Category Archives: Culture

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.


If #Technology is All That, What’s Going On With the #Vinyl Revival?

A simple question.

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MP3. iPods. Streaming. Spotify. Apple Music.

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Yet with all this, and more, vinyl seems to be growing in popularity amongst young and old alike.

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So, how is it that a way of listening to music that pretty much died out entirely – we’re not talking eBooks versus physical books here, where books never really went away – is now flooding back into shops? And why is it so expensive, compared to all the music that haunts its way, as if by magic, through the ethereal cloud that envelops us?


A World Without Work and a Mash-Up of Recent Posts

There’s an article discussing the way the world would look if future improvements in technologies eradicate the need for us to work. It’s nothing special. It’s reasonably positive about the outcome of such a thing. But, regardless of its merits, it does flag up something that seems to be entering the cultural lexicon more and more these days – a rabid discontent with what we have at the moment (failing economies, failing political systems, failing interest in working ever-longer hours for little or no extra reward, and other faily stuff), and the feeling that there should be a better way of doing things.

Now, my last post was all about the benefits of having time to think – and we’re not talking about 15-20 minutes spent pondering over a cup of coffee. We’re talking about day after day, until months and even years pass by, where we engage with the brain and have it working in far more productive ways than merely thinking about what new dress/tie/shirt/trousers/trainers/car/house/holiday/whatever to buy. To some that may sound a little scary. Many people cannot sit still, cannot stop talking for fear of the silence that fills the gaps between breaths, and may in fact choose to come up with the kind of argument that is situated within the above article and its readers’ comments section (always hilarious to read, as it shows how quickly we descend into aggression) – that we’ll all be poor and/or we’ll live in constant fear of crime and that we’ll all miss work because it’s such an integral part of our lives. Getting over that type of hysteria is required to think about the next level.

Now, as for the “cultural lexicon” bit, what is meant here is that there are interesting examples of conversations being had where the outcome of a shift in our society’s thinking is not yet fully formed – it’s more of a preliminary grabbing a blank canvas and kind of thinking about doing something with it at some point when you get a minute kind of thing as you’re busy thinking about many other things at the same time, to use such an analogy. Examples that have interested me recently are: #MrRobot; #RussellBrand; and #PeterDoherty, to name but three. Each one, though problematic, as such conversations are likely to be, speaks of a need to do things different to the way they are at the moment, and for that way to be better, fairer, more humanitarian in its ideals. Clearly, if you do the thing where you click the links that have been set up, there’s no single cohesive argument – but that’s the point. The conversations are starting to emerge.

The other side to the article in question, which engages with this kind of thinking from the reverse position, is that there is likely to reach a stage whereby the 1% of the 1%, let’s call them that just to be clear that it’s the very wealthy minority we’re discussing here, will have little or no need for a workforce. Now, though not one for conspiracy theories, there is the issue of what happens when the very wealthy have a workforce comprised solely of machines, along with a handful of skilled people (though that will only be a temporary thing) to service/repair the machines?

Do they:

  1. Redistribute their wealth evenly in a fit of egalitarian passion? (Probably not)
  2. Invent simple tasks for the majority to do, in exchange for a small sum of money? (Probably not)
  3. Set about ridding the world of all the extraneous mouths, so that they can keep all of Earth’s natural resources for themselves? (You’d hope not, but…)

Whatever the outcome, and I’m gunning for a), you perhaps have to ask yourself the following question: is the fact that we possess and continue to build nuclear missiles a potential problem for the earth’s population when at the same time we seem to have just completed a kind of “beginners guide to gardening the earth seed-kit” (Svalbard), which exists deep beneath the earth’s surface, protected by the thickest concrete walls imaginable and that are designed to withstand nuclear annihilation?

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