What Does It Take?

What does it take for people to pay attention? Usually, more than you think or you’d like. Something could be in the very centre of someone’s view of something for days, months and even years and they may only realise it one day, randomly, give it a single moment of thought then return back to the monotony of their grass grazing life.

Is this what it takes for me to receive your attention, eh? Do we have to commit crimes, by spraypainting on someone else’s wall? By vandalising something which belongs to someone whom has done no wrong to us as individuals? How many attempts on lives do there have to be, before you tune in to the message that is so desperately being tried to be delivered to you?

Something that could not be more obvious if you painted it bright red, something that you just cannot ignore. However, as if it’s some sort of fantastically tragic magic trick – you can ignore it. The elephant in the room for all, is an old friend of yours lingering like a bad odour. Tainted with so-called ‘experience’ you are not left desensitised and therefore unsurprised: you are simply careless.

If you can’t see it, it’s not there. That’s the beauty of the ignorance lent to all by the optical experience. I thought you were men of science? Your very job to observe the unobservable, what may lay beneath the rock. So why is it, that you notice nothing and still, act as if you take your professions seriously?

While people fall into the crevice of depression or madness, it’s narrow nature makes your chortle. “It’s easy to step over that crack in the ground.” you say, but you don’t realise its grotesque depth. Those who fall in know its intolerable pain but there you are, standing above shouting down – still as if you are omniscient. Waggling a stick that’s ever so short, too short to help, you tell them it’s easy – that they’re weak and it’s no fault of anyone’s but their own. You leave them be, barren to elements. To the harsh ways of the world. “Sweep it under the carpet,” you say, “it’s just one person.” How many ‘one persons’ is it now? They all add up, like how the pressure for them constantly builds… until it reaches a point you’ll never know. You’ll never know, because within those textbooks you once scrutinised to the very last word, to be in the place you are now: you never found your soul, yet lived the realisation… of someone else’s dream.

depression

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Political Correctness is Ultimately Reckless.

That’s racist! That’s homophobic! That’s transhomophilialretrorayquazist! That’s… not what it is at all. It doesn’t help that many people throw words around without knowing what they actually mean. One person’s racist remark may actually only be nationally ignorant, for example. ‘Those Brits, they’re always drinking tea and eating scones with the Queen!’ …

posh

No.

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Try again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There seems to be an attitude now that if you don’t actively support a cause, it means you are completely against it. For example I don’t go out and actively support gay rights. Does that make me a bad person? No. Does that mean I hate gay people? No, that’s a completely disgusting assumption. It simply means I don’t care (in the good way) and that they can do what they like, when they like – it is no concern of mine. My views are quite leftist but I am tired of seeing pseudo-liberals pretend to give a shit about something because it makes them ‘good people’. You HAVE to draw attention to and celebrate people’s differences. You HAVE to respect it. The whole ‘you should accept everyone in society’ idea is overly idealistic and may I say also pretty communist too, a bad thing. When people are telling you what to think and how to act, that’s a sign you’re being manipulated.
Imagine if there was a straight pride parade? You wouldn’t hear the end of it! Talk to me about tolerance. Whatever happened to doing as you do and letting others by their selves and living in a tolerant society where people can have their own opinions and not have to sing and dance about it all the time. That’s where people are going a bit wrong. I think that a lot of apparent -insert word-phobia and so on is actually people just getting pissed off because they’re sick to the teeth of hearing about a certain thing again and again because they don’t mind it at all and just want to live their lives.

When people are told off for saying words like ‘gay‘ or ‘faggy‘ I find it quite annoying because most of the time they are not being used in a way that is overtly derogatory to an individual or in any way referencing their sexuality. For example, the other day a friend of mine said something was gay because it was broken. The word ‘gay’ has shifted semantic meaning, to now mean ‘bad’, ‘rubbish’, ‘crap’, etc. Then another friend, who happens to be gay, got overly butthurt (that’s a neologism if you want to be a language nerd) about the fact*. The other friend retaliated saying he couldn’t care less about what he does in his spare time and that the other friend KNEW that is not what he meant. To be honest with you, if people can’t sit right with the word ‘gay’ changing it’s meaning should perhaps take a look at what the word meant before it meant ‘homosexual’. It once primarily meant happy.

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‘I feel pretty, oh so pretty! I feel pretty, and witty and gay!’ – Maria, West Side Story

However it was adapted to mean homosexual. This happens an awful lot in language – that’s how languages grow. They evolve and words both lose and gain meaning. You realise that the word ‘literally’ has literally the opposite meaning now? Crazy, right? So where’s this intolerance coming from, when it comes to it changing meaning again?

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‘That’s gay for a start’ – Devvo

Something I also don’t like is this new expectation that, even if something has got nothing to do with your life or you as a person, you should go out and fight for a cause. I apparently need to go out and campaign for transphobia awareness even though I don’t personally know any trans people and equally anyone who has said something ‘transphobic’. Is this ignorance? No. I am a person that does believe that sometimes people draw attention to themselves in a way that makes matters worse.

Online, there is also this general consensus on certain websites of ‘checking your privilege.’ Until recently, I didn’t really know what this meant as I tend to live by the ‘try and be as tolerant and civilised as possible to people unless they give a good enough reason not to’ way. I will treat people with mutual respect and listen to them, hear what they have to say, respect their opinions no matter how extreme or moderate they are. However, if I do not agree with someone I will discuss it with them. I won’t indignify myself saying they’re completely wrong or start a hate campaign online. That’s because, I’d say, I’m more or less a pretty damn tolerant person! There’s this whole ‘white guilt‘ thing which I find particularly interesting as a concept. However outrageous it sounds, a minority on the Internet believe that white people – yes the entire Caucasian race – should suffer because of ‘their’ actions in the slave trade. Not only this, many people will have you responsible for the wrongdoings of people because you’re male, or Christian too. Aside from the obvious point of it essentially meaning using fire to fight fire, let me point out some other flaws in that idea. For example, every single race has been taken advantage of as slaves in history! That’s what humans do, if you’ve not noticed it yet. They conquer and enslave and mistreat others for their own benefit. It’s a cruel world. That is what’s wrong, sick and disgusting! What can we do to stop that? Simple. Let each other simply be! Distinguishing people in my opinion only makes matters worse – draws attention, mostly which is bad. White people were slaves to Arabians once upon a time.

I saw the following cartoon strip on the Internet and liked what it was getting at.

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A rather extreme comic strip which I believe makes a very significant point about racism and tumblr users in general.

Not so long ago, people were upset over the face the Confederate Flag was being waved – calling it racist. I personally don’t think a flag can be racist, unless someone wrote ‘nigger’ or ‘cracker’ on it or something like that. However, I see how a large majority of people waving that flag can be racist – not exclusively, though. So waving the Confederate Flag to celebrate the lives of your ancestors, if they happen to be so, is fine. That’s like me waving the St. George’s cross in the name of my ancestors, which is something I wouldn’t do but if I were to it’d be a perfectly normal thing. It’s just the fact some people can come out and call it racist and act all upset about it, even going as far as to suggest that the people waving the flag think slavery is ok. If you’re going to play by that logic, the Stars and Stripes are also racist, no? A flag that represents the maltreatment and downright slaughter of native people, the genocide, the stealing of land. I sense a little bit of irony here, don’t you? Not as ironic as the fact America is such a culturally and ethnically diverse country however is one of the most intolerant. That goes for the UK – my home – too.

I find that many people call things racist when actually they were of their time and in its respective, contextual time it was not racist at all and therefore getting mad about it is 1) pointless and 2) a waste of time because nobody’s taking it seriously any more. I really do think some people just seek for reasons to complain, to be empowered for some reason or another. Was Tom and Jerry racist? No. A couple of episodes featured who’s been described as a ‘typical black female’ which is apparently a racist stereotype. Racist stereotype? I don’t recall even seeing the upper half of her body! Something else I found interesting, is that somebody had dubbed Lord of the Rings RACIST because there were no black people in the films. Seeing as Middle Earth is based on Ancient Europe, are you really surprised about that? Also, including people in something for the sole reason of not appearing racist/sexist/etcetera is surely against the point? I just remembered the music video for Die Antwoord’s ‘Fatty Boom Boom’ which features the crazy ‘ ¥OLANDI VI$$ER’ or Yolandi Visser with black body paint and yellow contacts. This caused a stir upon its release and many called that move ‘racist’ when actually Yolandi intended to look like a panther and it’s a mark of South African tradition to use body paint for expression – which is obviously the goal in the video, if you’ve seen it. To me, it just sounds like idiots on the Internet are looking for fights in which to claim the moral high ground.

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How is this racist? Nobody on the planet looks like this. Stop reading too far into it! This is an excellent song and music video by the way, so check it out.

Another thing I found out recently, was that yo could actually get a white poppy for Armistice Day – which of course represents pacifism (think white feathers). I think that’s great, if you do not support war but show respect to those who died in the war efforts. However, I’m put off by the fact there’s a black poppy for black and Asian people. Why am I? It’s not necessary. The red and white poppies encompass all people. Distinguishing race is adding to the problem, no?

Political correctness, in my opinion, is getting to a point now where it is ultimately ridiculous. So much so, it’s actually going full circle and that you actually get punished for being part of a majority.

‘I think it’s amazing that we can live in such a mixed society where people like you are accepted!’
‘Wait, people like me?’
‘Yes! Your people.’
‘Whaaaa-‘

I’m not saying that if you ignore the genuine accounts of racism, sexism, homophobia (and heterophobia too, you know!) that society’s problems will disappear but what I’m saying is that I think a lot of what is done to tackle these problems is actually counter-productive and may in fact be making matters a whole lot worse.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a video which I was sent by Alicja recently and I believe it sums up the issue on political correctness very nicely indeed.

The crux of this? Don’t be a dick. Also, don’t be a dick to people not being dicks but not telling others not to be dicks. They just want to get on with their lives.

* Whether or not this was intentional, is up to interpretation.

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‘Sieg heil!’ – Queenie, no.. wait. Fuck Nazis.

 

Young People, Media, Fickle Minds, General Ranting.

Thanks to the rudeness of other people in my generation, the whole generation is stereotyped for being rowdy and bad mannered. Still, that kind of prejudice is wrong so the older generation is no better, then. The idea of my generation is that they’re rude, loud-mouthed, slang-speaking, impolite apes obsessed with newfangled technology, getting pregnant at a young age and expecting for the world to be handed on a plate to them. Sadly, I know of many people of my generation who perfectly fit that stereotype. Then again, stereotypes are similar of all generations. Our grandparents would’ve been the exact same about our parents, but instead of people being addicted to phones it’d be shock about listening to different types of new an controversial music or something like that. Also, every generation creates slang words. Language evolves. If you freeze language, it dies and gets replaced. Vides quid dicam?

A criticism which is quite common about young people now is their obsession with their cellular devices – ‘that’s me phone m8’ – and lack of interest in real social interaction, or the fact they have to ‘take a selfie’ before they go out and post it to the entire world for them to sit and look and be jealous at about how much of a better life they’re having, or something. I don’t think that’s the actual result, though. Take a selfie? Why don’t you suck your selfie. I’ve never seen the point in showing off about what you get up to in your spare time. Tell your mates, your family, show the photos. Surely it’s no different to posting on the Internet? But… it is.

On the Internet, no matter whom you are, you develop an ego which isn’t quite like how you are in person. You may be quiet and studious in person but extraverted and cocky online – or the inverse, or anything. When people post photos online, with their often narcissistic comments about being fabulous, it’s clear the intention is to not simply show that they had a good time at a concert, or restaurant.When I go to restaurants with Alicja we take photos of course, but for our own personal memories. We don’t feel the need to post it online and show it off to the world – we think that surely it undermines it. If you’re posting something online to show others you have a life, through the fact you went to so much effort to make it look like you have a life, you clearly don’t. Also, don’t you think that it’s ruined the moment? Sorry, you missed a cute moment because you were tapping away to say you were at a certain place, posting your location online (I don’t understand that either, do you not find it satisfying sometimes to think that most people don’t know where you are?!) which is just questionable. I find bliss in being off-the-grid. No I am not scared that I am going to be stalked.

The world is a harsh place, but the media people so incessantly get sucked into would have everyone living and working at home – ordering groceries on the Internet and socialising online too, so nobody ever had to go outside (or to the ‘outernet’) and get ill or get ridiculed or God forbid a stranger talks to you. No, it’s better if you stay at home and tell the time with your Apple watch, call your friends on your Apple phone and go on Facebook too, make sure you get live updates from Twitter while you use Google and YouTube to learn everything, going on Amazon to buy all your goods. Living in the capitalists’ pockets. Maybe I’m thinking about it in an extreme way, but to me I think it is an extreme problem that we will, if not are facing, face in the future. We live in an age where you have to know where everyone is all the time and what they’re doing. It’s instantaneous. Quickly, it’s out with the old and in with the new.

The other day I overheard a conversation about how Blackberries are dead, but I remember a time when that was the craze. Now it’s uncool to be seen with one – immediately you are socially irrelevant if you have one. Can you imagine this happening to people who own an iPhone? Maybe you can’t, but I promise you in the future it’s going to happen. Do you remember when iPhones were just for self important business people? Now they’re for all self important people in general! Joking aside, people need some serious help. Read a book, go outside, find a real hobby.

I kind of lost the thread here but I think some of my opinions are portrayed nicely. Also, apologies for not writing in a long time. I’ve been writing but I just haven’t been publishing: Many more posts are coming shortly!

Question Everything, Believe Nothing.

Ever since I can recall, I have treated things with ‘reserved skepticism’ – believing nothing and questioning everything, albeit passively: I will do as I do and not impose my views on people. Until it really blows up and people start shoving propaganda down my throat, or people very close to me are believing misconceptions about things – I will show them my research and my own discoveries. I want to believe people and what they tell me, although I will simply not allow for the metaphorical wool to be pulled over my eyes.

This happens often but one example today really hit me, with a girl from my school who I don’t particularly like to begin with. Out of nowhere she started discussing how Taurine – you know the active ingredient in energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull for example – is bull sperm. Now, this rumour is very, very old. I immediately told her that it’s not true and that it’s been debunked long ago, but she continued to show me some propaganda, having pulled it from Facebook. This immediately rings alarm bells. The whole concept of “It’s on Facebook so it must be true!” and if I dare question it, I’m wrong, clearly. I corrected one of the images she showed me as it said it was from bull sperm. Nope, a mere few seconds of research will show you that Taurine is actually found in the intestines of the bull – and even in we humans, too. Although, that doesn’t even come into play, as it is synthesised in a laboratory (a further few minutes of research will teach you this). I’m tired of these baseless rumours and pseudo science that make it big on social media. These people who brainlessly read and repeat it become ambassadors for it and they get defensive if you disagree with them. What is this black magic? I don’t know
but it’s really fucking annoying. Even logic dictates that it’d be far cheaper to synthesise this acid yourself, than to physically extract it from a bull. Even that mental imagery is absurd. You’ve got to be tripping.

Of course, however, I am wrong. I was told that she knows what she’s talking about because she has two jobs in the food industry – as if that qualifies anything she says. Oh yes, of course, I cannot say what I have for I do not work in that industry. The person that relies on Facebook and its minions to do her thinking for her because she said: “I have a life and no time to research things like that.” must be correct because she works with food, completely unrelated of course to the initial subject. I am wrong, simply because I disagree and don’t have a job – of course. Logic defeats bullshit and hysteria. I think that was more of a personal attack on me and more to do with the fact she has some sort of problem with self acceptance or some such bollocks. Thing is, she’s always had it in for me – a very bitter and sore person, whom I won’t name, for it isn’t even worth it. There have been many instances where she’s clearly had some pent up rage for myself, though I won’t go into great detail about that specifically now.

I brought up the fact that we, in the European Union, have such a thing called food standards and this did seem to rile her up about it. She was being all defensive, calling me out for talking to her like she was stupid or something – when I was genuinely reassuring my point with it (Do not get me started on this person and their work, they have that stinking self-righteous attitude where they go on and on about their work when they could just quit if they hate it, but expects everyone to worship them for it). I then asked her why, if she cares about what goes into food so much, that she works at McDonalds when they clearly do not have the best history for food quality and sources. Maybe she just believes what they say as well?

Red Bull, although being the precursor to methamphetamine, does not contain bull sperm. Go on and crack a can open!

It really annoys me when people allude to wholly unrelated cases to prove theirpoints, like she did. She brought up the horse meat scandal and said about how it wouldn’t surprise her if the bull sperm thing was true because of it. Oh yes, of course, because one thing happened without enough scrutiny it automatically means that everything else must be true. Catastrophising, much?

People like herself always want something to be wrong. She told me that she doesn’t even drink the things because of the sugar and caffeine – I told her that it mustn’t help her OCD, at which point she told me to not talk about her OCD because it makes her defensive. I know a lot about OCD, let’s put it that way. She can stop playing the victim and start facing up to her stupid claims. She also mentioned the thing that a lot of vegans were reposting about puss being in milk. Yes, and I’m sure you’re aware you eat tonnes of mites when you eat cheese too, or that you’re eating chicken ova when you eat eggs. Aren’t
those things of the same calibre? Why act so shocked? Oh, because a big deal about it was made on social media. Fuck you.

She then plucked at straws, saying that she was simply looking out for me. Can’t know me that well. If there is something I do, it’s be apprehensive about pretty much everything. My over-thinking brings positives, because I research the fuck out what I’m doing. I know what I put in my mouth – yes it’s not all good, but I’m aware of it. I know when I’m not being lied to as well as when I am being lied to: if not, the truth always comes out – it’s just a matter of time.

I suppose the moral of this is question everything, believe nothing. This is something my Dad has always stuck by. He’s more of a logical thinker than I am, but I have been passed on many of his traits in the same way I have from my mother. This is one of those invaluable ones.

Also, for the love of goodness…
Don’t listen to the propaganda that is fed to you, be it on TV, in the newspaper, social media, word of mouth. Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself and contrary belief, if you’re pissing people off, good.

On another note, does it annoy you that some people think you have to go on about your strife and issues for them to count? This is another thing that annoys me about this person in particular. Feel free to leave your opinions and examples. I don’t go around telling everyone my problems: that does not mean, however, I don’t have any.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1024-taurine.aspx?activeingredientid=1024&activeingredientname=taurine

http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/bullsemen.asp

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-taurine

I’m Not So Sure…

I’m not so sure                        2015

Daniel Bush

I’m not so sure,

what you tell me is true.

I’m not so sure,

that the others are too.

I’m not so sure,

why you lie so much.

I’m not so sure,

but it’s not a good touch.

I’m not so sure,

why your image is so important.

I’m not so sure,

but your inconsistent lies

are discordant.

I’m not so sure,

but of one thing I am.

I’m not so sure,

but you’ll be in bedlam.

I’m not so sure,

if you will carry this on.

I’m not so sure,

but you’re not the only one.

I’m not so sure,

why you think it’s good.

I’m not so sure,

but I don’t think you should.

A Rant on Social Engineering

An interesting discussion had started once again in the common room at school, due to the extra reading we were given for language. We were asked to annotate the work of Alice Neikirk, who we found out thanks to the Internet is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, having studied anthropology. The paper, which seems to be the only one by her online, is on fairy tales and the general depiction of women and how society expects the female members of society to be. Although at first I agree with the prospect – as someone who wants equality for all people, forgetting just gender and including age, creed, and everything else. However, as we read into the text it proved to be radical and so apparently ‘anti-sexist’ it became, ironically, sexist towards men. This is a perfect exemplification of what I call pseudo-feminism – this pretend Feminism – that I have heard others even go as far as to call “Feminazism” reflecting the tyrannical, purist attitude of the Nazis. There is also this level of indignation that, if you do not agree with not only the cause but the little extras everyone adds to make their own brand of feminism, then you’re a raging, chauvinist, sexist pig. It’s a bit of a joke. In the media, the bad apples spoil the bunch.  This pseudo-Feminism, or Feminazism, has manifested itself well amongst many social media sites, most notoriously the likes of tumblr. It is evidently a product of social engineering – people jumping behind causes with a false pretense and doing many things in the name of them, but actually going against the sole cause. For example, this ‘feminism’ goes against Feminism because the idea of Feminism, forgive me if I’m wrong, is that women are to be equal to men – which sounds more like what we’d call humanism or humanitarianism nowadays. I have seen this all over Facebook also, and it’s like a giant game of Chinese Whispers (oh not allowed to say that… judging by this level of political correctness) where people re-post anything that is seemingly stripped of fact and instead has radical, perhaps untrue statistic or opinion. Most often, these things are posted by people who don’t even know the definition of repression. Have you spent a day in the middle east with a lady? Thought not. Some people are complaining about repression in the West but I really don’t think they have a grasp of the gravity the term ‘repression’ comes with. Do you know how harsh Sharia law is? Any sort of repression counts as repression, yes, I’m not suggesting that it is a case of “my repression is worse than yours” but I think people need to, indeed, understand the gravity of what is being said. Male critics may appear unfit to make a comment on something like that, according to some people, but I really think that we in the West cannot talk about repression in some areas that people here are, when people in the East have it a lot worse. If people in the West are oppressed, I don’t think it is to do with gender and more so to do with social status in general – for instance being working class. I’ve seen a lot of statistic twisting about jobs and payment. Though, there is truth in a lot of things about women being charged more when it comes to insurance, but then younger people are too – which makes it ageist and therefore is a problem of much wider scope that just gender equality – it’s more about corruption and prejudice in general.

A useful tool, for brainwashing the impressionable at least. Get a respectable cause, make it your own and bastardise it, then spread propaganda and call everyone who doesn’t like it nasty names!

In between that last paragraph and now, I had an English Language lesson and the text we were annotating wasn’t even supposed to be in for then. However, we did carry on looking at gender in texts and looked back upon a text we had recently written a response to. I was asked to write another paragraph on gender and how it’s represented in the text. Allow me to give you some context. So this one text is an extract from a maths book that appears to be targeted primarily at 8 to 10 year olds. It employs a cartoonistic aesthetic that a child of that age would know well and most likely love. One caricature is of a girl frowning at a book as she imagines a rather goofy looking boy with flies circling his head. This is clearly a joke that refers to the “boy versus girl” attitude a lot of young children have – which is challenged by a lot of people, saying it’s due to views being imposed on young, impressionable minds. I think this is true but I think that whatever you present to a child, you are imposing something on them. By their nature, children imitate what they know so how do you show them something without leaving a lasting idea – thought – ideology? That becomes another thing entirely.    The succeeding diagrams are quite funny as well, with a group of scruffy boys standing around, again with flies circling with them. One of them has spotted that a girl they all know, Veronica, is at the bus stop – fixing her hair to make it looks pretty. One of them goes “Go on, I dare you to sneak up and kiss her.” which clearly refers to the childish love-oriented “kiss-and-tell” humour children have when talking about boys and girls too at such a young age. To someone older and more aware, it stinks of sexism and a lot of people would say “That’s not the sort of thing you should be teaching a child” but the thing is, it isn’t. It’s making them aware that it happens – it’s mocking it, making a joke of it. To me, the inclusion of such a thing is to make it more entertaining and applicable of a child. “Well it’s not something to joke about?” Isn’t it, if it belittles the notions of what is going on in the photos, why is that such a bad thing – if you’re against it all. I feel as if some people do indeed jump behind these ideologies for their own good – for example, like donating to charity to improve your own image and don’t necessarily support the cause or do anything for it. People jump on the bandwagon of self-righteousness and rely on their news feed to feed them cherry-picked bits of ‘knowledge’ to support their often baseless ‘facts.’ This is not Feminism like the Suffragettes and Suffragists practiced. It is wrong to even compare, I think. This does not just apply to Feminism, this applies to all causes that are bastardised on social media. For example, people saying that they are environmentalist vegans posting propaganda from their iPhone. That’s another story.

Also, people do not accept the responsibility for their beliefs, too. I personally think people can do what they want, as long as they take the responsibility of their actions: If they’re gay, that’s their business and I support it no more or no less than I do someone saying they’re straight. It is their business, not mine. I don’t want it forced down my throat, the same goes for all. I will respect you for who you are and what you do: that’s tolerance. What I cannot stand, is if someone feels as if they have been wronged when someone challenges their belief. Like when “Feminists” have gone as far as to dress their children in clothes typically designed for the other gender. My opinion of that is: It’s wrong if it’s against the child’s will, clearly. If the child did want to, then it’s great that the parent has pursued this. What I think is absolutely ridiculous though, is that people will complain if their child is bullied for it. I’m not saying “conform to the bullies” as I’ve been bullied myself and have overcome it: For my different interests and personality. I just carried on being the way I was: I didn’t complain and expect others to change for me. So why do people expect other people to change? I’m an idealist but even I know that is ridiculous, insane even. So why would you act surprised that your child may be bullied for it? It’s tragic that they may be, but it’s not an indignation. You have to show them you are stronger than it and carry on as normal anyway. It’s like “If you don’t want your child to be bullied, don’t call him Tristyn.” Similarly, those that kick the hornets’ nest need not complain about being stung.

Sixth Form Life and Internet Censorship Circumvention

Sixth Form life is sweet. I’m sitting here, typing this post to you from the comfort of the common room, which they’ve now dubbed the “study centre” but nobody calls it that, as it’s a blatant misnomer. Absolutely no studying goes on here, most of the time. From the comfort of a Postura chair, equally a misnomer as the chairs are actually horrific in design and provide no benefit to your posture whatsoever, I can do work and evade the rowdiness of the library and sit with friends. The only positive about them is their colour – a nice blue – but if you’re a literature student like I am, the blue obviously represents the collective melancholy of the students inside the room, yeah yeah…

As a literature and language student I can definitely vouch this.

Also, if you bring your own computer into school you can run your own programmes and access your own, private files. This is an amazing benefit because you can, if you’re into that, run programmes that would otherwise be banned on the school systems. As I live in a nation that is slowly becoming a nanny state, following the USA as its lapdog – the UK – a lot of websites are blocked at school. I’m not sitting here trying to access porn, however. Reasonable sites that don’t even mean you’d be counterproductive on the event of you visiting them, are blocked. Earlier, a university site I wanted to look at to get course information from was blocked too – that’s a little bit weird.

I’m sure you’ve heard of The Onion Router or, as its known colloquially on the web, “Tor”. The Tor network is golden for freedom loving anarchistic whistleblowing moral social justice warrior types (as well as edgelords who have a love of gore, gun sites and weird porn hosted on ‘hidden websites’ using .onion domains) for the liberation it gives to people online. Activists that could be punished for simply having views that oppose the state are given this power technological tool to circumvent blocking and censorship, as well as being tracked by the government that overshadows them and prosecuted for publishing material about their views online. This is an absolute gift for people such as in the East right now, especially Womens’ rights activists for example, or general skeptics of dictatorships, etcetera. Long story short, you can stand up against tyranny with it – that’s an amazing feat, for a piece of software which weighs in at 40 or so megabytes unpacked and simply redirects your computer through different layers (hence ‘onion’) – which are different servers, on all across the world. Anyone can have one of these servers too, so it’s a peer to peer, decentralised network – an absolute nightmare for Law Enforcement Agencies. Tor is so effective that the Russian government even offered a cash prize for the person who could compromise Tor and work out who is doing what, behind the network. It is especially funny that the American government go to such great lengths to crack it too, as it is the product of American government research. One department is constantly trying to break what another department is constantly making better at concealing anonymity.

You can download Tor for many different devices running various operating systems. Windows, Linux and Mac are amongst these. http://www.torproject.org/

This wonderful and emancipating tool, of course, has a few more mundane uses. At school for instance, you can use it to visit blocked sites – which makes you some sort of technological messiah when everyone else succumbs to the censorship in effect on all of the school’s machines and any other devices  that are plainly connecting to the school’s network.

“How do you do that?” they ask – hoping you’ll do it for them too, before everyone realises and the teachers scratch their heads before working out how you did it. Meanwhile, you’re on YouTube, utterly procrastinating on their time and sacrificing their study periods – lessons that aren’t lessons essentially – where you’re expected to do some independent research. Hey, there’s no harm in ditching your further maths study to watch the heinously funny “Birdemic” while eating your lunch early…

So the technicians monitor what’s going on, perhaps they do some packet sniffing, work out what your computer is communicating with to let you evade the unforgiving banhammer, so they can block that and then make you a compliant Internet user. They’ll see that they can block the ports you’re using, so you simply re-assign, or they block some servers – at which point you use a bridge. Many come with the run-of-the-mill version of Tor, however you can easily add your own. They’ll think they were one head of the game but you’ll constantly be changing the game and in your favour, too.

Recently, in England, the Conservative party (more or less the British equivalent of the Republicans – a moderately right wing party) wanted for police to have more power on viewing people’s Internet usage and history, in the name of stopping ‘terrorism’ of course. Even if that was so, why does everyone’s liberty have to be breached to get a few spoilt apples from the bunch, hm? The excuse of “I have nothing to hide so I have nothing to fear.” is lame and says a lot about you as a person. You obviously don’t care about your rights or stick to your morals. Handing yourself over to them on a plate basically. Not only this, you could be criminalised for something taken out of context  – or something that was punished already, for example. Luckily, the Ministers turned this down and Theresa May has had to backtrack the plans.

Another thing I’m annoyed about is the IPAA – which seems like a ‘re-jigged’ version of the infamous SOPA we heard about years ago – which would see the death of so many intellectual and creative outlets on the Internet and champion capitalism yet again – shallow, shallow people.