Why it’s fashionable to blame the victim

Do you know how I personally know that society defaults to victim blaming rather than attitude adjustment? Because there’s a million adverts on TV for weight loss products but not a single advert for a self help book on tolerance.

Out of all the topics involved with victim blaming right now that is the least newsworthy but, as a fat white dude, it is the only one I’ve experienced personally. People shout things from cars, they make snide backhanded comments and they call me an “Unfunny fat fuck” which is both alliterative and accurate as I am more passionate and less hilarious in my lovemaking.

I realise that being overweight doesn’t necessarily make me a victim, doughnuts don’t hurl themselves into my mouth when I stroll down bakery aisles. I’m not assaulted in darkened alley ways by two men who hold me down and pour buttercream into my mouth. But people don’t know why I’m big, do I have a thyroid problem? Am I diabetic? Is this an allergic reaction to unexpected aggression? They don’t know.

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(and they don’t want to come out from under their bridge long enough to find out)

Yesterday I asked what people thought was the cause in the rise of food bank use, I was looking for a reason beyond “The government”. What I was hoping for was a way we could look at it and say “it wasn’t this specific government, it would have happened under any government” what I got was justification for this article. Here’s my favourite answer:

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That’s right you heard it here first, the reason people use foodbanks more now is because more people donate food! ALTRUISM IS THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING! Last year I saw people commenting that the rise in social housing was causing the housing crisis, UKIP supporters were claiming that immigrants cause racism because without immigrants there wouldn’t be anyone to be racist to.

And who could forget the age old classic “Well what did you expect to happen going out dressed like that?!”

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(Well if you’re going to walk around with your back to people, you’ve got to expect someone to put a few bullets in it haven’t you?)

It’s a strange way of thinking but the more I dwell on it the more I get it. People’s first reaction whenever anything bad happens is to find someone to blame for it. It’s a base evolutionary instinct adapted, inadequately, to modern day situations. As cave people we would see a problem and find a solution, the problem wouldn’t be with ourselves as that was something we could fix immediately. We die because we leave our cave, ok so it’s that tiger killing us as we leave, right we need to kill the tiger. Our ability to see problems and solve them accordingly is why we evolved into the virus like mammals we are.

So cut to today and people see problems in the world around them, problems they’re not directly responsible for causing. Take the rise in food banks, your average person hasn’t cut anyone’s wages or sanctioned anyone’s benefits, they haven’t shut down a hospital or personally forced a person into a life of addiction. What they see is a problem that they haven’t manufactured. They look at the people they do relate to and think “If I didn’t cause that problem they couldn’t have either because I didn’t” it’s a very straightforward way of thinking, almost computer like in it’s logical progression

I am like this

Those people are suffering

Those other people are like me

They aren’t causing the suffering because I am not causing the suffering

I don’t identify with the people who are suffering

The people who are suffering must be causing their own suffering or they wouldn’t be suffering

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And that’s how easy it is to blame a victim. All that needs to happen is for the person to not identify with the victim, that’s all it takes.

We all do it too. The examples I’ve used are extreme prejudices and situations but how many of us have seen someone get a parking ticket and thought “well you deserved that” not knowing the situation, how many of us have seen a mother screaming at her children in the street and thought “she’s a terrible mother” rather than “Maybe she just needs someone to help” we’ve all done it because as soon as we can’t identify with that person’s suffering we’re numb to it. We have to be, our inner caveperson screams at the tiger outside the cave.

It’s a terrible problem right now. I could go on and on about what’s happened in a Tory Britain, about injustices and horror stories but really I’d either be preaching to the choir or fuelling the fires of animosity. Either way you know the story. Working class people vote Tory because they WANT to identify with them, they want to be rich and successful and have everything. Rich people vote Tory because it’s in their best interest to. Both aspects of those two society cross sections don’t identify with the suffering they see on TV. Why would they? They haven’t experienced it and they’ve worked hard their whole life, everyone else must have had the same opportunity to have that same life right?

Victim blaming has become the sociological norm. No matter what we think we still, as a planet, vote in the people who have the potential to cause the most damage. Labour are suggesting free school meals for every child and the only thing the right can respond to it with is “where’s the money coming from for that?!” but the Conservatives have given tax cuts to corporations, in practise rather than just policy, and funded full on wars without the right so much as suggesting maybe spending £80,000 on one missile is a crazy expenditure and don’t you think we should clear down some of our credit cards before we go shopping again darling? I know you love those shoes but we really should think about making housing affordable again, oh you know what I could never say no to you, you can have second houses for every minister rather than just getting them to Skype into any important debates they should have a presence at, we don’t need free healthcare anyway.

The fact that this viewpoint is becoming more prolific shows a shift backwards, a survival instinct kicking in as we feel the world shifting. Maybe if we stopped worrying about the tiger outside the cave so much we’d notice the one inside here with us.

Poppies

Poppies. Wear a poppy, don’t wear a poppy, that’s up to you. If I don’t wear one assume it’s because:
 
– I had one and lost it
– Don’t have one and don’t want one
– Am afraid to align myself with people using it for racist political agendas
– Had an opium addiction that I beat and the sight of poppies reminds me of all the times I sucked a stranger’s dick in an alley for just one more hit
– My father was killed by a poppy and I still haven’t got my revenge
– It’s on another jacket
– It’s in my pocket because this is an expensive jacket
– I’m allergic
– I only give to charities who advertise with cute animals
 
Pick any one of those reasons, think it in your head then react accordingly, again in your head. Whatever you choose with poppies is your decision and much like same sex marriage no one else’s business.
 
Let people do what they want, it’s a poppy.

Motivating myself

I have a million things to do today. That’s hyperbole, I have about 16 things to do today but really if I really thought about it I could make it up to a million. I mean if I really thought about it I could break down any of the things I have to do into composite parts and eventually get to a million things to do today but with a greater sense of achievement as I accomplished minuscule goals like “put foot into sock” score “put foot into shoe” boom “tie up shoe” fuck I am rocking my to do list today.

So I have 16 things to do today and I know I have to do them before the kids get home, as soon as our girls are home I won’t get anything done and I love it. I’m not going to pretend that I hate them being here because it stops me from doing the things I need to I LOVE HAVING AN EXCUSE. “Chris why didn’t you do that admin?” ah man I had to play Boggle with my kids. Bummer I know I would have loved to have finished that admin, you know there’s nothing I love more than endless excel spreadsheets but if I don’t play boardgames with my kids then they might grow up to be serial killers and that would just be irresponsible, do you want more serial killers? No? I thought not.

I am the king of procrastination. Even now I’m sat here writing this when I should be writing material for shows.

Next week we’ve got three big shows see here so I’m doing a bunch of PR and rejigging material for them but also I’ll be restarting my Let’s Save the World podcast and booking the acts for our next year of shows. I want to get as many people involved with all of that as possible so sign up for updates on the front page (if you haven’t already) to get updates about all the amazing things coming up

Being too social

First off sorry about the lack of blogging, there are now over 5000 (closer to 10,000 including all the other places this goes) of you and it’s ridiculous for me to leave it months without updating. I will be rectifying that. Thank you to everyone that’s hung on though, I’ll make sure it’s worth it.

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(worth it, right?)

Secondly a confession. I am a social media whore. I have a hole inside me that can only be filled by sharing my whole world with friends, family and complete strangers. What this has done is severely reduced my productivity (NO WAY! SPENDING TIME NOT WORKING IS REDUCING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY!? WHAT IN THE HELL?!). I’m not the only one, people the world over waste time on the countless forms of social media just clicking through the same 3 pages hoping for notifications to pop up of people interacting with their cat photos and undereducated semi political messages

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(#jesuislettuce)

There have been countless studies on it, many of them funded by the platforms themselves in order to find out how to keep people on those very sites, and they all come to the same conclusion: we are lonely.

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(nothing good happened in this picture, everything about this photo tells me the story ends with a phonecall and crying)

We want to reach out and find people who like the same things as us, people who can define us as individuals as well as providing us with the comfort of a herd. It’s hard to know who you really are in a vacuum (MAINLY DUE TO THE NOISE, AM I RIGHT?! *HIGH FIVES*) so to have a large group of people constantly able to tell you that yes you are right dirty foreigners should go home to their own country or no you shouldn’t have to work for a living, everything should be right there on a plate for you means that you can say “That’s who I am! I am a lazy, entitled, racist!” it’s not great but at least you know. No one likes uncertainty

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(well some people do, some people use it to cement their position but then I’m using the term people loosely)

and that’s the main problem with social media, it can be a great tool for communication and spreading the word or getting behind a cause but mostly it’s a catalyst for narcissism and rampant paranoia.  Even this post is a massive display of arrogance and self importance, what do you care about a fat guy who’s trying to distance himself from social media? You don’t! Or rather you shouldn’t because really all we’re doing is creating little groups of people all thinking they’re right then being completely surprised that there’s other people with different ideas. We’re isolating ourselves.

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(and we all know how that turns out, Pauly Shore cries himself to sleep every night)

and that isolation is a terrible thing. Just days ago was the 2 year anniversary of Robin Williams suicide, as I’ve said on here before Robin is the reason I do comedy and it hit me hard. Whenever anyone takes their own life it’s a terrible thing, it means that person can see no other future ahead except pain and they don’t want it. I tried it once, spoiler alert: I failed, and only by talking about it did I get over it. Talking is a great tool for getting over depression so here’s a video of me talking about it so other people can feel like it’s ok to talk about it Talking about suicide but with jokes

But it can go the other way, people reach out and no one reaches back or even worse people think it’s ok to abuse other people because it makes them feel better, this in turn isolates the person being bullied further. Again this has become the majority of interaction over and above supportive messages on social media which just goes to prove that if you leave humans with any kind of wonderous new discovery they’ll find a way to be an asshole with it.

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(hey guys I’ve got this thing that makes the food taste better and means we don’t get poisoned by it, it makes it hot, what are you doing guys? GUYS?!)

Really what I’m saying is I’m pulling out of most of social media unless it’s to interact with people who want to come to a show. That does mean I’ll have more time to make shit and update this so hurray to anyone who cares. It’s easy to get lost in the great echo chamber and as Jean-Paul Sartre gets famously misquoted on “Hell is other people”

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(proof)

Brexit and other tasty breakfast treats

Brexit, the stupid name given to a decision we shouldn’t have to make. I know a lot of people will disagree with me and suggest that this is a great example of democracy and to those people I say “WE AS A COUNTRY CAN NOT BE TRUSTED! WE VOTED IN THE TORIES!”. I’m not saying we’re all stupid and don’t know what’s best for us, I’m saying there is solid evidence that we’re stupid and don’t know what’s best for us.

I’ve said this all before on a video so rather than reading words on a page watch and listen to them fall out of my mouth like cake crumbs at an 11 year old’s birthday party I managed to sneak in to:

Essentially I’m saying vote Remain but only because we don’t want to give any more power to people who have proven that the only thing they do with it is make their friends richer and the vulnerable deader.

Also to lighten the mood here’s some jokes I wrote to offer as a sacrifice to you guys for all the posts I haven’t made in the last year, this is being rectified and you can expect to see a regular blog here again.

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(Thanks to Richard Wood for taking those great photos of me at Cardiff Glee)

SOLO SHOW NEWS!!

After a sell out run of work in progress shows at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival I’m now performing my solo show “Distant” for real at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre on Saturday March 5th. I’m so damn excited about it because this is a show about things I believe in, it’s counter culturalism at it’s best and I fully intend to change some minds. As I said we had a run of sell out dates in Leicester so would love to fill the theatre on March 5th.

I wrote this show as a reaction to where I was a year ago and how far I felt that was from where I wanted to be. Now I’m closer to that, saying things that I feel matter instead of just empty distractions. If you like intelligent comedy, sticking it to the man, the word “fuck” or just a fat guy who’s passionate about change then you should come.

Grab tickets here – Ticket link

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