I am a writer for an online cultural/reviews magazine called ‘The Upcoming’ and on Friday I went to review a piece of experimental theatre called ‘Cock and Bull’. The show was a mixture of performance art, dance, and avant-garde theatre and it centred around the election, politicians and the words they say. The show was originally created in 2015 for the election and I really wish I had seen it then because the three identically clad gold handed Etonian performers were really channelling David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg (particularly David Cameron). This time around you can’t really say that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn look alike, say the same things or really have much at all in common with each other.
If you hate the tories, you like experimental theatre and you want to commiserate about broken political promises see if you can get a ticket to the FINAL performance this evening!
Take a look at my review here: http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/04/28/cock-and-bull-at-the-southbank-centre-theatre-review/
I recently attended a debate which focused on whether or not ‘fake news’ is covered by free speech. This topic is very relevant for bloggers because if you tend to focus on news and current events, you are contributing to the discourse and you are presenting your own view of the truth, a view which may or may not be widely accepted.
Would fake news laws shut down blogs just because the powers that be don’t agree with them? Who decides what is and is not fake? And what would that mean for political commentators, Youtubers, bloggers and keyboard warriors? Before you decide whether or not fake news should be banned you first need to think about what fake news is and who defines and decides what fake news is.
Donald Trump believes that the mainstream media deliberately lies about him and his fans. The public has, to some extent, always been dubious of the mainstream media but the rise of independent news outlets seems to be fuelling this distrust. Facebook and Google are clamping down on fake news. People are being implored to actually research the facts before they share a meme. Fake news is very relevant to a world where basically anyone can be a journalist and users alone decide what will go viral, but is fake news detrimental to or in fact supported by free speech?
I have written an article about whether fake news should be banned, the definition of fake news, the difference between interpretation and facts, and whether or not fake news should be banned. The article was published on MCXV, an independent news website which allows contributors to make a small profit based on a number of views they get. Is this the kind of website which would be targeted by anti-fake news legislation? Take a look and let me know what you think!
Happy belated 420 everyone.
I just wrote an article about why America should legalise drugs. Most of the reasons people tend to come up with is a person’s rights over their own body, the ridiculousness of criminalising something that only ‘harms’ yourself, and the relative safety regarding certain illegal substances (like marijuana) as opposed to legal substances (like alcohol).
These are all very true, but I thought I would try and get away from the personal reasons and focus on how legalising drugs could have huge positive ramifications on America’s messed up prison system, disproportionate representation of African Americans in American prisons, the fact that the punishment often does not fit the crime, how legalising drugs could help with overcrowding, how many Americans are actually in jail because of drug-related offences etc.
I am not from America. I should also admit that I have not been to America so a lot of my information comes from articles, statistics and Orange Is The New Black. If anyone is from the states and/or knows about the prison system and has any comments on my article or the issues relating to drugs, racism, prisons and crime please let me know!
Check out my article by clicking here or going to https://mcxv.com/real-reason-drugs-legalised-america-no-dont-just-want-get-high/
I wrote an article about Milo Yiannopoulos on my MCXV platform following the Berkely University riots and I’d be interested to hear what people think of the whole thing.
All About Milo
Some of you may remember that I wrote an article last year following a frankly embarrassing TV debate involving Milo and a few feminists who shouted over him, accused him of calling for someone’s assassination and were generally rude and obnoxious to everyone including other female speakers. This doesn’t mean I’m a fan of Milo and his political opinions, but at least when he turns up to a debate he attempts to address the question, he allows others to speak and he comes across as calm and logical rather than angry and crazy.
If you actively hate the guy then this is actually a really big problem, because if he really is as dangerous as some people need then the last thing you want is to make him look like the good guy. And unfortunately, when he gets into debates this tends to be what happens. People spend so much time calling him a bunch of names that they never try to respond to what he says, and that just makes it look like there is no good counter argument so he must be right.
Freedom From Speech
The thing is that people are growing concerned with what is happening. It’s becoming really hard to talk about politics at all because the people who believe in a particularly rigid type of identity politics seem to have decided that everyone who disagrees with them isn’t just wrong, they’re bad. It is obviously true that hate speech is not the same as free speech and just shouting insults or going on racist tirades should not be tolerated in the public sphere, but I’ve been watching a lot of ‘discussions’ in the past year and that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening.
What is happening is that a lot of people has such a binary view of things that they refuse to take anyone who doesn’t agree with /everything/ they say seriously because they think they are just bad, ignorant people who don’t want to learn the ‘proper’ way of thinking. And the thing is their ideas aren’t particularly problematic or hard to follow: Yes you should listen to people and not dismiss their personal experiences, yes you don’t know what life is like for someone else, yes we should fight for equality, yes there are still problems and it’s not okay.I haven’t really seen anyone actually disagree with these things. It’s the way they put them across and all these other beliefs mingled in with them that are the problem.
The problem is the idea that you are either a feminist or a misogynist, that you are either left wing or a member of the alt-right, that you either believe all white people are inherently racist or you refuse to ‘let go of your privilege in favour of equality’. That you are either an SJW or a member of the alt right. That’s not how it works. You may disagree with the things typical social justice people focus on whilst equally disagreeing with the alt-right. You may be left-wing and critical of identity politics.
People should develop their ideas through a mixture of listening to other people, learning via reading up on things, and their own rationale. You can’t just be told: “this is what is right and you have to agree or you’re bad”. A lot of this stuff came from sociology and if you have studied sociology then you know that the whole point is to learn about different theories and arguments, not just decide that this one theory is now suddenly absolute fact and everything else is evil. It all comes down to the different ways people are defining things and even though there is truth behind these ideas they should NOT be above criticism.
Debate Is Not Hate
It is getting to the point where people are being banned from the very groups that are meant to be ‘safe spaces’ for them. I’ve known of trans people who have been kicked out of discussion group for disagreeing that something was transphobic. I’ve known of mixed race people who have been told to ‘check their white privilege’ by a white person because they didn’t disagree with something someone said about racism. People forget that the world is made up of individual people with their own experiences, opinions and ideas. It is not made up of all-encompassing groups which necessarily speak for each other. Surely the whole point of equality is that we are not judged by whatever ‘group’ we belong to but by what we actually do ourselves.
Disagreeing with someone’s solutions or someone’s particular take on the world does not mean you are disagreeing with equality itself. People need to be able to have open, civilised and respectful discussions where they do actually listen to people with different points of view so they can see where the other person is coming from and either strengthen or question their own arguments. I’ve been getting into YouTubers recently and I’ve seen videos by people like Blaire White and Roaming Millennial, people whom I know a lot of people seem to regard as ‘dangerous conservatives’, but even though I may disagree with what they are saying they are not spreading hate speech, they are just giving their view of the world which you are then free to disagree with.
Back To Milo And The Riot
So getting back to Milo for a moment. Some of the things he says are pretty bad (especially his fear of Islam and rejection of refugees) and others are more reasonable (his criticism of the wage gap as misleading is pretty well acknowledged by economists and statisticians). He says things in a deliberately provocative way, he is quite obnoxious and realistically he is just a bit of a dick, but does that justify rioting on your own campus to stop him giving a talk? Is he really the epitome of all evil? Is he even worth the effort? Isn’t it just fuelling his growing fame?
Some people think he or Breitbart or both orchestrated the whole riot thing for publicity and if they did it was very effective. Milo has a new book due next month which is already on Amazons best seller list and so this recent media attention has happened at a very good time for him. Milo’s book is about how college campuses are closing themselves off from debate, how they police points of view and refuse to give anyone with whom they disagree with a platform. The Berkeley university riots were the perfect advertisement for his book. Maybe he did orchestrate it because it seems to have worked out very well for him.
What do you think?
I wrote my first ever article about Donald Trump yesterday. It’s hard to know what is actually going on with him and his supporters if you a: don’t live in America and b: tend to only hear very anti-Trump opinions. I attempted to be as objective as you can be with someone like that and read his campaign policies to get an idea of what he wants to do with his time in office. I got the policies from politiplatform.com and some don’t appear on his official website, but they are all based on things he has said. Obviously, people are getting quite hysterical about him and it’s hard to tell what’s actually going to happen, but from the looks of it, things are likely to get worse.
It hasn’t even been a month yet and already the immigration ban, ongoing commitment to the Mexican wall and refusal to fund foreign organisations which even /mention/ the word abortion has got a lot of people quite understandably scared, and judging from some of his policies and statements things are going to get scarier. Is anyone from America? What do you think of Trump? Are you scared? Do you support him? What on earth is goin on?
Has anyone binge watched Bates Motel recently? I spent about four days finishing all four seasons (40 episodes) of that show and now my life feels slightly wrong. I wrote a thing about it in an attempt to make myself feel productive, and the thing was written on one of the new websites I am now collaborating with!
Some of you may have guessed that I’m back from my Europe trip. To be totally and utterly honest with you I’ve been back for some time. Since the 22nd of November to be exact. The trouble with travel blogging is that it’s all well and good when everything is still there and fresh in your mind, but when you go home and start settling back into ‘real’ life it can be hard to remember what it was like to be travelling. You remember what happened, but you can’t quite…
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