Tag Archives: media

The good news

Every morning I wake to the radio. ‘Breakfast TV’ is not for me. Stories of fruit shaped like Keith Chegwin and how many tiny Union Jacks John Redwood has stapled to his member this morning are insufficient to rouse me towards the rage on which my existence relies.

I wake to the BBC World Service, because believe it or not I’m capable of having my own thoughts for the day without some holy fool calling out my sins on the Today programme. Some days, though, I long for the murder of an alpaca to be the most important item on the agenda. Today, in what’s still theoretically the silly season while all the important people are off ‘not holidaying’ in the west of England, I awoke to a stunning parade of grim news stories that seemed to herald the end of the world.

Is news all bad all the time now? Is there any good news, or are we fucked? I’m here to tell you that there’s plenty of good news if you look hard enough for it.

Continue reading The good news

The mushy minds of the little people

What do heavy metal, Rambo knives, the Evil Dead and violent computer games all have in common?

Anyone old enough to hold an opinion worth hearing might recall that they’ve all been focal points for entirely synthetic moral panics, gleefully whipped up by a bloated corporate media always keen to curry political favour and further the next virtue-signalling social agenda. In hindsight, just a little objective research or critical thinking would’ve debunked all of those patently absurd and retarded ideas before they ever gained a foothold in the public discourse – assuming anyone involved ever gave a tinker’s cuss about public discourse in the first place.

Continue reading The mushy minds of the little people

Imploring clocks

A few weeks ago I was asked if I knew of a decent podcast app my friend could pipe idiots talking bollocks about nothing into her ears through. Pausing for a couple of deep breaths, I turned to the computer and pressed roughly 19 buttons to establish that the best such app out there was something called Pocket Casts. Tens of thousands of users, rave reviews, and not a bug in sight.

She thanked me for my skill at using the internet, all too rare in these days of increasing dependency on the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But there was a problem.

“It’s £1.49! Fuck that!”

Continue reading Imploring clocks

Disney meets Stephen King

Ever since I was 7, I’ve been wondering if there was something wrong with me. I woke up every morning for almost 20 years with the question floating through my mind, between thoughts of food and coffee. The inside of my head sounded something like “I’m hungry, what should I have for breakfast? I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. I know: coffee.” The answer is always coffee.

Now I know for sure. There is definitely something wrong with me, because it’s Saturday evening and I’m going to my friend’s house to babysit for her. As I pass hoards of party people, some of them already in a joyful state of inebriation, the certainty that something is wrong with me grows stronger. I try to focus on the music that’s now blaring in my headphones. At some point, I swear I can hear Strummer screaming “There’s something wrong with you” between the lyrics of Cheapskates. Surely, missing out on the parties I was supposed to attend in order to spend the night with the spoiled brats my friend birthed is a sign of something being completely messed up in my head.

Maybe my brain’s been bleeding somewhere in the frontal lobe, thus changing my personality. This may sound extreme, but my friend has three girls, which is reason enough to say no to babysitting. They always look like they came out of a Disney book and that creeps me out. What’s up with those Elsa dresses they keep wearing? This Frozen shit is like crystal meth for little girls.

I look around at girls aged 2 to 7 and all I can see is a future generation of Taylor Swift-loving idiots waiting for some dumbass Prince Charming to kiss their loneliness away. Yesterday I saw a toddler wearing a pink onesie that said “future trophy wife” in capital dark pink letters. Her mum was pushing the buggy around with a smug look on her face, as if already envisioning the life of her offspring in the shadow of some poor fucker who’d have to work 80 hours a week to support the fifties cliche he chose as a wife.

Isn’t society supposed to evolve? Why the fuck are we heading back to the last century? What’s with all these gender stereotypes? Women get pregnant and they can’t wait to find out the sex of the baby, just to know if they should decorate the nursery in tones of pink or blue, although I imagine it won’t be long until some nutjob will have their house covered in shades of grey – about fifty of them. Poor foetuses haven’t even developed fingerprints at the time their fate is decided and colour-coded.

“Oh, baby, Mummy loves you so much. Now, because you have a vagina, you will have to wear headache-inducing colours, play with dolls and survive on lettuce for the vast majority of your life. Please don’t step out of this tiny pink glittery box or you’ll have a very hard time. Other than that, welcome to the world, it’s lovely having someone I can dump all my unaccomplished hopes and dreams on.” Does that sound messed up to you? That’s because it is.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s much the same with boys. The only reason I’m focusing on girls is the fact that I’m surrounded by them and it’s obnoxious seeing this happening every single day. My friend is a nice woman, but she’s making the same mistake as most mothers nowadays. I stopped visiting her by the time her second daughter turned 2. The last time I went to see them, her lounge was something out of a horror story. A pink, glittery horror story. It was Disney meets Stephen King. Carrie at the prom covered in glittery blood. I don’t know if ‘glitter allergy’ is a thing, but it should be and I should try and get it. It would be the perfect excuse to stay away from the three future housewives with sticky hands and weird white wigs that she’s raising.

We think we’re the lucky ones, the ones free and educate their children in that spirit of freedom and accomplishment. Yet there’s a girl across the world who faced bullets in order to protect her right to go to school, at an age when girls in Western countries post pouting selfies on Instagram because they don’t have a boyfriend to validate their worth. We think they’re savage because they force their daughters into marriage, yet we’re so quick to judge a woman who gets to a certain age and is still single and childless.

We jump on our high horses and descend onto ‘poor, uneducated’ peoples to serve them a nice warm slice of our wisdom, not realizing it smells oddly like shit. You’ll read a magazine article praising some Hollywood star’s feminist campaign, then turn the page and find ‘beauty tips’ and ‘diet advice’, because surely, as a woman, you can’t be interested in much else.

And all this shit starts with the Disney movies that seem so perfectly innocent. We take our little girls and spoon feed them all the stereotypes you can think of: girls always have teeny tiny waists, princes are handsome and if you see someone physically ugly in the movie you can bet they’re the bad guy. That’s why they grow up to quickly help that young man in an expensive suit who suddenly got sick in the middle of the street, while ignoring the homeless who’s probably dying under their eyes. And if they somehow grow up without having the perfect princess body, that’s fine, they have the women magazines to teach them all about lemon detox and how to hide their pimples.

People often ask me why I hate children. They assume I do, because I quit teaching for no apparent reason and I say I don’t want to have children of my own. I don’t hate children, though. I hate their parents and their ignorance. I hate how I saw a woman say ‘no’ when her daughter wanted a green tee with a dinosaur on it and buy a pink one instead; when people say to me “you’re too smart for your own good”, but never say it to my brother or my male friends; when they assume a woman is single because she can’t “keep a man around” and not because she actually chooses to be single; when a boy is “gay” because he likes to knit rather than watch football; when “real men have muscles” and “real women have curves” because if you’re too skinny you’re less of a man or a woman.

It’s a two-edged sword, though, because the victims of the issue are also the enforcers of it. Growing up with this bullshit makes children see the world in a very twisted way. They’re not only the ones trying hard to fit in, but also the ones who judge others for not succeeding.

And yes, I still stand by my opinion – it all starts with the fuckin’ Disney movies. I’d like to see Disney make a movie about an average sized girl who likes chocolate a bit too much, binge-watches Netflix at weekends and works a shitty job to pay her way through her neuroscience degree, all the while being single and far from frustrated by it. Or maybe a musical about a princess falling in love with another princess and flipping those who stand against it. But god forbid we teach our children something about real life, right?

Not very American

It’s a known fact that the majority of the world looks down on America. Maybe some regions more than others, but we’re pretty much on everyone’s shit list. I was never fully able to understand why until I left America and moved to London.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and no this isn’t going to turn into some pro-America piece where we’re all chanting “USA! USA!” by the end and shoving oversized food into our mouths. America is the #1 producer of media in the world, and as such people have a lot of exposure to us. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that there is a lot of quality programming. We have a channel very similar to the BBC called PBS that’s funded by the government and shows historical, educational, and nature shows. And yet somehow the majority of the quality programming seems to get filtered out when it crosses the sea. Somewhere over the Atlantic the signals for the award-winning documentaries about African refugees drift off and instead you’re left with the lowest intellectually possible productions out there, i.e. Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Pawn Stars, etc.

Some people might say that there are a number of factors that could contribute to this, but not me. I place sole responsibility on one person and one person alone: Rupert Murdoch, the Australian devil and owner of Fox News. From a business perspective, I congratulate Mr. Murdoch on finding a niche in broadcast news. But from a cultural perspective, I want to punch him in the throat and laugh.

I recently befriended an Eastern European man who loves to show me horrible American news clips. People looking for leprechauns, car chases, entire segments about puppies, etc. This is what he knows about American culture, the crazy crackheads that Fox News decided to put a camera in front of and ask for their opinion.

As soon as Fox News paved the way for this mediocre bullshit, many other more reputable news sources followed suit and now YouTube is filled to the brim with all these wonderful clips of below average intelligence Americans, whose families have probably been breeding amongst themselves for the past 100 years, trying to give commentary on US foreign policy. Most of these people look like they’ve never left their home town let alone their home state, and are supposed to be contributing meaningful statements about the crisis in Ukraine.

Normally I wouldn’t be too fussed. I don’t even live in the country anymore, so it’s not my problem anymore, right? Wrong. It has followed me on my 5,000-mile journey. People actually expect this behavior from me, and are disappointed when I don’t deliver, stating that I’m “not very American”.

Granted, these clips and shows are what they have to go on as far culture, but you’d think they’d actually be pleased that I don’t have my head shoved so far up my ass that I don’t know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Wrong again. I feel like the first couple of weeks of meeting anyone new here they’re watching my every move and word, waiting for me to trip up and do something stupid so they can point and laugh like I’m some monkey performing tricks for coins.

I’ve unwillingly become an ambassador for America. The very thought sends shivers down my spine. I’m sure you’ve encountered plenty of Americans in your day-to-day lives and didn’t even realize it, because most of us are normal people who keep to ourselves.

But there’s always the few halfwits that ruin the fun. On a recent trip to the National Gallery, I was in the security line behind this horrible older American couple. Everyone else in front of them managed to open their bag, and move along, but these two just didn’t seem to get the memo. Instead they proceeded to harass the security officer with very specific questions about where to find certain art pieces and make as much noise as possible. The security officer didn’t know of course, and they departed in a huff, leaving me to face the man who would probably not greet me with the same kind smile as before. Without even thinking about it, the phrase “You all right?” spurted from my mouth in a thick British accent. Gauging from his expression, I had gotten away with it, so with no other choice, I finished the transaction with “Cheers.”

I usually follow the saying “When in Rome…”, but goddammit is it hard being an American in Europe. My friends at uni have gotten used to it and hardly bring it up anymore, but every time I encounter a stranger, it’s a stark reminder of the world we live in. Perhaps one day I’ll get over myself, but until that day, all I have to say is: fuck you Rupert Murdoch.