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Showing posts from May, 2012

Baaaaaaaaaaa!

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(Yes, I like shiny pictures, deal with it.)

First off, an apology for me not having blogged very much at all. I've had exams and things and some personal stuff has been getting in the way, so blogging has become an even lower priority than it already was. Sorry about that, to the few people who read my stuff.

Anyway...I have some ideas for this post, but no coherent plan. My brain's been in a bit of a weird place and doesn't seem to enjoy working properly - which isn't the greatest thing on earth when you're sitting exams that will play a part in determining your future.

I suppose it was all triggered because of my strange and rather cool relationship with conspiracy theories. On the one hand, I don't trust the mainstream media due to shoddy journalism and its giving bigotry and idiocy a place to run rampant. On the other hand, I always, always check claims made by "alternative" sources (which range from trustworthy to absolutely, laugh-out-loud-and-…

Faith Schools

As I have previously mentioned before, I'm quite big on secularism, less because I want to force my beliefs on everyone else and more because I don't want religious oppression (the kind of religious people who ignore secularism are the kind who would gladly take away the freedom of belief of anyone who doesn't think like them). Following on from this, I oppose all state religions (obvious attempt to mix church and state is obvious) and all faith schools. Most people seem to be quite confused about why a state religion is a bad thing, particularly here where the Church of England is still something that's largely just there and doesn't do very much in the way of obvious religious oppression (I am very thankful to live in a country where, although we have our unfair share of religious nutjobs, we still don't have as many as the Americans). I think I've already tackled that in my massive rant on secularism (already linked).

What people don't seem to unders…

Anti-Consumerism

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Aside from being an anti-capitalist, I'm also an anti-consumerist. People seem to be quite confused about what this entails, or maybe I just live with idiots. It's probably a bit of both, but anyway, I'm going to try and explain why I act the way I do.

What's anti-consumerism? A word I hope I didn't make up, for a start. In a nutshell, I'm against greedily consuming resources I don't actually need.

Why are you an anti-consumerist? Because I don't like taking up resources I don't need when they would be better off in someone else's hands. Because we live in an exploitative capitalist system where pretty much every product is the fruit of somebody else's exploitation, and I for one don't want to exploit people. Because consumerism is not a particularly sustainable practice and I want to reduce the damage I'm doing to this planet.

So does that make you a tree-hugging hippie communist? Maybe. In any case, I don't like hurting people an…

In Defence of Free Speech

One of the most obvious things about me is that I really, really love free speech and expression - more than just "Oh, isn't it nice that we can say what we want?" but "I will defend the right to say what you want, when you want, where you want, even if I disagree with you". It is only fair that all have the right to expression, and I don't really think you can have the moral high ground if you allow some people to speak but not others. You can approve or disapprove of what people say, you can call them out on their stupidity, but that's different from claiming that they have a lesser right to speak.
It therefore disturbs me when people, especially people claiming to defend freedom and human rights (and this has happened before), don't seem to recognise the right to freedom of speech and to disagreement, instead using threats and trying to silence their opponents, perhaps with claims like "you support paedophiles" or "you enable fasci…

On Secularism

To the best of my knowledge, I don't think I've ever done a blog post about secularism, which is quite odd since it's something I bang on about a lot.

Firstly - because some people still don't get it - what is secularism? Put simply, it's keeping religion out of spaces where it doesn't need to be, like council meetings, schools, and people's wombs. (As a pro-choicer, I simply could not resist that.) Secularism is not an attempt to "force beliefs on you"; it works precisely the other way round, trying to keep people from forcing their beliefs onto others by creating a neutral space. (Also, do not believe any of the hype about "militant secularism"; militant secularists are at worst loud and angry, and most of us are the kind of people you'd pass on the street, but more to the point, they don't blow up abortion clinics or fly planes into buildings as militant theists do.)

Secondly, why do we need secularism? Why do I regard a Chris…

Misconceptions about Feminism

So right now, I call myself a feminist. I might be dropping that label because of the racism, transphobia, classism, ableism, etc. of white feminists (who fuck up way more than I would like - and keep in mind I'm a white feminist). But still, for now I am a feminist.

And for now, I am a feminist who is quite sick of misconceptions about feminism and would quite like to do some edumacating about what feminism is and is not. So sit your arse down, get comfy and do some listening.

What is feminism?
Good question, that, and if I had the answer I'd tell you. I am a feminist in practice in that I try to live my life in a feminist way - stand up for all and smash the kyriarchy - but I have never taken a women's studies class or read some of the theory (bad Osnat is bad). As far as I can work out, feminism is a bunch of different movements all carrying the same banner and ranging from the average person on the street to the most diehard radfem. And yes, you get infighting...oh boy,…

Through the eyes of an anti-capitalist

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So I'm an anti-capitalist. Worse, I'm an outspoken anti-capitalist. How horrible, especially in a capitalist society! I've been told I'm crazy, stupid, ignorant, spoiled, delusional, and I forget what else now. Nothing good anyway, except from fellow anti-capitalists.

Here, then, is an honest look at why I behave the way I do.

Capitalism is exploitative.Speaks for itself really. (So the link goes to an anarchist site. Bite me. The lower levels of capitalism - sweatshops and the like - are most definitely exploitative. The upper ones too, but the constant rhetoric of living in freedom and luxury and the fact that we do have relatively more luxury make the exploitation a little less obvious.)

Capitalism is unsustainable.Or, to put it more precisely, the growth caused by capitalism is unsustainable. Two reasons for this: firstly, left to its own devices, capitalism will consume everything, including itself, because it just wants to blindly accumulate MORE. Secondly - and f…

Ore Legar Populi

That quotation from Ovid (who must have been incredibly annoying as a person, but damn his poetry was good) roughly translates as something like "I shall be read on the lips of the people" - a pretty classic and incredibly elegant statement of writing for posterity, and one that got me thinking.

These days, ask people about writing for posterity and they'll probably say that it's a bit arrogant. Some will laugh. Some will shuffle away nervously, afraid of being contaminated by anything remotely unconventional. Some clever cynic or another will let out a bitter cackle and point out that everything crumbles and decays eventually - people, governments, societies, even paper and ink - so there's no point in writing for future generations.

I'll admit, some of those criticisms do sting. I'd hate to be arrogant or big-headed, and likewise, if everything is going to crumble (and it is - it doesn't help that I think we're in real danger of all dying from a…

Thinking About Thinking

My head is a weird place - oh, it's weird enough just by virtue of sitting on top of my neck, but what goes on inside it is even weirder. I spin wild, ludicrous stories there, fragments of ideas and scenarios flashing into my head. Memories, breaths of memories, touch the surface of my mind. One did so last night, as I went to bed...I remembered an English lesson, one we'd had last term, I think, a group discussion.

I fucking hate those things. Not because I hate discussing things, but because I hate groups - there's nothing quite like a committee of stupid, uninformed people for obstructing progress. And there are a lot of stupid, uninformed opinions flying around.

We tried having an open discussion, I remember, where everyone was equal and we were left to self-govern. Nothing happened. Nobody wanted to discuss anything, so the teacher loudly and proudly crowed that we needed a leader, and promptly appointed someone to exercise this role. I countered that if we'd had …