Fake victories and real losses

I loathe that I need to write a preamble such as this, but it’s the only way to reinforce that I care not for the gender politics that surrounded this issue. In fact, my thoughts on the matter of the new female Doctor Who is neatly explained far better, by a far better writer than I in this article by Helen Razer.

I could not give fewer shits about the direction that the BBC is taking with Doctor Who. I was never a watcher of the series, and the attempts I made to invest in it were simply met with a hearty shrug from my shoulders. Friends were avid watchers, and did make a little attempt to get me on board the good ship Who, but I abandoned ship before the cheesy special effects first grated onto the screen.

There are some who would tout that a new female Doctor Who whom represents a non-male gender sends a message to girls everywhere that they too can be a (name profession here). But this is a message that I don’t necessarily agree with. Not because I don’t believe women need role models.

Because I feel the barriers that many face to their reach their dreams is governed by their access to resources rather than any kind of internal belief in oneself. I feel that those who are genuinely interested in a certain field will do everything they can to forge a career in that field.

The notion that someone sees a person on TV who resembles them superficially, and they immediately decide that their true passions lie in that field being portrayed, is a scenario that I have trouble believing. It’s a simplistic reasoning for the human mind, which is a complex thing.

Anecdotally, when I was growing up in working-class conditions, seeing people who were doctors, lawyers, actors and any other highly-paid profession was to view people who were of another level. Those people were learned, clever, and brilliant. I was none of those things, or at least I considered myself none of those things.

Even those movies in where the poor underdog rose above their level to challenge a wealthy authority, I viewed them with an astonishment of brilliant people who weren’t me.

Where I was, people got a job and earned to put food on the table. There were no career ambitions beyond being asked as a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to which the answer was some ideal that only very few people could attain. Seeing men or women on TV sent me no message other than, “There are better people than you.”

As pointed out in the comments of the Helen Razer article I link above, someone made the very astute observation of “Fake victories so we can’t see the actual losses”. The victory of a female Doctor Who does very little for girls and women who work a job instead of a career. Women who face uncertainty in a dwindling job market.

For those women who have made it in their field, they might offer a platitude of “I did it, therefore anyone can!”

To this, I reply with a “bollocks”. Not everyone is afforded the opportunity or means to dedicate years to a craft when the likelihood of failure would result in their destitution and homelessness. Some people put certainty and security over dreams, and they do it because they have to.

No amount of portrayal on television or movies is going to change that. This is a fleeting victory, when the real losses are to the reduction in services to those working in jobs they got because they had to.

Further to CNN Blackmailing

The last post I wrote expressed my disbelief that CNN would threaten a user for daring to create a wrestling gif that mocked them. Since publishing that post, more information has come to light about the character of the individual who created the gif, namely that because they had posted racist things in the past that they were somehow deserving of the threats levelled at them.

Despite vehemently condemning racism, I cannot help but disagree, for reasons I’ll outline below.

1) ¬†Today it’s the racists. Tomorrow it’s you.

Sure, you might think you’re the pillar of benevolence, and that nothing in your past could stand to ruin you. Firstly, I would say that’s bullshit. Name me one person who has professed to have said not one ignorant thing in their entire span on this planet, and I will show a liar. Secondly, in the below video from Razorfist, you can see how a media organisation will report on your history.

Namely, they will simply report that you “deleted your racist history”, knowing full well that Johnny and Jane Mainstream will lap it up and move on. Don’t think for a moment (and to nab a popular phrase) that the media will let the facts get in the way of a good story.

I’m not disputing whether the victim of CNN’s threat is a racist or not. I’m saying that allowing it for them allows it for you, which leads me to my next point.

2) Shaming doesn’t change the extremists

“We must extinguish racism in all its forms!” goes the call as they cheer on the punishment for the scumbag who got their dues, “We must expose it and punish it!”

That’s all well and good, except what this will do is take your online racists and make them silent while still harbouring resentment, which they then pass down to their children. You might think that this is a solution, but what happens when you discover the unapologetic racist? The racist who proudly wears it on their sleeve? The shame tactic will not work there, and if anything their public humiliation will draw more eyes to them, and they then become a beacon for like-minded people.

In fact, humiliating the self-loathing racist only emboldens the unapologetic one. They’re the ones you might find gathering in groups that want to inflict actual bodily harm, or abusing people in the street the deem as inferior.

You might be thinking here that I am protecting or defending a racist, when I am not. Put broadly, I am protecting their right, and in effect your right, to express yourself. CNN is not the arbiter of whom should be able to express themselves, and CNN is not the executioner of those they deem as not fully compliant with their right-think.

By protecting a racist for their speech, I am protecting your for your speech. Many may like to deride the call for free speech as the braying defence of those who wish to spread ignorance, except I am not. As I outlined in an earlier post on Kathy Griffin’s photo, she has every right to express her thoughts without worry of their livelihood being jeopardised.

CNN can eat the biggest bag of dicks for trying to justify their horrendous behaviour, and to those who would agree with them, I pray to whatever deity occupies their soul that they never trip the path of an enormous and powerful party with a line to toe.

CNN can go die in a hole

It’s all I hear people talking about today, but rather than recap things wholesale, the below video captures the sentiment I currently feel – courtesy of Mister Metokur

Note that this particular Youtuber is not one I endorse, but I am only posting their video because they seem to share how fucking angry I am about this.

So, Trump posts a gif on Twitter that someone from reddit created. CNN flip out about how it encourages violence, even though;

  1. It’s a gif
  2. It’s a gif of wrestling
  3. It’s a gif of wrestling which has been amended, or features some poor sod born with a CNN logo for a face.
  4. It’s a gif of fucking wrestling

Not content with constructing that particular mountain out of an anthill, CNN decides to further shit through the cracks by actively tracking down the individual who made the gif of wrestling, and extract an apology from them under threat that they will reveal his identity – even though he fears that he will be victim to real violence should he be found out.

How can a company as large and far-reaching as CNN openly display hypocrisy on this level, and in such quick turnaround? People sometimes takes ages to have their double-standards exposed as they are gradually found to exhibit behaviours to which they had previously doth protested too much.

But CNN has expressed their hypocrisy in one sentence. “This thing that is harmful, I am totally doing to you now.”

This is not fucking okay, CNN. In no universe is this acceptable. Do not try to minimise this action or in any way try to explain it away. Go on and tell me about the individual that CNN threatened and say that this is justified. I don’t care. If you support CNN doing this, then as I’ve said before, then you support the same treatment for yourself – no matter how benevolent you think you are.

This is unreserved and naked blackmail. CNN are happy to dig up your details and expose you publicly if you dare poke fun at them. Yes, even with a fucking gif of wrestling.

With the President announcing to all and sundry how “Fake” CNN is (and it still astounds me that people seem to think that he’s the creator of the phrase), I was willing to discount his words as the sounds of a spoiled brat who got shitty because the cool kids didn’t like him. However, given this event today, I care not for the demise of CNN. I could not give fewer shits if their organisation implodes under the weight of their bullshit.

They are not the exposers of truth and reason. They are peddlers of sensationalism, drama and bullshit in search of a target to stick to. They encompass everything that is wrong with establishment media, and they (and anyone who emulates them) need to shut down and fuck off.

Or maybe just grow a thicker skin.

A gif as violence.

Really.

ffs.

Napkin-back Numbers – Politician pay rises

This is a subject that is often raised, but never really followed through upon. There’s typically a lot of noise as everyone bellows their outrage, but eventually after a couple weeks, people shrug with the resignation of “Politicians gonna politician”.

Politician pay rises. They come somewhat frequently, are seldom refused, and seem to not hinge upon any kind of merit or Key Performance Indicator. Just this past month, politicians in Australia snuck a very quiet pay rise to themselves.

This post is not the question whether they are deserving of pay rises. That’s the kind of bickering that happens every single time something like this happens. Every time, nothing occurs. The electorate has (and I cannot remember which politician said it) a memory of roughly two weeks. After this time, the public find something else to be outraged at.

The pay rise in this instance pushes MP pay above AU$200,000.

Let’s just unpack that a little bit.

Anyone who is paid $200,000 a year will earn (according to an old HR method I know), $7667.73 before tax. That person would, in Australia, pay around $2600 in tax, leaving a nett pay of around $5000.

So far, so humdrum, right? These people would pay more in tax a fortnight that many people earn outright for that same fortnight. Then consider the fairly generous perks that politicians also receive, and suddenly that sweet, sweet $5000 per fortnight looks all the more saccharine.

Then there are the extra benefits that more senior politicians enjoy, but are seldom declared, such as having meals and drinks offered for conferences they attend, or the access to cars to help them with their commute. Eventually you see a recipe in where those who can most afford to pay for things don’t actually need to – while the person who earns the same per fortnight that these people pay in tax, is left to cover their food, bills, commuting expenses and the like.

And that’s before you consider how much someone can put into tax deductions if they had a lazy $5000 to cover themselves for a fortnight.

To end, I don’t mean to say that people do or do not deserve the wages they are paid. Rather, look at how much that are paid per fortnight and compare it with your own. Remember that many of their expenses are covered even without delving into their $5000 per fortnight. Think of how you could provide for your family and children.

Then wonder why we aren’t up in arms about being trapped in a caste system.

Leftist or right wing nutjob?

If anyone meandered through the ether of the internet and somehow found themselves flushed down the pipes to land at this blog, they might wonder about my allegiance to either the left or right wing of politics.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t believe I am either, and I do try to look at issues with some degree of impartiality. Also, because I think that reductive labels do nothing to discourse, and serves only to pigeonhole people into two separate trays of “Who I should like” and “Who I should dislike”.

The follow up to this determining of my position is to wonder what it is that I hope to achieve here. If I support neither side, then what am I trying to impart to the reader of this hovel?

I don’t seek to convert people to any one ideology. Seeking converts is for religion and cults, and I don’t need people aligning with me by virtue of wearing the correct colours.

After being told over the past decade that right-wing people are deluded imbeciles with no attachment to reality, I did consider myself leaning toward the left. The moment of detachment from this was in 2013 when Wendy Davis filibustered a piece of legislation that would have consequences for abortion clinics in Texas.

It’s not that I agreed or disagreed with her stance, or her filibustering, but this part of the proceedings (from the story):

At about 11.45pm, Senator Leticia Van De Putte, who had arrived from her father’s funeral, felt she was being ignored by the presiding officer, the Republican Lt Gov David Dewhurst. She asked him: “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognised over her male colleagues?”

That sparked boisterous chanting from the public gallery which lasted until after midnight and threw proceedings into turmoil. Amid the din, no one was sure if a vote had taken place in time. Democrats claimed it happened a minute or two after the deadline, while Republicans said the vote should stand.

That a rukus caused by people can impact the democratic process did not clang well with me. I would detest it if these tactics were used for a piece of legislation I agreed with, and I could not celebrate the win for the filibuster using such means. It set a very dangerous precedent, and these tactics could be employed against the very people who cheered them from the gallery.

As I’ve said before, the tactics you employ are the tactics you endorse and allow to be used against you. Being an upstart might win you today, but tomorrow could bring a louder upstart from the other side.

In conclusion, I am not writing these things to convince people that one side of the debate is better than another. Rather, I am writing these things to hopefully have people realise that their own side is just as likely to do horrible things. Even moreso if they have had the reins of power for too long.

Blind support of a team makes you blind to their evils. Today, like any day, we must be able to recognise potential for evil within our team and within ourselves.

When does a celebrity dive in?

The world of being a Creator must be a crazy one. Having never held any success with my attempts to create, I can only assume that the world beyond my zeroed hit counter is incredibly enlightening. Given how many people seem to assume that audience size is tantamount to truthfulness, I can only assume that the moment someone’s numbers explode, a beam of light descends from the clouds, and people are given the enlightenment that many buddhists suffer and meditate for a lifetime to achieve.

Because successful people seem to be given a lot of airtime for their, frankly, stupid views.

It’s easy to pick a target and fire at them with criticism, but frankly it’s pointless. For one, they won’t listen. For two, Youtube exists and has a large number of visible people flailing their arms about with righteous indignation. WordPress is not the best place for such rampant delusions of relevance.

But I were to cast my mind into the faint possibility that I could be somehow notorious for something. At what point do I stop revelling in my own self-congratulations, look out upon a crowd of people and think to myself, “I know better than these people and they should listen to me”?

Let’s bypass the irony of me typing these words on a blog where I seemingly profess to know all, and position myself into the shoes of an actor or singer. I know nothing much about the world, but I am decent at pretending to be other people, or pitching my voice at a resonance that is not ear-savaging. I can perform. I can please a room of people.

But why would I think my opinions on sensitive subjects such as politics and religion are warranted, insightful, or even correct? Moreover, why would I expect anyone to give more weight to my words over, say, Jill the Plumber from Arizona? I have just as much exposure to politics as Jill does, yet I feel I should include my voice to the exclusion of others. Why would I think that?

When Katy Perry demands for love (or “resistance“), or Leonardo DiCaprio preaches for climate change (not that I oppose their opinions on the subjects), why should we nod along with them and pledge money to their cause celebre? Why wouldn’t we listen to actual scientists, or psychologists instead? Is it because they aren’t as pretty as Katy or Leo?

Part of me can understand these celebrities, though. I mean, what would I do if I had nothing to worry about? What would drive me if I reached the top of my industry, had enough wealth to ensure my family’s well-being for generations, and enough food in the fridge for the most sacrilicious orgies that would make Caligula blush?

I’d worry about immortality, or legacy. What better way to ensure that – at least in these mortal bodies – than by enshrining our place in history as “That Person Who Stopped Bad Thing”.

Of course, most prominent historical figures stood up in the face of great danger, engaged their bravery gland, and stood tall. However, in the instance of Katy and Leo, they stand up in the face of popular consensus, have engaged their preaching gland and deliver the most milquetoast of opinions that challenge precisely no one.

Feelings trump the news

In the wake of the testifying of former FBI Director James Comey, I’ve noticed a fairly significant rhythm and rhyme in the way that the media has been reporting on the event.

Aside from the non-revelation that a billionaire would dare to be outrageous with the truth for the sake of personal benefit, I am surprised a little that the headlines seem to focus upon Comey’s assessment of Trump’s character, rather than the actual news stories I took from the testimony. Those being:

  • Then Attorney-General, Loretta Lynch, asked Comey to call the investigation into Clinton a “matter” – effectively removing any kind of insidious tone to the process – to which Comey actually complied.
  • Comey was the leaker of information, albeit indirectly (not a crime in this instance, but certainly questionable for a public servant).
  • The New York Times was “almost entirely wrong” about the alleged contact between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

It is no great surprise that media outlets are very biased in their coverage, and their glossing over these particular points does make me understand why trust in them is at an all-time low.

However, many would distill this down to being a left-right issue, when I think it crosses party lines and starts treading into “establishment elite” versus their outgroup. Ever since the US election in November 2016, there has been zero let-up in the attacks on the person who the people voted for. These attacks have come from Democrats, the media (both left and right), the majority of social media sites, and even Republicans.

I don’t care for Trump, personally. However, I was happy to let him see out his first term and watch him make an ass out of himself, letting the system oust him over time. However, it appears that the powers-that-be are not content with this timeframe and are wanting to hurry things along. This concerted effort, I am sure, has not gone unnoticed with those moderate people who were on the fence with Trump, and are now seeing rich elite entities poo-pooing the peoples’ choice and trying to have it removed.

I am aware that when it comes to conspiracy theories, that if you are unable to name a “they”, then the theory is just paranoid delusion. I’ll deal with this later, I think.