Looking at these pictures is like looking at a car crash. So wrong yet so mesmerizing. Not quite sure where I first saw these, found them while I was trawling through my hard drive.
It never fails to amuse me when people romanticize children. To those who rant about 'protecting' the innocence of children from the evils of the world: you're all morons. Children are barbaric folk. Childhood is the time when humans are at their most animalistic - before the constraints and decorum of society are imposed upon them. They're also far tougher than people give them credit for. Many people forget that Romeo and Juliet were just 14 (in an era where it was the norm to be married at 11 or 12 due to short life expectancy). Not to mention, as controversial as the subject may be, I doubt many would disagree the fact that child soldiers are capable of just as much cold-blooded cruelty as their adult counterparts.
The concept of childhood innocence is a Victorian ideal that lives on today, making it a concept that's been floating around for just a little less than two hundred years. Not that long in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong, obviously children need to be protected, it’s just the reasoning behind it I have problems with, the false morality. The basic truth lies in the simple fact that they are our offspring, our future, the continuation of our lineage, and like many other mammals we fight to ensure they survive. Not because of some misplaced sense of preserving ‘innocence’.
A lot of this rant stems from the controversy surrounding Tavi, the wunderkind blogger (someone who I’m absolutely in awe of), with parents rallying up in arms on how it was dangerous to allow children to blog. It reminds me of the video game controversy, where morons state that presenting kids with scenes of violence is a perfectly palatable excuse for them turning into raving loonies, ergo we should prevent them from seeing these scenes until the day that they magically transform overnight into adults (usually their 18th birthday).
My take on this reasoning? Don't be fucking daft. Kids aren't morons, they'll find out about these things sooner or later (and thanks to the interweb usually sooner rather than later). In order to ensure that they don't screw things up how about educating them instead? In the case of blogging and facebook etc. why don't you teach your kids how to use the Internet responsibly by ensuring that maybe its not the best idea to write personal details about themselves online? On the case of video games, why don't you inform your kid that Grand Theft Auto is a fucking game and maybe its not the best idea to go round blowing up cops, sleeping with hookers and running down civilians? Cause truth is, if your kid can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy, either he wasn't taught to properly distinguish the difference or he's a bloody sociopath.
Basically, my argument is that instead of looking to block in order to protect, people should be looking to construct. I'd argue that the importance lies in the formation of a child as a subject, in their education, in the very act of teaching them the basic morals that are fundamental to a functioning society.
This is the crux of parenting.
It is why the family is the revered nucleus of nearly all societies, past and present. No other relationship best enables the transference of ideology. This is why I have such an issue with 'free' parents; those that never say no, that allow their children to do as they will in fear that it will 'infringe on their rights'. Give me a fucking break. I'd argue that you're doing your child an enormous injustice if you don't discipline them, if you don't teach them societal constructs of right and wrong that prevent them from being violent barbarians or selfish morons.
To the (many) parents who think differently: Congratulate yourselves on producing a weak-minded generation that has never been curtailed; one trapped and obsessed within the realm of their imaginary ego, ignorant of self-reflection and self-development.
Congratulate yourselves on contributing to the degeneration of our fucking species.
(I think it’s safe to note that this rant has also emerged from looking around me and seeing children and adults alike who are the product of this imbecilic championing of freedom and individuality. Note: ‘freedom’ and ‘individuality’ are some of the most dangerous words in existence. They are so easily infused with connotation due to the moral weight they hold. I definitely believe in a form of freedom and individuality. I just think that taken in a case like this the words mean utter fucking bollocks. A more complete entry on this point is possible depending on how arsed I am).
So today in my country a woman killed a snatch thief. As expected, there was a token commentator in a paper who stated that instead of lauding such an action, we should stop and pity the snatch thief himself. The thing is, while I definitely agree the existence of a criminal is always indirectly the fault of the society as a whole, I am a massive proponent of the idea that if you do something wrong, you deserve whatever you get. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with those who say that these people are inherently 'evil'.
I just believe in publicized deterrents.
The lack of deterrents was what frustrated me about the British system. It's slightly soul-destroying to know that if someone broke into my house and took my property/threatened me, all they would've gotten was a strong word and a slap on the wrist. Call me an idiot, but I don't think this does anything to deter anyone from doing the same. I'm not saying we should allow people to go on public rampages killing every criminal since they 'deserve' it, I'm saying that while the act is happening the victim should have the priority of action.
In the face of possible comments that I am privileged and thus unable to empathize in any way with the impoverished, I would argue that one of my closest friends used to be in a gang when he was younger. I have no problem with seeing the perpetrator as human, they are. My argument is that though they are, we shouldn't be a fucking soft touch on them. Instead we should look at where the problems really start, and that ultimately lies with society as a whole. We should focus on reducing social inequality, on guaranteeing a good education to people of every background and social status. That is the productive way of reducing crime.
We shouldn't just fucking sit and pity criminals, giving them soft allowances for their actions just because some of us have a guilty conscience. Because at the end of the day that's all pity does; it doesn't alleviate their standard of living, it doesn't make their lives any better, it just enhances our ability to feel good about ourselves because we're able to 'sympathise' with the Other. Bullshit. All this leads to is people thinking they can get away with committing atrocious acts, while leaving their victims to feel helpless and frustrated at their inability to protect their own rights under the eyes of the law.
Get off your fucking high horse I say, and start looking constructively at the situation.
[picture taken from I'm the Goddamn Batman! or The moral flexibility of the depiction of Batman as defined by the alignment classification of Dungeons and Dragons. Fuckin A.]
I am a bit ridiculously in love with miss Eliot Sumner. A couple of people have already pointed out that her music sounds very similar to early Police, which isn't too much of a surprise considering she happens to be baby-Sting herself. I've always been an absolute wench for low gravelly voices and if you clickety click on this or this, it's plain to see that this lady fits the bill to a T.
Course it doesn't hurt that she's a little bit stunning really.
Pretty gutted I missed seeing her live while I was in the big smoke... almost as much as I regret missing the XX. I know, I know, they've been touted all over the shop from every publication known to man as "THE NEXT BIG THING", which is vaguely annoying since I'm always wary of bands that are. However just listen to this or this and I'll be surprised if you don't join the herd on this one. Their voices are absolutely stunning, and the stuff they're able to do with such minimal sound is frankly astounding. I've heard a couple of people say they're bland but I'd just argue that their sound system isn't good enough to hear how epic the production is.
In other news of tune-age, been strongly into techno since the Berlin trip. It's fascinating, if you told me three years ago I'd be in love with dance music I'd have called you fool (this actually happened, cheers Si). After three years in London though, I have been happily proven wrong and now the most played list on my ipod's probably the ostbahnhof podcast. I'm not quite sure what this goes under, progressive techno? Minimal techno? Some shite like that. All I refer to it as is fucking good music.
Berlin was fabulous for that though, we went out most nights and every single time the music was fantastic. One thing that I adored about it was the atmosphere since everyone who went out was there for the music. Not to get laid, not to get wasted and not to be seen. It was heaven. I miss that dearly about London too, sure you get your typical shite posh places but you also had absolute gems like the Notting Hill Arts Club and Barden's Boudoir. It's just granted that people who frequent places for reasons other than to utilise them as public forums to compare penis sizes are made of WIN.
I have to admit that I've been utterly baffled by the harsh criticisms and/or intense stupidity of the American public these past few months. Of course, before I continue, let it be known that I don't have the right to talk about every single person in the States. Just the vast majority. If it's not obvious yet, I'm speaking on the matter of everyone's favourite whipping boy: Barack Obama.
Seriously folks. Why the mass wave of resentment? Here's my rant on one of the biggest accusations against him so far.
The 'Commie' argument
My personal favourite. How does this make even an iota of sense? I was looking at comments on a newspaper article on Obama when one stood out; a person stated that the 'Commie' argument was just another word for 'black'. He then got slammed down by self-righteous Republicans spewing on about how 'they weren't racist', Obama was 'just a filthy Commie'. The best bit was the fact that this was easily the 20 billionth time I'd seen this expressed on the interweb.
I'm truly intrigued to find out if anyone in the US has heard of the word 'prejudice'? Prejudice isn't just confined to racism. It's 'an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge' [Mirriam Webster]. Therefore, the subject of him being 'black' or 'communist' really is interchangeable as people are using these terms as criticisms without just grounds or before possessing sufficient knowledge of the bloody topic. Morons.
The word 'communist' is currently being used as a scare tactic, synonymous to 'terrorist' and 'black', depicting someone as 'against the American way of life'. It is imbued with left over fear from the cold war era, of some large insidious force just waiting to corrupt your children with its immoral values. So what exactly are these values? Of course the answers from the red necks are always the most entertaining. Take a look at this for example. Pure comedic genius. He's a communist because he's indoctrinating the kids to his 'hippy' values, right? God forbid wanting to save the environment or actually trying to make a contribution to the future of humanity instead of being yet another mindless consumer drone. As for the accusation of indoctrination? This coming from FOX news? Hah. Pull another one.
One story comes to mind. An American friend of mine once told me that a ridiculous amount of homophobic red necks absolutely love QUEEN (the band). Anyone with popular knowledge will know that QUEEN is fronted by Freddie Mercury who is, how shall we put it ... pretty damn gay:
I mean come on. The fact that the band's called QUEEN should be a bit of a clue no? Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with homosexuality, it's just the absolute irony of it all. But this is the thing with ignorant people. They're, well, bloody ignorant. They don't seem to have any concept of actually creating a balanced opinion instead of being a slave to FOX and its ridiculous stir mongering agenda. Without knowing what the concept of communism truly is, many are happy to jump on the bandwagon, declaring it as the "ENEMY" (cue mob mentality outrage). I think people need to look at my first entry again for a minute and get some fucking common sense.
It is, after all, what is lacking these days. An example can be found in the reaction to Obama's speech one year after Lehman's crash. I watched it on BBC which interviewed some absolute moron from a Conservative think tank, ranting on about how Obama's pledge to more regulation would cripple the economy; that Obama was letting his socialist ideals get the better of him. Firstly, did this guy even listen to the speech? Secondly, has he ever read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations aka (the original treatise on capitalism) ? The answer is undoubtedly a resounding NO. If he had he would have realised that it was under so called 'capitalism' that the American economy mimicked one of communism. True capitalism is meant to aim for a 'perfect market' which requires
(1) Perfect Competition (no buyer or seller can unilaterally influence the market)
(2) Perfect Knowledge (perfect market information, i.e. consumers know everything about all products at all times)
(3) Perfect Mobility (all buyers and sellers can move to where they have the greatest competitive advantage)
There may be more but that is all my memory can dredge up from the good ol' days of A level economics. Sure a perfect market is hardly likely to ever occur, but the point is in a capitalist market we are meant to aim for it. Let's look at recent capitalist America shall we? There were monopolies in the form of banks 'too large to fail' which happily influenced the market during their prime. There was a definite lack of knowledge, epitomized by the Madoff scandal, which was further added to by the lack of transparency entrenched in the system. Someone commented that this occurred due to previous regulation brought in by the Democrats which caused financial institutions to produce complicated instruments and documents to remain competitive.
My reply? Don't be an idiot. If that's the route they took then they're at fault for choosing that path. Why not look at efficiency? Investments with an element of ... I don't know, something crazy like sustainability? Sure they wouldn't have made as much as they did relying on exotic financial instruments such as the infamous credit default swaps, but I bet you they'd still be making a shiteload.
The best thing is I can almost understand the rich Republicans. Understand mind you, not condone. They're just looking out for their own self interest. Why make several million when you can be making several billion after all? What baffles me completely are the masses, those that have suffered during a financial crisis caused by ... oh wait, what was that? The Democrats? The Commies? Or perhaps ... Bin Laden? No. It was caused by rich Republicans. People that couldn't care less about their country, or it's fellow inhabitants. So obviously it makes complete sense to turn your back on a president who's actually looking out for you.
... Wait I take that back. Not just baffling. Utterly fucking depressing.
I have far more to rant about concerning the Land of the Free. But for now;
I'm not usually a fan of shock art. More often than not I find it ridiculously pretentious; a form typically showcased by geek-chic hipsters or the latest l'enfant terrible wannabe. One look at Richardson (pictured above with Obama) and you'd be forgiven in writing him off as just another famous douche. My advice to you? Don't.
Personally, I find his work mesmerizing. His photographs have a particularly striking quality, akin to those by August Sander ...
... and Ugo Mulas:
In all these cases something inexplicable captures my fascination. Maybe it's the simplicity of their form. Maybe it's their inherently exhibitionistic nature. For me, the fact that their appeal cannot be constrained to some meaning or explanation is what enables them to be so striking. So kudos to you Terry Richardson. I look forward to seeing what else you deliver.
After reassessing the situation I have decided that what was previously written = utter bollocks. Let's face it. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm a massive voyeur; Richardson's complete objectification of his subjects simply appeals to that side of me. And really now. Who in their right mind could resist Gay!Batman and Robin? Win of epic proportions.