Before Friendship

It probably comes as a surprise to none of you reading this that my opinions earn me just as much ire as they do respect. For every feminist that stands at my side or ME sufferer that applauds the awareness I raise, there is another person willing to call me an over-sensitive wuss or accusing me of ignoring the struggles of men. Don’t be mistaken, this blog doesn’t get the traffic necessary for anonymous hate mail and when I do receive that, I can shrug it off as easy as anything. No, far more often, the people waiting to the sidelines to jump in with snide comments and putdowns are friends and family. My usual response is try to talk to them one to one to explain my point of view but if they’re gonna be pig-headed or, heaven forbid, insulting, that’s that and their name is quickly scratched from any Christmas card list I have going. I’ll never back down on my morals, I just can’t, morals define who we are, our codes are unique and we must not let others force us to against them or we lose ourselves. I won’t deny it can be disheartening but I won’t ever compromise on that aspect of myself. That said, here are some common arguments I want to lay to rest:

1. “That’s just your opinion”

I will not cut you out of my life for having a different opinion to me. I will not cut you out of my life for following a different religion or voting differently to me (Unless you support a party such as UKIP or Britain First). I understand my friends will have different opinions to me, I have friends who think minions are adorable, that Transformers are dull and that Dynasty Warriors is a braindead button-mashing experience but I don’t unfriend people over that. Opposing feminism isn’t having a different opinion to me, it’s an entire viewpoint away from mine, a whole different set of rules and values that just aren’t compatible with my own. Using feminism as an example, if you’re anti-feminist, then there a whole host of views that you may or may not fall in line with – victim blaming, slut shaming, the ‘place’ of women in society, friend-zoning, supporting such views is anti-feminism and opposing them? Pro. You might not wear the label but if you believe a woman shouldn’t deserve to be abused because of what she wears, that’s a feminist belief. Opinions are singular, you can look past those, what I am talking about is so much more than “That’s just what I think”, it’s “That’s what I deem to be morally correct”

2. “You’re refusing to hear what you don’t want to”

I think it’s fair to say that in this day and age of technology and viral videos and such, burying your head in the sand and ignoring the world around you is harder and harder to do unless you exclusively use the internet to do your Tesco food shop and watch porn and even then there’s probably going to be some crossover. We have the right to speak, the right to listen and the right to ignore, it’s a big deal with free speech. In all fairness, I’m not so much rejecting the viewpoint, I have to accept that such views exist and I am constantly aware of it, that’s why I do what I do, what I’m rejecting is the association of friendship between people like that and myself. I am AWARE of Donald Trump, that doesn’t mean if we met I’d have to have him added on Facebook to know that he is a racist orange gibbon.

3. “Refusing to talk to people with different views is cowardly and proof you can’t beat them in a debate”

This, I hear a lot, a sort of “If you don’t fight your case, you’ve lost” deal, like I’m on trial every time I put a link to a Laci Green vid in a status. I’ll start by saying that flat out refusing to talk to someone just because they’re right-wing or such isn’t how I start, that’s certainly a buffer I have up against new friends or partners, if a date makes a joke about Poland being full of cut-rate builders ruining the British economy by taking our jobs, I know I won’t need to bother asking her out on a second date. I do try and talk people around and I find, more often than not actually, it is not me that first resorts to personal attacks. Granted, in the past, I’ve had a tendency towards dismissing my opponents as imbeciles but more recently, it is often my critics that come forth with harsh barbs. A wide belief is the first to resort to such, is out of actual intelligent points to argue. I will try and talk someone around but if they’re being unpleasant or mocking me or such, I have no obligation to listen to the rest of what they might say

4. “What about Echo Chambers?”

Echo Chambers, for those who are unaware, are the idea of having a social media account that is loaded with nothing but people who agree with everything you say or do and as such, you become both big-headed and narrow-minded. I mean, if a hundred or so people are telling you on a near daily basis that you are very clever, attractive and morally righteous, surely it stands to reason you might one day believe all that to be fact? Well, aside from my hilariously out-of-hand anxiety having the power to keep any sort of ego of mine in check, not all my friends agree with me on everything I do and we are all capable of critical thinking. Dangerous as it is, I will always peruse the comment sections of news articles and videos, to see different views being expressed beneath. Largely, I’ll admit, it is people making vulgar remarks and such but there are a broad spectrum of opinions represented in these places, some fact-checked, some not, and I will take my time to mine the internet for comments actually worth reading. However, beyond that, on something like Facebook, can you blame people for wanting to be surrounded by people that like them a whole bunch and tell them nice things when we as a society are so readily prepared to pull one another apart? If you want an Echo Chamber, go ahead, you can always self-administer some doses of reality by watching the news or going outside, you don’t need a quota of dickheads on your Friends list to water down your self-confidence.

5. “You won’t win anyone around to your way of thinking by unfriending them”

Err… I’m sorry, when did that become my obligation? When did it become my job to try and win the hearts and minds of every person I meet? No, you see, the BLOG is where it’s my job to defend my viewpoints because that’s all this is, this is literally a website full of me saying shit I think and believe. My Facebook is just my day-to-day thought journal and means of contacting friends and sharing dumb photos I like because penguins are in it or it contains a pun or something. In my daily life, I have every right to just tell someone to piss off because Jacob Wolfe needs his space, Old Man Wolfe, on this site, is the guy doing the debating and lengthy arguments and such and if I need to illustrate my point, I can just tell Facebook friend “Go read this thing I wrote THEN talk to me”. I’ll defend my beliefs at any point in life, sure, but a highlight of the digital age is that if someone is an annoying wanker, you can click a button and they no longer exist in your radar, why would that not be a feature I would make use of?

Well, that’s that then, feel free to use these points in your own rebuttals when you have to explain to your parents why you blocked Aunt Carol on Facebook because she won’t stop sharing anti-vaccination posts on her profile. Your media, your choices, you don’t have any obligation to argue with people if you don’t want to and your beliefs are more than just opinions, they make you who you are and if people can’t accept them, they can’t accept you and that’s not on. Tolerance is all well and good but it’s a two-way street so don’t just put up with nonsense for the sake of being a good person, you have to let yourself break away from toxic influences. Just keep up to date on the world affairs and you won’t lose sight of reality behind rose-tinted glass (And hey, fuck reality once in awhile, take an evening a week or something or an hour of the day to just forget David Cameron is in power and go play a game or watch a film). Remember that you are no less for wanting to spend more time in the company of people like you and that it is a clever move to remove people from your life who will only cause you harm or upset. Okay? That’s all.

Really need a sign off phrase…

The Step Forward

Trigger Warnings – None.

Sorry this post is out a bit later than usual, I’ve missed that prime time opportunity but hey, it happens. I’m not sure what to write about tonight, I’ve felt really quite passionate about my previous articles of the week but my view stats haven’t been this low in some time – maybe I’m not reaching out, maybe I’m too proud of stuff that actually isn’t interesting, I don’t know. So, whilst I hate to be a self-piteous jerk (I do hate it, I know I post a lot of personal crap but that’s more for me really, this blog is the inside of my head), I need to get some stuff off my chest.

Understandably, my latest topics have put off would be readers because they’re heavy subjects – the Sydney siege, the Sony cyber attacks, talks of politics and whilst I thought I broke it up pretty well with the Cards Against Humanity post and the Cereal Killer post, which were distinctly more popular than the others. I’m not too surprised and whilst I did enjoy writing those articles, they’re fluffy filler posts, they’re not hot button topics and I don’t want to just write about that all the time because if I was just going to blog about insignificant topics that are amusing to the right people I’d blog about the depiction of historical events in video games and line by line did-you-knows about the ERB performances of Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter. I knew when I started on this blog I couldn’t extensively blog about what I find fascinating because when I bring it up in conversation, people just nod and have no reference points to go by as I explain my rage at a bad characterisation of a samurai or a ninja I like or something or as I try to clarify why I think something is genius. I’m not bitter about that, it’s fine, maybe if I ever hit the mainstream I can do some niche side projects for those fanbases.

I’m thinking of moving on from blogging to YouTube, it’s where the people are and truth be told the concept is more exciting to me now, though I do despise the sound of my own voice. Heads up to you yanks that are expecting me to have a smooth sexy Hiddleston voice, I do not, I sound like a complete and utter twat. I mean, I’ve always loved the written word for expressing myself as a suave, charming fellow of sophistication but in person “Erm, erhem, so yeah that’s uh… hi… what?”. I’ll probably use prompts or write the article out and go from there and then upload the written version here for those of you who still read, a dying breed but a special one. I’ll need to invest in some good tech for it though I should think, a webcam won’t cut it by itself but thankfully I have people willing to help me out in their own way. I’ve decided the format will probably be a weekly or bi-weekly upload of a sort of me telling you the news with my own opinions and then the occasional less polished side notes of things I feel like sharing with you and a friend has discussed animated videos with me, it’s held an appeal to me for ages and would be fun to do.

I shouldn’t complain, I managed to inspire a friend of mine into starting their own blog, that’s pretty ego-boosting. I don’t want people thinking I did this ‘taking them under my wing, they owe it all to me’ thing because it was more just me idly saying ‘You need to blog, you are smart, I would read it’ and they sorta rolled with it. I’ll post a link below, check them out – a fellow feminist taking a fearsome arsenal of intellect and insight to tackle pop culture’s short comings, they’ve only just started but I look forward to what is to come:

https://fatalfeminism.wordpress.com/

I’m sure it will be well worth a nosey once the posts start rolling out but just to make sure you don’t miss out, bookmark the home page hey? And on that note, I hate to be the guy pushing myself forward and saying you should read this, we all know that creative one who uses any subject to segue into their blog or book or poetry and everyone rolls their eyes but speaking from experience as that guy, it’s usually the only way to get people to actually pay attention, nobody seeks out the unknown writer do they? Some friends and family support me and that’s great but audience is small and dwindling so I’m gonna suck it up and say it…

Please, like and share my articles if you enjoy them, subscribe as well. Ugh, feel dirty. Mind you, even the most popular presenters of the Tube still ask so I should feel no shame in doing it, I always just imagined my own merit would carry it but perhaps not, perhaps I have to actually advertise. Would a Facebook page help do you reckon?

Anyway, that’s that, I’ll try to come out with something better tomorrow.

Ignorance and Inspiration

Trigger Warnings – Whilst outdated, this article contains opinions that may be deemed offensive to certain people, though they only serve as examples. Mentions of sexual assault and homophobic attitudes

Hello everyone. So, at the start of the week I did an article for Asexual Awareness week and I did a lot to teach people about the subject but I realise it is one of those topics that if it doesn’t directly affect you, you’re not likely to know about it and probably don’t even consider it, perhaps some of the ignorance in this world is simply a result of such. Ignorance, if not worked upon, is not exactly a brilliant trait for one to possess but you can’t shame someone for ignorance, only if they are not willing to learn more and so to help give you some perspective, I want to give you some insight as to the ignorant views I myself once held in my younger days

I think angsty is probably a great word to describe my younger self, maybe more towards raging asshole actually. A romantic would view me as the lone rogue, dressed all in black and standing apart from the crowd without a peer or indeed a care in my heart and I am not ashamed to admit I was a selfish and melodramatic young teen. However, for my academic smarts and brute strength in a fight, I was ignorant of people, I knew nothing of their struggles and pains, of their ways of life, I knew only the path I stared down and thought nothing of the world around me. I wasn’t always a man who promoted equality and justice, I thought justice meant revenge and here are some of the ignorant things I once thought

1. Being gay is okay (Just don’t be gay with me!)

A common one I hear from a lot of lads, saying “He can bum who he wants but if he tries touching me up, I’ll kick his head in”. This is a presumptuous statement, it assumes that by default you are attractive to gay men. Is every woman in the world attracted to you sir? No, they’re not, same applies to men. I don’t know why I thought this, it was before I had met anyone of the LGBT community (excluding not knowing my brother was in the closet, I suspected but never thought much of it at the time and I barely knew my eldest sister at the time who is a lesbian). I believe this is more a comment of fear and misunderstanding, some men view homosexuality as an infringement on their masculinity, as if they’ll be treated by gay men the same way they treat women. I would urge people of this philosophy to calm down, in all my life I can count the amount of gay men that have hit on me on one hand and it’s not a difficult situation to diffuse and heck, I feel flattered to be truthful, especially as not one of those men has ever presumed me to be gay, at most bisexual. You need only be courteous and decline politely, the way women tend to decline you lads (Well, nice women, let them down how you’d like to be let down)

2. Dressing provocatively is asking to be assaulted

Again, this is a common argument I hear, the line being “Well when you’re dressed like that, what do you expect?”. Newsflash, you don’t dress for other people, you dress for yourself and to be honest, if a man walks down a street with his chest on show then he isn’t checking every corner for an attacker, why should a woman have to? A woman should not have to dress with the views of society in mind, simply her own tastes – wear that skimpy top if you really want, you like it, you wear it and if, heaven forbid, you are a victim of assault then it was not your fault for your dress sense because men as a rule should have self-control to not lose themselves to a lustful frenzy just because they saw a bit too much cleavage for one day. I can manage it and I’m a man with a knack for womanising and a history of self-control issues but not once have I ever even considered attacking a woman for dressing provocatively, heck I’m too modest to even oggle

3. The friend zone

Yes, I believed in the friend zone once upon a time, being the non-threatening guy pal to a lot of attractive women who knew I wouldn’t step over the boundaries when they were laid down. I resented it and I always grappled with this conflict in myself as to why these girls weren’t falling for me when all I ever did was do everything they wanted from a guy. Well, I feel this needs an article in itself and I’ll admit I only got over this view rather recently after some soul-searching but the truth is you shouldn’t validate your efforts as a friend by the end-goal of sex or a romantic relationship, the platonic love is no less significant. I know it sucks that she’ll never see you as her boyfriend and that you might never have what you wanted but if you love this person, love them enough to let them pursue what they truly dream of, don’t try to force your dreams upon them because it will destroy you inside as they resist those dreams until it makes you burn inside just to look at them

Those are just three for now, it was actually rather hard to think these up surprisingly but yeah, I haven’t always been uber-liberal love-and-acceptance, I used to be bitter and self-entitled to my personal dreams in life, as if what I wanted meant more and the issues of others fell upon their own shoulders, nothing more. I thought everyone was responsible for their own bad hands in life and maybe that’s why it cut me up for so long with everything that happened to me in life, I accepted the blame for every bad thing that happened in my life. The point of this article is to encourage people not to just despise those who are misinformed but educate them, nurture them and make them an ally as was done with me. I learnt about these things because they affected friends – I had relatives in the LGBT community and made friends there too, I had friends who dressed in rather alluring attire and felt sick to the gut at the thought of something happening to them, I did not want to ruin my friendships by resenting people for not reciprocating my desires. We all change as we learn about the world, a friend of mine recently admitted to me in confidence that they realised they were a misogynist and weren’t fully comfortable with that so rather than bite their head off, I tried to understand the roots of these views and I hope to help this friend of mine find a new outlook on the female gender over time

My friends upon the left-wing, we face a difficult battle with gender equality, gay marriage, the understanding and acceptance of the full sexual spectrum, better education on mental health and sexual education and even those of non-mainstream religions so let us not see every white hetero male as a villain, let us befriend them and teach them what we know and be taught in return. Ignorance is the enemy of humanity, we must unite as one and slay it