Category Archives: Culture

Earthlings Film

You simply cannot unwatch something, no matter how hard you try, right? Well, try watching Earthlings (2005) and see how its images haunt your every waking moment. That maybe doesn’t sound like the best invite to a film, but hopefully it will have stirred at least a bit of curiosity in you. Described as “Horror/Documentary” on the Google box thing that appears to the right hand side of all the web listings, that just about sums it up. Narrated by Joaquin Pheonix.

For a gentler, yet no less horrific tale, see Simon Amstell’s Carnage (it’s very good).

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Gender Trouble, and the recent case of Laura and the V1

Just what sort of crap do you have to put with on a daily basis just because you are a woman? That’s probably something the women reading this have had cause to ponder on a regular basis, whereas the men reading it may not be quite so attuned to the annoying and unnecessary stuff that goes on in everyday life. Three things happened today to inspire this post. The first was booking on to Dr. Lucy Jackson’s lecture on “Gender trouble / troubling gender” at University of Liverpool @livuni. The second was sitting on the V1 bus between Manchester and Leigh @FirstBusNews, just prior to travelling into Liverpool to hear Dr. Jackson’s talk, listening to the “banter” directed at Laura from two young men – both under the influence of alcohol, and showing signs of poor, socio-economic upbringings (but none more so than my own, as it happens), and perhaps a good deal of substance abuse, judging by the state of their teeth (which Laura herself commented on, btw (the state of the teeth, not the substance abuse)). And the third, which came prior to the second, as I travelled on the V1 into Manchester from Leigh in the AM, reading the Metro @MetroUK and an article about how staff at Stevenage FC @stevenagefc subjected female supporters of Grimsby Town FC @officialgtfc to public bra checks by male security attendants (in front of fans of both sides, the police (who were present, but did not intervene in what, effectively, was a mass sexual assault), and Stevenage officials) #BraGate.

Dr. Jackson’s talk touched on such things as #GenderPayGap, #ReproductiveRights, #EverydaySexism, #PoliticalGenderDisparity, and stuff (why are more people not up in arms about such things?).

Laura, a woman in her mid to late thirties (she said so), and her mum, who was sitting separately until the woman sitting next to me alighted the bus so that she could join her daughter, had to endure around 50 minutes or so of “harmless” banter in front of everyone on the top deck of the bus (the young men were quite drunk and very loud): you’re beautiful; you’ve a lovely smile; the way you bite your lip; she likes a bad boy; can I have your number; I’d love to share a bed with you; and on, and on… On the face of it, not all that extreme, nothing too vulgar, and probably far tamer than many women experience on public transport, but really irritating for Laura, I imagine, who, given the situation, kept her cool, played along with the “banter” (because sometimes it’s just easier to), and eventually got to leave the bus with the two drunks still on board, to her relief, again, I imagine.

So, ask yourself: how annoyed are you by all of the above? And then ask yourself: what do you plan to do about it, moving forward?

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Vegan Schmegan: Three Huge Reasons (Reason Three)

The flippant nature of comments around the subject of animal consumption, whether the meat of an animal or products made from its lactations, can be interesting to hear. I’ve had conversations with people telling me they’ll continue to eat meat just because they don’t like being told what to do by others, and still others telling me that they really don’t care about the implications of doing so. And to a certain extent you have to think, well, okay, it’s a free world, and all that, but then, if you choose to turn to three huge reasons for giving up not only meat but all animal derived products, it turns out that you’d have to be something of a sadist not to give it up.

Huge Reason #3: Animal Agriculture is Animal Genocide

By eating meat, fish, dairy, etc., you are condoning genocide on a scale heretofore unknown. It’s like turning a blind eye to the Holocaust. It’s allowing the agriculture industry to operate like a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Genghis Khan, without actually caring about the billions of deaths that occur each year. See Yuval Noah Harari’s article, here.

To remain unaffected after learning this fact means that you are prepared to allow billions of living, sentient beings to be slaughtered in unimaginably horrible ways: because you like the taste of meat/fish/dairy.

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Vegan Schmegan: Three Huge Reasons (Reason Two)

The flippant nature of comments around the subject of animal consumption, whether the meat of an animal or products made from its lactations, can be interesting to hear. I’ve had conversations with people telling me they’ll continue to eat meat just because they don’t like being told what to do by others, and still others telling me that they really don’t care about the implications of doing so. And to a certain extent you have to think, well, okay, it’s a free world, and all that, but then, if you choose to turn to three huge reasons for giving up not only meat but all animal derived products, it turns out that you’d have to be something of a sadist not to give it up.

Huge Reason #2: Animal Agriculture means one-seventh of the world’s population remains hungry and under-nourished

All of the resources that go into feeding livestock so that humans can eat meat and dairy, results in there not being enough food to feed the world’s current population. If we fed humans what is being fed to animals, in order to kill the animals so that they can be eaten, then none of the one billion malnourished people living today would remain so. See Humane Society International’s assessment, here.

To remain unaffected after learning this fact means that you are prepared to allow people to starve to death: because you like the taste of meat/fish/dairy.

See Huge Reason #1


David Foster Wallace and Repressive Taboos

David Foster Wallace’s use of disenfranchised voices in Infinite Jest (1996) receives little critical attention. Clenette Henderson and yrstruly’s narratives raise issues of taboo subjects: child sexual abuse, drug-addiction, and prostitution. A close reading of their voices aims to break over twenty years of critical silence by exposing such taboos.
“Ooh… that sounds like fun!”
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“Saturn Devouring His Son,” Francisco Goya, c. 1819-1823

Spare Money??? #Conceptual #Art

If you do have some spare money knocking about, why not take a punt on this piece of Conceptual Art. With perhaps a nod in the direction of Carl Andre, this Untitled piece speaks of #Austerity, #Unity, #Resistance, and probably a great many other things if you stop long enough to actually consider it.

 

It is currently listed on Ebay, with all proceeds from the sale going directly to Shelter (England and Scotland), for the benefit of those persons living without a home. The sale price is ambitious, but in a world where Donald J. Trump gets to be President-Elect of the U.S.ofA., who’s to say we can’t achieve the full price?

Dig deep, winter is coming, and being homeless is no fun, no matter where in the world you live.


Adam Curtis’ #Hyper-Normalisation

Only part-way through this film, but there’s sufficient substance to start a post, and the most intriguing thing about Curtis’ film, Hyper-Normalisation, so far, is the use of the phrase “collective action,” as opposed to what appears to be a scathing critique of the “individual” who observes life with a kind of “hip irony.” The sentiment, here, and remember that the film isn’t finished yet, seems to be one aimed at pricking the senses, perhaps stirring viewers to a form of collective action. The questions that keep popping up with respect to this are: but what kind of collective action can we imagine when we have to make a film that spells out the state of hyper-normalisation? What, if any, collective action is possible when, for instance, and here’s a seasonal reminder, we have the whole weight of corporate marketing aimed at convincing us that we need to give things to each other in excess, or to buy those things for ourselves, and often with credit (money that we don’t have), because that’s a good way to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ?

Side note: Some of the things that we could buy right now – drones with cameras (up to £1300); VR (virtual reality) goggles (up to £100); and, showing how desperate corporate marketing is when it comes to not letting us rest for even a moment, wireless headphones (up to £250), with the accompanying tag-line: “Run off that Christmas Pudding.” And, on a separate note, we can also see the ways in which we are kept pigeon-holed when we stop to consider the sections that tell us which gifts are acceptable/suitable “For Him,” and “For Her,” each with the very simple colour scheme of blue for boy, pink for girl.

Anyway, back to the film for now.


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