The Final Countdown

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So, May is here, and I will admit that this is not exactly how I expected the year to have panned out thus far. Today, like it or not, begins the process of redefining my online experience, across three websites and two Twitter accounts, plus Facebook and everything else. It won’t be an overnight shift, but I hope by the end of next week to have put all the pieces in place so I can start writing stuff in advance. I successfully scheduled my first Haiku on the writing site, and for the next month I’ll be planning ahead as much as conceivably possible, mostly because it makes the process of organisation easier.

However, I missed a scheduled blog post or two over the weekend. I need to catch up on what was originally promised today so tomorrow I’m where I should be. I’m not going to lie though, last night sitting in front of Pride and Prejudice on DVD finishing off my wooden friendship letters was something I need to do more of and not less. Having the ability to decompress is something I’m woeful at and relaxation really does matter at present. I have several friends who push me to ensure I’m taking time for myself in all this organisation, and it makes the world of difference.

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I’ve also acknowledged some significant body changes this last week. My stomach is now shrinking, without doubt, and more abdominal muscles are apparent. Places which had excess fat before continue to vanish, and body measurements taken at my Medical on Friday showed a 20% reduction in fat content across the board from the last time I was recorded. I’ve still got some details to come in, including results from a raft of blood tests. Oh yeah, and there’s the Hemoccult test for bowel cancer that won’t be a whole lot of fun to do but needs to be done that I’ll start on today.

However, for now I am focussed on the future. Let’s get on with redefining my existence, shall we?

 

Picture This

As I’m planning to spend more time writing here as time goes on, it occurred to me that I ought to start tacking more meaty subjects than my own exercise failings and stupidity online. The problem is, right now, there’s so much of the latter taking place on a daily basis that I could probably make a full time living doing just that. So to begin your week with a stop and think moment, let’s give a lesson in a subject I am learning more about with each passing day. It’s the game your entire Followers List can play: Objectification for Fun and Profit.

It began with this floating into my timeline: woman of colour Serena Williams has done a photo shoot (for Sports Illustrated) not wearing very much, and a white woman has seen this before getting the right hump. More importantly, it is a woman who is not of colour throwing someone who is a ton of shade for deciding she can do whatever the fuck she likes because she’s successful. I’d love to say that women should stick together, and that you’d not see this happening anywhere else, but that’s just not true either. Let’s roll in the other tweet that made it to my timeline yesterday to prove that sometimes, complaining you don’t like something when being paid to write about it is the worst thing you can ever do:

https://twitter.com/Bhattousai/status/833284335574851584

Not only is it bad to show off your body when a woman of colour and pregnant, or when successful, it is also terrible to celebrate story lines that involve women of colour, despite the fact that movie’s more than likely to win the Best Picture Oscar. It won’t win it because the Oscars committee got grief that there wasn’t enough diversity, for the record, but because it’s a fucking brilliant piece of cinema according to all the sensible, rational people I believe who have seen it. No, I haven’t, but in this case even if I had I’d still take Camilla Long to task, or indeed any of these journalists who think that this is either a way to make money or a fair representation of actual truth. That’s the unexpected advantage of writing fluff pieces for newspapers: it is your opinion, freedom of speech gives you that right yet however wank that is, you’ll still get paid regardless.

Those of us who do this for love think a bit harder about what gets used as subject matter.

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Image #7 when I type ‘cosplay’ into Google ^^

I use Tweetdeck for Twitter reading for one reason: it allows me to mute people and phrases when the traditional means of silencing stupid on that platform won’t work. It means therefore that if you put the word ‘cosplay’ in a Tweet I won’t see it either, and I’d like to explain why as an example of how objectification has NOTHING to do with the people being photographed and EVERYTHING around who looks at and then shares those pictures. I enjoy looking at both men and women’s naked bodies, but in my own time and certainly not on social media, and that means I make a conscious choice to remove all references to scantily clad females that other people choose to share online. It is, effectively, people deciding that X has great tits and that everyone should share. That’s objectification, and because I want no part of it, I remove it from my timeline. I’ve also started doing this with shirtless pictures of men, I won’t lie, as I realise that it is just as objectifying as the lovely lady above being waved in my face.

The fact she chose to have this picture taken is NOT her objectifying herself. Sure, it might appear to have that effect, but if you make a conscious decision to allow your life to be public property, that is a consequence everyone takes, from the 40′ waisted pole dancer to the intersex model. Size, shape, colour or sexual preference are irrelevant. An object (and no, I’m not dissing anyone by being this literal) by definition has stuff directed at it, and is not the thing doing the objectification:

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I’ll freely admit that this is a concept I’m coming to quite late, that staring at desirable things is always something that’s been done without really grasping the significance or consequence of the action. After all, if you go to a museum and stare at a naked statue, which presumably is only an interpretation of a real person, what’s the difference between that and the nice young lady pretending to be a representation of a dragon with 44 DD breasts? Of course, with Serena Williams and Beyoncé there is an issue of race that really shouldn’t even exist in 21st Century thinking, where movies like ‘Moonlight’ should just be considered as the norm and not an exception. Objectification happens in too many places, and with not enough consideration for a global stage. It doesn’t help that fascism and introversion are now turning back efforts to expand people’s minds, and that ‘fake news’ makes this the new reality.

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It makes me sad that people won’t get along. It’s even more depressing that, faced with choice, it is a natural reaction for most of us to assume we’re right and everybody else is wrong. There’s an awful lot of space on this planet for everybody to work together and get along, yet easier to divide and conquer people and ideas to keep what are considered as ‘unruly’ people in line. I’d like to think that if I was ever paid to write this kind of crap for a living I’d make better choices, and wouldn’t think about dissing people or picking targets without understanding what it was I was doing in the first place. Mostly, it seems to me that writing is becoming a lost art: easier to throw a metaphorical plant at someone and forget about finesse. If that’s the case, honestly, these people should be out of a job. This isn’t news, and neither is it opinion I have any interest in, yet undoubtedly outrage causes clicks and makes money.

That’s probably the larger issue that could do with addressing.

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Burning Heart

I am not an Expert.

I’ll grant you, sometimes I probably sound like I’m trying to be one. For the record, this is ABSOLUTELY NOT the intention. If you asked me what I’m really good at, I’d struggle to give you a representative answer. I can do a decent fist of writing, if the wind’s in my favour. I take an okay photograph. I’m awful at domestic chores, fail consistently at being both prompt and in remembering significant dates, and my cookery skills remain woeful at best (MUST FIX THAT.) I also fail at being empathetic, sympathetic, understanding and generally spend a lot of time fighting emotional states to maintain a decent illusion of coping. I am singularly, definitely, positively NOT an expert at ANYTHING.

I’m brilliant however at reacting: someone yesterday called me a ‘take no prisoners’ kind of personality and yeah, I will often not really care about how you feel if I think you’re being a Class A Twatface, I’ll just point out the stupid and move on.  However, because I know that empathy is often one of my failings (unless we know each other, then you get double) I do now attempt not to sound like anything at all when I see someone on Social media struggling with a bad time. Then, I watch other people pile in with ‘expertise’ that often makes me want to throw pot plants at them, because in my mind there is NOTHING WORSE than when you say summat like this for a bunch of people to pile in with their own ‘interpretation’ of what appears to have transpired.

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This is the virtual equivalent of ‘if you don’t have anything useful to say, don’t say anything at all.’ I know my Grandma used to replace ‘useful’ with ‘nice’ but in the Modern world, that’s not happening on the Internet to begin with. When I watch someone say summat on their feed which is clearly meant as a explanation of their actions and nothing else, to watch other people dive in to ‘interpret’ that is, I have to say, depressing beyond belief. This, for me, is where the GIF has become a way of me being able to show interest, but not dig a hole for myself, which would often happen previously when I’d have only words to fall back on. That whole adage of ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ is absolutely spot on: that’s why, when I’m done here, I should go find more hug GIFs because that’s what I and others need most right now. That and artistically-photographed cake, beverages, lovely serene landscapes and Mini Dogs. Lots of lovely, fluffy and perky canines to keep me sane when it all goes Pete Tong on my feed.

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I also sense, behind a number of Avatars, a slow realisation that appearing not to care about anything but your own agenda is part of a larger issue that will start affecting more people than just Governments and large corporations. I may appear to operate a fairly 1/0 approach to caring about Randoms on certain days, but I can guarantee that’s not the case. I am passionate about everything, to the point where some days it is mentally exhausting. I’m now reining in the urge to go HAM on your Feed because I can see the difference between something that needs to be commented on and summat the person just needed to say for their own sanity. Just because someone says summat on Social media does not mean you need to respond, and just because nobody answers you does not mean nobody is listening. This vital point has somewhere been lost, and everybody is an expert at everything.

Oh, and as a reminder I’m not claiming to be an expert here.

I’m just pointing out the fucking obvious.

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Because everybody is watching everybody else, all the time, potentially nothing is missed, but we all know the truth is a long way from that reality. Some of you will get hugely aggrieved that there’s no response to what you want to talk about, or that when you need help there’s ‘nobody around’ when in reality that often equates to a few people or even a single person of interest. It is the ‘Notice me Senpai’ approach to life that assumes that at any given time, like it or not, you are the centre of the Universe. Well, of course you are, because that’s how Social media works. You make a space, you carve out a niche, and then you sell it (if you’re wanting to make a name) or you find a soapbox and stand on it (if you’re orating to the crowd) and so on, ad infinitum with all the things this platform can be used for. However, how you perceive that space is far more important than the area itself. Unless you clearly define that to other people, or make that obvious via your own actions? You will only have yourself to blame if the wheels come off, and they always will when there’s not an acceptance that definition could ever be an issue.

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You need to be made of strong stuff to stand ‘in public’, when all is said and done. As you get older, vanity and substance should give way to acceptance and understanding, but more often than not you just get more sensitive and less capable. If I am to become an expert at anything in my life, it should be to just being what I am without allowing anyone else to dictate those limits to me. If you don’t like my attitude at first glance, maybe it isn’t just my problem to address but ours to jointly negotiate. Everybody doesn’t need to come down to your level or act as you see fit. Put the expertise on hold for a minute and don’t just think you’re capable of solving all the issues in the World, because you can’t and won’t. If someone refuses to listen? Don’t take it as an insult, and try and understand why. That’s what’s missing more than anything else right now, from every aspect of my life. People don’t want to, or they’re too tired to, or it isn’t what matters any more. That’s a big fat fucking lie.

Understanding is EVERYTHING.

Stop pretending you’re an expert, because you’re not.

Beautiful

I didn’t write anything yesterday. I was too busy. History will remember it as the day modern women pointed out that yes, cross us at your peril. It was the day where #alternativefacts from the White House made everybody, including the Press, realise that we are most definitely NOT in Kansas any more.

However, we got through it.

There’s far worse to come, of that I am certain. However, at least we now know what to expect.

This is no longer a game. We’re not here to be clever or be covered in glory. It is time to up your game, check your privilege at the door and get down into the fucking filth with everybody else. Your hero status is revoked. You cannot use the past as your CV. Only now, in the moment, will the true saviours of the Planet be forged. The press, who have been fucking shambolic up to this point, will now hopefully understand what they have to deal with. Your fantasies of a ‘West Wing’ style press room are over. The only way you win now is by standing up and being prepared to be shot. I wonder how many people will stick on the flak jackets and wade in.

For the satirists, of course, it’s Christmas and New year rolled into one.

However, when you read past the protest and indignation, there’s an awful lot to do.

Hundreds of thousands of people peacefully protest. There are four arrests (if I believe what I read.) Nobody wears riot gear. Nobody breaks a Starbucks windows. No Nazis are punched. In fact, across the world, millions of women who were personally incensed by the President’s opinions, angry that this man got to be in charge, offended they are considered as merely ‘property’… I assume that the collapse of the social order means all these women should have all stayed at home and done laundry or something. The responses on that tweet vary from right to left with an almost predictable regularity and I’m almost tempted to follow this Sheriff ‘person’ as I suspect it might be a useful counterpoint to what I’m seeing in the majority.

If you think yesterday was the collapse of the social order? That’s hardly the most auspicious of starts to a Presidency, is it?

The biggest single issue I see is truth. If you believe everything Government tells you without doing some basic searching? This is going to be a very blinkered 4 years. Fortunately people are already preparing for this eventuality. It is time to listen to everyone, not just the people you thought you trusted. It’s not just the US doing this either, it transpires my PM may have known more than she let on an abortive Trident launch before a vital Commons vote. The Orange Man is not simply our enemy. The fact Mrs May’s rushing to meet him and trying to make it look like she’s going to be strong for womenkind? Oh shut up Teresa, nobody believes you. All flies are attracted to shit, you can’t avoid it, it’s where your eggs are laid. This woman does not represent my interests anyway, but that’s a Blog Post for another day.

Right now, the satirists are your friends. These are the people who grasp more truth than you are ever likely to hear or see. It is their job to keep up to date with facts so they can destroy the lies and make you laugh as you cry. Listen to these people. Check the truth, at every possible opportunity.

These will be dark days ahead, but together we will overcome them all.