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…

Not In My Name

It happened, the government actually agreed to begin airstrikes in Syria, the votes for outweighed the votes against by a significant amount, though the votes against were many and the people of this nation voiced their disagreement but as you’re reading this, either preparations are being made or bombs are being dropped. I cannot condone this, you will never convince me that you can create peace through waging war, if history has taught us anything it is that violence begets violence. The needless deaths of the innocent has begun and the threat of ISIS to the UK has just increased. Now I warn you, whilst I will try to remain civil, I am livid as I write this and this will be an emotionally charged article but I implore you to read the content within and heed the words I write.

Paris was a target for ISIS because France agreed to bomb Syria, following in the wake of Russia who have been making such a move for longer than I care to mention and longer than is justifiable. The government has decided Britain needs to join in, I usually refer to Britain as ‘we’ – ‘we believe, we decided, we are’ – but I am not part of that and the government no longer represents us, considering our current government won on 26% of the votes because most of us just chose not to. ISIS will see this, ISIS will use this as justification to attack us and recruit more people into their fold. I ask you, if your home was blown apart, your family gunned down, your friends abducted and your entire country a barren wasteland and then suddenly someone offers you the chance to take up arms and kill the bastards that did this, would you join them? That’s ISIS. Those refugees we turn away and those innocent people we drop bombs on run, some run to other nations, some run to ISIS and give themselves over to it because hell, if everyone on the planet wanted me dead, I’d blow it up too. An unstable nation of war-ravaged homes and internal strife has now become the bombing grounds of the Western world, a pitiful landmass for everyone to bully because if you shoot enough people, you have to shoot someone worth killing eventually right? The logic of bombs is exactly that, it is fire and forget until every bad guy is dead, but considering we’ve had ISIS operations take place in France, carried out by people who were never Syrians to begin with, we won’t bomb away ideals, we’ll just perpetuate violence. Tragedy does not make the human spirit submit – it hardens it and sets it aflame with the thirst for revenge.

You might argue ISIS has this coming to them, they’re monsters right? Well not all of them and call me a sympathiser if you will, I sympathise with any fucking disenfranchised human being, something happened to them that made them that way and that is what we fix, we don’t fix something that is broken by destroying it. The heads of ISIS, deplorable opportunistic bastards, agreed, get them as fast as we can and then broadcast the message that we have their leaders, there’s no need to fight and then if we offer them the chance to give in and be forgiven, I bet many of them would take it. We could never give back the families we slaughtered but we could offer the chance to rebuild but no, we won’t do that, they’re all heartless savages right? And besides, what is there to profit from in rebuilding their country? This war is a money-making scheme, as David Cameron and his buddies make black market swapsies with Saudi Arabia, a nation with a government notorious for corruption that happen to have a business in giving ISIS weapons for their own gain, using ISIS attacks to ruin nations they don’t much like. The UK government put the smoking pistol in the hands of the shiftiest looking guys they could find and then used it as an excuse to start their idealistic campaign and if we dare have the gall to look into it more deeply, we’re terrorist sympathisers, we’re ISIS propaganda spreaders. You want ISIS propaganda? Here’s some – Join ISIS because if you’re Syrian, you’re pretty much fucked anyway, might as well take someone with you to Hell!

We tried military action against those shifty sods across the sea before, it was got us marching into Iraq and Afghanistan, snooping under rocks for those darn terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, only for the penny to drop much later that we’d ruthlessly attacked a bewildered nation and whilst they were reeling from the punch, we were actually looking for material gain. I wouldn’t be shocked if Syria sat on top of some untouched oil reserves as well. We remember how awful it was last time, it wasn’t a morally clear cut conflict, we saw brave young men either die, lose their limbs or be recorded doing horrific things to innocent people and now we restart the cycle. David Cameron, Tony Blair, the differences are becoming fewer and fewer. All we’ve done is started a new witch hunt because arms dealers need to earn a living too and war is good for business when you’re in a seat that has power behind it, all you have to do is make everyone scared, because scared people are stupid and easy to control. As a result of our actions, we’re going to be waiting a long time before Iraq and Britain have strong relationships as nations, only just recently did America and Cuba patch things up from the goddamn Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962!

Another thing, in this country we’ve heard the word ‘cuts’ more often than a news article about Edward Scissorhands going on a murder spree in a hairdressers but we’re about to spend £12 billion on war efforts. £12 billion? Who agreed to that sum of money, that sum which could have saved so many schools and hospitals from closures, that sum which could be invested into the education of the next generation or the rebuilding of our crippled local councils or, dare I say it, paid into the welfare state that so many people rely on to live? Tax credits cut, police force cuts, NHS cuts, we were told we had to have a tight belt to get by and suddenly the government decides to splash out on some indiscriminate mass murder – we as a nation saved up to buy David Cameron the Christmas prezzie of bomb-blasted Syrian ruins, it was on his list and we didn’t feel quite comfortable with his other request of Jeremy Corbyn grinded up and kept in a binbag. I don’t remember the people being asked if this is what they wanted, this came down to a group of fuddy duddies in suits sitting about bickering about how badly they want a war, the same nonsense that was pulled before we marched into Iraq funnily enough. Huge swathes of British people don’t want war, I don’t war, what happened to our voices? The media certainly didn’t highlight the “Don’t Bomb Syria” movement gathering outside the House of Commons, probably because the guy in charge of it wants very much to bomb Syria. We didn’t choose this, they did, an elite few declared war on behalf of a nation and now everyone is at risk – Syrians will become collateral damage and Brits will become terrorist targets.

Syria, this post is probably not going to reach you but I will say that I’m sorry on behalf of the nation and if I could offer up my life to end the bombing, I’d do so. I know I can’t because death is never an answer, it never fixes anything and I’m sorry because you know that from experience. Your people are going to burn and ISIS will offer you salvation through revenge and if that’s what you want, I implore you to resist the temptation but I cannot blame you if that is what you choose, I would struggle to deny the opportunity to kill someone that killed my brothers or sisters or friends or anyone of relation to me. Know that Britain did not choose this, for too long has our political system inaccurately represented our nation and pinned us under a totalitarian thumb that threatens to remove our human rights with surveillance and regulation. We were never asked, we never took a vote, the number of us that voted on this matter numbered enough to fill a hall, not a country. We wanted that money to save our public services but they took it, they said every penny counted to saving our country so we let them take it but now it seems they took it and invested it in harbingers of death. I weep for your people, for the hundreds of thousands of people like me that will die for the sake of possibly killing hundreds of people who aren’t. I will fight, through word and through deed, and I will never stop screaming at the system because what our government did is not British, nor is it the will of Britain.

Never will I allow death in my name. Never.

Anti-War Sentiment

Spoilers for Doctor Who first of all, tying in with today being Remembrance Sunday and yesterday’s Doctor Who being all about pacifist messages, I want to talk to you about why THAT scene of last night’s episode was spot on and why the message rings true of pretty much every war in the history of mankind – from the World Wars to the ongoing Syrian Crisis. Without further ado, let’s explore the sentiment and how true it is, no doubt you’re well aware but I feel it merits discussion.

The scene I am referring to of course is the ‘scaled down model of war’ in which humanity and zygonity(?) stand in the same room, opposite ends of a table with boxes they have been promised will either slay all their enemies or slay all their own people and they have no idea which button to press to do which. The Doctor supervises and tells them that this is how war works, you can fire the first shot but you can never guarantee who will die from it, in a war anyone can die, friend or foe, guilty or innocent. Of course, the Doctor knows this all too well, it’s revealed previously he ALMOST destroyed his home planet to save the universe with a similar device but we know how that worked out (Which I have mixed feelings about but let’s discuss that some other time). Both sides think there is no hope of peace and forgiveness and the Doctor tells them to stop being petulant children and just try to forgive one another, which he manages to make happen by erasing the memories of the human representative and telling the Zygon one they now have a chance to make amends, which they do. The Doctor’s speech is very important to this turning point, in how war achieves nothing and those who wage it never see past the ‘kill the bad guys’ stage, so rarely is the peace at the end given much thought and that pain does not justify the infliction of pain, it should instead inspire someone to be better and channel that suffering into making a better world. Very true, lest we forget that this is the sentiment Robin Williams held close to his chest in life, he suffered in silence because rather than unleash his pain in angry outbursts and scorn, he made people laugh constantly so people could see him and feel better, not worse.

I think perhaps Remembrance Sunday is often seen as hero worship, in that we pay our respects to the fallen and the brave deeds they achieved  but we forget that war is not glamorous, it is a terrible folly that claims the lives of soldier and civilian alike. Beyond the war poetry and Hollywood films, this wasn’t all a tale of tragic heroism, this was a tale of a few politicians and greedy people convincing generations of good young men to go kill themselves in order to resolve arguments. Harry Patch, the last Fighting Tommy, said this on the matter:

“I feel then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising legalised mass murder”

Now I think the Doctor would stand in agreement with Harry, except perhaps minus the guns but this is what war should come down to – actual discussion. If you, a politician or monarch or whatever, declare war, you aren’t bravely opposing a fascist, you are telling the world that you are prepared to sacrifice legions of innocent lives to prove a point and get your way. Ultimately, war costs us lives of guilty and innocent men and women and it is sad to think that war and aggression is what drives the advancement of technology, we are getting better and better at killing each other to the point now it can be done with a button. If you want true bravery, true bravery is being the one who lowers their weapon first and extends a hand to say enough is enough. As the Doctor says, cruelty only begets more cruelty, a vicious cycle that will go on and on until we kill everyone, it was true then and it is now – we haven’t plans for Syria once we bomb the everloving hell out of it or else the world would’ve been prepared for the refugees, the Syrian government hasn’t a clue how to restore their nation once the rebels stop, the rebels haven’t thought much further than revolution and ISIS’s train of thought boils down to “Fuck everyone”. We are achieving nothing but destruction and the people in power act like they are so brave for opposing ISIS, hardly realising ISIS was a demon of their own creation and their bravery extends as far as carpet bombing the innocent in hopes of killing the wicked amongst them. 200,000 people have died over the four years of war in Syria, 4,000,000 more have become refugees and I can assure you, those are not all terrorists that died and those are not scrounging thieves that fled.

War is the ultimate in human folly, it is the worst thing we do to ourselves and to one another, to call it brave is to romanticise the mass execution of our fellow men and women. Whilst we have moved beyond wars fought over family feuds and flags being put up where they aren’t welcome, we still wage war over political disputes and religious disagreements, things that we should really resolve through discussion, or perhaps even, leaving each other alone if needs be. I hold no power, I cannot gather the world leaders in a Doctor Who scenario and get them to settle it that way but oh how I wish I could. The greatest warrior of all is the one who chooses to end a war, rather than wage it until death.

Captain America and the Conservatives

How’s about that for a title eh? Not one I ever thought I’d be writing, that’s for sure. So what’s this about? Well, in a recent issue of Captain America, the titular character fights against a super villain called the Supreme Serpent, a white supremacist trying to keep illegal immigrants out of the country by terrorising the southern border of the USA. Captain America, who I should remind you is black in his current incarnation, doesn’t much like this idea and comes to the rescue of the terrorised immigrants, defending them and facing off against the white guy. So how’d this go down? FOX News lost their shit basically, calling this a bunch of liberal brainwashing bullshit made to vilify the white conservative as being just as bad as Hitler or ISIS and asked that Marvel make the villains less white guy and more… Muslim… No shit, they genuinely suggested a Muslim extremist villain, saying that such a character is more typically seen as an enemy of America than a white guy ever would be… Let that sink in. Done? Okay, rage with me here…

Straight away, let’s address Captain America and what he represents shall we? To the unobservant eye, Captain America is just patriotism given a face and a large metal shield to wail on Nazis with and you could be forgiven for thinking that but it’s untrue. You see, Captain America was originally designed to resemble the Aryan male, a handsome blond muscular youth with blue eyes, lantern jaw and that good work ethic that made him gosh darn perfect. You might guess this is because he is meant to be the American ideal of a wholesome robust farm-boy looking character fighting for justice but it goes beyond that, it was essentially a cruel cold kick to the balls for the Nazis. The Nazi ideal was also that of a super heroic blond boy, the fact that their fantasy was the one punching Hitler in the face served as a message, that a truly ideal man does not hold to absurd visions of supremacy. Hitler was wrong, his own male fantasy was the one kicking him down and telling him not to demand perfection of others because a core part of freedom is diversity, in being diverse we are free to be different people, having a set ‘this is what you should aspire to be’ rule limits diversity and tries to push people into a pigeonhole. However, Captain America is also the representation of the values the American people are supposed to hold in high regard – honesty, defense of the innocent, righteousness – fast forward to the modern era and we have a black Captain America because, well, why not? A black man can represent those core values of righteousness, look at Martin Luther King, Jr. for example! There was no liberal brainwashing behind making Cap a black guy, it was just Marvel acknowledging that the USA isn’t the land of the white, it’s the land of freedom and justice and justice doesn’t have a particular skin colour.

So, with that in mind, this isn’t a battle of left versus right through Captain America versus Supreme Serpent because Captain America isn’t the living embodiment of the left-wing, he’s just what patriotism should be – a love of one’s country but not a blindness to its flaws, a citizen of their homeland but a citizen of the world too, always striving to encourage their nation as a whole to be better. However, FOX identified with the villains here, calling WHITE SUPREMACISTS the right-wing conservatives in their audience. You know what that means? FOX News just openly admitted, through their own stupidity, they’re white supremacists, they see these white-skinned terrorists in snake costumes with assault rifles and think “Hey! That’s me! I’m not a bad guy!”. Conservatism and white supremacy aren’t, and shouldn’t ever be, one and the same, one is a mindset based in traditional values, the other a penchant for racially motivated violence. I mean, at least FOX News are self-aware, I’ve been calling them a bunch of bigots since I first stumbled across the mindless hate-mongering of Bill O’Reilly and here they are, feeling sorry for terrorists in snake costumes and demanding Captain America make it fair by beating up some Muslims or Nazis.

Captain America, incidentally, shouldn’t go on to fighting ISIS or Muslim Extremists, there is clearly enough racial prejudice in the world without printing comic books showing gratuitous violence towards Muslims as a heroic thing to do. If Captain America exists to be a role model, racism isn’t part of that aspirational standard he should set, that’s one good reason he’s a minority – it’s not about being white, it’s about being right! Kids need to see a socially responsible hero, that’s what Captain America is for – Iron Man shows what technology and ingenuity can achieve, Hawkeye is a hero who doesn’t need powers to keep in league with the best, you don’t have to be special, you just have to try and Captain America is saying that it doesn’t matter what your background is, what matters most is that you are a good person at heart (Thus why he was a weedy kid originally and then beefed up, it was the good in him that mattered, he was never meant to be just some typical action-figure hero). As for the argument that he needs to go back to fighting Nazis, well, White Supremacists are the new Nazis, look at Trump. Build a giant wall to keep Mexicans out? Hunt down all illegally bought guns but let licensed people keep theirs, a clever sounding move until you realise illegal weapons are prevalent in poor neighbourhoods and legal ones in affluent areas, essentially meaning self defence will become a matter of how much of it you can afford to buy. ISIS are awful yes, but their tactics are made to instill fear, to turn people against each other and encourage the hatred of the white majority. Why? Because scared people are irrational and easily broken. White Supremacy, that’s a fear and loathing of difference that turns to violence – lynching, organised marches, cross burning – amassing huge swathes of people into the most intimidating displays possible to inflict as much damage as possible. If an ISIS attack is a small tactical guerilla affair to make you paranoid, a Neo-Nazi march by the extreme right wing is a bunch of angry thugs starting a riot because they don’t like being so paranoid.

In short, this comic isn’t a criticism of patriotism and conservative values, it’s a criticism of racism and extremist mindsets and there should be a differentiation between the two. If you see these white guys getting attacked by a black hero because they harassed Hispanic children and your response is “This is political brainwashing, thanks Obama!”, then think again, think hard. Captain America was taking down a bunch of armed madmen attacking unarmed civilians, that’s what a superhero does, race and nationality don’t come into it. If you want Captain America to fight with Nazis, over zealous insane crackpots who love their country and believe it the best country in the world, well then I have news for you – he just did.

It’s All Kicking Off Now!

Trigger Warnings – None.

For those of you more partial to articles in which I have a bit of a laugh, here’s one for you, but it also ties in with politics rather neatly, in particular Nigel Farage. So what’s the story? Well, Nigel has become the target of mockery once again, this time through the form of a mobile app called Ukik. Ukik is a game in which you play as Nicholas Fromage, leader of the extreme right-wing party UKIK and it is your job to kick immigrants off a cliff. Granted, the premise sounds like a fun game for a racist, you’re essentially punting Middle Easterners and Europeans into the sea from the cliffs of Dover but this game is made as a direct fart in the general direction of such creeds of people, it further exaggerates already controversial opinions of the party into full-on raving madness and even scores you according to your level of racism. So without further ado, let’s talk about this game and how the beloved man of the people chose to respond.

The game was developed by five young teenagers with the intention of poking fun at right-wing ideals and playing along with the well-established British tradition of turning a serious figure of authority into a character for comedy, Monty Python walked that line so frequently and thoroughly they had to move onto making a fool out of Jesus to feel satisfied after jokes about MPs didn’t scratch the itch any more. The group of game designers apparently enjoy making games about what is topical at the time to encourage people to discuss the subjects and with Farage seeming to be here to stay, sadly, they felt it was time he was given the proper treatment of the British public – a right royal piss take. UKIK has already received praise from the Ambition House of Canterbury Academy as those who download the app start to take a more earnest interest in politics, presumably saying “There’s no way they based this on a real guy right?”. The game is a bit out there, after all for all intents and purposes the aim of the game is still punting non-white people off a cliff whilst your avatar is a rich white guy but it’s entertainment and not for the rich white people of the world and all that aside, it’s a mobile game you won’t know about without being told so the British political system isn’t going to crumple and fall from it.

Nigel Farage decided to comment on the game and called it ‘pathetic’, saying that it ‘crossed the line’ and whilst he accepts the fact high profile public figures are targets for comedy, he doesn’t appreciate being depicted as a racist. Yes, shame on you for depicting Nigel Farage as a racist, he just hates non-white people! Erhem, Nigel Farage says he usually has a good sense of humour and that people know that much about him but there’s a line between a joke and slander which this game crosses for him. Frankly, Nigel Farage’s sense of humour seems to be on and off, he’s up for a joke at the expense of any fucker except himself like the egotistical twerp that he is.

Nigel is angry, very angry, this game is an insult to him but if I were in his shoes, I’d take some lessons away from it – one, I’m certainly culturally relevant if people are making a fool out of me in this way, that means the public know who I am and I should be flattered I’m now a well-established figure with the public such as Margaret Thatcher and George Bush, targets for abuse and mockery yes, but never forgotten. Secondly, Farage should think about why people see him in this light? Is there grounds to this joke or is it depraved and baseless humour meant for the unenlightened imbecile? The joke seems to be on your policies of immigration and dreams of jolly old England so this is the response you have merited for yourself with such talk. So, if you want to pout and throw a tantrum about this harmless game that looks like it’d be funny for ten minutes and then fade into the backdrop, what does that say about you Nigel? You can’t let one joke slide can you? You’d have seemed a better man for laughing along, maybe even encouraging the game developers to make a game mocking your rivals and you know, this was a missed opportunity to say how great it is to see young people getting involved in politics… oh wait, your target demographic is angry old men… never mind.

In summary, Farage is an idiot, so what else is new? High profile figures will always be loved and hated and whilst some will sing their praises, some will just take the mickey and that’s about it. Farage chose to respond rather humourlessly, which reminds us that he isn’t one of us, he’s a vain penny-pinching racist that can’t stand even the slightest stain on his bright white ego. So that’s that really. Where can I download this game I wonder?

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Clash of the Douches

Trigger Warnings – Contains Nigel Farage

You know what I hate about topical blogging? Having to keep up with total tossers that the world deems newsworthy. I decided to get back into the swing of things I’d take a swing at Nigel Farage and Russell Brand, two of my least favourite human beings who got into a heated debate on British television over immigration, inequality and breast-feeding. I wish I could just shrug and look past this but it’s a slow week for me, this might provide some amusement.

Now usually you hear debate and you expect statistics, you expect clever rhetoric, you expect science and logic and mutual respect but then again this is British politics, it’s more a game of who can call their opponent a twat in the most colourful way possible and then burble a bit. I want to side with Brand, I really do, he is right about a few things but he’s so overly floral and lacking in real substance that I feel like he can’t really be the best voice out there to represent people like me surely? I don’t want to do his job for him, I think I’d go mad if I had to sit next to Farage for an hour, one of us would be dead, but Brand is just a floppy haired nitwit. You might think I’m just throwing barbs around but that was all that I could see going on between those two, though Farage seemed to be better at actually sticking to the format of Question Time, he did answer questions, stupid answers but y’know, answers, not just “You’re wrong” rambling like Brand.

The audience wanted Brand to actually properly take the stage of politics and run as an MP but he declined, apparently scared of becoming corrupt and impure like he’s a messiah or something. I’m sorry, I don’t buy that Brand, if you have faith in yourself and in your argument, you would not be corrupted, corruption only affects those who lose their way. Farage, in that sense, beats Brand because Farage has conviction, his ideas are extreme and idiotic but he fights for them with clout whereas Brand just sorta waffles and preaches for a bit. David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage, whatever you think of these people they deserve the credit for having ideas and beliefs that they actively work to make into reality, sometimes falling short but it’s not as if Cameron spends his time in Downing Street watching Spongebob and eating Pick’N’Mix, he’s running the country.

Brand and Farage both like to lay blame willy-nilly, Brand on the rich, Farage on the foreign. Has life in Britain changed that much since 1990? Yes and no and that’s a blog post in itself, perhaps I can go on about that tomorrow. Yes we are in an economic crisis and it could easily be tackled if Google and Starbucks paid the UK what it owes in tax and no the shortcomings of this society aren’t the work of gremlins from Albania dragging us down into poverty, we live in a cycle of blame placing and shoulder shrugging really, it’s laughable or it would be if it wasn’t the world we actually live in. I mean, after the show was done, both Brand and Farage wrote mean articles about each other like teenagers bitching on Facebook.

The problem is charisma, these two are characters, the loveable rogue and the man’s man of politics and that’s great, we need characters to get people interested but when politics becomes a popularity contest you can vote in any old douchewad based on the cut of their jib or their lively persona. I mean, if my generation read up a bit more I swear I’d have many more friends voting Green but as it stands they just don’t bother and perhaps that’s an issue a true party of the people should address, why do people just see politicians as faceless suits or extreme nutjobs? We need to remember politics is a ruling factor in the way we live our lives, it’s all well and good voting in the guy who drinks a pint and grumbles about terrorists and Muslims but you’re giving them the keys to the kingdom and do you want them on a throne? Really? Would you trust that person with your car? Your house? Your kids? Your life?

As for the breast-feeding remark from Farage, saying women should sit in a corner to do it, grow up. It’s normal, it’s natural, perhaps your mother did it once, perhaps she didn’t and thus the oral fixation on cigars and shite. I may have another blog post idea here already, tying in with the idea from earlier but we need to mature, all of us, and live and let live really. The blame lies on all of us though – companies should pay tax, people should be educated on policies and their impact, youngsters shouldn’t just dismiss everything, old people shouldn’t just pine for the past and ruin the future – we need to shape up, seriously.

There you go Britain, that’s my political slogan for you all – Jacob Wolfe, wanting the world to grow up!

The Humourless Revolution – Guy Fawkes Night Special

Trigger Warnings – Strong language and vulgar imagery at certain points

Remember remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot, I can think of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. The spirit of rebellion lives on tonight, or so it should, but in an age of modern politics gone wrong with fear and anger making our decisions for us, perhaps the word revolution has lost its meaning in the western world, particularly if one is to turn to the example given by that blasted comedian who thinks himself the next great leader of our age. Yes, him, Brand, a nemesis most unworthy of the attention and yet you cannot help but give.

The social media campaign to ridicule Russell Brand using Blur’s “Parklife” song is an amusing one, indeed his overly fanciful rambling does sound like verses ripped from the song and the fact he even resembles the singer in terms of voice and rhythm does not help his case. I am probably the wrong man to make this point but he uses a lot of big words to say a lot of nothing and the fact that his entire revolution has crumpled at one joke goes to say something for its substance. Oh politics, the denizen of the humourless, funny that a second-rate comic should end up there. A subject that is serious can also be the subject of humour if one has the heart, for what is life without laughter and if the world is to quietly serve under men without happiness then how can we expect to be happy under them? Brand, you throw clever words around to dance around the fact you have a weak argument, yes the system is corrupt but asking for an alternative without an idea as to what is akin to refusing to eat, starving and blaming God you wasted away – be a vegetarian by all means but if you can’t eat what’s being served, do please suggest what you’d prefer rather than stare at the meat angrily.

UK Politics has devolved into a game of mockery and humiliation, with funny little upstarts like me poking fun at famous names, who catch wind of it and kick up a fuss and this is a problem, not because the mockery exists. You see, every idea in the world will be mocked and made fun of, every person alive is the butt of a joke at least once in their life and it is a lesson in patience and acceptance for us all. I used to be the butt of a few jokes, still am, and my response was much akin to Farage’s responses to Boyle’s Twitter heckling, it was dry cruel retorts meant only to hurt someone. Alas, a duel of wits is no longer if when your rapier strikes the opponent, they scream “Fuck you” and pull out a shotgun. Banter, as we like to call it, is a game, it is cat and mouse, it is an art to be enjoyed by the artists and the viewers, had Farage honestly engaged Boyle with some genuinely witty remarks he might have won a few points in popularity as a straight up down-to-earth bloke but he opted to be a total tosser and came off the loser because picking a fight with Frankie Boyle is probably a worse idea then asking your partner to use a cactus instead of a dildo for the bondage session.

Russell Brand and Nigel Farage get far more attention than I like and being a topical man, I have to keep up to date with these assholes or risk disappearing into obscurity and being left to write silly posts about comic books or television from twenty odd years ago. The issue they both face is one that most politicians face, they claim to be voices of the people but bear no resemblance to them and whilst Brand started out an ordinary enough fellow, his obsession with burbling out the contents of a dictionary at every opportunity he has to speak means people disconnect from what he says and just clap because they assume it’s clever when it’s actually just a paragraph that sums up as “I don’t like politicians very much”. Well fuck, I could’ve said that, anyone with two brain cells to rub together good, you don’t make that point stronger through bigger words, believe me. I know I use big words myself but not so many my point doesn’t reach my audience and I simplify my point afterwards just in case you couldn’t keep pace.

As for Farage, well, a man who wants to be “a politician you would share a pint with” doesn’t take well to banter and this contradicts the image. Farage, the charismatic charmer, the fun-loving playboy with fast cars and big cigars and enjoys a good chuckle as long as it’s never at his expense, never ever ever laugh at Farage or he’ll call you a left-wing Muslim bastard child of crazy drugged up terrorists or something equally bizarre and offensive. I consider myself a respectable and intelligent man but ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I happily play the fool and let people poke fun at me because it’s much more satisfying to laugh along at these things than be the twat who kills the buzz by getting huffy. A voice of the people needs to be a person we can honestly relate to and whilst Farage did a good job of that by visiting pubs and talking about the good old days, he reminds us he’s not one of us when he whips out a pricey cigar or goes off on a crazy rant about immigration that any decent person cringes at.

Oh sweet revolution and reform, how you tease us, goading us with such flimsy supplements as we choose between stupid twats or charmless twats because whilst Farage lacks substance, the other parties lack a face we can even stand looking at, let alone stand beside. Charismatic leadership is a hard thing to find in the UK and at the moment the charismatic ones are all charisma and no policies, besides Kipper policies such as handguns in Britain, reductions to maternity leave and a big fuck you to the EU, you know, the guys that enforce our rights to paid holidays and buy our exports so our economy actually has some money. I know we don’t always feel it in the pocket but we’d notice it if it wasn’t there, trust me.

Sadly, even this article lacks much substance, it is a mere tickle in the ribs for some whilst reminding them I don’t like Farage and Brand very much and whilst I would go on for so much longer, I’ve gone over 1000 words and articles beyond a certain length don’t do well and given this past week has seen my popularity wane significantly, I won’t dig a deeper hole. Sad times we live in but let us hope and pray we one day find politicians like us, charismatic and likeable folks with an honest commitment to the wellbeing of the British people. I know I am dreaming but all great things begin as dreams, except for bacon which began as a pig

Privilege Check

Trigger Warnings – None

So would you believe it, my attempt to lighten the mood by writing an article about comic books seems to have gone down just as well as being the only lepper in the swimming pool, not too many people want to get too close and so as it happens, yesterday was a flounder on the site stats. Lesson learned I guess. Anyway, moving on, I haven’t done anything political in a while, let’s do that shall we? Sorry America, this isn’t going to be about casting your ballots, although do do that, but I want to talk about a common argument of the left-winged amongst us that always falls short, and I apply the term argument generously.

Ever heard the term ‘check your privilege’?. Basically put, it demands that someone shut up and consider how lucky they’ve been in their life and what they have going for them in terms of gender/racial/socio-economic factors that play to their advantage before they make comments such as “The reason poor people are poor is because they don’t work hard enough” or “Women only rally to feminism because they hate men”. Granted, these are stupid comments and are usually attributed to rich white heterosexual men, but telling said individuals to check their privilege is not the way to enlighten them to the struggles of a working class Joe or a lesbian denied her rights to marry. Check your privilege sounds good but it is, in a way, a form of racism because it basically tells your opponent “You are wrong because you are white and rich”. Ok, so what you’re saying there is that they are who they are because of where they come from and certain people from certain walks of life are just stupid? Remind me what we’re fighting for again?

Of course, not every white straight male is a privileged one and whilst I do have to admit I can enjoy some male privileges such as walking around topless if I so please or being more likely to get a job than someone called Stefano just on the basis of my Anglican name, I don’t consider myself all that privileged – working class roots, a life of living on the bread line and despite my advantages, the job market is still not embracing me with a big hug and promoting me up the ranks like it was going out of fashion. If you didn’t know me and told me to check my privilege in an argument, you’d have to make a lot of assumptions – that I’m straight, that I’m cisgendered and so on and so on. Not a great move, you know what they say about assumption, you make an ass out of you and me (Read it aloud, makes sense). You shouldn’t make assumptions about someone’s past and have that be your basis for an argument and you certainly shouldn’t reduce someone to a product of that background, they are, despite what you might think, still human and human hearts can be turned if you know the art to it

I might be the wrong man to make this point but is telling someone to check their privilege not just a horribly cynical point to use in an argument. You hear straight white male and immediately roll your eyes? Well fuck, that’s me and I’ve used this blog to make points for mental health, left-wing politics, sexuality spectrums, I’m only a few piercings and some green hair away from a modern day hippie. Your opponent in an argument is always a human being, I should hope, they have fears, traditions, values, interests and if they don’t believe in something you do, they have a reason, perhaps a flawed reason or one they don’t even realise but a reason. If you want to win an argument, by which I mean win them over to going “Oh yeah, you’re right…” then you have to find the reason they don’t agree with you and work with it, don’t just dismiss them because of that reasoning. I’ve had friends who’ve seen my flawed views and instead of going “Well you would say that, you’re a guy”… Ok, some have said that, but some have instead taken the time to challenge my views and help me achieve a broader understanding of feminist issues or sexuality issues or so on. You cannot assume someone will not empathise, or they won’t, and demanding they do with three small words is as effective as slapping them and then asking for a hug. No, fuck your hug, you slapped me

You have to realise, we can’t look at someone with a reasonably comfortable life and just tell them they don’t understand. Make them understand, duh. You should also note that even those who might understand what you’re going through won’t fully empathise because nobody is going to understand what you’ve been through quite as well as you do. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, we need allies, not enemies, wouldn’t it be great to get more rich white guys to say something on behalf of the minority groups out there? Idealistic dreaming, maybe, but not impossible and certainly worth trying as it has happened, remember that Texan sports presenter who defend the coming out of an American football player? I don’t remember names and probably should look them up but everyone saw fat, well-paid, white guy from Texas and assumed “He’ll call him a fag” and then instead the guy admits he’s uncomfortable around gay men, not out of hatred but out of a lack of understanding but he’s not against learning and he certainly doesn’t make the player any less of a man. I was impressed when I saw that, as was Ellen DeGeneres, who had him as a guest. If you want people to agree with you and understand your point, treat them as human beings, don’t dismiss their inherent humanity. I know it’s hard, they might be really ignorant but you have to try before just giving up on them or nobody will ever learn anything because very few people change their opinion on something overnight and they certainly won’t if you just flip them off

Remember what the goal is – to promote understanding, acceptance and equality and as such you must understand, accept and revere your opponents as equals so that you might make allies of them. I’m not the perfect example of this, I can make assumptions like any human being but we should make an effort and never just ignore someone on the grounds of their income or their race or we’re just as bad as the elitists. Reverse elitism, that’s it, check your privilege is reverse elitism

Rant and Rave

Trigger Warnings – Nothing really, unless you are uber sensitive about pandas and/or pugs

Greetings internet, I’m aware I’ve been hitting you with some heavy topics lately, what with talk of politics and disease, I’m certainly long since past making snide comments about Justin Bieber’s trousers or the faces people pull in photos and I think I’ve hammered that point in with a big serious looking hammer inscribed with the words “Topical issues” on the handle. I apologise for the head trauma but suck it up, I am going to keep it up. However, I realise my blog might be a bit upsetting if all you ever see on here is rants at how society mistreats schizophrenics or that if we don’t raise our voices, nobody hears us so I wanted to break up the mood with a rave, an article highlighting my joy about something

Well, I said I wanted to, I didn’t say I have anything. I’ve got an idea closer to Halloween, I’ll try to write a review of my favourite horror film ever – it’s not actually that scary, more funny than anything else and precious few of you will know the answer (If you do know, don’t spoil it, please) but for now I’ve got nothing. I follow the news, it’s all there to make you feel bleak and helpless in a world ruled through fear and deceit, go figure. Let me think of something amusing to try and make your day…

Erm… I saw a photo of a pug that said “I eat crayons and poop rainbows”, I chortled at that. A while back I read an article about a panda that faked pregnancy to get extra food, that panda would be me if I was a female panda

If I was a female panda… what the hell is wrong with you Jake? Maybe you should stick to that topical hammer thing because at the moment you’re just being weird. I dunno. The only amusing stuff I have, incidentally, seems to be about animals making mischief which makes me wonder why, when they bring so much joy to the world, do we continue to destroy their habitats and this once lush green planet and

I was ranting again wasn’t I? Excuse me, thinking of nice stuff now. Sorry, I’m not so great at the cheerful posts, being a cynical single man of questionable health with a crippling inability to make meaningful connections with other human beings and this terrible habit of complaining but again, go figure. I realise this article reads more like the thoughts of a madman rambling to an empty room than an actual thought-out piece of writing but perhaps this funny little oddity is all that is needed to break up the tension in the atmosphere of this blog. I have ideas for rants, just not raves. Well not true, I could rave about things I like but so very few people share my interests that I’d be writing the article purely for the sake of writing something and whilst that seems sort of amusing, I feel a bit lousy when I write an article that generates no public interest whatsoever, it makes me feel like I wasted my time putting those thoughts out there to the public. I mean, even the pushy preacher in the street evokes a reaction, even if it’s just “Self-righteous tosser” (Funnily enough that was my nickname back in college) but imagine going out into the street stark naked and screaming and then nobody even blinking, you’d feel pretty damn foolish and would probably go put your clothes on. Actually, put your clothes back on now please, what are you doing naked and out in the middle of the road? It’s cold. No, being drunk is not an excuse, why are you drunk on my blog? I think you’ve had enough mate… or I have, look at me, this doesn’t even make sense – I was talking about pug poop a moment ago, now I’m telling you off for being shit-faced and naked on the internet

I would love it if someone found this remotely amusing. I would question their sanity but still. Have fun internet, I’ll try to think up some more positive things to talk about in the future but I must remind you that I’ll also keep up with this harsh critique of serious matters because I have a voice, I’m reasonably intelligent, I’m growing in popularity on here and well, I don’t want my legacy of writing to be “that geek who called swagsters twats”. For the record, in my childish dreams I’m remembered for a hit fantasy comedy series, a gripping adventure novel series that defies the conventions of genre and a one-off story about a dystopian future that would make my audiences laugh then cry then stare at themselves in the mirror in sheer horror. Wish me luck with that one, I can’t even put pen to paper… finger to key… whatever

Erhem, end of article… Bye

A Brand You Can’t Trust

Well we’re straight up going political on this mother nugget, no holds barred, let’s go right in there and cut to the core of the issue, the rotten one. Johnny Rotten. You get it? I made a joke because Johnny Rotten made headlines today for criticising Russell Brand on his dreams of a revolution, by which Brand actually seems to mean complete and total apathy for the political system. Yes, former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten said in an interview with John Lydon that “If you’re not voting, not contributing, you’re demanding to be ignored” and the general response was a well deserved hurrah. Johnny urged my generation to take part, to get involved in politics and learn about the different parties, what they stand for and who to vote for and I wholeheartedly agree – too many people in the 18-24 age group don’t vote, which is an issue I feel strongly enough about to talk to you all about it so here goes nothing.

Ok, so Russell’s argument was that the system is corrupt and flawed and that is doesn’t accurately represent the will of the people so as such it’s outdated and should be boycotted which I can see some reasoning to, don’t get me wrong. Yes, the system is corrupt and flawed, it’s what governments usually are by their very nature, a bunch of rich privately-educated people trying to think what do poor people want whilst corporations whisper promises of yet more riches in their ear to do the opposite. Politicians suffer from a disconnect from our reality because with power and wealth there comes a new reality for you, a reality in which your car drives itself, your house is always clean and everybody wants to know what you think so when that’s been your life long enough, things like fuel costs, pastry taxes and heating bills are just words to you. The system is not run by the masses no, but the masses can overwhelm the system when they stand united and demand change. As Rotten said, refusing to vote means refusing to take that stand, to demand anything so the people that always vote (The rich and the extremist agendas) are all we see in power because heck, they’re always happy/angry and being either of those gets stuff done. Apathy? Well I’ve wrote a few articles on apathy, you decide how much I got done. If a system is wrong you don’t give up on the system, you change it. If something is broken, you fix it, the value of fixing things has been forgotten in a world of impatience but when you see that something truly isn’t working, try a new approach and come at it again like a rabid dog.

I think the big problem I have with Brand is he’s influential to our generation, he can spoonfeed my peers this gobshite about giving up hope on politics and demanding anarchy. People see Russell Brand, they see a comedian and a famous face that tells them to abandon hope and give into despair, which is essentially his message. A celebrity trotting around the land saying such depressing nonsense that can be reduced to the core concept of “Give up, it’s useless”. Thanks, we didn’t feel bleak enough already, we really needed you to drill it into our skulls you scraggly haired halfwit. If you’re a young voter and you don’t care, nobody will care for you. If the LGBT community never said “We want legal marriage”, you really think it’d just happen on a whim? No political system reform ever came about as a part of doing nothing – womens rights, civil rights movement, legalisation of homosexuality and of homosexual marriages, the end to death sentences in Britain – somebody, well a lot of somebodies, had to say enough is enough and fight the system to get what they wanted from it and fuck me, it worked. How do you plan to change the world by missing the polling time because you were eating pop tarts and bitching about things on Tumblr?

For the record, I don’t know why Russell Brand sees himself as a political authority, I always assumed he was just a hit-and-miss comedian but he seems to think he’s Che Guevara, his own words. I would like to point out that whilst Guevara was a revolutionary, his revolution installed a dictatorship of total authority and the man himself was a fan of torture and shooting squads. Great hero Brand, did you learn anything from the guy apart from how to hate and how to style your hair? This a romanticised view of politics and rebellion, a desperate rage that wants to destroy the old ways and replace it with… well… they never think that far ahead. Brand calls it ‘alternative systems’, which is a clever way of saying he hasn’t the faintest idea. To be honest a revolution of non-activism is a process in which the process, not the result, is the ambition. Sticking it to the man is all well and good but if you’re gonna tell someone they’re doing everything wrong, correct them or else you come across as a foul little imbecile

I know guys, life is hard and politics are dull and why should you care right? Rent’s too damn high, no jobs are available, your parents had an easier job finding work (Probably not true but you’d like to think it is) but guess what, that’s the reality of the situation and it won’t change by doing nothing. Politics are daunting and a lot to learn but it’s a small price to pay to have your opinions matter right? Ignorance makes fools of us all! Please, I’m begging you, be bothered, get off your idle backside and give a shit or you will be nothing but a number for the rest of your life. I voted last time, I’ll vote again, I’ll always vote because when the issue is important, I’m a noisy son of a gun and one day someone might just reckon I’m saying something worth listening to. Heck, at almost 6000 views on this blog, seems that day is coming. Don’t listen to celebrities, listen to the facts, get engaged in your community and learn what each party stands for and understand why you’re in the shit you’re in rather than whine about the smell because if everyone who could vote, did vote, some parties we want to grow might well flourish and soon enough the old men in power are gonna have to shut up and listen to the united strength of their successors

Can you tell I’ve got my spark back?