Tag Archives: Double standards

One can only imagine it

Can you imagine a 69 year-old woman running for president after she married three times, had five children with three different spouses, openly talks about groping a male’s genitals…?

Jennifer Granholm.

I don’t think anyone can actually name one so we can only imagine it because society shame such women to oblivion when we are ready to have their male counterpart as a president.

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Of blood and fibers.

It’s weird but when people learn I am a vegetarian, they always ask me why I don’t eat any fish and meat. And I gladly answer their curiosity without making any fuss. I assume they are genuinely interested and I am happy to tell. Generally, regarding food, unless I am asked, I don’t demand anything or bother anyone with my eating. It’s something between me and myself.

However, once in a while, when the discussion lingers on the topic, I venture myself into asking the same question to non-vegetarians: why are you eating meat and fish? Suddenly, I am facing a tide of “I do whatever I want, don’t I? Why do you care?!”, “Give us a break already!”, “Stop trying to convert me to your lifestyle!”, “Like all bloody veggies, a killjoy!”, “Why do veggies always have to question everyone’s lifestyle?”

I just asked…

I guess it’s the making a choice for yourself that will always bring double-standards.

My mother.

An every woman’s smile.

I don’t how she does it really. Hillary. I was watching her smile during the debate as Trump was uncontrollably vomiting every cheap, baseless insults (some say “opinions”) that went through his mind. People were quick to point out how uncomfortable and fake she looked when she smiled. Yes, but have you ever wondered: does she really have the choice?

Hillary Clinton is the most qualified and experienced politician to have ever run for president. This campaign was a chance for her to prove that decades of hard work, of experience and dedication to serving her country had made her ready to be the leader of said country. The campaign was a chance for her to show off everything she has learnt through her career as a lawyer, a senator, a Secretary of State and eight years witnessing first hand the realities and practicalities of the presidency. This campaign was a chance for her to admit she has made mistakes and to show that she had learnt from them.

Instead, what is she given? A back-of-the-schoolyard-and-classroom bully who would not listen to anything she says, not even her admitting her mistakes, rather constantly shouting at her, cutting her off with ever more outrageous statements he believes to be snappy and witty come-backs.

I was her for a minute: the teacher ignoring the classroom bully for the sake of everyone else (even those laughing) knowing it’s my job to cater for that bully’s needs as well. Like all teachers in the classroom, she has to be the better person in this campaign and acting otherwise would be the end of her.

Like her, how many times do we, teachers, feel the urge to just stop everything short and say: “What the fuck are you on about, you twat?!” But we could never say that because it is our responsibility to be above all this, to remain calm, on point for something that’s bigger than us and the bully: the education, the future of everyone, including the bully.

As teachers, we are often accused of being robots, inhumane, lacking empathy and kids are surprised when we cross path in supermarkets. You eat food? Or coming of the gym or can talk about a TV show. That’s because we have to constantly put on this utterly professional mask of someone untroubled and only driven by teaching. We are often accused of being fake and cold, especially with difficult students. Actually, the more difficult they are, the more aloof and clinical we are told to be. “Don’t take the bait!”

That’s where Clinton is today: accused of being “fake and cold” in front of a “honest and fiery” Trump she cannot just tell off. Believe me, give Clinton half a chance and she would not waste a second pulling a Beyoncé: Middle fingers up and put them in his face. But she cannot because she knows she will have failed her mission to be above all that and no one will ever forgive her. Some would say this is a good test to see if she can be president. Her sole opponent is now Donald Trump, I think we’re past “testing time”.

When he mentioned her “not looking presidential”,  imagine her saying: “Why? You think you look presidential, sneezy?” People would not have warmed up to her because when it comes to women, a country still wants a perfect mum and a teacher, when we are used to dad’s ever more racist rants.

No one would vote for Clinton would she behave like he does because we expect more from her than anyone ever does from him. We expect her to fathom that this campaign is bigger than her or Trump’s insults, that the future of the US and the world depends on her being strong enough to not let herself being dragged into a verbal boxing round of cheap insults by his attention-seeking, provocative behaviour.

More than every teacher, Hillary is every woman in our society fighting for a job for which she is way more qualified than her male opponent. She knows she is more qualified. She knows we know it. We can all check, it’s open knowledge and yet, she still has to prove it because whatever women do is never good enough. She can’t be attacked for being childless like Merkel frequently is so she is attacked on her appearance, her age and the mistakes she dared make in positions Trump cannot even begin to fathom, such as senator during 9/11 or Secretary of State during the Arab Spring.

The mind of the people is clearly set now: she wants to be president? She must be perfect! What about Trump? He’s a card…Yeah but he’s a man, that’s different. Because we accept and expect men to be bastards once in a while. He’ll know how to turn it down when need whereas if Clinton has not managed to be perfect at all time, it’s in her nature. So Clinton wants votes? She has to prove she is twice as good (in all sense of the word) as he is.

I hear many gay people still banging on about the fact that she used to not support gay marriage. It doesn’t matter that she now does. People don’t forgive and forget when women are flawed, especially on the Left, and her past mistakes, most of which she has acknowledged, are still a hindrance, when Trump’s brashness opens him door after door.

The problem is that people, left or right, still refuse to acknowledge they think as such so, like all women, she must pretend she is fighting her equal. She has to make her opponent and his supporters feel like it’s an even playing field when it’s not. Common sense dictates the balance is on her side but for some reasons, as numerous as they are complex, it takes a couple of two-a-penny alt-right clichés in Trump’s tweets to make the race tighter than ever.

The media are happy accomplice for they like to show it that way too: “They are trading blows”, we hear.

He calls Mexicans “rapists”, women “pigs, dogs”, she calls her supporter “deplorable”.

However, it’s a trade.

I was under the impression that trading comprehends an even exchange.

How can “rapists” and “pigs” be on the same shelf as “deplorable”? How can the facts and experience she is displaying possibly be considered on par with Trump’s baseless garble?

Because expectations are different, all the while looking the same.

So yes, in the face of openly proud racism, sexism, xenophobia, denial, deceit, cheap yet predictable attacks and insults that have opened the White House gates to an irritable, boorish, sulky, incompetent, nepotistic, immature, little daddy’s boy of a man, Clinton must do what every ambitious woman does: fake smile, take the punch, ignore it, keep her head high and keep going with the actual facts in order to keep the debate where it matters and not let the bully stir it into an irrelevant, verbal brawl for only men, even defeated, win in brawls.

“Close your eyes and think of England.”

Well for Clinton, it’s “Fake smiles, fake smiles and think of the future of the US.”

Free Internet? Please, and I want Adblock to go with it.

I read this article today saying that Adblocking could “remove” £12bn in advertising by 2020. I don’t see you can remove something that is not there to begin with but let’s go with it.

The following picture show you all the related articles where Adblock is basically the new evil and its users should be rebaptised Damian or at least accept their mothers to be called Rosemary.

ScreenHunter_002

As you can see Adblock is everywhere. Including on both my current laptops, all my former and future ones.

Before I go into why I have Adblock, my issue is: 100 000 000 devices have it. For the sake of the argument, let’s say that one device = one person, are these people living miserable lives because we have no adverts? Have we stopped buying cars, clothes, food and other goods because of that lack of something that is talked about as if it was essential to our survival? Have we completely isolated ourselves from the rest of the world by not force-feeding ourselves with ads on a regular basis? Have we all become hermits refusing to give in to materialism and over-consumption? Are we unaware of what’s new and are therefore doomed to eternally live in the past? Are we now in a parallel world? Do we even exist?

The answer to these questions is obviously “No.”

100 million people. That’s a country-worth of people beyond borders, culture, language, age, gender who can live a normal life without ads so what are they for in the first place?

Ads have been presented as a way to keep us inform of novelty. They are is aimed at the people to encourage them to make the right choice because choice is endless today and how are we ever going to be able to make the right one if an advert doesn’t show us the light?

These words are not mine but the ones of a friend who works in advertising. When he told me that, I couldn’t help but remembering the Eddy’s rant from Ab Fab at another PR person:

“You! You attached to that crap-ad man over there. The king of bastardisation that just takes everything that is ever real and and genuine honest and original to attach it to a toilet cleaner! I don’t more choice, I just want nicer things!”

That’s excatly the point we make in one of the articles you see above: we don’t like the ads and it turns out we don’t need them, we can make choices of our own through experiencing and searching. We needn’t be force-fed.

Nothing has changed in terms of advertisement between today and yesteryear. They still are as patronising, infantilising, irrelevant, stupid, deceiving as they always were so we don’t believe what they say. We heard it all before. They have been watched on TV, listened to on the radio, read in newspapers and magazines. My generation grew up with them in the background of everything like a mosquito buzzing in your ear on a hot summer night when you try to sleep. We have learnt to ignore them, change channel, flick through, leave the room. We have also grown wary of their ridiculous claims and terrible acting that makes want to hammer the TV and the radio to dust, the same way we end screaming in the night and fumigating the whole room to oblivion.

Take any ad to sell us cleaning products. Jesus Christ! I cannot believe these desert of intelligence are actually the outcomes of countless meetings and millions of pounds. All for talking toilets?!

“Please someone! Just make shut the fuck up!”

Now we can! That’s the difference. It’s brilliant and it’s Adblock! I can actually enjoy watching, listening, reading without someone telling  me my life is over if I don’t get the latest Tampax. The one that allows me to climb on my boyfriend’s shoulders because I don’t want to cross the river with my shoes…I am man, why do I care?!

It’s not about skipping anymore, it’s about removing them altogether, enjoying the freedom away from their overbearingness and contempt.

When they don’t completely overshot and encourage my best friend, a Polish Catholic, to go on a dating website for single Muslim women just because she is friend with an Algerian guy on Facebook, they reduce all of us to nothing but wallets that need to be emptied. We have to buy! What are we waiting for?! 30% off on all vitamin C complements at Tesco’s, it’s madness!…Madness? Really?! Do I need that much vitamin C?  Can’t I get strawberries?

Well that’s perfect, the next ad shows me there is a Buy one get one free offer on all strawberry boxes at Sainsbury’s! That’s madness!…Are they any good or half rotten as usual?

And that’s when ads don’t actually cost money per say. Having a I-phone 4S, I don’t have the adblock app so I cannot read the Guardian when outside because most of my data roaming goes to download endless banners I never see on my laptops. That’s my own money down the drain for ads I don’t care for.

There is also the fancy graphics. Once I was cut out of the Guardian website for three weeks because the main advert was some kind of gif/video that couldn’t load. So I kept getting the “Sorry, the page did not load properly, we try again”…for almost a month! I played Wordfeud and sod trying to keep informed.

So yes, we have Adblock to be free of all that and to be able to enjoy something that is proudly and loudly advertised as free. And the truth comes out. The ads have nothing to do with us and everything to do with companies: the ones selling their products and the ones being paid to allow them to sell their products on their “free” platform. The ads are the key to Free Internet.

If social media are free, YouTube is free, newspapers are free on the Internet, it’s because the companies are buying advertising space. Just like they do on TV. Like we say in French: Tout se paie.

Hence the vilification of Adblock: it’s a threat to Free Internet. Without ads, everything will have to be actually paid for or will be doomed to disappearance. I and all the other Adblock-lovers are killing free internet, it’s our fault if websites close for lack of revenue.

In the UK,  the culture secretary said “the fast-growing use of software that blocked advertising presented an existential threat to the newspaper and music industries”. We are selfish, irresponsible bastards, it turns out.

Maybe I was naive but for me Free Internet meant free as uncensored, unedited by anyone expect creators accordingly to their own will and desire. For me, when someone puts something on the Internet and claim it is free, it is free, end of. There are no strings attached.

But I understand now. The word “free” has two meaning: freedom and not-to-be-paid-for. And the fact is: they don’t actually come together. Youtube is free to use for us but relying heavily on private cooperation to find revenues, they also have imperatives that come with this imperative.

Nothing has changed, it’s traditional media all over again but within the new media. Except for one glitch in the system: Adblock. So in the face of dissent, companies are realising that the Internet is more flexible, at the day of the end people have the power and won’t give in. So it turns out not to be the goldmine they expect to dig dry and they have second thoughts. And everyone is panicking.

That brings my final existential question about Internet: how can you pretend to be the essence of Free Internet and Internet Neutrality when the availability of your content, its independence and transparency are depending on the whims of private companies?

If your independence and transparency are threatened by the unwillingness of your audience to be force-fed ads made by and allocated for private companies, what you do doesn’t sound “free” and “neutral” to me, rather dependent and heavily controlled.

Private companies have an agenda. There is nothing such as selflessness when it comes to them – whatever they do. They have money to make, an image to build and maintain, customers to reach and I know, because I owe many blogs, that ad space also means a line of editing. I was offered countless times and always refuse. The temptation is great but I know that means sacrifice and bias.

I also learned about that through some of my favourite YouTubers who talk openly about the process of sponsored videos for instance. The fact is that every single sponsored video has to be reviewed by the company prior to being posted to make sure there is nothing that would could potentially be damaging to them – directly or indirectly.

Others said they have been contacted by companies willing to do business just to back down when they found out the channel was run by a gay couple or a hijab-wearing girl or a feminist activist. Nothing is free and rarely innocent when companies are involved. They put their money when the mouths are speaking what they want to hear.

What is killing the Free Internet and its Neutrality is not adblocking but its utter reliance on the money of private companies. What’s killing the Free Internet is that it hasn’t been able to truly find a viable alternative to actually be genuinely free. There is a whole part of the Internet that has truly failed in providing a new model and bowed to ones who run everything in the real world so they also have the reins in the virtual world.

We, however, have made a decision: we want to be free of ads and be careful, Le Monde, other news outlets and social media that are trying to force them on us, look at what happened to TV and you’ll find you are not irreplaceable. Time to go back to the drawing board but there is hope: we are ready to pay for the lack of ads, see Netflix.

Just Sayin’ – Double standards for animals

The Western countries have no problem with the horrendous condition in their slaughterhouses (the name says it all…); the Western states have no problem setting up official culls of badgers, all types of birds, squirrels, foxes, hedgehogs, wolves, bears…because they are seen as pest; their ministers for Health have no problem whatsoever defending the industry when it comes to using live animals as disposable objects for tests and experiences.

However, we should all rise and condemn Nepal for its traditional cull. We justify the double standards by saying that what we do is necessary for human survival whereas they are just “having fun”.

In French, we say that we are quick to see the hay in other people’s eye despite the wooden beam in our own.

PS: I am against all the above. Even slaughterhouses. Human survival does not depend on everyday mass slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of hormones- and antibiotics-filled animals in terrible conditions.