Monday, 23 January 2017

Protest Banners or Advertisements for One's Creativity

I wonder if a million people marching in the capital, all holding the same banners while protesting would send more of a message of solidarity and unity to the establishment than the multitude of individual messages that at times can seem like personal advertisements for one's own creative genius.

What message does having the same slogan on every banner send to a government? After 
reading an Adam Curtis article where he talked about how in the US when people began to protest at the news of Donald Trump's presidency, they were holding banners saying "NOT MY PRESIDENT". Similarly in the UK, when we protested against our part in the invasion of Iraq the slogan on ready-made banners and placards read  "NOT IN MY NAME". Curtis noticed how in the West, even when we are protesting, the individualism that drives capitalism is ever-present.

Curtis' example isn't exactly analogous to the observation I made above, but looking at recent trends in protests in the UK and US I do see some parallels. Many of the banners I saw were able to marry creativity and humour with a powerful message and really hit home, while others seemed more preoccupied with wanting to incorporate a popular phrase or saying at the expense of articulating the reason why they were protesting.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Trump has become Jaws

Trump seems to have found himself in the position of Jaws, the shark. A common enemy that ends up inadvertently uniting the people he threatens. His actions may even build bridges between groups that hate each other and are ideologically opposed, because they hate him 1000% more. In one sense I'm glad he made it to the top, and not Hillary, as he seems to be bringing people together, women especially, and caused them to want to walk the walk and put into action what they believe. But that wasn't his intention, so he deserves zero credit for it.
Unlike other big demonstrations, where the enemy was either too abstract, just out of reach or not there at all, Trump helps us focus our energies by needing to be right there, in the spotlight, soaking up all the adulation a president deserves, even if he has to pay for it. He doesn't mind if everything is fake because it's the spectacle that's important for the history books.
But with billions of people already enraged and still enraged the morning after, Trump has opened himself up to a whole new level of scrutiny. The poor quality stitching of his administration is already starting to fray and there is a sense that all the bad things about the world have been put on trial and entered the witness box to defend itself. I can't see the jury being very lenient.

Friday, 20 January 2017

My cats showed me how we are better off together than apart

You can learn loads from cats. Humility, patience, handling disappointment with grace, being the bigger cat, compassion, love, curiosity as well as sloth, greed, selfishness and just being a bit of a knobhead.
After getting two of my cats that were resting in separate spaces, into the same box, it was a nice surprise waking up to find they had been sharing the knowledge of this new co-existence with the third cat, who wisely had signed himself up. There was about 2 inches of space left, but that made the box even more cosy and each cat could be the next cat's pillow.
When they were sleeping in different rooms, two of them became shabbier because they find cleaning themselves a bit boring. The other one loves to clean things in general and so now that they've been spending more time together their coats have started to shine.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

How To Create World Peace

One of the cats claimed the comfy box for itself to sleep in, while the other one had to kip on the cold hard floor in the corner. So I picked up the one on the floor and placed it in the box with the other cat. The other cat didn't like this and started growling in a 'get the hell off my turf' kind of way. So I started stroking them both at the same time and they soon forgot about their beef and focused their attention upon on how nice strokes feel. I stroked them so much that they began to settle and then started cleaning each other before falling asleep.

This technique could be used to create world peace. Instead of telling two opposing groups to be nice to each other, don't mention the issue at all and just be nice to both of them, to the point where they focus on and appreciate your constant niceness so much they forget about their worries and their strife, and passing on the nice vibes becomes the natural thing to do next.

Note: I'm not advocating that the UN ought to assemble Donald Trump and the leader of ISIS in a room together, and then start stroking them until both men feel compelled to bathe one another.

Monday, 16 January 2017

The Bollocks of Blue Monday

Just woken up to the news informing me of the power of Blue Monday and how I should offset its negative effects by consuming positive images from film and nature. Does anyone take this day of mental health marketing seriously? It's absolute bollocks. If you want to, you can feel as cheerful and optimistic as you want, despite the weather and what other people are telling you.
Blue Monday was invented by Sky Travel in 2005 after they calculated the date using an 'equation' that was completely derided and laughed at by scientists. Blue Monday is considered pseudoscience in the scientific community and for me it's a couple of rungs below homeopathy, the science which claims a medicine increases in strength the more water you add to it.
Blue Monday, Black Friday and all these other fucking colourful campaign days are at best, self fulfilling prophecies that consumers buy into and then validate and make real themselves.
If you give contrived campaigns like these any credence whatsoever then you will be at the whims of others telling you how you should be feeling, and most likely start feeling guilty when you don't feel like how they say you should be feeling.
The equation that author Cliff Arnall used to calculate the date incorporated factors such as: Tt = travel time; D = delays; C = time spent on cultural activities; R = time spent relaxing; ZZ = time spent sleeping; St = time spent in a state of stress; P = time spent packing; Pr = time spent in preparation
This joke of a formula naturally produced some proper bollocks of the highest order.
"Ben Goldacre has observed that the equations "fail even to make mathematical sense on their own terms", pointing out that under Arnall's original equation, packing for ten hours and preparing for 40 will always guarantee a good holiday, and that "you can have an infinitely good weekend by staying at home and cutting your travel time to zero"