Monthly Archives: August 2017

It is so hard being a pacifist

When all around you, the world is burning. When you lose friends over suggesting that violence does not beget violence you do start to question your stance on such things.

You see, for the longest time, I was so far from a pacifist. I would have whole heartedly say that punching a White Supremacist is warranted and exactly  the right reaction. That actually, they should all get a taste of their own medicine and on and on. However, I would also suggest that a better world view is to treat people the way that you would want/like/expect to be treated.

BEFORE you try suggesting that that moto is exactly what was happening in the incident I am alluding to. No. No it isn’t. Because the person doing the punching, that is the person who has forgotten. He is punching someone. He can now only expect the same treatment. Do you see how it works? It is an honour system. We all buy into it because we are all wanting the same treatment and by even one stepping out, it has a knock on effect.

The problem is, oh who am I kidding, where do I start? In my last post I alluded to the current situation in American and have waxed lyrical over the last 24 hours over a bunch of people’s status updates and lost friends. I don’t believe that W.S should be refered to as Nazi’s and that I feel I covered in the last blog post. However, there is a question of the culture that helped create this situation.

Nearly 100 years ago, there was a perfect stop of post war reparations and wound licking in Europe that allowed the Nazi party to not only form, but to become popular, gain power and eventually parliament. This was not something that happened over night. It was not a ‘blink and you miss it’ situation that left everyone shocked and surprised.

My argument is that, look America has a fraught relationship with racism. It is a country based on slavery of indigenous people people being shipped in as labour. But this is not really what I wanted to discuss and honestly I don’t know enough on the subject. However, racism is not a new issue, it is not something that is even hidden. AS SUCH I mean we all know it, we see it, we know that WS are prevalent in America (I couldn’t say if less or more so than other countries per capita) but I guess the problem is that it has never been something that you are proud of. Or something you proudly display? Or … FLY FUCKING FLAGS ABOUT. Am I making sense? As I write this I just watched a video where a woman approached her neighbour who is flying a Nazi flag and he couldn’t explain why. I mean if you are going to be open about your inclinations, then you should be able to back it up? 

So what I am trying to say, in a round about way – racism is not something that has recently sprung up in America but like Germany, it has been simmering away for a long, long time and it was just wanting for the perfect series of events to burst into the forefront. 

One thing that does bear remembering. Trump is racist. We can all agree on this. But is is not politically or otherwise, aligned to any WS groups. He is an idiot but he doesn’t legitimise his bigotry in such a way. The WS groups which are not even splinter, they exist independently and just happen to have similar views/values…. they are not political and not aligned with any political parties. I think it is important to remember that technically they are not legitimised in any way. RIGHT UP UNTIL Trump refuses to condemn what happened. Trump who goes into a melt down over a chain store no longer selling his daughters handbags? Among other things. This president who cries foul over the smallest indiscretion, real or imagined. Cannot muster the letters to condemn the march, the murder or the intent. 

And we have Confederate statutes being removed under the over of darkness with a police escort in case of any trouble? This is the America the rest of the world just watches in a stunned silence. Because we are a little stunned that it is a shock, that no one saw this coming. But you know what is really hard? Seeing someone getting punched, and suggesting that this is not the right reaction. And being told that at best by suggesting two wrongs don’t make a right, you are either complicit or at worst, a nazi sympathiser? I mean… 

IT IS HARD TO BE A PACIFIST you get what I mean? Hell yeah, I bet it would feel great to punch someone in the face for sharing abhorrent views. That everything they stand for disgusts you to the point that you have the energy, passion and desire to knock them out. Yep. Honestly, hand on cold, dead, heart. I do understand it. BUT IT IS NOT THE ANSWER because that guy? The one you punched? It was unprovoked wasn’t it? Did he say anything to you? Provoke you? Did he make a move to physically harm you? Nope, he didn’t and there we go, that is the problem. Because you really do need to take the high ground. If we all just resort to violence you are no better than them, sure violence is their language, it is one that they use, that they are fluent in. We need to talk, we need to be loud, we need to show that we are now cowed by them. But you know what we don’t need to do? Lower ourselves to their level. They have experience and will use it to beat us. Being a pacifist is not a bad thing, it can be hard, damned hard. But I stand by it.

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The trouble with the …

National Socialist German Workers Party…. no wait… bit of a mouthful… let us try again … Nazi’s … no wait… still not right….. White Supremacists?

Still a bit of a mouthful isn’t it ? And the other problem is that, white supremacists are not one and the same. Overall they may share similar ideology but generally speaking their modus operandi can vary wildly as can their reason for existence. There is no nazi party. It was disbanded in October 1945. It was a socialist party formed after a perfect storm, politically, socially and economically, in Germany in 1920. It didn’t even last 30 years but it has had a lasting and resounding impact globally.

There has been recent reports of tourists in Germany being caught doing the HH ( nazi) salute at prominent sites. It is illegal, but I guess you could argue that no everyone would be aware that it is illegal. But surely, anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that doing such a thing is a bad idea? No??

We are all aware of the legacy of the Nazi party, of the war time atrocities, there were still members of the party being tried for crimes in the last decade or so. I am writing this without doing research. It is all there to check out if you don’t know this already. Germany has spent over 70 years distancing itself from those years under the party and the crimes that were committed.

Now the U.S.A has a long history of racism which I will plead a degree of ignorance on. But we all know and have heard of the K.K.K so it isn’t as if there isn’t a history of white supremacy parties in the country. But they always acted with a degree of anonymity. They always wore hoods, they were covered by layers of secrecy which ensured that you wouldn’t know that you were dealing with a member of the group. A group that was linked to a degree accross American and has led walks, and protests. White Supremacy is not a new idea in America, neither are splinter and anarchist groups that use anti government rhetoric. Some of these parties are disenfranchised men and women who find themselves in prison and need to align themselves with a group for safety (pop culture, I have no real experience of prison life)  or there are gangs which pop up in certain social/economic climates and they find similar morals, values or are young enough to get sucked into it. Or are they fighting against what they see around them, their friends, family, neighbourhood.

However, none of these groups, anywhere, not just America, are Nazi’s because sorry, as easy as it is to use a short and simple moniker for them…. it isn’t true or the case. It is an umbrella term for the most part with each individual group having a separate identify and name for themselves.

But just lately, nazi seems to be a term used more and more, and not just by the media. It seems to be the go to term for white supremacists who have little or no understanding of the Nazi party. But this is not a history lesson. It is a request. Stop using nazi as an umbrella term for white supremacists. It is incredibly disrespectful to Germany, to the memory of what happened (living memory at that) and it is suggesting some sort of wider agency with these groups. Don’t give them the legitimacy, to suggest they are more organised or powerful. And frankly don’t throw them at another countries doorstep. America, you were racisit because the Nazi party were even an inkling of an idea in Germany. You cannot blame another another countries political party, directly or indirectly, for the high levels of racism. This is not something you can foist on anyone else. This is your problem and one you should have dealt with long ago and maybe, just maybe, you wouldn’t have white supremacists marching proudly and without fear.

Please, stop using the word nazi. It is not a kind word, a pretty work. It is a work that just brings to mind, fear and hatred.

What is in a name

Would a rose smell as sweet … 

Okay this isn’t about names, at least not entirely. As some of you reading this will know, I don’t go by my given name on some social media platforms, predominantly Facebook. I have taken a gender neutral name which for the most part seems to be taken as a male name. I KNOW RIGHT? Assuming my gender like that. Coupled with this, apparently my profile pictures cause some confusion. 

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So my attempt at a degree of anonymity on line does appear to be bearing some fruit? Well I signed up to Sarahah on a whim at the weekend and combined with my then profile picture (a cat), I picked an illustration a friend had completed earlier which I kinda liked. 

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I didn’t really get much interaction, even after talking to my friend about this, and further inspired by an anonymous comment made about never using my own picture as a profile (profile pictures tend to be set as public, reasoning is to make it easier to tell if you are stalking the right person) which is untrue. However, I used a festival makeup look selfie I had taken a couple of weeks ago that I was pleased with. I changed both my profile picture on FB and within the app. 

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Now I have mentioned my perceived ambiguity on social media previously and how it can lead to frustrating and upsetting interactions. In groups that I spend time in which are mixed gender, it is often assumed that I am male. Luckily the downright rude comments are kept to a minimum. I didn’t realise how much of a different changing a profile picture would have to my interactions.

This is small scale compared to experiments where men pretend to be women on social media etc etc but it just proves again that we are all dealing with people on how they present themselves. I was going to write a blog on Cat-Fishing (a term I am going to assume that you are all aware of) and how this makes me uncomfortable.

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It is all linked in. I don’t tend to put up many makeup free/normal selfies of myself. I don’t encourage tagging in such photos either.  So while I do argue that most of my profile pictures are of me, they are of a version of me, a better version of me. With good skin, great hair, looking like a drag queen, a fairy, a unicorn, mermaid… I won’t go on but you get the idea. So I guess because I do control what images of me go on social media, I am editing how people can perceive me. This is cat fishing to a degree, as much as I struggle against it. 

I guess the problem here is that, there is no winning. Text lacks body language, and inflection and sound in order to be able to take cues from a person that one would normally expect when first meeting someone. So as much as I might struggle again using a ‘normal’ photo of me, my profile picture will be what most people use to base their initial and subsequent interactions on. That is if they don’t already know me outside the SM bubble, or if they do end up meeting me. The latter can be utterly terrifying, it is like you are being unmasked at the end of a Scooby cartoon.

 

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Sex sells, pretty brings gazes, it is not news to anyone. When you are picking a profile picture how much effort do you put into it. Do you just pick the first selfie you have, do you pick something more meaningful, a memory, event, your pet, child. All the considerations or lack thereof will all have a bearing on how you are interacted with. In the same way they are generally. When you get dressed in the morning, no matter what your personal style is, you know that people you interact with will respond to it. So, it is no different in this context. I chose cover myself in a little anonymity on line, and that is fine. I have no problem with it. But now I have written this reflective account, it is interesting to see how much different just changing a profile picture can make your interactions. 

Sorry if anyone was expecting a feminist rant 🙂 I am sure I can come up with one later! 

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