2014 Retrospective

Trigger Warnings – Mentions of suicide/depression, related to Robin Williams

2014 was a pretty full year, granted it’s not quite done yet but I’ll be damned if I’m waiting to the very last second for every single morsel of news and trivia to include in here. I had originally thought of making a month by month Charlie Brooker-esque look back at the news of the year – media, films, business, politics, technology, war – all that jazz and more but my god was there a lot to cover, far too much to squeeze into my usual article length. I mean, when I look back at the year, it feels like it went on forever, not like 2013 which sorta came and went for me at least.

A strange year, we lost many great names and we saw twerks and jerks all over our News Feeds – Russell Brand became a ‘revolutionary’, the battle for equality escalated tremendously with victories for Gay Marriage cropping up across the US, Scotland voted on independence, photos were hacked and made global, cinemas cowered from cyber threats, Rocket Raccoon became a recognisable character to the mainstream and we learnt the dark truths behind some famous faces of yesteryear. So much to cover on one little blog, some of it I only really rediscovered in my research and was surprised at how recent things had been and just how much had happened. I’ll cover what I can, in brief summary.

So globally, the most searched names were those of Robin Williams, Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian. Robin Williams being one of the most tragic losses, at least to me and to the public community, and he served as a reminder as to the truth of depression – that outward appearances do not portray inner feelings for this man who brought nothing but joy felt such intense sadness and pain inside that it eventually overcame him, that’s a blog post in itself, something I can relate to, but I’ll leave it be for now. Jennifer Lawrence, of course, was constantly in the public eye for her various film appearances in the likes of Hunger Games films and X-Men First Class, as well as being a victim of the nude photo hack scandal. To clear up my stance on that one, she’s a victim and no she shouldn’t have just not taken the pictures of herself, that’s like saying if you don’t want to be robbed, don’t own valuables, victims are victims, criminals are criminals, stop blurring the lines. Yes, leaving a door unlocked will let a burglar into the house more easily but I can walk post a door and not open it, if someone goes ahead and walks in where they’re not invited, they need to be punished accordingly, we shouldn’t shrug and say it was inevitable. As for Kim, Kim tried to ‘break the internet’ by posing naked on a magazine cover, apparently forgetting the internet already knows what she looks like naked. I heard talk of it being brave or bold or stupid or whatever, I just shrugged, it was the least spectacular bit of ‘news’ I’d ever read, it’s why I’d never even considered doing an article on it – I refuse to make my blog into a celebrity gossip dump.

In film, we had the undying popularity of Frozen linger on well into Christmas this year, so much so various shops had to enforce maximum budgets on customer purchases for Frozen merchandise, we had Guardians of the Galaxy make Marvel a shit ton more money than they already had, there were Hobbits and Ninja Turtles all over the place, Lego became a film… somehow, Divergent joined the roster of “Dystopian teen fiction made into long running Hollywood money machine” novels, and we learnt that Benedict Cumberbatch REALLY can’t say penguins and that apes can outmatch the military. A lot of good films, a lot of not so good films, a lot of films I meant to watch and didn’t but the most part of it was “You know what we need? A team of characters standing around in epic poses whilst stuff explodes, it made Marvel rich, it must be the key to immortality or something” – so much so the freakin’ Penguins of Madagascar parodies the scene with the penguins stood in the trademark everyone-is-here-let’s-stand-back-to-back position and their leader saying to hold the position until maximum coolness is achieved. I still have a lot of these films to catch up on, Big Hero 6 looks fun, definitely need to see The Theory of Everything and wouldn’t mind giving some of the others a go just to say I have done. Of course, there was the fiasco with The Interview, which has been resolved with online releases, though there is a discussion in that for another day maybe.

World news, the big charity pushes this year were the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that every fucker and their nan took part in and the fight against Ebola, which America handled by saying “OH GOD NO AFRICANS WILL KILL US ALL, EBOLA IS EVERYWHERE!” whilst actual charities worked hard to clear up the damages and the rumours. We heard news reports on wars and conflicts across the globe, so much so it all sort of blurred into one horrid mess for people who didn’t follow these things, myself included. Conflicts in Gaza, Israel, Crimea, Ukraine, it became this endless stream of human beings just doing horrid stuff to one another and I daren’t even step on the subject because I just didn’t read up on it, it passed me by, I’m sure it did for most of you – the advantages of our lifestyles huh? We have our complaints and financial insecurity but there are considerably less guns and explosions in Shrewsbury, I’ll give you that much. In my neck of the woods, UKIP enjoyed a surge in support, much to my disgust, but at least the Greens did too. Scotland had their vote on independence and said it wasn’t for them, which to me is a wise decision, Britain as a whole barely stays afloat, breaking chunks off won’t do anyone any favours. Yes, that’s very brief and vague, so what?

Ugh, my gosh, over a thousand words, barely scratched the surface. I haven’t covered ISIS or Ferguson or the Sochi Olympics or Peaches Geldof or Conchita Wurst or… do you see my point? A lot happened this year, it’s impractical for a man of my limited resources to go into these things in one go so maybe this post will jog some memories of “Oh yeah, that happened” and start a few discussions. Truth be told, in this modern age, our attention spans are short, things don’t stay relevant very long – try it, do an ice bucket challenge now, see who gives a flip. Come 2015, we’ll have forgotten most of this year, I’ve certainly forgotten most of 2013 and 2012 before that. Anyway, perhaps slightly more interesting, tomorrow I’ll do a review of 2014 for me as a person rather than parroting Google searches. I have a lot to say there and it’ll be my way of signing off this year, letting it go

Letting it go… let it go… oh fuck

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Anonymous and Azalea

Trigger Warnings – None.

Today in the news, Anonymous have threatened to leak proof of Iggy Azalea’s appearance in a pornographic video if she does not apologise for her twitter comments with regards to misappropriating black culture, insulting Azealia Banks and making light of Eric Garner’s death. The media has been calling this more of a bullying campaign carried out by the faceless organisation and just the mention of the group is enough to make many people panic, perhaps even fear mentioning them in case they become targets but we should discuss this, discuss who is at fault and how this situation seems to be playing out.

Ok, so it began with Banks making comments in a radio interview about how black culture, particularly rap and hip-hop music, has become part of the white mainstream media and how white artists such as Iggy Azalea and Macklemore get more attention for their contributions to the genre than equally talented young black performers. A difficult subject but I understand the rage, to have a part of their culture whitewashed and taken from them to be turned into another cash cow when the history of rap was never about making money, it was about the poetry of the streets, raging against the system with a beat and harsh lyrics and telling a story of real life struggles. In my opinion, rap and hip-hop have caught on, they are catchy genres of music – more so than say Welsh choir music or Maori folk songs, and it’s already caught up in the machine but like I said, I understand where she is coming from, an identity is being exploited by pop idols. Anyway, moving on, Iggy Azalea didn’t much like being called out like this and said that Azelia Banks was just bitter that she isn’t popular and this sparked a back and forth of insults and invalidating comments right up until Anonymous stepped in and then everyone was a little bit awe-struck.

Now, let’s talk about Anonymous, they say anyone can be a member but this isn’t strictly true, anyone can don the mask, wreak havoc and say they represent Anonymous but Anonymous has no representatives and whilst they can seem to have differing opinions within their own ranks, they generally have some rules that they do their best to stick to:

  • Anonymous believe in the right of free speech and expression
  • Anonymous believe in net neutrality and the freedom of information
  • Anonymous do not act for fame or wealth and any individual publicly declaring they are a member is cast out
  • Anonymous do not attack those that they feel do not deserve it

Anonymous gave Iggy Azalea 48 hours to apologise for her comments and for making light of the death of Eric Garner, a black man who resisted arrest and was caught in a chokehold by a police officer and died, his last words reportedly being “I can’t breathe”, which is apparently the joke Iggy made but lacking a Twitter account, I can’t find the tweet myself. Anonymous say they have a risqué tape of Iggy and although they won’t leak the video because they say they’re not in the business of porn, they will leak screenshots of her face to prove it is indeed Iggy Azalea in the video.

Anonymous may seem like rogues but they have ideals, in fact, ideals are the core of the group, it’s what they use to distinguish themselves from the standard hacker and even have it out for other hackers, such as the GOP for threats against Sony, to which Anonymous responded with the promise that one way or another, that film is going public. Anonymous are doing this to make a statement, perhaps to teach the idols of the modern world that you are accountable for what you say and if you want to offend swathes of people by essentially telling them to just suck it up and let the white man win, then your reputation is forfeit in more ways than one. I’m not here to say well done to Anonymous, threats are not exactly diplomatic reasoning and Iggy Azalea is just one idiot, she just happens to be the idiot that will be made example of in the name of social justice by these internet vigilantes. Frankly though, can you put requests in to Anonymous? If so, Katie Hopkins, please, just… after her last comment? That basically every terror plot is a failed attempt to assassinate her? I don’t approve of killing another human being but I’m pretty close to thinking that callous bitch is actually the daughter of Satan himself and needs to be exorcised so I either want help from Anonymous on that one, or Sam and Dean.

Erhem, anyway, I hope this blows over and the two artists reconcile their differences. Azalea would be wise to comply, people in her line of work make such a big deal out of reputations and a good image and whilst Banks perhaps didn’t respond with the right level of tact and her interview was a barrage of needless cussing, she’s angry, she had a podium and she unleashed the rage of people like her, I’d be a hypocrite if I called her an idiot to do that because the moment I got my own podium, I unloaded that anger in a blaze. Racism still exists, bottom line of that discussion, it shouldn’t but it does and the death of people like Eric Garner and the incident in Ferguson remind us it exists. Beyond that, let us see what Anonymous decides to do…

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