Most People Are Bricks: Lowering Expectations

Most people don’t know what they are talking about, they are thick as bricks, myself included.

If only more of us realised this, we would be a bit kinder to each other, expect less of each other, and work better together.

We wouldn’t follow people down the wrong track, we’d be aware of their limitations and our own.

Politeness

It’s not polite to call people bricks, or stupid, or close-minded, or arrogant, or ignorant. Some of those phrases even stir up notions of ableism (“stupid”), a whole other can of worms. Continue reading “Most People Are Bricks: Lowering Expectations”

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The difference between poverty and poverty tourism? You’ll never live like common people. — Cooking on a Bootstrap

Every now and again, a minor celebrity or institution will announce that they are ‘challenging themselves’ to ‘be poor for a day’ in order to raise awareness of the plight of people living in poverty in the UK. Sometimes this is done through charitable initiatives such as Live Below The Line, which I have done…

via The difference between poverty and poverty tourism? You’ll never live like common people. — Cooking on a Bootstrap

True Life: I was a SJW University Student

Hi there.

Back in university, I managed to become the president of the feminism society. I’ve told people about it so much since then it feels like a meme, but in reality I was mega-stoked. It was one of my proudest moments, I felt relevant, I felt empowered, I felt challenged.

Flash forward to today. It’s 4 years later. My university events and “debates” we organised feel like distant irrelevant memories. At the time we were so proud of ourselves, making feminism bigger on campus, meeting with the Student Union to talk about fighting Lad Culture by reaching out to the sports teams as if that wouldn’t be offensive…

The-Inbetweeners-lr3.jpg
Image from YouGov’s Report on Lad Culture. Seriously.

Continue reading “True Life: I was a SJW University Student”

Diet Culture: We Are At A (Fat) Crossroads

Everyone knows about the horror of yo-yo dieting and fad diets and most people have been on diets for years, on and off. Even BMI, the holy grail of “health” vs “weight” used by the NHS, was really designed in the 19th century only to measure statistical averages in the population, and people are starting to doubt its usefulness for individuals.  Meanwhile, Weight Watchers still has a turnover of $267.4 million a year, despite being a treadmill that’s almost impossible to stay on…

diet culture
So where are we really at?

Let me paint you a picture of how confused and conflicted our society is becoming about the F-Word (…fat!), diets and beauty.

Continue reading “Diet Culture: We Are At A (Fat) Crossroads”

You Won’t Do Your Research

You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you

Initially, I started this blog because I wanted to start a discussion, or create a resource.

I was sick of the insular Tumblr politics, and sick of the prevailing dismissive attitude found everywhere else on basic concepts like body positivity, racism, and capitalism.

Every day I find a new pet peeve that I wish people would just give the time of day.

Continue reading “You Won’t Do Your Research”

This Debate is EMBARRASSING: Jordan vs Cathy

As of 12 February over 6.8 million people have watched a “debate” about gender politics between clinical psychologist (and YouTuber) Jordan B Peterson, and Cathy Newman, a Channel 4 news presenter. Jordan is a clinical psychologist in Canada who 4 years ago started putting his lectures on YouTube, whereas Channel 4 News is a mainstream broadcaster, known for having more “lefty” beliefs. Together, Cathy and Jordan cover the gender pay gap, Jordan’s recently released book, and the politics of campus protestors.

Yet this was no debate, and it does not deserve the views or the acclaim that it has been getting. It is an embarrassment.

 

First; Oxford Dictionary Online says a debate is:

debate defintion

So this formal structured discussion, featuring arguments from only one side, Jordan’s, and questions only from the other side, wouldn’t count. Not only this, but in the description itself the segment is described as a “fiery interview”, despite Cathy confusingly calling it a “spat” and a “joust” on twitter.

Continue reading “This Debate is EMBARRASSING: Jordan vs Cathy”

Why Social Justice Warriors Can’t Just Pick Their Battles

(This is carrying on from this post: Being the Sole Social Justice Warrior)

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?

Continue reading “Why Social Justice Warriors Can’t Just Pick Their Battles”

Thought//Policing:

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.

hypocrite not.jpg

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

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.

Babies Crying

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.

Real Justice

When people talk about social justice issues, it often devolves into a discussion about who to lock up, for example, if drunk sex is actually rape, but you’re both drunk, who goes to prison??

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.

To a right wing person, this is nonsense. If prison is punishment, why bother with making it nicer, or shorter, or better? Of course, the research shows that “punishment” alone doesn’t work; prisons that work harder at rehabilition culture get better results, such as Norway.

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.

The kicker is that humans are social animals, designed to live in groups, and shame/conflict is a built-in mechanism designed to keep us all in check and co-existing peacefully. Because of this, in natural human tight-knit groups, our own behaviour will naturally match up to the value of our peers. Put someone in with a group of people all deemed socially innacceptable? They are going to come out with that outsider worldview reinforced, not reformed.

Liberal Dreamworld

So, do I really believe that instead we can just judge our way out of anti-social behaviour and violent crimes?

Liberal+fantasy_f33d25_4045386

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…

How doubleplusgood that would be, comrades!

 

 

Parliamental Ping Pong: How Coalitions Kill The Spirit of Democracy

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.

dollarsigns

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.

 

 


Day off Blog Post 8

Post- and pre- Voting blues: It’s not pointless

It’s the day before the UK elections and you seriously cannot get away from it anymore.  Everyone and everywhere is now a hotbed of political discussion, households everywhere have solved the refugee crisis and produced cutting edge political arguments over and over, but it all culminates in tomorrow’s vote.

Ballot_Papers_General_Election_2015
“The Does and Don’ts of Voting”

Continue reading “Post- and pre- Voting blues: It’s not pointless”