Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Goodbye beautiful..

I suppose I was just the right age when the film The Empire Strikes Back came out. I was a boy who was still childishly dismissing girls as people I'd never play with, whilst becoming uncomfortably aware that I had these confusing feelings for the opposite sex.

I've almost never had any romantic or sexual interest in celebrities, couldn't understand people who do. But sitting in that London cinema, and seeing the emotions playing across Princess Leia's face, I suddenly realised that everything had changed for me. Life was going to get a good deal more complex from now on - especially if I ever met anyone who had that effect on me (only one or two women I've known ever have)

The way Carrie Fisher's face broke into a smile was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Her voice was almost as lovely. I now look back and realise that (till today) I lived on the same earth as this absolutely radiant human being, and - had I been in the right place at the right time - might have met her.

Now I never can.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Look at this photograph

Here is a photograph of some men in London recently. Now look carefully at these men, as though you'd never seen a picture just like this ever before. It's really good to look at things with a child's eyes, and a child's emotional intuition. A child hasn't been told what to think yet, and instinctively knows whom to trust, and whom to be scared of. So cast your eye over these chaps

How do they strike you? Do they look pleased? Relaxed? Do they look as though they want to leave you alone, to let you live your life as you decide?

Now in fact you've probably seen photos like this a thousand times. You probably well know that for me to criticize certain groups of people is virtually a thought-crime in this day and age. I can say whatever nasty rubbish I like about white straight men (see the first section here) but I might even go to jail if I were to opine that the men in the above photo look like murderous psychopaths on a mission.

So I won't do that, I will simply observe that they look very... motivated. And I can't help but recall some of George Carlin's words on motivation, with which I will leave you today, and do please forgive the coarseness:

"Motivation is bullshit, if you ask me this country could use a little less motivation. The people who are motivated are the ones who are causing all the trouble! Stock swindlers, serial killers, child molesters, Christian conservatives? These people are highly motivated, highly motivated. I think motivation is overrated, you show me some lazy prick whose lying around all day watching game shows and stroking his penis and I'll show you someone who's not causing any fucking trouble ok?"

Friday, 26 August 2016

Why progressives are extremists

Something I think is becoming rather clearer to many of us is that so-called "progressives" have moved to an immoderate, intolerant extreme in politics.

Here's where it gets interesting... They also appear to believe they occupy the centre ground, that those (many) who disagree are all "far-right" racist loons

It must alter your view of the world somewhat to imagine that half the UK population is seething with resentment and hostility. Yet readers of the Guardian regularly expressed this view in the comments section before and especially after the EU referendum.

I've written rather repetitively on the meaninglessness of the word "hatred". One wonders what our moral saviours believe we're all thinking - and on what evidence they're basing this. Often the argument runs as follows: 52% voted leave, therefore many want to limit immigration. It therefore follows that these folk must harbour unpleasant, bottled-up hostility towards foreigners.

Really haters?

And there are, of course, numerous alternative scenarios. Irrational fear of "the other" could actually be quite reasonable fear of too-rapid change, of the loss of the culture we grew up with..

There's another feature of the 52%, and it's a situation being played out rather differently in the US. It is this: many of us are sick to death of being lectured by smug fanatics, certain of their cause, who - rather than argue their case - unfailingly accuse their opponents of character flaws, to silence dissent.

It could be that some of us quite like our way of life, and don't want it trashed for ever by zealots who can't and don't want to understand or care.

The new intolerance

For zealots they are. Progressives have forgotten about actual crime, about murder, burglary etc and think the only sin is a ThoughtCrime, the crime of racism.. or xenophobia.. or generalized "hatred". It's increasingly clear that they are simply another religious cult, who want to think themselves the chosen ones.

Progressives have, to their own satisfaction at least, extended the definition of "racism" to include nearly everything under the sun; by sophistry they pretend that white English-speakers can somehow never be victims of racism (they long ago decided we are all guilty of it)...

...and the rest of us have worked out it's a big con, by the sort of folk who kept the Stasi, or the Witchfinder General informed in the past. Because the witch-hunts have already begun again.

Always remember your George Carlin:

"Political correctness is America's newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people's language with strict codes and rigid rules"

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Why the British poor are worried about immigration

I sense a serious divide between the so-called progressive so-called liberal left and the poor working class or unemployed in Britain - which helps explain the recent referendum result here.
It's well-nigh impossible to explain this to the former group, because I think they are, at bottom, fanatics. They are so sure that they're the tolerant, rational people. The only problem arises when there's a small error in their logic, and they've got the whole damn thing wrong.
Anyone with half an education is getting a message about what to think (which they often dutifully follow) from the internet and from mainstream news sources. The message seems to be boiling down to an obsession with racism (not an easy concept to define). That and xenophobia. These are the 2 main evils in the world, not greed or envy, not pride, not casual violence.
And the only virtue is a negative one, not being racist. Forget kindness, hard work, keeping a family together, stoicism.. Comfortable middle class folk in Oxfordshire have nice parties together and indicate to each other that they're not racist, not like those other people.
And who are "those other people"? Well our "liberal" friends need someone to despise, and in this case it's anyone who expresses any concern about immigration. To even suggest (quite rightly) that we might control immigration is to be accused of xenophobia or the r word, and to stand accused of wanting to stop immigration altogether, and to send anyone home.
Poor British people want there to be jobs available, and they don't want to compete with a million new people every 3 years for those jobs. This isn't racism, but I've watched privileged Oxford students sneer at the plebs who they think need educating. These are students with the best possible start in life brainlessly patronising poor folk with no A-levels, it's quite sickening to watch.

Monday, 4 July 2016

The dishonesty surrounding the immigration debate in the UK

The EU referendum in the UK has once again focused out minds in the issue of immigration.

In a nutshell, you have on the one hand working class British people, worried about uncontrolled immigration, worried about jobs, about services, and - yes - worried about their whole culture being changed as they get older.

On the other you have relatively comfortable middle class folk accusing the first group of wanting no immigration at all - and damning them all as racists and xenophobes.

Do I need to make that simpler?

As a nation, we seem obsessed with denouncing each other as racist, to the point of extending the definition of the word, so they can use it to label more and more people.

However, it is not racist or xenophobe or even isolationist to want to at least have our own controls over immigration, or wanting to limit it. We have every right to ask for this, it seems like common sense.

Those voting Remain never addressed this issue, preferring to misrepresent (and show contempt for) those who disagreed with them. Which is part of the reason they lost themselves a referendum...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

"Avoiding negative stereotyping" is usually a lie

Plenty have noticed the very politically correct casting choices of The Force Awakens.  There is a long very dishonourable history of this sort of thing, carried out very prominently by the BBC.

The thought police who influence such things always make very sure that there are a preponderance of female characters in "action" roles. Women and ethnic minority characters tend to be honourable, decent people. White make characters, on the other hand are free to be as nasty as possible, and are frequently pathetic, lacking in confidence.

This piece documents just a few examples of the depiction of white men. Here's another.

Diane Ravitch tells this story from her days working on the National Assessment Governing Board

"I reviewed one- and two-page passages that had been prepared by the testing consortium ... Most of these passages had been previously published in children's magazines or in recent anthologies. After I had read about a dozen such passages ... I realized that the readings themselves had a cumulative subtext: the hero was never a white boy. Instead, the leading character -- the one who was most competent, successful, and sympathetic -- was invariably either a girl (of any race) or a nonwhite boy. Almost without exception, white boys were portrayed as weak and dependent. In one story, a white boy in a difficult situation weeps and says plaintively, 'If only my big sister were here, I would know what to do.'"

The obvious hypocrisy

Now never mind what it does to creative effort, to have these political rules shackling the outcome. There's a very obvious, very logical corollary here. If the content of drama and literature is policed so much that there are no "negative" stereotypes of women or non-whites, then you have 2 choices left:

  • either your story has no characters with negative traits at all, or
  • surprise! White men have to fill all the negative roles
Now anyone worried about how stereotyping affects people ought to be worried about the effect these anti-role-models will have on young white boys (who incidentally seem to be slipping down the rankings in academic achievements). But of course our betters see nothing wrong with negative stereotyping of white men. They don't care. You'll be insulted for suggesting there is a problem.

If people were serious about avoiding negative stereotyping of groups, television drama would be impossible. There would be no characters, no interest. If you choose to protect all groups except one from negative roles, then you are ensuring that this one group will get all the negative roles. You can't escape logic.

Thus the whole exercise of fighting stereotypes is worse than flawed, it does exactly what it claims to be fighting against

Saturday, 26 March 2016

What we call creativity

"A creator fools around. He does not know what is the right way to do a thing so he goes on seeking and searching again and again in different directions. Many times he moves in a wrong direction - but wherever he moves, he learns; he becomes more and more rich. He does something that nobody has ever done before. If he had followed the right way to do things he would not have been able to do it."
— OSHOCreativity: Unleashing the Forces Within
We’ve overused the word “creativity” - so it’s worth asking what do we mean by the word. I think it means fashioning something out of things old and new. 
The thing might not in the end be something that no one has done before. But it’s new to the person making it - it’s like a discovery to him or her. Thus the magic of creating something is like the magic of discovery.
Trying to put different ideas together to see what happens is a form of play, a kind of fun. Sometimes it’s pure fun, sometimes it’s hard work, searching and hoping that there is a good thing to be discovered at the end of the journey.
The process of finding the new thing is therefore not logical, but striking out in the dark.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The madness of the WomenInSTEM brigade

In UK universities, there are more women studying overall. That is what is known as an inequality. Specifically, more women study languages, biological sciences, subjects relating to medicine, history, and social sciences (psychology, sociology etc). The imbalance is striking*

Feminists - our scrupulously honest defenders of equality, remember - always stay strangely silent about these facts. But, it's ok, they magically regain their voice again when you mention that more men study STEM sciences than women: engineering, maths (only just), physics & computer sciences have more men sudying.

Then our feminist betters are suddenly saying something cogent like "Inequality! Sexism! Discrimination! Patriarchy!"

OK, that's irritating, it's stupid & it's intellectually dishonest. But they're not done yet. NO way. Because if you put this fact to them, that inequalities run both ways, and they only care about those affecting women, then they often DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A PROBLEM. I've said this and had someone say "well yes, feminism is about equality for women"

At which point you realise they're just trying to annoy you. Right?

Here's some basic logic: equality doesn't work just one way, or it ain't equality any more, it's then greater than or equal to. This is denoted by >= in maths notation and is different from =. You can't have equality for women and not for men. That's silly. So stop talking about equality, s'il vous plait.

And if some lunatic wants to reply "feminism isn't maths", then I would even more say "stop talking about equality" because maths is where equality lives, outside of maths, the word is meaningless.

Here endeth the maths lesson.

* the hard data for this is readily available. If you don't believe me, go down the long and boring road of checking it - even the Guardian reports the facts straight on this one.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Many cyclists are aggressive nutcases

Off the top of my head, I've seen:

- a female cyclist going down a hill with her hands in her pockets,
- male teenage cyclists boasting about cycling all the way home from school hands-in-pockets
- cyclists screaming incoherently at pedestrians trying to cross the road.
- cyclists going blind round corners at 20mph where pedestrians are trying to cross
- a male cyclist (with daughter) setting a great example by telling a ped to F... off when remonstrated with over dangerous cycling
- countless examples of cyclists nearly colliding with people who were getting off a bus
- several seriously injured cyclists, one died in front of me, I think
- cyclists going through red lights on ped crossings, over and over and over again
- cyclists wandering off cycle paths onto ped section, nearly hitting pushchairs (several times), on one occasion, the cyclist made a sarcastic remark to the parent who mildly objected to his baby's safety being compromised just so a cyclist could get home quicker
- cyclists trying to collide with pedestrians who they feel shouldn't be on the road
- a lycra-clad cyclist kicking an old man for some reason in London
- a cyclist not stopping at the end of a cycle-path, and nearly hitting my pregnant partner who was getting off a bus
- cyclist after cyclist after cyclist disobeying the law in the city centre forbidding cycling in day-time. Every day I see multiple examples.
- cyclists riding on pavement (including downhill) when they had no right to do so.

Yet how they indignantly moan if you point any of this out!

Cyclists in the UK think they are above the law, they are often aggressive if told how badly they are cycling. They are completely unreasonable. I'm amazed at how readily they blame motorists for accidents, when cyclists so casually take risks with their own lives (and those of anyone around them). They disregard the law, and blame everyone else.

Just as motorbikes (and to some extent cars) do, cycles seem to bring out the low-IQ caveman warrior in people.