Monday, 18 November 2013

#InternationalMensDay #IMD #IMD2013

I am not an international man because I do not recognise the bullshit values of male honour, patriarchal family structures and patriotism. These are the ways patriarchy oppresses men and are not something to be celebrated:

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Bat Contradictions:

I do find this story heartwarming and at times it brings tears to my eyes when I consider the community spirit and compassion that went into it. Those bits in the movies always get me from "I'm Sparticus" to It Could Happen to You. And it's great to see people coming together and people embracing the magical and absurd. It is a candle in the darkness. 

But it also makes me think about how this magic event for one lucky kid is such a stark contrast to the lives of many kids. It makes me wonder why something like this happens for a child recovering from cancer and yet children with the preventable and human caused conditions of poverty and war do not get such amazing moments. 

I find myself questioning the value of a charity that provides wonderful moments to individual children who already have some luck and privilege going for them rather than putting those resources elsewhere. Even as I love them for making something so beautiful for all the rightest of right reasons. 

It's a complicated mass of contradictions and overlapping truths really. Like most things in life. 

One thing that I also find conflicting is that part of it involved the helpless woman tied up and saved by a hero trope. Which I'm not sure I'd advocate infusing the next generation with. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

@GBApodcast: What you might have missed:

So recently the feed on my podcast stopped working for a bit. 

The episodes of the GettinhBetter Acquainted ( podcast that you may have missed due to feed issues are below. If you follow this link: 

you can resubscribe to the now properly working iTunes feed where they are all now available. Your old feed will look like it should work but it doesn't. 

Samantha Feeney #2 - relationships falling apart, becoming a single parent, getting your life back together and embracing a new start.

John Adamthwaite - playwriting, theatre, how to fit writing plays into your life and if it's a medium that is relevant the modern world.

Charley Lucy Harrison - family, divorce, storytelling, comedy, bitcoin, complicated childhoods, rat based tragedy and everybody's wall's.

Carl Jackson - travelling around the world, neuroscience, culture and the merely real.

Nina Gray - bullying, complicated childhoods, feminism(s), mental health, France, twitter and spider diagrams.

Paul Jerome Anderton - equal marriage, immigration, life changes and the death of his father. Running through everything a sense of history. 

Caz Dyer - changing perspectives and perceptions, Honduras, plans to cycle from the UK to Africa, teenage stories from the POV of an ex "Mean Girl" and an ex "severely bullied geek".

The Osmaston Family Special - A personal journey into the unknown territories of family history featuring rediscovered wartime diaries, the legacy of the British Empire, childhoods in India filled with tigers and elephants, engineering the industrial revolution, walking on graves, landed gentry and confronting the judgement of my 15 year old self.


Tony Hickson - knife throwing accidents, impersonating Elvis on Channel 5, being a paparazzi photographer, transgressive art, travelling with the Circus, the World Gurning Championships, and serial killer puppet shows.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

#RemembranceSunday: There is NOTHING honourable about war!

WW1 was not a time when people gave their lives for our freedoms. It was a time when the ruling classes of many countries slaughtered a generation of men. And in that atrocity the conditions were created that led to WW2. The war was not a war to end all wars it was a war that spawned war. We are currently engaged in wars. We have not learned from our remembrance. We don't call our wars world wars now because they don't involve the civilian population (of our country, not in the countries that receive our troops and our drones.) 

The brave and not brave men and the women and children who also struggled through these atrocities should not be forgotten. And part of that remembrance is the responsibility for us to remember things accurately and in context. 

The wars have never been an abstract thing for me. My father was in the army during WW2 and whilst he had an incredibly lucky war many of his friends did not. He has always talked about it. I am proud that my Grandfather was a conscientious objector in both world wars (luckily his hypocratic oath meant he wasn't imprisoned or murdered for this principled position the way many "free" men were.) And I know many people who have or had grandparents who fought in the Wars. The sympathy and empathy we feel for these people we know is the same we should feel for those who are at war now.

Also our "freedom" is not unconditional nor universal. The men and women who fight our wars don't do so to give future generations freedom. They do it because they are ordered and paid to do it. They do it because they have little or no choice. 

Peace offers freedom and we don't have peace. Some of us, the lucky and privileged ones, have the illusion of peace. The illusions of freedom and choice. But that is not the case either globally or nationally. 

Remember the dead, grieve for them. I can understand donating to the veterans  although since it was the state that harmed them arguably it should be the state that gives them reparations. 

There are principled and reasonable POV's in terms of wearing or not wearing a red or white poppy, donating to or not donating to the poppy appeal, observing or not observing the silence. But patriotism and mythologising are not a part of that. 

Don't use Remembrance Sunday to lie to yourself. Teenagers crying in the dirt, covered in blood and full of fear. That's who those poor people in the trenches were. And all over the world we still have teenagers in the same horrible position. They are there because of the intensions and interests not of themselves but of the people running the wars. 

There is NOTHING honourable about war.