A List of Lists

Writing clickbait is something I can never bring myself to do. In the age of attention, we should only devote precious online energy to those who have taken the time to pique and hold our interest. These come in the form of YouTube channels, well-written blogs (not this one), news outlets who’re still fighting the good fight, podcasts and dedicated personalities.

Something that shouldn’t grab our attention, are headlines such as:

8 WAYS TO GET BOYS TO LIKE YOU, NUMBER SIX WILL MAKE YOU CRY TEARS OF LIQUID DIAMONDS

You see, why display one number numerically and the other as a word? Why promote a topic that prays on the anxieties of being a teenager? And why promise tears made of liquid diamonds when we all know that emeralds are the most precious stone one can squeeze from tear ducts?

These list articles are usually the digital equivalent of woman-hating, women’s magazines. The sort that say you’re hideous just because Chris Hemsworth wouldn’t date you, and so you should buy these specific beauty products in order to bag yourself a Marvel superhero.

They’re exactly the same because adverts relating to the topic they’re talking about are often strewed around the page, or even hidden in plain sight within the article itself.

These lists are the most basic-form of CONSUME-based advertising, and don’t deserve our attention. They make young people hate themselves, even more than they already do, and peddle cheaply made products as a solution to all of your problems. A more honest clickbait headline on these websites would be — 8 Things You Should Buy or Our Shareholders Will Throw Sacks of Diamonds at Our Heads Until Death

Why are they always going on about diamonds in these list titles?

TOP 50 STAR WARS MOVIES, RANKED!!! YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT WE HAVE AT NUMBER ONE!

It’s Empire Strikes Back. It’s always Empire Strikes Back. These lists would genuinely be more interesting if they went with something like The Phantom Menace or Dexter Jettster: The Animated Adventures.

Media is subjective, one person’s Fantastic Four is another person’s Thor: Ragnarok. Nothing is gained by one individual ranking 25+ media products in a list, with a single sentence following each entry.

Opinions of reviewers and critics do matter, as they can help judge if we should spend time/money/energy on something.

However, if you’re deciding whether or not to watch something based off of one line in a list of RANKED media texts, then you should just consumer all of them. You don’t care about how good something is, clearly, so you should guzzle them all down like a greedy little media goblin.

That sounds mean, maybe I deserve some backlash for that comment. Like 10 Times Matt Went Too Far With His Words: RANKED, or something — A real sick burn.

I’m only being mean because you deserve better. Find a reviewer you like, or even better, find several. Find someone who will at least analyse the film in a 10+ minute YouTube video, or have the decency to write a 1,000 word review.

Sure, it takes time, but far less time than you’ll spend endlessly scrolling through a timeline that’s 50% advertisements and 50% Becky complaining that her fourth engagement has been called off. Maybe it’s not them Becky, maybe it’s not them.

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NINE TIPS FOR GETTING MORE LIKES ON YOUR INSTAGRAM: HOW TO BE RELEVANT IN 9 EASY STEPS

These are the preaching to the choir advice lists. The blind leading the blind in a race to the bottom of the attention tree.

While there’s nothing wrong with a blog being about blogging tips and advice, you should always be adding something new to the conversation, and not just the same regurgitated methods that are second-nature at this point. 

Follow people, like things, engage, interact, make yourself famous by sheer distant connection kid, and you’ll go far in this digital playground.

So many blogs I see are about blogging, and made entirely of lists about how to blog and use social media. Surely they’re just a network of people who’re following and liking each other’s content, even though it’s virtually identical.

If you want genuine advice, you should find successful blogs and see what it is you like about them, what it is they do well and what can be improved on. It’s the whole “do as I do, not as I say” thing.

Very few people will give you decent blogging advice, because it’s all been said before. You should check out popular, focused bloggers, as they’ll be leading by example.

This is not a popular or focused blog.

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FOUR THINGS EVERY SELF-RESPECTING INTERNET USER SHOULD HATE

Finally there’s the hate-filled, holier-than-thou lists. The people who think they’re so smart because they’ve figured out the structure of a successful format and yet fail to fully capitalise on the medium. They tell themselves it’s because they’re principled, when in reality they know very little about pop culture, and so can’t write a list worthy enough of attention.

I’m talking about the people who will write lists about lists because they think they’re being “meta” or “edgy” by pointing out what everyone already knows anyway — The facts of the internet that people choose to ignore so they don’t go completely crazy with modern, digital living.

He’s probably sat somewhere right now, typing out another one of these so-called “lists”. I bet he’s getting pretty close to the end as well, and is trying to think of a big finish that strikes a balance between humerous and poignant.

He’s probably worrying if Chris Hemsworth was a good example of a popular attractive male, because he doesn’t have a clue what people like or want.

He’s now thinking that he can’t finish with something like that, because a simple call-back doesn’t cut it anymore and every single reader has already figured out that he’s talking about himself, so the twist has been and gone.

I suppose I could just end it by saying that writing clickbait is hard, and even though there are far better ways to spend our time, the people who write it are probably just like you, only without the plague of neurosis.

Yeah, that’ll do.


Today is Monday, November 19th and don’t you dare give that yellow-haired, ex-wrestler the time of day.

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Did Jim Acosta?

Like, “accost her” — As in to approach someone aggressively, but also because his surname is Acosta. I know all the tabloids are probably running with that gag, but I read grown-up news (mostly), so I haven’t seen it yet. It’s early, give me a break.

This is the news that the White House has suspended the press pass of CNN’s Jim Acosta, due to how he manhandled a white house intern. Live, HD footage shows that he didn’t and that he danced his arm around her to try and avoid unnecessary physical contact. Doctored, pixelated video shows him force his hand down on her arm.

It’s suspected that this footage was created by far-right blogger and Infowars editor-in-chief, Paul Joseph Watson, and shared on his channels. This is typical behaviour from him, a man who makes a living on conspiracy, and who thinks that smoking in a profile picture will make him look like a right, proper badass.

But, get this, the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, then shared the video as evidence in support of the removal of Jim Acosta’s press pass.

There’s a lot of Orwellian nightmare to unpack here, but first I want to clear something up about Jim Acosta and CNN. I don’t watch CNN, I don’t consider it to be an outstanding news source. It’s better than some but worse than others.

My main gripe with them is that they’re too easily baited by Trump, and the interactions between Trump and Acosta that lead to the microphone being taken from his hand by an intern are a prime example of this.

Acosta asked his question and got an answer that was damning for the President, it exposed that he was only really using the migrant caravans as bait for the midterms and now it’s in the past (so we won’t hear anything about them from Mr Trump going forward). Now, if Acosta had left it at that one question, and handed the microphone to the next reporter (who also had a question that exposed the President), then he wouldn’t have found himself in that situation.

<> on November 7, 2018 in Washington, DC.

In an open-forum press conference, the best way to create an accurate view of who Mr Trump is, is for each network to ask a question, and maybe one follow-up if the answer demands it. Acosta was onto his fourth question before the White House intern attempted to remove his microphone, and quite frankly we needed to hear from other news networks.

Despite what he says, Trump loves CNN. They gave him so much air-time during his 2016 campaign, and their outright negative portrayal of him certainly helped to fire-up his diehard supporters. He loves them because “no publicity is bad publicity”.

Covering Trump is obviously an uncharted minefield, but to the majority who can see through his charade of prejudice and projection, all we need is one perfectly worded question to be reminded of who he really is. Sure, with CNN constantly berating him, we see that he’s a bully, but we know he’s a bully — It’s the one established truth about him that even Republican voters have agreed with me on.

The back and forth between Trump and CNN is not healthy, and they share the blame equally. Despite what Trump says, their ratings are strong, and that’s because they cover Trump. Which, again, he loves.

Now, onto the “fake news”, a term that often means “thing I don’t agree with”, especially when it comes from the mouth of Trump. Whatever your definition of this terrifying phenomenon is, we can agree that doctored video would be an example of misinformation.

Well, that means the White House have shared Fake News, all to justify a decision they made. The edited video speeds up a few frames, to make the contact between Acosta and the intern look violent, and they also cut the audio where he says the words “pardon me m’am”.

Sarah Sanders sharing this video means one of two things; Either she knowingly did it, and was aware that this was edited footage, or she had no idea. The second option is, honestly, perfectly reasonable given how many people are falling for it online without viewing the original broadcast.

If she logged on to Twitter after the conference and saw a video that supported her administration’s decision, then of course she’s going to share it — Because it justifies her worldview, it’s evidence that backs-up the words of her and her colleagues.

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And this is the real danger of misinformation, and spreading it so readily, because many of us like being right, we like it when things go our way. This will only become more dangerous as technology advances and we inevitably reach a point where video editing doesn’t look so obvious.

I read websites like the BBC, The Guardian, AP and NPR — Not just because they largely report in ways that I consider ethical and are supported by multiple sources before they run a story, but also because people on both extremes of the spectrum accuse them of being “too liberal/too conservative”. If people are saying both of these things about your news network, then you’re doing your job.

It terrifies me that some people see a doctored video on Twitter, from a non-credible news source (Not even Infowars, just the personal Twitter account of a conspiracy theorist who works there!) and take it as the absolute truth that they’re willing to bet their morals on.

Please, if you’re reading these words — Use multiple and neutral sources for your news. Personal blogs (like this one) are not news sources, and Infowars is just a personal blog with financial backing, presented as the truth.

If you believe the words of people like Paul Joseph Watson, I’d love to have a one on one conversation with you, in order to understand you better. The only way we’re going to reduce the divide in this nation, is by understanding the perspectives of one another.

You’ve read my words, I don’t like Trump or CNN and I think on balance they were both in the wrong, and that the real enemy is misinformation — So now I want to hear from you.

This is all a dangerous situation, and while I don’t agree with the way Jim Acosta handled his allotted time for questioning, he certainly didn’t assault a White House intern. Although maybe he does deserve a time-out from his press-pass for another reason; Simply for being a below-par reporter in an age where we need precise and vigilant journalists who won’t fall for Trump’s Us vs Them bait.


Today is Friday, November 9th and while it has some of the best individual tracks, The White Album shouldn’t be considered as The Beatles’ best offering — It has a lot of guff.

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Enemy of the People?

51% of Republicans now think that the “news media is an enemy of the people”. This is a very dangerous opinion to hold and it’s all I can find myself thinking about this morning.

Nearly 350 news organisations published editorials today that defended the freedom of the press. Given the results of some recent polling, it appears as though now was the right time to do so. They blame Trump’s constant attacks on the “fake news media” as the reason for the mistrust, and I can’t deny that his mouth is the most likely cause.

Any rational person knows by now that Trump brands any story he doesn’t like as “fake news” — the facts don’t matter to him personally. Fox News Entertainment regularly pumps out opinion pieces and skewed statistics in favour of Trump, yet for some reason he never seems to brand these as “fake”.

I’m not saying that CNN and some other outlets aren’t guilty of putting an anti-Trump spin on things, but the danger lies with branding ALL negative Trump pieces as “fake news”. The facts, as best presented to us, don’t always support our personal bias, and we need to be okay with that.

For example, I know that Trump is currently polling well with the people who voted for him originally. I’ve seen some left-leaning news sources claim that it’s fallen, just because it’s dropped by an average of 2% over the last six months. Unbiased news outlets and individuals are saying that he’s just as popular, because he essentially is.

I also know that he’s just as unpopular with people who identify as Democrats as he has ever been; No change there. The “triggering” of the left via hard-right policy is what got Republicans to show up to the voting booths in the first place.

What’s interesting is that his approval rating among moderates and independents has steadily fallen over his presidency. The alarming thing for me is that when this is reported by an unbiased media outlet, its declared as “fake news”.

A democracy cannot exist without an informed electorate, and that means a variety of sources. Unless they did some Alex Jones-levels of stupidity, I would never call for Fox to be taken off the air. It’s providing a hard-conservative voice for people to listen to, and it’s their right if that’s the voice they want to hear.

Equally though, outlets that openly criticise Trump beyond what the facts (and the man himself) tell us — they also need to exist. Personally I prefer getting my news from a variety of outlets, so I don’t just become a vocal puppet for that particular organisation, but I know not everyone feels the same.

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When Trump says things like the “failing print media” and “failing cable news television” he’s absolutely right — those mediums are nowhere near as profitable as they were ten or twenty years ago. Only, journalism isn’t failing, it’s simply adapted to a new form. Trump just wants his voters to believe that the medium of “journalism” is dead.

Through advertisers and subscribers, strong and decent news outlets continue to exist online. Good journalism is being done every day, by good people who just want to present the events of the day, as accurately as possible, to the American people. The best journalists keep their personal bias out of articles, but if Trump says something offensive it’s their duty to report it.

The 51% of Republicans who go as far as to say that the news media is “the enemy of the people”, a phrase thrown around by President Trump no less — which the fact that they’re willing to parrot him on such an extreme opinion is terrifying in its own right — those Republicans probably couldn’t imagine a world without the news media.

Let me try and help you out — although I doubt you’re one of the people who’re reading my morning warm-up blogs.

If the news media is the “enemy of the people” that means ALL news media is. Therefore — in a world without news — you’d either be completely in the dark about what the government is doing, or you’d be listening to a government-sponsored voice. For the sake of hyperbole, lets say that Trump has appointed his “good friend” Alex Jones as the face of this tax-funded, daily news broadcast; Available on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.

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“Good morning patriots! It’s another brilliant morning in these Great United States. The lizard-people journalists are no longer allowed to peddle you fake news and stuff. So now you good people can hear the voice of God directly! Beamed straight into your ears via government-owned satellites.”

“You may see on the twisted social-media that several people are dead in a mass-shooting — but don’t — you — believe — these — lies, okay? President Trump keeps a safe America, he keeps a better America — okay? Gun violence is a non-issue in this country and thanks to the banning of all private and publicly owned media companies we don’t — have — to — talk — about — it — anymore! Remember to visit the NRA website to renew your subscription today, before Obama can take — your — guns!”

“In real news, let me tell you how it is folks — I can not even express how well President Trump is doing, but God damn-it I’ll try. His approval rating is the highest in history, and wow — what a story. Everyone in this country has a job — okay? That’s the truth people, you can hear it now.”

“Now finally, the really important thing you have to know today folks is that if you hear someone talking — if you hear them so much as whisper that the words in this broadcast aren’t true — well I’m calling you to action right now patriots. I want you to take your rifle and shoot them in the street — shoot them where they mother-f***ing stand!”

“Have a great day America, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

A free press is a key element of a strong democracy, in my opinion. It’s how we receive the raw facts of what’s happening in the world, along with a variety of opinions. We then take this data into debates, discussions and conversations — in an attempt to make sense of the madness of it all. It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest thing we have to complete free-will and choice in the delicate system of society.

Branding news media as “the enemy of the people”, means that 51% of Republicans — Around 17% of the country — would rather words like the above paragraphs were broadcast into our homes each day, instead of the freedom and choice to consume a variety of sources.

And that, my friends, is just one of the reasons I have anxiety dreams every night.


Today is Thursday, August 16th and I’m around 2-3 weeks away from finishing the first draft of my YA dystopian novel!


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Tea for the Paperman

Alex “Boris” Johnson attempted to deflect questions from journalists yesterday by offering them a round of the nation’s favourite drink. No — it wasn’t Tizer — he emerged from his country home carrying a tea tray.

His attempt appeared to work, as now people seem to be discussing Johnson’s beverage brilliance, and not the fact that he made Islamophobic comments last week.

Take the title of this piece for example, it’s all about the tea. Tea gets clicks, tea gets reads — everyone loves tea, whereas very few people enjoy reading about religious prejudice.

I’m more disappointed in the journalists than in Boris himself. My entire life I’ve watched Boris do increasingly buffoonish things, in order to deflect from his deeply disturbing personal views and actions. He was Donald Trump before Donald Trump was Donald Trump.

Oh no — I’ve heard that if you say his name three times quickly he appears behind you.

I genuinely just looked over my shoulder after typing that — what’s wrong with me?

The journalists laughed and many accepted Boris’ gift of leaves and water. You see, most aren’t there to push for the hard answers, most just want something to write about in order to fill the pages of their paper — So Rupert Murdoch has something to masturbate over the next day.

As soon as Boris emerged with the tray in his “casual rugby-wear” and “sleepy-time summer shorts”, they knew they had their story. If we’re being honest, no self-respecting journalist would’ve been camped outside of Johnson’s house anyway.

Boris has figured out that he can deflect the kinds of journalists who would park themselves in front of his, presumably, three million pound home — by simply offering them everyday things, in brightly coloured containers.

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Let’s talk about his mug choice for a second, shall we? He certainly hasn’t said anything terrible in the last week that we should focus on. So let’s look at the mugs of tea, yeah?

Boris has himself here a classic muddle o’ mugs, but it’s so stereotypical that it looks to be that way by design.

I’ll preface this list by saying that they’ve obviously “stunt mugs” (as they’re known in the business); Mugs he keeps around for whenever he needs to appear normal. Nobody buys packs of mugs, except the upper-middle-classes and those who want to appear like the upper-middle-classes. Normal people just sort of collect a hodgepodge of mugs from gifts, souvenirs and maybe the odd hotel.

The Early 00s Cow-Print Mug — I believe this to be the first mug bought and added to the collection. Sometime around 2003 he decided that he’d need a group of
“normal looking” mugs, so he went out and bought the first mug he could find. The pattern is obviously at least ten years old, but the texture has not faded, thus proving that he does not use these mugs on a regular basis.

The Faux-Pottery Blue Floral Mug — It’s my belief that this mug is a part of his regular set of mugs, which he uses primarily to drink the tears of families who queue for food banks. Rees-Mogg hooks him up with a regular supply. He has, rather cleverly, realised that he can take one mug from the set and add it to his mug mix, as it won’t look overtly fanciful on its own.

The Cadbury’s Mini Egg Mug — The most politically motivated of all the mugs. This came from an Easter egg box, Easter being a Christian holiday, but one that has enough secular overtones to appease the entire nation. Normal, working class people buy Easter eggs — at least they did before the sugar tax. 45% of British households own this exact same mug, and Johnson is well aware.

The Sports Club Logo Mug — This one is tricky to make out. Boris should’ve made this mug merchandise from a football club shop. From either the team that was selected for him by the Conservative party, or one of the London ones. But its tucked away towards the back of the tray, and obscured from a clear camera shot, so I’m going to assume that it’s a rugby club mug, disguised as a football mug.

The Yellow Mug With Text — Absolutely impossible to read what this mug says. We can only speculate that it’s something along the lines of “don’t worry, be happy” or “live, laugh, love”. Maybe “take all of their money and hoard it, you delicious arse-hole” managed to sneak its way onto the tray; A Christmas gift from George Osbourne.

The Penguin Classics Mug — We can see it hidden-away at the back. The basic white girl of mugs; A staple to go with the basic white man of politics.

See, he has us sat here talking about mugs. The blonde boy-wonder has duped us once more! Here I am speculating on his hilariously obvious choice of mug, instead of re-hashing exactly why what he said about the burka was wrong.

I’m going to do that typical left-wing thing of “could you imagine if…” in regards to this, but it’s a fairly apt moment.

Could you imagine if Jeremy Corbyn responded to the anti-semitism within the Labour Party by offering everyone at the press conference a mug of tea? He wouldn’t be allowed back inside the House of Commons, and the press would drag him so far through the mud that he’d be removed as party leader.

What Boris did yesterday was patronising and served no purpose other than to deflect from the serious issues he’s facing right now. I’ll be clear on something; I don’t personally think he should resign over his Telegraph article. I’m not some angry individual who is gunning for his job based on righteous outrage. He’s done far worse things to the people of this country, via his party’s policy. If he’s to be removed, it should be for something else.

He should, however, apologise. He said something that wasn’t his place to comment on, and did it with the sort of derision that stirs up racial-hatred among readers of The Daily Mail or The Sun — who use snippets of The Telegraph to rile-up their base.

At the moment, he doesn’t want to be sorry, and can’t understand what he has done wrong. A man who isn’t humble, and who can’t admit when he’s made a mistake, is several months away from making a play for Prime Minister. To quote Boris himself; “This simply isn’t on chaps.”


Today is Monday, August 13th and thousands of people were playing Pokemon GO together in local parks on the weekend, and that was cool.


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Defamed, Denounced, Demonetised

We live in a time where public figures are defamed, denounced and demonetised for the things they do and say. One side calls this an appropriate response to people saying or doing something that is socially inappropriate, while the other calls it an attack on freedom of speech.

So, which is it?

James Gunn was fired by Disney for some distasteful jokes he made a decade ago. Alex “Boris” Johnson is currently being accused of islamophobia for making public islamophobic comments. And Alex Jones has been removed from many mainstream, public platforms for peddling lies and conspiracy in the form of legitimate news.

This morning — as I sipped on some cheap coffee, wondering where it all went wrong — I found myself thinking back to distasteful jokes I may have made to friends when I was younger, or even something that I’ve said in private more recently, that wouldn’t sound great if taken out of context.

I don’t think I’m prejudiced in any way, and if I don’t understand a perspective I tend to listen to that perspective before doing some research for myself. So I think I’m okay on that front. However, I do tend to make inappropriate jokes, but usually at the expense of politicians, rich celebrities or anyone else in a position of power; Punch up, never down.

Then I realised something; I’m not currently trying to make a studio movie, hold political office or run a factual news outlet. The examples I gave, along with 99% of the people who’re publicly shamed on social media, are usually trying to hold a position of perceived power or desired status. If James Gunn, Boris Johnson and Alex Jones were sat at home, saying the same things and not trying to make money or gain status from their opinions — nobody would bat a solitary eyelid.

This means that — in my opinion — they still have freedom of speech. Our leaders and spokespeople should be held to a higher standard, as they have the power to influence others; Especially children, and people who’ve unfortunately had a lack of education.

If a teacher acts inappropriately in school, then you suspend or fire that teacher, but if a student misbehaves then you give them detention. That’s because the actions of the teacher effect the whole class, whereas the actions of the child would typically only effect themselves.

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My favourite element of idealised free-market capitalism is the power to “vote with your wallet”; The ability to dictate the shape and landscape of society based on who or what you give your money to. In modern living this could also mean time, patronage, or even your own vocal opinion of that person.

If the majority of the public voice is “we don’t like what you’re saying” then that person will be dragged through the social media mud before losing their job, and potentially their status.

Although, there are those who specifically love to support people who’ve been publicly shamed for saying terrible things, but that’s another beast entirely.

Let’s take Alex Jones for example. He’s someone who still has his website and news show, on which he can say whatever he wants (as long as he’s prepared for defamation and libel lawsuits). He has been removed from speaking these things via privately owned companies. His freedom of speech has not been infringed upon, the market has simply said, “No — You can’t make money from us anymore”, and the majority of people have agreed.

As a side-note, I think that Alex Jones could make all of his problems go away if he started each show with the disclaimer:

“The following is a work of fiction, any and all people you see on this show are characters. This show is not to be believed as it’s not properly researched and each segment is shoddily designed to peddle you another useless product. This is not a news program and you should not use InfoWars as a source of information, any more than you would use a toaster as a source of the concept of righteousness.”

I’ve seen Alex Jones fans defend his show as “It’s not real and if you believe that s**t, then shame on you.” But the fact is that people do believe that s**t, and that s**t is dangerous if believed.

Anyway, my point is that Alex Jones can still attempt to make money from his brand of conspiracy news via his own channels, but if the market eventually decides to no longer monitise him in that way, then he can’t claim an “attack on freedom of speech” — he’s just bad at making money correctly.

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Let’s look at Boris Johnson, who recently said that Muslim women in burkas look like “letter boxes” or “bank robbers”. He has refused to apologise for his comments, doubling-down on his Islamophobia. Now, I understand that burkas are a misogynistic tool designed to suppress and control women, but neither Boris Johnson or myself are Muslim, so it’s not up to us to decide when that particular revolution comes about.

The majority of muslim women have some excellent opinions on the use of burkas in their faith, and those are the people who should be listened to — Not chubby little Eton boys who never managed to attain their fathers love, or hold an erection for more than ninety seconds without being in a shower.

See, that’s punching up.

My point is that if Boris was just some guy at the pub, who made those same comments, then people would laugh nervously before directing the conversation somewhere else. Johnson, however, is Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, who is looking to make a bid for Prime Minister in the coming months and years. If public opinion says his comments aren’t okay, then guess what? We don’t have to keep him in a position of power.

But who will be left to be in positions of status and power if we all say bad things from time to time? Well, it’ll be made up of those like James Gunn, who actually apologise for what they’ve said, instead of deflecting the problem back onto anyone else. It’ll also be made up of those from younger generations, who’ve been taught that their actions and words have consequences.

As soon as James Gunn’s ability to make independent movies, Alex Jones’ right to a personal website or Boris Johnson’s right to have private opinions — are infringed upon, then we’ll have a bigger issue. As that hasn’t happened yet — we don’t. The “free” market and democracy are simply doing their thing.

Now if you’ll allow me to be intentionally flippant to close:

Alex Jones, Boris Johnson; famed conservatives — does this mean you hate capitalism and democracy?


Today is Saturday, August 11th and I’ve nearly been in America for a whole year.

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Good Riddance InfoWars

Finally, InfoWars has been dropped by some major distributors. Facebook, iTunes and Spotify no longer carry their podcasts or host some of their pages — hopefully in what is the first step in a long journey into combatting “fake news” and hate speech.

For those who don’t know, InfoWars is a platform which peddles conspiracy theories and whey protein to paranoid men. I’m sure we could have healthy debates over the journalistic reputations of Fox News Entertainment or CNN, but we could never have one about InfoWars.

They’re the platform who claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, and that no real children died in that horrible tragedy, stating that it was all staged to “advance the liberal agenda”. They’re also the platform who’re being sued by the parents of the children who were murdered — which will hopefully put them out of pocket by a few million.

InfoWars is fronted by an angry-faced man named Alex Jones, who looks as though he ate Kevin James immediately after Kevin James had contracted a rare tropical disease. He spouts the most insane conspiracy theories that play on people’s desire to assume that the world is out to get them, specifically.

I think Alex Jones and InfoWars are a part of an early wave of online content creators, and that hopefully we can do better than him going forward. Obviously digital communication will shape the next hundred years of society, until the next big thing hits — but the 21st century is all about connecting with each other.

What Alex Jones did is he realised that he could make millions of dollars, simply by tapping into people’s long-held prejudices and reenforcing their opinions by presenting them as fact; By making his zero-researched web platform look like a traditional news show.

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This is the desk that Alex Jones presents from, he has the illusion of “news” by surrounding himself with the semiotic signifiers of journalism. He’s got pieces of paper on the desk, a big screen in the background, an open tablet computer; Just like cable news. Yet, this blog, these words you’re reading right now — they’re better researched than anything that is spewed on InfoWars.

This blog is just a bunch of rambling opinions for nobody in particular, designed purely for one person (me) to think and then write about something different every day. Alex Jones is doing the exact same thing, but tells you that it’s the absolute truth and that everyone else is lying.

We need to understand that there’s a huge difference between “left wing bias”/”right wing bias” and actual, legitimately harmful “fake news” stories.

Some adults are already too far down the rabbit hole, and they’ll believe anything they see on the internet just because it backs-up their personal opinions. I remember being online ten-some years ago, when not everyone had cracked the whole internet thing yet, and Facebook was only just becoming popular with people who weren’t college students. Back then you had to go to the deepest corners of the internet to find people who were seriously talking about the things Jones talks about.

Now, his videos get millions of views and open up wide discussions. It’s no longer just Bill and Pete talking on conspiracyhead.co.net about why 9/11 definitely was carried out by the future Obama administration — it’s Alex Jones on InfoWars.

Here are some reasons as to why the market for this brand of “fake news” has increased:

  1. The less tech-savvy people are now online — In the last ten years, the sorts of people who would’ve listened to conspiracy radio shows are now seeking them out online and seeing them as a news source, purely because they don’t know how to read media.
  2. A lack of education — Disenfranchised young-people are turning to these sources for information, because they don’t want cable news, and they might not want to read any long-form online journalism. Alex Jones is the easy, angry sound-bite for those who feel left behind.
  3. A lack of regulation — Governments are only now starting to realise that anyone can say the most outlandish things, and people will believe it. Until today, InfoWars has been allowed on mainstream platforms, despite the fact that its content is harmful to younger eyes.

That, for me, is the scariest part. We now have a generation of online consumers who’ve probably never watched cable news, but have grown up watching their parents using devices that are connected to the internet. I wonder how much their parents have taught them about media literacy before they begin to consume other people’s ideologies; Which when spouted without the use of sources, science or statistics, can be horribly damaging.

Something tells me that InfoWars will be able to use these bans as a way of furthering the us vs them mentality they have; This punk-rock idea that prays on an ageing Gen-X and younger Baby Boomers. They’ll rant for weeks about how the mainstream don’t want them to tell the truth, and that it’s all some kind of conspiracy. When the reality is that they peddle unfounded lies and hate-speech, in order to sell products and merchandise — Something I believe they are self-aware of.

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If InfoWars was ever banned from being on the entire internet, then I’d fight for their right to have freedom of speech. They’re not banned from being online, they’re just banned from what’re the modern equivalent of town-squares and shopping centres. They can no longer set up a stall at a privately owned event, in an attempt to sell their conspiracies to the public — but they can still meet in private where people can join them if they so choose.

Again, this isn’t about the “liberal elites” shutting down the “free-thinking media”, this is about major companies finally making common-sense decisions in regards to fake-news, propaganda and hate speech.

InfoWars needs to fade away into insignificance. Personally, I’d welcome the rise of a well-sourced, well-researched and professionally presented digital conservative platform — because it’s healthy to have prominent voices from both sides of the isle.

What’s not healthy, however, is telling millions of people that the government controls the weather, that the Earth is flat and that mass-shootings never even happened.


Today is Monday, August 6th and there’s a lot of crazy in the world right now, with not a whole lot of diagnosing.

Social Media Warfare

Diplomacy used to be a long and difficult process, now it’s just saying something in all-caps, in two-hundred and eighty characters or less. It’s incredible that we’re going to experience terror attacks over the next few years, just because a Baby Boomer doesn’t think that social media has consequences.

Let’s ignore the hypocrisy of today’s Tweet for a second, in which we read the words of a demented and violent madman, as he attacks another demented and violent madman.

As is always the way with the 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump (remember, this is really happening), you have to look beyond the showmanship to figure out what’s really going on here.

It used to be (in the way back of about two years ago) that foreign policy was discussed and debated over time, with press secretaries then answering questions, for the people to understand the position of the government. Now; The Tweets happen first. The President already has something underway, and so the government, press and people can only play catch-up.

These empty threats on social media all look a little familiar, don’t they? Remember ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Dotard’ from last year? Where the shit Alan Sugar would exchange regular insults with the boy who would be King?

Some would argue that the Twitter-insult strategy worked, due to the never-before held “peace” talks that took place a couple of months back. We know that the reality of those talks were all pomp, as North Korea has zero timeframe (or plans) for denuclearisation. It’s a fact that peace talks took place, I will give Trump that — but it’s also a fact that nothing actually happened at them beyond him eating a few plates of deep-fried chicken.

One could argue that it’s starting to look as though dangerous and militant countries have a lot to gain from a social media war with America. North Korea are now more popular than ever, with Trump one step closer to calling them an ally — after shunning long-held allies in Canada and Europe. Now we have Americans with orange-man syndrome, who genuinely believe that North Korea are a good country, just because their God had a perceived diplomatic victory there.

This is something that, presumably, will have been Kim Jong-un’s aim from the start of their exchange. As perception is often the key to power. Before the Trump presidency, this man was vilified by the entire world for starving his own people to death, threatening the entire world, and killing off his own family members. Now, post-Trump, he’s being touted by the leader of America as “smart”, “funny” and “someone who loves his people”.

A year ago, Kim Jong-un was rightfully on the sidelines. Now, his behaviour hasn’t changed at all and yet he’s in the conversation of prominent world leaders. I’d say that’s a man who got exactly what he wanted, via a not-too-bright American president, and at the expense of American diplomacy.

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I can’t help but speculate (and that’s all this is) that we’re about to see the exact same thing from Iran. Trump will attack via Twitter and there will be a war of words, maybe a few terror attacks — which let’s face it Republican politicians love those, they’ve been proven to increase support of right-wing parties.

Oh they salivate whenever they goad a country into committing acts of terror against America, you can almost see it in post-tragedy press conferences. Keep an eye out next time.

Anyway — eventually Trump will land some “historic peace talks” with Iran, only for us to learn that nothing really happened at them. He’ll tell us that plans are in place for Iran to roll back their military activity, but some other countries in the middle-east will say otherwise. Before you know it, President Hassan Rouhani will be considered an ally, a very “smart” and “funny” man, who “loves his people”.

I wonder if Trump buddies up to these citizen-killing psychopaths, and shuns the diplomatic and democratic nations of the West, because he identifies with them more. He joked about wanting all Americans to stand to attention and listen to him when he talks, as North Koreans do with Kim Jong-un. He said it was a joke, but do people make jokes about wanting to be authoritarian leaders? It’s said that comedy is a way of telling your truth without any real consequence.

He probably thinks he’s a “smart” and “funny” man, who “loves his people” — when we know he’s none of the above. My wife, friends and family are all smarter than him. I’m funnier than the man who looks like a commission Salvador Dali half-finished before throwing it in a fire. And I’m fairly certain that an undiscovered species, from millions of lightyears away, love the American people more than Trump does. Yet I don’t want any of those people/lifeforms to lead the country.

Personally, I think that all countries do a lot of bad things, and apart from maybe Iceland, we’re all guilty of committing terrible acts against each other. My concern is that America is now partnering with the countries that do the really terrible things — such as killing their own citizens — and backing away from the ones that are at least trying to create reasonably fair and equal societies.

Obviously, for a country that’s still considered a Democracy, November can’t some soon enough. America can decide that they prefer the company of Canada and Europe, to Russia and North Korea, by voting out any Republican party members who’ve blindly backed Trump. That’s not to say that you have to vote Democrat, no — I was impressed by some Republicans last week, who condemned Trump’s treasonous language — just get rid of his yes men, who’ll back us into a third world war, where America are on the “bad guy” side.

If this madness continues, then it could be that social media will be how we deal with every serious issue from now on. Facebook polls will decide the winner of the 2020 presidential election. World leaders will be able to swipe left or right on the faces of each other — that’s how peace treaties will begin, or how wars will start. The first nuclear attack on the West will happen when Putin “Didn’t get 1,000 likes on a photo he posted on Instagram”, and the Trump pee-pee tapes will be the first example of revenge porn that leads to a world war.

Today is Monday, July 23rd and I’m either watching pro-wrestling or consuming global politics in my spare time. Send help.