Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ Category

Oscars So What?

Posted: January 31, 2016 in Social Commentary
Tags: , ,

I have to admit, I am struggling to decide what I actually think about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

Part of me can’t help but recall ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…’  Wondering if anyone should care whether the academy has or has not; will or will not.  

Is it the academy that validates your work, the box office receipts or the ongoing testimony of those whose lives are indelibly marked by what they saw?

Whilst I am not religious in any way, I still remember to this day what I took away from this particular lesson from bible studies about taxes, coin and contextualising your complaint.

I would be lying to say I pay much attention to the Oscars or use the nominating and awarding process as a barometer of what I believe to be a good, great or indifferent performance or film. 

Much in the same way I ‘used’ to love professional wrestling, I now (as an adult) have little time for the ‘show’.

For me, the emperor not only has no clothes, but rules over an empire whose subjects are questioning his claim to power and doubt the influence he holds.

No matter the accolades, I continue to cringe at Titantic and the fact an opportunity to retell a tragic tale of hubris, human suffering and the futility of man – when he is forced to succumb to nature – was served up as a ridiculous love story.

Avatar?  Best that I don’t even begin to speak of my thoughts.

So when the cries for boycotting the show ring out, I can’t help but feel something more important is wrong.  That perhaps the opportunity to make the argument compelling has already gone.

If you decry the lack of recognition, of validation, are you still longing to belong?  

And if you long to belong to that institution do you have to accept it for what it is, change it through participating in the ‘game’ and seek to influence it where your argument is most strong?

‘Render unto Caesar…’  Is the power in the coin?

Is the answer get in the game or get out?  Affect the industry at the box office, in the pocket – not after all the players have left the stage and have all gone home?

Boycotting the awards ceremony is a little late – surely. The problem began long before the red carpet and way before the opening song.

The fight is surely about more screen plays, more production, more casting and more roles. 

The power is in the coin. 

If you have managed to accrue influence and wealth through your participation in the game, use that powerbase to right what you see is wrong.

More roles, more opportunities, more production, more coin.

Start the boycott before the ballots go out.  

As I said. I am not sure what I think about the boycott. What I do know is that I don’t know the last time I turned the broadcast of the Academy Awards on. 

But, perhaps – maybe, if the blue-ribband event was unpalatable for prime time viewing, would that too affect the coin?

Would it indeed further poke the social consciousness?

Tip of the iceberg.  The problem goes way beyond what happens after the opening song.

Your thoughts?  Let’s talk.

Nurture the child

Posted: January 30, 2016 in Social Commentary

 

They say ‘with age comes wisdom…’

In this, ‘they’ are right.

But never underestimate that inherent wisdom, born to the child.

No child judges on gender, race, form or persuasion.

All are equal in their eyes.

It is with age we learn segregation, hateful prejudice and hurl ignorant bile.

With age we form opinions, influence others in our efforts to survive.

In the eyes of our children, they see wonders to discover, joyful existence and reasons to smile.

So who should be our teachers, who are the wisest of the wise?

What a world we could live in, as taught from the perspective of the child.

So let us think clearly as we make our choices in life.  As we consider, think, decide.

They say with age comes wisdom…

Nurture the child.

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What is privacy in the 21st century? Have we redefined the parameters of what should and should not be for public consumption?

The staple diet of most these days are reality TV shows that provide fly on the wall access to the homes of celebrities, the inner workings of football clubs and play by play commentary on the medical conditions of many who would previously have baulked at the mere thought of discussing them within the privacy of their own doctor’s surgery.

So what is privacy? What do we now consider the boundaries of what is for me to know and you to find out?

I can’t be too hypocritical about the subject; hence me asking questions, rather than pontificating from a standpoint of moral or ethical superiority. This blog serves as my medium to engage with others (you) and share ideas and beliefs about whatever subject I would like to discuss.

Social media gives us all an opportunity to instantly share the most random of thoughts, our instinctive reactions to our experiences and to sate our voyeuristic urges by eavesdropping on the conversations between public officials, captains of industry and the celebrities who – like us – seem to have forgotten the art of having a private conversation over the phone.

Perhaps our ideas of privacy have softened following the revelations and education we have all received over the past decade; where we have seen that the realms of what we considered confidential, private – secure – no longer are.

Phone taps, voicemail hacks, identity theft, credit card clones, scanners, Trojan virus’ and the piggy backing of a broadband signal. What once we thought was for our eyes and ears only seemed to be no more than a click, send, submit or accept from being in the hands of someone else.

So perhaps, like any immune system, we have built up a resilience to seeing privacy invaded and now no longer feel quite as perturbed as we would have in the days when a quick phone call meant finding change and leaving the house to find the nearest, cleanest, telephone box that was in working order.

Maybe the Katie Price’s, Kim Kardashian’s and Big Brother attention seekers have reduced the threshold of what we now consider to be private.

Could it be that we no longer worry about who could be peering through our curtains when we can log on to the Internet and stroll down anyone’s street via Google Earth? Street view allows us to walk up to the front door of nigh on any house on the planet and, if you forgot to close the door, peek inside your garage or count the new Coy you put into your pride of place fish pond.

Twitter, Facebook, My Space, Tumblr, Instagram – you name it, you can update to it. Privacy – who cares? There is so much to delve through that we will all probably get to a point where we reach access overload.

How ironic. We could reach the point where we have so much access to the inner thoughts and microscopic movement of all we know – or don’t – that we might not care to look anymore.

Perhaps the privacy we once held so dear will return to us – when we can no longer stand to log on and take a look.

How long before “Private – Keep Out!” becomes synonymous with “Who Cares – I don’t want to know!”?

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We’re just socially interacting, innit
Not hating nor pontificating

Insinuating perhaps even implicating
Occasionally berating

But always articulating
Without aggravating or humiliating

Just relating

Relating

Participating

Oft times facilitating

Hopefully cultivating an educating and exhilarating
Illuminating and invigorating

Opportunity to debate

To generate thoughts and create a state of mind
Never blind to the fact that we

Each one of a kind
endure this

Grind

Time after time

Walking that
Line

So cruelly defined by fate

So why wait?

Come
Before it’s too late

Let’s
Start a debate.

When you passionately argue against a system that provides access to healthcare for those who are probably most in need, you are, for me, arguing from a platform that is completely and utterly morally, ethically and inhumanely spent.

As the world scratched its collective head attempting to comprehend the fantastic spectacle that was the London 2012 opening ceremony, I took to the social network-sphere to take in the wave of pride of a nation who saw an homage to our National Health Service.

A nod, for those who are still confused, to the idea behind the NHS. To the concept that a nation would ensure free access to a healthcare system for all – based on their medical needs and not on their ability to pay.

Was this a political statement? Who can say?

Should an Olympic opening ceremony be the vehicle for such a statement if it were? No – some would say. Emphatically. Passionately.

However.

Stop for a moment.

Consider.

These games – the London bid, were based on the ideal of inspiring a generation. About igniting the imagination and desires of an entire generation. What better message could you possibly hope for the youth of today; the leaders of tomorrow; the minds that will define a nation, than one that embodies the very best of qualities humanity has to offer?

Thinking not of yourself, but of others. Taking care, not just of yourself, but also of your neighbours.

As #NHS began trending on Twitter I was surprised to see the fear, perhaps even hate, for and of the idea of social healthcare.

I was numbed by the comments of those who truly believe(d) that a healthcare system built around the idea that everyone would pay to ensure everyone had access was abhorent.

I wanted to ask those who most vehemently raged against our NHS, those who live on shores from across an ocean, why they were so against putting in place a system that extends the life expectancy of everyone, not just of the affluent.

I wanted to debate the thought that this social ideal was inherently evil, when the counter argument was one that saw no demons in a system that directly links your health to your bank balance.

If money is the route of all evil…

I don’t believe that the opening ceremony was lauding the current state of our NHS; as it is in dire need of improvement. I am not even sure it was making a political plea that we should save it.

However.

Stop for a moment.

In a time when so many countries are weighted down under the burden of an economical recession, when more and more people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads or put food on their tables – ask yourself. What exactly is it that someone could find so repugnant about a system that would ensure that you, yes you – no matter what your financial situation might be tomorrow, do not have to worry about your access to healthcare?

I ask simply because… because… money has no place determining who should continue living!

The Decline of Decency

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Social Commentary
Tags: , , ,

I am not quite sure what happened to the age of innocence, but I have a good idea about what is happening to the age of decency.

I have a good idea and I do not care for it at all – not one iota!

With each passing day I seem to despair more and more at the absolute torrent of hateful and abusive vitriol people seem happy to vent at complete and utter strangers.  Whether it be via the medium of social media; an online discussion forum or more alarmingly, towards the person on the other end of the telephone.

Every day seems to bring a new low in a catalogue of lows in the decay of what used to be commonly expected as basic human decency.

I frequently ask myself the question “when did it become acceptable to disagree with someone’s opinion with a bile laden response that makes you catch your breath or makes you wince at the venom injected into the expletive; the offensive insult, the comment designed to do nothing other than hurl as much disgust or disdain in one spiteful and deplorable statement?”

Some responses are nothing more than a single worded response; whichever single word will cause the most shock and pain.

When did it become so shameful?

When did respect and decorum so abjectly fall from grace?

I do not know who to blame and I have to admit that I do not particular have the appetite or energy to start apportioning responsibility to any particular person or group of persons.  All that I am certain of, is that it is a crying shame that so many feel so invulnerable behind the keyboard – so invincible that they would pour forth such hate without any restraint.

It is a shame and it is an indictment on what has and is continuing to become of our society.

Perhaps it was always this way.  Perhaps the electronic age merely opened up the gateway; enabled a medium to reach out across the globe, instead of across the garden fence.

All I know – is that it is a shame.

Shameful.

Something about which we should all be ashamed.

“That wasn’t me letting you into my lane… That was me leaving a safe two-second gap!”

When it comes to driving, I prefer being on the Motorway than churning out the miles around town.  I love the open road and the fact all traffic is heading in the same direction.  I even get a great sense of achievement when I see the distance decreasing as I pass each and every road sign.

I feel so much more secure that I don’t have to keep an eye out for small children.  I feel so much more secure – right up until that point when someone spies the two-second gap I am leaving between me and the car ahead.

We all know this driver, perhaps we sometimes are the driver in question.  They see the gap and decide it is just about the right size for their car and dart into it from the adjacent lane.  They dart in; sometimes even thank you – as though you had in some way encouraged their lane change by leaving the gap, immediately causing you to lift off the gas and cover the brake.

They dart in with no apparent sense of regard for the fact they are now less than a second behind the car in front of them and have now caused you to be less than a second behind them.

A fortnight ago I completed a round trip of just under 400 miles; a journey that involved me spending quite some time on some of Britain’s busiest stretches of Motorway.

During this journey I lost count of the number of times someone stole my two-second gap; the number of times someone disregarded common-sense in the name of expediency and haste.  During this journey I lost count of the number of times I heard myself say “I wasn’t letting you in!  That was my two-second gap!”

This week we were sadly reminded how close we are to tragedy, whenever we climb aboard a vehicle and take to the roads.  We saw what has been reported as one of the worst motorway accidents in UK history; a harrowing accident where the number of people injured or dead and the number of vehicles involved seemed to increase with every updated news report.

It is entirely far too early to speculate about what caused the accident and far too soon to comprehend how those families involved will go about dealing with their loss and rebuilding their lives.

But, perhaps – we can all take the warning we have been given.  Perhaps we can all put in a little more thought the next time we are about to change lanes.  That two-second gap is there for a reason.  That phone call can wait, surely it can wait.  The radio station – does it really need changing this instant?

We can all take that tiniest bit more care.

Surely we can give each other that.

Can’t we?

Two seconds really isn’t that much to ask.