The complicated mass of humanity that gets translated to a box-office grossing number and targeted demographics and genres by the production team, that gets to interpret the characters however they want and argue about it until the cows come home …*Harry+Hermione vs Hermione+Ron war flashbacks*…
These are the part of the puzzle that drives production companies and define what works and what doesn’t.
These are the part that decide whether Born Sexy Yesterday is an entrenched part of pop culture or a gross creepy romance in one piece of failed media; no matter how romantic or entertaining the writer thought it was when they wrote it.
And this is ultimately why “Born Sexy Yesterday” doesn’t work the other way around; it doesn’t “sell”, however you put it.
The Problem The Other Way Around
Born Sexy Yesterday as a phrase probably makes you feel uncomfortable, the related suggestion of paedophilia is obvious when the trope is pointed out. And as pointed out in the video, the depiction of a consenting relationship is debatable if “she” is really a 2 day old computer programme; unable to realise that undressing in public is generally inappropriate; can we really assume she is capable of informed consent?
Of course, we can’t. Because that’s decided by the writer, or the audience, as they watch it. The character has no true consent or obstacle to consent, because they are fictional, so it’s impossible to definitely answer this question, which is complicated enough to define with real-life human beings.
So what do the writer and the audience decide as they watch it?
Generally, that it’s okay. Films like “Big” and “Fifth Element” and “Tron” work, even with these plot lines, and the ratings and the sales and the reputation of these films speak for themselves about how audiences received them.
So why do audiences say it’s okay?
A variety of reasons spring to mind. Reasonable suspension of disbelief; it makes for a far better film if this is a consensual relationship with a quirky character, rather than a perverted abuse of a vulnerable child-like creature (or, in the case of Big, an actual 13-year-old child).
Or perhaps plot-based explanations, such as a drastically accelerated learning process in a computer-generated programme compared to human learning, making her an equal intellect and non-problematic romance option, hooray.
Or perhaps it’s about what you see, what looks good must *be* good, if the character is represented *by* an adult then they *are* an adult, so it’s all fine and good. (Consent education is poor enough in most parts of the public that this works in real life too; drunk people are nowhere near as competent as a sober adult, but they *are* an adult, so it’s all fine and good, according to some schools of thought.)
The Gender Problem
So, finally, why doesn’t Born Sexy Yesterday work in reverse?
An audience fed on a diet of male main characters and quirky female sidekicks/love interests, excluding chick flicks which are a whole genre of their own, are unsurprisingly accepting of male main characters who meet quirky naïve female sidekicks who are literally “born yesterday” into human society. Like the video mentions, Born Sexy Yesterday can be seen as an extension of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or the Exotic Savage character, just another in a line of male power fantasy tropes.
This same audience, seeing it in reverse, would be expecting to see things from the male point of view, especially if you stick to the same genre, science fiction and fantasy. Seeing it from the Born Sexy Yesterday’s point of view, the consent issue becomes more obvious, and for most people, would taint the experience. If the Born Sexy Yesterday was the main character, it would only make it more obvious.
But none of the male fantasy tropes are exclusively or intrinsically male. People of all genders like all different kinds of people; dominant or submissive, stupid or smart, strong or delicate, although the media presents it as if these are intrinsically gendered preferences, they do not have to be (although, due to the magic of media influence, they do get disproportionately represented that way in reality too).
If media was truly gender equal, and reflected people of all gender’s desires for power and submissiveness equally, perhaps it would work in reverse. Unpacking sex and relationships as a power dynamic in which male must be strong and the female must be submissive would change the popularity of this trope; perhaps by making people more aware of the hugeness of the imbalance in gender representation, or by making people more sensitive to issues of power and consent in context of relationships between true equals.
Alternatively, perhaps there would be an outpouring of demand for story’s about strong sensitive women, who have lost their way, become grizzled and hardened by the gritty world of work they live in, who meet beautiful and delicate and semi-erotic man-children type-creatures, with long eyelashes and curious naivete about the big wide world, and open their hearts to loving and protecting them before the action sequence where the woman beats everyone up and is rewarded with awe and adoration from her sensitive creature-mate…
…Or maybe not. But it’s worth thinking about how we as the audience shape what is acceptable, and what becomes prominent in media, and it was fun to explore the gender constructs behind this interestingly gendered trope. Thanks for reading!
It’s lonely because you don’t understand how you are feeling, so you can’t just “reach out for help” because you don’t know what you need.
It’s tiring, because you oscillate between feeling desperately bad and feeling like you’re over-reacting; it’s impossible to figure out which and I tire myself out flipping between different approaches.
I try calming down, I try writing, I try to talk through my problems (picking problems out of the ether that might be causing this panic, because the emotions aren’t tied to anything clear…if they were, that would be manageable.)
I try addressing negative beliefs I might hold about the world until something makes me feel different, I try reassuring myself that it’s okay to feel bad or anxious or confused or whatever this is, I try reassuring myself that I will be fine.
I try beating myself up for being so over-dramatic, but I still feel dramatic.
It’s not crazy, I know.
I know in reality this is anxiety with a bit of panic, and the solution is to forgive myself for it, and to see a therapist if it becomes unmanageable, because they can help solve the problems that are at the root of your (generalised) anxiety. I know the solution is to be aware that I can be triggered into it, and to try and keep track of these things so I can limit them or predict them.
But this all sounds way too reasonable, and calm, and collected, and logical. When you are in that head-space, everything sounds crazy, and doubtful, and completely inappropriate, no matter how much you know that you are in *that* headspace again; it makes no difference.
One thing that I hate is how little we can control the brain. We know that everyone is unique, and we know how a lot of psychological problems are formed and fixed, we know that CBT has high success rates and people change their lives through it. But it still feels so lonely. It still feels out-of-control.
I have another confession.
I’m not “crazy”.
I hold down a low-wage job, a flat, a partner, a family that I am on good terms with, friends.
I don’t have support and I don’t qualify for it.
I know that I don’t qualify for it.
So now, you have guilt added in. I’m not the right demographic to confess to feeling crazy. I’m too proud to ask for help because I know from experience that the resources are stretched, and one middle-class girl person with occassional bouts of serious doubt and panic are not the government’s highest concern.
And apparently, not mine either. I tried to contact a private therapist once.
It didn’t work out, because they were booked up, so I gave up.
I’m not arrogant enough to think that I’m the only person like this, or that I should be at the top of any list. I just wish I could fix this myself, but quicker.
I’m stable enough to know I’ll be fine, but crazy enough to “suffer”; stable enough to know compared to others I hardly “suffer” at all.
Perhaps it’s incredibly self-involved of me, but perhaps if more people could relate to and understood and were able to willingly admit how “crazy” even tiny, small, almost inconspicuous mental health blips feel, then perhaps half the anxiety involved in feeling bad would go away. I think it would for me.
Until then, every so often, I’ll be imperceptibly “unwell”, I won’t get it labelled, and I’ll feel just a bit like a scary freak person, even though I should know better. Yay!
Thank you for reading! ❤ Please leave a comment if you ever feel the same way*! (*rational vs irrational, and shitty both ways.)
Cue feeling incredibly stupid and feeling incredibly powerless. You realise you are just a cog in an endlessly whirring machine of new and obscure programmes and files and sub-files and command prompts and .exe and .bat and oh my god why is it so hard?
We grow up with technology and we are so comfortable with it, we are so smart, we can use shortcuts to capitalise our letters and to save our documents, AND we can use a search bar. We are so smart with all our magical techno-wizardry. I can use a format-painter, aren’t I incredible?
But maybe, no, we’re really useless, and we know nothing; this blogspot by this random programmer man has said 30 different words and acronyms that we don’t understand in a 10 word sentance. Perhaps we are truly the uninformed and unwashed masses when it comes to technology, perhaps we are the ones who should be pitied and sympathised with, perhaps some kind geeky person should sort out our problems for us…
Cue realising that is what this kindly and well-intentioned blogspot you were in the middle of trying to read was trying to do.
If this is “support” for my problem and it’s giving me twenty more problems perhaps it’s simply me who is wrong, who isn’t worthy of tehcnology, who has ideas above their station, who should give it all up immediately and just give up and buy an Iphone and use itunes and throw all my money away, because seriously, do I even deserve money, when I can’t even make a back-up of a music playlist without existential angst?
Cue opening up twenty more equally confusing and equally kind hearted and equally terrible soul destroying code-tech-geek forums and blogspots and staying very very confused.
Ah! At last! A google result that looks simple and not confusing! Finally! We always believed it was out there, we never lost the faith, and at last, we have been rewarded!
And it’s the default Google Music help page. Again.
Recommending that I can stream music to my phone and even use my own music!
Wow Google. Real impressive there. Real technological, real presice.
(It wouldn’t matter half as much if you would have the answer I’m ACTUALLY looking for though, I’d forgive you in less than a heartbeat.)
But alas, you don’t.
Cue trying to download something else, maybe this will work. Cue trying to follow kind geek people advise. Cue learning something and feeling like it might work at last, gettting deeper and deeper into the tech-advice rabbit hole, starting to feel like it might make sense.
<The programme flashes up for a second>
<The programme flashes up for a second>
<The programme flashes up for a second>
<The damn programme is never going to open properly for you you son of a —– and you don’t deserve it to anyway godammit>
*close the other twenty windows you accidentally opened*
Mourn the tech goddess in you that will never live to see the light of day.
Mourn your playlists that you can’t make because you’re too impeded to be able to.
Curse the internet for making you believe you could do it. Curse the helpful commentors who couldn’t help you (despite you not asking them and them posting in May 21st 2011 about an unrelated topic).
Consider one last time if you’re willing to accept defeat…
<The programme flashes up for a second>.
If you read this and were inspired to help me with my technological feat, that’s fantastic. However, I am only a small petty person, and I’m not prepared to give any more of my life to these petty little programmes and codes and commands etc that refuse to work for me…. Until the next time. For now I’ll live not knowing how to properly back up my music playlists on android, because I know where they exist on my phone, and how to access them in theory, but can’t get the tool to access them to “open” or “install”, and I’m not even sure if that’s what I need to do to use the tool. Fun fun!
Hey’all. It’s been a while, because back in June, after I thought and sat about why the hell I was even doing this, I realised I had no idea what had happened to my original plans to lay bare the SJW mentality and bring humanity and dialogue and nuance to the whole special snowflake narrative.
Hopefully, adding “Journey” to my name is gonna get that all cleared up and done now.
I’m hoping to post more openly and honestly about the processes and growth I’ve been going through and have seen happening in the social justice culture, the hopefully #relateable struggles and realisations of what it is like to be constantly trying your best to be fair in a world that sometimes feels like maybe it wants to beat the shit out of you for that…
(Obviously, that last sentence couldn’t sound more “out-of-touch smug leftist” if it tried, but if you’ve ever said the word racism to other white people, hopefully you know that feeling and it’s not just me!)
So thank you all for bearing with me and hanging on, I hope you continue to hang on and I’m looking forward to trying this ever-so-slightly different tack on the coming months, so thank you for sticking around for it.
Obviously updates to the about page are pending, my initial utopian uber-equal resource plans were WAY over my level, and it’s unlikely a mere mortal could have ever achieved them in one lifetime, but that’s a whole other topic, so keep watching all these spaces for my thoughts on that, coming soon as usual.
The worst crime of being left wing is being “over-sensitive”. This is usually followed up with the second worst crime of being left-wing; being part of the thought police and wanting to brainwash everyone to fit your ideals.
Here’s the awkward truth: we kind of do.
Now, that’s not to say the left-wing are unique in this, we can’t really talk about control without at acknowleging the ongoing love affair between the right wing and the police state, but the left wing do have their own controlling agenda, and we don’t talk about it enough.
You might be left-wing thinking that brainwashing and the thought police sound pretty authoritarian and not very left-wing. And you would be right. “Mind control”, or rather, social accountability and education, is simply how left-wing methods get interpreted when we don’t acknowlege what our mechanisms are doing, or how they work.
Social justice warriors get a lot of flack for being judgy; anyone remember the “creep shaming” crisis of a few years ago? Or the current pushback against “virture signalling”? Or of course, the perennial favourite, the special snowflakes and their precious safe spaces where no one can say anything bad.
These are all actually part of the same issue; the left wing works through social accountability, and the right wing REALLY doesn’t like it. Acting creepy will get you called a creep, not put in prison or tried in a court, but later on by the girl telling her story to her friends. Being a nice person where people can see you will get you praise and recognition in a way that only doing nice things can, and saying the wrong thing in a safe space will upset the “special snowflakes” and get you chucked out, even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with it and there is nothing illegal that you said.
This completely social system completely confuses people. Most of us are used to a system of control and punishment and laws. Laws are objective, money is objective, and power structures are hierarchal. There are no “blurred lines” so to speak, and that’s where the outrage comes from.
The right wing are outraged when the left cast judgement on them; because they feel infringed upon because it is out of their control. This creates the ridiculous situation where outraged right-wingers try to use shaming in retaliation, by using insults like “special snowflake” or “cuck”, only to find that it misses its mark, over and over again, because they don’t understand how it works.
For a social method of justice to work, you have to be able to stand by your principles. If someone who doesn’t understand your principles calls you out for holding them, it won’t have much effect, but if you’re called out for holding a view and then feel uncomfortable with it, you might just choose to change your mind (or blame them for judging you instead). This also ties into whether you see education as brain-washing or a useful tool; it depends on whether you believe people can make up their own minds and use critical thinking.
Of course, the answer is, that’s not the point. Saying something is wrong does not mean that we are trying to rewrite the law. If we fail to realise that, it will twist any argument into pointlessness, as people try to argue a system that is designed to be above their control.
Most people in the left wing are against jail as a concept, if you do find someone left wing who does not favour abolishing prisons, they will likely be in favour of shorter sentences, better resources, and more rehabilitative care.
Ironically, the prison system is actually expressing a left wing method, in a completely different way. A left-winger might “shame” you by calling you a creep when you act subtly weird and disrespectfully to women, but a right-wing court of law is completely fine with you until you cross the thin legal line into harassment; it is only then that you are charged, judged, fined or sentenced, depending on how far you cross.
Both methods use judgement to try and discourage unwanted behaviour, but one is democratic and ideological, the other hierarchal and literal. Reliance on hierarchy is why justice systems are a tool of the government, and susceptible to corruption. In comparison to democractic social judgement, it also requires a tonne of infrastructure, which of course, no one in capitalism is going to say no to; more building work! More police jobs! More free labour! Not only that, but it is far more controlling on people’s lives, because unlike social judgement, you literally don’t have the “keys” to your own release.
People in prison don’t get a choice; society sanctions the use of force to deny them their freedom, and for many people, this is a plus, it sounds far safer. And yes, it is, until their time runs out, or parole comes up. Calls for longer sentences or less chance of getting out usually follow, but this only delays or hides the problem, it still doesn’t fix that person’s behaviour or society’s crime rates.
So, do I really believe that instead we can just judge our way out of anti-social behaviour and violent crimes?
Yes and no.
Yes we can, because that’s how humans are wired, to look for acceptance, and to co-operate and work together, but also, no we can’t, not yet.
Currently, UK and US culture is about individual responsibility, and capitalism, it doesn’t mesh well with wooly ideas about social judgement. Judgement is seen as a flaw, to be avoided and kept quiet. Speaking out about someone being a bully is seen as equal to insulting someone for their sexuality or gender or race, and we all get taught to bite our tongues and leave it to the experts (law courts), and their values, not our own.
If we created a culture of feedback and social accountability where we were more sensitive to the ideas of others and aware of our own choices and saw “calling out” culture less as an opportunity for a tirade and more as a way of collaborating, then we would be heading in the right direction, away from authoritarianism and towards a more collectivist and democractic culture, essentially, away from the 1984 dystopia, not towards it.
When judgement becomes a part of life that we can all take part in, then perhaps all us lefty-liberal special-snowflake thought-police cucks would finally be sated…
I’ve been trying to improve my life, like we all do. Since working in a job about helping people live full lives, I’ve been even more aware of what I can do to fill my own life. This blog was one of those things, and so was a sewing project, that died.
When is the right time to shelve things? When is the right time to give up?
One of my goals last year was to make a dress. In a fit of nerdy enthusiasm in 2014, I’d bought a pattern and fabric to cosplay Cersei from game of thrones, and then in a fit of typical nerdy procrastination, worked on it super sporadically for the next 3 years, lugging it with me from house to house.
By the time New Year 2017 arrived I was utterly sick of this dragging, lingering, stagnating project. I resolved that this year I would finally “take no prisoners”, it would be the year of getting things done with, including this God. Damn. Dress.
I reframed my dress-making goals to something more realistic and specific; that now, I would make it merely for the sake of finishing something. I would give up on the dreamy optimisism of it looking nice, or wearing it, or enjoying the process, I would simply make it as an excercise of willpower.
This didn’t work.
I took a deep breath, ground my heels in, and rebranded again: this time, I would it for the sake of making a horrible test dress.
Again, it didn’t work. The final goal was to make not just a horrible dress, but to make the most horrible dress ever. Not to put pressure on myself to try and do it well, but to just get it done to no standard at all.
Surprise surprise, it didn’t happen.
The only real decision left was to let it go.
I gave the extra fabric and the scraps and even the pattern to a friend, to see what she could salvage, and accepted that I would never succeed in making the dress.
In a similar vein, this is what I’ve been doing with this blog. Not entirely shelving it, not entirely working properly with it. I’ve tried different approaches with it, and now I’m beginning to question why I’m even setting it as a goal.
I enjoy writing, but I feel self conscious trying to write where other people can see me.
I enjoy thinking about topics that I don’t see written about, I enjoy working through my thoughts. I used to write lots on scrappy sheets of paper about the injustices and hypocrisy of the social justice vs manosphere world. But then I stopped; unversity finished and I predictably stopped, like a cliche.
I don’t know what my next approach will be. I’ve tried making a schedule, I’ve tried making a rule, I’ve tried writing down topics that I feel inspired by, I’ve tried to just follow inspiration, I’ve tried brute force. I don’t know what I’ll try next; but today I was going to retire this blog. After writing this, I’m not sure if that’s the lesson I need to take.
I’m ending the daily blogging, I don’t enjoy it and I think it comes across in my writing more than any improvement does, and that dis-encourages me. What the next approach will be, I don’t know.
post note: Also, editing is the hardest shit. I never know when to stop writing, and when I start trying to edit things and cut down things again, I realise I kind of want to completely rewrite something completely different now, and I kind of worry that one day I’ll just completely disappear off down a rabbit hole of editing and rewriting my own work. One can only hope I’d ever actually end up working that hard….
We’re all familiar with the commercialised images of a woman in a bath with cucumber on her face; branded as “me time”. But if your time isn’t being spent on building yourself up for you, then who else is your time for? You could argue that “me time” is a way for capitalism to repackage and resell you your own leisure, which it took away from you in the first place.
Empty time, by comparison, is what I call the time when you are doing nothing. You’re not indulging yourself, but not working for someone elses’s ends either. It is the conscious choice to spend time doing nothing, definitely not consuming. Many people already do this in their “me-time”, for example meditation and the practise of mindfulness is a common past-time. Continue reading ““Empty Time””→
This morning, all talk is about hung parliaments and coalitions, and I wanted to think a bit about the last coalition, the torys, and about media.
A thing I feel like a lot of people forget from the hung parliament result of 2010 was that the Lib Dems could have kept Labour in power if they had wanted to, they even negotiated with them before siding with biggest single party; the tories. The party line was about respecting the country’s decision (a line that comes back into politics like a zombie when we get to Brexit, hooray.), but it cost the Lib Dems their integrity. They got a lot of hate then for moves like going back on university fees, and they still do. Their party now is back to a tiny fraction of the game, yet again. But it didn’t have to be that way, so people who say that they held back the tories (which they did, to some extent), are forgetting it was them who also handed them the reins.
What’s funny is, that most people are not Tory billionaires. For most people, the benefit of voting tory is about image and ideals more than their actual real lives, in fact at the expense of their lifestyles, with cuts to public services that enable people to live in communities like parks, libraries, public swimming pools, etcetera. It’s about reducing the deficit, being taken seriously on a global stage, having military policy and also again about reducing the deficit; the deficit that no one in the general public has personal experience of, the deficit that’s a series of numbers in the treasury.
That’s not to say it’s not important to undestand the basic laws of efficiency and balance, but more to say that people don’t entirely vote for what directly affects them the most , and that’s counter-intuitive.
It’s most likely to do with the hugely rich media barons who run headlines about deficits and national image and shameful politicians; people who do not have the general publics best interests at heart but rather our wallets. Attention-grabbing disaster headlines are better than stuff like “wow, schools are much nicer places to be when there’s more funding in them”, and Tory-voting plebs keep those tax loopholes nice and loose for them. But try telling the general public that; the temporarily embarrased millionaire would rather cut the society they live in to ribbons than admit that perhaps it is not them who will benefit from the UK being in a strong trading position; we would rather pretend to be linked up to the bigwigs than admit that they are nothing to do with us.
At work, all of the mentally ill and in-recovery people I spoke to were not planning on voting. It doesn’t affect their lives, they mainly said, and all the politicians were bloody the same. It’s these people who are most affected by cuts to public services, and who also have the least belief in their power to make a difference, so have essentially accepted their learned helplessness. (That’s not to mention a guy I spoke to who seemed keen on voting, but said he hadn’t voted now for years, and also hadn’t recieved a ballot. Another young man also hadn’t got his ballot paper, and although our seat turned in favour of Labour, I’m also concerned this is something that shouldn’t be overlooked by care homes and mental health services in general.) It’s probably not a surprise that the mainly working class mentally ill who live in a recovery bed where I work mainly read the cheap newspapers like Daily Star, which are the most sensationalist, and make politics seem like mere theatrics and not a human effort for democracy.
The LibDems in 2010 were the king-makers, and in doing so, undermined what they stood for by trying to stand up for what the British public wanted. Labour 2017 have said they will not make a deal to create a coalition, because they don’t want to make these same mistakes, they want to continue standing for their values and let these carry them through. That’s “not how democracy works”, but if democracy isn’t letting elected officials vote on policy, as opposed to party, then what is it? We should trust our elected politicians to do better than the general public, kept uninformed and biased by a press with motivations that are suspect at best. We should be able to trust elected politicians to be able to see the difference in reality, and image, and not only image as the newspapers want us to believe is the most important part of politics.
There is no point in having power if you have to sell out to do it; and there is no point in democracy if it is allowed to simply end at the polls. We should have the guts as a nation to move beyond that idea, we have another 5 years now to figure this out.