Monthly Archives: August 2016

The old, angry, white male is at it again.

So Beyoncé delivers yet another gob-smacking performance for the power, the beauty and the genuineness of which I have ran out of superlatives to describe. Guiliani, on the other hand, has not: “shame”. Why? Because he has saved more black lives than she did.

…What?… (And yes, I had to read the Daily Mail…)

Lemonade is about women resilience. Black women resilience from the heart of their home to the most outside world. The album is crystal clear about it. It tells the story of all black women who were, have been and will be comforted to being considered as the lowest citizen of the American society, from the white people in power to the deceiving males of the same blood. It’s about black women having to scrap a living on their own because their male peers are in prison or dead. It’s about their journey towards independence from the words of their father to the lessons they learnt through experiencing life and hurt on their own.

Lemonade puts the spotlight on the black American woman: the most neglected, disrespected, forgotten and overlooked person in the society and their struggle. The black man is not even the centre of the narrative, he’s such a trigger, a reason, a consequence but their feelings, their excuses, their reasons are irrelevant. The black woman is everything.

Lemonade does what it says on the tin: turning the sourness of countless lemons that hindered the path of your life into lemonade to keep yourself refreshed and strong. And her performance at the MTV VMA was exactly that. She sang the black women’s sadness, their anger, their desperation and eagerness at being simply respected. She screamed the raging lioness in each of them, one they have been taught to tame and keep quiet, as a warning to all men that women are not to be contained.

And somehow, out of all of that, out of all the clear lyrics she sang about betrayal, the obvious feminism, out of the Venus Cross at the end, Giuliani took one thing: she is questioning him and his tenure as a mayor of New York.

His whole intervention on Trump TV…Sorry, Fox News was to champion his own achievement as a mayor of NYC fifteen years ago. He has made New York a better place, he has revived Harlem…Okay but what does it have to do with Beyoncé performance? Well, at the beginning, she is surrounded by women in white halos who fall on the floor covered in red light. These women are the black people killed by the police. She even mentioned it later when she asked about funerals.

So not only had Guiliani not understood the performance at all, he also has no idea what Lemonade is about. He’s stuck on outrage-mode after her performance at the super bowl, the Black Panther outfits et al. Giuliani reminds me of those christian fundamentalist parents whose children killed themselves under the weight of beliefs that were more important to their parents than they were themselves. But then who went on to blame some rock bands for the death of their offspring, claiming you can hear the devil or some encouragement to kill yourself if you played the vinyl backwards…

Alike these parents who refuse to see the impact of their actions and would find any excuse to blame someone else while praising their own hard work, Giuliani sees Beyoncé as a problem because in his eyes when she questions the whole society and the terrible consequences of centuries of bad policies, she questions him personally. He cannot fathom that maybe she is touching issues bigger than him because there is nothing bigger than him. It’s all about him. So he feels it is necessary to defend himself when no one has attacked.

The problem is that he talks about it as if it was high time black people realised they owe more to someone like him (a proud supporter of Trump) as a former mayor of NYC than they do to a black singer from Houston but the two don’t compare.

Beyoncé is not an elected representative, she is an artist who decides to express herself, shows her understanding of the world and fights for causes through her art. It’s her job and she is being rewarded for that job exactly. She had not received some of Humanitarian Worker of the Year award for service to the nation so why is Giuliani opposing his record to her art?

She is being political.

Yes. Everything is, nowadays. It’s her choice to address societal issues that are eventually political, to choose a battle and let her music and art speak for it. Why just feminism? Because she’s a woman and talks from experience. Why just black people? Because she’s black and talks from experience. And she can do it, she can decide to pick some battles before others because she is an artist. No one has elected her and she doesn’t have the responsibility to represent and serve even the ones who disagree with her or voted against her during some elections.

Which is what Giuliani had to do as a mayor: be there for the ones who supported you but also be selfless enough to understand that you have a mission to serve everyone, even the 45-49% who voted against you. And maybe he’s absolutely right when he says he was a great mayor, maybe he did his job perfectly. He was knighted by the queen after all. So was Beckham…or Fred Goodwin…Maybe he did save more black lives than Beyoncé but as far as I know, no one is pretending otherwise.

She is? How?

She came with Eric Garner’s mother and he was killed in NYC. Yes, but he was killed in 2014 and Giuliani was a mayor until 2001 so nothing to do with him. The other mothers? Well, they were the ones of Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida, Michael Brown killed in Saint-Louis and Oscar Grant III murdered in Oakland, California. So what has anything Beyoncé did that night got to do with Giuliani?

Nothing.

Beyoncé has decided enough was enough and let her art kick doors open so the US face a problem that’s been lingering and rotting its core since its birth: race. But she does it with a twist of feminism that makes the narrative even more complicated to fathom, I agree, although reading the lyrics and listening to her makes it frankly easy to grasp the message. It’s obvious that in her quest for change, she will encounter the usual when it comes to fighting sexism and racism: a cohort of angry white males who cannot understand a world that doesn’t revolve around them so they feel feminism and the mention of race is a personal attack. Which is exactly what Guiliani has proved.

Guiliani has become a poster to the typical and what Fox News and Trump are begging for: a male blast from the past who will take any opportunity to bring the spotlight back on them to remind us that they are the main actors in the world and should be praised as such.

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Le burkini: Messieurs, fermez-la!

Il y avait une blague au Royaume-Uni, au temps de Bush et Ben Laden. Un sondage avait révélé que l’Américain moyen voulait un leader pro-armes, anti-féministe et anti-gay, un leader qui soit véritablement religieux et qui soit prêt à se battre pour faire le monde à l’image de sa religion. On disait alors : « Voici votre homme » et on montrait une photo de Ben Laden. J’ai toujours beaucoup aimé cette blague parce qu’elle disait en substance que  l’Amerique de George W Bush n’était pas l’inverse de l’Al Quaida de Ben Laden mais son complétement. Comme le Yin et Yang se complètent, les puritains et autres fondamentalistes chrétiens vont de pair avec les fondamentalistes musulmans.

Aujourd’hui, la France voulant devenir l’inverse de Daesh et exposer des valeurs inverses à ceux des islamistes ne devient que le complétement de ces mêmes valeurs. Elle ne devient que le penchant occidental de cette mouvance.  Nous avons aujourd’hui des fondamentalistes islamistes contre des fondamentalistes républicains ou laïcistes. Pas laïcs, je précise. La plupart des figures qui crient « laïcité » au visage des musulmans sont eux-mêmes des catholiques pratiquants qui continuent à pousser pour que le Vatican retrouve une place centrale dans la vie du pays.

Dans les deux cas, aucun n’a compris les textes qu’ils utilisent comme fondement de leur pensée et de leurs actions. Dans les deux cas, ils détournent le pouvoir de l’Etat (qu’ils ont parfois créé de toutes pièces à ces mêmes fins) pour proclamer et s’assurer de la légalité de leurs actions qui donc « ne peuvent pas être critiquées ». Et dans les deux cas, les femmes sont les premières à souffrir.

Je ne suis pas là pour me prononcer sur le port du burkini en lui-même. Tout d’abord, je suis un homme et je ne suis pas concerné (on verra quand ils commenceront à mesurer les barbes) mais surtout  je n’ai en pas assez entendu des sources essentielles (les musulmanes qui le portent et celles qui ne le portent pas) pour pouvoir tirer des conclusions sures car informées. Personnellement, mon problème se situe une fois de plus dans le fait que les femmes sont prises entre deux feux qu’elles n’ont pas souhaités être tirés.

On est arrivés à une situation où, des hommes principalement, ont estimé que si une femme est sur une plage et qu’elle ne montre pas ses cheveux, son décolleté, ses cuisses, son dos, ses bras, ses jambes, c’est qu’il y a quelque chose qui ne va pas et qui s’apparente à du terrorisme. Ces pensées aussi ridicules que radicales ont été mises dans des décrets de lois applicables et appliqués par la police.

Quand j’étais petit, et même aujourd’hui, la France était la première à dénoncer ce genre d’abus par les pays arabes. Un des moments dont je me souviens le plus, c’est l’outrage mi-scandalisé mi-désobligeant dont la France a fait preuve quand le billet de 100 Francs, sur lequel figurait La Liberté guidant le peuple de Delacroix, fut interdit en Iran parce que l’allégorie a les seins nus. Cette poitrine allait à l’encontre les lois de décences de la République Islamique alors bien sûr, on trouvait ça « ridicule », « pathétique », « scandaleux », « misogyne », « digne d’un régime d’un autre temps dominé par des hommes polygames à longue barbe » et bien sûr, on a beaucoup réfléchit, écrit, reporté – et à juste raison – sur ce que ça signifiait pour les femmes iraniennes au quotidien, des femmes qu’on nous décrivaient comme étant démaquillées au papier de verre.

Aujourd’hui, au nom de la laïcité, je vois la même chose. Je vois des femmes innocentes qui vont sur la plage avec leurs enfants, pas forcément pour se baigner elle-même, et qui sont publiquement humiliées par la police du Pays des Lumières et qui doivent se déshabiller correctement pour une plage ou la quitter tout court, après une amende, bien sûr. Du moment qu’elles sont sur le trottoir, leur tenue est réglementaire mais la seconde où leur pied touche le sable, elles sont soumises à l’indécence laïciste et ce qu’elle porte est illégal. Pas (encore) au niveau de l’Etat même si le Premier Ministre se réjouit, mais au moins sur les plages extrêmement fréquentés et donc traditionnellement les plus conservatrices et xénophobes de France.

Le fait que la France ait des lois vestimentaires (au secours !) qui varient de la plage à la rue n’est pas nouveau : on n’a pas le droit de se balader torse nu, même avec un haut de bikini, dans les rues d’une ville ou un espace public. Un restaurant, un café, un hôtel aura le droit sans appel de vous mettre dehors. C’est une tenue réservée à la plage et éventuellement la Promenade car du moment que vous êtes dans la ville, vous entrez dans « le monde civilisé » et vous mettez un haut qui couvre au moins le buste.

C’est une loi qui m’a toujours procuré beaucoup de plaisir parce que les Britanniques ne comprennent pas. Les Londoniens, ou les habitants des Midlands ou du Black Country, oui, parce qu’ils sont loin de la mer et ne se baignent pas mais des gens de Brighton, Blackpool, Bristol, Bournemouth, Birkenhead (je voulais réviser mes B), ne comprennent pas. Shopping, course, resto, pub…il est normal pour eux de voir en été des hommes sont torse nus et des femmes avec un petit quelque chose qui cache leurs seins. A tel point que les supermarchés sont obligés d’afficher des règles vestimentaires parce que ça commence à faire mauvais genre. Surtout auprès des Européens et autres touristes qui affluent de plus en plus.

Ca m’amuse parce que je dois leur expliquer qu’il s’agit de se couvrir quand on est en société, de ne pas exposer les enfants au corps d’inconnus, de « décence » et je me retrouve à parler comme un ayatollah sur des codes vestimentaires qui sont des valeurs culturelles inexplicables. Néanmoins, personne n’est forcé de mettre un pull ou un blouson. Les choix sont multiples et un petit haut qui cache le nombril satisfera tout le monde.

Cette fois, il s’agit de forcer des femmes à se déshabiller après les avoir fait payer au nom de la lutte contre le terrorisme. Je ne vois pas le rapport mais bon, je ne fais aussi pas dans le populisme de bas étage.

Alors comment sort-on de là-dedans ? Parlez aux femmes ! « Mon dieu, quelle horreur ! »  je sais, mais que ce soit ce qu’elles portent, comment elles parlent, qui elles fréquent et épousent, comment elles gèrent leur utérus, il est temps de parler aux femmes pour savoir quelles sont les motivations derrière ce qu’elles font. Forcément, ça prend du temps donc pas de gain politique immédiat dans un discours aussi trompeur que dystopiste. Mais surtout, la difficulté est d’enlever l’opinion de gens qui ne sont pas concerné et ça enlève tout d’abord les hommes en tant qu’acteurs principaux.

Je ne dis pas que si les femmes étaient les actrices principales du débat, il n’y aurait donc plus de burkini, je sais juste que dans le débat actuel, ce sont les hommes qui définissent les termes : les hommes islamistes qui appellent au port de la burka contre les hommes laïcistes qui appellent à l’interdiction du burkini (qui n’est même pas prôné par des hommes qui refuseraient volontiers aux femmes l’accès à tout loisir). Et au milieu ? Les femmes qui n’ont pas leur mot à dire doivent suivre les recommandations des uns ou des autres qui parlent et décident pour elles.

S’il y avait une véritable volonté de vivre ensemble, on aurait déjà mis les oreilles aux portes des endroits anodins et souvent ignorés où les femmes sont entre elles et peuvent parler librement. On aurait déjà découvert que tout n’est pas blanc ou noir, pour ou contre, victoire ou défaite, comme le monde forgé par les hommes laisse paraître.

Ecoutez, comme j’aime le faire, les femmes parler de leur quotidien, de la pression qu’elles ont d’être, d’agir, de vivre, de penser souvent de telle ou telle façon. Demandez-leur pourquoi elles font ces choses, et pas seulement aux femmes voilées mais aussi aux Becky with the good hair de tous les jours : celles qui disent détester se maquiller mais qui passent dix minutes sur leur eye-liner tous les matins. Mais faites-les parler d’elles-mêmes, pas de leurs consœurs. Ne laissez pas d’autre prendre leur parole, faites-leur la prendre elles-mêmes pour elles qu’on puisse vraiment savoir à quoi s’en tenir et faire évoluer les choses. C’est alors fascinant ce qu’on apprend.

Vous allez voir que du hijab au burkini, du maquillage au botox en passant par le fer à lisser les cheveux, des exégèses erronés des livres saints aux innombrables articles, reportages, pubs sur ‘Comment faire disparaître la cellulite avant l’été pour un corps parfait en bikini ?’, vous aurez de tout. Des femmes fortes et indépendantes qui le font (ou pas) parce qu’elles en ont envie, parce que ça rend leur vie plus simple ou plus sûres, plus agréables – ces femmes sont d’ailleurs généralement méprisées, ignorées ou ridiculisées. Des femmes plus soumises qui ont intériorisé les attentes religieuses et sociétales (par essence conflictuelles en France) et ne comprennent pas pourquoi elles sont victimes de contradictions dont elles ne sont pas responsables. Et puis, vous aurez la majorité des femmes qui font preuve d’une volonté de fer de continuer à vivre et survivre au jour le jour dans des sociétés dans lesquelles elles ne se reconnaissent pas. Ces femmes, vous allez voir, sont tiraillées entre le ras-le-bol d’être toujours victimes de l’autre et accusées de tout, de ne pas avoir de véritable voix, de devoir se contenter du moins pire, d’un côté, et de la bonne éducation qui les instruit de se taire et d’être polies, de l’autre.

Burkini ou pas, ce n’est pas ma question et je n’ai pas d’avis car je me fous de ce que pensent les hommes sur le sujet, ils ne le portent pas, et les femmes sont partagées. Je ne peux donc pas avoir d’avis informé.

Certaines en rêvent pour pouvoir aller se baigner sans être reluquées et se faire siffler par les hommes, ou ne plus avoir honte de leurs seins qui « ne sont pas fermes » ou de leur « cellulite dégoûtante ». Certaines ne vont juste plus à la plage pour les raisons précédentes donc la question ne se pose pas. Certaines se foutent des gros moches et alcoolisés qui osent les siffler mais elles sont religieuses donc elles le mettent mais pourquoi ? Je n’ai pas eu de réponse à ça. D’autres ont bien compris que le Coran ne mentionne rien de tel donc elles ne le mettraient pas mais elles comprennent que des femmes veuillent le mettre. D’autres savent faire preuve d’empathie et n’ont pas vraiment d’avis, ça ne les dérange pas, elles veulent juste qu’on laisse les femmes tranquilles. D’autres ne savent pas se mettre à la place de l’inconnu et ne raisonnent qu’en fonction de leurs valeurs et sont hostiles. Toutes aimeraient que ce soit un choix. Toutes. Sans exception. Même les conservatrices. On arrive à leur faire dire que ce serait bien que les femmes aient le choix dans leur religion ou la société.

Pour moi, la honte est que la France reste une société dans laquelle les femmes n’ont toujours pas le choix et ce sont toujours celles qui prennent les coups entre les hommes qui font ces choix.

The Long Read – Anxiety and ASMR

I suffer from chronic anxiety on which PTSD likes to surf happily but, when PTSD started in my teenage years driven and fed by extreme bullying, my anxiety has always been there. As far as I can remember, I heard my relatives telling me I was anxious but never really understood what it meant. I now do – but that’s another post.

I have learnt to live with my anxiety on a daily basis. I do have some freak-outs but I have a mother and friends who are good at keeping me grounded so it has never stopped me from moving and living abroad on my own for nearly a decade, from working, from having a life. Overall, I see myself as a cat: a control freak who only likes attention when I define the terms of it, otherwise I need to be left alone to enjoy solitude, or I’ll scratch everything in sight.

Anxiety isn’t too negative, except for one manifestation: the sleepless night. Even as a child, I vividly recall that once-a-week sleepless night when no could do: music, radio, rocking myself, getting up and doing something before going back to bed, reading, sucking my thump to soothe myself…I just wouldn’t sleep. I used to appreciate the next day for I would be so tired that all seems like a blur. No freaking out, no care for the world anymore, just me and going slow. No break of sweat for no reason, no heart-racing, no overthinking. A normal day for me after a night without sleep. However, as I grow older and take on more responsibilities, I can afford these zombie days less and less.

What keeps me awake, and I realised this a couple of years ago as I had a complete nervous break down, is my brain. Occupied all day, he is fine and for a long time I lived close to main roads or with a motorway yonder so there was something to distract him because at night, once the light is off, instead of enjoying the silence and peacefulness to drift into unconsciousness, everything goes bonkers.

“Now that we’re alone, how about we review everything single thing you said in your life and you regret, their consequences on you and others, how they perceived you because we both know this is still how they think of you everyday?!”

“No? Okay, so let’s remind ourselves of every single missed opportunity you had to prove your worth and snap a good come back to the bastards who took pleasure bullying you?”

“No, you actually have pity for them? Why? Because they were acting like such for they suffered themselves? Okay so you know the ‘little talk’ you want to have with that student/your manager/these parents? Yeah, we both know it’s not going to be ‘little’ so let’s rehearse it and plan for every eventuality. Especially, those when they get angry so you can snap a good come back that would shut them up.”

The hours I spent tossing and turning, getting increasingly restless, edging on the rage, wanting to scream out loud: “Shut the fuck up and let me fucking sleep!” The countless times I actually did it as my legs were burning up and started to sweat even though it was winter, the windows were open the water in my bottle was so call, it ached my teeth. Many times, I even resulted to getting up to shower call water on them so I could finally stop irradiating my bed.

Then I remembered the music of my childhood. There was noise that had disappeared over the years and it seemed to coincide with the increasing number of sleepless nights. I had music to fall asleep and throughout my teenage years hours of radio recordings on cassettes I was playing right next to me. I suddenly remembered that every single night without it, for this or that reason, was sleepless.

What I thought was wrong, I never went to bed and just fell asleep. I went to bed, put some noise on and fell asleep much later. I had always needed an early bedtime because it took a least a hour for me to fall asleep after I decided to go to bed. Sometimes, I had to turn the cassette around as 60 minutes were not enough. I used to fall asleep with people talking.

However, no cassettes in London in 2012 but YouTube on my phone on which I searched “soft-spoken”. I ended up on one of Maria’s (GentleWhispering) first videos where she teaches Russian in the most relaxing way I had ever experienced. That was my first ASMR experience. The problem was that I was in a very bad place, working in a very stressful school for which I had to leave the house at 5.20am if I wanted to have a chance to make it before 8.30am. Cheers London private transport and crap roads! I didn’t sleep for 3 days in a row, didn’t eat for 5 and ended up calling an ambulance with insanely high blood pressure at 4am.

I had a burn-out and ASMR which wasn’t called like that at the time became irrelevant. Instead, I realised that one of my favourite Youtuber’s voice, Stacyplays, was very soothing so I chose the longest videos and put my phone next to my head to fall asleep. It worked, no sleepless nights for weeks. Maybe even a couple of months. But, as usual with my anxiety, it gets used to everything so within weeks, it wasn’t working anymore and I have been taking anti-anxiety medicine since mid-2012.

I am fine with taking medication. I am not that type to distrust medicine, on the contrary, but I already have to live with anti-histamine medication every night because of my allergic background so already two pills/night when you are not even 30 years old is not exactly sending a good message for the future. When it is not three because of head-splitting migraines.

Then in late 2015, AMSR comes back in my life through a video by the Guardian. Maria and other pioneers have made it big. It’s not just a niche anymore but actually a sixth sense scientists are working on to understand it. In the video, a woman is speaking: Emma – WhispersRed. It’s the trigger. I didn’t experience much tingling with Maria or anyone else, just a feeling of soothing but Emma, her accent, the tone of her voice, it’s instant.

I spend the rest of the day, headphones in my ears, listening to every videos she makes. It’s the middle of the day and it’s when the tingles are here. It’s impossible to describe. I like the noise but I can’t get enough of her speaking. I then try putting her speaking softly on my phone the shelf above my bed as I try to fall sleep. I expect the usual struggle but nothing. I cannot even remember when I fell asleep. Sometimes, I even fall asleep with the phone still in my hand and my glasses on. No time to put it on the shelf and get ready. Two minutes in and I am out.

It works and has been working for the past nine months. I had one sleepless night in nine months. It’s a first in my life after 32 years of increasingly dreading going to bed, hating my bed, resenting the moment when I have to force my brain to disconnect. Emma does for me.

I have mentioned it my mum who just was snide about it: “Just boring stuff then”. Another time to someone in my family who told me “Aw, so you’re all about that ASMR thing…” but there judgmental amusement in it. I didn’t feel bad or offended, rather just decided it’s something I must do and keep for me. Not because I have to or feel judged but because it’s actually very intimate. It’s for me and who needs to know about it after all? They don’t get it, why should they? And why would I try to convince them? It’s inexplicable.

Some people think AMSR is sexual. Of course, they do. We live in a world that also thinks Victoria Beckham is a lesbian for kissing her daughter. Everything today that provides you with any kind of soothing or positive feeling is associated to sex. Also, as a gay man, I have learnt that what people don’t understand, they tend to diminish it and what best way to do it than saying it’s a fetish and some weird sexual fantasy.

As a gay man, I don’t listen to Emma talking because I am sexually attracted to her. On the opposite, I always make sure I never make the mistake of putting one of her video on as I am browsing for porn (Grow up!) like I do something with Youtube videos in the background. For me, it has to be completely separate and come to think of it, it’s incompatible. I am looking to fall asleep, not get aroused. I have Dean Monroe for that, thank you very much. Frankly, I don’t see how this could ever be sexual. At least for me, a gay man listening to women.

Emma and her ASMR work is shushing and soothing my brain. I don’t listen intensively, it’s just there like a mother putting a child to sleep with a story. I don’t care for the story itself, I just want a reassuring voice to help him with my restless, overthink brain. I tried other AMSRtists but they don’t work as well. There is a connection with Emma that is inexplicable.

I wrote to her to thank her as I discovered I started to softly stroke or tab on things during the day, in meetings, at dinner with relatives, or during long conversations. It keeps me calm and focused. I spent decades fiddling with things, twiddling my fingers, writing anything to keep me from overthink something else. Thanks to Emma, I have developed soft, delicate and silent ways that allow me to be able to look at someone in the eye when they speak to me.

She replied to my email very nicely and said we were all going through the same steps when it comes to ASMR. Some days, I even am thinking of making videos. Not for the views or the money – I have a job and hates attention – but because she has been talking about how therapeutic it has been for her, how good it feels to channel your energy towards something that will soothe you and others.

Reading a couple of comments on her and others’ videos, reading about ASMR, there is a common ground to all of us, something that Emma and other ASMRtists mentionned: hyper sensitivity to our surrounding. Stemming from my anxiety, I have understood that my impossibility to let go of the past, the mistakes I made, of the guilt, my inability to just let something go, to ignore what’s happening, my constant anger towards the world and the unfairness that is the pillar of human society, my need to take a step back in crowd situation because I feel overwhelmed…

All of it is hyper sensitivity. Day in day out, I suck up everything from everyone and everything: feelings, energy, reactions, consequences, interactions without having learnt how or have the time to process them properly and that’s what can keep me awake all night. Once all are gone, my brain finally finds the time to analyse them, to make sense of them and to encourage me to find a way to deal with them but by that time, I am exhausted and the last thing I want is to have to dissect the world and reflect upon my place in it.

This is where Emma and ASMR comes in. So I can sleep then think about the world the next day and write posts for my blog – that I can never bloody finish and post!

In brief: Actual food? Are you for real?

I went on the Internet this week and I found this…

No, seriously. I watched another video but this time from Matt and Blue (husbands Dallas and Hamilton) and Blue was cooking some pasta with bacon sauce.

Bacon.

Bacon!

He cooked meat on YouTube! And not just meat but there was oil involved so…fat. There were pasta so…carbs. There was cheese so…diary products.

Is he a mad man? Meat and carbs and fat and dairy product on social media? How not Gwyneth Paltrow and all her clones of him to do that! People think social services are going to be on their back for being gay parents but no, it’s because they are cooking and eating delicious, guilt-free food and they are feeding it to their son.

Honestly, we need more of that, please, so the tide of self-proclaimed healthy gurus can finally ebb and we can eat some food without being judged and frowned upon. What helps this insanity surrounding food is usually that these gurus are mostly blonde, paper-thin and all living “wonderful lives”. Who wouldn’t want to be like them? I don’t but…

The good thing with Matt and Blue is they are both handsome, gorgeous, fit men so they are showing food-related health problems, such as obesity, are not about this or that type of food but about your diet as a whole.

In brief: Who are you targeting?

I watched a quick Instagram video of Tom Daley giving us tips to get healthy by doing something call the Pistol Squat – which I am convinced gets its name from prisoners of war who managed to not get shot by doing it.

One thing: anyone who can pull that off is already healthy. There might not have very defined six packs or the 0.1% of fat necessary to see them because they don’t do eight hours of sports everyday for a living but this exercise requires so much from your body, i.e. put the entire weight of yourself on one knee, that only the 5% fittest can do it.

Bottom-line is: the more I watch Tom Daley, his fitness challenges and advice on how to get healthy, the more I realise he’s talking to people who are already healthy. Just not calendar-fit, like he is. PR…PR…PR…

NIMBY? I am not interested…

I read that people are baffled when they talk to Trump’s supporters just to realise that the latters are not aware of the various controversies he’s embroiled in. The cheap insinuation towards the mother of that late American soldier for instance. How can his supporters not know? Especially in a world where anyone has access to everything on the tip of their finger for the media are everywhere.

But that’s where his popularity comes from – as well as the increasing one of all populists: his supporters are anything but well-informed. I am not saying they are stupid, they just don’t care about the news as such for various reasons: they have grown to find it boring, tainted or impossible to trust, and irrelevant to their own problems.

In Europe, we were baffled that George W. Bush did not where Athens or Wales were. How can a president of the United-States not know this? Because you needn’t know that to be a president of the United-States. That’s as simple as that. In America, people have been taught to think in matter of relevance towards oneself, the rest is culture, some fancy fantasy only the rich and lefties can indulge in. The view is that learning something we don’t need to make a living is a luxury and “the hard-working” have no time for this so they catch some words here and there. They are the ones who are happy when someone can reduce a speech, a piece of news, whatever that is, to 140 characters.

My manager, in France, who’s half-Canadian, is a product of such vision of the world. We were having lunch and talking about the 49:3 and she arrived telling us proudly that she had not idea what “all the doo-dah” was about. Left-wingers, Right-wingers, French and foreigners in the room, we all looked at her with disbelief as the whole country was talking about nothing but this. Or so we think. Maybe we are becoming a minority to still be paying attention as most of us are turning it off and relying on quick Trump-like statements.

Last month, she arrived telling us that she heard something happened in Nice, she read a “couple of lines here and there” but did not know what happened exactly. “Are people dead?”, she asked and I realised that what I was told is wrong: knowledge is not the key to success or power. Birth is.

How do we compare, us the employees and her, our superior? We read, watch and listen to the news and she chose not to because it’s too depressing to her taste. We go to museums, exhibitions, to the pictures, we read books for pleasure when she chose not to. She has “no time for that” and believes reading is solely to kill boredom when in a waiting room. For her, our having time to do these things unrelated to work shows she is working more than we do.

She also looks down on us for she lives in France’s most expensive neighbourhood in Paris and we don’t. But it’s a give and take for most of us have learnt how uneducated, quick to judge and willingly ignorant she is. She knows her job because she needs the money but as far as her learning goes, its stops here.

For me, I am fascinated as I witness her marrying into money and living her life as if the world was not there. She has not problem admitting her ignorance, on the contrary, it’s a virtue, she doesn’t waste her time. She does’t know anything about the two parties conventions that just happened in the US because “she doesn’t need to: she is Canadian and doesn’t vote in the US.”

As long as it doesn’t land in her back yard, she has no care to give and I am convinced she is part of a majority these days. A majority easier for demagogues to manipulate, regardless of age, gender and race.