World Mental Health Day +2

Wednesday was World Mental Health Day and mid-week I chose not to write something about it over my morning coffee. I sent out a little tweet and scrolled through Twitter for a bit, but other than that I just wanted to have a normal, productive day.

By the way, that’s my Twitter. You should follow me, and I’ll follow you. Then we can all be connected in a early 21st century consciousness sort of way. Brilliant!

Part of my constant recovery from anxiety and depression has been to stay busy. There are definitely other factors involved, but the general rule of thumb for me is the more productive I’ve been that day, the lower the likelihood of anxiety sneaking its way into my mind.

I’m incredibly neurotic, which is such a cliché for a writer. So burn me, burn me now. When my anxiety boils over I end up with three of four trains of thought going on at once. It’s all linked to a chemical imbalance in the fight or flight mechanism, which it turns out is used for more than just extremely dangerous situations. It’s actually used in most decisions, no matter how passive they may be.

It’s why anxiety is on the rise in young people. It’s not because they’re “snowflakes” or “liberal cucks” who “can’t handle the real world”, it’s because the world has more and more decisions to be made from such an early age. Should I like that status? Should I add them as a friend? Should I even make a social media account?

I’m not saying that pre-social media folk didn’t have to make decisions, but the results of anyone’s actions are now quantifiable in the number of friends or likes you have. The consequences of a young persons actions are reflected back on them in such a precise way. So if you force enough decisions on the early mind, then that fight or flight response is going to become fairly erratic and imbalanced.

I can’t imagine taking my underdeveloped brain from ten years ago and putting it into today’s environment. In fact — I can imagine it, I just don’t want to.

As I mentioned, I’ve found that staying busy has been the most useful element of my recovery. Although I should say that it’s on top of a diagnosis, CBT, meditation and breathing exercises. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without at least some of each of the above.

Staying busy doesn’t make my anxiety go away, but it allows it less room to breathe when it creeps up on me. If I’m writing, which takes up at least two of the trains of thought in my head, then I’m rooted in something tangible whenever I start to panic. If that makes sense?

It’s like if you have to be hit by a car — You have no choice in the matter, it’s going to happen. Would you rather let it happen without any protection, or would you rather wear a helmet and body-armour?

By writing, I lessen the impact of the blow. You might have something else that keeps your mind occupied, and that’s amazing — Keep it up. A lot of neuroticism is about your response to certain stimulus, but I’ve found that by keeping your mind at least partially stimulated on something at all times — Well, it makes for less painful car accidents.

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I didn’t want to write the above words on World Mental Health Day itself. Partly because I’ve noticed a trend that I’m starting to worry about.

Let me first say that awareness is brilliant. Everyone needs to have an understanding of mental health problems, at least to a level where we can have conversations about them. Talking, quite literally, saves lives.

The posts I’ve made on this blog which have had the most views/likes have been ones where I’ve discussed my mental health. Which both does and doesn’t sit right with me. This lead me down a rabbit-hole of mental health specific blogs, who made-up the majority of likes and engagements. If I tag this post right, then I’m sure these words will be no different.

Or maybe not after what I’m about to say, which genuinely comes from a place of love:

Maybe there’s a point at which mental health awareness tips over into glamourising, and even profiting from, very serious illnesses.

I’m not talking about the teenager who posts their personal struggles to an audience of twenty. They’re working through what they have going on by talking to the void, and we all know that’s better than keeping it locked away. They may not have an understanding of their illness, and they may not have been to visit a medical professional for proper diagnosis (an understanding always helps, even if you don’t want/can’t afford therapy), but they’re trying to connect for sincere reasons and that’s beautiful.

I’m talking about the blogs with thousands of followers, who post fairly vapid mental health tips in pastel-coloured text boxes. Some of the language they use is alarmingly simplistic and sometimes misinformed. They have ads all across their blog and cross-promote each other on a regular basis, to drive-up traffic.

Mental health issues are complex, and my concern is that some people who’re genuinely suffering are either being misinformed, or think that visiting these blogs is enough of a therapy for them. Which, short term, it may be. But I can’t form an understanding of how they would impact someone long term, especially when their main advice on, say, anxiety is as follows:

  • Drink a warm beverage
  • Talk to a loved one
  • Wrap yourself in a blanket
  • Tell yourself you’re awesome
  • Tell yourself you’re double-awesome

I’m not going to name any names, as maybe they don’t even know what they’re doing. Maybe they’re just caught-up in blogging about something that’s “trendy” at the moment. But they make anxiety sound like a f***ing Pinterest board, which is a sick and damaging joke.

Anyone who is in the grips of an anxiety attack, knows how difficult the above five bullet-points are to achieve. Especially that hot beverage part, so many choices involved.

If we really want governments to take the funding of mental health seriously, then some people need to stop treating it like its a hobby by choice. Poor mental health is messy, and the remedies, therapies and treatments aren’t as simple as a graphic. You wouldn’t attempt heart surgery with a comfy pillow and some pixie-sticks, so why treat mental health so flippantly?

Finally, I’m aware of the slight irony here — That I myself am currently blogging about mental health. You should talk, absolutely. Talk to the void if that means you’re talking to someone. Just don’t try and make mental illnesses a marketable feature for your Wednesday Wisdom. They’re not a fashionable trend to be worn on days you feel like connecting to a wider audience — They’re closer to a Lady GaGa meat-dress in the hot, Arizonan sun.

Stay busy, breathe and look after yourself.


Today is Friday, October 12th and if I left this little part out of the blog would anyone notice?

Here’s a charity donation link instead of a tip jar:

https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.general

Evolution and Devolution

At the end of the month WWE will be hosting its first all-woman Pay-Per-View — Evolution. The announcement back in July was met with positivity and universal acclaim, with only a few people on the far fringes of the fandom suggesting that women had “gone too far this time”, and “when are men going to get an all-male show?”

Well, thanks to a ten-year, $450million deal with the Saudi Arabian royal family, WWE has two all-male shows every year. Beginning back in April with The Greatest Royal Rumble, and continuing with Crowl Jewel, which takes place just five days after Evolution. Fans can expect these shows to be twice a year for the next decade. Although perhaps not, given recent global political events.

Jamal Khashoggi, is a Saudi journalist who writes for The Washington Post, and he went missing on October 2nd. He has been openly critical about the Saudi royal family in recent years, given their crackdown on human right’s activists and a military campaign in Yemen. He has been living in exile in the US for the majority of the last year.

While in Istanbul on October 1st — where he was looking to obtain a marriage certificate for himself and his Turkish fiancee — he visited the Saudi embassy. CCTV footage shows Khashoggi enter, but he doesn’t emerge from the building. His fiancee waited until after midnight and returned the next day, where there was still no sign of him.

Turkey has pressured the Saudi royal family to own-up to a potential assassination attempt, as royal family private jets arrived in Turkey the day before and left the day after. America back an investigation, and President Trump claims to have spoken to the Saudi royal family “more than once” about Khashoggi’s “disappearance”. The royal family, of course, deny the allegations.

To my limited knowledge, very little will come of this. Many Western governments, including America, turn a blind eye to a lot of the events in Saudi Arabia, in exchange for financial benefits. However, Trump is a wild card who likes quick and easy publicity wins. By putting pressure on the Saudi royal family he can market himself as a man who is tough on the sorts of people his followers perceive as the ultimate villains.

Saudi Arabia is supposedly undertaking a culture revolution, setting their sights on 2030 as a date by which they’ll be progressive. This seems highly unlikely, and Khashoggi is right to criticise them for it, as women still lack basic human rights, LGBTQ people are still considered to be committing illegal activities by being themselves, and the royal family maintains a dictatorial stranglehold on its people.

I know these things take time, and twelve years is a long way away, but murdering human rights activists, those campaigning for women’s rights and allegedly assassinating a journalist are all steps in the complete opposite direction.

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All of this could put WWE in a rather awkward position, especially if Trump decides to retaliate against a potential state-sponsored assassination. Of course, the money received from the royal family might go a long way to stop any real reaction. Also, Lina McMahon (wife of WWE owner Vince McMahon) currently works for the Trump administration. So a quick favour for a friend could see that tensions do not escalate, if only to protect a $450million entertainment deal.

Which, I should point out, is silly money for professional wrestling. This deal nets WWE more than ten WrestleMania’s will.

Any negative attention that WWE receives for performing for the Saudi princes (who are essentially billionaire WWE fans paying for their own, personal show) will only highlight the other issues with this deal. Particularly when it comes to women’s rights and the “evolution” of women’s wrestling, as female wrestlers are not allowed to perform in front of live audiences in Saudi Arabia.

Five years ago the women of WWE were still simply models who’d been hired and taught a few wrestling moves. Nowadays they’re legitimate athletes, putting on the same athletic, choreographed stunt-shows as their male counterparts. They boast talent from MMA (including Ronda Rousey), various women’s sports leagues, and prestigious Japanese promotions — All of whom would not be interested in WWE if it weren’t for their progressive shifts.

So if women’s matches in WWE are no-longer a sexy pillow fight (this happened), then why do Saudi officials have a problem with them? Well, it’s all down to how the women dress.

Even though the male athletes wear far fewer clothes than today’s female athletes, the issue is that the women are showing the slightest bit of skin. Even if they wore full body-suits, as they did at an emotional Abu Dhabi show last year, they’d still be showing too much, in the form of their hair.

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Now, I know it’s a different culture, dominated by a different major religion, so it’s not our place to decide what a country does and doesn’t allow. But when many Muslim women are dying for their right to be free of the oppression of their male religious leaders, you have to empathise with that cause. I ask myself sometimes if it’s right to tolerate intolerance? It’s a complex issue.

WWE may be about to have their first all-female wrestling show, but they’ve also added two all-male shows to their calendar year. Evolution was aways going to happen eventually, as the talent of the women’s division has grown enough to justify it. But this is almost literally one step forward and two steps back for WWE — Given that they can now boast one progressive event per year, and downplay two regressive money-grabs.

Women already get less time on WWE TV than men, and are featured in fewer matches on PPV. I figured that Evolution was going to be their way of balancing this act, especially when you include the fact they’ve kept up their all-female summer tournament for the second year-running. But with events for Saudi Arabia, where women have only just been given the right to drive, the cynical side of me is screaming that WWE are only making these progressive steps, so they can pocket $450million in royal money with a clean conscience.


Today is Thursday, October 11th and political attack ads in the US should be illegal. You can literally say whatever you want.

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If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

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Register to Vote!

I’m incredibly proud to live in a state where you can register to vote on the day of an election. That’s right, in Colorado you can still be bugged into voting by people all the way up to (and including) November 6th. This is extremely democratic no matter how you look at it. A strong democracy should do nothing to limit the voice (vote) of the individual citizen.

For some states the voter deadline was as early as yesterday — A whole month before the midterm elections. It’s no surprise that these states are largely Republican strongholds, as they’re the party who’ve done everything in their power for the last fifty years to suppress the votes of anyone who isn’t old or white. Presumably they’d also want to limit the female vote, but requiring extra, mandatory ID cards for “Uterine-Americans” does seem a little obvious.

Better people than myself have discussed the attempts of powerful politicians to limit the voting rights of American citizens, so watch this Last Week Tonight video from a couple of years ago (if you want to), as it has plenty of strong sources and case studies.

My point is that a strong democracy would do anything it could to help its citizens to vote, and being able to register until the day of an election (or at least the week of) is an excellent place to start.

For most states, the deadline to register to vote will be in the next couple of weeks, and I wanted to use my space today to plead a case for democracy.

As a new immigrant in the United States, I can’t vote in this election, or the next one, but maybe the one after that. It’ll be the 2022 midterms before I should be able to use my democratic voice in America for the first time, providing the paperwork goes through in time. So it’ll more likely be the 2024 elections. So, honestly, you should vote simply because I can’t.

I won’t tell you how to vote, because ultimately that should be your decision based on the issues you care about. I’d much rather you voted for a hard-right Republican than not vote at all. Which sounds counterproductive to my own personal ideologies, but it’s true. If you vote then you’re a part of the conversation, and it gives you the right to do that thing we all love to do so much — Complain.

I’m of the opinion that if you don’t vote then you don’t have the right to complain about anything in society that upsets you. If you only care about local issues, then smaller elections (especially during the midterms) are exactly how you can make a difference with fairly minimal effort.

Look to specific plans that local candidates are pushing for — Are those plans something you care about? Then vote for that candidate! The more people who vote in smaller elections, the more pressure that’s then put on the winner to fulfil their promises.

Why don’t we have a giant wall? Why isn’t Hillary in jail? Why haven’t we seen Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate? Well because President Trump lost the popular vote of course!

(Sarcasm, that was sarcasm)

It’s perfectly reasonable to have the opinion that all politicians are a bunch of thieving, lying, arse-holes. Especially as some of them are! If that’s the case then I encourage you to register to vote anyway, and then “spoil your ballot” with a protest vote. Write your opinions on your ballot paper, or simply ruin it by doodling a picture of a giant cat. You’ll still count as someone who voted, and you’ve successfully voiced your displeasure for the current system, as well as your pro-giant cat status.

Obviously there are more constructive ways to change the world, but personally I’d rather you did this than not vote at all. At least this way you can join the public conversation of general disgruntlement and wholeheartedly complain about the current establishment.

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I’m incredibly passionate about the idea that every vote matters, because it really does. I’ve witnessed a surprising number of recounts in the UK, because an election has come to within fifty or so votes. I’m certain it’ll be the same for some elections in the US. Think about the special election in Alabama last year, Doug Jones beat out alleged pedophile Roy Moore, but only by 1.7% of the votes.

Sure, your state/district might be absolutely safe red or blue, but by voting you help to either keep that seat safe, or to decrease the gap and make politicians worried. And at the very least your vote contributes to national statistics.

For example, if you hadn’t reluctantly voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election (you wanted Bernie, but hey ho) then Trump might’ve won the popular vote as well as the Presidency. Losing the popular vote gave people across the country hope — Hope that sane people still make up the majority. So thanks for voting!

One way to think of voting is that it keeps the tyranny at bay. Some people in office want as few people to vote as possible, so they can pass laws in their own interests. The higher the voter turnout, the greater the pressure.

Despite all of its flaws, I love America. It’s a great experiment of a society and aims to be a shining light for democracy across the world. In recent years however, it feels like it’s slowly losing grip on that goal. America is its people, and that means everyone, not just the wealthy white dudes at the top. The more people who vote, the brighter that light shines.

Please register to vote if you still can, and if you missed the deadline then remember to do it ahead of the 2020 Presidential election. It’s never too late to start caring. Your voice matters because it strengthens democracy and sticks two-fingers to the establishment in the most effective way possible. Wow, voting is punk-rock — It’s DIY, individualistic and you can change the world.

Click here if you haven’t registered, you’ll be helped by a friendly non-partisan website.

I’d love to hear that some of my readers are planning on voting, so comment below to let me know if you are. Also, comment below if you don’t plan on voting — I’d genuinely love to hear why, and I promise I’ll be kind, as I respect your individual choices.


Today is Wednesday, October 10th and I’m half-way through a complete new draft edit of my WIP. I have some feedback and everything is getting brilliantly real.

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If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

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WE are the Walking Dead

I’m a big believer in not having guilty pleasures when it comes to media. You like what you like and if you can justify the enjoyment it brings to you, then you should keep on enjoying that thing. People (like me) will reserve the right to say that thing is objectively terrible, but you should continue to defend it, because nobody can argue with subjectivity.

I both objectively and subjectively despise The Walking Dead, and yet I can’t stop watching. Help me.

I watched the season nine premiere yesterday, which made this the third year in a row that I ignored my instinct to stop. I think at this point it has become a form of punishment; You don’t deserve good things, so here you go Matt, watch fifty minutes of crudely constructed television that manages to mess-up despite an inexplicably high budget.

The first season of the show was groundbreaking, next-level television. The tight, six-episode story was refreshing for an American production, and at no point did it waste a single minute of your time. I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the best “first seasons” in TV history, up there with Breaking Bad.

Season two saw a drop-off in quality, which we can largely assume was due to the departure of Frank Darabont. The show became less focused, but for a few years still managed to tell interesting-enough stories. Half of the characters were two-dimensional beings lifted straight from a serialised, soap-opera-esq graphic novel, but the rest were well-rounded, complex individuals.

Up until the second-half of the sixth season I can still recall story arcs and individual episodes that entertained me. And in a show with sixteen episodes per season (I thought we were done with this 20th century BS), that’s probably the best you can hope for. With season seven and eight, I felt like the zombie — Glued to the screen but completely dead behind the eyes.

I think the only reason I tuned in this year is because of new show-runner, Angela Kang. My hope was that we’d get a completely new direction, and a fresh pair of eyes at the helm. I didn’t think she’d be able to bring TWD back to the glory days of season one, but I hoped for the quality of season four or five.

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Season nine opens with a set-piece, in which most of the main survivors (and a few red-shirts) are at a large museum building, where they’re recovering old pioneering supplies. The biggest object is a covered wagon, which they slowly pull down the steps of the museum. The ground floor of the building is made of glass and, of course, hundreds of Walkers are below.

The group decides to carry-on with their wagon-salvaging attempt, despite it being the least useful of the objects they came to recover. The glass cracks and King Ezekiel is the one to fall. Surprisingly, not a single red-shirt fell into the Walker-filled abyss to build some tension. Ezekiel manages to avoid fifty sets of teeth and nails, to survive without a single scratch.

This opening sequence puts us back in the place we were last year; Zero reason to care emotionally about these characters because they survive the most ridiculous and complex situations. About five minutes after this scene a red-shirt is bit suddenly from behind as he goes to fetch a horse. Go figure.

Sure, protagonists should overcome difficult challenges, but if those challenges are painlessly conquered then I’m not going to care when they eventually succumb to whatever kills them off. The classic TWD example being that Glenn’s impossible survival and fake-out death ruined the emotional impact of his real death.

I did enjoy the small moments between survivors during the museum scene, particularly the scenes with Michonne. She looks to the history displays and sees words like “confederacy” and lots of pictures of old white people. In looks alone we get the sense she has anxieties about building America in the exact same way it was in the beginning. Later this is confirmed when Michonne and Rick are talking privately, and she suggests that they draw-up a charter instead of a constitution.

You can make the argument that race doesn’t really matter in TWD, and that a zombie-apocalypse is the great equaliser for society. However, the best post-apocalyptic fiction reflects contemporary society where it can, and last year the angered far-right went absolutely crazy at the introduction of a Muslim character. So I’d say an understated commentary about race is appropriate.

The second-half of the episode is about Maggie’s leadership of the Hilltop. It’s been a year and a half since the war ended and since then they’ve had an election. Maggie won the vote, against the scheming former-leader, Gregory.

Gregory opportunistically capitalises on the death of a red-shirt from the Hilltop, and convinces the grieving father to assassinate Maggie. This fails and Gregory is found-out, resulting in his execution at Maggie’s command.

I really enjoyed this storyline and I’m interested to see where they go from here. Maggie confronted Rick and showed her power as a leader in this episode, which is more actual character development than we saw from anyone else. I also liked the continuing themes of rebuilding society and the struggles that come along with it.

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Overall, the premiere was average. I’m excited about some things, but also nervous about others. There are far too many characters to truly care about any of them, so I feel as though they need to take an axe to the cast. It worries me that Negan is being kept alive, as that’s a poisonous storyline that should’ve just ended, never to be returned-to.

The previous show-runner once said that TWD could go until the fifteenth season, I hope that idea has died with him. I think I’m with this show for the long-haul now, because I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic fiction, and I still have fading memories of what once was one of the the strongest season premieres in recent history.

I am a zombie, the seven-million US viewers still watching are also the zombies. We’ve been told our role in this story, I just hope we can witness a few decent moments before we disintegrate into mush.


Today is Tuesday, October 9th and an Evangelical leader said this about Democrats; “The most intolerant people in the country are those that preach tolerance.” I thought the irony there was depressingly hilarious.

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Taylor Swift Does Politics Now

Back in school and sixth-form college, our group of friends were the political nerds. It wasn’t really necessary for the average young person to be socially or politically engaged, as times were (admittedly) a little easier. As easy as they can be for a sixteen year-old at least. So, not very easy at all.

It was 2010 and the far-right hadn’t yet rebranded themselves as the “alt-right” in an attempt to digitally recruit a new generation of fascists. Extremist views belonged to old people who were afraid of immigration, and that one kid who would yell racial slurs as he set fire to various parts of the school. Although we’re pretty sure that’s because his Dad beat the hell out of him, and he’d been failed by the system.

Now, in the Brexit of our Trump, 2018 — Young people don’t have a choice. Politics is everywhere because society has become pretty crazy for the first time in a while. I mean, if their schools are being shot-up because people don’t have access to universal mental healthcare AND it’s really easy to buy the weapon that results in the death of their classmates, then these kids are going to get politically engaged pretty fast.

Social media is filled with political “debates”, as people hurl insults at each other in two-hundred and eighty characters or less. Fake news is spread across Facebook, meaning their older family members believe things that just aren’t in-line with the world they’re seeing around them. Then, they go on YouTube to watch gaming videos, only for an “alt-right” recruiter to pop-up as a recommended channel.

Back in school, in college, all I wanted was for more people to be politically involved. I didn’t want us to be the only ones asking people to register to vote, or learning the ins and outs of voter systems. I wanted everyone to have an opinion that would be listened to, because then maybe we’d have a stronger democracy. Idealistic, I know, but not everyone was on social media, even eight years ago.

We had the benefit of being able to switch-off from politics whenever it wasn’t election season, or if nothing big was happening in the political world. Now, thanks to a reality TV President, politics is everywhere, all of the time. What I thought I wanted for young people, isn’t actually what I really wanted. I was wrong.

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time, but I’m still here, typing away. I don’t want to think about putting my mind in the kind of environment children have to grow-up in today.

Imagine the pressures and anxieties of modern social media, but also you’re in high school and also, people are sometimes trying to kill you. The posh kid in the button-up invites you to a meeting with free cookies, but it turns out it’s so you can discuss how best to deal with the “Mexican problem”. You go visit your grandparents and they’re talking about how finally America is Great Again, and that you should be lucky to live in a world where you can be shot-at, cyber-bullied and self-harm, because they had it so much harder.

No thank you. I’m not sure I would’ve made it through high school were I born at a later time, especially in America.

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The reason why I’m thinking about young people in regards to politics is because Taylor Swift has political opinions now. The reality is that high-school kids probably won’t be listening to Taylor Swift, as she’s an artist closer to my own school years than theirs. She still emits a youthful brand however, and so I assume she still holds an influence over people in her original target demographic.

You know times are trying when Taylor Swift gets involved. She was the vapid, rich girl from school. The one who wouldn’t dare be seen with a political opinion in case it decreased her popularity, which ironically is a rather shrewd and overtly political standpoint to hold. Bravo.

I once tried asking the Taylor Swift of our school who she would vote for if she could, and her response was, “You know, if you talked less about this sort of thing, you might actually be able to get a girlfriend.”

Except this is 2018 and Taylor Swift, the daughter of financiers, who lives in deep-red Tennessee, has come out in support of the Democratic Party. I figure it’s because the left was owed an A-Lister after whatever the hell happened with Kanye.

In a lengthy Instagram post, T-Swift outed herself as a liberal. She showed support for an equal and fair society (yes white people, that includes us), as well as specifically highlighting a lot of issues regarding women’s rights — Including domestic violence and sexual assault. I’m sure recent events helped her to speak out, which is one of the positives we can take away from the last two weeks.

I’m in two-minds about people with Taylor Swift’s level of influence becoming involved in politics. On one hand she is showing young people that it’s okay to have a voice, especially one that goes against the current establishment — This is a great thing. On the other hand, I’m concerned that she’s riding a wave of whatever opinion is popular with her demographic, because if she truly was a “filthy leftie”, she’d seriously consider doing something with all that wealth she has.

I guess when the President is a celebrity, it feels normal and natural when A-Listers like Taylor and Kanye become outspoken on political issues. And as I’ve said, this isn’t 2010 anymore, this is a time where it’s impossible not to have an opinion on a social issue.

I just hope they don’t run for office in the future. I’ve already seen people joking on social media about West vs Swift in 2028, and that’s not a joke to me, that’s the next logical step after Trump vs Clinton.

We don’t need celebrities or career politicians to run for office — We need doctors, teachers, scientists and charity workers. We need people who’ve worked a vocation that’s in the business of helping those around them, because those are the people who will genuinely look out for the interests of others.

I’ve been saying all this since I was a fifteen year-old political nerd, and nothing changed. In fact, it got worse. So maybe politics is just an eternal depressant, one that shouldn’t involve our young people so heavily. Or maybe, just maybe, after we’ve ironed out the kinks of this modern, digital world — Young people will be better-off by having a voice, and Taylor Swift can go back to making her signature brand of mediocre pop music.


Today is Monday, October 8th and I’m hoping that one month from now, a sliver of moral light shines through the darkness.

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If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

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Mainstream Conspiracy Theories

I’ve always found conspiracy theories somewhat entertaining. As a young teenager I remember reading long-form blog posts about 9/11 being an inside job by the US government, or that American astronauts didn’t really land on the moon in 1969. I think I’ve always been attracted to them because of their narrative nature. That’s not to say I believe any, because it takes an ungodly amount of evidence to convince me of something, but I can’t say they’re not interesting.

Conspiracy theories are obvious stories presented as absolute truths. There may be some elements of truth to them, just enough to attract a susceptible or vulnerable mind, but fragments of the truth do not equal absolute fact. Dinosaurs once existed, tropical islands are a thing and billionaires fund ridiculous personal projects — But that doesn’t mean Jurassic Park really happened.

My favourite popular conspiracy theory — and you will absolutely have heard of it — are the beliefs held by the Flat Earth Society.

They’re pretty self-explanatory, their core belief is right in their name. Even though they structure themselves like a pay-to-win religion, they don’t hide behind a mysterious word, as Scientology does. No, they’re out in the open — They believe the world is completely flat, and that governments across the globe have been lying to us for centuries.

Yes, they use the word “globe” in social media and blog posts.

It’s part of why I believe it to be a giant joke that a few people are playing on gullible celebrities and people with spare cash. The society we live in is built on the idea that we all need to find ways to take money from other people, and if you can do that by spouting some nonsense which goes against total scientific consensus, then more power to you.

I like the Flat Earth conspiracy, because there’s absolutely no logic to it. There’s no rhyme or reason to tell this particular story and yet some people are invested in it nonetheless.

The fake moon landing, for example, makes some sense. In that you can see why the American government would want to have a victory over Russia during the Cold War. Telling the world that you’ve been to the moon is a very quick cultural win with your own citizens, as well as people who belong to neutral countries.

I still don’t think it was fake, as the technology existed, and thousands of people worked on it. So in some ways it would’ve been more difficult to fake the whole thing than to actually go to the moon. But I can see why that conspiracy theory exists, because there’s motive enough for a story — And boy do we all love stories.

With the Flat Earth folk, there’s absolutely no motive. What purpose would it serve governments to convince citizens that the Earth is a completely different shape? There’s no compelling story there; No characters or plot for us to sink our teeth into.

Of course, that’s why I like it so much, because it’s an anti-story. It contains none of the elements of a traditional narrative and yet some people still manage to see something in it — a story worth believing. Flat Earthers are the avant-garde, deconstructionists of conspiracy theorists. Don’t tell them I said that.

It’s because of the lack of motive — the flimsy narrative and the laughable idea — that “A Flat Earth” isn’t a dangerous conspiracy theory. We shouldn’t be worried that the next generation will grow up believing that the world is flat, because the only people who will legitimately fall for it, are people with more money than sense.

flatearth.png

What’s dangerous about President Trump’s tweet this morning is that you can see the motive behind his conspiracy theory. Something huge is at stake here; The ideological leaning of the Supreme Court. You can see why people would want to interfere in the decision that will likely be made this weekend.

Trump asserts that the women protesting in senate buildings during this last week are paid professionals, with his only evidence being professionally made, identical signs. These conspiracy theories originated in all the usual places, like Breitbart and Neo-Nazi message-board and “publication” The Daily Stormer.

Just to quickly address the president’s concerns; Yes, a lot of people did have matching signs, but in the same way that there are lots of identical MAGA and Trump/Pence signs, there are websites that help you quickly make signs that represent your ideological beliefs and opinions.

Members of different groups were in attendance, but that’s how protests are organised. You only sign up to a Facebook group if you agree and hold-true to the opinions of the group. Well, except that pyramid scheme group your friend from school continues to add you to without your permission. Just because you’re trapped in a directionless relationship, Katie, it doesn’t mean you have to suck us all down your spiral of online scams.

Having been to a few protests and rallies, trust me, nobody is there unless they believe what they are fighting for or against. And if people were paid, well, I didn’t see a dime.

The “elevator screamers” are survivors of sexual assault who feel a deep connect to the testimony of Dr Ford, and feel as though her voice is being ignored, as I’m sure their’s have been in the past. You don’t have to believe them by rule of law, as their attackers aren’t the ones on trial. But their passion, their anger? That is real — fuelled by real experiences.

I know a handful of sexual assault survivors and I don’t even get out much, so perpetuating the idea that women (and men) in this country have not been assaulted, and are being paid to be angry about an issue they don’t really care about? That’s extremely dangerous.

The President of the United States is Tweeting-out a conspiracy theory that his die-hard supporters will lap-up as absolute truth. This president is normalising conspiracy, he’s making it mainstream, no wonder he was laughed out of the UN last week.

The “elevator screamers” aren’t there to make the senators look bad. They’re present to have their free, American voices heard as citizens, and to test senators for basic empathy.

Have Kavanaugh, have your supreme court justice if that’s the decision made in a democratic environment — Absolutely. But don’t you dare insult survivors of sexual assault by reducing them to a living conspiracy theory.


Today is Friday, October 5th and my morning anger has reduced me to tears.

I normally put a tip jar at the end of my post here, but it doesn’t feel appropriate after the week we’ve had. Be good to each other, and be kind to those who’ve fallen for this man.

https://donate.rainn.org/

Interview with Creed Bratton

You may have seen the “interview” with Drew Barrymore that found its way into an in-flight EgyptAir magazine. It’s a mishmash of misquotes, bundled together in order to resemble a one-on-one interview with the actress. There’s also conjecture and plenty of what appears to be personal opinion thrown onto the voice of the actress.

Apparently it’s that easy to secure an interview with a Hollywood A-Lister so I thought I’d give it a go myself. Now, I couldn’t quite fake-track-down someone of Drew Barrymore’s caliber — A lot of people on her level just aren’t fake-available. But I did manage to secure a fake-interview with TV’s Creed Bratton, known for playing a fictionalised version of himself on beloved sitcom The Office.

He was pretty hard to fake-get-in-touch with, but I fake-managed it. I figured that if EgyptAir are getting more attention for pretending to interview people, then maybe I could do the same for this blog.

Sorry if you were expecting an interview with the real Creed Bratton, Im sure if I’d reached out I would’ve gotten a response of some kind, but that’s not what this is about. This is fake.

So the following interview is obviously fake (because I’ve said it a thousand times to avoid libel), but it was the best fake-interview I could fake-get on such fake-short notice.

No wait, real-short notice.

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I sat down with Creed Bratton, star of The Office, over a public brunch of pastries, gammon and pickled eggs. Mr Bratton also had a side of scampi.

I first asked Mr Bratton what it had been like working on one of America’s most beloved sitcoms?

He responded promptly; Well it was just a blast you know — Being in that place at that time. Never been another decade like it, the sixties, they really were a magical time for all of us. Are you gonna eat that ham?

No — I — Go ahead. I mean, what was it like working on NBC’s The Office? It’s such a beloved sitcom.

Oh that old thing. Well it was what it was. It was great working with Michael, Dwight, the tall one and the woman. They were all great people.

*Nervous laughter* Well sure the characters were fun — But what was it like working with the legendary Steve Carell?

Which one was Steve again?

…Michael Scott?

Oh he was a total clown. Left me to my own devices, which was great for me of course, it meant I could run my own operations. Yep — Couldn’t have asked for a better boss. You have to try these pickled eggs, they’re real next-level stuff.

Hang on a minute, do you think you actually worked at Dunder Mifflin? The paper company in Scranton, Pensilvania?

Of course I did — I’m Creed.

Yeah but — Oh I see — I was actually hoping to get an interview with the real Creed Bratton, not the character from the show.

Well that’s your problem man, you’re inventing all of my words — Even these ones. So if you wanted an interview with the real Creed Bratton, then that’s what you should’ve written. Could you pass the ketchup?

I suppose you’re right. So does that mean I can just suddenly decide that you’re now the real Creed Bratton? In order to salvage this fake-interview.

*Inaudible, his mouth full of eggs*

Yeah that would be cheating I guess. Well, while I have you fake-fake-Creed — I guess I could ask you some questions about your time at Dunder Mifflin. Erm — Oh I know — Why didn’t you join Michael Scott Paper Company?

Too much of a spotlight. If I’d joined Michael with his little — what would you call it? Side Opperation? If I’d done that I’d have had the feds breathing down my neck at every turn. That’s not what I needed back then. Actually, it’s not really what I need now. You’re not with the FBI are you?

No. I mean — You know I’m not.

Oh right, yeah, because I’m you pretending to be Creed, who is in turn pretending to be the fictionalised version of Creed. Real tangle you’ve got yourself in here kid, how are those mental backflips for you? I do five-hundred a day, it’s how I keep my skin looking so youthful, like a god-damn basilisk.

Right. Except you don’t look that young, do you?

How dare you. *Slams ketchup bottle on table and glares intensely into my eyes* How old do you think I am? Go on — Guess.

Seventy-five?

Wrong! I’m ninety-six — Next question.

Okay…Well what’re your plans for the future?

Well after I finish up this little breakfast interview here, I’ll probably head on over to the local college, see if any of the kids there wanna buy any of my home-baked brownies.

Are they pot brownies?

Keep it down!? You narc!

Actually, I probably know if they’re pot brownies or not — Because I’m also you. So all I have to do is think about it, and then decide.

Now you’re getting it kid, feel the force.

I’m going to say they’re not. That’s a twist to the tale, because everyone expects them to be pot brownies. But it turns out they’re just delicious, gooey, chocolate brownies handed down through six generations of Bratton’s.

That’s exactly it! The student has become the teacher. Except — Get this — I’m gonna sell them as pot brownies anyway, to get a higher price. I’ll have skipped town by the time anyone notices a thing.

You’re a genius Creed!

No — You’re me — So you’re the genius! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch the next Ostrich downtown, President Nixon needs me to fix his sink.

What?

I don’t know man, it’s your imagination. *Hops on disgruntled ostrich*

creedthree.jpg


So yeah, I’ve submitted that interview to EgyptAir and I’m hoping to hear back from them soon. I tried to emulate their style as best I could, so, fingers crossed!

Images are courtesy of absolutely whoever owns them, it’s not like EgyptAir took those photos of Drew Barrymore — There are no rules anymore!


Today is Thursday, October 4th and my cat was sick on my feet immediately after I finished meditating this morning.

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