Suppressing our emotions = bad

So: this whole Liam Neeson thing that caused a major media shitstorm. It got me thinking about us and our society here in the West; about how our culture has developed to encourage the suppression of our true thoughts and feelings. After all, if you admit to an irrational thought-train that pulled into the station in response to a painful personal scenario (like Neeson did) then you are immediately torn into by social media and the militant SJW factions that have been waiting for the next major celebrity to slip up. It is my opinion that we should be able to discuss our darker thoughts openly providing that we haven’t actually acted upon them of course.

Now, I don’t want to go on about this Liam Neeson thing too much because the story is really only a springboard for this topic but I will quickly re-cap it for the three people that missed it the other week as some context is usually helpful. The short of it is that somebody close to Neeson was raped by a black man “years ago” (no actual specific date/year given) and the movie star admitted to walking the streets for a week, hoping that a black man would randomly start some trouble with him so that he could kill them.

“God forbid you’ve ever had a member of your family hurt under criminal conditions. I’ll tell you a story. This is true.”

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way but my immediate reaction was… I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.”

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [uses air quotes with fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.”

“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

“It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it.”

I’m not going to dissect this too much though because the interview has already been analaysed to death. Also, I’m not here to look at the racial side of Neeson’s comments. What I WILL say is that he was crazy to expect he could admit this stuff and not invite a turbo-charged media storm. It’s – sadly – the age we live in and one seemingly innocent admission could sink a career.

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[image: CNN.com]
And this is the point of this post. There are many with a neutral stance on this story who are saying that Liam Neeson should have just not said anything. As I mentioned just above, I can see why this line of thinking comes about but all it encourages is a suppression of our thoughts, feelings and emotions. What Neeson admits to is some pretty heavy shit and while I could never support what he did, I can still understand to an extent. Clearly the crime affected him deeply and sometimes, these things give birth to wholly irrational thoughts and mental states that seem insane when looking back on them with the benefit of time’s passage. At the time however, the irrational nature of these emotions is very difficult to see if it’s you in the eye of the storm.

Unfortunately, our society has grown highly competent at playing Judge/Jury/Executioner and so if you are considering letting some shit out that has been weighing your mind down then it will take some huge balls to do so. After all, rather than take a balanced approach and attempt to disagree but also understand, it’s much more fashionable to loudly condemn a person for their perceived sins. It’s even easier to do this if the confessor in question wants to open up about anything relating to race or sex. Finally, if you are a celebrity or somebody of high profile, then expect the brain-dead social media sheep to jump on the bandwagon and bleet their rage. Not necessarily because they give a shit but because it makes them look fashionable to be commenting on a high profile news story and be seen to be appalled by something, anything. It’s easy to condemn from that safe spot behind your screen isn’t it? I guarantee that at least 90% of people wouldn’t even bother getting involved if social media was non-existent and doing something about something meant getting off their arses to join physical protest marches.

Hypocrisy rears its diseased head at this point because we are constantly being told that it’s “good to talk” and to be open but it seems that this only stands if the nature of your problems or innermost thoughts is acceptable by the standards of the mindless Twitter mobs, the easily offended and “Won’t somebody think of the children?!?” brigade. Anything remotely controversial or worrying means that you ARE a racist or that you ARE a sexual predator/rapist. As I touched on at the very start of this post, there is a clear divide between having bad thoughts and actually doing something about them. I am in no way excusing those who have followed through on them because it means that somebody else has been hurt or had their life destroyed as a result and the offender needs taking out of society and either punishing or rehabilitating.

But how many of these crimes could have been prevented if society was more open about discussing our more unpleasant thoughts? I ask because it’s basic knowledge that suppressing emotions or hiding certain things only makes them grow stronger over time, perhaps to the point where they warp minds and the owners lose control. We’ve all heard the one about the shy, innocent girl actually being the filthiest of the lot due to suppressed sexuality or having to “watch out for the quiet ones”.

I’m not saying that there is complete, consistent truth in those random examples but one thing I DO know is that nobody is black or white. We are all both. Yin and Yang. Light and Dark. Good and Bad. To try and completely suppress the unsavoury and socially unacceptable segments of our psyche and become modern day saints in the process is a foolish and impossible task. That’s why I believe it is important to talk if it will help ‘release’ some of the bad thoughts but we must be comfortable in opening up without being sent to the figurative gallows. We must also learn to understand and accept that we all have a darkness within and that acknowledging its existence and being comfortable with it could well be one of the best ways of controlling it.

I often like to return to this fantastic quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“Where the light is brightest, the shadows are deepest”

At the end of the day, I can’t take the self-righteous whiter-than-white do-gooders seriously when they scream about people being wrong or the devil incarnate for simply having human thoughts. Irrational and unpleasant, yes but human all the same. We evolve over thousands and millions of years so to expect society to shed its primal, territorial instincts so quickly (in relative terms) with no margin for slip-ups is ludicrous. The fact that we are as civilised and morally conscious as we are NOW is a small miracle in itself and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

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Even this White Knight chess piece casts a shadow…[image: Tiptopprops.com]

The self-righteous and uber-SJWs amongst us try to be as white and morally superior as possible but the stronger their light becomes, the longer the shadows grow. It’s why those crusading for “good” causes have been known to employ suspect tactics in order to get what they want. On a more basic level, these people are no different or better than the average man or woman and will be harbouring the same dark thoughts or desires behind closed doors, even if only in small, harmless quantities. You can’t have Good without Bad due to the nature of a small thing called Balance. The best we can strive for is to be as Good as possible and keep the dark in check while acknowledging that it is there.

So next time somebody “does a Neeson” and comes out with something outrageous, stop and take a moment before reacting. I’m not telling you to agree with their admission or to let it slide without challenge or scrutiny but at least try to understand and ask yourself if you have been in their situation yourself. Can you actually relate? Are you qualified to judge their state of mind without the relevant experience? Most importantly, did the person in question actually act on their irrational thoughts?

What I’m saying is, don’t preach tolerance and freedom of speech if you aren’t prepared to tolerate other people’s thoughts or allow them to be honest.

Bullshit News: Red Bull poster banned

I haven’t posted anything here for around a week (I think) but I’ve been having internet issues that have, quite honestly, left me not feeling up to broadcasting my witty insightful ragged viewpoints if there’s no guarantee that I can get online to publish them. Society’s ability to bamboozle those of us with a common sense approach isn’t hindered by such first-world issues however and so all kinds of “WTF?!?” stories have been flying about and escaping my criticism in the meantime. This one is just a quickie to keep my foot in the blogging door while I work on some “better” stuff.

So, what would you think if you saw the following poster from energy drink giant Red Bull while passing through the London Underground?

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Clearly it’s just a playful joke but it seems that some people have had a sense of humour malfunction and actually taken time out of their day to complain to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority. Then again, here I am taking time out of my day to talk about people taking time out of their day to complain about something. The irony isn’t lost on me, I can assure you.

Anyway, the ASA banned the advertisement on the grounds that it implied “unauthorised health claims”. To quote the report from BBC News’ website directly:

One person who saw the poster complained to the ASA that the advert implied the caffeinated energy drink had a positive effect on health, improving focus and concentration.

And here we have the magic word! “Implied”. I’m going to (mostly) gloss over the fact that somebody saw a poster on the tube and went to the trouble of contacting the ASA to lodge a complaint. Haven’t people got better things to do? Perhaps I’m the only one who doesn’t really pay any attention to adverts like this beyond the pictures. After all, it’s always some sort of marketing speak or “clever” wording to get at the cash in your wallet and so I don’t tend to give 95% of ads any of my time.

The thing is though, energy drinks DO improve focus and concentration so there’s no lie there. Reading the ingredients and looking at the facts on how the likes of caffeine, taurine and the various other minerals impact on your body/mind shows that these drinks will give you a boost. This boost is only temporary though and drinking the likes of Red Bull in excessive amounts will either reduce the effectiveness of the drinks over a period of time or simply make you ill. None of this has ever been denied and it should be common knowledge.

Nowhere on energy drink cans does it ever state that the contents provide a positive effect for a consumer’s health. As I said, it should be common knowledge that a can loaded up with sugar, caffeine and fuck knows what else cannot be ‘good’ for you in any way and should be consumed in moderation (or better yet, not at all). If you feel that a poster advertisement is all it takes to lead the general populance astray however then I’m (not) sorry but you are an idiot.

Energy drinks – like alcholol, cigarettes, porn, drugs etc. – provide a quick and easy rush that you KNOW is bad for you. I don’t believe that any of these things should be banned or cracked down on because those who use them responsibly and in moderation will pay the price for everybody else’s lack of self control and education. I firmly believe in doing whatever the hell you want (excluding the likes of murder, rape, abuse etc.) but also being aware of and being prepared to face the consequences should you fuck up.

Furthermore, I don’t believe that consumers are as dim-witted and easily brainwashed as as the SJW and their “save people from themselves” mantra would have us believe. What’s actually happening is that millions of people have zero self-discipline or other underlying issues that they avoid by seeking the quick fixes offered by the likes of energy drinks. Rather than turning to a can of Red Bull, you should be questioning why you are tired or unmotivated in the first place and working to solve that problem. Perhaps you don’t get enough sleep or maybe your diet is the cause. The reason may even be that you aren’t happy in your job and need a change.

Not according to the ASA though:

But the ASA ruled against Red Bull, saying that consumers would understand that the poster did imply those health claims, which were not authorised on the EU Register.

Well I’m a consumer and I wouldn’t even entertain the notion of believing that Red Bull is good for my health, especially not by glancing at a fucking poster in a tube station. I hate to use the well-worn terminology here but it really is just Nanny-State hand-holding once again.

That and the word “Implied”. This word along with the likes of “Insinuate”, “Interpreted” and phrases such as “could be seen to…” are the real problem here. Any news item that uses this sort of vocabulary is either trying to turn vague rumblings into a ‘Story’ or is presenting the opinions of random nobodies on Twitter as facts which is a complete journalistic disgrace in my opinion and only worth printing in cheap, trashy rags calling themselves NEWSpapers. You’d get more factual information from the Page 3 girl’s tits than the garbage “news” printed on the other pages. To see such once-respectable sources such as the BBC promoting this crap above REAL news is sad to see.

The final tragic irony? Those who complained to the ASA probably feel vindicated now that the ad has been banned but the only winner here is Red Bull and the free publicity that they gained.

Bullshit News: Gillette advert sparks fury

Last week, social media had it’s latest eruption of outrage (number #7,686,892,213,293,973 to be precise) when Gillette released a new advertisement that focused heavily on the #MeToo movement and so-called toxic masculinity. I use the term “so-called” because I find it good practice to at least question another person or organisation’s definitions rather than blindly accepting them.

The ad [linky, linky] sees a twist on Gillette’s classic “The best a man can get” slogan and asks the question “Is this the best a man can get?”. It goes on to show things like a man grabbing a woman’s arse, a couple of boys play-fighting (with the parents shrugging it off as “boys will be boys”) and some teenagers watching girls in skimpy clothing on TV. Some preachy shit about holding one another accountable and being better blokes in general as well as examples of how we can all achieve this follows. The advert has generated a lot of negativity from the male community with many vowing to not buy Gillette’s products ever again for “insulting” them.

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Honestly, I would be MORE concerned with looking like this guy rather than wondering whether or not I am a sexual fiend.

So, as a card-carrying man, do I feel offended by Gillette’s “attack” on my masculinity? No, I don’t, for several reasons. Before I get to those reasons though, I do want to say that companies trying to tell us what it means to be a man or what to do in general can fuck right off. The same goes for the militant feminists who have grasped #MeToo by the horns in a death-grip and abused a worthy cause as a vehicle to shame men for anything that doesn’t fit their agenda and strict requirements. Don’t tell me what to do. I’m well aware that slapping a random woman’s backside is inappropriate as is forcing your partner to live in the kitchen 1950’s style but don’t try to make me feel guilty for following my biological coding and checking out a pretty girl in the street or for reading a “lads” mag.

As one wise philosopher once observed, “I am a man therefore I like breasts and bottoms”.

Gillette however, have nothing to do with my views on this subject. The first reason that their inflammatory advert hasn’t got me steaming at the ears with outrage is because I am secure in my masculinity. I will look at women I find attractive. I will aspire to be a man by my own definitions and metrics, not how a corporation or individual thinks I should live. I will continue to hang a sexy wall calendar up every January and enjoy the twelve pictures guilt-free. I will focus on my own life and progress rather than giving a shit about the judgements of others. I will continue to question myself and my actions and re-evaluate my direction but I will do it myself sans the influence of those who seek to change me.

Sometimes it may seem that certain corners of our society are trying to shame us for simply being blokes but it must be remembered that a vast chunk of what we (wrongly) assume to be facts and “correct” has been presented to us by the media and packaged in a way that suits them. Gillette sticking their oar in and telling us how to live is only possible with the power of TV and the internet. This crap that I dare to call a “blog” is media. So much of what we take to heart and get angry about is fed to us on a plate to encourage views, clicks and ad revenue. In real life, I can honestly – hand on heart – say that I NEVER, ever have to listen to somebody preach to me. In fact, the women in my workplace are more likely to slap you on the arse and are totally fine with harmless, playful flirting. Even they say that all of this super-feminism is a load of rubbish and you know what? We stand as equals, get paid equally and don’t think any less of one another because of sex.

We rib them for always complaining about being cold or gassing about pointless gossip and they rib us back for being shit at multitasking or obsessed with sports. Importantly, we ALL have a laugh about it and know that no malice or derogatory subtext was involved. The key thing is to know your boundaries and what is/isn’t sensible. Only a moron would attempt to speak lewdly to a woman that they don’t know at all for example and if they get called out on it then they deserve the consequences.

The point is, you shouldn’t correllate what TV and the internet shows you with reality. The outrage-fuelled headlines warp our brains and subtly redefines our perception of right and wrong. In the same way that I have no time for hardcore, angry feminists, I have no time for the daft notions that some blokes have. The idea that all women are out to enslave and castrate us for example or that we should waste our time getting angry about a Gillette advert. Wise up and stop playing into their hands. By tweeting your fury, all you have achieved is more exposure for the advert (which was currently sitting in excess of twenty-four million views at the time of me writing this…) and their brand.

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In the ad, this dude stops his mate from harassing a woman in the street. Men taking offence at this seem to forget that there is a difference between admiring somebody of the opposite sex and actually going out of your way to shout at them.

This brings me nicely to my second point. The marketing people at Gillette aren’t stupid. An advertisement like this would have been re-worked countless times and would have to have been signed off by company bigwigs. In short, they KNEW that this would generate controversy and mass exposure for the Gillette brand while also earning them a ton of praise from the SJW camp. It has been an all-round winning situation for them and any man that believes Gillette will go down like the Titanic or suffer commercially at all for daring to tell their consumer base how to act needs to think again. There is no such thing as bad publicity as they say. I can’t be offended by an advert like this because in doing so I would be being played like a fiddle.

I will end this post by pointing out that there is a distinct whiff of hypocrisy about Saint Gillette and their “message” however. A particularly strong odour in fact. After all, this is the company that came out with a range of women’s razors and coloured them Barbie-pink so clearly they know all about feminism and #MeToo.

Oh and another example of their work…

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Bottom row, fifth from the left is my favourite. Go on and shoot me.

 

Christmas song promotes rape

It’s been a few days since I posted anything here on this fledgling blog but life has happened and work has been extra tiring. The diarrhoea-like river of excrement that is the news continues to flow in the meantime however and the number of “stories” (let’s not give them too much credibility) that I’d like to analyse has began to back up like a blocked toilet clogged with an ever-increasing volume of the nasty brown stuff.

Unsavoury metaphors aside, one of the more dumb stories that cropped up on my radar was that of an American radio station electing to pull the Christmas song “Baby it’s Cold Outside” from their playlist due to an apparent unsuitability in today’s hyper-sensitive #metoo landscape. Other Christmas songs that were written/performed in the past have now been put under the microscope and over-analysed by those who are determined to play dot-to-dot and create those tenuous links and daft interpretations from songs that are products of their time.

I do want to quickly point out that this is another of those stories that the media love to publish in order to wind up a certain demographic and get them to keep clicking away or buying newspapers. I know this and I suppose that giving this shit even more exposure by talking about it is a bit hypocritical but I feel like looking at the facts and quotes from these headlines and applying some proper logic to them.

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Let’s start with the Christmas song that has stirred up the keyboard warriors and Twitter superstars the most shall we? For decades, there was nothing and suddenly “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” is one of the great evils of the music world; a song that apparently tells the story of a man pressuring a woman into sex. As quoted from the BBC’s website:

In particular, the line “Say what’s in this drink?/No cabs to be had out there” has led people to make a link with date rape.

So this is also (apparently) a song about date rape and drugged alcoholic drinks. The problem with this above quote is that phrase “led people to make a link”. We can make links between anything and everything if we wanted to. This is a simple case of people taking a product of the past out of its time and complaining that it doesn’t conform to modern expectations which – honestly – can be done with anything at all from history. What next? Does “Driving Home for Christmas” suggest an irresponsible decision to drive in dangerous, wintry conditions? Does any Christmas song to do with Santa condone lying to your children? Loose comparisons I know but seriously.

How about this: listen to a classic Christmas song and just take it for what it is. When did every single thing need to be looked at it minute detail and constantly reviewed every few years to see if it remains “acceptable”? Any such analysis that includes phrases such as “seems to suggest…” or “could be interpreted as…” is automatically bullshit of the highest order in my book. Far-fetched conclusions being conjured up in the minds of those who simply MUST find something to be offended about. Unless of course I’m talking out of my ass and hearing a song like Baby, it’s Cold Outside IS slowly warping my brain and installing a subconscious instruction to lure females in from the cold so that I can rape them. See how stupid it sounds? I believe that there are three reasons why a story like this even becomes a (undeserving) ‘thing’ in the first place:

  1. The fear of offending people. Weak, easily bowed people decide that it is safer to remove material deemed potentially offensive before anybody can make some crazy links and bring negative press down on the organisation.
  2. Virtue signalling. Loudly and proudly condemning something that COULD be deemed offensive in the minds of a small minority in order to become the white knight and latest champion of the #metoo or similar movements.
  3. The social media echo chamber. A few people think that they are hot shit for ‘discovering’ something they believe could possibly be offensive or disempowering. Others re-tweet and show their support (from the safe anonymity of their keyboard/smartphone screen) subsconsciously feeling that they are being fashionable by doing so.

I am always open to be proven wrong or have my view changed by solid facts. Not interpretations, not theories and not suggestions. Just concrete facts, figures and evidence. That said, I feel extremely confident when I say that I do not, for a second, believe that when Frank Loesser wrote the song in 1944, there was the intention to promote rape. There is nothing to say that the male in the song intends to force himself on the female if she continues to refuse his advances. There is nothing wrong with suggestion or displaying amorous feelings to somebody of the opposite sex in a private situation if the other party seems like they could be up for it. That’s how we actually get somewhere in our love/sex lives. Of course, should Person B firmly refuse then Person A must repect their decision.

Pouring red wine

If this song is guilty of anything then maybe – at a push – it is a guy ignoring a girl’s soft rejections and continuing to try his luck, edging closer and closer to that grey area where natural, lusty advances become coercion and potentially rape. But I don’t hear that. I hear a playful, slightly sexy song that is probably just being a bit naughty. You aren’t supposed to rip it apart and publish an enormous thesis on how it condones this and that. Perhaps the critics ought to take a look a little closer to home because modern lyrics have been glorifying far worse in a much bolder manner for some time now. If anything is going to be a threat to an easily impressionable younger generation then it might be the stuff that they – y’know – actually listen to?

I was shocked to read (when doing a quick bit of research) that this song has been the subject of much debate and criticism for more than a decade. Conveniently in the month(s) of December of course because it’s such an issue that nobody cares once it’s no longer Christmas and the song doesn’t have to be aired anyway. My point being that there have been many, many other analysis’ and discussions about Baby, it’s Cold Outside and the perceived implications of its lyrics written with greater finesse than mine. These are just my rough and raw thoughts on the subject. I listen to the song and don’t hear what some people are condemning. Maybe that makes me a lesser person for not trying to hear beyond the surface but guess what? I don’t really give a fuck.

Another song that was criticised (amongst several) was Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” for apparently enforcing an image that Africa is a needy continent reliant on the handouts of more developed Western states in order to survive. Bob Geldof’s answer to the critics was “It’s a pop song, not a doctoral thesis”. Well said, Bob. We are constantly made to feel guilty by charity ad campaigns and asked to donate money to causes in third-world countries where people are legitimately dying from poor sanitation and the wars of others but it seems that doing the decent thing and helping is also allegedly demeaning. Putting aside the fact that terrible sanitation, terrorism and constant uncivilised warring ARE factual blights on many innocent Africans, this bizarre logic of being incorrect whatever we do/think can fuck right off. Another prime example of desperately looking for offence where there isn’t any and keyboard warriors eager to seek out a vaporous injustice.

In summary: stop fucking reading too much into songs and presuming that your personal interpretations are the correct interpretations of everybody because they aren’t.

Let’s NOT stay connected

Last week, a cataclysmic disaster of earth-shaking proportions struck the UK, resulting in mass panic and untold trauma for the citizens of this fair isle. No, I’m not talking about a natural disaster or a Godzilla attack but the partial service outage for customers of o2, one of our main mobile network providers. Some people struggled with basic calls and the ability to send messages but it was the data outage that triggered outrage and despair. Essentially, a worrying number of people were simply lost without access to the internet on their mobile phone…for what turned out to be a little over one day.

The only people I genuinely felt bad for were emergency services or care homes who relied on o2 in some way and had their communications severely disrupted. Everybody else though? Deal with it. I’ll admit that businesses losing trade was a bad thing (especially for the smaller businesses that perhaps can’t afford to take the hit) but in general, it was those who have decided to completely bin off landlines and go mobile-only that suffered the most. Becoming overly-reliant on mobile networks and technology in general occasionally proves to be a very bad thing. Technology that we ourselves have no control over has woven itself into much of our lives to the extent that we don’t even realise how reliant we have become on it and this – for me – is a massive mistake but that’s a separate discussion for another time.

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Of course, the stories of “tragedy” were all over the news with accompanying interviews of those we were supposed to feel bad for. It’s hard to take the BBC’s online news seriously however when they actually gave airtime to somebody who’s disruption amounted to missing out on placing ebay bids for a Christmas gift because he had no internet. Is this news? Is it even a real problem? My first thought was “why didn’t you just place a maximum bid on the item(s) beforehand?”. Then I wondered if this person was wanting to be online so that he could just keep bidding on something until he won, in which case I would say they had too much money and should have simply purchased said item from elsewhere without pissing about with bidding. Finally, I wondered why I was wasting any of my thoughtwaves even thinking about this pathetic excuse for a “problem”.

It’s ridiculous that a data outage and an inability to connect to the internet and the dreaded social media can reduce people to such frustration so quickly. You don’t HAVE to be constantly connected to the ‘net all the time, refreshing Facebook or flicking between favourite sites while on the move. How about having an actual conversation with a real person? How about looking out of the window on a bus rather than plonking your arse on a seat and instinctively whipping out your fancy iphone 986XR-S Pro Elite Widescreen handset and ignorant noise-cancelling Bose headphones? There’s lots happening all around us and so much detail to take in so look around once in a while and really LOOK at life and your world before it passes you by.

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I personally cannot stand people who can’t exist without fiddling with their phone every few seconds or sit at a table in a restaurant without having it next to their plate, easily accessible to check their notifications. Since when did other people’s “look at me!” ego chasing Facebook statuses and inane Twitter ramblings become so important to us that we’d allow them to disrupt or sit in on other activities?

The thing I detest the most is being contactable at all times. I work as a delivery driver and my phone seems to constantly be buzzing in my pocket with incoming calls from people back at base wanting to ask me questions or add to my workload. I’ll be driving between destinations and thinking that things are going pretty well around the mid-morning mark but then the calls begin and I have people informing me of problems that need sorting (usually other people’s fuck-ups), asking me how to do stuff or telling me about shit that isn’t even on that day’s schedule. This is the curse of being expected to be accessible by phone all day. Sometimes it gets to the point where I feel like dropping the window and launching my phone out into the next ditch. If only they didn’t cost so much to buy.

And you can’t answer a phone while you are driving. I don’t know about other parts of the world but here in the UK, it’s illegal and rightly so after the rise in car accidents and deaths associated with drivers being distracted by their phone call(s). Even so, you still see countless fuckwits speeding while on the phone or looking down at their notifications as soon as they come to a halt at a red light…just what is so fucking important? If these people were to crash and hurt/kill themselves as a result of their own stupidity and lack of prioritisation then I honestly wouldn’t give much of a shit but it’s the innocent victims in other vehicles or on the pavement that tend to pay the price.

So I refrain from answering or even looking at who is calling. I COULD keep pulling over and killing the engine to answer incoming calls but a) there isn’t always a suitable place and b) answering all of these calls just slows me down from doing the job that people are – ironically – calling me about. The inevitable result is a screen clogged with voicemails and missed call notifications or text messages that say “call me back asap”. To say it deflates me would be an understatement.

Then there are those people. “Those” are the people who keep persistently calling until you answer and when you DO answer, it’s usually something non-important that could have been relayed via a text message or voicemail. I even have some people who keep calling and leave literally a single second between every attempt. Just fuck off already! Don’t get me started on the people who know that you are most likely to be on the road but then whinge about you not answering the phone later on.

And yes, I am fully aware of the irony of complaining about staying connected or social media addiction on a blog which is a form of social media in itself. By my own admission, I am often an introverted sort of guy so I have to hold my hands up and say that there may also be a streak of bias running through this post but even so, I find it quite worrying and – in the case of people’s anguish at last week’s data outage – ridiculous how mobile phones and 24/7 internet access have become so integral to so many people’s lives. Just put it down and disconnect every once in while – it really won’t hurt.

Bullshit News: M&S window display “vomit-inducing”

At the time of writing, this is an admittedly “old” story but it’s things like this that encouraged me to create this blog in the first place so I couldn’t resist analysing such a ridiculous news item. It is of course, one of many daily attempts by the BBC to wind up right-wing readers and keep them at war with left-wing liberals in the interests of generating clicks and ad revenue. Nevertheless, the quotes from the article are real as crazy as they may sound.

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For those outside of the UK, M&S (Marks & Spencer) are a large high-street retailer often placed in the supermarket sector in direct competition with the likes of Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s etc. but are considered a cut above when it comes to the quality of their food and clothing. Naturally, the price tags are in line with the additional quality and there are many who will happily brand the M&S shopper a “snob” or say that they must be “getting paid too much” if they do their shopping there. Stupid assumptions and insta-judgments of course but hey, no surprise there.

Anyway, a photograph of a store display in Nottingham which advertised suits for men and lingerie for women was posted up on a Facebook group called “Feminists Friends Nottingham” and the ensuing outrage was typical of our easily-offended society in 2018 where conclusions are leapt toward in a microsecond and bizarre interpretations attempt to overcomplicate everything. For a prime example of reading far too much into a fucking window display, check out what one female interviewee gave the BBC (who must have been rubbing their hands together in glee):

“Ok, M&S Nottingham, have we really not learned anything in the last 35 years? Or am I alone in finding this, their major window display, completely vomit inducing?”

“I also feel very, very strongly about the representation of women as being preoccupied with fancy little knickers, whereas men are presented as powerful and needing to be impressive.

“I don’t have a problem with people choosing to wear whatever they want to wear, I just feel like the juxtaposition is what’s grossly, grossly offensive.

“We are surrounded by sexual images of both men and women. M&S are not by any means the only offenders but that particular window just epitomises everything that’s wrong with current marketing and how far backwards we’ve gone.”

First of all, I have to say that “vomit-inducing” is a fucking extreme reaction to this. If the particular individual in question feels that ill after looking at a photograph of a window display then I dread to think how they will cope with seeing something truly sickening.

I do understand where her core displeasure at M&S’s advertising is coming from but last time I checked, it was completely normal for men to buy suits and women to buy fancy knickers. Should we be hiding sexy lingerie at the back of the store in a dark corner like a dirty secret? When women purchase underwear a step above the basic variety, it isn’t solely to impress the man in their life in the bedroom; it’s also because it makes them feel attractive. Men don’t just buy suits to impress the ladies: they also want to feel smart and look well-presented.

If you thought the above was an overreaction then get a load of this:

Another post, from a man, said the window display was “far too provocative and rapey”.

“It is not the right sort of message especially during this current season when people drink more and their filters are thrown out of the window,” he wrote.

I struggled to wrap my head around this one. A window display advertising underwear for women being sexist might have made some sort of warped sense but to suggest it promotes rape is flat-out laughable and plain daft. And what exactly does getting merry over the seasonal period have to do with this anyway? Is he suggesting that a woman is more likely to be raped after a few drinks if the man finds that she’s wearing an M&S bra? Because that means that she must have been “well up for it”? I don’t even know what sort of nutty angle this guy was coming from and I’m not convinced that this is even a legitimate quote.

There was one more feminist reaction reported on the BBC’s news site:

“As a feminist and a mother to a young daughter I felt embarrassed that I had to yet again explain why women are depicted with so little respect,” she said.

“When companies insist on men being fully clothed and women showcasing lingerie only, it sends a message about women’s place in society as objects to titillate.”

A perfect example of somebody seeing insinuations and subliminal messages and blowing them out of proportion. Women buy lingerie. M&S are advertising lingerie to women. It really isn’t any more complicated than that. Yes, the men have a display of suits but must we really over-analyse every window display as it is being constructed and painstakingly pump it full of equality just to prevent people seeing offence and subtle suppression in every single bloody thing? As I have already pointed out, fancy knickers and bras don’t exist solely for the benefit of men and this window display doesn’t actually try and suggest otherwise. M&S aren’t sending out messages. They are simply providing and advertising what women want to buy, whatever the motivation behind the purchase is.

Thankfully – in this case at least – M&S have confirmed that they won’t be making any changes to their store window displays in light of the complaints and I salute them for not immediately caving beneath a bit of social media pressure as countless other retailers tend to.